'on the make' bleached to positive 'making good money'?

Damien Hall damien.hall at NEWCASTLE.AC.UK
Wed Nov 21 11:02:56 UTC 2012

>From a story headlined 'Trader jailed after GBP1.4bn fraud nearly broke bank' (_Metro_ (Newcastle, UK edition), 21 Nov 12, p5):

'"To all those around him, Adoboli [the trader] appeared to be a man on the make whose career prospects were taking off", said [the police officer in charge of the investigation].'

The story with this quote in it appeared on the paper's site yesterday:

To me, 'on the make' has the negative meaning 'taking money illicitly (maybe from a place where the taker could also get money licitly').  However, the quote seems to imply that people who had no idea about this trader's rogue trades thought that his career was just going well: these people's positive impression of him is described as their thinking that he is 'on the make'.

Anyone else come across bleaching of this expression?



Damien Hall
Newcastle University (UK)

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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