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When did the formulation "bored of" replace the more common "bored with" or "bored by" I grew up saying and hearing?  "Bored of" would have marked the speaker as unlearned in my (now passing) day.  I first remember it as the title of the hilarious National Lampoon parody "Bored of the Rings"  -- I thought then it was forced on them by the pun -- then I began seeing it in blogs etc. -- now I just saw it in the (once) august pages of the NY Times in a regular news story.


( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 25th, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)

The majority of people have always been unlearned (or they chose to ignore what they have been taught—for various reasons); now that the Internet allows anyone to publish, the ignorance of the masses is simply more evident.
Dec. 25th, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC)
I grew up with "bored of" as the standard in the 1980s, and I did go to one of the best schools in the city, so it can't be too recent.
Rodger Cunningham
Dec. 25th, 2012 06:45 pm (UTC)
And then there's "bored at," which may be regional.
Dec. 25th, 2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
O unicef clearasil! Gibberish and drivel!
Dec. 26th, 2012 01:19 am (UTC)
Thanks for your contribution!
Dec. 26th, 2012 02:08 am (UTC)
...An excerpt from Bored of the Rings, which may have been unclear.
Dec. 26th, 2012 02:38 am (UTC)
Well to me, anyway. I glanced at the book back in the day -- but read only as much as you could standing in a bookstore,
Dec. 25th, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
I always thought usage of "bored of" or "bored with" to be a class shibboleth.
Dec. 26th, 2012 01:18 am (UTC)
It may well be, but the old class that said "bored with" was very broad if a perfectly ordinary middle-class kid (moi) growing up in the Midwest and attending an ordinary high school does not remember ever hearing "bored of." Is that class now shrinking?
Jan. 6th, 2013 01:06 am (UTC)
I grew up (way too long ago) in the Midwest and in attending school - learned "bored with" or "bored by" which sounds correct even now. "bored of" always trips me up... (sort of like seeing 'impact' used for effect) - but that may be due to my adherence to the rules I'd learned as a pup back in the day
Dec. 25th, 2012 09:56 pm (UTC)
Here's what language log says about it...
Dec. 26th, 2012 01:15 am (UTC)
Re: Here's what language log says about it...
That seems pretty authoritative. It is not unheard of long ago, but usually in contexts (a child speaking, etc.) that make it nonstandard. Whereas it becomes common sometime after 1990.
Dec. 25th, 2012 11:49 pm (UTC)
"Bored with" sounds affectedly upper class or British to me, and "bored by" seems artificial. It's definitely "bored of". (28 year old; grew up in NJ)
Dec. 26th, 2012 01:16 am (UTC)
Fascinating to feel the tide of language slip that way so markedly. I will not ever be able to hear "bored of" as familiar and right.
Jan. 2nd, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
Interesting; my reaction is the opposite. "Bored of" sounds affectedly upper class and/or British to my ear. "Bored with" sounds just right. I agree "bored by" sounds artificial, however. 32, grew up in Michigan.
Dec. 26th, 2012 02:44 am (UTC)
I'm 31, grew up in Texas, and bored with and bored by sound correct to me. Bored of seems blatantly incorrect. A suggested above, the usage may be regional.
Dec. 27th, 2012 02:48 pm (UTC)
Yes, Texas here too- same experience. I'm bored by something that happens, bored with something that keeps happening and never bored of anything. This is not an issue of class here since we're sitting in a working class and rural area. Bored of wouldn't sound unlearned, just odd.
Dec. 26th, 2012 07:02 am (UTC)
38, grew up in Texas. Agree that "bored with" sounds right and "bored of" sounds sloppy.

But then I ask myself, how is "bored" fundamentally different than, say, "tired" in this usage? "I'm tired of this play" is undoubtedly correct; "tired with" sounds silly. Both seem like very close cousins in the adjective family.

Amusingly, my concise OED gives the definition of "tired of" as meaning "bored with" :)
Dec. 26th, 2012 11:23 am (UTC)
Well of course it's not a matter of correct or incorrect, rational or irrational. It would have been logical in some sense for "tired" and "bored" to govern the same preposition, they just don't (or don't for you and me). Similar cases could be multiplied. There does seem to be a nice distinction in use between "bored with" and "bored by" that's unavailable to "bored of" or "tired of": "bored with Shakespeare" is not the same as "bored by Shakespeare". The first seems to be existential; you might once have been delighted but now your state is different. The second is an effect of Shakespeare on you that's in Shakespeare, or feels to be. Such distinctions ought not to be lost.
Dec. 26th, 2012 11:57 am (UTC)
To me (45-y-o English middle-class) "bored of Shakespeare" substitutes acceptably for the existential "bored with Shakespeare", but not for the procedural "bored by Shakespeare". So it seems, in my own mind at least, that distinction remains available.
Dec. 26th, 2012 04:57 pm (UTC)
Agreed, though for that distinction, I would probably go to "I am bored of Shakespeare" vs. "Shakespeare bores me"/"Shakespeare is boring," which makes sense to me, as if the quality inheres in Shakespeare, and I am merely a victim of his tediousness, an innocent bystander, if you will, he should take on the active role in the sentence.
Dec. 26th, 2012 09:36 pm (UTC)
That's fine, you have my permission -- it's probably widely applicable as a solution to the difficulty (if there is one) -- not "I am bored with/of life" but "Life bores me". It could mean either of the two slightly different meanings depending on tone or context. Not that I myself intend to take this route.
Dec. 27th, 2012 11:10 am (UTC)
Yes, good point! It's usually someone else's fault…
Dec. 26th, 2012 12:34 pm (UTC)
Which rather puts me in mind of some of the lines in Viv Stanshall's "I'm Bored":


- matthew davis
Dec. 26th, 2012 01:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks for that!

I note that he's "bored with" throughout, but the accent's so resolutely parodically U that maybe that's part of the joke.
Dec. 30th, 2012 10:43 pm (UTC)
Vivian Stanshall was raised in Walthamstow, E17, a bit of London just outside where official cockneys are from 9i.e earshot of Bow bells) but his ex-army dad insisted that he speak as though he were 'officer Class'. as a result, young Viv used to live a double-life, hanging out with the teenagers of the 50s and affecting East end vowels but hiding his normal life because (as his second solo album put it) 'Teddy-Boys Don't Knit' (I could explain Teds but it would take a while http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teddy_Boy https://www.google.com/search?q=teddy+boys&hl=en&tbo=u&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ei=isHgUPHaLsmk2gX_3IC4Bg&sqi=2&ved=0CD0QsAQ&biw=751&bih=349).
'This is boredom you can afford by Cyril Lord' is a parody of a carpet ad - the Bonzos albums are a crash-course in 60 British pop culture.
Dec. 30th, 2012 11:45 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the elucidation. We here admired Teddy Boys from a distance. They seemed like Zoot Suiters in mixing elegance and vicious violence.
Jan. 1st, 2013 09:54 pm (UTC)
This goes along with another of my pet peeves: "The proof is in the pudding." Not only does it butcher the saying, it makes no sense. I thew up my hands in dismay to hear Hillary Clinton use "The proof is in the pudding." in a televised speech. I believe this saying was coined at the time when "proof" meant "test". And so, the saying correctly, goes: "The proof (test) of the pudding is in the eating (or tasting, I don't remember which.)*My parentheses. Now that makes sense. We still use "proof" in its original meaning today: We make a proof before we print a photograph or go to press; and who doesn't know the Aberdeen Proving (testing) Grounds where military ordinance is tested. Anyway, thank you for letting me rant.
Jan. 9th, 2013 10:46 pm (UTC)
Coming late to the party...
A check on Google's Ngrams tool (which I learned about from this very blog -- how soon we forget!) is interesting.

Bored with still out ahead, bored by has clearly peaked, and bored of is definitely on the up.
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )