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An uncompliment

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Topic: 5) An uncompliment (1 of 1), Read 69 times
Conf: Word Fugitives, with Barbara Wallraff
From: Barbara Wallraff (msgrammar@theatlantic.com)
Date: Wednesday, December 01, 1999 06:14 PM

Andy Westerly, of Brownsville, Texas, writes: "When something is meant as a compliment but just ends up annoying you, what's that called? Sometimes when I do something nice for my (elderly) mother, she'll tell me, 'You're a doll!' Now, to me, (1) that's a relatively low-class way of putting it and I don't like to think of my family that way, and (2) if you were going to say that to somebody, it's more appropriate for a not-very-close friend than for your son. It's meant to thank me, but I don't like it. What is that?"

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