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Sat Oct 1 01:55:27 EDT 2016
Michael Quinion has an article on what he calls "unpaired words",
"unpaired negatives", and "unpaired opposites".
Bonnie Mills (at Mignon Fogarty's website) states that the "dis-"
prefix in "disgruntled" was originally an intensifier. Hence, the
comical back-formation of "gruntled" in "The New Yorker" is displacing
the previous denotation.
[Begin excerpt from "The New Yorker"]
It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very
chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.
Here is another example in 1972 of the jocular hinged-unhinged pair in
the domain of mentality.
[ref] 1972 December 6, Lansing State Journal, Nancy Stahl, Quote Page
D11, Column 3, Lansing, Michigan. (Newspapers.com)
If this ruse fails, begin skipping around her room chanting "On you
feet, Punkin. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there's a
big plate of blueberry pancakes downstairs with your name on it."
This will surely bring her to her feet, as she will be certain that
you have become completely unhinged, and she will not want to miss the
excitement of seeing the authorities take you away. At least she will
probably be dressed before she discovers that not only are you still
safely hinged, but there is a howling blizzard outside, the birds are
huddled against the eaves and whimpering, and the only breakfast she
will get is cold toast and lumpy oatmeal.
Below is a 2004 example of the unhinged-rehinged pair in the domain of
[ref] 2004 October 17, The Desert Sun, Unhinged mind grapples with new
normal in 'No Towers' by Dilshika Jayamaha (Associated Press), Quote
Page E6, Column 1, Palm Springs, California. (Newspapers.com)[/ref]
Just past the black-on-black silhouettes of the Twin Towers on the
cover of "In the Shadow of No Towers" (Pantheon, $19.95), author Art
Spiegelman begins: "I tend to be easily unhinged."
This large-format comic book-style exploration of Sept. 11 and its
aftermath is Spiegelman's effort to get "rehinged" and the reader's
chance for an unparalleled post-Sept. 11 journey.
Here is a 1913 example with unhinged, hinged, and rehinged applied to a gate.
[ref] 1913 January 17, The Liberty Vindicator, Worry, Quote Page 4,
Column 4, Liberty, Texas. (Newspapers.com)[/ref]
Your old friend was right. It does no good to worry. True it is also
that the unhinged front gate will not forever stay hinged when
rehinged. But there is danger in the philosophy of dolce far niente.
Folks who never worry any themselves are usually worried over a good
On Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 9:46 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> I like "false positive" too. Here's my favorite riff on them (formerly pressed into service for midterms in my Words class); not all of the positives below were lost, though some may have been fathomably misplaced due to foreseen circumstances.
> How I met my wife
> Jack Winter
> [published in the New Yorker, July 25, 1994]
> It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate. I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.
> I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I'd have to make bones about it since I was travelling cognito. Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn't be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.
> Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion. So I decided not to risk it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads and tails of.
> I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen. Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated—as if this were something I was great shakes at—and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings.
> Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d'oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself.
> She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savory character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. "What a perfect nomer," I said, advertently. The conversation became more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.
>> On Sep 30, 2016, at 3:32 PM, Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
>> I like "false positive," but the term I've most often seen is "lost
>> positive." This was apparently coined back in the 1950s by one David
>> McCord, founder of The Society for the Restoration of Lost Positives:
>> The term was further popularized by William and Mary Morris (it shows up in
>> their 1975 Harper Dictionary of Contemporary Usage).
>> Of course, "lost" implies that the positive once was found, but as Larry
>> can tell us, a lot of the positive forms are ex-post-facto back-formations.
>> On Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 2:45 PM, Geoffrey Nunberg <nunbergg at gmail.com>
>>> "This is not a hinged human being.” John Avlon on CNN, referring to…
>>> Like ‘gruntled,’ ‘kempt’ etc. What does one call these — just
>>> back-formations? I sort of like “false positives,” but I imagine that has
>>> already occurred to someone. Most things have.
>> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__www.americandialect.org&d=CwIFaQ&c=-dg2m7zWuuDZ0MUcV7Sdqw&r=wFp3X4Mu39hB2bf13gtz0ZpW1TsSxPIWYiZRsMFFaLQ&m=ONXwbLG-5aHOPdKNMXZuDmfHAdpjxfd21_KWpYqG8dk&s=CopK3x34Rz8HW3x0NB6dF_U32C7ymJsMjve2kNMs0AU&e=
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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