Thursday, 29 May 2014

Never smoker

This was tweeted to Doctor Christian:
I was intrigued by the use of 'never smoker' - it fills a lacuna where we need a word to designate 'someone who not only doesn't smoke now (=non-smoker) but never has done'. It's not usually necessary, which is probably why it's not very common, but here it was required, and 'never smoker' does the trick. Sounds a little odd to me, but it apparently has a specific meaning (this is the Wiktionary link but it's the US Center for Disease Control's definition). It's a pretty loose use of the word 'never' if you ask me (someone who has literally never smoked a cigarette), but whatever.

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