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What automobile's name is also a superlative?

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Answer: the Cadillac

In a set of similar things, that which is the most excellent is called "the Cadillac of." For example, in the set of all Toyotas, the most excellent Toyota would be the Cadillac of Toyotas.


It is interesting to notice haw people interpret words in terms of grammar and history only. The superlative mentioned in here is a semantic-metonymic construction, a linguistic game with meaning. I congratulate you for the way you manage this exercise with language. It is most useful. It is a Cadillac of exercises.
helenamaga at

I thought that you were looking at automobiles historically. There was a car called The Excelsior at one time.
alictwomb at

Ah, yes, but that's a context thing. i was actually wracking my brain, trying to think of an extant superlative, like dodge paragon or GMC avatar, you know? these are bad examples of superlatives, but i am tired & momentarily brain-dead. yes, you have now listed a new entry into the lexicon, & you have described its etymology — more or less — as coming from our culture.
dderooy at

Sorry, no sale. The question asked for a superlative, not an analogy with a superlative. A better question would be: "Which type of car is synonymous with excellence?"
gregfelton at

Specious at best; the use of Cadillac as a superlative is a parochial phrase which harkens back only a few decades to when Cadillac motorcars were indeed the most excellent. That time has long gone by, with many other marques far exceeding GM's flagship in all matters of excellence. Furthermore, Cadillac as a brand has no etymology related to excellence, but rather to Antoine Laumet (1658-1730)also known as sieur Antoine de Lamothe-Cadillac, the French explorer who founded Detroit in 1701 and whose name was given to the car line in 1902 to (somewhat belatedly) commemorate the city's bicentennial.
dhunsber at

Coulda been a Deusenberg too. We still say "doosie," or however you spell that.
dianependergraft at

When I was a child and read a lot more words than I ever heard spoken aloud, I mispronounced quite a few basic words, including one that comes to mind here: misled, which I pronounced "myzelled", along the lines of "bamboozled". The sound of it was right to describe that wicked thing that happened to innocent young maidens who were too trusting. Anyway, you have myzelled me by making me spend several minutes trying to think of a car name that means "excellent" (something along the lines of Toyotest or Mercurissimus). I do thank you, however, for prompting me to find out who Cadillac actually was.
anniegladden at

What about "maxima" as a superlative? Wasn't there a car named the Nissan Maxima?
barbaraseal at

In Australia at least (and England too I think) it would be "the Rolls Royce of", not "the cadillac of"

[Mootguy: Good point. It looks like this is one of those faulty Moot questions that have more than one correct answer. Darn.]
beckautomatic at

My guess was "Ultima"
jpnill at

"Maxima" would have made more sense, though still not perfect.
jfroach at

Maybe there is a good answer to "What is the Rolls Royce of Cadillacs?", but one then has to wonder, "What is the Cadillac of Rolls Royces?" Surely not the superlative, but merely the second-best? How can a term with identical usage be a superlative in one context but faint praise in another?
rlbnospam at

Don't mean to be pedantic but excelsior is a comparative not a superlative (excelsior = higher, loftier).

[Mootguy: Feel free to be pedantic. There's no way to avoid it with this subject.]
omarebo at

In France, we say "La Rolls des..."

[Mootguy: Sadly, the Brits don's say "The Citroën of ..."]
nanon.gardin at

Like ultima and maxima, optima should be on the list...
marcusbradyfoster at

I think you're stretching a bit on this one. To call the most excellent Toyota a Cadillac would be an insult even if most North Americans would know what was meant. We enjoy your game-keep up the good work
hames at

In response to xrlbnospam at pobox.xcom's question: "How can a term with identical usage be a superlative in one context but faint praise in another?",

I'd ask him to consider the use of quite on both sides of the Atlantic. When we, in Britain, say the book was quite good we mean it was almost good, whereas our American cousins would mean that it was really good. To further complicate matters, when the British say "Quite!" they mean absolutely, exactly, thoroughly and not something less than.
dmandrew at

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