-a-

Jack Sparrow

Member
Italy-Italian
hi guys i've got a question. do you know the word whack-a-mole? what's the meaning of -a-? i thought it was the same of "of". Could any of you explain me its meaning?
 
  • Jack Sparrow

    Member
    Italy-Italian
    i don' understand what you exactly mean. can you explain it better? and is there any case in which "-a-" means "of"?
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    For goodness sake put a cover over this thread before Matching Mole comes online :eek:

    (And, Jack Sparrow, please take more care with capital letters - appropriate use of capitals is required in these forums.)
     

    Vinlander

    Senior Member
    Canada, American English (mostly)
    This is so funny! I know nothing of games such as this, so I was thinking it was a mistake using guacamole.
    I had always assumed that the name was a play on the word, hence whack-a[accented]-mole[eh, sorry don't do phonetics]. When ever I have heard the word it has always been pronounced to sound very close to guacamole (and the 'g' in Spanish, as I have heard it, being closer to the English 'wh'). So your "mistake" was only partial.

    Vinlander
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    Hello Jack Sparrow,

    You are misinterpreting the "-a-." The hyphens indicate that all the words are to be considered as one, a compound word, like "daughter-in-law."
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I can't think of an example where "-a-" means "of". "Jack-o-lantern" means "Jack of the lantern", as far as I know from a few different histories of the tradition I've read. It's not "Jack-a-lantern", though. :)
     

    Jack Sparrow

    Member
    Italy-Italian
    Thank you all for the explanations. However i remembered another similar word: bust-a-move (computer game). I guess it has the same explanation, hasn't it?
     

    PMS-CC

    Senior Member
    Of course, lazy pronunciation can make an "of" sound like an "a," particularly where two consonants are found together:

    "two of clubs" ==> "two uh clubs" f/c

    "lots of fun" ==> "lotsa fun" f/f

    However, whack-a-mole is just "whack a mole" hyphenated to make it a single entity. Moreover, you want to be very careful about putting anything that remotely sounds like "off" after "whack," lest you make an inadvertent masturbation joke.
     

    ineedcoffee

    New Member
    US English
    There is no separate meaning of -a- apart from its normal use as an article. The hyphens simply make the phrase a single word, which in some cases makes the word unique and attractive (as is necessary for arcade games).
     

    Jack Sparrow

    Member
    Italy-Italian
    I thank you all for the explanations. To be honest, I should have understood that but I haven't thought about it as just a simple "a"!
     
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