Dan Goncharoff thegonch at GMAIL.COM
Sun Jun 27 22:45:49 UTC 2010

What a relief! I suffered the entire weekend thinking that I had been
carrying the mistaken notion my whole life that an oblong was an
ellipsoid instead of only a non-square rectangle, and wondering how I
been allowed to maintain this delusion for so many decades.


On 6/27/2010 10:09 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society<ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson"<Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: oblong
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 6/27/2010 12:55 AM, Robin Hamilton wrote:
>>> Poster:       victor steinbok<aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
>>> Subject:      Re: rectangle vs. square
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> I disagree in the strongest possible terms with at least one of these
>>> assertions. To be honest, I have no idea what "oblong" is--in all my
>>> mathematical education, I have never heard this even remotely
>>> approaching any technical meaning. More precisely, I have never heard
>>> it used to any mathematical object or property. But I've also never
>>> have heard of anyone seriously contesting that a square is a
>>> rectangle.
>> Yeah, I think "oblong" is the crunch (or one of the crunches) in this
>> brouhaha.
>> {Apropos of nothing, thinking about Victor's "What is an oblong?" it struck
>> me that I'd term the shape of a coffin "oblong" rather than "rectangular".
>> For what that's worth.}
> For what it's worth, some say an ellipse is also an oblong.  (As well
> as shapes without four right angles or two foci.)  See OED, "oblong",
> A. adj. "1. a. Elongated (usually as a deviation from an exact square
> or circular form)".  [Deliberately omitting the "esp. rectangular
> with the adjacent sides unequal."]
> Joel
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