Clearing the Fog
in the
War of Words


  logomachy--1. A dispute about words. 2. A dispute carried on in words only; a battle of words.
logomachon--1. One who argues about words. 2. A word warrior.



I dibs that usage

Elizabeth came home from college for Thanksgiving using "shotgun" as a transitive verb: "I shotgun the last piece of cake". I'd like to shotgun that usage. “Dibs” was good enough for us in our day; kids got no respect.

She and her friends do use "shotgun" in the standard slang way as a noun for the front passenger seat and as an--I don't know what, exclaimation?--to claim the seat: "SHOTGUN!". She and some others try to flout the unwritten rules that that one cannot call shotgun out of sight of the car or the day before the proposed trip, but the majority won’t let them. At least all is not chaos, revolution, and wild-fire individualism among the young.

I mentioned the generalized shotgun=claim usage to other adults (30+), They immediately got the usage but said they hadn't heard it before.

Elizabeth was also saying "I nose" to dibs something. This is her own variant, which she admits is non-standard. The standard is to use "nose" as a shunning spell, the inverse of "dibs".

She works in the dining hall at a retirement home (DRO for those with military experience). When someone points out a chore that needs to be done, he says "I nose that" to get out of doing it. After that, the last person to put his finger beside his nose must do the chore. I guess it came from playful use of "no" as a verb to mean "refuse/decline/exempt myself".

Is this usage wider than the staff of the retirement home?



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