stop loss

victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 14 00:06:02 UTC 2010

Speaking of "stop-X", "stop-gap" is rather shortchanged by the
OED--there are two main entries, a noun and a verb, and no noun
examples since 1911 on any of the uses (and only one since 1886). The
verb is cited from 1918 to 2004. That gives short shrift to another
popular US legislative term--stop-gap measure. Looking over the GB
search results, it looks like it's almost as popular in the UK. The
earliest I found without any serious effort was what is claimed to be

However, there are plenty of more recent examples, starting heavily in
the 1970 from both sides of the Atlantic--and it's not just in
legislative or economic usage (e.g., New Scientist, 1971; Ebony,
1972). It needs at least a derivative entry.

Another "stop-X" is "stop-leak compound/chemical/additive/material"--I
did not find it in OED. There is also a US national "stop-leak
standard". And, to make matters worse, it's been shortened to a noun
("cooling system stop-leak").

OED has both "to stop a leak" and "to stop a gap" under stop v. 4.a.,
but neither fits the bill.

A shutoff device for gas (petrol) pumps is sometimes called
"stop-fill"--not in OED AFAIK. This appears to be the most common
usage, but also exists as a technical term in several situation, most
dealing with shutoff valves, particularly for fuels. The example below
also defines "stop-mix" and "start-fill" devices.

Another one is "stop-round", which exists at least as a banking term.

But I found "stop round" as a verb going to a 1810 dictionary--not the
same meaning, but clearly a term rather than accidental occurrence.

The same usage appears in several naval manuals later.

Yet another is "stop-track" exemplified by a contemporary naval manual:

I've heard it in more ordinary usage, both in digital communications
and other context (possibly railroads?).

There are many "stop-X" in the OED (stop-press, stop-tap, stop-water,
etc.), but not the ones above (except for "stop-gap", but I am aiming
for "stop-gap measure"--and is this really just an adjectival use of a


On Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 1:22 PM, Paul Frank <paulfrank at> wrote:
> The term "stop loss" is in the news again. The U.S. military sense of
> "stop loss" is not in the OED or any other major dictionary, though the
> media have been using the term for years and there was a movie called
> Stop-Loss in 2008. The Wikipedia defines it as "involuntary extension of
> a service member's active duty service under the enlistment contract in
> order to retain them beyond their initial end of term of service (ETS)
> date and up to their contractually agreed end of obligated service
> (EOS)."

The American Dialect Society -

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