April 03, 2009

shack-a-thon

It's not what you think!


These days, -(a)thon pretty much is recognized as an affix, although its origin, the word "marathon" cannot be split up into [mara] and [thon]. Linguist John Algeo writes in his book Fifty Years among the New Words that the OED,
"looking down a very long and censorious nose, remarks 'barbariously extracted from MARATHON, used occas. in the U.S. (talkathon, walkathon), rarely in Britain, to form words denoting something being carried on for an abnormal length of time'. The events so named are often fund-raisers for charity." (p.6)

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