[Ads-l] Awful verb of the day

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sun Oct 10 02:14:46 UTC 2021

[Just found this in my Drafts folder. Not sure why it didn’t make it out of there.]

> On Sep 25, 2021, at 1:11 PM, Marc Sacks <msacksg at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
> This popped up on my Firefox home page:
> How to Person in Public I guess personing is like adulting, just more
> generic.
> -Marc Sacks
> ——————————————————————————————

On the other end of the scale, I very much enjoyed this “person” (noun) and its internal rhyme with “worse’n” (no, not “worsen”) that I just noticed while listening to my Billie Holiday recordings.

[It’s in the third of these verses; the earlier two are included for context and more evidence for they-don’t-write-‘em-like-they-used-to]

I'm like an oven that's cryin' for heat
He treats me awful each time that we meet
It's just unlawful how that boy can cheat
I must have that man

He's hot as Hades, a lady's
Not safe in his arms when she's kissed
But I'm afraid that he's cooled off
And maybe I'm ruled off his list, I'll never be missed

I need that person much worse'n just bad
I'm half alive and it's drivin' me mad
He's only human, if he's to be had
I must have that man

--“I Must Have That Man”, by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields


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

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