fiber etc.

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Sep 21 14:05:54 UTC 2011

--and presumably "fiber"/"fibre" (cf. "moral fiber") has won out over its rivals because it sounds less unappealing than either "bulk" or "roughage".  (The culmination of the craze for fiber/roughage was a "commercial" appearing periodically on SNL for a cereal made of actual pebbles; can't recall the name, but it was a very convincing spoof, as spooves go.)

Speaking of plant (or mineral) material used as animal fodder, I encountered what I thought was a relatively new term this morning but what turns out to have a much longer history than I would have guessed:  "sugar huddle".  A bit of web-diving (including a visit to Grant Barrett's Double-Tongued Dictionary) indicates that this can refer to any of several ways of calling an offensive play in (professional?) football that involve more time than a true no-huddle but are much quicker than using a conventional huddle.  One version involves just the quarterback and offensive line working out the protection scheme, with other players just going up to the line of scrimmage, but this morning Marcellus Wiley on "Mike and Mike" used the term to describe a scenario in which the offensive personnel doesn't huddle up at all but lots of stuff gets called at the line of scrimmage.  In the 2006 cite at Grant's entry, it refers to a situation in which "offensive linemen gather together and a!
 re given their play assignments quietly rather than having them yelled out".  I'm sure other variants are possible, as long as it's more formal or takes more time than no-huddle but less so than a huddle simpliciter.  (There was also mention made at one blog site of a distinct "honey huddle", but that seems much less standard.  I guess the door is also open for splenda huddles, i.e. faux sugar huddles, but no google hits for that yet.)


On Sep 21, 2011, at 1:49 AM, victor steinbok wrote:

> I noticed that OED has a draft addition 1993 on fibre/fiber:
> Dietary material that is resistant to the action of the digestive enzymes,
>> consisting chiefly of the cell walls of plants; roughage. Also dietary
>> fibre.
> This runs from 1909 forward (to 1986). Dietary fibre doesn't have a
> description but diverts to fibre.
> Roughage 2.a. is also included, but from 1850, with dietary implications
> from 1911:
> 2. a. Originally: fibrous plant material used as animal fodder, such as
>> grass, hay, and silage. Later also: indigestible vegetable matter in the
>> human diet, which aids the passage of food and waste products through the
>> gut (also called dietary fibre).
> Note the connection to "dietary fibre". But the common current reference to
> "roughage" has nothing to do with fiber directly, but rather is a
> [anti-]euphemistic reference to leafy greens. 2.b. is "fig." but it does not
> include this particular usage.
> However, even though both fibre/fiber and roughage have been in use since
> early 1900s, this has not always been used in the popular press or in
> advertising (things changed drastically at least in the 1980s, but possibly
> even in 1970s).
> Now Eats Any Kind of Food, and no Constipation [Advertising]. Pittsburgh
> Post-Gazette - Oct 27, 1934. p. 13/5
>> Laboratory tests show Kellogg's All-Bran provides "bulk" to exercise the
>> intestines, and vitamin B to help muscle tone. Also iron for the blood.
>> The "bulk" in All-Bran is much like that of lettuce. Inside the body it
>> forms a soft mass. Gently, it clears out the intestinal wastes.
> VS-)
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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