[Ads-l] steal = borrow (intentionally or not)

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Fri Feb 27 06:24:51 UTC 2015

Yesterday, in a coffee shop, someone asked if they could steal a chair 
from the table where I was sitting.

This sort of usage is common and while I might have called it jocular in 
the past, I don't see people necessarily smiling anymore when they say 
it. AFAIK, this usage is limited to politeness situations.

Another possible use of "steal" is when someone returns an object they 
inadvertently took, quite the opposite of the ordinary meaning of 
"steal." I don't know if I've ever heard anyone else use it this way, 
but I think I have.

Neither of these meanings is on Wiktionary, the Oxford Dictionary site 
or the Merriam-Webster site.

Benjamin barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA

Learn Ainu! https://sites.google.com/site/aynuitak1/home

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

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