June 22, 2006


We at Language Log are charmed by the sound sample for the interjection ahem found alongside Answer.com's definition "Used to attract attention or to express doubt or warning." Can someone at Answers.com help me out? Is that the right intonation for attention, doubt or warning?

Answers.com (prudishly?) omits most sound samples for profanities. But they have a cute one for fucking, which they define only with "Used as an intensive." I'd prefer intensifier, at least if their sound sample was anything like this use of the word. It isn't. Still, it would make a great one-liner in a fruity off-Broadway bedroom farce:

Lady Eldridge: My! What are Archbishop Priestly and the Countess doing?
Ambassador Biggley: Fucking.

Posted by David Beaver at June 22, 2006 09:23 PM