Prescriptive Linguists

James Harbeck jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA
Fri Feb 1 03:26:33 UTC 2008

>Oh, THAT! I know it as... well, various names, but the first I learned was
>"blivet" ("blivit"?), possibly from MAD Magazine. Escher, our age's great
>master of such, uses that diagram, or rather the principle, in many guises.

I know Kurt Vonnegut's definition of "blivet" (from _Cat's Cradle_,
IIRC): ten pounds of shit in a five-pound sack. Apparently this comes
from military usage. I find it useful in my day job, more often than
I would like.

This is actually the first time I've seen the term applied to the
optical-illusion three-pronged thingy (for which I never had a proper

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society -

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