Determining the parameters of Holocaust execution sites

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jan 29 02:51:57 UTC 2014

The confusion between parameter and perimeter is longstanding. The
entry for "parameter" at (which is based on Random
House Dictionary) includes information on this topic. Here is an
excerpt that begins with senses 4 and 5 of parameter

[Begin excerpt]
Parameter noun ...

4. Usually, parameters. limits or boundaries; guidelines: the basic
parameters of our foreign policy.

5. characteristic or factor; aspect; element: a useful parameter for
judging long-term success.

Can be confused: 1. boundary, limit, parameter, variable (see synonym
study at boundary)(see usage note at the current entry) ; 2.
parameter, perimeter.

Usage note 4, 5.  Some object strongly to the use of parameter in
these newer senses. Nevertheless, the criticized uses are now well
established both in educated speech and in edited writing.
[End excerpt]


On Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 3:54 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Determining the parameters of Holocaust execution sites
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> In an article on executions of Jews in Eastern Europe during the
> Holocaust, highlighting research showing that "a third or more" died
> not by gas in concentration camps but by being shot in small numbers
> in "thousands of villages, quarries, forests, wells, streets and homes".
> "Father Desbois has worked with the American Jewish Committee on five
> sites in Ukraine and Belarus to clear them, find their parameters and
> have them marked."
>   NYTimes, Jan. 27/28,
> or p. A10 (col. 4 in NE Edition).
> I assume this should have been "perimeters".  (Word's first
> correction suggestion for "perameters" is "parameters".)
> Joel
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

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