September 28, 2004

Giving the Army a the hand

In today's Today's Papers at Slate, Eric Umansky writes that "USA Today leads with word that one-third of the 1,600 former soldiers who've been ordered back into service are giving the Army the hand and haven't shown up."

I guess this is a blend of the idiom "give the finger to <someone>" and the catch phrase of a few years ago "talk to the hand", with its associated gesture. There's a stark contrast between giving someone a hand and giving them the hand: not your standard semantics of definiteness.

Posted by Mark Liberman at September 28, 2004 09:19 AM