Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I found the following on today's Wired edition:

Apple’s Software Boss Reveals the Origin Story of iOS

Can origin be used as an adjective or some sort of modifier for other words? I couldn't find any source that defines it as an adjective.

Am I am being thick or is there something wrong with the title above?

share|improve this question
    
Is it any different from creation myth? –  TimLymington Aug 4 '12 at 9:59
    
@TimLymington- I dont know. Could you probably elaborate on that a little bit? –  Noah Aug 4 '12 at 11:37
1  
Why would you have origin be an adjective? School is not an adjective in school book –  Born2Smile Aug 4 '12 at 11:47
    
@Born2Smile- In school book it acts like one. –  Noah Aug 4 '12 at 12:59
    
This is an origin story, that is, a story about origins, and not an original story. You can have war stories, college stories, football stories, and so on. None of these words are grammatically classified as adjectives, although they all act like them here. –  Peter Shor Aug 5 '12 at 13:15
show 1 more comment

3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Origin in this case is not an adjective, but a noun used as an attributive, i.e. a noun being used as a modifier for another noun. This sort of construction is extremely common in English:

  • origin story
  • creation story
  • love story
  • horror story

None of the words modifying story in the preceding examples are adjectives. They are rather nouns that define the type of the story.

share|improve this answer
    
Hm. I usually think of appositives as postfixes set off by a comma or two, like “Give this to Jim Smith, our current treasurer, before you leave.” Are you calling attributive nouns appositives? –  tchrist Aug 4 '12 at 23:39
    
@tchrist, I had heard appositive used for both types, but I think that you're right about "attributive" being more accurate in this case. Edited. –  JSBձոգչ Aug 5 '12 at 11:55
add comment

It's a tag* rather than an adjective. Rather like someone would say "Tell the blonde joke" - i.e. a joke involving a blonde rather than a joke which is blonde. "Indolently elliptical" as my English teacher used to write on my papers.

*right word?

share|improve this answer
add comment

It seems to be an innovation. Normally I'd expect to see Apple’s Software Boss Reveals the Story of the Origin of iOS. The OED has origin as an adjective only as an obsolete form of original.

share|improve this answer
1  
"Origin story" is not really an innovation, and "origin" is not being used as an adjective. –  JSBձոգչ Aug 4 '12 at 23:30
    
@JSBձոգչ Right, it’s just the regular noun being used attributively. –  tchrist Aug 4 '12 at 23:35
1  
Not an innovation. Anthropology has a whole field of "origin stories". –  GEdgar Aug 5 '12 at 1:28
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.