July 12, 2005

Modified limited out hanging

Ed(itor) at the Blawg Review (motto: "Welcome to a world where inexperienced editors make articles about the wrong topics worse") emailed a link to this sentence in a law student's blog:

In miscellaneous other news, I just want to drop a shout out to the Dancer, out with whom I hung for an hour last night.

Ed's verdict: "an interesting blend of the casual, the colloquial and the formal".

A few others out there on the web have seen the same linguistic opportunity for hip irony:

tom thumb's blues - mr. dan boger, a cool guy from Des Moines, out with whom I hung at the Joliet show.

But it seems to me that there ought to be a way to get "modified limited" in there:

PRESIDENT: You think, you think we want to, want to go this route now? And the--let it hang out, so to speak?
DEAN: Well, it's, it isn't really that--
HALDEMAN: It's a limited hang out.
DEAN: It's a limited hang out.
EHRLICHMAN: It's a modified limited hang out.
PRESIDENT: Well, it's only the questions of the thing hanging out publicly or privately.

A witticism sometimes attributed to Winston Churchill uses hanging out in its literal sense. Given the scholarly debunking of the famous "up with which I will not put" rejoinder -- which is grammatically illogical and also not due to Churchill -- and the fact that the same witticism is sometimes attributed to Samuel Johnson, I suppose that this one may also be apocryphal; but I hope not.

Posted by Mark Liberman at July 12, 2005 10:01 AM