Thursday thought

December 23, 2010

incubus; succubus.

An “incubus” is a male demon said to have sex with sleeping women. A “succubus” is a female demon said to have sex with sleeping men. (“Succuba” is a needless variant.) Each should be confined to its narrow sense, rather than being used broadly as a synonym for “demon.”

In the mid-1990s, the Reebok shoe company made news by selling a women’s running shoe called the Incubus. After being on sale for a year, the shoe was pulled off the market when ABC News reported the gaffe. Apparently the marketing wizards and the trademark lawyers all neglected to consult a dictionary.

So says Bryan Garner in his tip of the day for 12/13/10

As you can see, the subject of this famous painting by Henry Fuseli (1741-1825) is wearing Reeboks.

“The Nightmare” (1781)

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