Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Fri Jul 5 08:30:27 UTC 2013

I posted earlier on the verb [data] vacuum, but now I want to add
another one in the same category:
> In today's least surprising news, Le Monde reports that France's
> intelligence agencies also hoover up every possible speck of
> electronic data they can: ...

So the international trademark-buster "hoover" is used in English
interchangeably with some versions of "vacuum" (and not just for
Middle-Eastern immigrants and French and German speakers).


On 6/16/2013 1:25 AM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
> In the current discussion of NSA data collection, one expression that
> pops up repeatedly is vacuum[ing] data--a reference to NSA collecting
> all data (usually "metadata" related to phone calls, but sometimes
> implying indiscriminate recording of all communications of a
> particular type). This is pervasive in the news and I'm not going to
> track down individual cases (this applies to print articles as much as
> TV discussions). The problem is, this is so hyperbolic that no
> dictionary even approaches this particular meaning. For one, virtually
> every dictionary definition for the verb "vacuum" starts with the word
> "clean". A couple of diversions include "to treat with any vacuum
> device, as a vacuum dryer" ( 2013) and "of or
> relating to a vacuum device or system" (MWOLD). Plus there is a
> transitive/intransitive distinction between using a vacuum cleaner and
> treating something with a vacuum cleaner.


The American Dialect Society -

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