Fossilized Words

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Fossilized Words

Post by trolley » Fri Jun 14, 2013 6:19 pm

http://theweek.com/article/index/245640 ... -in-idioms

I guess I've never seen them written before. I was sure it was "just desserts" and "slight of hand".
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Re: Fossilized Words

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:21 am

.. very interesting trolley .. it is topical for me because I was musing over the expression rue the day trying to come up with any other time that rue, in this sense, was used in general conversation .. couldn't think of one .. maybe it is another fossil ..

WoZ feeling Palaeolithic
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Signature: "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."

Re: Fossilized Words

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Sat Jun 15, 2013 8:53 am

An exhumation to re-examine the evidence:

rue1 (ru)

v. rued, ru•ing,
n. v.t.
1. to feel sorrow over; repent of; regret bitterly: to rue the loss of opportunities.
2. to wish that (something) had never been done or taken place: rued the day he was born.

(Webster's)

She looked up into his icy blue eyes and rued having played her little joke on him (Google) (sense 1b or c)

Fossil words can be found amongst tips located at:

http://www.dailywritingtips.com/35-fossil-words/

('Daily Writing Tips - Mark Nichol' - a nice selection)

(though I'm surprised WiZ didn't point to these bones).
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Re: Fossilized Words

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:37 am

.. Ed I am aware of the dictionary meaning of rue but my point is that it is a word that is rarely, if ever, heard outside the usage mentioned at 2. in the Webster's dictionary entry .. this confirms to the definition of a fossil word ..
However, note that the definition of the titular phrase, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is “A word or other linguistic form preserved only in isolated regions or in set phrases, idioms, or collocations.”
.. it was interesting to note that in the comments to Ed's referenced article the understanding of the definition was missed by almost everyone ..

WoZ dancez dans la rué

PS .. Ed not sure what though I'm surprised WiZ didn't point to these bones is about ??
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Re: Fossilized Words

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:14 am

Os .. pointing the bones .. fossil words .. nice article to point to

Regarding the fossil- or non-fossil-nature of rue, WiZ, there are Google returns for:

rued : 1 700 000

rued -"rued the day" : 490 000

though admittedly there seem to be a lot of proper nouns.

I seldom hear the word anyway, but I'd guess that set idiom : non set-idiom is about 50 : 50 in my experience. The usual alternative is rue + -ing form (I'd say participle).
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End of topic.
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