About This Site

Figaro rips the innards out of things people say and reveals the rhetorical tricks and pratfalls. For terms and definitions, click here.
(What are figures of speech?)
Ask Figaro a question!

This form does not yet contain any fields.

    « Bush Gets All Medieval on Their Donkey | Main | We Will Not Discuss Flatulence »

    Congress Ex-Foleyates

    foley_walks-the-plank.jpgQuote:  “Foley, meanwhile, appeared to be trying to McGreevey himself out of his predicament.”  Today’s Papers column in Slate.

    Figure of Speechanthimeria (an-thih-MER-ia), the verbing figure.  From the Greek, meaning “part swap.”

    Forget North Korea’s nukes, Iraq’s chaos, and the Dow’s record high.  The media devotes its biggest coverage to instant messaging — that is, the disgusting and possibly illegal IM’s that Congressman Mark Foley sent to teenaged Congressional pages.

    Following standard operating procedure for a politician caught in a sex scandal, Foley went into rehab for alcoholism and “behavioral problems,” and announced that he was himself a victim.  (He said through his lawyer that a clergyman abused him when he was a teenager.)  The confessional M.O. follows that of New Jersey Governor James McGreevey, who resigned after admitting to a gay affair with the state’s director of homeland security.

    The Washington press can’t resist an eponym — a word named after a person.  When the name gets verbed, the result is an anthimeria, a figure that converts a noun to a verb or vice versa.  Figaro has already verbed a member of Congress — a man who never met a lobbyist he didn’t like and who hopes the Foley scandal will make him Speaker of the House.

    Shakespeare used the anthimeria to form “bet,” “drugged,” “negotiate,” “puking,” “secure,” “torture,” and “undress,” among many others.  You’d think he was describing a member of Congress.

    Snappy Answer:  He’s not done McGreeveying until he gets a book deal.

    PrintView Printer Friendly Version

    EmailEmail Article to Friend

    Reader Comments (2)

    Thanks for yet another thought provoking and interesting post!

    I'm not sure I understand what you mean by "Shakespeare used the anthimeria to form “bet,” “drugged,” “negotiate,” “puking,” “secure,” “torture,” and “undress,” among many others."

    Are you saying that these words were originally nouns and Shakespeare's usage of them as verbs turned them into actual verbs? (If so, can you give a few examples of this in context)
    October 5, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTimothy Fitz
    They were originally nouns, adjectives and other parts of speech. For context, just search within a Shakespeare concordance.

    October 12, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDocL

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.