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Mushroom
Posted: 14 August 2012 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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I seem to recall that we had a thread on verbs whose meanings related to non-essential properties of the associated nouns, e.g. telescope and snowball. I can’t find that thread now.

Anyway, mushroom would be another example.

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Posted: 14 August 2012 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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The discussion you refer to (which I started) is on the old site here.

At the time, I suggested that true examples would ”probably ha[ve] to be restricted to [words or phrases based on] man-made things ... [because it’s] too difficult to decide what constitutes the essential quality or purpose of natural things (like onion skin or mouse), and what aspects of them are tangential.” However, you may have found an exception.  The verb “mushroom” is based on the ability of many kinds of mushrooms to spring up suddenly (essentially overnight), but this would not seem to be a necessary and essential quality of mushrooms.  Good call.

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