victor steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Wed Feb 3 02:51:42 UTC 2010

I've noticed this particular issue before but did not give it much thought--

The MetroCard machines on NYC subways use the expression "dip the
card" where other similar machines usually say "slide" or "insert" or,
more specifically, "Insert quickly, then remove". The latter clearly
resembles the dipping motion, except that it is horizontal and there
is no liquid, goo or gel. I can't say that I've ever seen a similar
use of "dip" under other circumstances.


PS: To clarify--the machines in NYC and similar ones in Boston and
Washington, DC (as well as other locations, but I have no account of
those) sell cards for subway fair where the value of the card is
variable, depending on how much money you put on it. The turnstile
card readers (and bus readers) then deduct the appropriate amounts.
The fare can be paid for in cash or with a credit card, with the
credit card reading contraption being identical to that on most gas
pumps, except that the slot is horizontal rather than vertical. The
idea is to quickly insert the card into the machine and immediately
withdraw it--leaving the card in the reader longer than about a second
or two will invalidate the reading.

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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