May 17, 2008

All the slang that's fit to make the hell up

Last night I saw that someone had left their copy of the New York Post on the train. The headline on the front page read:

Trooper big facing grill kills himself

And I thought, well that allllllmost makes sense. Except for the word "big". What part of speech is that? An adverb? Like, "Trooper totally facing inquiry commits suicide", but "big" instead of "totally"? We seem to have determined that it is a noun in Post-speak. The headline of the actual article reads:

TROOPER SUICIDE Ex-big was due on grill

And the article reveals that the trooper was "a former top State Police official", so, a big shot, so, a "big", I guess. The Post really is amazing in its willingness to completely make up new usages for words and just act like they're normal.

Posted by Francis at 10:54 AM

Really, you've never seen this before and it seems strange to you? "big," like a shortening of "bigwig," "big shot," or "big name?" Also, usage 3 of big in 11C:

Main Entry:

: an individual or organization of outstanding importance or power; especially : major league —usually used in plural

Posted by: Ken/Cazique at May 17, 2008 08:00 PM

Now that you mention it, I have seen "the bigs" used to mean the major leagues. But used to mean "bigwig"? No. I guess I should have checked Merriam-Webster, but Random House and American Heritage list no noun usage at all.

Posted by: Francis at May 17, 2008 08:06 PM

Oh my god! Lovinsky knows you! Um, that guy you met at the walking tour today with Beth is like, one of my best friends, and he just came over and went GUESS WHO I KNOW! and i was all *celebrity squee* so... now i'm playing the Presbyterian song, and he is telling me about the shirt and tie you wore today. Man, that is so cool.

Posted by: alix at May 17, 2008 09:12 PM

Thank you for helping feed my delusion that I'm a celebrity, albeit one who is flummoxed by slang terms that friends of mine apparently think I should know.

Posted by: Francis at May 18, 2008 01:21 AM

I think what messes me up here is the usage of "grill" too. For some reason I kept thinking it was referring to the grille of a car, like the guy stood in front of a car ... bigly ... and got hit. I don't know. I've written headlines, and getting the right words to fit in the space is tough, but this is the Post. They don't really have that problem. They're just willfully weird sometimes.

Posted by: kostia at May 18, 2008 01:24 AM

It's their use of "slay" as a gerund that really gets me.

Posted by: Hypatia at May 18, 2008 09:04 AM

I still have no idea what the article is about.

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