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One good turn

Posted by SR on November 22, 2004

In Reply to: Re: Turned-up posted by DH on November 21, 2004

: : : : : : Is "turned up missing" a phrase from somewhere. Who started saying this because it is kind of an odd saying.

: : : : : A side note: Don't the Brits say "gone missing"? ESC from the U.S.

: : : : The expression "to turn up" is very common in the U.S., as in He'll turn up somewhere, It will turn up sometime, He turned up with his arm in a sling, He turns up everywhere I go, even He turned up dead. He turned up missing is obviously a contradiction in terms, since it means he didn't turn up at all. But I've seen it more than once, and I, too, find it odd. But the meaning is plain, which I suppose is what counts. Incidentally, I could not find "turn up" in this sense in the OED, "the definitive record of the English language." SS

: : : Yes, ESC. We Brits would tend to say that something had gone missing - a straightforward usage of "had gone" meaning "had become"... I've gone nuts over you, he's gone a little strange etc etc.

: : : We also use "to turn up" in the sense of "to make an appearance" but I don't believe we'd naturally use "turned up missing" because of the paradox that has been outlined. It seems that in the US, to "turn up" has evolved an extra looser, more figurative meaning for itself, namely "to acquire an identified and generally agreed status" - but I'm guessing here.

: : The phrase "turned-up" refers more to the EFFORT to determine X rather than X itself. X may have gone missing, but if X turns-up missing it implies an effort to find X. This probably stems from the american fascination with crime drama. They turned-up evidence that...; the search turned-up nothing...

: I'd be more inclined to guess that "turned up" is a shift at irony or humor--DH

And don't forget 'turn down' and 'turn in,' as long as we are turning. SR