they came to that the way bugs come to a buglight

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VadimR

Senior Member
Russian
The Dreamcatcher. S.King

Now the big old smart goldfish who go swimming around in the think-tanks, most of those guys say the grayboys (aliens) came when we started lighting off atomic and hydrogen bombs, that they came to that the way bugs come to a buglight.

Buglight - an outdoor electric light that gives off a usually yellow illumination designed not to attract insects (bug light)

Could this word in the above sentence have a different meaning like designed to attract insects or is there something different in the meaning?
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Could this word in the above sentence have a different meaning like designed to attract insects or is there something different in the meaning?
    No - King has used the wrong word. :) He should have said "light".
     

    Esca

    Senior Member
    ATX
    USA - English
    It's a little strange to say that the author used the wrong word in his own work, isn't it?:(

    I've seen many types of outdoor "bug lights" that do indeed lure the bugs and then electrocute them -- they're often called something like a "mosquito zapper." My neighbors have one.
    I think this meaning actually sounds perfect and adds meaning in this context, because it parallels the element of danger suggested by "bombs" -- something that is drawing you to it even though it's dangerous.
     

    Esca

    Senior Member
    ATX
    USA - English
    I do. Authors should not be ambiguous. It fooled you and it fooled me - I think we are both right and King is wrong.
    I don't think he was ambiguous at all. (I said "I don't know" because I was politely expressing disagreement with your interpretation. And then I edited it out in any case, ha.) I think if he said "drew bugs to a bug light," clearly a bug light is something that draws bugs. I don't see how that can be unclear.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I don't see how that can be unclear.
    I am not sure how you can possibly say that, because you also say "Buglight - an outdoor electric light that gives off a usually yellow illumination designed not to attract insect."

    You have explained why "buglight is wrong." ;)

    If it helps, there is no British or American law that says Stephen King cannot make mistakes.
     

    Esca

    Senior Member
    ATX
    USA - English
    I am not sure how you can possibly say that, because you also say "Buglight - an outdoor electric light that gives off a usually yellow illumination designed not to attract insect."

    You have explained why "buglight is wrong." ;)

    If it helps, there is no British or American law that says Stephen King cannot make mistakes.
    I did not say that -- the original poster said that. I've never actually heard of the non-attracting type of buglight.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's a little strange to say that the author used the wrong word in his own work, isn't it?
    If you were to search the forum for threads in the last six months that ask about the works (and words) of Stephen King, you would not find it at all strange. The only place he could use words incorrectly is in his own work, and it is not an unusual event.

    The evidence offered by a Google search for "bug light" certainly supports this statement:
    Buglight - an outdoor electric light that gives off a usually yellow illumination designed not to attract insects
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    I must say I was surprised to find the above definition for bug light as one designed NOT to attract bugs. The only association that comes to my mind when I hear bug and light together is the bug zapper type of light. I did not blink when I saw it used that way. (I have also seen yellow lights in Africa at night and there were quite a few bugs around them.)
     

    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I don't find a dictionary definition for "buglight." "Bug light" is defined in AHD as VadimR indicates. If King wants to invent a word, I think he has the right to say what it means. He seems to mean what some other authors mean by "bug light." From a book search:

    "That's when he heard the snap, crackle, and pop of an insect being electrocuted by a bug light." from Double Header by Lee Goldberg.
    "A Powerful 80-watt bug light attracts and kills night-flying insects up to approximately 2 acres." from Lawn Garden and Farm Catalog.
    "Hanging from the roof top a bug light hangs. Below the bug light there is a fly roll catcher filled with glue." The Circles of Life by Mary Elizabeth Cole.
    "It is when we get comfortable and complacent with life that Satan and his hosts of demons are drawn like flies to a bug light." A Chosen Child by Analise McEntire.
     
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    srk

    Senior Member
    English - US
    I'm afraid it does. I tried so hard to understand "a fly roll catcher filled with glue" that I didn't notice. I suppose it should be "fly-catcher roll," (a roll of flypaper) and maybe "filled with" means "coated with."

    How debarrassing! (Some people don't read the whole thread before they post. I don't read what I post.)
     
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