Melancholy

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In today's Get Fuzzy, Bucky's exploration of English compound-noun semantics continues:

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15 Comments »

  1. Ray Girvan said,

    March 29, 2009 @ 9:59 am

    Reminds me of the Birmingham greengrocers' inspired name, Melon Cauli.

  2. Aaron Davies said,

    March 29, 2009 @ 11:26 am

    just out of curiosity, did you deliberately misuse the apostrophe since it's a greengrocer, or are you really considering them plural?

  3. Dan Lufkin said,

    March 29, 2009 @ 12:32 pm

    Comments are off in the Zippy posting above, so I'll have to announce here that Zippy will no longer appear in The Washington Post's paper edition, just on-line. Hell of a note! Gresham's Law at work again.

  4. sam said,

    March 29, 2009 @ 2:11 pm

    Why hasn't anyone referenced this yet?

  5. Stephen said,

    March 29, 2009 @ 2:23 pm

    Is it worth pointing out the allusion to melon farmers? Quick, call Zwicky!

  6. Ray Girvan said,

    March 29, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

    did you deliberately misuse the apostrophe

    To me "greengrocers" has always been singular (i.e. for the shop operated by a greengrocer). Maybe it's a regional thing: for example, see Greengrocers opened:

    A Borough Green couple are thwarting the credit crunch and supermarket culture by opening a greengrocers in the village's High Street.

  7. Ray Girvan said,

    March 29, 2009 @ 2:54 pm

    PS: Google News – "a greengrocers" – confirms abundantly. I'd never thought about it before.

  8. Robert said,

    March 29, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

    Melancholy is to do with the four humours, of course, referring to black bile, a body fluid that doesn't seem to exist.

  9. Paul said,

    March 29, 2009 @ 3:33 pm

    Life, as they say, is butter melon cauliflower.

  10. WindowlessMonad said,

    March 29, 2009 @ 5:13 pm

    When my daughter was one, we had any number of 2am renditions of 'Come to me, my melon colic baby…'

  11. Terry Hunt said,

    March 30, 2009 @ 12:54 am

    "Come to Me, My Melancholy Baby" is, of course, the punchline of a shaggy-dog story involving the escape of Dr Frankenstein's early experiment in gourd-dog hybridisation.

  12. Ray Girvan said,

    March 30, 2009 @ 8:31 am

    gourd-dog hybridisation

    Nasty. If that got into the gene pool it could cause widespread mutation, and we'd be melon-collie too.

  13. Bloix said,

    March 30, 2009 @ 7:34 pm

    In the US, we don't use the word greengrocer, so we don't have any greengrocers. We do, however, have dry cleaning establishments, which we call "cleaners," singular, as in:

    My recommendation for a cleaners? Abe's on Broadway. They are awesome, family-owned, and nice as can be.
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/uptown-fabricare-cleaners-portland

    And that's the only example I can think of.

  14. Joel said,

    April 2, 2009 @ 5:23 pm

    Stephen: Yippie-ki-yay, melon farmer.

  15. Merri said,

    April 10, 2009 @ 7:39 am

    Speaking of compounds of Greek origin, would you accept the claim that 'diplomatic' comes from Greek :
    diplous = folded, bent up, bowing, two-faced
    mataizo = to talk at random

    The translations of both components are right, but I think the word in fact comes from 'diplomata' = things folded (documents, in order to remain unseen).

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