"camera-mounted drone"?

W Brewer brewerwa at GMAIL.COM
Mon Nov 25 23:21:01 UTC 2013

WB:  <<(platform)-mounted (weapon)>>.  And after pushing Enter, it occurred
to me that:
The inner semantic conflict I feel with <camera-mounted drone> is over the
function of <drone>: It is indeed the platform for the <camera>, so it
should be (according to military SOP) <<drone-mounted camera>>. But OTOH, a
<drone> is more suitable for the (weapon) slot than a non-lethal (camera);
therefore <drone> slid into (weapon) function, and <camera> by default gets
shoved into an inappropriate (platform) slot. Whence my discomfort with
<camera-mounted drone>; but my brain automatically overlays the (for some
subconscious reason) jarring collocation with the less problematic and more
familiar <(accoutrement)-equipped (platform)>; hence my brain heard
<<camera-mounted drone>> but interpreted it as <<camera-equipped drone>>.
For certain Anglophones, then, <X-mounted Y> has become a synonym for
<X-equipped Y>.
Conclusion:  Civilians tried to use a (sexy) technical military expression
and screwed it up.

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

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