Wordcraft Home Page    Wordcraft Community Home Page    Forums  Hop To Forum Categories  The Vocabulary Forum    Terms with Numbers
Go
New
Find
Notify
Tools
Reply
  
Terms with Numbers Login/Join
 
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted
Yesterday’s ‘ad infinitum’ puts me in mind of numbers.

In some ways, numbers are like people. They can be proper, or at least discrete, but of them are are improper. Some are negative; some are positive. Some are rational; others irrational. They can be transcendental or even imaginary. They can be round or they can have a point – and those that have a point often repeat themselves!

Numbers appear in many idioms whose meaning wouldn’t be obvious from the meanings of the individual words. Interestingly, almost all those idioms use one-digit numbers, especially the lowest ones: First Lady, second fiddle, third rate. This week we’ll turn the harder group, and look at some of those that use other numbers.

40 winks – a short sleep (usually not in bed)
    How easy it would be to put his head down on the desk and close his eyes and catch 40 winks.
    – Tom Wolfe, The Bonfire of the Vanities
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
quote:
They can be proper, or at least discrete,

Is that meant as a pun, or just a typo?


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10930 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
As a pun, of course! Wink The spelling I used is the one pertaining to mathematics.

eighty-six – (orig. restaurant/bar slang) to refuse to serve (the item is out, or the customer is unwelcome). by extension: to throw out; to eject or discard; to get rid of
    My girlfriend has a pair of shoes she adores [that] have begun to smell more strongly than a fish market. She won't get rid of them and its becoming embarrassing to take her out in public with her smelly feet. How can I tell her to eighty-six the shoes without hurting her feelings?
    – OSU Daily Barometer (Oregon State University), Oct. 7, 2005
I recall reading that restaurants once had an elaborate number-slang, with numbers to mean “poor tipper” or “customer trying to sneak out without paying”, etc. But for the life of me I can’t find any confirmation. Can anyone help?
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Urban Dictionary claims it is from a famous speakeasy, Chumley's, at 86 Bedford Street, in NYC.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=86


RJA
 
Posts: 485 | Location: Westport CTReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
This page gives a list of some codes used in US diners. Is that what you are thinking of? Note that most of them are not numeric.

They also give a slightly different interpretation of "86": "the kitchen is out of it, or, cancel the order".


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10930 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
There's also the phrase, "deep six", meaning to "bury at sea", or by extension, "throw away".


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10930 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Caterwauller
posted Hide Post
I found this site with diner slang. Again, most of it is not numeric, but it is most definitely colorful!


*******
"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
Posts: 5149 | Location: Columbus, OhioReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
Oh, I do remember my dad using moo juice. He had some funny ones! Big Grin
 
Posts: 23317 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Hic et ubique
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by arnie: This page gives a list of some codes used in US diners.
I particularly liked "burn the British" ( = English muffin, toasted).
 
Posts: 1204Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
paint-by-numbersdepreciative: merely mechanical or formulaic (rather than imaginative, original, or natural)
[figurative, from “painting” by filling in a pre-printed outline, on which each outlined area is marked with a number indicating the color to be used]
    … a trite movie-of-the-week emphasizing resiliency, resourcefulness and risk-taking -- a paint-by-numbers approach.
    – Baltimore Sun, May 4, 2007
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of jerry thomas
posted Hide Post
"I'm going to find myself a girl
Who can show me what laughter means
And we'll fill in the missing colors
In each other's paint-by-number dreams

And then we'll put our dark glasses on
And we'll make love until our strength is gone
And when the morning light comes streaming in
We'll get up and do it again
Get it up again

~~~ Jackson Browne -- "The Pretender"
 
Posts: 6710 | Location: Kehena Beach, Hawaii, U.S.A.Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
As a mom, I always thought those paint-by-numbers books for kids stifled their creativity.
 
Posts: 23317 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
I had wondered about the origin of 40 winks, and I found this link about it here. It seemed to develop in the U.S. around the 1820s. Do those of you in England use the phrase? I also was interested to see that the number 40 was thought to possess supernatural powers.
 
Posts: 23317 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of BobHale
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
As a mom, I always thought those paint-by-numbers books for kids stifled their creativity.


Not nearly as much as the old "magic painting" books where you paint over the page with clear water and watch it colour itself in. Now that's stifling creativity.
 
Posts: 7868 | Location: EnglandReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of BobHale
posted Hide Post
quote:
Originally posted by Kalleh:
I had wondered about the origin of 40 winks... Do those of you in England use the phrase?


yes, it's in common use here.
 
Posts: 7868 | Location: EnglandReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
the 400 – the highest society of a locality
[Coined by Ward McAllister (1827–1895), arbiter of New York City society. Supposedly “four hundred“ was the number of people who really mattered, or the number that Lady Astor’s ballroom could accommodate.]
    Their sons attend the same expensive academies, their daughters are polished off at the same elite schools; their sons and daughters meet together at the assemblies of the 400, as well as at the summer resorts and winter resorts and spring resorts, and they intermarry and inter-divorce; and the caste of the great rich emerges.
    – University [of California] Chronicle (1906)

    Even as this has made for a somewhat fairer society than the world of the 400, it has added a note of desperation.
    – James Fallows, What Did you do in the Class War, Daddy?, Washington Monthly, Oct. 1975
You might think the term “the 400” is now only a historical curiosity. But notice the Fortune Magazine rankings. Its ranks the largest corporations as the Fortune 100, the Fortune 500, and the Fortune 1000. But when it lists the wealthiest people, it lists the Fortune 400.
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
Do you think I am included in the really mattered category? Wink

Love the 400 concept; I think I'll start using it. When I am mad at someone: "Why should I care what you say? You're not one of the 400!"
 
Posts: 23317 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
quote:
Not nearly as much as the old "magic painting" books where you paint over the page with clear water and watch it colour itself in. Now that's stifling creativity
True. I remember those, too. They also have those tracing books where all the kids do are trace pictures with thin tracing paper. I've even thought coloring books stifle creativity a bit because of staying in the lines, but at least you can use the colors you want. That's not the case with the paint by numbers or tracing books or magic painting books.
 
Posts: 23317 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
23 skidoo (or just ‘skidoo’) – scram; leave quickly
[slang, from the first part of the 1900s. Origin unknown – but I’m researching it now. More to come, I hope.]
    The cop gave the bawling kid a nickel and told him to shut up. He dispersed the crowd very simply by telling them he’d send for the pie wagon and take them all down to the station house if they didn't twenty-three skidoo. The crowd scattered.
    – Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (P.S.)
Bonus word:
pie wagon
– a police van; a van used to transport prisoners to jail
[old slang; rarely seen]
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Junior Member
Picture of KB
posted Hide Post
I've been reading through the entries in a book, Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase and Fable, and it has an entry on "23 skidoo". I offer it only as a start, as I've already run across a few entries I *know* are wrong, and even the author admits in the entry that it's not complete.
----------------------
TWENTY-THREE SKIDDOO Go away; clear off. 'Skidoo' means 'skedaddle', but the reason for the particular number is uncertain. According to one theory, the reference is to air currents that would blow up women's skirts on the corner of Broadway and 23rd Street, New York. Police would shoo away gleeful male spectators with a shout of 'skiddoo!' Another source attributes the number to railway jargon, in which 23 is denoted a message of urgency.
--------------------------

KB
 
Posts: 24Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Proofreader
posted Hide Post
quote:
pie wagon – a police van; a van used to transport prisoners to jail

Called a "paddy wagon" hereabouts. Probably from the Boston area where so many Irish cops were on the beat.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
Posts: 6017 | Location: Rhode IslandReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
ninety-nine – used by physicians to detect areas of the lungs that have become solidified, as from pneumonia. When the patient speaks or whispers, the sound is loudest in these areas, and the loudness can be noticed by stethoscope or by ‘a palm on the patient’s back.

“Ninety-nine” was the usual word spoken, perhaps due to an error. It is said that the test was first developed by a German doctor, who used "neun und neunzig" because the vowel sounds would maximize the effect. English doctors simply translated the German words into English, preserving the meaning but abandoning the sounds!

A. A. Milne, of Winnie the Pooh fame, used this term along with a nice pun on “bed”. He tells of a physician who, with typical medical arrogance, ignores his patient's floral preferences.
    There once was a Dormouse who lived in a bed
    Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),
    And all the day long he'd a wonderful view
    Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

    A Doctor came hurrying round, and he said:
    "Tut-tut, I am sorry to find you in bed.
    Just say 'Ninety-nine,' while I look at your chest.
    Don't you find that chrysanthemums answer the best?"

    The Dormouse looked round at the view and replied
    (When he'd said "Ninety-nine") that he'd tried and he'd tried,
    And much the most answering things that he knew
    Were geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).
    [etc.]
    – A. A. Milne, The Dormouse and the Doctor

This message has been edited. Last edited by: wordcrafter,
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
Ahhhh, used by physcians and nurses, Wordcrafter. I have taught many a student to assess for tactile and auditory fremitus, which is when the patient says 99 as you either listen or feel for the vibrations. Having patients say "eeeee" is also used.

I've always loved that A.A. Milne poem.
 
Posts: 23317 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of wordcrafter
posted Hide Post
In music, the is called an eight-note in the US and a quaver in the UK. This gives us interesting (though perhaps impractical) names for subdivisions.

demiquaver – half a quaver; a 16th note
semidemiquaver – half a demiquaver; a 32nd note
hemisemidemiquaver – half a semidemiquaver; a 64th note
quasihemisemidemiquaver – half a hemisemidemiquaver; a 128th note

Not exactly terms you’ll find in everyday use, of course. But fun, and worth much more than a quasihemisemidemiquaver of amusement.
    It is impossible for you to know in advance exactly where to set down the pickup head to catch a favorite hemisemidemiquaver, grace note, or tympani bang.
    – Nicholas Rosa, Small Computers for the Small Businessman
 
Posts: 2670Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Believe it should be hemidemisemiquaver.

I had mnemonic in high-school, after the infamous class "History and Development of Science."

Now I guess I'll have to add a "q" somewhere...


RJA
 
Posts: 485 | Location: Westport CTReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
quote:
hemidemisemiquaver


Agreed, RA> The way I learned it, was semi, demisemi and hemidemisemi. I didn't know quasi, and even wonder if it is real.
 
Posts: 371Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of arnie
posted Hide Post
So ... If eight-note is used in the USA instead of quaver, what are the subdivisions called? Hemisemidemieight-note and so on? Confused


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
Posts: 10930 | Location: LondonReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Sixteenth, etc.
 
Posts: 371Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
Beleive it goes as follows:

Whole, half and quarter notes have no "flags" flying.

The eighth note is the first to have a flag, or quaver.

Thereafter
semi = 1/16
demisemi = 1/32
hemidemisemi = 1/64

Finally the rarely seen

quasihemidemisemi = 1/128

Of course "quasi" is not a strict halving, more like a "sort of."

Perhaps because it so hard to know the speed that high, like measuring neutrinos.


RJA
 
Posts: 485 | Location: Westport CTReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Proofreader
posted Hide Post
I can name that tune in three notes.

(Shows my age, huh?)


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
Posts: 6017 | Location: Rhode IslandReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
posted Hide Post
I just came across this description of musical notation. It is notable for its glossary, and use of python.

Quasi is not mentioned.
 
Posts: 371Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Kalleh
posted Hide Post
Reviving a thread...

This Chicago Tribune article had some more number words. I liked that "Taking the No. 11 bus" is slang for walking, with the 1's representing your own two legs. And we've all seen older women who dress in young women's clothing. 1661 is slang for that concept, referring to women looking 16 years old from the back but 61 from the front. [No matter what I did, I couldn't look 16 years old from the back. Roll Eyes]

They give these competing theories for 86ing something: 1) Article 86 of the New York state liquor code spelled out when a customer should be refused alcohol. 2) A soup kitchen during the Depression made only enough soup for 85 people. 3) Delmonico's restaurant in New York City had rib-eye steak listed as No. 86 on the menu, and often ran out.
 
Posts: 23317 | Location: Chicago, USAReply With QuoteReport This Post
Member
Picture of Proofreader
posted Hide Post
Ed McBain, the famous mystery writer, wrote several books under the pseudonym Richard Stark. In one of those books, a character mentions that an older man's "elevens are up." When asked what that means, he says the tendons on the back of the old man's neck are showing (looking like the number 11), a sign that he is losing body mass, as a portent of impending death. I found a reference to this in another word book later (can't remember where). I thought Kalleh might know if this supposed unhealthy manifestation is true.


Give a man a fish and he can eat for one day; give a man a fishing pole and he will find an excuse to never work again.
Nollidj is power.
 
Posts: 6017 | Location: Rhode IslandReply With QuoteReport This Post
  Powered by Social Strata  
 

Wordcraft Home Page    Wordcraft Community Home Page    Forums  Hop To Forum Categories  The Vocabulary Forum    Terms with Numbers

Copyright © 2002-12