Talk:axe murderer

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RFV discussion[edit]

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The following discussion has been moved from Wiktionary:Requests for verification.

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Rfv-sense: "agent noun of axe murder". I believe that it cannot be shown that the verb "axe murder" (if it is indeed a proper verb) predates "axe-murderer". That is, it is best considered as axe + murderer historically. See also WT:RFD#axe murderer. DCDuring TALK 18:15, 14 November 2010 (UTC)

"Axe murderer" and "axe-murderer" are attestable in the early 1920s. In my review of Google Books and News, I found no use of "axe murdered" or "axe murdering" before 1930 that was not a scanno or an instance of "axe" separated by punctuation from the form of "murder" or of "axe" being part of a prepositional phrase (most commonly "with an axe"). There is also once instance of a disagreement between the Google scan and the Chicago Tribune site which shows "are" for axe, but for which the image is not visible. Also there is an instance of an absolute construction (", X's axe murdering Y,"), which someone might be able to analyze differently. DCDuring TALK 18:37, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
I would have assumed that axe murder is a backformation (from axe murderer or axe murdering or axe murdered or two or all three of these), but I don't really see what the RFV is about. Are you suggesting that we shouldn't have this sense? I mean, the words kudo and pea come from the words kudos and peas (originally spelled pease), but we've no qualms labeling the latter two the plurals of the former two. —RuakhTALK 19:13, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
As it was not formed that way and it does not "feel" like an agent noun, I do not think the sense belongs there. To me it seems like a noun-noun compound. I don't know of any good empirical tests for the "feeling" aspect of this. To me this "feels" like murderer who uses an axe, rather than the sense given, which seems tortured. DCDuring TALK 19:59, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Hmm. I guess I don't know what an agent noun is supposed to "feel" like. My impression was that "agent noun" is very broad, and does include this, but isn't a very useful definition (because different agent nouns can have very different senses relative to their verbs — anyone who's ever committed murder is "a murderer", but not everyone who's ever written anything is "a writer", though they are "the writer of" something); but perhaps "agent noun" is actually much narrower, doesn't include this, and is a useful definition when it's correct? … what exactly do you take "agent noun" to mean? Can you give some examples of "verb-er" nouns that you do and do not consider to be agent nouns? —RuakhTALK 20:31, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't see how it is a reasonable to say that a modestly common compound noun is the agent noun of the uncommon compound verb back-formed from it. That is not reasonable interpretation of the synchronic morphology. It is a labored effort to support an RfD point. DCDuring TALK 23:20, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Speedy keep, this debate is on how to word the definition, not if it is valid or not. Mglovesfun (talk) 23:24, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
Re: "It is a labored effort to support an RfD point": Nonsense. That's a really offensive insinuation, and it has no basis in reality. The sense in question was never challenged, and I know that you've read the discussion that led to that wording. If you disagree with the wording, that's your right, but stick the facts, not to accusations that you know to be false. —RuakhTALK 01:52, 15 November 2010 (UTC)

Does anyone object to my striking this? —RuakhTALK 18:24, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

I agree with striking as kept. The sense to be verified reads in full "Agent noun of axe murder: one who axe murders; one who murders using an axe". The part "Agent noun of axe murder" has been added later[1] and can be removed from the sense. I do not know how widespread the sense really is, but even the nominator seems to admit the existence of the sense "one who murders using an axe" when he says '"Axe murderer" and "axe-murderer" are attestable in the early 1920s'. DCDuring does not really dispute the attestability of the sense but rather the validity of the first etymological part of the sense, one that IMHO does not belong to the sense anyway. --Dan Polansky 20:45, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

Stricken.RuakhTALK 21:43, 11 January 2011 (UTC)

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axe murderer[edit]

RFD-sense: "(figuratively) Any incredibly dangerous person."

From RFV:

"any incredibly dangerous person." I can imagine something like "he's not exactly an axe murderer", but is that not the literal sense really? Equinox 21:43, 13 May 2010 (UTC)

I'm glad you brought this up somewhere. Seems like there's some lexical value in this term, I wasn't so sure what to do with it --Rising Sun talk? contributions 11:57, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Any citations that show this sense only in a negative, as in Equinox's example don't constitute attestation evidence. We need examples expressed in positive form. A canonical-from sentence is best, if one can be found. DCDuring TALK 16:53, 14 May 2010 (UTC)
Funny how you wouldn't suggest that someone is a "knife murderer" or a "gun murderer". I think "axe murderer" refers not only to someone who uses an axe to kill (which is a particularly conspicuous and unwieldy weapon, suggesting a killer who uses it to have a rather insane disregard for the practical consequences of using one), but someone we just think is crazy enough to use an axe to kill. bd2412 T 17:28, 23 Mays 2010 (UTC)
Absent positive evidence of the sort suggested by DCDuring, it seems like this belongs in a usage note or qualifying phrase. This term clearly is used in a different way than other "X murderer" compounds, but the difference in usage doesn't seem to extend to a difference in sense: "not exactly an axe murderer" or "some kind of crazy axe murderer" doesn't really suggest a meaning other than sense 1. -- Visviva 18:38, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
Also, it's interesting that the difference BD2412 describes extends to the verb axe-murder. Where google books:"axe murdered" gets a plethora of relevant hits, google books:"knife murdered" seems to yield only chance collocations. Since the nonhyphenated verb is also attestable, we might reasonably question whether "axe murderer" is axe murder+-er rather than axe + murderer. -- Visviva 18:38, 23 May 2010 (UTC)
That would make it an agent noun. bd2412 T 01:48, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

As I'm sure y'all are aware, it's easy to find rather … generic? metaphorical? symbolic? uses of axe murderer; for example:

Notice that in the first of those, assuming Fred understands syllogisms, it seems that {crazy maniacs} ⊆ {axe murderers}.
No one has demonstrated that axe murderer is being used to mean "any incredibly dangerous person", plain and simple, without reference to the literal sense; but the sense is tagged {{figuratively}}, so it doesn't seem that anyone was claiming that it is.
I say keep, or move to RFD.
RuakhTALK 10:47, 13 September 2010 (UTC)

My vote is keep.

RuakhTALK 22:14, 9 November 2010 (UTC)

Once more, backasswardly, arguing the RfV: Only the first citation supports a figurative sense. The second is a simile involving the literal meaning. The third is hyperbolic, but literal, IMHO, judging from the context. DCDuring TALK 23:44, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
What on Earth can it mean for someone to look like a literal axe murderer? (What does a person look like who's used an axe to murder someone?) And what is the progression from killing cats and dogs to, specifically, literally killing people with an axe? As I said in my RFV comment, these are all "rather … generic? metaphorical? symbolic? uses". —RuakhTALK 23:59, 9 November 2010 (UTC)
  1. Simile: X is like Y, Y is Y. Not some kind of double simile: X is like Y(fig), Y{fig) is like Y.
  2. There are two progressions: from teddy-bear slaughter to pet slaughter and from pet slaughter to axe murder. The intentional humor in the DVD review arises in part from the specious, hyperbolic reasoning. It seems to me that humor is almost as bad as poetry when it comes to citations.
If all the numerous cases are like these latter two, I don't think that this phrase passes muster. If the uses are like cite 1, it would. "Axe murderer" is selected as a concrete, literal, dramatic image in writing. But only metaphorical use would seem to count, because only in such cases can we be sure that the literal meaning is not what is being used. ("The fullback is like a tank" doesn't imply that "tank" means any other than the military vehicle. "The fullback is a tank", not possibly being literally true if tank has only that military meaning, implies a different meaning.) DCDuring TALK 02:21, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
I'm not sure that your analysis of "is like" actually applies to "looks like" (which is what the quote has); but even if it does, we have a serious problem if we say that every self-explanatory metaphor used once in a well-known work requires a sense line, whereas an opaque simile that everyone uses twenty times a day requires no coverage. (And your analysis of the third cite is only "hyperbolic" if you think that axe murderers are an extreme version of regular murderers, in which case, shouldn't that be documented? Say, on a sense line labeled {{figurative}}?) —RuakhTALK 18:23, 10 November 2010 (UTC)
No very strong feelings here, but I think it's figurative rather than idiomatic. So CFI would say this should go, as it's "not idiomatic". Mglovesfun (talk) 11:48, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
I don't quite share your reading of the CFI. Everyone seems to be agreeing that axe murderer is idiomatic; at least, no one has proposed that we delete the whole entry. So I think this sense automatically counts as idiomatic: it's a figurative use of an already-idiomatic term. The question is whether it should receive separate treatment in the form of a special figurative sense line; we'd have that question even if we were talking about a hypothetical single word axmurderer. —RuakhTALK 22:50, 13 November 2010 (UTC)
Keep (unless the other sense later fails RFD). Mglovesfun (talk) 00:47, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
I propose that we delete the whole entry unless it can be shown that there is figurative use. I don't think that there has been such a showing. I also suspect that the term "axe murderer" predates "axe-murder#Verb", so that it means axe + murderer. Accordingly, I will be RfVing the first sense. DCDuring TALK 18:10, 14 November 2010 (UTC)
  • Err on the side of keep; Ruakh's quotations seem convincing. --Dan Polansky 11:19, 23 February 2011 (UTC)
  • Striking: Keep; 3 votes for keeping while 1 vote for deletion; more than 3 months have passed since the nomination. --Dan Polansky 11:19, 23 February 2011 (UTC)