Posts tagged “OED”

Things that are obsolete

The modem sound has gone the way of the brabble.

Robert Fulford: When words die [] The Oxford Concise Dictionary has been forced to abandon words. Never fear, they will remain in the OED, which is not restrained by promises of concision!

The Concise has also set aside “threequel,” meaning the third book in a series; it never caught on, perhaps because trilogies are out of fashion. The Concise has likewise abandoned “brabble,” which means a paltry but noisy quarrel, and “growlery,” meaning the private den of a man. I knew none of these words in their prime and now must recognize that they are on their way out. It leaves an odd feeling, a cousin to the nebulous melancholy that accompanies the reading of an obituary of someone you would like to have known…Shouldn’t we have a category for endangered words? Perhaps we need a system of adopting words to keep them safe and well, the way people adopt favourite stretches of highway. We would sign up, promise to use our chosen words as often as possible and of course object when they are misused or threatened with abandonment.

Bleeoo! #RIPdialup [] That strange modem sound hasn’t been heard for awhile in most parts, and is not missed, at least by this former dialer-upper. Yet, another strange nostalgia breeds, even for this horrible sound. The bleeoo-crackle meant that you were just sitting there waiting, pointlessly, anticipating the blissful connection. We endured it only because we had to. I guess it’s today’s equivalent of having to walk to school through the snow uphill both ways. Kids today!

Remember the glory of dialing up? Kids today won’t know the shrill cry of a 9600 baud, or the magical “doodleeedoo” of a 28.8 modem. Help preserve our digital history. Join us in recording your best impression of a “modem handshake” sound.

(Thanks Steve, for the pointer to Bleeoo!)

Potato Farmers Loathe ‘Couch Potato’ Term

I’ve excerpted the best bits, but feel free to read the full story

British potato farmers demonstrated outside Parliament on Monday to publicize their bid to remove the term ‘couch potato’ from the Oxford English Dictionary, arguing that the description of slothful TV addicts harms the vegetable’s image.

The group of about 30 farmers carried signs that read ‘couch potato out’ and ‘ban the term couch potato.’ A similar rally took place in Oxford, central England.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term ‘couch potato’ as ‘a person who spends leisure time passively or idly sitting around, especially watching television or video tapes.’

The British Potato Council says the phrase makes the vegetable seem unhealthy. It wants the expression stripped from the dictionary and replaced in everyday speech with the term ‘couch slouch.’

‘The potato industry are fed up with the disservice that ‘couch potato’ does to our product when we have an inherently healthy product,’ said Kathryn Race, head of marketing at the British Potato Council, a body set up by the government to run advertising campaigns promoting potato consumption and research issues linked to the vegetable.

‘Potatoes have been around for many, many years, but increasingly, with all the coverage that dieting & healthy eating gets in general, we need to make sure that potatoes remain a popular food,’ Race said.”

It’s hard to tell how serious they are. The article makes them sound very serious. Perhaps if I lived in Britain I’d understand the tone a bit better. As a PR stunt, it’s brilliant. It will raise awareness or whatever. As a piece of consumer education, it’s obviously ridiculous. You can’t angrily protest to get people to stop thinking something or making an association. Genie is out of the bottle, right? I’m going to quietly hope it’s the former.


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