Re(1): "Damn" means "to condemn to hell," a prerogative of God that he applies only to persons.
Posted by: Anonymous
on November 15, 2007 10:02 PM
I always took it to be an adverb, modifying small. Or maybe a past participle, modifying who knows what. But I think the most sensible explanation of this usage is that it is colloquial, as a simple emphasis word. Will some good grammarian write us with the term for this? Some common usage employs scatology for simple emphasis, like careless use of the eff word. (Somebody will write in that this is "vulgar," in both senses of the word--(a) common, and (b) ugly. I always found the name creative, and cute as heck. A damn good name!
Maybe to appease our religious friend, we could call it zeugma--which the online dictionary calls the use of a word to modify or govern two or more words when it is appropriate to only one of them or is appropriate to each but in a different way, as in to wage war and peace or On his fishing trip, he caught three trout and a cold. I'd hate for anybody to be wrong...