"derailleur, n." - Word of the Day from the OED

Benjamin Barrett gogaku at IX.NETCOM.COM
Sat Jun 29 17:39:01 UTC 2013

183K raw Googits say it has. (7.7M raw Googits also say it hasn't.)

Benjamin Barrett
Seattle, WA

On Jun 29, 2013, at 9:00 AM, Neal Whitman <nwhitman at AMERITECH.NET> wrote:

> I don't like using this word, because I don't like pronouncing it as
> "derailer" when I know it's spelled such that it should be pronounced
> [deRaj9R]. Why hasn't the spelling been changed long ago?
> Neal
> On 6/28/2013 9:37 PM, Victor Steinbok wrote:
>> Today's OED WOTD is derailleur, n. I don't have an issue with the
>> definition as such, but it's a few decades out of date. Even in the
>> 1980s we regularly referred to the front switching gear as
>> "derailleur"--I've replaced and adjusted quite a few of them in college.
>> Bicycle maintenance books take this reference at least into the 1970s.
>> Basically, a derailleur is /any/ switching gear, front or rear, that
>> makes the chain jump from one sprocket to another. Most are attached by
>> cable to shifting levers or rings. Chances are the earlier definition
>> only mentioned the rear because there was only one front sprocket.
>> Modern bikes have as many as 4 in front and as many as 9 in the back
>> (not both at the same time though--normal gear is 3x6 or 2x8 with 2x9 on
>> some pro models, with other options available; the 80s bikes had 2x5 or
>> 2x6 on 120 and 126 mm rear axles, respectively).
>> Here's an obvious example from today: http://goo.gl/YRDTr
>> Here's a blog post from a bike tool company from 2006: http://goo.gl/MA9NL
>> It should not be too difficult to find examples from bike magazines
>> manuals going back into the 1970s. I'd offer some, but mine are all in
>> storage.
>>      VS-)

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

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