Daniel Long dlong at BCOMP.METRO-U.AC.JP
Tue Nov 2 16:17:28 UTC 1999

In Japanese, the Phillips is called a "plus" and the regular screwdriver a
"minus".  I have never heard these in the English world.   However, my
experience with words like this that are regarded to be "wasei eigo" or "made in
Japan English terms" is that if you search hard enough you often find that at
SOME time SOME where in the English speaking world they were used.   So, I
wouldn't be too surprised if these terms were used at some point in some part of
the English world.   If not, then maybe they are backborrowings from Japanese.

Danny Long

P.S. Yeah, I've signed back on.  Hey y'all!  Miss me Barry?  Dang, I forgot he
cain't read his mail.

Love Hartman wrote:

> I am curious about the different words used when asking for a specific
> screwdriver. I heard that originally a person would either ask for a
> phillips or a standard or a flat. I heard someone refer to the two different
> types of screwdrivers as a "plus or minus".  How did the plus and minus get
> started?

Daniel Long, Associate Professor     tel  +81-426-77-2184
Japanese Language and Literature Dept.    fax  +81-426-77-2140
Tokyo Metropolitan University
1-1 Minami Osawa, Hachioji-shi, Tokyo  192-0397 Japan
mailto:dlong at

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