Prescriptive Linguists

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Fri Feb 1 03:48:30 UTC 2008

On Jan 31, 2008 10:26 PM, James Harbeck <jharbeck at> wrote:

> 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.

I also know that definition, which in fact I think I learned first, and
probably orally -- though I did read CC.

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
> name).

I'm sure there is a technical name for this illusionary whatzit, maybe
somewhere in perceptual psychology.
Mark Mandel

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list