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HD: 1934 Words
Posted: 27 September 2011 04:51 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The things you learn doing this. Until this week, I had no idea that Anderson Cooper was Gloria Vanderbilt’s son.

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Posted: 27 September 2011 05:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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autobahn, n. A borrowing from the German, it literally means “car road.”
---

Has the word ever been used in English to refer to highways generally, rather than just the so-named Autobahns of Germany?

Surprised about raster, I would have guessed 1970s.

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Posted: 27 September 2011 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Has it ever been used so? Almost certainly yes. But it is almost always used to refer to German highways.

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Posted: 27 September 2011 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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s’more, n.2 The camping treat consisting of marshmallows and chocolate sandwiched by graham crackers has been called some more since at least 1927. By 1934, it was being clipped to s’more.

Diegogarcity: just two days ago I was reading a New Yorker cartoon from 2008 which talked about “s’more” and showed people toasting something on sticks, and I had no idea what it was about. Now all is clear - thanks, Dave!

(Toasting marshmallows - like graham crackers, indeed - was unknown to me growing up in the Britain of the 1950s. What we had was teacakes.

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Posted: 27 September 2011 07:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Re Gestapo. I haven’t seen this origin story before. Anyone know if it has any basis in fact:

Having compromised the uniformed divisions, Göring next turned his attention to the plain-clothes police. On April 26, 1933, a decree was issued creating the Secret Police Office (Geheime Polizei Amt) which quickly became known as the GPA. But this abbreviation was far too similar to the GPU abbreviation used by the Soviet Political Police in Russia. Thus, the name was changed to Secret State Police (Geheime Staats Polizei). The actual term ‘Gestapo’ was supposedly created by a Berlin postal official who wanted a name that would fit on a regulation-sized postal rubber stamp. Gestapo was derived from seven letters within the full name Geheime Staats Polizei. Unknowingly, the postal official had invented one of the most notorious names in history.

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Posted: 28 September 2011 07:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The original agit-prop was a Soviet department charged with agitacija propaganda or “agitation and propaganda.”

The Russian phrase is агитация и пропаганда, which could be transliterated agitacija i propaganda or (more informatively for English-speakers) agitatsiya i propaganda; at any rate, it’s three words, and you need to add the i (’and’) in between.

Führer, n. While today it has the same unpleasant connotations that it has in English

I don’t think this is true.  Just as Zyklon is the perfectly ordinary word for ‘cyclone’ despite its being associated in English-speaking minds with poison gas, Führer is the agent noun of führen ‘lead; carry; manage; drive; (etc.)’ and is an ordinary word for ‘leader, guide; guidebook; conductor, director, manager; chief; driver’ (see Wiktionary or any German dictionary).

one-off, adj. and n. ... The dictionary, however, marks the word as “chiefly Brit.”, which is certainly incorrect. It’s very common in North America.

I agree with the dictionary.  I never encountered the word until I was an adult, and it was very clearly U.K. usage; it’s crept into U.S. usage along with “go missing” and other currently fashionable terms (cf., for instance, this Independent piece from a few years back).  Do other U.S. folks here feel it to be in common enough usage here that it has a native feel?

uptight, adj. The slang adjective appears in James M. Cain’s 1934 novel The Postman Always Rings Twice.

Ah, but in what sense?  It’s gone from meaning ‘familiar’ to ‘great’ to ‘tense’ (to whatever people use it to mean now, if they still use it).

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Posted: 28 September 2011 12:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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what a year! I wonder if anything good happened, apart from in the movies and in the comics?
The words, as usual, are full of interest.
raster
The term “raster” was borrowed by the electronics industry from the printing industry, where it has been in use for more than a century. In printing, it represents the number of dots per unit length in a printed reproduction of a photograph, or other picture. I don’t know whether the term is in use in the English-speaking printing industry, with which I have had little or no contact. In my country, and in at least some European countries, the expression has been in use among printers since the 19th century. I would be grateful to see the origin of some of the early English citations for the word “raster”. Are they all from the electronics industry, as I tend to suspect?

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Posted: 28 September 2011 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Do other U.S. folks here feel it [one-off] to be in common enough usage here that it has a native feel?

A certain geek in this forum from the olden days used to use this word-phrase all the time.

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Posted: 28 September 2011 01:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Americans of a certain age (like me) may still think of “one-off” as non-native.  But when you read a quote from 30-something Hollywood celebrity Nick Lachey that describes his wedding on live TV as “...a one-off special...” you have to conclude it’s gone native without your knowledge or permission.

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Posted: 28 September 2011 02:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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The early cites for raster in the OED are all related to electronics; although you’re correct about the origin in printing, Lionello, the word was apparently never used in English in that context.

The 1934 quotation for anyplace is from Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, 2nd ed.  It’s therefore safe to assume that it had substantial earlier use.


edited typo

[ Edited: 29 September 2011 07:17 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 28 September 2011 03:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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But when you read a quote from 30-something Hollywood celebrity Nick Lachey that describes his wedding on live TV as “...a one-off special...” you have to conclude it’s gone native without your knowledge or permission.

Yes, it’s very common these days; I’ve even caught myself using it.  But it’s clearly of U.K. origin.

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Posted: 28 September 2011 03:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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This newest HD ‘word-of-the-year’ installment presents another good selection of words with historical perspective and significance.  The selection is broad and of general interest as well as of particular interest to me. 

For example, I noticed that I had assumed that “Calypso” as the name for the genre of music was neatly derived from the name of the nymph ‘Calypso’ who appears in Greek myth.  Looking further, I see that this is not so neat as I had so easily assumed. 

.

books?id=V8U9AAAAYAAJ&pg=PT260&img=1&zoom=3&hl=en&sig=ACfU3U38bNoD9QKRzfeNi1a6jNH_Q79E5Q&ci=54,685,418,165&edge=0

--Dictionary of the English language, in miniature: To which are added an ... by Samuel Johnson, 1806

.

I suppose a case could be made for this association--and maybe someone has made it and I saw it and pointed myself toward the neat idea--but once again, I fell into an ”etymological fallacy.” This one seems to be of the ”false friend” variety, to boot. 

Wikipedia offers an entirely different view than the one I had assumed. 

As does etymonline.

I enjoy these ‘word-of-the-year’ installments and look forward to them. 

.

Now, however, I must take some time to listen to Calypso.

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Posted: 28 September 2011 05:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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But it’s clearly of U.K. origin.

I don’t think anyone is disputing the origin, only that it is “chiefly British.”

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Posted: 29 September 2011 06:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I would be willing to bet it’s still far more common in the U.K.  Do you really think if you took a leisurely trip between the coasts, you would hear many people, or anybody at all, calling something a “one-off”?

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Posted: 29 September 2011 06:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I can’t speak to relative frequency, but I was not even aware that some didn’t consider it an inherent part of the American vocabulary; I’m that used to hearing it. Maybe it has been fully adopted into the circles I’m used to moving. It’s incredibly common in marketing and software develop to speak of a “one off” job or task.

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Posted: 29 September 2011 07:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Ben Zimmer on “one-off”.

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