Why aren't these expressions?

I had a kind friend send a good message this week, hoping my headache was long gone. It was gone, but it hadn't been gone long -- so it was a doubly kind message, sending me this post idea as well as good wishes.

Why couldn't I just say "Thank you, it's short gone"? Why isn't short gone" an expression the way "long gone" is? I think it should have been coined around the same time, the way "hardback book" became an expression when people started talking about "paperback books."

("But I need a break and I want to be a hardback writer!" -- no, Lennon and McCartney wouldn't have worked that out.)

That's gotten me thinking about some other expressions we could use, but don't:

Short-time friend, contrast to long-time friend.

(Onetime, as in "It was once, not now" versus one-time, as in "it happened only once,' deserves its own post. Onward.)

Third-hand books (or other goods), when you have evidence that you're not just the second owner.

Shiny weather -- not that we have much in Chicago this summer, but we talk about what we have as stormy weather. Why not call the other kind shiny weather? I'm not consistently convinced it's "gorgeous" and all the other things people call it, especially over 85 degrees Fahrenheit. So I think I'll try out "shiny weather" when we get some.

Until then, happy expression-hunting!

Margaret Serious has a page on Facebook.


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  • Short gone: About the same as "I found it in the last place I looked," which you said was an irrelevancy.

    "Third hand:" Once it is "preowned," it's preowned. You don't really want to know how many times it was returned to the Salvation Army. If you are referring to antiques, it is relevant only if the seller has to establish provenance.

    "Shiny weather:" We do have sunny weather,fair weather, warm weather, partly cloudy and partly sunny.Shiny seems about as necessary as a 51st Inuit word for snow.

  • OK, Jack, thanks for the rebuttals. I don't agree on the comparison in your first paragraph; I don't think of short gone as irrelevant, but as a needed contrast to long gone.

    Preowned, on the other hand, sounds like Orwell's Newspeak to me. I'm looking for a way to show how many people have used things.

    The Inuits do need 51 words for snow, last I looked, so I'll hang onto shiny weather as an expression -- by myself, if needed.

  • In reply to MargaretSerious:

    1. The analogy is that if it was short gone it was not lost or gone, unless it was a short sojourn, in which case it isn't relevant. For instance, I will next be short gone to the bathroom, but unless I don't emerge, that isn't horribly significant.

    2. I'll give a real example: My mother said that her great granddaughter-in-law (I dion't know if that's an expression) said that she deals with a place that resells baby clothes, because babies grow so quickly. While she would not do a gender reveal of her first fetus, she did for the second, because she had to know whether she had to trade the boys' clothes for girls'. Turned out she didn't, but are the clothes less used because they were used by both babies M and J, than if mommy returned them to the store to be reconsigned?

    3. My intent in saying 51 was one more than they had, but if not, substitute the correct X+1.

  • OK, Jack. The clothes are not less used by two babies, of course.
    Also, I follow you about 51 -- I can only imagine they're having to come up with new words these days, too.

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