August 12, 2014

"Cladly dressed."

A strange new phrase has appeared on the language landscape, and it's funny because it's so clearly wrong and it's so easy to understand where it came from and what it means. As Language Log says: "Presumably it's a garbled memory of 'scantily clad,' a phrase that involves two rare words often encountered together."

"Scantily clad" is one of the first language issues I addressed on this blog, back in March 2004. This was back in the days before posts had titles and before the word "listicle" existed, but the post is a listicle, and the 4th item is:
4. Kudos to Neil MacFarquhar for thinking of an adjective to precede "clad" other than "scantily." For decades, writers have searched their minds for an alternative and now, finally, a solution: "skimpily clad." (Read the article, too, to learn how "Abdel Hakim, a strapping young Saudi, kissed Kawthar, a raven-haired Tunisian beauty, and all hell broke loose." It's about reality TV in the Mideastern milieu.)
That was written before I read that Elmore Leonard denounced the phrase "all hell broke loose," or I would have mentioned it.

9 comments:

T J Sawyer said...

"Cladly dressed" makes my think of "painted on jeans," etc. As in a "copper clad" pan. Not scantily clad at all.

Anonymous said...

It's a bit like the way the proof left the eating and went to live in the pudding.

Sigivald said...

Never seen it.

I'm just still annoyed by seeing "tad bit" going around.

(It's "a bit" or "a tad".

There's no Goddamn "tad bit".)

John Lawton said...

"This was back in the days before posts had titles..."
Needs the tag "Primitive Althouse"

Roger Smith said...

Sky clad-nude

Rockport Conservative said...

Skimpily clad would have been my first thought rather than scantily clad. It could be my age, or the way my mother would have said it. She would have just said that is too skimpy and left out the clad. As in "that dress is too skimpy," or "her dress was too skimpy."
Scantily clad is an awkward way of saying it, in my opinion.

jr565 said...

"The Lady of the Lake, her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water, signifying by diving providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur".

jr565 said...

lightly clad, heavily clad. busily clad, plainly clad.
Who came up with cladly dressed? How about cladly clad? Or dressedly dressed.

Paul Kirchner said...

Speaking of scantily clad, why do people always say someone is "running around naked"? If someone is naked in public, "running around" seems to be the standard description, rather than walking around, standing around, or lying around, even if those others are more likely. I just heard this in an NPR report on the Burning Man festival, where lots of people are supposedly "running around naked." But don't they usually walk or ride bikes at Burning Man?