"Gen up"

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Fri Mar 2 00:52:09 UTC 2001

In a message dated 03/01/2001 5:58:34 PM Eastern Standard Time,
maynor at CS.MSSTATE.EDU writes:

> What I said earlier about computer networks may well have been "gin"
>  instead of "gen."  I never saw it written but assumed that it was
>  related to "generate."   I happen to know that "generate" is spelled
>  "gen" rather than "gin," but that's from reading, not from hearing.
>  "Gen" and "gin" are homophonous for me -- and for the people I heard
>  talking about the computer network.

For computer people (now that's an oxymoron), the form is definitely "to gen"
and it comes from "generate".  I cite as evidence the noun "sysgen" which is
a shortening of "system generation" and the corresponding verb "to sysgen"
meaning "to generate a system".  Here the word "system" is short for
"operating system" (the "OS" part of "MS-DOS").

I will grant that this argument is specific to the computer field.  In the
rest of the USA, which has had three consecutive Southerners in the White
House, the cotton gin metaphor may be more likely.

             - Jim Landau (native of Kentucky and therefore a Southerner)

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