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This week we'll smile at some names for ordinary items that you probably didn't realize even had a name.

To honor our last theme, Blend Words, we'll begin with a name that fits that theme too. You'll find a sample of this named item in the title for the current theme.

interrobang – the punctuation mark ‽ (if your browser won't show it, imagine superimposing a ? over a !), used to end a simultaneous question and exclamation, usually of surprised, emphatic and often rhetorical disbelief

[blend of interrogation point + bang (printers' slang for the exclamation point). The name was invented in 1962 when Martin Speckter, head of a New York advertising agency, perceived a need for such a mark. He solicited names from magazine-readers, and from their offerings selected interrobang.]

Some like this symbol and some hate it (see quotes), but all agree that it has not caught on, and is rarely used. Why not? I'd suggest it's because the same purpose is already served by ?! (the ? and ! in succession, not superimposed), and that this ?!-combination is a single symbol, the name of which is also interrobang.
    As rare as sightings of the extraordinarily elusive yellow-fronted bowerbird are sightings of the remarkably useful interrobang … , … a punctuation mark intended to convey incredulity. … The interrobang is classically used for a statement such as this to the wearer of an unlikely piece of headgear: "You call that a hat insert interrobang here."
    – InformationWeek, June 16, 2003

    Before the advent of the internet, our punctuation system was very conservative about admitting new marks; indeed, it held out for decades while a newfangled and rather daft symbol called the "interrobang" … tried to infiltrate the system, … and it is delightful to note that absolutely nobody was interested in giving it house-room. But I'm sure they will now, once they find out.
    – Lynne Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves
 
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This brings back echoes of Mother's voice, saying (asking) "You call That clean?!"
 
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What do you call those drive-up mailboxes, made so that you can deposit a letter without leaving your car?

snorkel box – a mailbox, for curbside placement, with a projecting slot that can be reached from within an automobile
    Parking in front of the Rolling Meadows post office is horrendous and dangerous. … the Rolling Meadows post office is the only one in the area … that does not have a snorkel box.
    – (Chicago) Daily Herald, May 3, 1999 (letter to editor)
 
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A footnote or two:

Snorkel and snore share an etymology.

Nostril shares its origin with thrill and drill, as in a hole drilled in the nose...


RJA
 
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Oh, and the furry snout of the Schnauzer.


RJA
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Robert Arvanitis:
Nostril shares its origin with thrill and drill, as in a hole drilled in the nose...


thrill, yes. drill, maybe not.
 
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furry snout of the Schnauzer

What do you do if the hair is falling off your Schnauzer? Stop riding the bicycle so much.


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.
 
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Question: What are those little bumps in between the lanes on the freeway?

Answer: Botts' dots, named for Dr. Elbert Dysart Botts (1893-1962), engineer with Caltrans (California Department of Transportation), who came up with the idea and was active in developing it.

Painted lane-lines tend to become invisible during rain, but Botts' dots (sometimes mistakenly called "Bott dots" or Bott's dots", with a shifting apostrophe) signal the driver with a bump and rumble. Some sources define the term to specify reflective dots, or non-reflective ones, or ceramic tile ones, but in my view that is mis-definition.
    He felt the rumble of Botts dots under his tires just as a car horn honked from the lane beside him. Rick yanked the pickup back into its own lane and waved apologetically at the passenger in a blue Accord … He'd flown jet planes in formation before, but it was harder to keep two cars side by side on the freeway.
    – Jerry Oltion, Abandon In Place

    "Proposition 115 is one of those Bott's dots in the freeway of life. It's not going to cause any serious damage to the mechanism."
    – a California judge's comment on a newly-mandate courtroom procedure; quoted in Los Angeles Times, June 10, 1990
 
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Not to be confused with Bernie Bot's dots (jelly beans of course)...
http://www.mugglenet.com/info/other/beans.shtml


RJA
 
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kerf – the groove made when one cuts with a saw (or with similar ax- or laser-cutting, etc.)
    The hacksaw blade torqued, bound in the ax handle, stuttered loose, torqued again, and made a sloppy kerf in the hard wood. She threw it on the floor.
    – Dean Koontz, False Memory
Kerf also means the width of material lost to the cutting blade. Sawmills cut down on the loss (and the sawdust), and maximize profits, by using narrow-kerf blades to cut their timber.

(pun intended!)
 
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For me, one of the great pleasures of words is finding long-lost relatives, stems that have wandered afar and then returned, much transformed by their journeys.

See precocious/apricot, and kit/guitar:
http://wordcraft.infopop.cc/ev...511026593#3511026593

"Kerf" shares its origin, not surprisingly, with a number of similarly cutting words, including "carve," "crab," and "graphic." See for example: http://www.myetymology.com/pro...european/gerbh-.html


RJA
 
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We've all seen this kind of box. What do you call it?

slipcase – a protective box with an open end, used to store a book or bookset while allowing it to be shelved with its spine showing
[also, a like slide-in cover for a phonograph record, a VCR tape, an identity tag, etc.]
    I dare any lover of books the view the Arion Press edition of Moby-Dick without bursting into tears. … The leather of the book's slipcase and cover is as blue as the deepest ocean … A folio-sized book, its heft is powerful, in contrast to the soft, almost silky paper, in which, if you look carefully, you'll find the watermark of a whale. The book is a sensual overload even before the first sentence is read.
    – Lewis Buzbee, The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop

    "The well-read hooker, huh, Matt?" Hatcher said, joining his young colleague in perusing the books. His eyes eventually went to the top shelf, … where ten videotape boxes stood nestled in slots provided by a blue faux leather slipcase designed for that purpose. … "Hey, wait a minute," Jackson said, pointing to a small video camera that had been partially concealed by the tapes, its lens tilted down in the direction of the bed.
    – Margaret Truman, Murder Inside the Beltway
[Lederer claims that this sort of box is a called a forel, but good luck finding that word so used nowadays.]
 
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Lists of "There's a name for that?" words – I'm not the first to compile one – often include "aglet". (One list-reader commented, "Somehow I knew aglet would be on that list.") We've presented "aglet" before: it is the plastic sheath, on the end of a shoelace, to facilitate its passing through eyelet holes.

But suppose you lose your aglet and your shoelace-end unravels, so that you have to lick it to a point to fumble it through the eyelet holes (the grommets). You get "up close and personal" with that ragged end. With such a close personal relationship, don't you think you should be introduced to it by name?

feazings – the frayed or raveled end of a rope (or, presumably, of a thread, shoelace, etc.)

I've tried this week to present words that you could conceivably use. Each names a familiar thing that you might have occasion to refer to, and even if the word is obscure, you could use it and reasonably expect that your hearers would understand from context. Today's word feazings is the only one this week which (as far as I can tell) is entirely obsolete, and is never used. But wouldn't it be a useful word, naming something we all run into and could use a name for?
 
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Is "to ravel" the same as "to unravel?"

Shades of (in)flammable.


RJA
 
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MW 1. To make complicated
Mw 3. To make clear


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.
 
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Is "to ravel" the same as "to unravel?"


Whatever ye sew, that will ye also rip.
 
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Quote: Whatever ye sew, that will ye also rip.

Speaking of sewing, see next. Wink
 
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armseye – the armhole opening, in clothing

What a pretty image: the "eye" for the arm. Sometimes rendered as arms eye – two words – or armsaye.
    The location of the armseye and the fitting of the sleeve into the armseye are two very important steps In the fitting of a garment. The armseye seam …. should show a good curve over the top of the shoulder. … Stout figures require a closer-fitting armseye and one that is higher under the arm than do the more slender types.

    Dear Dale: I'm making a dress. The sleeves are supposed to be smooth, but they have gathers. The pattern company suggested setting the sleeve farther into the armseye so there would be less fabric to ease.
    – Washington Post, Sept. 21, 1969 (ellipses omitted)

The term seems to be used only in the literature of sewing, but it would be useful every time you struggle with donning your coat. "Where is that @#$!@ armseye?!"

(ending the theme with an [interro]bang)
 
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quote:
(ending the theme with an [interro]bang)

But not, evidently, with a full stop (or period).


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.
 
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