When carbon means carbonless

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Fri Mar 16 01:57:02 UTC 2007

I had a problem a few years back when I tried to order checks because I
couldn't come up with the word "duplicate". I explained to the operator
that I wanted the carbon copy type checks but without the carbon. She
obviously didn't get it, so I explained to her that I wanted to retain
copies of my checks but didn't want to use the carbon.

I received duplicate-less checks. (I subsequently received a corrected
order by just saying I wanted checks with the copies.)

The other day, I ordered duplicates, and the operator confirmed, calling
them "carbon [copy?] checks". Knowing now that I was silly to ever have
assumed just a few years ago that a bank would send out carbon checks
with carbon, I just affirmed, but I thought it interesting that the word
"carbon check" can now be used to refer to a "carbonless check". I
assume this is due to people not familiar with a withering technology
applying a term to a new technology without understanding what the term
actually meant.

Perhaps the simplest explanation is that "carbon" has added the meaning
of including paper underneath that makes a copy when you write.


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