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public1

noun Clipping, zero-derivation
A party thrown by one of the colleges at Rice that is open to all students
 
This has become the common term amongst undergraduates at Rice University for public parties. Speakers choose it because it is shorter to say than public parties, and because everyone who would be participating in a conversation knows what publics are or can intuit it very easily, saying public parties has almost become stuffy.
Etymology : The word public can be traced back to Latin publicus meaning “of the people; of the state; done for the state.” Old French took the word’s meaning directly and simply spelled it public. When the word was taken into English first around 1300, its meaning was expanded to mean “open to general observation.” It was probably one of the many words that came into English as a result of the Norman conquest and changed its meaning in the process. The definition “open to all in the community” is first recorded in 1520 and is the definition at work in this word. Because the word was an adjective modifying the word parties but then parties was dropped, it became a noun.
Source : “Are you going to Duncan tonight?” “No, I hate publics.” -My friend Joe, in conversation, November 2016
Last modified: 4 December 2016


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