Adheeding, part two

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Ray Nagin has some company. Late last week, as Mayor Nagin was warning of a potential mandatory evacuation of New Orleans ahead of Hurricane Gustav, he said: "I think most people will adheed [æd'hid] to that." (Audio and discussion here.) Tonight on MSNBC, Keith Olbermann interviewed Gary Miller, National Disaster Relief Operations Director for the American Red Cross, about the current situation with Gustav. Miller said:

And by people adheeding [əd'hidɪŋ] the warning and paying attention to the officials and leaving town and getting to safe areas, this makes all the difference in the world.

Whether you spell it adheed or adhede, there's no question that this is a genuine lexical item and not a momentary slipup. I gave various online examples in my original post, and in the comments Sam Henderson noted that Google News Archive includes an example of adhede from 1937 Louisiana case law:

"Whereupon the Court stated and now states that it will adhede (accede) to the request of counsel for the Plaintiff, and maintain the exception of no cause …" (Robinson v. Miller, 176 So. 646, Nov. 2, 1937)

The gloss in the text squares with the thinking of a couple of commenters, that adheed/adhede carries a whiff of accede, along with adhere and (pay/give) heed. It also raises the interesting possibility that this lexical item has been lingering in the Louisiana dialect region for many decades. (Ray Nagin was born in New Orleans in 1956.) But it doesn't appear to be peculiar to that region, as far as I can tell. Gary Miller, for his part, hails from Springfield Township in Hamilton County, Ohio, near Cincinnati. Adhe(e)ding has been going on under the lexicographical radar in many places, it seems.

[One syntactic note: unlike Nagin, Miller said "adheeding the warning" rather than "adheeding to the warning," which suggests that he patterns the verb after transitive heed rather than adhere, accede, or give/pay heed, which all take prepositional phrase complements with to.]


  1. Walte Underwood said,

    September 2, 2008 @ 12:33 am

    This properly belongs to "professional regional dialects", but I'm late and comments are closed, and this is pretty close.

    A friend of mine went to law school in Houston in the mid 80's and had a fun experience in one class. A professor reliably pronounced "indicted" as in-DICK-ted. When a student corrected him, the professor explained that the student could pronounce it however he wanted, but if he expected to win cases in east Texas, he might want to listen to how the judge pronounced it.

    References upon request.

  2. Polly Glot said,

    September 2, 2008 @ 3:41 am

    Do they say it the usual way in West Texas, or are there no courts and judges?

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