[Ads-l] The T-Word, or The Semiology of Naming the Unmentionable

Robin Hamilton robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM
Wed Oct 5 19:21:33 EDT 2016

Joel's recent post on "whipped out" reminds me that I've been brooding over the
variety of ways in which members of this list seem to deal with referring to He
Who ...

There seem to be at least (let me count them) four possible ways:

   1.  Standard Nomenclature -- where the name of [...] is used, coupled with a
bewilderment as to why others avoid it.

   2.  The Starred Version -- whereby we have D*n*ld Tr*mp.

   3.  The Omitted Version -- as in, D_n_ld Tr_mp.

   4.  The Nickname Version -- as in the Frog [which he, to my eye, resembles.
 With apologies to frogs].

(Have I missed anything?  If so, my apologies.)

         Two questions.

1.   Are we reluctant to name, lest the thing be called up? 

2.   Does the choice of term correlate in any way with a position on the
political spectrum?  Specifically, is it possible to infer from 2-4, exactly
where on the Left Spectrum the (non)utterer lies?

I should say that I have been here before, since even now, I refuse to refer to
a now-deceased former Prime Minister of Great Britain other than as the Hag of


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

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