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November 12, 2007

Strike plate
Posted by Patrick at 08:05 AM * 450 comments

One of the minor annoyances of my life is that I’m exactly the right height to be constantly snagging my belt loops on those little tongues of metal that door latches snap into.

As I was just now remarking to Teresa, who’d agreed to mend a yet another torn belt loop for me. (Thanks again.)

“Strike plate,” she said. “It’s called a strike plate.”

So it is. I never knew that.

Okay, I’m sure everyone else reading this has known the term “strike plate” since they were five. But I wonder. What other commonplace objects of daily life do we not know the word for? (Yes, I know that’s like saying “Name five counties you’ve never heard of.”) Discuss.

Comments on Strike plate:
#1 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:21 AM:

Is there a word for that little triangle-shaped dent in your upper lip?

#2 ::: Damien Warman ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:24 AM:

"Philtrum". I am probably the ninth person to write this.

#3 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:25 AM:

Patrick has a little triangle shaped dent in his upper lip? It's probably cause he's so tall he keeps snagging it on the Empire State Building as he walks about town.

#4 ::: Beth Friedman ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:25 AM:

Scott H. @ 1

I'm not sure about the dent just in the lip, but the dent that starts in the lip and continues up to the nose is called the "philtrum."

#5 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:30 AM:

The end-thread that hangs out of a skein of yarn -- the one that's the starting-point for winding the whole thing up -- is called a clew.

#6 ::: Bridget Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:32 AM:

I am also the exact height to snag belt loops and, more annoyingly, the side pockets of my jeans on strike plates. I have actually torn belt loops off. I have also bent strike plates. I no longer have any strike plates on the interior doors in my house because I would rather the door rattles than I tear more of my pants or hurt myself when it yanks me so hard I fall down. (Also we were repainting so I had to take them of anyway and just didn't bother putting them back on. Useless things.)

I perpetually don't know what the word for things is. Is there a word for that? When you know what something's called but can't think of the word? There should be a word for it. I was using "aphasia" for a while but I know that means something else. (And I kept forgetting that word too.)

#7 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:36 AM:

The center part of a sewing needle, between the eye and the point, is the shank.

#8 ::: cisko ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:38 AM:

I remember a few from my obsessive readings of The Book Of Lists when I was about 13. There were a few more but those come quickly to mind:

The hard part on the end of a shoelace is the aglet.
The metal frame that holds a lampshade is a harp.
The indentation at the bottom of a wine bottle is a punt.

I think that maybe philtrum was on that list too.

#9 ::: folk on LJ ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:41 AM:

Oh, yes, Patrick, I hear you on the belt-loop thing. Interestingly, at my parents' house in Cornwall, which dates back to the 1700s, I never have the problem because the strike plates are lower down. You might have luck hammering the strike plates backwards, depending on how thick or ornamental they are.

I've got a "what's that thing called" for you: I can never recall what the name is for that lump on the back of the skull we all have. Wikipedia seems to tell me that it's the occipital bone, but the old Grey's Gray's Anatomy (curse you, Shonda Rhimes...) pictures aren't particularly helpful.

I remember also being surprised several years ago when encountering the word "snib", which turns out to be the little button on a Yale lock that one uses to lock it open ("leaving it on the snib") or closed.

Some may also find it useful to know the word "perineum" exists. I'll leave the (likely NSFW) research to the curious.

#10 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:43 AM:

Bridget said: I perpetually don't know what the word for things is. Is there a word for that?

If there isn't, may I propose omnisia? It works for me.

#11 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:49 AM:

Back to doors:

Doors in public buildings often have a small rubber thingy mounted on the wall next to them so the doorknob doesn't scuff up the wall. Does anyone know the name of that? (You might call it a doorstop, but to my mind a doorstop is something else).

#12 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:49 AM:

I once ran across armscye on a list of "names for things you didn't know had names." I didn't realize until then that it was an uncommon word.

Armscye (for those that don't sew) is the name of the armhole part of the body of a garment.

cisko, #8, they had aglet on there, too. I couldn't find the link until you posted aiglet. Using "arm hole" and aiglet in my search terms, I find it. Ta da! It is annoying that it is missing definitions for several items, but if you google armsaye, you'll find several lists like this.

#13 ::: Nangleator ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:58 AM:

When you hit shift and go across the top of the keyboard, you get the...

Tilde; exclamation point; commercial at; number sign; dollar sign; percent sign; caret; ampersand; asterisk; (Parentheses); underscore; plus sign; broken bar (pipe, if it isn't broken.)

I hate it when people get them wrong.

#14 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:00 AM:

So in those prison movies when they talk about shanking someone they are going to do repairs on their clothing for them. That's nice. It always sounded so ominous before.

#15 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:04 AM:

Bridget @6: I don't know the name for your affliction, but I can tell you that it's probably genetic and only passed down the feminine line. At least, it's so in my family. My father tears his hair out every time we ask him to do something, because the sentence is full of "the thingie" in the "you know what I mean." My mother can reach poetic heights of incoherence along those lines.

#16 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:05 AM:

One of the many odd little things I found about in my teenage reading about the Wars of the Roses and Elizabeth I (including the art of the eras, and the history of costume) was that the little protective ends put over the ends of the cords used for 'lacing' and holding together all those glorious slashed layers were called aguillettes. Back then they might be carved horn or ivory, or decorated, enamelled or jewelled precious metal. Nowadays this has devolved down to the little cover at the end of shoelaces, which has shrunk[en] down to being called an aglet or aiglet.

Another big vocabulary-builder <ahem> was working on house renovations some twenty years ago. There are so many different bits of a building we either don't see (inside walls or roofs, under floors, etc) or are not aware of usually. After all this time out of practice I can't right now think of any except noggins & purlins, which you wouldn't usually see.

I suppose all you crafty & outdoor camping people know about those most useful round things called grommets, too.

There's a lot of others things associated with sewing and costume. Godet & plastron, frex, are of limited use, being fairly uncommon, but it's probably fairly important to know which is your placket (the supporting part around a slitlike opening) and which your pocket, even tho' they're sometimes the same.

#17 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:07 AM:

A stack of hay bales (usually 64 if we're talking alfalfa in 100lb three-string bales) is called a squeeze. i.e., "I want to buy a squeeze of hay."

-- Leva

#18 ::: folk on LJ ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:08 AM:

Emma @ 15: many gay men, myself included, do this. I call it "speaking girl". Part of speaking girl also includes that thing some women do in conversation where they continue a train of thought from earlier.

Is there a term for this "thing we don't know there's a word for"?

The dot over a lower-case i or j is called a tittle. I wish that the bar that crossed a lower-case t were called a tattle.

#19 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:10 AM:

Scott H @ 1... Is there a word for that little triangle-shaped dent in your upper lip?

That reminds me of my favorite scene in Key Largo. You know the movie's plot. The war is over, and Bogart goes to Key Largo to talk to the family of a soldier who'd died while under his command. And he tells the man's father about all the things that they'd talked about. One of them is how, when the soldier had been a very young child, his father had explained to him what the dent on his lip was: when he was born, he knew all the secrets of the world, but an angel had put its finger on his lip so that he couldn't tell the secrets. After that, Bogart and Bacall leave the room, leaving the old man so that he can grieve alone.

#20 ::: John Aspinall ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:11 AM:

A rectangular cross-section groove, across one piece of wood, into which you slot another piece of wood (say shelves into the vertical side of a bookcase) is a dado.

#21 ::: Charity ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:28 AM:

In a reversal of name brand appropriation of the "Kleenex" and "Xerox" sort, I spent most of my adolescence not knowing that little yellow stickies were actually Post-Its.

Google gives lots of plural nouns for cats, but (as I type impeded by a fluffy tail) my favorite is a "nuisance".

The bubbles in antique, handblown glass are occlusions.

#22 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:33 AM:

The # is an octothorpe, I have been told. From a Xanth novel, I remember that the cross on a t is a jot-- I think it was two characters named Jot and Tittle. The stem of a leaf is a petiole; this is what you eat when you eat celery.
I'm pretty good with science vocabulary, but that's just being able to say 'thingy' in Latin.

#23 ::: Shem ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:35 AM:

I can never hear "philtrum" without this bit of Willard Espy doggerel running through my head:

I have a little philtrum
Wherein my spilltrum flows
When I am feeling illtrum
And runny at the nose.

#24 ::: Nangleator ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:36 AM:

The bits of detail on very large spaceships in the cinema are called nurnies. Another plural of nurny is greebles. Greeble is also the verb that means to add detail.

The visible beams of light that shine down from water's surface are called caustics.

The process for adding the logo to television programming is called DSK or downstream key. (Logos or inconceivably annoying advertisements that take up more and more of the screen real estate, and more and more of our attention.*)

* I predicted years ago that commercials would start to play during shows. So far it's only for other shows on the same network. And so far no one is talking over the audio track of the show we are ostensibly watching. Those things will change.

#25 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:37 AM:

two things to never get wrong in your fiction: guns and horses. And the topic of horses has a lot of terms to get wrong:

foal: baby horse, either gender
weanling: horse, under 1 year, that has been weaned from its mother.
dam: the mother of a horse
sire: the father of a horse

colt: male horse under 4 years old
stallion: male horse over 4 years, not castrated
gelding: castrated male horse

filly: female horse under 4 years old
mare: female horse over 4 years old

#26 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:39 AM:

Cisko @ 8 -
I remember a few from my obsessive readings of The Book Of Lists when I was about 13. There were a few more but those come quickly to mind:

The hard part on the end of a shoelace is the aglet.
Their true purpose is sinister!

#27 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:41 AM:

And a rabbet or rebate joint is a dado cut into the end of a piece of lumber, so that the cut is L-shaped. Cory Doctorow, if you're listening, I suggest "I, Rabbet" as a title to follow "I, Rarebit".

#28 ::: Bridget Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:41 AM:

Emma @15: I was asking because it's an affliction my boyfriend suffers from. My father used to do it too. He would more often do it with our names; there were four of us kids and he'd usually just run through the first syllables of all our names before settling on one, which was usually the wrong one.
I don't recall any of my female relatives being particularly prone to it. Except perhaps my grandmothers, but not before either of them was about 80. My mother occasionally gestures vaguely and says "You know what I mean!" but not as often as my father.

folk@18: It's considered "speaking girl" to not know the names for things? How strange. I know sometimes, as a female, I feel that speaking too technically will make people think I'm a complete nerdy weirdo, so I'll deliberately avoid using the most technical term for an item, but I don't often give into that impulse now that I'm, well, old enough not to care anymore.

What I was referring to was when you know the word perfectly well, and you intend to use the proper word, but when you go to use the word, it's just not there.

There *must* be a word for that.

#29 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:42 AM:

Wow, this thread would be a great source of character names with which to annoy Teresa.

#30 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:45 AM:

A yearling sheep is a hogget.

#31 ::: Janet Miles ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:48 AM:

As long as we're doing animal terms, one of my favorites is "puggle", a baby monotreme (echidna or platypus).

A baby kangaroo or wallaby is a joey.

A female kangaroo is a doe, flyer, or jill.

A marsupial's pouch is called a marsupium.

#32 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:50 AM:

Diatryma @ 22

but that's just being able to say 'thingy' in Latin.

On a slight tangent, because it's an abstract concept rather than a "thing", ontology is, quite literally, the study of "thingyness". But to confuse matters, it comes from Greek.

#33 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:50 AM:

Emma @ 15: "If two men are working in the kitchen together, one will say to the other 'put this bowl inside the larger bowl which you'll find on the top shelf of the green cupboard.' If a woman and man are working together, the woman will say 'put this in that one over there'. There is hence a phatic hiatus." -- McPhee, in C.S. Lewis's That Hideous Strength.

#34 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:53 AM:

Male goat: buck
Neutered male goat: wether
Baby male goat: buckling

Female goat: doe
Baby female goat: doeling

Sterile female goat (caused by sharing the same placenta as a buckling): freemartin

Note that "billy" and "nanny" are not generally used by people who actually raise goats.

#35 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:54 AM:

Bridget Kelly @ 28

There *must* be a word for that.

There is, but I've forgotten it.*

* Well, somebody had to! And Serge is probably still asleep.

#36 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:58 AM:

Serge @ 19

Oops, sorry, just read back and found you there. Have some more coffee, you're being far too literal. Go meta, young man!

#37 ::: Janet Miles ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:01 AM:

The specific form of aphasia where one is unable to remember a particular desired word at the time one wants to use it seems to be "anomic aphasia."

It appears that, technically, aphasia is only a valid diagnosis when the problem is caused by a brain injury (including disease processes like tumors), so everyday forgetfulness probably doesn't count.

#38 ::: John Hawkes-Reed ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:02 AM:

Bridget @ 28: I call it migraine-damage, although Aphasia seems to fit too.

My mother, who suffered regularly from the things, is a fount of alternate words for objects. 'The hot fridge' and 'spoon with holes in' for instance.

Now that I get the things relatively regularly (for a chap, anyway) I've been in the same state of being able to recognise that something is an object and that it has a name, but that the name is temporarily (thankfully!) missing. For some reason, John Cusack is one of the first things to go missing. It's... Not much fun.

#39 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:02 AM:

The crescent shaped area at the base of finger and toenails is the lunule. A word that is really, really hard to work into a sentence.

#40 ::: Hanne ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:03 AM:

I learned, having had it used against me in a Scrabble game by an aunt by marriage, that a holder into which one places a handle-less coffee cup is called a zarf.

I looked it up and lo and behold, she was not merely attempting to snow me in the interest of her triple word score. It was right there in the OSPD.

So technically, I think this means that those cardboard finger-protector sleeve thingums that all the coffee shops have are zarfs. Though I believe most call them "cup-sleeves."

#41 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:10 AM:

Bruce Cohen @ 36... Have some more coffee, you're being far too literal.

Does Folger's Instant (but cheap) Crap count as coffee? Anyway, my apologies for the off-topic post.

Not totally off-topic, since Greg London brought up horses earlier... Did you know that the French word for stallion is étalon, which can also mean standard?

#42 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:16 AM:

My favourite "the word was there a minute ago" was declaring to the office that I felt as though I'd been sat on by a zou[0]. Come to think on it, that's a pretty good description of my current condition, as well.

[0] That'd be 'elephant'... just not in english.

#43 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:16 AM:

Fragano @ 39... The crescent shaped area at the base of finger and toenails is the lunule.

Which is thus called because it is shaped like a moon crescent, and did you known that the French word for moon is lune?

#44 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:17 AM:

For obscure word-hunting, you can never go wrong with what you call various animal groups.

My favorites: a shrewdness of apes, a smack of jellyfish, an exaltation of larks, an ambush of tigers, and of course a murder of crows.

My absolute favorite: a surfeit of skunks. Indeed!

#45 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:17 AM:

If you have a shower with a circular handle control, the metal fitting into the wall is the 'escutcheon'. So if you have a blot on yours, that's where it goes....

#46 ::: Matt Jarpe ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:19 AM:

My son asked me to restring his shoes yesterday and I told him "Well, that's a problem, because you've got no aglets."

"I didn't know what they were, so I cut them off."

"Well, now you know."

#47 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:22 AM:

The spiral-shaped threads that arise from a drill-bit in metal: swarf.

The opening at the wrist of a long glove: the musketeer.

The roughened iron or steel plate against which a flint is struck to make a spark: frizzen.

I think the crossbar of a t is a jot; on this I might be wrong.

The outward step at the base of a wall is a berm.

#48 ::: jean vpxi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:23 AM:

We need more than a word! We need protection. The patent-pending Clip-on (or velcro-fastened?) Belt Loop Anti-Strike-Plate Device. Or maybe a Pesky Strike Plate Bumper. No need to employ your Eye-Shank-Point device on belt loops ever again!

#49 ::: wolfa ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:25 AM:

Bridget Kelly @ 28

Also called anomia. As there are more specific terms like averbia and colour anomia for people who can't remember verbs and colour words, respectively, anomia is often used to refer only to people who have trouble with common and proper nouns.

This happens to me a dozen times a day, usually at the least opportune times, either because I'm doing something important or I'm with family or friends who will make fun of me for ages. (I still haven't lived down the time I asked someone how to say "man" in French so I could finish some paper on Sartre.)

#50 ::: Connie H. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:26 AM:

#48 -- maybe little cow-catcher-shaped clipons for your beltloops? Could be very decorative, especially if you added braid and fringe....

#51 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:29 AM:

The crescent shaped area at the base of finger and toenails is the lunule. A word that is really, really hard to work into a sentence.

IIRC, one sign of anaemia is that your lunules become imperceptible - because the rest of the nail bed is so pale that there's no detectable colour change.
Weirdly, "lunule" was exactly the word I was going to cite as an example of "things you didn't know there was a name for".

"Rostrum" - not only a speaker's place, but also a beak - because the Greeks used to saw the prows, or beaks, off captured galleys and fix them to the speaker's stand as trophies.

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:31 AM:

wolfa @ 49... I still haven't lived down the time I asked someone how to say "man" in French

Why?

#53 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:33 AM:

# 15, Emma -

My mother has the affliction quite strongly. She once asked me to go to the .... (vague gesture) and look in the .... and get me her....

The funny part was, I managed it. (Context is everything!)

#18, folk on LJ and #22, Diatryma - I seem to have heard "every little tittle and jot" as a phrase. It makes a lot more sense now.

#24, Nangleator - My husband worked at a TV station for a while, and apparently those logos that appear during a program are called "bugs." Apt, especially the newer ones that make noise. Argh.

#54 ::: Vir Modestus ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:34 AM:

I'm in the middle of NaNoWriMo and was looking for the name of a person who fixes wagons. Couldn't think of it. But, I found a handy website called VisuWords that provides a graphical "mind map" approach to words and related words and so was able to find the word I was looking for: wainwright.

#55 ::: ctate ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:36 AM:

Hmm. There are also common everyday objects for which the nomenclature is widely varied and nonstandard.

For example, those elastic loops used to tie back hair? I've seen and heard any number of terms for them, none used ubiquitously. Hair elastics, hair frobs, scrunchies, ponytailers....

Also, those white ostensibly-temporary concrete barriers that show up on roadways, particularly during construction. I grew up calling those "Jersey walls," although here on the other coast nobody's ever heard that term. They best we can seem to manage here is "concrete barriers" -- a name both cumbersome and boring.

#56 ::: Nangleator ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:39 AM:

From that week I was an injection mold machine operator... The little hair of plastic hanging from the center of the bottom of a cup? It's sprue. The raised point itself is also called the sprue.

Plainly, they need a new obscure word for one of those things.

#57 ::: paul ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:41 AM:

And of course the T-shaped thing on one of two doors, french or otherwise, that close a single opening is an astragal.

I'm surprised everyone here didn't already know about rabbets, figuring so prominently as they do in the film version of Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. But even now I had to check to make sure that I knew what a lally column was (wikipedia has it wrong, of course).

#58 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:43 AM:

#38 John Hawkes-Reed -

For me, it is Tim Curry, every time. And saying, "You know, he was in Rocky Horror Picture Show. And Muppet Treasure Island. And that fantasy movie where he was unrecognizable under the makeup," doesn't help people know who I'm talking about.

#59 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:44 AM:

I was going to say that the info that flashes up on TV that tells you who someone is ("concerned citizen", "Democratic strategist", "heretical mime") is a chyron. However, Wikipedia claims it's a "lower third", but called a chyron in North America because Chryon Corporation is the Xerox of this particular field.

What I find interesting are the things that have a word in one culture, but are generic in another. The two Canadian/American examples I know of are:
* "tuke" - in America, a "knit cap" or "hat"
* "grader" - in America, a big yellow construction vehicle.

The grader issue might be simply that Canadians are more familiar with the type of vehicle than most Americans. Probably a snow removal thing.

#60 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:47 AM:

Diatryma@#22, `octothorp[e]' is a fairly recent, fairly silly coinage predominant in the telecommunications biz for what is otherwise universally known as the hash sign (Commonwealth) and number sign (US only?).

#61 ::: folk on LJ ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:48 AM:

Bridget @ 28 re: "speaking girl": I was more referring to the tendency to use "thingy", as in "pass me the thingy and I'll put it in the thingy", as a subject or object even when the name of the thingy itself is known.

re: name-switching: my dear late grandmother used to have an awful time calling us grandchildren by the right first name (and only six of us in total!). She did the same with her sons-in-law, and as we grandchildren have grown she's started confusing us with our fathers and uncles too.

re: the momentary lack of ability to recall a specific word: the opposite of logorrhea, I suspect. (Logostipation?)

Joel @ 33: Interestingly, "this one" and "that one" in Chinese (Mandarin, at least, and I assume the other dialects) are reversed: "this one", zhei ge is closer to me, and "that one", nei ge is nearer to you. "nei ge" is also the Chinese word for "um", and can be pronounced confusingly close to an unpleasant racial epithet.

#62 ::: folk on LJ ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:50 AM:

Nix @ 60, # is normally a "pound sign" in the USA (which is, of course, £ in the UK; I've also heard # called "square" in the telecom context here in Blighty).

#63 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:51 AM:

R.M.Koske @ 58... Tim Curry, every time. And saying, "You know, he was in Rocky Horror Picture Show. And Muppet Treasure Island. And that fantasy movie where he was unrecognizable under the makeup"

That would be Legend, starring Tom Cruise. And there was a zombie unicorn somewhere in there.

#64 ::: wolfa ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:51 AM:

Serge, because it was following 17 years of instruction in French, as well as living in a place where I used it regularly, and saw that specific word on bathroom doors daily? Also because this friend enjoys making fun of me.

#65 ::: Peter ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:52 AM:

Janet @31: According to Australian Fauna (who knows how authoritative this is), it's a common misconception that a baby platypus is a puggle - they say there is no official name but suggest 'platypup'.

#66 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:53 AM:

It shocked me to the lunules to realize I had forgotten the French word for "man".

What was mortifying was not having forgotten, but the fact that when my friend said, "Homme", I grew impatient, and said, "Well, spit it out!" I'll never live it down.

When they started to have sound effects on those damn lower-margin ads is when I ceased to have television in the house. If it's not on YouTube or Google Video, I don't need to see it. Not to mention I watched two movies in a row on USA and realized that every "unnecessary" scene had been deleted to make more time for commercials -- resulting in good movies being coverted into Cliff-Notes versions of themselves via the removal of everything which made them worth watching.

When you can't even rely on television to uphold its traditional cultural standards, you know you've reached the point in your life when you need to go off the grid and learn to play the banjo. Yes, folks, I've become a true curmudgeon.

#67 ::: aguane ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:53 AM:

#6 (and a bunch of numbers after that)

It's called a paraphasic error - there's several different types of paraphasic errors, some involve not remembering names (anomia) others involve substituting similar words. I tried to find a decent website that talked about the different forms of paraphasic errors but failed miserably in my attempt.

When you can't find the word at all and talk yourself around to what you mean, that's called circumlocution

#68 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:54 AM:

The dot over the "i" is the jot, from the Greek letter iota.

#69 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:57 AM:

And the little flap of flesh that attaches your tongue to the floor of your mouth is the oral frenum (or frenulum).

#70 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:59 AM:

Found that last one out from a Theodore Sturgeon story, A Way of Thinking, by the way.

#71 ::: folk on LJ ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:10 AM:

theophylact @ 68, unless my memory is faulty and there's a Wikipedia conspiracy, the tittle is the dot over i and j and the jot is the cross through a t.

@69, a frenulum/frenum is any such fold that attaches one part of the body to another in the same way. There's one attaching the each lip to its respective gum as well. And, without wanting to make naughty references twice in the comment to the same post, we all have one below the belt, whether we're homo sapiens model XX with full internal bits or model XY with the nifty extendable hose.

#72 ::: Nicole TWN ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:10 AM:

Apologies if everyone already knows these.

The thing that hangs down at the back of your mouth is your uvula.
The little cartilage triangle on the other side of the ear canal from your ear is your tragus.
If you should (Ghods forbid) get your eye poked out, the goo running down your cheek is called vitreous humor.

I thought everyone knew this, but I've had a few people thank me for pointing it out to them:
Dirty money is money that can be traced back to a crime. Clean money can't be. Money laundering is so called because it's the process by which dirty money becomes clean.

#73 ::: Nangleator ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:11 AM:

For fans of this topic, I would direct you to "The Meaning of Liff" and its sequel.

As to the noisy, distracting commercials on top of programming, I imagine it's an effort to get us to buy the whole freaking season of that show on DVD. In the future, television shows will become 42-minute-long commercials for the DVD box sets which feature the shows sans (most of) the advertising.

I hate runaway capitalism. I just haven't figured out what to replace it with yet. I also haven't figured out how to keep the wealthy people from murdering me if I do figure out a better system.

#74 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:18 AM:

#6
Noun Deficiency Syndrome

#75 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:21 AM:

#9: doesn't everyone know what a snib is? A very ordinary word in the UK.

#11: I don't know if there's a special word (other than doorstop) for the rubber things on walls that doors knock into, but rubber things that act as buffers between hard things (such as the ones on the bottom of your walking stick or laptop) are ferrules.

And # is sometimes called 'square' in the UK but is much more often called 'hash'.

#76 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:22 AM:

Nix at 60, after you said that, I did a bit of cursory googling and now know more about the history of a symbol I never use than I needed to. Which is to say, many thanks. I am engeekened.

Lunules are on the proximal/hand-side of the fingernail, right? Looking at my fingernails, I can find paler parts just at the base of the nail, but only on my thumbs and maybe my middle fingers if I'm lenient.

The difference between larva and juvenile, as I understand it: a larva is something like a caterpillar or a pluteus, which does not look anything like the adult. A juvenile is like a puppy or a child, which is an immature adult lookalike.

#77 ::: folk on LJ ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:25 AM:

Nangleator@73, isn't that end result why the WGA is striking? ;)

#78 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:34 AM:

Folk @18: I know, I have a friend who does it too, but not too often as the females get on his case something fierce!

Bridget @28:that's funny! Maybe it runs in families and it's either sex affected but not both? My mother does the same thing with names, by the way; my sister and I wait until the long string of names is over and the last one named is the one mom actually wants.

Joel @33: around my house that sounds about right!

R.M. Koske @53: Well, my dad can too, for my mom. But when I, who am usually fairly precise, fall prey to the "cosa" syndrome, he has the heebies.

Victoria @74: I like it!

#79 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:34 AM:

#63, Serge

Thank you. Normally I can call the title of that one to mind, but apparently Tim Curry's effect is spreading. (And pointing out that Tim Curry is so made up in one of my three examples was funnier than using Google..)

#80 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:42 AM:

folk on LJ@9: The lump at the base of your skull is called the occipital bun. It's a feature that we as a species are losing. (And it's a hell of a lot smaller on those of us what has 'em than it was among, say, the Neanderthals.)

#81 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:46 AM:

The vocabulary game, FreeRice, tops out at level fifty. (You'll know you're there when you start to see repeats.) That's mostly medieval farming terms and common medical terms. I disagree with some of their answers.

#82 ::: Russell Letson ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:50 AM:

I think Patrick and I are the same height--my striker-beltloop conflicts disappeared when I stopped using the successive-approximations method of navigating doorways. Though Sansabelt would work as well (once one has reached the get-those-damn-kids-off-my-lawn stage of life).

#83 ::: retterson ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:52 AM:

A person who divines fortunes and the future by reading the entails of animals is called a "haruspex." They practise "haruspication."

You might to check out the Archive of Endangered Words for a mighty fine collection.

http://www.13d.org/esofword/esof.cfm?type=new

#84 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:52 AM:

# is normally a "pound sign" in the USA (which is, of course, £ in the UK; I've also heard # called "square" in the telecom context here in Blighty).

Is it actually a pound sign in the US? I've never seen Americans use anything but "lb" for pounds (or "£" of course), as far as I can remember.

Solution to the problem in the OP: PNH should switch to wearing trousers with braces. (All right, "suspenders". But that sounds very odd to British ears.) Or, alternatively, platform boots, raising his belt loops out of the strike plate strike zone.

#85 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:52 AM:

#59
What you call "grader", I call a "road grader." But then, I grew up in rural America with dirt and gravel roads.

#86 ::: retterson ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:56 AM:

Oops: Try this link instead:

http://www.13d.org/esofword/esof.cfm?type=main

This list puts you on the moderated list of words.

(The other list I gave you is the one for those submitted; it contains a bunch of junk. So sorry!)

#87 ::: midori ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:58 AM:

paul, 57
But even now I had to check to make sure that I knew what a lally column was (wikipedia has it wrong, of course).
Odd. The wikipedia meaning is consistent with the usage on blueprints* from 1961.

*whiteprints, actually

Alison Scott, 75 #11: I don't know if there's a special word (other than doorstop) for the rubber things on walls that doors knock into, but rubber things that act as buffers between hard things (such as the ones on the bottom of your walking stick or laptop) are ferrules.
I thought ferrule referred to the bit of metal that holds something on, like the bit that holds an eraser onto a pencil?

ajay, 84,
Is it actually a pound sign in the US? I've never seen Americans use anything but "lb" for pounds (or "£" of course), as far as I can remember.
In commercial contexts it is. E.g. "hand me a ream of the the 24# white, please." (Pronounced "twenty -four pound white", referring to a specific weight of paper.) Sometimes seen in agricultural markets, or recipes.**

**when did receipt turn into recipe? And when did "in to" turn into "into?"

#88 ::: folk on LJ ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:59 AM:

Ajay @ 84, Thinking about it as a person manufactured in NY of 100% British parts, the usual context for # meaning pound is on telephone keypads. I wasn't sure of the historical reasoning for the # being called the pound sign in the USA, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. Apparently:

In some regions of the United States and Canada, the symbol is traditionally called the pound sign, but in others, the number sign. This derives from a series of abbreviations for pound, which is a unit of weight. At first "lb." was used; however, printers later designed a font containing a special symbol of an "lb" with a line through the ascenders so that the lowercase letter "l" would not be mistaken for the number "1". Unicode character U+2114 (℔) is called the "LB Bar Symbol," and it is a cursive development of this symbol. Ultimately, there was the reduction to a combination of two horizontal strokes (cf. skewed "=") and two forward-slash-like strokes (cf. "//"). In this respect, names like fence or square — as well as the representation of the sign containing two vertical strokes (rather than slanted ones), as on many keyboards — are misleading.
Its traditional commercial use in the U.S. was such that when it followed a number, it was to be read as "pounds," as in 5# of sugar, and when it preceded a number, it was to be read as 'number', as in #2 pencil. Thus the same character in a printer's type case had two uses.

#89 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:01 PM:

Diatryma@22:
The # is an octothorpe, I have been told. From a Xanth novel, I remember that the cross on a t is a jot-- I think it was two characters named Jot and Tittle.

You read the same book as me! The one where spaceships are being described as various symbol-shapes? This makes this thread the perfect one to ask a question about something that I've been trying to remember since I was 12: the book had a word for the infinity symbol that wasn't just infinity symbol, but every site I looked up, last time I checked, just had "infinity symbol". Anyone know the name?

#90 ::: Doug K ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:02 PM:

folk at 62 and Nix @ 60,
"# is normally a "pound sign" in the USA"
and you've no idea how confusing it is to write code as an emigrant in the USA: all your life you've called a hash a hash, suddenly your peers are talking about 'pound signs' that look nothing like a pound sign.. remapping takes time.

as far as I could tell, the only reason a # is called a 'pound sign' is because on the US keyboard, the # appears where the English pound sign appears on English (and Empire) keyboards. But Wikipedia says it was actually used as a pound indicator (weight), as in 5# is 5 pounds of good red wheat. Too sensible.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_sign

#91 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:03 PM:

#78
Thank you. I got it from a friend.

My mother never uses the "thingy" replacement, she just swaps words around or uses MSL (Mom Sign Language, aka gesticulation.) More than once she's said "put the dirty dishes in the microwave/washing machine/deep freezer/etc"

#92 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:03 PM:

Peter@65: According to Australian Fauna (who knows how authoritative this is), it's a common misconception that a baby platypus is a puggle - they say there is no official name but suggest 'platypup'.

I have an LJ aquaintance who rehabs orphan platypuses, and he uses puggle, as does the zoo he works with, so that's good enough for me.

#93 ::: Joy ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:05 PM:

#9 folk on LJ, #80 Andrew Willett

Technically speaking, that bump is the external occipital protuberance. But occipital bun works too.

Yay, my physanth degree comes in handy!

#94 ::: Evan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:10 PM:

If you're having trouble knowing the proper names of things, your best plan is to get yourself a 2-3 year old child. When my son Ben was that age, he took to picking up random objects and informing us of their names in very teacherly tones. For example, waiting in line at the grocery store, he presented me with one of those rubber divider sticks you put down on the conveyor belt to separate your groceries from your neighbor's, and announced: "This is a wong-wong. It's for when you're paying." Having no information to the contrary, I assume he was right, so I've used that word ever since.

Which brings me to Malthus #11: Doors in public buildings often have a small rubber thingy mounted on the wall next to them so the doorknob doesn't scuff up the wall. Does anyone know the name of that?

According to my son Ben, this device is called a wobber. Now, if you'll excuse me, there's no school today, so he's set up a first-grade classroom in our living room and given me an arithmetic assignment to do.

#95 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:10 PM:

...and now that I think about it, it's not platypusus, it's enchidnas he raises. So strike that.

#96 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:12 PM:

James @ 81: "The vocabulary game, FreeRice, tops out at level fifty. (You'll know you're there when you start to see repeats.) That's mostly medieval farming terms and common medical terms. I disagree with some of their answers."

I have a problem with the frequent use of French and the equivalent as "advanced"; I speak French and have a bit of a vocabulary in a handful of other languages, so those terms are pretty easy for me, and not really commonly used by English-speakers otherwise. And sometimes I think they split the hair of meaning oddly enough that the "right" answer is just as valid as second place.

I have a rather strong touch of verbal paraphrasia, so I'm always saying desk instead of pen or banana instead of bag. It falls under anomia also, which appears to be a pretty big bucket.

#97 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:13 PM:

38, 58, I went an entire decade, much of which I spent watching Star Trek twice a day with my future husband and his Trekker buddies, never being able to remember William Shatner's name when I needed it.

It was a bother, no doubt.

(And for all the tons of hay I've moved in my life, I've never once heard any amount of it called a squeeze).

#98 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:14 PM:

I needed to use grommets for something recently, so I bought a grommeting kit, and it contains a tapered brass object which is to be inserted into the center of the grommet and pounded on the other end with a hammer, to fasten the two parts of the grommet together (there's a little anvil under it, of course).

I am utterly shameless in calling the tapered brass thing a wallace.

Bridget 28: It's sometimes called the "tip of the tongue phenomenon," especially if you had the word in your head, or thought you did, until you tried to say it.

Janet 37: Hmm, I have aphasic episodes during a migraine, and my neurologist didn't argue with me when I called them that. I wonder what they do call such a transitory effect?

Matt 46: Tell him, right now, what his genitals are, and what they're for!!!!

Nix 60: Or "sharp."

folk 61: My great-grandmother used to call her youngest daughter "Nita-Babe-Oh, the devil! Ruth!"

Not sure what you mean by your Chinese example. That seems like the deixis of 'this' and 'that' that I'm used to.

'Deixis' is my contribution to the "words for things you didn't know there were words for" game we seem to be playing. And yes, there was a "Journal of Irreproducible Results" paper called "Deixis in the Lesbian Dialects."

tavella 89: Lemniscate.

#99 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:15 PM:

Free Rice does some funky things to definitions. After a certain point, though, I take a lot more words to define something than they are probably willing to put on the page. Sometimes they get unnecessarily fine, too; 'argufy' could be 'rebut' or 'dispute', but since I don't know the context, I always guess.

#100 ::: Zak ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:15 PM:

#24 Nangleator,

Technically all light focused through a dielectric material is a caustic. The term describes the spots where the light is focused, not the beams.

Some more words for stuff:

In California, the bumpy dots on highways and roads are Bott's Dots.

There are kind of too many names for road surfaces (based on their construction) to list all, but the common surfaces are tarmac, asphalt concrete and macadam. It would take a lot of space to explain each, and Wikipedia has good entries on them.

Product packaging that consists of a cardboard back with a clear plastic bulge inside which the product is visible is called a blister pack.

The point at which a liquid touches a solid (such as the raised area on the surface of water where a straw penetrates it, or at the edges of a cup, or around a rock) is called the meniscus.

As mentioned above, the flap of skin connecting lip, tongue and parts south is a frenulum. However, the thin 'seam' on the southern bits (of both persuasions) is called the raphe. The word describes the seam between any body parts.

The ability to know where your body is in space -- to have a sense of when you might be near another object because you have a kind of 3d map in your head -- is called proprioception.

#101 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:16 PM:

The first time I saw # used was when doing crafts as a kid that called for a particular size of tin can. I always assumed it was representing pounds rather than numbers, but that turns out to be incorrect. A #10 can is "twenty-five servings totaling 13 cups with an estimated weight of 103½ ounces (size of a roughly 3 pound coffee can)," per Wikipedia.

Also, note that # and ♯ are not the same. The first is pound or number, the second is the musical symbol for sharp. Microsoft may want you to call it "C Sharp" but they write it C#, so it's really "C Pound" even if that doesn't sound nearly as cool.

#102 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:18 PM:

midori #87: I was going to mention the pencil usage as well; a ferrule is also the thing that holds two pieces of plastic piping together.

The two pertinent meanings from the OED: Ferrule, n.
1. A ring or cap of metal put round the end of a stick, tube, etc. to strengthen it, or prevent splitting and wearing.
2. A ring or band, usually either giving additional strength or holding the parts of anything together.

Apparently the etymology can be traced back to the latin for bracelet.

#103 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:19 PM:

shadowsong 101: How did you HTML those two symbols differently?

#104 ::: retterson ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:25 PM:

# is for the unit of weight, not currency.

According to Wikipedia, it derives from the abbreviation "lb." Printers put an additional slash through the L so it wouldn't be mistaken for a numeric 1 -- and it morphed from there.

#105 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:27 PM:

Bridget Kelly #6: We've always called forgetting the word you need right now "the noun disease," because it's usually nouns.

#106 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:29 PM:

Octothorpe is # on a touchtone phone, other uses have other names.
The xiphoid process is a small sword-like piece of bone inferior to the sternum. You can palpate it by running your fingers up along the bottom of the costal arch. We want to avoid breaking this while performing CPR skills.
Leda and the swan were engaged in miscygnation.
Wether is a castrated goat or sheep. Bellwether is the one that the flock follows. I giggle when I hear about someone or something being a bellwether — we're being led by a castrato.
Escutcheon is a plate around a keyhole or other opening, not just plumbing.
Frass is insect excrement or debris (I learned this during a major Gypsy Moth infestation).
The small strip of wood between the top and bottom sections of a double-hung window is a parting strip. The strips separating the lites (panes) are muntins.
Nomenclature is (of course) the special words we use to describe things in general. Gnomenclature is when we are describing part of a sundial.

#107 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:30 PM:

And here I was all these years thinking # was the pound sign, since that's what all those robot receptionists tell me to pound over and over again before hanging up on me without routing my call where I wanted it to go.


Silly me.

#108 ::: Leva Cygnet ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:32 PM:

John -- Escutcheon also refers to the space between a goat's back legs. For a dairy animal, a wide escutcheon is very desirable -- there's more room for an udder.

#109 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:33 PM:

Nangleator @56: if you've never come across the word "sprue" until you met some in a factory, you've just outed yourself as someone who's never hung around with a bunch of scale model kit builders. I suspect that I'm not the only one around here who could wax lyrical on sprue and its function and after-factory uses. :-)

(I've still got the Liberator kit from Comet Miniatures, unbuilt, waiting for me to Do Something about it...)

#110 ::: retterson ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:34 PM:

Oniomania.

Passion for buying things.

#111 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:36 PM:

I'm surprised at the allegations that women more often don't know the names for things, or more often elide them and refer to them with indirections.

Because my experience is the opposite, and I suspect that the difference is entirely situational.

#112 ::: Bob Rossney ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:37 PM:

The strong half of a sword (generally from its midpoint to its hilt) is the forte, and that's pronounced "fort."

The weak half (generally from its midpoint to its tip) is the foible.

This isn't especially obscure, but I love the term for the thin sheet of material affixed across the back of many desks: the modesty panel.

#113 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:39 PM:

Bill (96):
I have a rather strong touch of verbal paraphrasia, so I'm always saying desk instead of pen or banana instead of bag. It falls under anomia also, which appears to be a pretty big bucket.
I just coined metonymia to describe that particular problem.

#114 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:39 PM:

'Sprue' (actually 'ciliac sprue') is also the name of a disorder in which gluten causes the intestinal cilia to weaken and break off, causing the victim to slowly starve no matter how much they eat. If the patient ceases to eat gluten, the cilia grow back and s/he recovers.

My friend Steve has that. The priests give him a special rice cracker at communion. He says "Hey, if I ever need to lose ten pounds, all I have to do is eat one donut!" He does not need to lose ten pounds. He's a carpenter, and not eating anything with gluten in it keeps your diet fairly restricted!

#115 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:41 PM:

#11, #75, #87
The thing that gets put on the wall to stop a door knob from making dents is called a "bumper."
A "stop" is the strip that is nailed to the "cheek" (door jamb). The stop stops the door's latch and bolt from swinging past the catch (aka: the hole in the strike plate).

A ferrule is a metal sleeve, tube or collar. It provides protection (the bottom of a cane) or access (to pipes and cable loops) and is generally fitted or held in places with screws.

#116 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:41 PM:

Another tangent: my husband is unclear on the distinction between "this" and "that;" more damaging to our ability to work together, he refuses to accept "that thing" and a precise finger-point (is there a word for that, I wonder?) as adequate description, even if "that" is just barely beyond the pointing finger's touch, or, conversely, the only movable object in an otherwise empty forty-acre parking lot.

#117 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:43 PM:

Rob 112: This isn't especially obscure, but I love the term for the thin sheet of material affixed across the back of many desks: the modesty panel.

That's funny, I call that the front of the desk! I guess I think of desks that have one as being a classroom thing...and of course the part of the teacher's desk that was toward me was the front, not the back.

Again, this is a phenomenon of deixis.

Hey, does anyone know if originally only desks for women had those modesty panels?

#118 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:43 PM:

Victoria @91: the MSL works well if your Mom has a great sense of direction. My mother's best friend, bless her directionless heart, motions to the wrong side of anything about 90% of the time. So, she says turn left, waves to the right. The problem is that 10% correct; you end up having to ask for confirmation every time, just in case.

#119 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:46 PM:

Greg @25: Except in racing, where males over the age of 4 who are still racing (and hence, not doing breeding duty), are just called "horses". There are also ridglings, who only have one descended testicle. Also, castrated males are never called colts (again, in racing anyway) and are only referred to as geldings no matter their age.

R. M. Koske @53: somebody, I think on rec.arts.tv.mst3k, coined the term "obnoxicon" for those logos in the corner of the TV screen. I like it.

Bob @112: the thin sheet of material affixed across the back of many desks

I call it "the @#*%ing thing that keeps me from being able to get at the network jacks or the outlets", since the desks around here are generally against walls.

I have snagged more sweaters on strike plates than I care to think about. Also skin.

#120 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:46 PM:

Callifornication: beautifying suburbia by the addition of golden arches and similar architectural embellishments.

#121 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:47 PM:

JESR 116: Tell him the difference between 'this' and 'that' is one of deixis, and tell him to go look it the hell up!

As for the other, does he have a neurological disorder, or is he just a PITA on principle?*

*That would be the PITA principle. *ducks*

#122 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:48 PM:

Xopher @ 103: I copied and pasted from Wikipedia because I was too lazy to look up the alt code. Upon further examination, I'm glad I was lazy. The unicode value for ♯ is "U+266F", the HTML code is "&#9839;" - but the alt code (which I've seen given as both "alt-226F" and "alt-9839") doesn't work. You can't use letters in alt codes, as far as I know, and "alt-9839" gives me "o". I suppose I could have used the HTML, but ctrl-v is much easier.

#123 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:49 PM:

John 120: I thought that meant having sex outdoors in October.

#124 ::: retterson ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:52 PM:

Rob @ #112 -- Yes, the strong point of sword is the forte -- that's why the primary pronunciation of the word meaning "one's strong suit" is "fort."

Saying "for-tay" is also acceptable, but it's the secondary pronunciation.

I find that it's always profitable to say "fort" and have a wordinista correct you -- place a bet ($5) and consult the dictionary.

#125 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:53 PM:

MacMansions: large houses in a dog's breakfast of architectural styles unified only by ridiculous grandiosity, built on small city lots; see Miami, Florida.

#126 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:54 PM:

Jen Roth @119, Why would a male horse that's being used for racing not be used for breeding? I can certainly see why pregnancy would affect a mare's racing abilities, but I can't quite see how a stallion doing stud duties would be unable to also run around a track now and then. (Unless I'm really misunderstanding how much that action affects a horse's stamina for a while.)

#127 ::: Victoria ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:57 PM:

The name for the passage way that links the outside of a stadium to the inside of a stadium is called a "vomitory."

#128 ::: wolfa ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 12:59 PM:

Emma @ 118

That's similar to the "the other left!" principle, also sometimes called "your left or my left?". It isn't restricted to people with a bad sense of direction, though.

#129 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:00 PM:

Fade 126: Jen will probably give a knowledgeable answer, but I hope to get in with a wild guess or two before she does! 1. It's the other way around; the strains of racing leave a stallion too tired to...too tired. 2. It's just one of the crazy rules they have: you can't put a horse out to stud without retiring it first.

#130 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:05 PM:

Greg, #25: Don't get me started on horse anatomy! I was horse-crazy as a kid, and learned the proper jargon for a lot of horse-related stuff at about age 6. As a result, I sometimes forget that other people don't necessarily know terms like "withers" (the base of a horse's neck, just in front of the saddle) and "pastern" (the short bone just above the hoof). Or the difference between a bridle and a hackamore (the latter has no bit), or that "bay" refers specifically to a brown horse whose points (mane, tail, and sometimes hooves) are darker than its body -- the same body color absent the dark points is chestnut.

Oh, and "mule" is specifically the offspring of a jack and a mare; the get of a stallion and a jenny is called a "hinny".

ctate, #55: IME, "scrunchy" refers specifically to a frilly fabric donut with the elastic at the inner rim. Plain hair-elastics are not scrunchies.

Here are a few unusual words from the area of jewelry:
- a flat-backed stone, usually unfaceted, is a cabuchon (generally abbreviated to "cab")
- the ring of metal that holds a cab in place is a bezel
- rough stones are prepared for polishing by adhering them to a wooden or metal rod with wax; this rod is a "dop stick"

#131 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:05 PM:

A cut crystal container with a lid and a wide opening and straight sides is known as a biscuit barrel (or jar). Always thought that was a very mundane for objects that are usually so finely crafted.

And when a cake plate -- whether porcelain or glass or whatever -- has extrusions on either side that make carrying it easier, these aren't called 'handles'. They're 'ears.'

Serge @19 -- my husband's grandmother had a similar story with an angel and a philtrum. She told my husband that people have philtrums (philtrae? philtra?) because just when we're about to be born, an angel pokes us just under the nose and says, "You're ready!

Xopher @98 -- aphasic episodes and migraines. Yep. Unfortunately. I've only experienced that during one migraine (pregnant at the time, apparently not all that uncommon), but it scared the dickens out of me.

#132 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:06 PM:

I'm not reading this thread (because I am doing NaNoWriMo, really really really!) but my husband is reading selected bits to me, and he asked me to post about the word I just used: Dingsprache, a German word for the way one speaks when one forgets the relevant words. "Put the um, round thing in the thing with the door, okay?"
-Barbara

#133 ::: SteveM ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:10 PM:

The temporary concrete wall used during road construction is a "Jersey Barrier", named after the state that introduced them. Much like the big metal clamp they attach to the front wheel of vehicles with too many parking tickets is known as a "Denver Boot".

#134 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:14 PM:

New subthread: words for "thing I don't know/can't remember the name of." Everyone is familiar with whatsis and thingie (and thingamabob) and doohickey, but there are lots of others, some of which I suspect of being regional or even idiolectal.

One of my college friends used 'gitchie' and 'blivet'. She explained that a "gitchie" could be alive, whereas a "blivet" was always inanimate. So an exotic insect could be a gitchie, but never a blivet, whereas an unidentifiable plastic object could be either.

I'm trying to train myself to use 'guvat'. But that goes along with other ROT-13 slang, and is not the same at all.

#135 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:18 PM:

Xopher, some days I think it's just that he hasn't grown up around people with a whole lot of tools and crippling language dysfluencies; other days the PITA principle seems to be a likely explanation.

Conversation, from life:

J. "Give me that thing, there, *points*"
F "You'll have to be more specific, dear."
J "Please give me that thing, right there *points harder*"
F *confused look* followed by handing J spomething 120degrees out of phase from correct object.
J "Not this thing, that thing right next to where it was."
F "I need a noun!"
J *Thinks hard, entire vocabulary disappears. Lets go of item being repaired, if possible, gets tool herself*
F "Oh, that thing. What is that thing, anyway?"

Lather, rinse, repeat, 25 years and counting.

#136 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:19 PM:

Xopher(134):
New subthread: words for "thing I don't know/can't remember the name of."
Those are know to programmers as meta-syntactical variables.

#137 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:22 PM:

JESR 135: Your forbearance astounds me. If I ever have that conversation with anyone, his* next line will be "OWWWWW!!!!!"


*I can almost guarantee the gender of the miscreant.

#138 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:22 PM:

My parents used to refer to any family whose name they couldn't remember* as the "Whosits". It took me an embarassingly long time to realize this was up there with "whatchamacallit" and not the actual last name for some particular family I didn't know very well.

In my social circle, "Thingy!" is used more often as a frustrated curse than to refer to an actual item, though "whatsit" and "thingamabob" come up often. Only the guy who grew up locally uses "doodad."


* Missionaries, dozens of supporting families we saw maybe once every four years. It came up a lot.

#139 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:28 PM:

philtrums (philtrae? philtra?) [Debbie #131] is getting close to philtre which is a love potion.

philtrum and philtre obviously have the same derivation. In Kipling's Kim, the Sahiba mockingly accuses Kim:

He has been running among the women. Look at his eyes - hollow and sunk - and the Betraying Line from the nose down! He has been sifted out! Fie! Fie!

#140 ::: Spike ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:31 PM:

The widget is a device included in canned beer to create the creamy head usually found on draught beer. Originally patented by Guinness.

#141 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:34 PM:

#134 Xopher

My family always used schmitchik for unidentifiable whatsits, thingummies, and whaddayacallums, which is either Yiddish or a word my grandfather made up that sounded Yiddish.

For years, I've gotten presents from my dad labeled as "from the benevolent Christmas schmitchik."

#142 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:34 PM:

Debbie @ 131... I like that interpretation too. By the way, I wonder if philtrum is where philtre d'amour (love potion) comes from.

#143 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:39 PM:

What is the grammatical term for dropping the 'G' from an 'ing' suffix, like in Singin' in the Rain?

#144 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:40 PM:

Maybe not an everyday-use item, but usually an everyday-see one: the ball of leaves that squirrels build in trees is called a drey.

#145 ::: Jurie ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:40 PM:

>>The end-thread that hangs out of a skein of yarn -- the one that's the starting-point for winding the whole thing up -- is called a clew.

So cats claw clews? Kewl!

#146 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:51 PM:

Fade @126: Breeding is pretty much a full-time job several months out of the year; from about February 1 through the end of June a top stallion might cover upwards of 150 mares -- many of those will become pregnant on one cover, but some will come back more than once. So that's an average of more than one a day, and it takes quite a bit of time and handling. Dual-hemisphere, or "shuttle" stallions, will stand at stud in the Northern Hemisphere in the first half of the year and the Southern Hemisphere in the second half.

The stallion is at a breeding farm for this, and there are generally no training facilities there. Some farms, such as Three Chimneys, do have exercise programs to keep their stallions in shape, but it's not as rigorous as racetrack training.

Also, stallions who are in breeding service tend to be more aggressive and harder to handle than males who are not breeding. There's also the possibility of a racetrack injury that, even if it's not severe, could interfere with breeding.

#147 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:52 PM:

Xopher @ 114: I thought it was celiac sprue and that celiac (or cœliac if we're being all unicode-fancy), meaning roughly "abdominal", referred to the digestive trouble caused when people with celiac sprue consumed gluten.

and @ 134: I tend to substitute kittens, puppies, and "the thing with the stuff" for nouns I can't remember. I got the cute fluffy animals from my husband, who uses them as space-filler for missing verbs as well.

#148 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:52 PM:

Here's a query, is there a name for the gap that appears on the hinge side of a door when you open it?

The one where you really don't want to leave a finger when the door is closed because the lever action will make your finger an ex-finger much quicker than if you slam a door on it the normal way.

I'm asking because there is a word for it in Icelandic ("fals" if anyone is interested) and it's been bugging me ever since I realised I didn't know the English equivalent.

#149 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 01:59 PM:

I have begun to use 'give me the that' and such. Like many small, strange habits, I can trace the provenance; in this case, it's Mimi Smartypants and a file folder labeled THIS.
More often, I gesture. If I can't move my hands, I sometimes can't speak. They hold the words so my brain can connect them.

As far as migraines and aphasia go, I don't get that-- but the warning I get is proprioceptive. I lose my left arm, sometimes the entire left side of my body, so I can move it, treat it as normal, but it doesn't register as myself, if that makes sense. First migraine I had, I walked to the nurse's office thinking, "Seizure or stroke?"

#150 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:06 PM:

I've been told a flock of ravens is a misery.

Excess material leaking out of mold cavities at the seams and harding is flash. Splay is a frosted texture you get when trapped moisture vapourizes. Sometimes that's not a sprue it's the runners and gates depends on the cavity set up of the mold.
I still have burn scars from the screw barrel and injection nozzle.

#151 ::: TChem ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:08 PM:

#134 Xopher: I say "doodle" a lot. And "tchotchke", though not entirely for tchotchkes.

When giving a scientific presentation, "moiety" is my thingy-like word of choice when I lose the noun. I realized early on that I needed such a tool.

There's a USB plug-in thing called a dongle which some companies provide as a frustrating anti-piracy device (without the dongle, their software won't run). Fun to say.

Prescription glasses for dogs with poor vision are called Doggles.

Apparently my brain is only accessing "do*" words today.

#152 ::: folk on LJ ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:13 PM:

Xopher @ 98: Sorry, I wasn't clear, it seems. (Also, unusual terms in linguistics is rather like shooting ducks in a pond. Of course, I can never deal with Sapir-Whorf without seeing Klingons in my mind.)

Okay, back to Chinese. Let's say I'm standing on the customer side of a cafeteria line. Li is standing on the other side, and there are two trays between us: one of pork and one of rice.

Physically:

folk | pork | rice | Ling

In Chinese, assuming that the , the rice is nei ge, and the pork is zhei ge. However, in meaning, the "nei" means "inside", as in "nei guo ren", which means "inside-country-people", "not foreigners". So, semantically my deixis is reversed from English. Does that make more sense?

Now, you want some interesting deixis, ask the people who live up near the Arctic. QI, the Stephen Fry panel quiz, tells me that they have different deixes for, e.g., "that thing we can't see", "the one up there", and so on.

The Chinese word for "thing" is "dongxi", which literally means "east-west".

In space, no-one can hear you scream in Chinese.

Spike @ 140, I seem to recall that the Economics meaning of widget predates the Guinness version. Economists were not inconsiderably put out about it at the time, apparently.

#153 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:13 PM:

Jen @ 146, don't forget a breeding injury that could interfere with racing. But I expect the behavior/aggression factor is the biggest single contributor; note that this is pretty specific to TBs, you don't get the same cut and dried "retired to stud" concept with eg QHs, Morgans, Arabians.

JESR: (And for all the tons of hay I've moved in my life, I've never once heard any amount of it called a squeeze).

That reads like a back formation from squeeze loader, the modern contraption that allows a single-handed human to pick up a block of hay and set it--well, anywhere, but originally on a truck.

Obligatory definition: only thing that comes to mind is "kerf," the space taken up (or taken out of the stock) by a saw cut.

#154 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:20 PM:

#148: Around here we refer to that as "the thing I crunched my finger in when I was young and asked my mother for a band-aid and bled a lot and had to go to the emergency room and get stitches and take yucky medicine and that finger is still shorter than the one on the other hand and has a funny fingernail, so don't do that". Did you want a shorter name?

Regarding the unfortunately similar heights of Patrick's belt loops and a strike plate, I have been known to tell people that I gave up on science because the forward projection of my hipbone (which undoubtedly has a name) is the same height as a standard lab bench. I had a little bump there all through organic chemistry.

#155 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:29 PM:

Ledasmom, I cannot remember whether it's the ilium or the ischium (never got that one right in Gen Bio), but it's one of those. I can't convert from pictures of the pelvis to front-and-back-bones or anything; I think I'd need to see an actual skeleton, and I'm no longer in a biology lab.
Most of my friends and I have a strip of holes in at least one shirt, just at bench height. You never know what's been spilled, and sometimes, you only find out when you discover you now have Lab Clothing.

#156 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:30 PM:

A scurry of lizards and a bale of turtles.

#157 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:31 PM:

Teresa #7: "shank": Same as the straight part of a variety of larger tools, notably screwdrivers and wrenches.

Nangleator #13: Ive heard that an older term for the "at-sign" is the "arabesque".

Bridget #18, et seq.: In my old techie crowd, we'd say "the noun server's down". (Indeed, it's not just "girls"!)

#49: IIRC a "grader" is a specific type of machine, used for smoothing and angling ("grading") the road surface.

A goodly number of the words mentioned clearly exist because somebody neded to call it something!

#158 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:36 PM:

The philtrum was used in a small plot point in the novel Last Son of Krypton; only Earth humans and Kryptonians have them, apparently. (Convenient, that.)

A chamfer is "a symmetrical sloping surface at an edge or corner", or as a verb the process of making such a surface. Janet Kagan used the word beautifully in Hellspark for the process of smoothing out conflicts between people from different cultures. (The etymology is from French and leads back to "broken edge".)

The analogous smoothing of a concave corner is a fillet.

#159 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:41 PM:

Christopher Davis @ 158... I remember that. Elliot Maggin was the author, I think. Albert Einstein made a guest-start appearance. And that's where I discovered that there was one bit of Earth technology that aliens preferred over everything else we had to offer - the photocopy machine.

#160 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:42 PM:

Ledasmom (154):
...forward projection of my hipbone (which undoubtedly has a name) ...
Illiac crest — the anterior superior process of the illium (refers to the whole top ridge of the hip). Or the point of the hip.

#161 ::: coffeedryad ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:43 PM:

The upside-down caret thingie over the r in Dvořák is a "caron" or "háček".

If you look at random unorganized things and see patterns in them, that's "apophenia". If you then go on to insist those patterns are meaningful or significant, it's "pareidolia".

And Julia Jones at 109, you are absolutely correct on the usefulness of bits and pieces of sprue.

#162 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:43 PM:

hey! I'm a grader! Grading a university thermodynamics class!

#163 ::: Steve C. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:44 PM:

Some aviation terms are derived from the French. The tail of an airplane is the empennage. Out on the trailing edges of the wings are ailerons.

#164 ::: Catherine Winters ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:45 PM:

At work, we've just received our new postage metre/stamp printy thinger. This has naturally led to much debate about whether it should properly be termed a 'franking machine' (yes) despite Canada Post's insistence on calling it a 'postal metre'. My position? I'm sure Canada Post's labeled their various hazardous chemical containers, natural gas intakes, etc., as "flammable", but that doesn't make it anywhere close to being correct.

#166 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:47 PM:

It looks like 'grader' is just a word that the Americans I know don't know, rather than a regionalism. It could be a rural/!rural thing, but I agree that it sounds like a "Well, we have to call it something!".

"fals" is a good example of what I was thinking of - a thing for which there is a word in one language, but it isn't broken out as a separate thinger in another language.

PS - my spelling has been corrected offline. A "knit cap" can be a toque, touque, or a tuque but not a tuke or a Took.

#167 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:52 PM:

Jurie @145 (and Teresa):>>The end-thread that hangs out of a skein of yarn -- the one that's the starting-point for winding the whole thing up -- is called a clew.

So cats claw clews? Kewl!

Lol!

A barf-glob is "A wad of tangled yarn that comes out of the middle of a center-pull skein of yarn when you are attempting to knit from the skein." (First described/discussed here). What I find interesting is the term's instant and enthusiastic acceptance. It just so obviously fits.

#168 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:55 PM:

Debbie @167

I think I'll have to start calling the less-desirable end of yarn to pull from a skein the "red herring."

#169 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:57 PM:

Other metasyntactical variables local to our household continuum: "oojah" (used in _Gaudy Night_), and "rooney" (came with my husband from ghuknowswhere). Variations on ones already mentioned: "whatsie" and "wossname", latter usually used as an alternative to "whosit".

We also speak of things has having been "roonified," or suffering from "roonification," IOW subjected to some process of alteration which we don't know what it's called or we can't be bothered to remember the word just then.

#170 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 02:58 PM:

Barbara Gordon @132 "Dingssprache" -- oh, yeah. Germans have lots of words for not having the word. Dingsbums, Dingenskirchen*, Dingsda.

*Deriving from the fact that there are so many towns and villages ending with -kirchen. So Dingenskirchen indicates generic-ness.

#171 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:03 PM:

Nangleator @24:
The bits of detail on very large spaceships in the cinema are called nurnies. Another plural of nurny is greebles. Greeble is also the verb that means to add detail.

In my family vocabulary, for at least 40 years, "greeble" has meant the meaningless advertising prose on things like wine bottles. Considering that this usage predates and resembles the cinematic greeble, and considering that we're probably less than six degrees of separation from Lucas, who coined it, I suspect that we have the original meaning. (One of our friends, an English teacher, had a GREEBLE stamp made to mark paragraphs of fluff prose.)

And my favorite term? murnival, meaning four of something. It's from an obscure card game called gleek, but I think it should be revived for, for instance, supermarket checkout lines.

#172 ::: Aaron ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:05 PM:

The little reflective bumps on roads have always been known as Cat's Eyes to me.

Puggles were critters (stuffed toys) from the really cool but now gone store called the Lost Forest.

I always heard a Widget was the tab that you pull to crack open an aluminium can.

#173 ::: Aaron ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:06 PM:

The little reflective bumps on roads have always been known as Cat's Eyes to me.

Puggles were critters (stuffed toys) from the really cool but now gone store called the Lost Forest.

I always heard a Widget was the tab that you pull to crack open an aluminium can.

#174 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:13 PM:

A sprue (mentioned above) is also the opening through which liquid is injected into an injection mold. Flash is the excess material you sometimes get when liquid squirts out through the edges of the mold.

The clusters of black dots used by Jack Kirby (and legions of imitators) to signify the negative space around discharges of unearthly energy are known as Kirby crackle. (Tutorial and discussion.)

To scumble is to take up a little bit of paint on a dry paintbrush, and brush it over a dry surface, leaving a patch of broken color.

#175 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:18 PM:

What is the technical term for someone who knows a lot of words? I can't be one until I know it.

#176 ::: paul ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:22 PM:

148: Only some hinges lead to the existence of that space. But since I once shut my grandmother's hand in same while she was getting out of the car, I cannot but think the word should be related to tumblehome, which has to do with how far the sides of a car are canted.

#177 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:23 PM:

Reflective road bumps are "road turtles". As opposed to "road kill," which can include turtles (rarely) but is more likely to be an armadillo or a possum.

#178 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:24 PM:

I'm seeing several different categories or classes of words being mentioned here, which I think are quite different:

  • Old/traditional words, such as philtrum
  • Old/traditional words which are still in heavy use in the context of specific trades or skill sets, such as strike plate which started this all off. (If you've ever replaced all the doorknobs and locks in a house, you probably remember "strike plate" by the end of it even if you're not a carpenter.) Similarly for cabuchon, dado (not to be confused with dido, all the horse terms...)
  • Modern coinages, a la McMansion, octothorpe or a vast host of technical words.
  • Sniglet-type cute inventions, a la Californication. (In my book, these don't count, but of course some of them end up going into common use like "McMansion" has.)

Just schematizing obsessively - but my original point was that I think the first two categories are much more interesting.

Fungi @ #59, #166: If you had had a typical construction-obsessed 5 year old boy on hand, you could have found out in no time flat that that machine is called a "grader", or certain types specifically a "road grader".

#179 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:33 PM:
. . .I’m exactly the right height to be constantly snagging my belt loops on those little tongues of metal that door latches snap into
Patrick, as someone a couple of inches taller (and wider) than you, I am sympathetic. However catching the belt loop does cause less damage than catching the back edge of one's front pocket. While a tear is unusual, it often seems to be nasty one that is hard to repair neatly. And of course it always happens when you are already late for work.
#180 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:40 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 66:
"Not to mention I watched two movies in a row on USA and realized that every "unnecessary" scene had been deleted to make more time for commercials -- resulting in good movies being coverted into Cliff-Notes versions of themselves via the removal of everything which made them worth watching."

The most extreme example I've seen of that is when a local station showed the movie version of Kurt Vonnegut's HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WANDA JUNE... and edited out every scene that Wanda June appeared in.

#181 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:41 PM:

abi 175: If you know and prefer long words, you're a sesquipedalian. I was sometimes referred to as an ambulatory lexicon in high school.

#182 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:46 PM:

Xopher @181:
I was sometimes referred to as an ambulatory lexicon in high school.

You had more literate peers than I; I was simply known as Dictionary Foley (by analogy with Encyclopedia Brown).

#183 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 03:56 PM:

Christopher Davis @ 158 / Serge @ 159:

THAT'S IT!!! I've been trying for years to remember a) what the word was (thanks to all the above who posted "philtrum") and b) how I came to know it in the first place.

I loved the Elliot S. Maggin books; the best thing about Superman I & II was that the movies spawned the otherwise unrelated tie-in books. I still re-read them occasionally. My favorite part was when Superman saved the Museum of Modern Art(?) before all the other stuff imperiled that day because "Superman had always had a soft spot for American pop culture." Elliot S. Maggin is long overdue for his Nobel Prize in literature, IMHO.

More to the point of the thread: I hereby move that, henceforth, any set of more than four house dogs be collectively referred to as an "annoyance."

#184 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:00 PM:

FungiFromYuggoth @ 166: Tooks are often fools, but are never hats.

Avram @ 174: I prefer the definition of scumble as a (made up) noun: an alcoholic beverage made from "apples, mostly" that is not, technically speaking, potable. "It is drunk in thimbles, is strong enough to be used for cleaning spoons, and should not be put in a metal container or allowed to come into contact with water." (Quotes from the Discworld wiki at lspace.org.)

Re: armadillo roadkill from joann @ 177: Is it true that an armadillo's response to bright lights and/or being startled is to jump straight up to about Mack-truck-grille height?

#185 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:07 PM:

Abi @ 182... I was simply known as Dictionary Foley

Dixie Follies?

#186 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:11 PM:

shadowsong @ 184: Is it true that an armadillo's response to bright lights and/or being startled is to jump straight up to about Mack-truck-grille height?

Well, that's an empirical question, if I've ever heard one!

#187 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:14 PM:

This was an Advanced Placement English class. The girl who called me that knew she needed bigger words, so she looked them up in a Thesaurus.

#188 ::: Bob the Mole ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:14 PM:

My mom calls things the wrong name all the time. Once she asked someone to pick up "salsa" at the grocery store when she wanted tomato sauce.

We had very unusual pasta that day.

#189 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:16 PM:

Xopher @ 181: It always looks to me as if sesquipedalian (containing many syllables) should be related to quip (a witty remark - which in my opinion is defined by its brevity, and which is contained (although not etymologically) within sesquipedalian).

#190 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:17 PM:

167: There are also the knitlist terms "tink" and "frog": to tink ("knit" reversed) is to unravel one's knitted work stitch by stitch, while to frog is to unravel it wholesale (rip it, rip it).

#191 ::: OtterB ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:26 PM:

Well, shoot. I was going to recommend a family favorite entitled Mrs. Byrne's Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words but a look at amazon suggests it's only available in overpriced used editions. There is a page-a-day calendar for 2008 (which might be fun)

#192 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:30 PM:

Serge @143: What is the grammatical term for dropping the 'G' from an 'ing' suffix, like in Singin' in the Rain?

I thought it might be a flavor of apocope, but apparently it's G-dropping (or perhaps "G-droppin'").

A druk is a smoothly convex pressed-glass bead, usually a simple round but sometimes a flattened ovoid. Semi-similarly, a rivoli is a faceted shape (generally of a rhinestone, but sometimes of a bead) that rises to a central point on both sides and has a plane of symmetry halfway between those points; the equatorial boundary of a rivoli is usually circular but sometimes shaped like a heart or marquise/navette, the latter pair of synonyms which refers to a cut whose footprint resembles a longitudinal cross-section of a football: an oval-like shape that converges to sharp points at both ends, also known as a vesica piscis or mandorla.

The characteristic silvery-blue "billow" of light beneath the surface of a moonstone is adularescence. The similar blue-green fire in labradorite, a related family of feldspars, is labradorescence. The glittery reflections from inside aventurine is aventurescence (stunning originality, eh).

The overall quality of a material's or object's light-passing-throughness (opaque, translucent, transparent) is diapheny.

#193 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:34 PM:

John Houghton #160 :
Was this the hip that launched a thousand ships
and burnt the topless towers of Illium?

#194 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:35 PM:

Debbie @ 186: It may be an empirical question, but I lack both armadillos and a Mack-truck-grille measuring stick, as well as the mindset that would allow me to goad armadillos into jumping to their doom. I must therefore rely on others' observations.

And now for some reason I'm visualizing armadillos decked out like droidekas for Halloween.

OtterB @ 191: It's available for very cheap from various places through AbeBooks.

#195 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:42 PM:

#190: I always heard it as "tink" for undoing knitting stitches, and "frog" for doing the same with crochet. But then, crochet is much easier to rip, so I can see "frog" for both when ripping, as the tinking is a very different (and much more finicky) action.

#196 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:45 PM:

#194 armadillos -- To their doom? Heaven forfend! You'd just have to, maybe, goose 'em or something. And use Mack mock-ups.

#197 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:46 PM:

Julie L @ 192... Thanks. I prefer apocope to G-droppin'. Sounds more impressive.

Coming soon.. Francis Ford Coppola's Apocope Now...

#198 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:47 PM:

The Constitution defends the right to bear armadillos.

#199 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:48 PM:

When I was in high school and college the "Intrepid Linguist Library" books were released. I really enjoyed The Superior Person's Book of Words by Peter Bowler. Two of my favorites are calefacient, something that creates warmth when ingested/applied/consumed/used and moliminous, of great import.

#200 ::: Evelyn Browne ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:51 PM:

Xopher 117, folk 152--

My favorite deixis joke: Two linguists are walking down the street. Which one is the specialist in contextually indicated deixis and anaphoric reference resolution?

The other one.

#201 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:53 PM:

The quilters I know use Frog Stitch to refer to sitting there with a stitch ripper and removing seams. However, there is a lot of cross-pollination in the fiber arts.

#202 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:55 PM:

Tania @ 199... "Intrepid Linguist Library"

Well, Indiana Jones was a teacher.

#203 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:55 PM:

Serge 197: But it's not apocope because no sound is vanishing. Instead, a different sound is substituted.

#204 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 04:59 PM:

Evelyn 200: That's great!!! I'm definitely stealing that one.

#205 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 05:05 PM:

Speaking of deixis, I vaguely recall an anecdote about its relative phonetic mapping in that within the same series of referents, terms for farther-awayness involve articulations that are more "outward", as if pushing food out of the mouth; ditto for simple negatives such as "no". Any confirmation of this from actual linguists like Xopher etc.?

#206 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 05:05 PM:

Janet Miles @ 37: anomic aphasia - thank you for that phrase. I've always done it while migraining, but the CFS/fibrofog nonsense means I do it all the time. Drives me (further) crazy. (Oh, and hi! Good to see you "here.")

re: widgets, I always think of Sturgeon's "The (Widget), the (Wadget), and Boff", from the um. mid- to late-50's, maybe? *wanders over to Contento site* yep, 1955, anthologized in A Treasury of Great Science Fiction, Vol. 1. Which is in one of the four (!) cartons still not sorted and shelved or put back into storage, so I won't dig it out to re-read it today. Not with this migraine, anyway.

#207 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 05:07 PM:

Xopher @ 203... On the other hand, the sound of 'in' is different from the sound of 'ing'.

#208 ::: Bill ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 05:08 PM:

OtterB @ 191: "Well, shoot. I was going to recommend a family favorite entitled Mrs. Byrne's Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words but a look at amazon suggests it's only available in overpriced used editions. There is a page-a-day calendar for 2008 (which might be fun)"

You've reminded me that I own a copy of that delicious reference book! And lo, ten dusty minutes later, I found it at the bottom of one of the lesser bookshelves.
A random sample (feel free to request more via random numbers for page and entry counts):

empleomania: n. a mania for holding public office.
mechanomorphism: n. the doctrine that the universe is fully explicable in mechanistic terms.
quern: n. a spice grinder.
tiddledies: n.pl chunks of floating ice.
zneesy: adj. freezing, frosty. also znusy.

I should have stuck to nouns but I forgot how much fun this book is.

#209 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 05:09 PM:

Xopher #203 : Substitution (of the alveolar nasal for the velar nasal).

#210 ::: Nathan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 05:10 PM:

Serge @198 The Constitution defends the right to bear armadillos.

I read that as "bare" armadillos and wondered how the hell you get them outta the shell.


#211 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 05:19 PM:

Mrs. Byrne perhaps needs to be a bit more careful. A quern is not especially a spice grinder, though it could be used for such a perpose. It is rather a hand mill using grindstones for grinding grain (or presumably other stuff). It comes in two flavors: your classic rotary variety, and a rolling-pin-on-flat-netherstone variety called a saddle quern (the netherstone gets hollowed out over time).

#212 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 05:24 PM:

C. Wingate @ 221: Is a mortar and pestle what you mean by "classic rotary variety", or is it something else again?

#213 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 05:41 PM:

@26: The hard part on the end of a shoelace is the aglet. Their true purpose is sinister!

Yay Scott with the JLU ref FTW!

I had occasion to think of that line a lot watching my husband work his way through Metal Gear Solid 3 last night. Every time the main character puts a knife to a nameless enemy character's throat and growls, "Speak!" I expected one of the enemy characters to grit out the line about the aglets.

Metal Gear Solid 3 is an incredibly badly scripted anti-commie torture-porn flick posing as a video game with stupidly long cut-scenes and (reportedly) all the controls in the wrong places, with a soundtrack that belongs in one of the cheezier James Bond movies. The visuals are nice, though.

#214 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 05:44 PM:

Serge 207: But apocope isn't substitution.

#215 ::: Pfusand ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 05:48 PM:

I've checked for my particular words, then skipped to the bottom.

As we all know, Bob, small, random bits of junk are known collectively as "cruft." As my husband and I found out, while visiting a marine museum (shaped like a ship) in Penzance, this is a Cornish word referring to the dry, flaky material that collects inside objects found underwater.

It is more common, however, to discover that the material which has collected inside your underwater object, is dark, oozy, and sticky. That is called "clib." I use "clib" to describe the... stuff I find when I clean in the back corner of refrigerators. I hope others will do likewise.

#216 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:00 PM:

One thing that multiplies words is that professions having many superficially similar but differently used/executed things give each of them a different name. The canonical example is of course all the things-made-out-of-cord on a sailing vessel, but carpentry is full of this too, largely generated by the fact that the direction of the grain matters a great deal. Therefore a groove is different from a dado, because the former runs along the grain, while the latter cuts across it. A chamfer is any small flat angled relief between two "flat" surfaces (cylinders being officially flat along their lengths), whereas a fillet has a number of not particularly consistent meanings, depending on context. Mouldings covers the entire range of shapes produced by running a shaped cutter along a surface; an astragal happens to be one of the forms.

#217 ::: Matthew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:03 PM:

Scumbling, I have heard, is the name for painting non-wooden things with faux wood pattern, frequently used on ships in the era in which the superstructure construction was moving from wooden to metal. I heard it first in connection with the restoring of the PS Waverley, the world's last seagoing paddle steamer, which got its original scumbling restored after decades of white paint.

I'm a keen railfan, and railroading has its own weird vocabulary. This is made especially interesting because the vocabulary is almost totally disjoint between Britain and the US - probably because the major development in railroading was in the period between American independence and the coming of better communication between continents.

Even more interestingly, different railroad companies often had their own language and their own terms - because of the way the industry and unions were set up, people rarely if ever moved between companies. If a locomotive engineer with one road went to work for another, he would lose all his years of seniority and have to start again at the bottom. (It still works this way in commercial aviation, interestingly, which is why pilots don't switch between airlines).

One thing that seems to have persisted in railroads later than most is the spelling of the word employee as employè - I think I got the accent the right direction there! This was a common spelling pre 1900 universally but persisted in railroading till the 1960s at least.

#218 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:06 PM:

The collective noun for wombats, by popular acclaim, is a wisdom - this animal is sacred to librarians.

One of my favourite less-than-common words is meniscus for liquid or foam which bulges over the lip of a container without spilling. I am Mensicus Girl - my superhero power is being able to pour champagne so the foam bubbles out of the flute but doesn't spill.

As to the what-was-that-word range of maladies: aphasia is when you know there's a word for something but can't drag it into the light, dysphasia is when you inadvertently say a word which sounds like, but does not mean anything like, the word you meant. It's a pain in the asked.

#219 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Matthew Brown #217 : Terry Pratchett lifted the word scumble for a fearsome alcoholic beverage in some of the Discworld novels (maybe adapted from scrumpy, a version of cider, not for the faint-hearted, made in the county of Somerset in the English West Country).

#220 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:20 PM:

shadowsong #194:

Mack trucks not required; armadillos' normal levitation height seems to be something more like a pickup bumper. That is, there's darn few Mack trucks on back Texas roads, and a hell of a lot of dead armadillos. But yes, they do jump straight up.

#221 ::: Martin G. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:34 PM:

octothorp 192: it is an apocope, indeed. In the North of Norway, where my girlfriend is from, everythin' is apocop'd. It sounds quite lovely, actually.

I learned recently that the collective noun for a group of starfish is "a constellation of starfish".

#222 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:37 PM:

Matthew @ 217

A lot of mid-19th century railroad equipment in the US was imported, along with the people who built and maintained it - one of my great-great-grands was a 'railway machinist', aka mechanic (born in York, married in Manchester, died in Terre Haute). Why we have our standard gauge of 4 ft 8.5 inches, and possibly why heavy-rail locomotives are right-hand drive (the engineer sits on the right side of the cab).

#223 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:49 PM:

diatryma,

Lunules are on the proximal/hand-side of the fingernail, right? Looking at my fingernails, I can find paler parts just at the base of the nail, but only on my thumbs and maybe my middle fingers if I'm lenient.

visible lunules in every nail are more common for people of african descent (ok, recent african descent), than those of european descent. i don't know about other non-european groups (i learned this in frantz fanon unit of intro to cultural theory).

serge,

the philtrum legend that you know everything (in this case, all of torah) before you're born & then the angel kisses it away, is widespread in my american-orthodox-jewish community. every kid was taught that. no idea how old it is, though.

xopher,

I was sometimes referred to as an ambulatory lexicon in high school.

me, too. but not in those words (i never had the shock of suddenly not being the smartest person in the room, like many nerds have to deal with, though, because i have older siblings).

#224 ::: Jim Flannery ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:51 PM:

All the folks who are so trustful of Piers Anthony for etymological information might want to look up "jot" in a dictionary. There's another letter it has a much more to do with than "t", with which it has naught.

#225 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:55 PM:

Nathan @ 210... You don't want to know.

#226 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:58 PM:

Xopher @ 203-214... I blame my brain's earlier lack of understanding on a liquid diet of Folger's.

#227 ::: Cat ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 06:58 PM:

Tavella at #89

the book had a word for the infinity symbol that wasn't just infinity symbol, but every site I looked up, last time I checked, just had "infinity symbol". Anyone know the name?

Lemniscate?

#228 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:01 PM:

Tania (201): stitch ripper

I call that a 'seam ripper', as does the packaging on the one I just bought.

Generally: My father has the forgetting-common-words problem, most noticeably at the dinner table. ("Please pass the, um--" and we check to see where he's looking and pass whatever it is he doesn't have.) I used to ascribe this to the fact that English is not his first language, until I started doing it, too. So it's not necessarily sex-linked even within a family.

#229 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:08 PM:

miriam beetle @ 223... Hmm... Key Largo is based on a play, but the movie's script was by Richard Brooks, who was born Ruben Sax, from Russian Jewish parents. That might be where it came from. It's a beautiful story.

#230 ::: p.o.m ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:08 PM:

folk @ 152: At the risk of looking extremely stupid /pompous - what?

nei(4) as in 'that' = 那
nei(4) as in 'inner' = 內

So it could be a play on words, I imagine, but I'd quite missed the story where they came from the same word. (Then, I've heard 那 mostly as 'na', so maybe it's bias - and I'm so, so far from fluent in any case.)

#231 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:09 PM:

#192: You have left out my very favorite gem-related word, chatoyance, referring to a stone that has a reflective quality reminiscent of a cat's eye. Tiger's eye, logically enough, has it.

#232 ::: thanbo ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:10 PM:

and here I thought a strike plate was what WGA members eat on every 20 years or so. "Royalties are down, better find the strike plates, Marge, we might need to use them again."

#233 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:12 PM:

Matthew @ #217, different railroad companies often had their own language and their own terms

So do military services. After I got out of the Navy in 1974 I went out to Kwajalein, which is an Army base. Long and short, all the USN terms and regulations I knew for radioteletype comms were not in use there; I had to learn the all-powerful Army Regs for my specific field.

This made for interesting arguments between supervisors who'd been trained in one service and grunts who'd been trained in another.

#235 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:19 PM:

re 217: What's even worse is that in a lot of cases the Brits and the Americans couldn't even decide what the things were, much less what name to apply to them. For instance, Americans and Brits both have "loops", but in the USA, loops are, um, loop-shaped, while in Britain what we call a passing siding they call a passing or crossing loop. It gets even worse in the signalling department because the concepts barely overlap at all, up to and including "why are we even doing this?" Another thing is that American railroading is exceedingly well-endowed with specialized slang. I can come up with five different names for that car on the back of the freight train with the people in it, and that's without having to resort to any of the more specialized versions.

#236 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:24 PM:

I haven't read the thread yet, but I do wonder what you call those plastic sticks that you twirl to open or close venetian blinds.

Not related to anything in this thread, for the longest time I though binder clips were called "elephant clips." No, I have no idea why.

#237 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:25 PM:

stitch ripper/seam ripper

My family calls one of these a quickunpick. I suspect that at some time in the misty past, it was the brand name of one which belonged to a forebear. It's certainly not the brand of mine, my mums or my nanas, though.

#238 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:27 PM:

The railroad rule seemed to be that there had to be one thing that had a non-standard name-- except on the Pennsy, which being the Standard Road of the World, had its own "standard" about everything and therefore was uniformly eccentric. The mutual incomprehensibility wasn't really that high, what between interchange traffic, trackage rights, and boomers. During WW II a bunch of railroads decided that "mikado" was not a patriotic name for a locomotive type and decided to call them "Macarthurs" instead. The railroaders called them all "Mikes" anyway.

One thing about the Navy vs. Army terminology difference is that much of that is quite deliberate. Heaven forbid that the Navy should be stuck with using an army word!

#239 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:32 PM:

The railroad rule seemed to be that there had to be one thing that had a non-standard name-- except on the Pennsy, which being the Standard Road of the World, had its own "standard" about everything and therefore was uniformly eccentric. The mutual incomprehensibility wasn't really that high, what between interchange traffic, trackage rights, and boomers. During WW II a bunch of railroads decided that "mikado" was not a patriotic name for a locomotive type and decided to call them "Macarthurs" instead. The railroaders called them all "Mikes" anyway.

One thing about the Navy vs. Army terminology difference is that much of that is quite deliberate. Heaven forbid that the Navy should be stuck with using an army word!

#240 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:34 PM:

Zak @100: Technically all light focused through a dielectric material is a caustic.

Reflection counts too. One of the classic examples of a caustic is sunlight reflected off of a bicycle rim onto the road.

#241 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:43 PM:

abi:
While you are certainly a linguaphile, I just learned from the 'A Word A Day' mailing list (aka AWAD) a few weeks ago that one who shows off by using exotic words is a lexiphanes. (One can see the word's relation to a hierophanes or hierophant, which could be considered near synonyms to this week's mystagogue.)

I imagine that a true lexiphanes might indulge in verbigeration or bombast. (Both also AWAD words in the last year.)

#242 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:43 PM:

I #1174 Avram writes:

The clusters of black dots used by Jack Kirby (and legions of imitators) to signify the negative space around discharges of unearthly energy are known as Kirby crackle. (Tutorial and discussion.)

Thanks for that link! Being ignorant of their proper name, I always called those dots "cosmic energy."

Now can you lead me to a tutorial on how to draw scientific equipment so as to resemble a collection of saxophone parts?

#243 ::: Melissa Devnich ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 07:54 PM:

#184 shadowsong (and following discussion):
Is it true that an armadillo's response to bright lights and/or being startled is to jump straight up to about Mack-truck-grille height?

I can answer that one empirically! On a camping trip on one of the Georgia barrier islands when I was young, our family came across an armadillo nosing through the woods. Leaving the rest of us to watch, my dad snuck around behind it and poked it with a stick. The armadillo did indeed jump vertically, about 3 feet high, and took off like a rocket when it hit the ground.

Then we laughed ourselves sick.

#244 ::: y ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:02 PM:

161: that diacritic is sometimes called a caron, but nobody knows why.

The vertical stroke used in writing the letter i (for example) is called a minim. The word "minim" is made of letters that all used to be written entirely using minims.

#245 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:02 PM:

The small square (flattened pyramid) metal things that delineate road crossings, at least in the UK, are called crobs. I've no idea where this term comes from - I've never heard anyone else use it. Then again, we so rarely have a reason to refer to those.

#246 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:07 PM:

analemma: the shape (like an elongated 8) made by the position of the sun at the same time each day over the course of a year.

Mez @ #16, a plastron is also the nether shell of a turtle (the upper shell is the carapace).

How about some verbs for a change?

To sniggle: to fish for eels.
To gig: to spear frogs with a small trident.
To noodle: to attempt to catch fish barehanded.

To circumduct: to lead or pull around in a circle; esp. used of the leg motion used by those who are unable to flex the hip to lift the foot off the floor.

vir modestus @ #54: other occupations--

a luthier builds or repairs stringed instruments
a farrier shoes horses or mules

imaginal disks are the small clusters of cells in a caterpillar that "feed" on the dissolving tissues of the caterpillar as it pupates and then develop into the adult (or imago).

retterson @ #83, other means of divining the future include scapulomancy (heating a poker and burning an animal's scapula, or shoulderblade, with it, then reading the resulting cracks)

JESR @ #97, how about a leaf of hay? (one of the flat rectangular sections that a bale falls apart into)

dichroic: having the property of splitting incident light into two divergent beams; a feature found in calcite crystals (if you look through one at a page of print, or similar, you'll see double)

Leva @ #108, and others: the original meaning of "escutcheon" is "shield" (as in, a blot on one's escutcheon); the other meanings all derive from its use for generally shield-shaped or shielding thingies.

Music is a rich source of interesting words. Melisma is the singing of many consecutive notes on a single syllable.

Wolfa @ #128, see here for the most head-explodey "other left" in literary history.

My favorite word for the thing whose name I can't remember is "doohickey". Though when I was a child, my peers and I also said "thingdoogie".

Debbie @ #167, "barf-glob" is clearly one of those things that was crying out for a name of its own.

Bastardized theater term: "to dutchman" is to conceal the gaps between adjacent flats by covering them with strips of muslin dipped in glue or paint (before painting the entire assemblage).

shadowsong @ #184, it's true. You can observe this for yourself if an armadillo wanders into your campsite. In fact, since armadillos have virtually no short-term memory, you can startle the same one repeatedly. There was also a quite good photo in National Geographic that captured the phenomenon.

Nathan @ #210: armadillo is sometimes referred to here in Georgia as "possum on the half-shell".

pfusand @ #215: my nephew coined the word "gribis" to refer to cruftlike materials; specifically, gribis is what's left inside a toybox after you've removed all the toys.

Oh, and Patrick, you have my sympathy. Being 5'5", I am exactly the right height for the pockets on my scrub top to get caught on the handles of wheelchairs.

#247 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:24 PM:

231: I remembered "chatoyance" about half an hour after posting, while in the middle of something else. Random factoid: "aventurine" is one of the rare cases where a natural material is named after its synthetic simulant; aventurine glass (also known as goldstone) was named after its accidental invention several hundred years before the discovery of similarly sparkly variants of quartz and feldspar.

C. Wingate @216: One thing that multiplies words is that professions having many superficially similar but differently used/executed things give each of them a different name.

Ye gods, yes. There are some unholy tangles of mutual incomprehension between jewelers and geologists about the definitions of "chalcedony", "onyx", and "agate", among other terms.

Meanwhile, I have just blanked out on the word that describes the lemniscate-like shape traced in the sky by an entire year of co-graphing the position of the sun at the same time every day-- oh wait, I've successfully managed to Google it down: analemma. (IIRC there was a Particle at some point showing the analemmas of various other planets in our solar system.)

#248 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:31 PM:

C Wingate @ 235... American railroading is exceedingly well-endowed

I think there's a dirty joke somewhere in there.

#249 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:36 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 242... Now can you lead me to a tutorial on how to draw scientific equipment so as to resemble a collection of saxophone parts?

Or crime-fighting tights that look like they're made from saxophone parts?

Didn't Blackbolt, leader of the Inhumans, have Kirby crackle simmering around his forehead's pitchfork. (And did you ever see the special issue of Marvel's What If that, among other silly premises, asked what if the Inhumans had been a rock band, With Blackbolt as their Mick Jagger? The moment he opened his mouth to sing, the whole stadium collapsed.)

#250 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 08:48 PM:

Nicole @ 213 -
@26: The hard part on the end of a shoelace is the aglet. Their true purpose is sinister!

Yay Scott with the JLU ref FTW!

Izzylobo [heart] JLU Question - the writing, execution (and Jeffrey Combs' voice acting) turned the character from an abstract into a real (well, real as a cartoon gets, anyways) character. Masterfully done - you get a real solid idea of who and what he is, even though the Question appears in only five eps - and is only majorly a part of a few of those.

I'm hoping the DC folks do as good a job with Montoya-Question as Timmverse did with Combs-Question.

"Orange socks?"

#251 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:10 PM:

C. Wingate, #238 -- Heaven forbid that the Navy should be stuck with using an army word!

Damn straight!

My sister trained a collie of ours to turn up its nose when she said "Army chow" and to take food from her hand when she said "Navy chow."

#252 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:13 PM:

Nicole TWN @72 (or anyone else, really): So what are the two little cartilage triangles (well, cones, really) about a centimeter in front of my right tragus?

("Abnormal" would probably be true, but that's a description, not a name).

#253 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:13 PM:

Catherine, #164: The flammable/inflammabie thing was a source of great confusion to me at age 7 or thereabouts. Having been told that "flammable" meant "capable of catching fire", and having enough grasp of prefixes to know that "in-" generally meant negation, I was absolutely convinced that "inflammable" meant "not capable of catching fire". To this day, the fact that those two terms are synonymous makes no sense at all to me; I just file it under "English is weird" and go on.

Xopher, #181: Oh, you got the fancy version! Your schoolmates must have had better vocabularies than mine, to whom I was "the walking dictionary".

#254 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:26 PM:

Linkmeister (233):
After I got out of the Navy in 1974 I went out to Kwajalein, which is an Army base.
Kwajalein, 1974. Hmmm. Familiar with a fan named Richard Harter? I believe that he was making trips to that island around then.

#255 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:28 PM:

John Houghton@106: The version of the bellwether story I heard was that, at the start of mating season, shepherds would separate out the rams, and put the ewes in a field with a wether with a bell and a bag of some sort of pigment around his neck.

If they heard bells ringing in the sheepfold at night, whichever ewe had a colored blotch on her back in the morning was coming into season. She could then be separated from the rest of the ewes and put in with an appropriate ram for covering.

(So for those of you in the bellwether states, when campaign season starts up, you know you're going to get _______ again. Ba-dump ching.)

#256 ::: Evelyn Browne ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:32 PM:

255- And the pigment itself was called raddle or ruddle.

#257 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:32 PM:

John @ #254, The name rings no bells, but there were 3,000 people on that little horseshoe-shaped atoll back then. I worked for the science contractor (Kentron); the day-to-day logistical contractor was Global Associates. McDonnell-Douglas Aeronautics and GE were also there.

#258 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:44 PM:

Lee @253: I prefer to think of "inflammable" as being its own antonym, like "exothermic" and "endothermic" (wrt their usage in biology vs. chemistry), "secrete", and "sanction", among others.

#259 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:50 PM:

Lila @ 246: We always did our dutchmanning by tacking the dry muslin into place first, and then painting it into place, rather than trying to move drippy muslin around.

#260 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:56 PM:

Lee @ 253... The flammable/inflammabie thing was a source of great confusion to me at age 7 or thereabouts. Having been told that "flammable" meant "capable of catching fire", and having enough grasp of prefixes to know that "in-" generally meant negation, I was absolutely convinced that "inflammable" meant "not capable of catching fire".

Dare I? What? Dare I talk about the French equivalent? Oh, what the heck. The French for something that can burst into flames is inflammable. The French word for something that can't burst into flames is ininflammable.

#261 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:58 PM:

#192, 231: The part of an actual cat's eye (and several other animals') that produces that effect is the tapetum lucidum. It's actually located *behind* the retina, which can therefore catch the light coming and going.

The part of a hinge that holds together the piece screwed into the door and the piece screwed into the doorframe is the linchpin.

#262 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 09:59 PM:

Scott Taylor @ 250... Let's hear it for Jeffrey Combs. Yay! And I'm not saying that because we share the same birthday.

#263 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:22 PM:

Xopher, I was once called a human dictionary. Just in passing, as one of my classmates explained to *someone* that if I said a word was spelled one way, it was darned well spelled that way.
Baby Sister, who wrote a persuasive speech on why people should play Free Rice (she becomes more awesome the older she gets), once did her best. "Cassie, your vocabulary is too, too... you say big words!"

I'm on a lake kick just now: limnology, the study of fresh water, like lakes and rivers. Epilimnion, the top layer of a lake. Hypolimnion, the lower layer of a lake.

#264 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:26 PM:

Julie L @258: cleave vs cleave.

#265 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:36 PM:

John Houghton @106 writes: "The small strip of wood between the top and bottom sections of a double-hung window is a parting strip. The strips separating the lites (panes) are muntins." That depends. Here in New England, where I spent nearly a decade selling building materials incl. lots of custom windows, there are a number of names for the various parts of a window sash (and this applies to any window sash, not just double hung window sash). Here are the terms that were commonly used in the window business in eastern New England about twenty years ago:

The sash is an assembly that holds the glass; the sash fits in the frame. In a wood window, the sash consists of stiles (the vertical pieces of the outer frame of the sash) and rails (the horizontal pieces of the outer frame). The rail of the top sash of a double hung window is the top rail; the bottom rail of the top sash and the top rail of the bottom sash are called check rails; the bottom rail of the bottom sash is the bottom rail. The panes of glass are called lights (we never spelled it "lites"); glass is specified in a variety of thicknesses and grades, though when I was in the business we mostly sold SSB, or single-strength B-grade glass. In a sash with more than one light, the lights are separated by muntins; more specifically, vertical muntins may be called mullions, and horizontal muntins may be called munts. Some people refer to all muntins as mullions, but that is technically incorrect (although widespread). The size of the pane of glass, and the number of lights, determines the overall size of the window, based on which region of the country you're in. Thus, a six-over-six Eastern double hung window with 7x9" glass -- which is written 7x9 6/6 Eastern -- yields an overall frame size of 2' 0-5/8" x 3' 5", which will fit into a rough opening of 2' 3" x 3' 9" whereas a Western window would be slightly larger (sorry, don't remember how much larger now). This would be so much easier if I could just show you a drawing, or better yet an actual window.

As for the frame that holds the sash, that raises a whole 'nother host of terms: casing and brick molding, reveal, sill, stool cap, rough opening and masonry opening, parting bead, balances (spring balances or sash weights and sash cords), etc. And then when you gang two windows together (which is a mullion window), you start talking about stud pockets, mullion centers, mullion casing, etc.

These may seem like arcane terms, but once you knew it all, all these terms made communication between the window manufacturers, me, and the contractors easy and efficient -- and accurate! I suppose this all comes under the heading of "jargon," that is, terms that arise in a specific trade or line of work. Knowing those terms, and being able to use them correctly, is a powerful thing.

And then there's all those crazy hardware terms such as "strike plates," which is where this post started off. I used to sell builder's hardware, too, but I don't remember as many of those terms -- I was on commission, and hardware didn't boost my commission nearly as much as window sales, so I guess those terms just don't stick in my memory. Speaking of doors, though, Malthus @11 -- those little thingies are indeed called door stops. Used to sell lots of them, including hingepin door stops (fit on the pin of the hinge) -- the little rubber thingies did have a name, but blessed if I remember what that term is.

#266 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:43 PM:

Dan @ 265... I used to sell builder's hardware, too, but I don't remember as many of those terms

It was long ago. And the winch is dead.

#267 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:50 PM:

Nangleator @56 -- In my checkered career, I worked for some months in bronze casting foundry, casting sculpture. There, a sprue was one of the hollow tubes in the mold into which you poured the molten bronze; whereas a vent was one of the hollow tubes that allowed air to escape, so you wouldn't get air bubbles. Then there was always the little hair-thin bits of bronze that leaked into cracks in the mold, which were called flashing once they harden -- and when the sculptor removes the flashing, and the vents and sprues, with a cold chisel, that act is called chasing.

#268 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 10:57 PM:

Serge #43: Yes, I did.

#269 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:16 PM:

Lila, many is the leaf of hay I put in the show-barn manger to give my 4-H project heifer something to do (eating is the favorite hobby of bovines) in the wee hours between the end of the fair day and the cold dawn when she would tied out and fed her grain while we sleep-deprived and hungry youth removed and replaced the soiled bedding.

We feed round bales now, and they come apart like giant rolls of toilet paper.

#270 ::: tyetodrick ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:26 PM:

Charity @ 21:

There are four heat-seeking cats in this house who all seem to know when their warmth and weight will be most appreciated. I discovered, when looking for a word to properly describe their medicinal benefits, that a synonym for poultice - is cataplasm.

#271 ::: DCA ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:45 PM:

ctat@55: People at Caltrans (Calif state highway agency) call the concrete barriers "K-rail".

Some railroad terms:

consist (accent on the first syllable): the makeup of a train.

frog: the double V-shaped piece of rail that is needed at a switch (NB switch is American, points British). One of my grandfathers worked at a "frog and switch" company.

hostler: handler of locomotives where they are maintained:
interesting because this used to be the person at an inn who took care of your horses.

car knocker (obsolete): inspector of railroad car wheels who would check for flaws with a hammer: if it rings its OK, if it thuds, replace it

#272 ::: Manon ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:56 PM:

Per The Superior Person's Book of Words, the word #9 was asking about is "lethologica".

And yes, I had to go look that up.

#273 ::: Manon ::: (view all by) ::: November 12, 2007, 11:58 PM:

Sorry! Bridget Kelly at #6, I meant.

#274 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:10 AM:

Stephen at #255
Nowadays they cut often cut to the chase and put the color marker on the ram to figure out which ewe's been bred on a day-to-day bass..

Here we have 'noodling' for fish, which is what I think the extremely stupid task of finding holes/shelters for fish in river banks, reaching in and dragging them out. With your bare hands. I think they're farking nuts, but the practitioners of the art are true enthusiasts. Though before the stocks got depleted (like turn-of-the-century 1899-1900) sometimes the fish they grabbed hold of were large enough to suck the noodlers in and 'eat' them...

Patrick, I have much sympathy. I often get a hip bruise from the strike plate, especally at conventions, when crowding at doors is a problem. And I did not know it had a specific name until now.

And there's other stuff I'm not going to comment on because I just got back from an Adult Relaxicon and some things bring up ideas that are Just Wrong. (shrimp with lobster sauce just looks, urm, wrong in that state of mind) though it was tasty...._

#275 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:30 AM:

"English is weird"

Which it is, seconded and passed by acclamation.

I wonder if those familiar with other languages can say: is this a sport in those languages, too? That is, do people sit around, trying to amaze and perplex each other with what really strange words with obscure and specialised meanings there are?

#276 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:32 AM:

#219 ::: John Stanning

Matthew Brown #217 : Terry Pratchett lifted the word scumble for a fearsome alcoholic beverage in some of the Discworld novels (maybe adapted from scrumpy, a version of cider, not for the faint-hearted, made in the county of Somerset in the English West Country).

Which brings to mind a term learned at one remove:

A bunch of guys I knew in college would get together for free-for-all drunks. The next morning, desperately hung over, they would pour together dregs of anything alcoholic and swill it.

This was called "spodiody" or "spote". Long "o"s - I've never seen it written. Occasionally stale beer from a can used as an ashtray got included. "Hair of the dog" could be hairy.

#277 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:00 AM:

I can recommend the book "I always look up the word 'egregious'" by Maxwell Nurnberg as a source of interesting words and their origins.
On the # as pound question that bemuses the British, do remember that £1 was originally a pound of silver, before inflation took its toll.

#278 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:14 AM:

Carol @ #276, This was called "spodiody"

Wine spodiodi is evidently a real drink, cited by Jack Kerouac in "On the Road."

Dean and I had ended up with a colored guy named Walter who ordered drinks at the bar and had them lined up and said, "Wine-spodiodi!" which was a shot of port wine, a shot of whisky, and a shot of port wine. "Nice sweet jacket for all that bad whisky!" he yelled.

That sounds awful.

#279 ::: Rainflame ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:17 AM:

The wooden shaft of a scythe is called the snath. Two cool words, scythe and snath.

#280 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:23 AM:

Patrick, the place on the bottom of a stapler where the staples are curved is also a strike plate. I don't have any belt loops, but I have torn pockets on door strike plates.

Malthus, #11, those are doorstops. I use hinge pin doorstops.

Bridget Kelly, #28, that's anomic aphasia. If you do it many times in a short period of time, talk to your neurologist. (I emailed mine -- I couldn't remember the names for any parts of the car when I made a service appointment this morning.)

tavella, #89, sometimes it's called a lemniscate.

Xopher, #181, in the second high school, one of the cheerleaders used to call me "Word."

Tania, #201, we use frog stitch in bead weaving, too.

shadowsong, #212, a rotary hand mill is a stationary stone with a round stone on top. The round stone has a handle on the top. You put the grain between them, kneel and lean over to reach the handle, and then turn it.

#281 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:32 AM:

#278 ::: Linkmeister

Wine spodiodi is evidently a real drink, cited by Jack Kerouac in "On the Road."

That sounds awful.

That crew certainly could have been consciously emulating Kerouac (or his drinking acquaintances) and delighting in the gross-out factor. One of the guys was always promoting meeting at the running of the bulls in Pamplona.

#282 ::: Matthew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 02:07 AM:

P J Evans @ 222:

Yes, many of the first steam locomotives in America came from England - in pieces, generally - the Stourbridge Lion being the earlier well-known example, the John Bull being the later. Most were extensively rebuilt, however, the tradeoff between track quality and locomotive flexibility being rather different here. American railroad track was like a potholed country lane, compared to European standards of building - understandably, given the longer distances to cover.

I suspect that there was some deliberate refusal to use the English words for things, given the time period.

The standard gauge was definitely a British borrowing, although it only became truly standard after the Civil War; the South's standard gauge was 5'0", as I recall. The Confederate forces generally destroying all railroad equipment in territory they were forced to give up forced the North to rebuild - using their standards - and the victory sealed the deal.

The engineer sitting on the right is actually the opposite of British practise, which most times has the driver on the left. In railroading, the man at the controls is on the outside - to better see the signals. The famous Flying Scotsman in England was an exception to that rule, the LNER for some reason building right hand drive locomotives in that period. Of course, some American roads drove on the other side; the Chicago & North Western being probably the best known example.

C. Wingate @ 239:

Yes, the Pennsy was definitely the different one in American railroading; kind of like the Great Western in the UK, but much more powerful. At one time, after all, it was the largest corporation on earth, with a greater GDP than many nations. The one bit of Pennsy nomenclature I remember - outside of their calling cabooses 'cabin cars' just to be different - was the use of 'baobab' as the term for an outsize load that needed special handling. Apparently it was because there was one in a gardens in Philadelphia, and they're the broadest-beamed of trees. The word apparently was also used to describe a broad-hipped woman, unofficially.

#283 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 02:45 AM:

There's a song from 1946 Drinking Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee covered by Richard Thompson in his 1000 Years of Popular Music set and tour. (It was inevitable that Richard Thompson would end up in this thread.)

#284 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 02:51 AM:

Clifton, I'd guess the most famous version of that song is the one by Jerry Lee Lewis.

#285 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 02:59 AM:

When flying a helicopter, the "joystick thingy" (right in front of you) is called a cyclic. The "lever thingy" (on your left) is called a collective.

In the middle of the windsheild, there will be a piece of yarn or thick string or something. It's called a "yaw string".

#286 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 04:17 AM:

Dave #275

I've not run into this sort of vocabulary fun in any other language. However my native one works a bit differently and like german makes new words by combining other words so that frex: 'diningroomtableleg' would be a perfectly valid word. There are still fun obscure words but not on the scale that English has them.

#287 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 04:18 AM:

Back in school, if the vocabulary question came up, I seemed to be known as 'you don't want to play Scrabble with her'. As an adult, this became 'you don't want to play Trivial Pursuit with her'. Not ever likely to be an issue in this company, I fancy. So reassuring.

DCA @ 271, a 'car knocker' would have been a 'wheel tapper' in the UK. (Stepfather is a train-spotter and photographer - is that what a railfan is in US usage?)

Apropos casting terminology (passim), to clean flash, sprue etc from the newly cast item is to fettle. (husband is a mechanical engineer)

Carol Kimball@ 276, the overflow beer that goes into the drip tray underneath the glass when the glass is being held under the beer tap, is called slape ale.

Not so very many decades ago, in working class areas of the UK this would all be poured off into a big jug and sold cheap, usually at the back door of the pub.

Or dishonest landlords would rig up a system whereby slape ale could flow back into the barrel currently on tap. Impossible to do with aluminium beer barrels and modern beer pumps, apparently. (Father has been a publican in his time).

I could go on but I have work to do!

#288 ::: spike ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 04:36 AM:

Talking of sheep breeding, the technical term for this (at least here, in Yorkshire), is tupping, with the tup being the ram. Tup is also used to refer to the head of a piledriver or steam hammer.

#289 ::: Mikael Vejdemo Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 04:44 AM:

There is one whole class of words that has yet to be breached in this lovely flurry of trade terms and otherwise exotic vocabulary.

My own trade (mathematics) puts a great stake in inventing terms. Either by co-opting "well-known" terms - such as structure, ring, field, variety (I could go on indefinitely) and giving them stringent and occasionally completely unexpected meanings - often (as with regular, normal et.c.) very many simultaneous meanings.

Or just picking and choosing from Greek and Latin stems. Such as homomorphism, isomorphism, endomorphism, automorphism, homeomorphism, diffeomorphism, morphism, monomorphism, epimorphism, catamorphism, anamorphism, zygomorphism, and so on and so forth.

Or by portmanteauing various words, giving us operad, properad and a variety of other words.

Of course, every single one of the here given words (and all the other really weird words that pop up) have very precise meanings, at least within any given context - variations are kinda ok, as long as you make them clear and preferably help build at least one of several consensi (pluralization?) for the terminology chosen.

#290 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 05:11 AM:

288: Flashman's your source for synonyms for that sort of thing. I think he could probably get to double figures without too much effort. As it were.

Frazil - a slush of needle-shaped ice crystals in sea water. (Chris Pyne's "The Ice" is good for glacial obscurity.) Also "growler", a small iceberg.

#291 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 06:35 AM:

People who followed the 2000 Presidential election will remember that when you punch a hole in a sheet of paper, the bit that comes out is called a chad.

In the US, standard paper sizes include 8 1/2" by 11", and 11" by 17"; these are cut out of a 23" x 35" piece of paper called a parent sheet.

(Really, metric paper sizes are much more elegant, but I don't see the US converting anytime soon. Sigh.)

Architectural drawings used to be white lines on a dark background called a blueprint; but starting about forty years ago, a process gained popularity which allowed for dark lines on a light background, and these are called bluelines. Modern large-size document copiers will usually have an option to make a negative image so as to handle old-style blueprints.

If you want your printed image to extend to the very edge of the page, that's called a bleed or full bleed.

#292 ::: alan ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 06:43 AM:

#115

And if the architrave is set back a little from the door frame, the thin strip visible at the inner edge of the architrave is called a "quirk".

#293 ::: alan ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 06:45 AM:

#167

A small tight mass of tangled fibre in a yarn is called a "nep", but a loose thick section of less twisted fibre is called a "slub".

#294 ::: alan ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 06:54 AM:

Imagine tying a rope to something heavy to drag it along. Pull the rope taught. Now set off at right angles to the direction of the rope. The heavy weight will gradually fall into line behind you, following a path called, quite reasonably, a "tractrix".

#295 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 07:21 AM:

Mikael @ 289... portmanteauing various words, giving us operad, properad and a variety of other words.

French strikes again!

"...This usage of the word was coined by Lewis Carroll in Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (1871). In the book, Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice words from Jabberwocky, saying, “Well, slithy means lithe and slimy ... You see it's like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.” Carroll often used such words to humorous effect in his work. (...) Portemanteau, from Middle French porte (carry) and manteau (a coat or cover), formerly referred to a large travelling bag or suitcase with two compartments, hence the linguistic idea of fusing two words and their meanings into one. Portemanteau is rarely used to refer to a suitcase in English any more, since that type of a suitcase has fallen into disuse. (Note - amongst older Australians the diminutive term "port" is sometimes used to describe a carry-item containing personal belongings.) In French, the word has the different meaning of coat hanger, and sometimes coat rack, and is spelled porte-manteau. (...) Portmanteau word was the original phrase used to describe such words (as listed in dictionaries published as late as the early 2000s), but this is now usually abbreviated to simply portmanteau. The term blend is commonly used in modern linguistic usage for words such as motel, smog, and brunch..."

#296 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 07:32 AM:

Can anybody confirm or deny my gut feeling that truc in French is much more standard/widespread/accepted than 'thingy'/'whatsit'/etc. in English?

#297 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 08:05 AM:

chris y... Yes, truc is a perfectly respectable word in French. Besides the English equivalents you've already mentionned, it also means trick.

#298 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 08:55 AM:

Would someone with a paper dictionary look a word up for me?

A few entries above "TNT", you should find a word that means (I think) switching two syllables in a phrase. "The right to arm bears" would be an example, if I'm remembering right. I'm pretty sure the word starts with "tn*" where * is a vowel, so there shouldn't be that many entries to poke through. I've always been able to find it quickly when I have a dictionary to hand, but I don't have one here and this kind of searching is not the strong suit of online dictionaries.

Or perhaps someone here just knows it?

#299 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 09:16 AM:

298: you may be thinking of "tmesis", which means interpolation of a word (or several words) in the middle of another.

"I was flabber, as I said, ghasted."

"Do I like that? Abso-bloody-lutely!"

#300 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 09:20 AM:

Fragano @ 39: "A word that is really, really hard to work into a sentence."

David stared in horror as the vault door slowly, but inexorably, neared his lunule.

p.o.m. @ 230: I've always heard 那 as na[4] too, and my dictionary agrees. I'm almost one hundred percent sure the "nei" folk is talking about is an elidation of 那 (na[4]) and 一 (yi[1]). Thus, you never hear "内两个" (nei liang ge)--it's always "那两个" (na liang ge).

folk on LJ: I guessing you learned Chinese orally?

#301 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 09:40 AM:

You're right, ajay, I think that's the one. Cool word, even if I can't remember it properly. Thanks!

#302 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 09:52 AM:

A barf-glob is "A wad of tangled yarn that comes out of the middle of a center-pull skein of yarn when you are attempting to knit from the skein."

I call that "skein guts", and generally celebrate when enough yarn has been knitted that the skein guts are used up and I'm now actually pulling from the skein.

Does anyone know the name for the little plastic thingummy that holds bread bags closed?

In my house the elastic loop used to hold ponytails was just called a ponytail holder, though I have of late developed an affection for the term "hair bippy". But it's not a scrunchy unless there's a fabric component.

#303 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 10:07 AM:

#291 ::: David Goldfarb

If you want your printed image to extend to the very edge of the page, that's called a bleed or full bleed.

And if you have a white area around the edges of a graphic on your page, and something from the graphic spills into it, that's "border violation".

#304 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 10:20 AM:

The fluffy part of a bell-rope is called a sallie.

#305 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 10:26 AM:

miriam beetle @ #223, re: visible lunules and non-european groups:

I'm of east Asian descent, and at the moment I have two barely-visible lunules on the nails of my index fingers. I don't usually have any.

Concur that it's only a "scrunchy" if the elastic is covered by fabric that's wider than the un-stretched elastic.

#306 ::: melospiza ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 10:38 AM:

Going all the way back to #9, the external occipital protuberance (the long way to say the bump at the back of the skull) is the inion.

The tip of the angle of the jaw in the gonion.
The spot at the top of the nose, between the eyes, is the nasion, and the bump of the brow just above it is the glabella.
The point at the bottom of the nose is the acanthion.

Most medical terms are long Latin and/or Greek conglomerations, but a few are sweet.

#307 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 10:41 AM:

re 271: The movable rails in a turnout are called points in the USA too. I think "switch" applies to the whole movable part of it, but the thing as a whole is a turnout.

re 282: What really forced Std gauge on the south was the contruction of the transcontinental lines, which were all (excepting some D&RGW track in Colorado) standard gauge. The war probably contributed to that decision, but standardization waited until the 1880s, so it's hard for me to believe that (e.g.) Sherman made it easier for them. The main conversion push was done in two days (May 31/June 1 1886).

My understanding is that there isn't an exact American equivalent to British trainspotting; at least, I hadn't heard about it until the movie. Railfanning is a more general term.

re 248: It's a little surprising that railroading slang isn't especially profane. Deprecatory of everything, but not the sexconstantsexly thinsexking absexout women that you see in shipboard stuff.

Re 212: I think someone else addressed it but a rotary quern is like a minaturized version of what you would find in a water-powered flourmill. The thingie that holds up the upper millstone, btw, is a rind.

re 219: Don't forget folio, quarto, and octavo.

Another group of curious words: the British names for the musical note values (beve, semi-breve, minim, quaver, and then it gets silly fast).

What's especially striking is how English has so many one and two-syllable terms like this.

#308 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 10:53 AM:

Lila @246: dichroic: having the property of splitting incident light into two divergent beams; a feature found in calcite crystals (if you look through one at a page of print, or similar, you'll see double)

A related word/concept is pleochroism, the property of displaying different colors depending on the viewing angle; e.g. if a piece of iolite is cut into a cube that's properly aligned with the internal crystal structure, it may look dark blue-violet, pale silvery-grey, or straw-yellow depending on which pair of opposing faces it's being viewed through. Does anyone know if there's a word that describes a sorta converse property, wrt something that looks different colors depending on what kind of light it's in? With most of the materials I'm thinking of, afaik their behavior is mostly related to fluorescence in the visible range when stimulated by ultraviolet-- e.g., yellow uranium glass is slightly greener in sunlight and phosphoresces lime-green in dark "blacklight" conditions-- but I don't know whether there's a separate concept in this regard.

Carrie S. @302: Does anyone know the name for the little plastic thingummy that holds bread bags closed?

The flat squareish bits of plastic rather than the wire-cored twist-ties, right? Looks like they're bread clips, a.k.a. bread tags, bread tabs, or bread-bag clips.

#309 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 10:57 AM:

I heard an early-music maven explain the British names for note values. Apparently in medieval music, the breve (from Latin brevis, short) was the shortest note they used. Then somebody wanted something shorter and invented the semibreve - half a breve - then the minim (minimus, smallest) - then the quaver for something really momentary - then they went wild with semiquavers and demisemiquavers and worse. So now the breve is the longest note, hardly ever used.

#310 ::: Kristi Wachter ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 10:58 AM:

Bridget @ 6 and 28:

I perpetually don't know what the word for things is. Is there a word for that? When you know what something's called but can't think of the word?

Dysnomia? Various sites define that as "inability to remember names of objects" or "marked difficulty in remembering names or recalling words".

It's also a moon of Eris, named for the daughter of the Greek Goddess Eris: Lawlessness, the daughter of Discord.

#311 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 11:03 AM:

C. Wingate 307: It's a little surprising that railroading slang isn't especially profane. Deprecatory of everything, but not the sexconstantsexly thinsexking absexout women that you see in shipboard stuff.

I think you sort of answered your own question there, C.

"Wow, I wonder why slang used by a group of men who get home to their wives every evening or so is so much less profane and sex-obsessed than slang used by men who get cooped up on an entirely womanless ship for weeks at a time?"

#312 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 11:04 AM:

Switching words, like "the right to arm bears", is a spoonerism.

As all the native southwesterners here would know but I had to learn after moving to AZ, "virga" means rain that doesn't make it all the way to the ground. (Interesting to watch, from my window overlooking miles and miles of flatlands.) But I may be alone in thinking of snow as "dandruff of the gods."

While guiltily watching that dance program last summer, I learned that both rap music and the accompanying dance styles evolve pretty rapidly and generate a bunch of terms I'd never heard of, e.g. "crump". Any specialists out there who can say more?

#313 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 11:06 AM:

Julie @ #308--

Stones showing a color change in different lights are sometimes called alexandritic, from alexandrite, which does this to an extreme degree.

My mother has a peridot which is a more intense chartreuse in sunlight/high UV light, and closer to primrose yellow under incandescent light, but I don't know if peridot is considered to be alexandritic, or if this particular stone is just odd that way.

#314 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 11:20 AM:

pfusand @215: I am SO stealing those!

Serge @266: OY!

Dave @275: I am fluent in a couple of languages and read several more and no, it's not an usual form of entertainment.

The thing that is glorious about the English language is that it is a shameless borrower/adapter/stealer of vocabulary and that makes it immensely rich. It also helps to have been created from such rich languages: as a professor of mine once said, English was created when a German, a Roman, and a Frenchman got drunk in a Welsh tavern. I would guess it's four times as large as any other languages, and it keeps on borrowing.

The best way to learn English, BTW, is to FORGET any other language while you're learning. Do NOT attempt correlations and parallels. Do NOT make logical connections. Inhale it first, think about it later.

#315 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 11:30 AM:

fildelio @313: alexandritic

Thanks-- I'm amazed I haven't run into that word before! One of the main examples I actually had in mind was "alexandrite glass", which is purple in natural light and blue in some types of artificial light; bead manufacturers have been coming up with variations of this in recent years, such as Swaroski's "cantaloupe" lead crystal that's variously green, grey, or apricot depending on ambient light.

#316 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 11:33 AM:

(Oops, I meant fidelio of course.)

#317 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 11:49 AM:

re 311: that's the thing: they didn't. Every major rail nexus used to have a big building know as the "railroad YMCA". You get on a train headed away from home, and if all goes well, within twelve hours you get to get off. (If all does not go well, they send out the dogcatchers to take you off anyway.) Even at 30-40 mph, twelve hours is a long way from home. So you trundle down the street to the railroad Y for a bed and a shower, and at some federally regulated time later, you get on another train which may be headed back home. If you're a boomer, you probably don't have a home. Here's a nice capsule history of the railroad Y.

#318 ::: K.C. Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:01 PM:

My mother uses the word "stob" to refer to anything shortish that sticks out of something else, like the end of a pipe sticking up out of the ground. It's such a useful word that I've picked it up too, and until I looked it up (just now, on Dictionary.com) I thought she'd made it up. Turns out that her use of the word is "Chiefly South Midland U.S.," and she grew up in Kansas and Texas. I grew up in Tennessee, which is probably why I'd never heard anyone else use the word.

There are lots of interesting terms regarding wool (from the spinner's POV). Knitting uses a lot of them too. Skirting refers to pulling out the undesirable and/or dirty pieces of fleece and discarding them. Kemp is the coarse hair-like fibers in a fleece, usually found in the breeches wool (around the sheep's rear legs). A quilted fleece is one where different colored spots grow at different lengths--the black spots grow longer or shorter than the white background wool, for instance.

Oh, and crutching/crotching is the practice of shearing the wool around a ewe's udder and rear before lambing. And scurs are sheep horns that aren't attached (or well attached) to the skull, so that they're easily knocked off. At which point they bleed horribly and the shepherd panics, until she (okay, me) realizes what's happened.

#319 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:04 PM:

retterson@83: I always thought it was haruspicy?

Evan@94: Thank your son for me, that sounds right.
(In the sense of, if there has to be a distinct word for the thing, that's a good one).

Zak@100: What is the difference between proprioception and kinesthesia?

Dan@265 & Marilee@280: But, but, but... doorstops are those things you put at the bottom of doors to prevent them from closing -- different thing altogether! Although I suppose you could call the cylinder you often see at the tops of doors a pneumatic doorstop.

#320 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:08 PM:

C. Wingate @#317

Newburg, Missouri, a very small town near where I grew up, had a railroad roundhouse for the Frisco, and a hotel catering especially to railroad workers called the Houston House, which was the first building in town. For many years after ceasing to be a railroad hotel, the Houston House continued in business as a restaurant, with legendary fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and apple butter.

They're using it as a community center now, and the old railroad property is undergoing brownfield treatment to deal with the accumulated pollution; I don't know how much of the roundhouse remains.

#321 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:10 PM:

John Stanning #309:

Such as the hemidemisemiquaver. At our house, if we're trying to indicate the notion of something as being highly nebulous, we may say, "Oh, it's kind of hemidemisemi."

#322 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:14 PM:

Dave 275: I don't know the answer to your question, but I suspect it may be influenced in English by the fact that English has more words in it than any other modern language, and in all the languages of history is surpassed in lexical inventory only by Classical Greek.

(Of course, this is not counting agglutinative languages like Inuit, where the number of words is effectively infinite, and/or the concept of a discrete "word" is effectively meaningless.)

spike 288: Talking of sheep breeding, the technical term for this (at least here, in Yorkshire), is tupping, with the tup being the ram. Tup is also used to refer to the head of a piledriver or steam hammer.

Did it originally cost a tuppence to have a ram cover a ewe?

ajay 299: 'Tmesis' is a cool word! And it's a word for something I do a lot, with humorous intent. Oh: the general term for a prefix or suffis is affix, and an affix inserted into the middle of another word (in a phonologically canonical position) is called an infix. (Linguists sometimes call the 'bloody' in 'abso-bloody-lutely' an infix, but they're joking. English doesn't really have any infixes.)

If an affix is discontinuous, it's called an interfix. Examples are rare in Indo-European languages, though they're part of the basic grammar of Semitic languages like Hebrew and Arabic; for example, 'moslem', 'islam', and 'salaam' are all based on the verb stem 's-l-m', which means something like "submit to Allah's will" or "be at peace."

John 304: Is that in any way related to the "Sallie Gardens" in the song "All in the Sallie Gardens"?

Ibid., 309: A breve is what in America is called a "double whole note." I've looked at medieval music manuscripts, and I don't think it's the shortest note, certainly; it's the note form used when many syllables are sung on one note. I don't know for sure but I will speculate that it's called that because all the syllables on it are sung as briefly as possible, before going on to the more stretched-out melisma at the end.

Faren 312: I think spoonerism is when you swap the initial sounds of words, as in 'hissed the mystery lectures'. Certainly that's the problem Reverend Spooner had.

#323 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:15 PM:

Faren #312: Switching words, like "the right to arm bears", is a spoonerism.

Not entirely. The classic Spooner example is "May I sew you to a sheet?" as misspeaking "May I show you to a seat?" so that parts of words, not necessarily whole words, get switched about.

#324 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:15 PM:

317: once again I betray my origins in a small island nation. That sounds like an interesting topic - but your link hasn't worked. Can you repost?

#325 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:22 PM:

Alison @#75, snib's not normal where I grew up (central Hertfordshire). I've never encountered it before, in thirty years of southern living (yes, I know, all the cool people live in Edinburgh now).

#326 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:24 PM:

Heresiarch #300: Are you channelling Poe?

#327 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:31 PM:

Most of my specialist vocabulary is locked behind a wall of antihypertensive drugs (If it keeps my BP down, it messes with my ability to think, move, and write. Fun!) but I did remember, this morning, the moss-back's term for that stuff that falls all day out of a flat lead-grey sky, soaks through wool or fleece coats and leather shoes, makes mushrooms thrive, flowers decay into lumps of fuzzy mold and puts .02 inches a day in the rain gauge: "Oregon Sunshine."

Eriophyllum lanatum, a flower which thrives on soils leached of soluable nutrients by the above described weather conditions, is also known as Oregon Sunshine. It has wooly leaves and chrome-yellow small sunflower blossoms.

#328 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 12:50 PM:

#246: Birefringent is probably a better word for that property of calcite than dichroic.

#329 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:04 PM:

Speaking of frogs, as several folks did upthread, I'm surprised nobody mentioned the other use of that word in connection with clothing, as a closure (specifically, the loop segment of a loop-and-button style closure). I've also heard it as a verb, meaning to close the closure.

And yet MORE "frog": the part of a violin-family bow that holds the horsehair at the end at which the performer holds the bow. (Admittedly, both of these usages are not all that uncommon. I'm just being a completist.)

One of my favorite collections of words can be found at The Phrontistery. Of course, there are plenty of lists he has yet to compile, but that's incentive to keep checking back.

#330 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:05 PM:

Xopher #322 : the song is Irish, and wikipedia says "Salley" (or Sally, or Sallie) is an anglicisation of the Irish saileach, meaning willow, a tree of the genus Salix; unrelated to the bell-rope sallie (though I don't know where that comes from, and nor does the OED). So I guess your friend Sally is so called because of her willowy figure.

Down by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white feet.
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the tree;
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not agree.
In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white hand.
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.

#331 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:09 PM:

Indulge my mental jump from the second verse of "Down by the Salley Gardens" to

On a tree by a river a little tom-tit
Sang "Willow, titwillow, titwillow!"
And I said to him, "Dicky-bird, why do you sit
Singing Willow, titwillow, titwillow'?"
"Is it weakness of intellect, birdie?" I cried,
"Or a rather tough worm in your little inside?"
With a shake of his poor little head, he replied,
"Oh, willow, titwillow, titwillow!"

#332 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:23 PM:

#81, #96, #99

Free Rice tracks how often people get words right or wrong, so the difficulty rating is empirically determined. The "correct" answer is often not a synonym of the question, but using one-word answers make that pretty much inevitable. Usually it's either a hypernym (less specific) or a hyponym (more specific), but sometimes you have to take the answer in a vague sense, or as synecdoche for a larger category... I'm not sure whether you always get the same options for a given word, & if not how the wrong answers are chosen.

Stephen Sample @ #252
So what are the two little cartilage triangles (well, cones, really) about a centimeter in front of my right tragus?
This is the most detailed map I could find online of the outer part of the ear (called the pinna or auricle) & it doesn't show anything in front of the tragus. Looking around, conical structures in that area might be "preauricular tags", in which case they're not cartilaginous, they're just made of skin.

Faren Miller @ #312

Switching words, like "the right to arm bears", is a spoonerism.

Well, it is a spoonerism, I guess, but a spoonerism doesn't necessarily involve switching whole words. More often it's a matter of swapping the rhymes/onsets of two words, like "you have hissed all my mystery lectures". (Or "the right to air balms", in a non-rhotic accent where "arm" & "balm" rhyme.)

[Of course, several people have already said this since I started typing...]

#333 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:33 PM:

K C Shaw @318:

I grew up in TN as well but we had stobs all over the place. They were the short sections of small trees that were left sticking out of the ground after the plants were cut off by the bushhog.

#334 ::: Kristi Wachter ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:46 PM:

Carol @ 276:

Spodiodi turned up in the song "Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee" by Stick McGhee, later covered by Jerry Lee Lewis.

#335 ::: Dan ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:49 PM:

Malthus @ 319 -- Yup, "door stops" refers to at least two entirely different things in the hardware world. Customer comes in: "I want a door stop." Me: "Do you want the wedge shaped thingie that you jam under a door, or the little piece of metal you screw into the baseboard?" Customer: "Ahh, I want the kind that goes onto the hinge pin." Me: "Oh, you mean you want a hinge pin door stop, why didn't you just say so?" Note that in spite of the technical terms, I was still reduced to using the word "thingie."

Malthus also says: "I suppose you could call the cylinder you often see at the tops of doors a pneumatic doorstop." We usually called that a door closer. Then there are door checks, which keep screen doors from opening too wide, but some people called door closers, "door checks," just to really confuse things. And there were hydraulic door closers as well as pneumatic door closers. This ambiguous terminology resulted in much confusion. Customer: "I want a door closer." Me: "Which kind?" Customer: "The kind that screws onto the door and goes like this..." [with his arm, he mimics door swinging shut, while making a "whsssh-bam" sound] Me: "Oh, you mean a pneumatic door closer." [because hydraulic door closers go more like this: "sssss-clunk"] Customer: "Yeah, whatever, just so long as it doesn't leak that oily stuff all over the place." [Now I know he wants a pneumatic one, because they don't have hydraulic oil in them!] Me: "This is for a screen door, right? So you'll probably want a door check too, right?" Customer: [runs screaming from the store in utter confusion]

#336 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 01:58 PM:

This has been a wonderful thread - I love to learn new things, especially new words. I noted the occasional mention of collective noun words (a constellation of starfish) and thought I'd mention one of my favorite books, An Exaltation of Larks by James Lipton. In that book he refers to his preferred term for a collection of collective words as terms of venery. It's a fun book with many interesting quotes, citations and anecdotes.

As for my contribution, there's a tube or bead one uses to finish off a bead project by creating a loop for your fastener and then squeezing the tube tight with special pliers to secure the end of the wire or thread you've been beading with.

This is called a crimp tube/bead (and the pliers are crimping pliers, I believe) Now, that's not all that obscure a useage, but, a new product has come out which puts a teensy tiny screw in the middle of a bead, perpendicular to the hole through which the beading wire or thread is strung. You tighten this screw to lock down the thread when you loop it to the clasp at the end. It's called a Scrimp (tm). I bet there are other terms of art in beading that are fun, but I'm rather new to the whole thing.

#337 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 02:14 PM:

Back when roads were designed and laid out on parchment or mylar (or, as I tell the younger engineers, stone tablets), to calculate odd shaped areas we used a planimeter. It's a Rube Goldberg apparatus with lots of graduated dials, a pointer, and a pin you shove into the paper to hold one end steady.

You then note the value of the numbers on the dials as they relate to each other, and carefully describe the area in question with the pointer. When you get back to the start, you read the new values of numbers off and get the difference between them and the original set. After adjusting for scale and units of measure, you've got the area. It took a very steady hand and sharp eyesight, which is why so many engineers have to wear glasses...

Other highway terms:

The slope of a road in a curve is called superelevation. The slope of the road in tangent sections is called, well, the slope.

The grassed area behind a curb where the sidewalk is located is called a berm. If there's no curb, then it is called a shoulder (hopefully there's no sidewalk there either).

The dividing area between opposing lanes on a highway is a median. This applies whether it is paved or not; in fact, a three lane road (where the middle lane is for turning purposes) has a median, it's just paved.

The type of interchange where all the ramps angle in towards each other and there's only one set of signals controlling them is called a SPUI (for Single Point Urban Interchange).

#338 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 02:24 PM:

There is some good terminology geekiness in religious articles too. For instance, if you have a stand for your monstrance, that stand is called a tabor.

It occurs to me that it would be interesting to compare number/frequency of words by number of syllables in different languages.

#339 ::: K.C. Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 02:29 PM:

John L @333: Dictionary.com gives as a more generalized southern definition for stob, "a short stick." I've never heard the term used by anyone in Tennessee (except my mom) to describe sticks or stumps or anything else, but maybe it's more of a regionalism there? I grew up in East TN--are you perhaps from West or Middle TN?

I like the use of stob to describe those short sapling stumps, though. Maybe I'll introduce/reintroduce the term when I move home again.

#340 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 03:03 PM:

One of my very favorite words: phthisis, the old word for what used to be known as consumption that we now know as tuberculosis.

#341 ::: T.W ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 03:07 PM:

And here we are using door arm for the piston closers.

#342 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 03:07 PM:

Bruce A. #329:

I have also heard "frog" used to describe the pronged object you put in the bottom of a vase to hold a flower arrangement.

JESR #327: If you want to discuss the iniquities of beta-blockers, let's go over to the open thread. I'd love to do a little testifying.

#343 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 03:15 PM:

Has anyone noted (and my apologies if I missed it) the use of "frog" as a term for a kind of loop and button closure, like the ones you can find on traditional Oriental dresses? I believe it's usually made of a satin or silk covered cord, knotted in a clover shape for the side sewn to the dress, and in a loop for one half and a ball-knot on the other half, to make the fastener. At least that's what my mother called them.

#344 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 03:33 PM:

With all these meanings, it's almost as if "frog" could be used as some sort of equivalent to "thingy".

#345 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 03:44 PM:

K C Shaw @339:

Yes, I grew up in Middle TN, but my parents were raised in Eastern TN; my father near Crossville and my mother in Chattanooga. Both of them called the cut-off parts of saplings sticking out of the ground "stobs"; the leftovers from bigger trees were rightfully called stumps.

I'm not sure when a "stob" becomes a "stump" but it's probably around the 1"-3" range. Stobs were also impediments to walking around barefooted, unlike stumps, although one could "stump" their toe against the latter...

#346 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 03:47 PM:

Xopher 322: infix, prefix and postfix are also used to describe mathematical notations and (as a generalization) computer language representations. The notation most of us are familiar with from normal use and school: (1 + 3 * 5) is 'infix', with the operator between the operands

The same expression in prefix notation, with the operator first, would be (+ 1 (* 3 5)); this format is significantly easier to write code to evaluate, and allows adding new operators without ambiguity, and allows arbitrary number of operands without confusion (ie, (* 3 5 7 9) to multiply all those together)), but does require the expression to be fully parenthesized. This format is essentially identical to Lisp s-expressions.

The same expression in postfix notation, with the operator last, would be 1 3 5 * +. This format is also easier to evaluate than the infix format, and never needs parenthesis, but each operation has to have a fixed and known number of operands. Under the name 'reverse Polish notation', it's used on some HP calculators.

I've not heard the word 'interfix' before, but it might be useful for the ternary operator in C and some C-derived languages: true-or-false-expression ? value-if-true : value-if-false


I encountered the word "stob" in one of Gregory MacDonald's non-Fletch books, probably one of the Merely Players quartet (of which sadly only three have been published). I, too, thought it was a made-up word.

#347 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 03:56 PM:

Xopher @322: Classical Greek has a larger vocabulary than English?

On the names of the note lengths: Whole/half/semi etc. always seemed far too meagre and mean for something musical. But then I was taught 't other...

#348 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 04:19 PM:

John L. (345): 'Stump' your toe? I learned that as 'stub' your toe. I wonder if 'stub' in this sense is related to 'stob' (not a word I had ever heard before this discussion).

#349 ::: melospiza ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 04:28 PM:

Todd @ #346: In Gregory MacDonald's 'Skylar,' the word 'stob' shows up as an issue of contention between the southern hero Skylar and his Bostonian cousin, who doesn't believe it's really a word.

#350 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 04:35 PM:

kate,

I'm of east Asian descent, and at the moment I have two barely-visible lunules on the nails of my index fingers. I don't usually have any.

after i posted yesterday, i went & looked at my (japanese-canadian) husband's nails. the lunules were visible in, i think, all but two of them, but i didn't take note of which ones. um, cause he was driving, & not sure why the heck i wanted to look at his nails.

#351 ::: Thomas Nephew ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 04:41 PM:

How about the word for "things we don't know the word for"?

#352 ::: Emma ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 04:42 PM:

Thomas @351: doohickies, of course.

#353 ::: Thomas Nephew ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 04:47 PM:

@46: "I didn't know what they were, so I cut them off."

Hmm. You might want to expand that discussion with your son beyond aglets. :)

#354 ::: Thomas Nephew ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 04:49 PM:

#352: Ah, of course.

#355 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 04:57 PM:

I don't think, if I heard a reference to a "leaf" of hay, I'd take it to mean an alfalfa leaf. That said, I've fed hay in "flakes" all my life.

"Stob" was certainly a usage I grew up with in southern Maryland. I was surprised when it drew funny looks on the west coast.

#356 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 05:00 PM:

cmk... Speaking of leaves, the French word for leaf is feuille. An effeuilleuse is what, in English, is called an ecdysiast.

#357 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 05:04 PM:

Serge @ #356, bite your tongue! Blaze Starr never called herself an effeuilleuse in her life, much less an ecdysiast!

#358 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 05:12 PM:

joann@342, I must go to the UPS store and Home Depot, and will be gone for a bit, but testifying about life under the pall of beta blockers and the conflict between good numbers and good quality of life sounds like something we could work into the 95 theses of Healthy Middle Age.

#359 ::: Alan Braggins ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 05:15 PM:

#346: (on RPN) each operation has to have a fixed and known number of operands

Sort of. You can have an operator that takes a known operand which tells it how much of the stack should be used as a variable number of other operands. Possibly not on an RPN calculator, but in more complex systems like Forth or Postscript. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stack-oriented_programming_language

#360 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 05:24 PM:

Linkmeister @ 357... Dare I ask what Blaze did call herself?

#361 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 05:40 PM:

re 355: Curious. In central MD we didn't use the word at all. (Well, maybe some farm people did, but they never did to me.)

#362 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 05:46 PM:

"Henry Peacham coined the term «Systrophe» for a chain of asyndetically juxtaposed metaphors that amplifies a given subject without a predicative verb."

I just read that sentence in a book description (Systrophe: the background of Herbert's Sonnet 'Prayer') and felt it needed a home. I think it will be happy here.
-Barbara

#363 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 06:08 PM:

Just remembered a word for this post:

petrichor (n): The smell of rain on dry ground.

#364 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 06:18 PM:

Sica@286: I recall hearing a Thankgiving commercial recently mention a "turduckenoostrich".

Husband: I'm cooking Thankgiving dinner. I'm making a turduckenoostrich!

Wife: What's a turduckenoostrich?

Husband: It's a chicken in a duck in a turkey in a goose in an ostrich. Deep-fried!

Wife: We're going to my parents.


Disturbingly, people do actually cook turduckens.

#365 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 06:20 PM:

#361: Well, we were farm people, never mind how far away central Maryland was from Charles County.

#366 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 06:55 PM:

Todd 346: We don't use 'postfix' in linguistics, only 'suffix'. Still, this is cool stuff (I knew some of it). It never occurred to me that the ?: operator in C is an interfix-notation operator, but of course it is. Cool beans!

Jakob 347: So I've been told. I don't actually know Classical Greek.

#367 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 07:12 PM:

Malthus, is petrichor the ozone-scent of the first few drops, or is it another portion of the rain-beginning?

#368 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 07:26 PM:

Serge @ #360, I was always too gentlemanly to ask.

#369 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 07:38 PM:

Linkmeister... Did you ever ask Sally Rand what she called what she did?

#370 ::: Sian Hogan ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 08:04 PM:

For completeness, I will note that "frog" also means the pad on the underside of a horse's hoof. (Not that it is an especially unusual usage.)

Hmmn. I've just checked, and it can also mean ANY raised or swollen area on a surface.

This is before we even get into "having a frog in [one's] throat".

Useful word, as joann said.

#371 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 08:08 PM:

Sian Hogan @ 370... "having a frog in [one's] throat"

In French(*), the equivalent expression is avoir un chat dans la gorge, which translates as having a cat in the throat. That gives a whole new meaning to those times when a director tells his actors: "Say it again. With more feline."

(*) I heard that.

#372 ::: Daniel Martin ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 08:17 PM:

How can it be that no one has yet mentioned that most wonderful of obscure mathematical terms "latus rectum", which I'm certain is kept around so that seventh graders have something dirty-sounding to giggle at in algebra class...

#373 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 08:31 PM:

I have a soft spot for the Jamaican word 'fit' meaning, of a fruit, 'fully grown but not yet ripe'.

I was surprised to find, a little while ago, that people didn't know the useful West Indian word 'ruinate', meaning 'cultivated land that has been allowed to revert to the wild'.

#374 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 09:10 PM:

Serge @ #369, No, nor did I ask Gypsy Rose Lee. How old do you think I am, anyway?

#375 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 09:23 PM:

Sian @ 370, '"frog" meaning a swollen or raised area' is interesting, because the 'frog' of a brick* is that depressed part on one side that allows a (raised) blob of mortar to go up into the body of the brick so that it's held more firmly against sideways forces.

It does seem to be a hard-working word. I wonder if all the variations come from one original root, or different ones 'converging' on one form of word? Somewhere in QI there was a question about the word in the OED that had the greatest number of different meanings. Now I can't remember what it was. [BTW, on the BBC QI site, there are short videos linked. I've been able to freely watch the single "quickie" from the current episode, but all the other outakes & extracts listed next to it bring up the message "This content is not available to sites outside the UK". Grrr. So far only series 1 of 5 is available on DVD. I guess they're saving the goodies as extras for the box sets later.]

In South Australia they have a unique characteristic object called a Stobie pole. I was wondering if this was related to "stob" — a word I've never heard of before — but from that link, it appears to be the name of the inventor.

More language-related boxes

*Why do pictures of gluten-free bread rolls keep appearing when I do an image search for 'housebrick'?

#376 ::: Cathy Krusberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 10:13 PM:

I'm terribly impressed that I've already been beaten to not only mullion but glabella. My contributions:

tang: the part of a knife blade projecting into the handle. (Actually the word can be used more broadly for part of an object projecting into another part to attach it, but the tang on a knife is most likely to be "everyday.") Definitely not just for breakfast.

pilcrow: a paragraph mark. Not to be confused with pill bug, for which people in my region (NE Georgia, USA) use the term roly-poly (n).

zest: the outermost rind of a citrus fruit. (I was very surprised, years ago, to learn that zest is a concrete noun.)

scutigera: a type of centipede. I discovered them on moving into this house 15 years ago and accidentally learned what they were called when browsing a book about "spiders and their kin." These critters look terrifying, and if killed in action, their legs will continue to move until a good bit of smashing has occurred. Now that I know they are predators, I leave them alone.

finial: a crowning ornament on a detail. The everyday version is the threaded object on the top of a lamp harp that holds the lampshade in place. I've heard of people who collect lamp finials.

dingbat: a typographical ornament. Some typographers apparently reserve the word for particular styles or applications of ornaments.

#130: bezel isn't just for jewelry; it's also the part of a watch holding the crystal in place. The back of a watch is often stamped "base metal bezel - stainless steel back."

#246 and #355: my riding instructor of many years ago distinguished between a "flake" of hay and a "pat" or "bat." The flake, IIRC, was the thinnest possible division of a square bale, often so thin it wasn't itself square. The pat or bat was a more discrete section a few inches thick.

But horse folk often don't use terms universally. I understand fights can break out over the distinction between chestnut and sorrel.

#377 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 10:37 PM:

Linkmeister @ 374... Heheheh... Well, remember that scene in The Right Stuff with the big Texas celebration then a woman dances on stage to the music of Debussy's Clair de Lune? Wasn't that supposed to be Sally Rand(*)? You were around in the early 1960s.

-----

(*) "Wasn't Sally Rand the first American woman in space?"
"No, dear, you're thinking of Sally Ride."
"Drat."

#378 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: November 13, 2007, 11:58 PM:

If you want to get very, very specific, students in Dr Balser's Invertebrate Zoology course at Illinois Wesleyan refer to a giant marine isopod (pillbug/sowbug/rolypoly/armadillobug the size of a football) as a Spanish olive. Because that's what the jar says-- Spanish Olives.
It's not very widespread, but the inverts shall take over the world.

#379 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 12:00 AM:

John Stanning, #309: IIRC, the quaver is an eighth-note; the semiquaver is a sixteenth-note; the demisemiquaver is a thirty-second note; and the hemidemisemiquaver is a sixty-fourth note. AFAIK, no one has ever attempted to use one-hundred-twenty-eighth notes, so that should be where it stops.

Dawno, #336: Well, there are some interesting names for bead shapes. Rondelles are oblate spheroids drilled thru the short axis. Bicones look like two cones joined at the wide end, then drilled from point to point. Go-gos are flat round or oval beads with large off-center holes, like a badly-made donut. Briolettes are teardrop-shaped beads drilled across the point; actually, I think that term was originally a bit more specific, but it's been diluted by common use.

In lampworking, stuff that you add to the surface of the hot bead in small bits is called frit.

And (#343) the knot around which a frog loop goes is traditionally a monkey's-fist. Someone else can have the rest of the interesting knot names.

#380 ::: Brynna Loppe ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 12:37 AM:

I was wondering if there was official parking-lot-designer terminology for the various parts of a parking lot. I was in an accident in one a year or so ago, and each person I talked to (the officer, the various adjusters, the body shop guy, etc) used different terms.
I originally described them like this: the parking spot itself is a stall, and the part that the stalls open onto is an aisle. Then at the end of an aisle there may be a laneway that feeds into/out of the parking lot itself, or runs around the perimeter of it.

#381 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 12:52 AM:

Serge @ 377, I read the book but didn't see the movie, and thus don't remember the scene. Maybe I should; that sounds like a memorable visual.

I have memories of ads for Baltimore and DC strip clubs in the Washington Star sports pages (I delivered the paper for three-plus years in the early 1960s), which is why I remember Blaze Starr.

#382 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 12:55 AM:

melospiza @349 -- thanks for the Skylar ident. I'm not particularly surprised I got that wrong; Skylar has always felt to me like an attempt to achieve Fletch-like commercial success with the southern setting MacDonald had fallen in love with and tried to show others in Merely Players & related books. In that theory, the second-generation Fletch books are a 2nd attempt to do the same. Mind, I'm a big enough fan that I've read all the books, but not any interviews or the like.

Alan Braggins @359 -- good point, and I should have thought of that and mentioned it. At least one of the RPN systems I've used has a 'rotn' operator to rotate N elements.

#383 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 01:01 AM:

The things you learn . . .

Because of the recent oil spill in San Francisco Bay, I have now learned that collision, in maritime terminology, only refers to one ship running into another ship. When a ship runs into a stationary object, it is called an allision.

Nifty.

#384 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 01:22 AM:

Linkmeister @374: Actually, someone could have asked Gypsy Rose Lee; or maybe I mean should have? I think the word "ecdysiast" was coined for her, and she adopted it enthusiastically--at least, I seem to remember reading something like that, once upon a time. The OED credits the word to H.L. Mencken, which would fit well enough, I suppose.

#385 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 01:30 AM:

Serge @ 377: Yup, that's supposed to be Sally Rand--who evidently continued to wave her fans around professionally until the mid-1970s and well into her own personal sixties . . . why do I know that? I haven't seen the movie, either.

#386 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 02:16 AM:

Mary Frances @ #384, that's interesting. Having a word coined for her must have been a real feather in her boa (sorry).

#387 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 08:22 AM:

Diatryma@367: No, it's not the ozone smell, it's more the wet ground smell. The thesaurus section of Dictionary.com actually has the origin of the word (coined in the 60's), and it is fairly interesting.

#388 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 08:51 AM:

"Wasn't Sally Rand the first American woman in space?"
"No, dear, you're thinking of Sally Ride."
"Drat."

That must have been fun for her at school...

"All you wanna do is ride around Sally..."

#389 ::: K.C. Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 09:33 AM:

Cathy at 376: We call pill bugs roly-polies in East TN too--in fact, when my cousin (from Alabama) referred to one as a pill bug once, I had no idea what he was talking about. We also seem to have a local term for wood sorrel, the sour-tasting edible weed that looks sort of like clover: we call it rabbit-grass.

I'd never seen a scutigera before I moved up here to Pennsylvania. They're the most horrible-looking bugs I can imagine. My brother had to look them up online when he first saw one; he says they're centipedes. To me a centipede is a hard-bodied, multi-legged thing that curls up when it dies (instead of falling to bits and twitching). Scutigera is a much better name. My entire life is devoted to destroying those things. I don't kill spiders because they're one of my weapons in the war against all scutigera!

Diatryma at 378: Regarding really specific community jargon, when I worked at a used book store years ago, the term we used instead of geek was gurp (after the game, of course). Interestingly, gurp has a slightly different connotation from geek or nerd--it refers more to the enthusiastic collector of dopey things rather than the pocket-protector and multifunction calculator kind of guy.

#390 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 09:34 AM:

Thanks to the various people who corrected me on Spoonerism. Maybe switching words instead of syllables could be called "advanced Spoonerism", or some other silly idiomatic phrase, since that kind of thing *can* be more fun than Latinate technical labels.

Getting back to southwestern terms, I like "hoodoo" for weird rock pillar, like the ones in Bryce Canyon. Anyone interested in landscape terminology (American style) should have a ball with Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape, edited by Barry Lopez, which came out last year from Trinity University Press in Texas. I still haven't managed to read the whole thing straight through, but just a glance back at the Cs provides goodies like "cove forest," "cowbelly", "coyote well," and "cripple" (which is similar to but not quite the same as "spong"). It's a big book with b&w hand-drawn illustrations for some words, and makes wonderful browsing.

#391 ::: C. Wingate ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 09:52 AM:

re #378: I saw some time back that Gary Larson's cartoon has led to the dubbing of the rear end of the stegosaurus as the "thagomizer".

#392 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 10:17 AM:

Faren #390:

I think you've just solved my Christmas Present Problem. Just the sort of book the intended recipient should have.

#393 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 10:30 AM:

Linkmeister @ 377... Mary Frances @ 385... I enjoyed the movie, in spite of the liberties it took with History. Seeing it for the first time in 1983, on a very big screen, was quite an experience, especially watching Chuck Yeager break the sound barrier.

As for Sally Rand... She was played by a young woman, but hey, it was a nice scene, starting with the expected wolf whistles, then settling down with them just watching her dance. Beautiful music by Debussy.

#394 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 10:39 AM:

Xopher @322 and Jakob @ 347 and Xopher again @ 366,

I was told, as a student of Classical Greek and Latin at Oxford University*, by the professor who amongst other things, translated offical speeches for university functions into Latin and when required, Classical Greek, that actually Classical Greek has a rather small vocabulary compared to Latin and subsequent languages. But most Greek words have a wealth of different meanings, giving the language marvellous flexibility, thus context is crucial.

After those years of wrestling with translations from Greek into English and vice-versa, since I am in no sense a natural linguist, I am inclined to agree.

*I am saying this as context for the authority of the professor saying this, not by way of flaunting my alma mater.

#395 ::: Janice in GA ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 11:34 AM:

I was amused to learn that those black plastic strips about 16" - 18" tall that they put up on graded hillsides are called "silt fences."

Spinning has a lot of neat terms. On spinning wheels, the section that comprises the flyer, bobbin and support posts is called the mother-of-all.

The support posts for the flyer/bobbin assembly are the maidens (front and rear).

The holder for the bobbins full of spun yarn is the lazy kate.

A niddy-noddy is type of skein winder.

The rod that attaches the treadle to the crank of the wheel is the footman.

#396 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 11:49 AM:

C. Wingate @ 391... Thanks for the link. Larson's stuff doesn't have its own site, as far as I know. That's a shame. I first discovered his stuff in 1983 when visiting friends in Toronto. The newspaper had an article about this cartoonist who was on a book-signing tour and its sample of cartoons had one about the farmer getting mad at one of his cows for her trying to drive his tractor and her crashing it. Of course I fell in love with his stuff.

#397 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 12:16 PM:

Brynna, #380: That concrete log which keeps you from pulling forward out of the parking space is called a "parking ribbon". Why ribbon? I have no idea.

#398 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 01:40 PM:

joann @392 -- Christmas/Holiday Present Problems, oy! That deserves its own thread.

#399 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 06:15 PM:

Debbie #398:

Wherein we all state our problems, and others pose solutions? I see no way, in this crowd, to keep it serious.

#400 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 06:31 PM:

Lee @ 379 - "frit" is a great word.

I'm starting to get educated on the names of bead shapes, although there's one small (2-3 mm) glass/crystal faceted bead shape I'd like to find in the online catalog that is eluding me - it's more of an oval so I don't think it's a bicone, which from looking at the pictures, is too pointy. I can occasionally find it at Michael's but there's too few in the package and the retail markup is pure thievery.

#401 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 07:16 PM:

"Drusy" refers to a gemstone that is covered with tiny, sparkling crystals, as if it's been frosted with sugar. Here's an image of a lab-grown black sapphire with ruby crystals. You may have seen it before as an amethyst geode.

And "planishing" is the act of raising sheet metal up out of plane by striking it just so between a hammer and an anvil or forming stake. Do it wrong and you get a flat spot or a dent. Do it right and you get a little raised spot. (Physics is neat!)

#402 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 08:46 PM:

Claquer: a paid applauder. Or in today's terms, an outsourced sockpuppet.

#403 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 08:54 PM:

kc,

We call pill bugs roly-polies in East TN too--in fact, when my cousin (from Alabama) referred to one as a pill bug once,

in my columbus, ohio, we called them potato bugs. no idea why. i used to love playing with them, & had a bad attack of conscience a month or so ago when i had to squish one that had wandered into my (vancouver, bc) apartment. i hadn't seen one in years.

speaking of regional idiosyncratic definitions: i always think of two that were used by everyone i knew growing up (as above, in columbus, ohio) in the eighties, but no one i've met since has heard of them.

"snitch" meant, not to tattle, but to steal from food that was designated for later ("who's been snitching from the brownies?").

"ditch" meant, not abandoning, but queue-jumping ("mrs. jones, joey ditched the line!").

i learned these definitions before i learned the infinitely-more-common ones. i still think of illicit desserts first when i hear the scary urban slogan, "no snitching."

#404 ::: Allan Beatty ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 09:06 PM:

Harry @ 236: According to Levolor's assembly instructions that I haven't thrown away yet, the plastic part you turn on your venetian blinds is a wand in English and a vara in Spanish.

And now I know how to say that when my cat climbed through the blinds, he pulled some of the slats out of the ladder.

#405 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 09:24 PM:

miriam @403, I knew the first definition of "snitch" too, in South Dakota. (And it occurs to me know that it seems like a variation of "snatch", with a small-sounding vowel -- purses are snatched, but a taste of the cookie dough is snitched.)

#406 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 10:06 PM:

Lee, #379, and another Austrian Crystal maker has come out with "squaredelles" which just hurts my mind.

Dawno, #400, a lot of times round facted beads look kind of oval. Here's a chart of Swarovski shapes. A lot of other Austrian and Czech crystal makers make shapes like Swarovski, and of course, glass bead makers, too.

#407 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 10:12 PM:

Dawno @400: I'm starting to get educated on the names of bead shapes, although there's one small (2-3 mm) glass/crystal faceted bead shape I'd like to find in the online catalog that is eluding me - it's more of an oval so I don't think it's a bicone, which from looking at the pictures, is too pointy.

A faceted oval... that size sounds pretty small to have a lot of shaping detail; I'm guessing that the oval outline is coplanar with the borehole so as to be visible from the side when strung, yes? The only perpendicularly oval beads in that size range that I can think of are the asymmetrical "magatama" drops which are (afaik) always smooth-surfaced.

Does the long axis of the oval coincide with the borehole? If it does, I'm guessing that they're faceted "rounds", which tend to be off-round when small; if the long axis is perpendicular, maybe they're "gemstone" rondelles. The same site also has general shape-based menus of both fire-polished faceted (molded) glass and machine-cut Czech lead crystal; if you're specifically looking for Swarovski, there's a fairly extensive chart for those here, but it's indexed by Swarovski's standard numerical shape-code rather than by name.

*firmly squashes the recurrent urge to infodump about Czech manufacturers' standard color-coding system*

#408 ::: Ericka Barber ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 11:16 PM:

Brynna #380 and Lee #397 We grew up calling those concrete logs "dead men" which is what driving over one feels like (I suppose!).

A term I learned living in the South is barditch - the ditch along the side of the road from which the mounded portion was borrowed (barred).

As far as 5 year olds creating words, my sister once went around the circle of people sitting in the living room, looking at their hot chocolate. She firmly told them whether their chocolate had a "roo" (the foam only in the middle) or a "woof" (the foam circling the outside). You were very special if you had both a roo and a woof!

#409 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 11:29 PM:

#400 ::: Dawno

...I'm starting to get educated on the names of bead shapes, although there's one small (2-3 mm) glass/crystal faceted bead shape I'd like to find in the online catalog that is eluding me...

Try:
http://www.ornabead.com/

#410 ::: vian ::: (view all by) ::: November 14, 2007, 11:40 PM:

*firmly squashes the recurrent urge to infodump about Czech manufacturers' standard color-coding system*

Darn. I'll bet it's full of really interesting new words.

#411 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:03 AM:

Evan @ 94, I have a 3 1/4 yr old Ben. He's a fountain of names for things that we Thought We Knew The Name For But Were Sadly Misinformed.

His best word so far is twiggle, meaning to bend or twist in an odd way, such as what happens when you sleep on your ear wrong.

#412 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:13 AM:

Julie, #407: *firmly squashes the recurrent urge to infodump about Czech manufacturers' standard color-coding system*

Please do -- that sounds interesting!

#413 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 03:56 AM:

joann @399 -- well, if the suggestions weren't serious, they'd definitely be entertaining, which in itself would be worth it. OTOH, I can imagine people contributing inspired, useful ideas. Or solutions, along the lines of 'Anyone know where in the heck I can find a ______ ?'

#414 ::: R. M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:19 AM:

#403, Miriam

That usage of snitch was common in my family in central Georgia, but I can't recall if anyone else used it or not.

#415 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:14 PM:

Debbie #413:

OK, Miss Teresa, should we go for it?

Of course, those families where there is more than one reader of ML would have to swear off that thread. I'm not sure that would be a Good Thing/Precedent.

#416 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 12:16 PM:

RM Koske #414:

Also in at least occasional use in central KY about 45 years ago, but not just for food. "Jackie snitched my pencil!"

#417 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:01 PM:

We called them potato bugs in Brooklyn in the late '70s and the '80s. Or pill bugs.

#418 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 01:16 PM:

Ericka @ 408

Well if there's a tractor driving down the road, it will likely pull into the barditch to keep you from running into the toolbar even if the toolbar's folded up ('Look, there's a Martian coming down the road!'). You really don't want to tangle with an 8-row rollover plow. It can ruin your whole day.

#419 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 02:50 PM:

vian @410 & Lee @412: Here's my current writeup of the Czech glass color-codes. I should perhaps that although I have just updated it, my brain is feeling woozledy and may have generated sundry errata or otherwise incomprehensible randomness.

#420 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 07:04 PM:

Marilee, Julie, Carol, Lee - thank you! While I appreciate the knitting posts here, I'm a crocheter and could never get the hang of two needles. Now that I've taken up beading (and originally to solve a personal problem with having to wear icky shoestring lanyards for my badge with nice suits at work) it's great to know where there are some friendly experts, and I promise not to be a pest.

It looks like the faceted rounds you linked to, Julie, are exactly what I'm looking for to make more chains like this one, but in a variety of colors. I wish I could order stuff from the Mode site - but I don't have a tax ID. At least I don't think I do, unless they accept social security numbers. I'm still working on getting all the business paperwork done.

#421 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:01 PM:

Dawno, those decorative lanyards are quite appealing. Unfortunately, most of the places round here I've seen that require the lanyard-using style of worker identification also require you to use a company/hospital/department-branded unique lanyard with the name or logo either woven in or printed on it. It's presumably another piece of security; you can't just pick up a lost badge and clip it onto any old bit of cording.

I've almost given up wearing everyday necklaces, of which I have a biggish collection. With the lanyard, my permanent keys-onna-string, and hatstrings for outside, everything tends to get tangled up, bringing visions of the death of the murderer in Deep Red (aka Profondo rosso), so the idea of attractive lanyards is a nice one, but , sadly, not yet usable.

#422 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 08:12 PM:

Thank you Mez, and that's too bad about having to wear the imprinted ones, but understandable in your situation. I didn't realize that I was so fortunate that it's not a problem where I work. The way I make the fastenings on mine, one can wear them as eyeglass chains by adding the little loopy bits (wonder if there's a word for those) to the claw ends (at least the lighter ones - heavy ones give me a bit of a headache after awhile) and also, after you remove the badge and turn the claw ends to the back, as a necklace. I thought that was kind of clever.

#423 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 09:48 PM:

AFAIK Mode doesn't accept SSNs as tax IDs, which is annoying because they don't explicitly say so in their FAQ. However, iirc from a previous version of their site and like many other wholesale-type bead vendors, they have fairly large minimum quantities (~1 "mass" = 1200 beads) per item, which may conspire with your budget/storage to limit your design palette. Most online bead wholesalers also have minimum total orders ranging from $50-$200, so a lot depends on how much you want to (or can) sink into the enterprise as an up-front cost.

Another alternative to ffp rounds might be semifaceted seed beads (charlottes, 2-cuts, or 3-cuts), though that might not actually help much; although they're less expensive per unit bead, their standard wholesale quantities of "master hanks" (about 30k beads depending on bead size) cost about the same (~$20-30) as a mass of small ffp rounds, and they might not have the right look you want anyway.

#424 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:22 PM:

Malthus @ #319, proprioception is the sensation that tells you where your various body parts are; kinesthesia is motion sense. (There are proprioceptors in your joints; kinesthesia is a muscle sense.) Damage to proprioceptors, for example by diabetic neuropathy, is one of the leading causes of falls. It can keep you from being able to tell what position your foot is in as you're taking a step, so that you put the foot down wrong.

#425 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: November 15, 2007, 10:27 PM:

Good to know, Julie, guess I'll have to get that tax ID along with everything else. As far as up front costs, well, lets just say that once I became an "empty nester" I found myself with a lot more free time and money. Combining those two circumstances into something that takes my mind off worrying about my son, who joined the Army and is now in Iraq, has been a good thing. I can pretty much block out the anxious thoughts by concentrating on one bead at a time.

Minimum order of $50 - $200 is ok for me. I have been ordering from Fire Mountain pretty regularly at about that rate.

#426 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 01:14 AM:

Dawno, if you get a tax ID, you have to have a business. The IRS will check. It doesn't have to be a big business, but you do need to sell and take taxes.

As to FMG, I don't buy from them for two reasons: 1) they have become a seller of foreign-made tchotchkes, and 2) they ask artists to provide sample beads and then have them copied in China, cheating the artist. There are a number of better places to buy beadstuff, including Shipwreck who have these nice pages of fire-polished faceted oval Czech beads. I don't think ovals come in 3mm, (the Mode ovals were much larger) and you probably want 3mm rounds, but Shipwreck has those, too. (Bias alert: The HR director is a friend of mine.)

#427 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 10:32 AM:

Marilee, as for having a business, that's the plan. It started with women at seminars or conferences seeing my lanyards and asking if they could buy them. I started bringing along a sampling of my work when I go to those things, and I've sold quite a few already, including some to women I work with. I haven't begun to make much of a dent in my "start up" cost, of course, but I have kept all my receipts and have recorded all my sales.

It's sad to hear what FMG does to the bead artists, I'll definitely check out Shipwreck.

I *so* love ML. Thank you to our gracious hosts for having a place where such talented and helpful people congregate!

#428 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 11:30 AM:

Marilee: I know the answer will probably depend a lot on specific context, but around what point would you say it becomes worthwhile to get a tax ID? I've been selling stuff on eBay for a while now, but on a level that I regard as barely on the borderline between intensive hobby and part-time job; then again, my net would probably be vastly improved if I set up my own website instead of constantly shucking out misc eBay fees (10% final value fees for store inventory, sheesh).

Dawno: two more bead vendor recs for you: beadsrfun.com and dibeads.com ; so far I've only placed one smallish order from each of them, but thought their selection and prices were pretty good for low-quantity sellers-- both seem to have a pretty good selection of 3mm ffp rounds, packaged in groups of 50-100 beads. I've heard good things about Shipwreck, but haven't ordered anything from them because they use their own color-coding system which I can't directly compare to the standard manufacturers' chart.

#429 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 12:12 PM:

Thanks, Julie, I've bookmarked those two.

#430 ::: Dyon ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 02:04 PM:

More on doors:
The top of the door frame is the "lintel." (The framing in the wall is called a "header"). The bottom of the door opening is the "sill." The vertical sides are the "jambs." (The framing on either side of the jambs inside the walls are "jack studs.") These are all words you may have heard without knowing exactly what they refer to; now you know.

#431 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 03:41 PM:

The top crossbar on a building frame is the plate; the bottom one is the sill (also). athe beams under a floor are joists, and they're supposed to be spliced where they change direction.

(I lived in a house where, in the course of repairs and upgrades, my father discovered the rafters hadn't been notched to fit the plates. He put in small wedges to alleviate the potential problem (like rafters sliding right off in, say, an earthquake). We had unspliced joists, too. The (Italian) neighbor described the contractor by miming someone drinking from a bottle.)

#432 ::: Carol Kimball ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2007, 10:19 PM:

#430 ::: Dyon

You left out "king stud".

#433 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 07:45 AM:

My latest issue of Asimov's came in the mail today, and it reminded me of one: Those loose cards you find in magazines (often soliciting subscriptions) are called "blow-ins".

#434 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2007, 11:25 PM:

Erm. I made a post last night that would have been 432. I don't suppose it's hanging around anywhere?

#435 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 01:57 AM:

David, #433: Around here, we call those cards "magazine seeds" -- but I think that's idiosyncratic usage.

Dawno, if you'd like some further references for beadsellers of various types, drop me an e-mail at the link from my name.

#436 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 07:43 AM:

Now, I know the word "wythe" as mason's word for a layer of bricks. I think it's just a variant spelling of "width", though. And architects often use the word "heigth", so width and heigth.

#437 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 11:52 AM:

I hear that bookstore staff call blow-ins or magazine seeds "magazine shit" as they're constantly messing on the floor under the periodicals racks.

#438 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2007, 08:16 PM:

Julie, #428, I'm going to try to rewrite the post that disappeared. I'm not an IRS expert, but I did import sterling from Bali and sell it online for a few years. The IRS decides hobby vs. business by how much money you make (or don't) over a few years. If you sell stuff, you're supposed to have a tax ID. You could probably get away with a few hundred a year, but I'd go ahead and file properly. Don't forget you need to pay self-employment tax, too, so count that into your prices.

Here's a good resource for small business. Even really small business!

#439 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2007, 02:07 AM:

I knew the word already, but a whole lot of football players didn't know what that piece of pipe holding up the crossbar in the end zone is called. They needed to learn at the end of regulation in the Cleveland Browns game yesterday.

It's a stanchion.

#440 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2007, 02:23 AM:

Thanks again to Lee (I'll take you up on that one of these days!) and Marilee (even though her post was a response to Julie L, it's very helpful to me, too).

#441 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2007, 03:32 AM:

Marilee, #428: Did you ever hang out on rec.crafts.beads? I've been trying to figure out why your name seems vaguely familiar, and your mentioning having been a seller of Bali silver could be it.

#442 ::: Steve Jackson ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2007, 02:05 AM:

The concrete things in a parking lot that stop you from rolling too far when you park. Them.

#443 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2007, 02:09 AM:

Steve, see #397 and #408 for two names of those.

#444 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2007, 08:39 PM:

Lee, #441, yes, when I sold, I read and posted to rcb. The instant I closed the business, I left. Too many cliques and bitchy people. I left About at the same time. I still read rec.crafts.jewelry; I used to be an engineer and I'm fine there. I had some articles in magazines, too, but I stopped submitting when they kept rewriting the directions and doing it wrong so I spent way too much time sending out .zip files. The only bead forum I frequent is on Delphi -- All About Beads, which is owned by Beki Haley, owner of Out on a Whim -- and I'm on the board of BFAC (hmmm, the next kits will be on sale in February, I need to get that fixed).

But I think it's more likely you remember me from when I posted on rec.music.filk.

#445 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 07:24 PM:

From an academic paper in progress; if it seems stilted, I plead academic editorial requirements:

The term “kinetic” is used by architects to describe moving building geometry. Engineers and physicists prefer “kinematic” instead, reserving "kinetic" for the analysis of the forces involved in a moving system; these disciplines oppose "kinetics" to "statics", and group both under the term “dynamics”. This paper, being on architectural design, defers to the architectural convention and uses the term "kinetic".

My quote key is getting sore.

#446 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2007, 07:44 PM:

"The concrete things in a parking lot that stop you from rolling too far when you park. Them."

They are called, reasonably enough, car stops or sometimes car stop curbs.

#447 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2007, 11:13 AM:

JESR: Analogously, I've taken to calling paper-covered wire hangers "yuppie fewmets", because they're how you can tell a yuppie has been in the locker room.

#448 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2012, 04:02 PM:

Thanks to the spam report, I'm reading this particular entry for the first time, and it reminds me of the proudest hardware store clerking moment I ever had.

A woman came in, and asked 16-year-old me for "The thing that, when the door, it's the thing that the thing, you know, that thing?" and I led her staight to the screen door strike plates. While there were some hand gestures involved, they were more like flailing around than anything useful, and the only noun was "door". And it was exactly what she was looking for.

(A screen door strike plate is unlike a regular door strike plate, in that a regular door strike plate is a metal plate with a hole in it, for the latch or bolt to fit into and hold the door shut. A screen door strike plate is a three-dimensional item which has a springy aluminum rod that the screen door latches on to. HERE's a picture.

#449 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2012, 05:48 PM:

Cally Soukup @ 449: Now I'm trying to remember the name of the short story, which I read within the past year, in which a young woman walks into a hardware store looking for a "red thing". She can't say what it's for - she was just sent to get it. She describes a shape (it's plumbing-ish) and it absolutely has to be red. The clerk is quite taken with her, so he's determined to find it for her, and helpfully offers to go back to with her to see where it needs to go. That turns out to be not quite your average household project!

#450 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2012, 05:54 PM:

Janetyl @ 450... That sounds like a Lewis Padgett story.

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