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5 Comments

  • A commenter on my blog once expressed his dislike for the figurative use of DNA, so I said the aversion must be in his genes. There’s a quite remarkable extended metaphor along these lines quoted in Janet Byron Anderson’s book Sick English:

    “After more than a decade of remapping techno’s DNA by splicing electronic beats with Mexican regional folk music, … the tandem has added yet another chromosome to its sonic gene pool…” (Reed Johnson, LA Times, 2010).

  • Another example that comes to mind is viral. When it was adopted by IT from medicine/biology, it acquired a negative connotation but in its most recent usage in general discourse it denotes a positive concept (“very popular and spreading very quickly”).

  • That’s a great quote from Reed Johnson, Stan. Thanks, Licia, for that interesting observation. Most of the nontechnical terms in IT start as metaphors (window, icon, recycle, Trojan [horse], cut-and-paste etc), and a computer virus is always something bad. But ‘going viral’ is definitely positive – it’s what we’re all aiming for!