Mighty Red Pen

March 5, 2008

Ashes to ashes

Filed under: At home with MRP,Word wars — mighty red pen @ 8:24 pm

A story the other day in Boston about a truck that was too tall just biting the dust inside a tunnel yielded this odd quote:

“It’s unbelievable,” LeBovidge said. “He just cremated himself and the tunnel was solid as a rock.”

Given that cremated means “burned to ashes” and you can see for yourself that the driver was not burned to ashes, I started wondering what Massachusetts Turnpike Authority director Alan LeBovidge could have meant by “he just cremated himself.”

Mister MRP says this is impossible, but I seem to remember growing up that cremated was a popular slang term used in team sports, as in we totally cremated them. Mister says the term is creamed, as in we totally creamed them. Well, I said, creamed just sounds like an abbreviation of cremated, right?

We agreed about creamed but could not agree about this use of cremated, so I put it to you, dear readers. Anyone know what MRP was talking about?



  1. I have heard “we creamed them,” used in competition or some sort of an attack scenario, but I have never heard of it as being an abbreviation for “cremated.” I guess I always thought of “creamed” as being related to “whipped.”

    Comment by Lori — March 6, 2008 @ 10:44 am | Reply

  2. I was trying to figure out how it could be a spell-check thing.

    I think high-school kids could decide that “we creamed them” was old hat, and not hyperbolic enough, since the basketball team from 3 years ago used it, and picking another word that sounds more extreme but slips into place easily: “cream-ated! cremated!”

    Not so much an abbreviation as an alternative.

    Comment by TootsNYC — March 6, 2008 @ 12:39 pm | Reply

  3. I have heard “cremated” used in sports, but it had nothing at all to do with “creamed.” “Cremated” was always used in the correct sense, and meant “we burned them up.”

    Similar phrases were “I burned you,” “he got burned,” and “you didn’t just burn him, you cremated him.”

    Comment by James A. Ritchie — March 6, 2008 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

  4. Okay, so maybe my theory that “creamed” is short for “cremated” was off, but thank you, James, for coming to my rescue on the issue of whether “cremated” is used at all in this context!

    Comment by mightyredpen — March 7, 2008 @ 8:43 am | Reply

  5. you CAN’T have them say that “he creamed himself” because, well, that has a totally DIFFERENT meaning . . .

    Comment by Lorraine — April 8, 2008 @ 12:21 am | Reply

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