[Ads-l] rout = 'stunning victory'

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Sep 2 23:50:53 UTC 2017

Seems to me the OED _rout_ n.6 gives one meaning for sense 1 and the other for sense 2:

1. The action or an act of defeating an enemy force resoundingly, compelling it to retreat in disorder and haste.
[with cites from 1595]

2. Disorderly and hurried retreat of a defeated force.
[with cites from 1597]

Context (including if we’re lucky the complement—“X’s rout of Y” vs. “X’s rout by Z”) is all.

> On Sep 2, 2017, at 6:12 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> Right-thinking persons know that a "rout" is a defeat accompanied by
> headlong flight.
> Not so Bruce McCall in the July 31 _New Yorker_, p. 27.  The full context
> is necessary:
> "Canada's dangerously overblown reputation for fair play can be traced back
> to Flanders, 1914, after the Second Battle of Chumps. A [Canadian]
> scout...found the German battle plan while ransacking the pockets of an
> Oberleutnant's discarded greatcoat. Clearly mislaid and definitely the
> property of the German Army, the battle plan was returned to the enemy line
> by carrier pigeon, along with an explanatory note. The subsequent Third
> Battle of Chumps was a German rout, celebrated every November 12 in Canada
> as a smashing victory of fair play."
> JL
> -- 
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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