Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Inappropriate suffixes 1: "athon"

The suffix -athon comes from the "marathon" - these days, anything deemed "epic", or especially large, or time-consuming is known as a "something-athon"…

Often, although not always, for charity, these can include "knitathons", "drumathons", "boxathons", "quizzathons" - and you know from the name that the event in question is going to involve an awful lot of people doing an awful lot of knitting, drumming, boxing, or quizzing…

Unfortunately, though, this doesn't work - otherwise the real marathon would actually be called a "runathon"!  (Either that or it would be a twenty-four hour event to mar someone, or something!  It's not - it's people in lyrca, running a lot…)

Why people have assumed that -athon just means "epic, tiring thing", I don't know...  Although it does shed a new light on anyone called Jonathon!

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