[Ads-l] "to ping"

Geoffrey Nathan geoffnathan at WAYNE.EDU
Thu Mar 30 21:34:24 EDT 2017


I bow to Wilson's recollection here--I don't have the time at the moment to investigate, but I suspect that the UNIX use comes originally from the submariner's use, which is probably onomatopoetic.


I did just check the OED, which doesn't have that sense (although it does have the sense of 'the sound of a piston misfiring').


Geoff


Geoffrey S. Nathan
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________________________________
From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2017 9:10 PM
To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
Subject: Re: "to ping"

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Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
Poster:       Wilson Gray <hwgray at GMAIL.COM>
Subject:      Re: "to ping"
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On Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 10:23 AM, Geoffrey Nathan <geoffnathan at wayne.edu>
wrote:

> I assume the etymology is from the old UNIX command, which puts it back i=
n
> the pleistocene era (in computer years).


No doubt, but non-techies like me are most familiar with the term from
"piniging" our ISP=E2=80=99s as part of a speed-check. There. I=E2=80=99ve =
just pinged my
ISP - a local, semi-buttocked operation call "PennTeleData - and the
response has taken 0.19 sec.

FWIW, I connect this political kind of "ping" with using sonar to ping the
potential target of a submarine in order to determine its position, so as
to know how a spread of torpedoes needs to be aimed in order to hit that
target, hence, metaphorically, to use sonar to determine the direction in
which a politician needs to aim his rhetoric in order to hit his target
demographic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3DeKkUCNMrv1M
--=20
-Wilson
-----
All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
-Mark Twain

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