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kick

noun; zero derivation
shoes, typically basketball sneakers This neologism’s formation is two part. One, there is the zero derivation of the verb kick to a noun, presumably meaning the things that kick, either feet or legs. Two, there is the semantic shift of kick the noun to kick the shoe. While the two things are related, they do not resemble one another and they are not compared. That eliminates metaphor and makes kick an example of metonymy. The word originated in the basketball community, who no doubt employed metonymy to connect kick (the zero derived noun) with the thing that people kick with (shoes). Metonymy often occurs when two words are so closely related that one word’s meaning is imputed to the other, even if the two things don’t resemble one another. Clearly, no one can compare shoes to feet, they aren’t the same thing at all, but by being so closely related, one word can be used for another. The classic example has to be using ‘the throne’ to refer to the king. Likewise, using kick (the noun) for shoes is a metonymic shift.
 
Dude, check out my new kicks!
Etymology : zero derivation from the verb kick, a native English word
Source : My Rice friend James Liu
Last modified: 10 June 2008


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