An Irish woman's social, political and domestic commentary
Thursday, April 15, 2004  

The World Today

As Iraq worsens, Bush endorses a 'plan' which flies in the face of hundreds of UN resolutions regarding Israel's settlements on the West Bank and the Palestinian right of return. Amazing how he manages to take decisions which will result in thousands of deaths and people still consider voting for this lunatic. Meanwhile I consulted Delia on how to poach an egg. It was lovely. On other fronts Hugh and his OED has an update on meet with and I am confused about how much food to give my now weaned child. Outrage-fatigue has set in and I am tempted to immerse myself in the daily minutae of domestic life where I am God. I must resist.

Here's Hugh's take on meet with:

The usage "meet up with" is clearly American in origin, and was originally seen by Americans as being a "provincialism", as it's first recorded use in print was in 1837, in Sherwood's 'Gazetteer Georgia'. In English usage this side of the Atlantic, "meet with" has been around for a very long time, since at least 1275, but only in the sense of coming across someone or something, crossing paths, etc., rather than in the sense of meeting somebody by design. Incidentally,
it has also been used occasionally as a euphemism for sexual intercourse!

The simple use of "meet" is the primary usage (first recorded in 1205). The use of "meet with" you dislike WAS also used to indicate meeting a person by design in the early modern period, but is now noted as obsolete by the OED. I suppose that it may well have transferred to American with the original colonists, and survived (possibly in conjunction with the
"meet up with" noted above) as so many other artefacts of language have done.

Whatever happened, it has clearly filtered across the Atlantic through the usual means, and so the Americans have managed to shorten their speech patterns through lengthening ours!

posted by Sarah | 10:58 0 comments
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