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Friday, February 3, 2017

Another Linguistic Machination - From Ira to IRAs

As a follow up to my post on various linguistic items, which included a discussion of the naming of things after people and other things, I want to revisit Sen. Roth's "Roth IRA." It turns out (with thanks to Carl L. and Steve G.) that this one little phrase actually has two embedded names - not only Sen. Roth's but also Ira Cohen's! Rumor has it that Bill Lieber of the Joint Committee on Taxation may have massaged "individual retirement plan" (uninterestingly, "IRP") into "individual retirement account" (forever, "IRA") to immortalize the . . . great . . . Ira Cohen. If that's true, that's pretty cool, at least in my strange world.

In a similar - although non-ERISA - vein, I want to throw another item out there, as an example of where things intersect to embed new words in language. "Gaslighting," which has come to mean acting in a way that causes one to wonder about one's own sanity, coolly derives from the 1944 movie "Gaslight" in which a husband over time adjusts the gaslights in the house downwards and upwards, essentially prodding his wife to question her sanity when he dismisses her observation that things are successively dimming and brightening. Pretty nifty.

And, please, let's also not forget the concept of "punking" people bestowed on us by Ashton Kutcher, or of "catfishing" by way of Nev Schulman and Max Joseph.

Pretty nifty.

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