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Lexical Leavings

by Tom Gally



Noticed this in a blog:
Chimera's* not going anywhere, regardless of whatever I post on this blog.
*An open-source, Mozilla-based browser for the Macintosh
The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English defines the phrase "not getting/going anywhere" as "not successful or not having plans for the future"; other learner's dictionaries give similar definitions. While that seems to be the only meaning of "not getting anywhere," "not going anywhere" has an additional meaning. In the above example, it means "Chimera will not disappear (and its development will continue)."

This "will not disappear or go away" meaning of "not going anywhere" is at least as common as the one defined in the dictionaries. Here are some more examples:
Lisa Marie Miree, the reigning Miss Black USA, believes she has a solution to help teen-agers with problems like AIDS and unwanted pregnancies: celibacy. She has been preaching across the nation her message of no sex before marriage. On Wednesday, however, the 25-year-old resident of Cincinnati was roundly challenged on her views of sexual abstinence by some St. Louis students at Metro High School, one of the top schools in the state. "I practice what I preach, and I preach what I practice," Miree told students. "Sex isn't going anywhere. . . . Men aren't going anywhere." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 03-21-2002)

Sun is a well-managed, disciplined operation that can take high-level departures in stride. Zander left because he was 55 years old and had made hundreds of millions of dollars in Sun stock, and because McNealy, the 46-year-old CEO, wasn't going anywhere. Like all the other Sun executives who have quit, Zander will phase out gradually. (Fortune, 06-10-2002)

Yesterday, the Mets made it clear Leiter isn't going anywhere, signing him to a two-year extension worth $16 million, with a mutual $10-million option for 2005 that is tied to a $2-million buyout. (Newsday, 07-25-2002)
(January 25, 2003)