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Today's Get Fuzzy illustrates the perils of morphological decomposition:


  1. Sarang said,

    February 7, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

    My favorite minimal pair along these lines is "manslaughter" / "man's laughter"

  2. Ryan Denzer-King said,

    February 7, 2010 @ 1:25 pm

    And in fact: http://www.tshirthell.com/funny-shirts/you-cant-have-manslaughter-without-laughter/

  3. Spectre-7 said,

    February 7, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

    Reminds me a little of an old Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey:

    Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself: "Mankind". Basically, it's made up of two separate words- "mank" and "ind". What do these words mean ? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind.

  4. Jason F. Siegel said,

    February 7, 2010 @ 1:34 pm

    I think this is a fun example for classes on compounding, along with Jack Handy's famous “to understand mankind one must first understand the two words that make it up: ‘mank’ and ‘ind’. These two words are a mystery and that's why so is mankind.”

  5. Spectre-7 said,

    February 7, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

    Great minds, Jason. ;)

  6. David Eddyshaw said,

    February 7, 2010 @ 1:40 pm

    From which it surely follows that "mankind" derives from "mind" with the infix "-ank-".

  7. Benjamin Zimmer said,

    February 7, 2010 @ 2:21 pm

    In an ADS-L discussion about epithets used by global warming skeptics/deniers to label their adversaries (e.g. [global] warmist), Garson O'Toole mentioned "warm monger, warm-monger or warmmonger."

  8. Ellen K. said,

    February 7, 2010 @ 3:26 pm

    Seems to me manslaughter / man's laughter isn't the same thing because they don't sound alike.

  9. Tom O'Brien said,

    February 7, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

    Of course, with global war-ming, it's important to understand the Al-Gore-ithms, lest we end up with Al-Gore-Rhythm-and-Blues.

  10. Colin John said,

    February 8, 2010 @ 9:47 am

    @ David Eddyshaw
    And, given that the ankh is the symbol of life, the true meaning of mankind is the life of the mind.

  11. Rick S said,

    February 8, 2010 @ 11:43 am

    Who's up for a game of Global Thermonuclear Warming?

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