Benjamin Zimmer posted about the American Dialect Society's Word of the Decade vote coming up tonight in Baltimore and I noticed something unusual about one of the candidates: 9/11. I commented thusly:
Hmmm, for word of the decade I find 9/11 most interesting, linguistically speaking. While google follows a well known pattern of turning a brand name into a verb (e.g., xerox that for me), 9/11 names an infamous event by the date it occurred. Are there any other examples of this? We don’t refer to Pearl Harbor as 12/7 or Waterloo as 6/18 (yep, had to wiki that one). Normally we use place names. I’m trying to think of another example of this usage and I’m coming up blank. Only the fourth of July comes to mind as similar.
Can anyone think of other examples of this, in any language? I'll be in Baltimore tonight meeting friends at the LSA. I might pop into the meeting and put in my two cents. Hopefully there will be rabid debate, angry protestations, booze...too much to hope for fisticuffs?
UPDATE: Peter Taylor posted a nice response over at LL in the comments: it's far more common in Spanish. Cinco de Mayo probably rings a bell, even if you can't say what happened then. My city (Valencia, Spain) has a metro stop, a hospital, and I don't know what else named for the 9th October, commemorating the day it was captured from the Moors in 1238. There are also streets named for (at minimum) the 3rd April, 25th April, 1st May, and 18th July.