The Mezzo Mongoose (miss_next) wrote in linguaphiles,
The Mezzo Mongoose

Lesbian dogs and psychiatric cats

A friend recently referred to "that dog", and when I asked him which one he meant, he explained that it was "the lesbian dog". The dog in question, being male, is by definition not a lesbian; he meant the dog belonging to my lesbian neighbour. He didn't mean it in any pejorative sense, incidentally, as he gets on very well with the neighbour in question.

This struck me as an odd usage, but then I recalled I had heard something similar once before, a little over twenty years ago; another friend had made some reference to "the psychiatric cats", which was not intended as a reflection on the cats' sanity but simply meant that they belonged to a psychiatrist. (Having said that, as a cat owner I'd hesitate to attribute sanity to any cat, but that is hardly a linguistic matter!)

Has anyone else come across this kind of usage, and is there anywhere it is used regularly? Also, does it refer only to pets or might there be circumstances in which someone would say something like "the medical hat" to mean a hat that belonged to a doctor but did not particularly mark them out as such?

Just curious...

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