Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 15 20:04:52 UTC 2013

On Jan 15, 2013, at 12:32 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:

> I mentioned this in 2010. It means "an outrageous occurrence or situation."
> Like a tragedy but different.
> CNN characterizes the plight of Syrian refugees forced over the border into
> Turkey as simply "a travesty."
Perhaps a clipping/transfer from the cliche "a travesty of justice"?  In that case it would similar to how "chili" ('spicy stew typically made with chopped meat, beans, tomatoes, chili powder, etc.') has come about from "chili con carne", where the chilies were originally the capsicum peppers involved, not the stew.  Of course the plight of refugees is not exactly a travesty of justice, but close enough for government work, perhaps.

I guess the other ('female impersonator') reference must stem from the relation between "travesty" and the slightly less metaphorical "transvestite", no?  A travesty, after all, is a kind of cross-dressing...


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