Dictionary inclusion of unworthy words

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Mon Sep 23 16:50:09 UTC 2002

In a message dated 9/23/02 11:31:09 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
buchmann at BELLSOUTH.NET writes:

> I have noticed that technical usages entered the mainstream and left
>  in a shortened cycle over the twentieth century. Does anyone know
>  of any statistical studies ?  These usages are not slang, but they are
>  seemingly similar in behavior to topical slang.

That's because there is a shortened cycle of obsolescence---the things
described by those technical usages are getting obsolete and vanishing after
only a few years, so of course their names vanish with them.

>From the computer field:  sorter, collator, gang punch, interpreting punch,
sight check, disk pack, reel-to-reel, vacuum column, read-write ring,
foreground process, core, core storage, core dump, daisy wheel, sense switch,
delay line, Williams tube, 3-branched IF, screen-door card, golf ball---all
dead and most forgotten.  I doubt if any new programmer in the last 20 years
learned why a paperclip is called a "mechanical sight checker".

           - Jim Landau

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