[Ads-l] A newish construction and a newish euphemism

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 5 05:11:32 UTC 2019

Here is an instance of "bribing his son's way into" in 1986.

Year: 1986
Book: Style and Structure in the Prose of Isaak Babel
Author: Efraim Sicher
Database: Google Books

[Begin excerpt]
The window which the peasant is smashing belongs to Efrussi, whom the
child-narrator's father had wanted to beat up for bribing his son's
way into the coveted place at the gimnaziya.
[End excerpt]


On Thu, Apr 4, 2019 at 6:21 PM Chris Waigl <chris at lascribe.net> wrote:
> This is all quite fascinating. It seems to me that the verb matters. For
> example, _bribe_ seems to be relatively less controversial. I find a lot of
> sentences like these:
>    - Trump's father bribed his son's way into a prestigious university.
>    - Randolph's in the Senate only because Dear Old Dad bought him the
>    seat, or rather bribed his son's way into it.
>    - I can't prove this, but my wealthy uncle bribed his son's way into
>     Wharton.
>    - Though she was never great at acting nor very receptive to her
>    instructors' lessons, her father still bribed his daughter's way into
>    various acting parts
> But I can't see anything pre-2019 for "cheated [his|her]
> [son's|daughter's|kid's way into". And it feels wronger to me. At the other
> end you have _pave_, which of course is perfectly fine. So it's something
> about the semantic relationship between the verb and the argument "X's way
> into [desirable situation]". And these verbs are quite different in this
> respect. You just cheat (you may cheat someone, but that would be an odd
> way of referring to an exam); you bribe someone, and that someone has
> access to your path/way to your goal; and you can definitely pave a way -
> the whole thing is a metaphor.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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