BL: fond
Posted: 08 September 2013 04:30 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Fondness can lead to fondling, which can be fun.

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Posted: 08 September 2013 06:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Liberman says that fonned ”may never have existed,” but I’m not sure what he’s on about.

Liberman knows a hell of a lot about etymology, but he thinks he knows everything, which he doesn’t, and his linguistic views in general are retrograde, so I don’t find him as enjoyable as I should find a knowledgeable etymologist.

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Posted: 08 September 2013 08:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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This one surprised me. It seems to be a rather stunning error. (The MED even includes fonned as a headword; even the most cursory search shows ample evidence of the form’s existence.) I can only guess that he is referring to some subtlety that he does not explicate. Or maybe he just blew it here.

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Posted: 08 September 2013 10:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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In this late 16th century song by Thomas Morley, the sense “foolish” is pretty evident:

O sleep, fond fancy
My head, alas, thou tirest
with false delight of that which thou desirest.
Sleep, I say, fond fancy,
and leave my thoughts molesting.
Thy master’s head hath need of sleep and resting.

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Posted: 08 September 2013 11:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I had always taken for granted that when Shakespeare made King Lear say he was ‘a very foolish fond old man’ he was using the word as a reinforcing synonym for ‘foolish’; it doesn’t mean Lear has an affectionate nature!

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Posted: 09 September 2013 12:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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The sense of foolishness is preserved in the phrase “I fondly imagined...”.

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Posted: 09 September 2013 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Excellent observation, Dr. F!

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Posted: 09 September 2013 04:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I’d always interpreted that one as “happily imagined.” Now all sorts of things in my life are askew.

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Posted: 09 September 2013 04:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Are folly and happiness really so different…

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Posted: 09 September 2013 07:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Fond isn’t the only word whose history suggests an association between affection and foolishness.  Dote in modern usage is almost exclusively used (in the phrasal verb dote on) to mean to love (possibly excessively), but its original meaning was to be foolish, deranged, or senile, a sense that lives on in dotage and dotard.

And of course, infatuate and its related words come from Latin fatuus, fool.

I’ve read that in the Middle Ages, at least, romantic love was viewed as a form of insanity, so there may well be other examples.

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Posted: 09 September 2013 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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There’s nice, which started out as foolish, and when through phases where it meant lascivious, extravagant, fastidious, and lots of others.

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Posted: 09 September 2013 11:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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What an instructive thread this is turning out to be!  Thanks for throwing in “nice”, Dave.  This word seems to have gone through more transformations than most: all the way to Ollie’s “A nice mess you’ve got me into!” I like the sense of “nice” as “exact, precise”—“It’s nicely calculated”, “a very nice fit” (this could, of course, alternatively be a comment made by Comrade Stalin to his pals, on Lenin’s final seizure ;-). Has anyone any information as to when this sense came into use?

“Nice” segued for me into “neat”, which also has several senses, from “gleaming” (cf. Spanish nítido) to “a cow or other bovine animal” (AHD online, described as “archaic").

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Posted: 10 September 2013 02:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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When the Peeververein starts waxing wroth about some word changing meanings on them without having asked their permission, I like to respond, “That’s nice.”

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