deadly vs. killer

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Fri Jan 11 20:20:17 UTC 2013

At 1/11/2013 01:11 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>Yes, my intuition is that "deadly" is for things like poison that
>will get you dead if you don't manage to avoid them, but "killer" is
>for things that chase you down and make you dead.  Whence "killer
>bees" as well as "killer whales".  This is why there are
>significantly more hits for "killer tornado(es)" than "killer
>earthquake(s)", and why "deadly curve" sounds more natural to me
>than "killer curve", although they're both attested.  Or "deadly
>pileup" ("about 16,000")  vs. "killer pileup" (15 actual g-hits,
>with duplication).

So a tornado can chase someone (getting back at the
tornado-chasers?), but a pileup can't (even though it could be caused
by a chasing -- such as speeding -- vehicle)?


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