[Ads-l] A new idiom: "get hyperthyroid about" = 'get hyper-excited about', 'get hyped up about'

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jun 26 20:06:34 UTC 2020

Virginia Euwer Wolff wrote:
> Ah, but “hyperthyroid” was making limited rounds in the 1980s,
> possibly earlier. I remember reading a literary critic who used the
> term “hyperthyroid prose” in a particularly stinging book review.
> I can’t recall the critic, the book, or the date. But I remember it the
>  way we remember a vaccination. I wasn’t entirely surprised to hear
>  John Bolton use it last evening.

Virginia Euwer Wolff mentioned the interesting phrase "hyperthyroid
prose". The lexicographer and syndicated columnist William Morris used
that phrase when describing advertising copy in 1957.

The passage below also included the phrase "balling the jack" which
meant traveling at top speed (railroad engineer jargon) according to

Date: September 9, 1957
Newspaper: St. Joseph News-Press
Newspaper Location: St. Joseph, Missouri
Article: Words, Wit and Wisdom
Author: William Morris
Quote Page 14, Column 3
Database: Newspapers.com

[Begin excerpt]
"Early this week, a group of big automotive earners cleared the yards
of six giant U. S. plants and rolled out into the night. Balling the
jack. Because their steel racks held something they had never held
before. They were loaded with a new kind of car." So, in a recent
magazine advertisement, runs the hyperthyroid prose of a frustrated
Sandburg chained to an ad agency desk.
[End excerpt]

Garson O'Toole

> On Jun 25, 2020, at 8:35 PM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU> wrote:
> John Bolton, interviewed tonight by Judy Woodruff on The PBS NewsHour, who asks him what lengths President Trump might go to in order to make sure he’s re-elected, given that he’s currently trailing in polls by double digits:
> “Look, first off, I don’t believe these polls…Famously, in 2016, let’s just say it again so everyone remembers it, Hillary Clinton was substantially ahead, and she lost, because we don’t have a popular vote system, we have an electoral college. So before anyone gets hyperthyroid about what Trump may or may not do, just remember, I think this election is still a coin toss.”
> Yup, hyperthyroid.  And if you’re wondering, Google informs us that the number of hits for the string “get hyperthyroid about” is “about zero”, which it illustrates.  Act quickly, though—this may change.
> LH
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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

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