Thy name is

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"______, thy name is ______" is a snowclone used to indicate the completeness with which something or somebody (indicated by the second part) embodies a particular quality (indicated by the first part), usually a negative one.



In most instances, the usage is an allusion to the Shakespearean play Hamlet (I, ii, 146). In this work, the title character is chastised by his uncle (and new stepfather), Claudius, for grieving his father so much, calling it unmanly. In his resultant soliloquy, Hamlet denounces his mother's swift remarriage with the statement, "Frailty, thy name is woman." [1] He thus describes all of womankind as frail and weak in character. [2] The phrase is recognized as one of the "memorable expressions" from the play to become "proverbial". [3]

In the book Idiom Structure in English by Adam Makkai, the author asserts that the phrase is included among English idioms that are expressed in a "standard format" and whose usage "signals to the hearer that he is using an authority in underscoring his own opinion." [4] Researchers Andrew Littlejohn and Sandhya Rao Mehta acknowledged that the famous quote rendered not only a discursive use, but a constructional one as well, [5] noting that "the structure itself can be used as a salient, but neutral equation formula...'noun thy name is noun.'" [5]



Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting from the Court's decision in King v. Burwell, upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, repeatedly used the construction to criticize the Court's majority opinion, stating: "Understatement, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!"; "Impossible possibility, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!"; and "Contrivance, thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act!" (25 June 2015) [6]


Amos Bronson Alcott famously said of William Ellery Channing in 1871, "Whim, thy name is Channing." He was referring to Channing's Transcendentalist poetry style. [7]





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  1. (2006). "Frailty, thy name is woman!" (accessed 13 October 2006)
  2. Martin, Gary (2006). "Frailty, thy name is woman" (accessed 13 October 2006)
  3. Lederer 2010, p. 89
  4. Makkai 1972, p. 177
  5. 1 2 Littlejohn et al. 2012, pp. 167-168
  6. King v. Burwell , 576U.S. (U.S.25 June 2015).
  7. Buell 1973, p. 240.
  8. Richard Sakai (director) (2014). "Zena's Honeymoon". Taxi: Die Finale Season[The Final Season] (DVD) (in German and English). Germany: Paramount Home Media Distribution / Paramount Home Entertainment (Germany).
  9. Green, Seth (12 September 2005). "Krusty's Political Philosophy". The Huffington Post.
  10. Language Studies Stretching the Boundaries. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Pub. 2012. ISBN   978-1443843867.
  11. "Supergirl Recap: Dawn of Just Us Nice People". Vulture.

Works cited