[Ads-l] New (to me) negative polarity item--"(not) have the bandwidth" as metaphor

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Jun 20 17:12:01 UTC 2016

Here's urban dictionary:

ability (or lack of ability) to complete work given the available resources (people, time, money, etc.)

Since we can't afford to replace the guy who just quit, our department doesn't have enough bandwidth to take on new projects right now. 

Joe's so overworked, he doesn't even have the bandwidth to train his new assistant.

#work #time #ability #capacity #workload
by amphora October 25, 2006

My daughter (age 31) just used it in referring to a friend who, given her 12-hour shifts at her new nursing job, "doesn't have the bandwidth" for various other things.  Not being 31 (and not having a boyfriend at Google), I'd never encountered metaphorical bandwidth before.  I haven't checked "Among The New Words", which probably has a relevant decade-old entry.  

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

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