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Galore

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  • Galore is one of the few English adjectives that is always postpositive (meaning it comes after the noun it modifies). Its definition is in abundance or in great numbers. It can modify count nouns (e.g., apples galore, kittens galore, tractors galore) as well as mass nouns (e.g., money galore, happiness galore, sunshine galore).

    Galore comes from the Irish Gaelic phrase go leór, meaning to sufficiency, but in English it denotes greater abundance than mere sufficiency. Irish Gaelic adjectives usually follow their nouns, which partly explains why galore is postpositive in English. But English draws from many languages that use postpositive adjectives, and we can’t explain why galore remains postpositive in English while other adjectives from these languages do not. If you can explain this, please comment.

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    Examples

    A couple of “clippers” zip north of us in the next two days bringing snow flurries galore to the Great Lakes. [Washington Post]

    There are fantastic hotels and any type of food you want as well as beaches and golf galore. [Telegraph]

    Southlanders are set to ring in the new year with parties galore throughout the region. [Southland Times]

    Here he has both—mood galore and a premise strong enough to not only sire a great pilot but to sustain a solid series. [Los Angeles Times]

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    Comments

    1. James à“ Néill says:

      I consider the usage of “galore” in English to be idiomatic, BECAUSE it’s usage denotes superfluousness and is therefore inaccurate, and, hence, seems indicative of hyperbole. Being idiomatic could partly explain the syntactic rarity beyond its origins. It suggests the reason for its change in definition could be sardonic or at least ironic. This would surely fit with its Irish (and possibly Scottish) origins.  
      According to Merriam-Webster, its usage in English dates back to the early 17th century, which would indicate it didn’t originate in America. This surprised me, being its an Irish and Scottish cognate, until I realized that the Stuarts were on the English throne in the 1620s. Additionally, go leor (there doesn’t appear to be a fada over the “o” in leor, except in Scottish, where it’s “gu leà²r”) is also translated as “plenty”, as well as “enough”, and in English plenty has a sense of being more copious than sufficient, a difference that could also be explained by cultural differences.
      Bottom line: I believe it to be adherence to the idiomatic syntax defined by the linguistic norms of the time period of its transmission into the language (familiar to anyone who has read any Shakespeare) as well as of its parent language.
      Hope this is at least an interesting answer to your query, if not a probable explanation. I propose it only as an hypothesis, remembering full well that one may believe wrongly. :)

    2. Ajhuntsheads says:

      Is there any value to the observation that “galore” seems to be employed as a hyperbolic unit of measure only for things that are usually quantifiable and doesn’t usually apply to “noncount nouns”?  One would say “kittens galore” or “money galore” but would it be acceptable to say “time galore” or “love galore”?  I don’t think it would.  Any thoughts?

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