"to ping" (and OED Online)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 8 17:48:28 UTC 2014

On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 1:03 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> I can't swear to this, but I seem to recall one of her guests chiding
> Crowley gently for  misusing "ping" so gratuitously.
> Or maybe it was me.

You're probably remembering this bit, from their aviation expert John Goglia:

GOGLIA: -- the signaling device that's located on the unit has about a
30 day battery. So it's going to ping. And I hate to use that word,
because it's been so misused recently.

> But isn't "contact," once on the cutting edge of despised verbs, good
> enough for today's middle-aged persons?
> On Tue, Apr 8, 2014 at 12:34 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
>> On March 16 Victor noted:
>> Oxford Dictionaries OL (not OED) has an interesting one for ping:
>> "Contact a person briefly (especially electronically): he just pinged
>> me, pointing to a breaking news story "
>> And this is an extension of the sense offered beginning March 14:
>> "To ping" -- to signal in an attempt to make a remote communications
>> connection.  (Moi)
>> As a verb, _ping_ means "to get the attention of" or "to check for the
>> presence of" another party on line. The computer acronym (for Packet
>> Internet or Inter-Network Groper) was contrived to match the submariners'
>> term for the sound of a returned sonar pulse.  (WhatIs.com, via Wilson)
>> (Should we call the locating device the "Giant Toad Pinger Groper"?)
>> Joel
>> At 4/8/2014 08:37 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> >_Ping_: 'to inquire of.'
>> >
>> >CNN's _State of the Nation_ (March 16, 2014)
>> >
>> >
>> https://archive.org/details/CNNW_20140316_130000_State_of_the_Union_With_Candy_Crowley#start/780/end/840
>> :
>> >
>> >CANDY CROWLEY:  I did talk to a source at the CIA yesterday, and he said
>> >we're pinging everybody we know. You know, we're pinging agencies that we
>> >work with, we're pinging sources.

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

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