" tree-top tall" (was: Re: "sugar daddy")

Mullins, Bill AMRDEC Bill.Mullins at US.ARMY.MIL
Wed Jun 21 18:53:40 UTC 2006

>  Turning the damper up increased the
> rate of air flow by unblocking the stovepipe, thereby
> increasing the rate at which the fuel burned, thereby
> increasing the stove's caloric output. "Up" and "down" were
> jargon. Turning the damper "down"
> actually moved the damper toward the vertical, whereas
> turning the damper "up" moved it toward the horizontal. Or
> vice versa, according to the damper's placement in the stovepipe.

My wife and I regularly confuse each other in the summer:  "Turn the air
conditioner down".  Does that mean lower the temperature it is set at,
or to lower the amount of air conditioning that's going on?

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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