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#184644 - 05/04/09 01:53 PM positive missing ?
margot Offline
stranger

Registered: 09/12/05
Posts: 3
Loc: new york city
This week's theme brought to mind a list some British friends kept of words which implied a counterpart, but where the original was not generally in use.

I believe it started with gormless - what is a "gorm"?

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#184645 - 05/04/09 02:03 PM Re: positive missing ? [Re: margot]
zmjezhd Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/13/05
Posts: 3290
Loc: R'lyeh
From the Middle English gome 'notice' < from Old Norse gaumr 'heed, attention' (link, link, & link).
_________________________
Ceci n'est pas un seing.

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#184646 - 05/04/09 02:54 PM Re: positive missing ? [Re: zmjezhd]
margot Offline
stranger

Registered: 09/12/05
Posts: 3
Loc: new york city
Okay. I wonder can we start it back up: "Johnny was gormy when the blond walked by."?

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#184647 - 05/04/09 03:14 PM Re: positive missing ? [Re: margot]
BranShea Offline
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Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
Hello brave Margot. Is there much else in this than taking a word ending with -less and then taking the the first part of it adding a -y ? I just try to think... I mean, are there more possibilities than just adding or dropping suffixes?

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#184649 - 05/04/09 04:25 PM Re: positive missing ? [Re: BranShea]
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10521
Loc: this too shall pass
as shown by the following, that's the easy route:

I know a little man both ept and ert.
An intro-? extro-? No, he's just a vert.
Sheveled and couth and kempt, pecunious, ane,
His image trudes upon the ceptive brain.

When life turns sipid and the mind is traught,
The spirit soars as I would sist it ought.
Chalantly then, like any gainly goof,
My digent self is sertive, choate, loof.


Gloss, by David McCord
The Oxford Book of American Light Verse


[where would you begin, in any wise‽]


Edited by tsuwm (05/04/09 04:33 PM)

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#184650 - 05/04/09 04:43 PM Re: positive missing ? [Re: tsuwm]
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10521
Loc: this too shall pass
I (very) recently did a theme week on lost positives (or not); since it's not inapt, I'll post some here.

the worthless word for the day is: sheveled

[by shortening] (also shevelled)
rare, archaic disheveled

"He bowed his tall white head into my shevelled hair."
- Richard Blackmore, Erema (1877)

"After the prisoner was delivered to Lexington the
next day in sheveled and humbled state, the posse was
dismissed..."
- Reese Prescott; The Rockbridge County Gazette, June 28, 1904

(but)
"She was a descript person, a woman in a state of
total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled,
and she moved in a gainly way."
- Jack Winter; The New Yorker, 25 July 1994

"Is sheveled the opposite of disheveled? Recreational
linguists call these words lost positives."
- Charles Elster, What in the Word? (2005)
___

you never know how a prefix is going to affect things;
some expect that sheveled existed as a positive form
(as happened with couth and kempt), but in this case
the word was formed (as per OED) by aphesis. link


Edited by tsuwm (05/04/09 04:50 PM)

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#184651 - 05/04/09 04:57 PM Re: positive missing ? [Re: tsuwm]
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10521
Loc: this too shall pass
fwiw, here's a link to the previously cited New Yorker article: link

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#184652 - 05/05/09 01:36 AM Re: positive missing ? [Re: tsuwm]
shelleyp Offline
stranger

Registered: 05/04/09
Posts: 1
I remember the delight when I first encountered this device in Samuel Beckett's *Watt* where the attempt to 'eff the ineffable' seemed to be integral to Beckett's work, while at the very same moment he despaired of being able to communicate anything effectively. To eff or not?
I always wondered if there was also a reference to the 'F-word' here... Does anyone know when that became common usage?


Edited by shelleyp (05/05/09 01:36 AM)

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#184664 - 05/05/09 12:44 PM Re: positive missing ? [Re: shelleyp]
Zed Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/27/02
Posts: 2154
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
So what was the pre-aphesized version of sheveled?

Hi Shelley, I don't know when it became common but it's too common now for my ear.

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#184668 - 05/05/09 02:55 PM Re: positive missing ? [Re: tsuwm]
BranShea Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 5282
Loc: Netherlands, the Hague
Apt, but sham, tsuwm. There is no such word in the Wwftd-list. No sheveled and no disheveled and I can't find it anywhere. The OneLook collection gives nothing on it. Only shoveled and that one I know. ( but funny articles and verse, these.. )

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