Damn it, man, I’m a doctor, not a linguist!

June 30, 2009

damn it man

Word of the day: Snowclone
I learned this new vocabulary word a few weeks ago and then forgot it when I was trying to explain it to a friend recently so I’m using the multiple ways of learning theory (typing up an explanation in my own words for you all) to cement it in my brain. Thusly: A Snowclone is a word or phrase that is absorbed into pop culture and can be adapted to fit many varying situations while still retaining its recognizable structure.
For example:
Pink is the new black.
or, further modified:
Orange is the new pink.
Other examples include:
Have _______will travel.
Something is rotten in the state of _________.
The mother of all _________.

The best one I’ve seen is from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy:

to boldly split infinitives that no man had split before

And, of course, there are endless variants of Dr. McCoy’s “I’m a doctor not a …” line, many perpetuated by himself and the rest of the Star Trek crew. (Incidentally a snowclone is a variant on a catch phrase which can also be spelled catchphrase and, according to wikipedia, is the only word in the English language with more than five consecutive consonants. )

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