[Ads-l] Phrase: more than (less than) three hundred degrees below zero

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Fri Apr 22 19:42:22 UTC 2022

Laurence Horn wrote:
> yes, another symptom of the confusion produced by negatively-oriented
> scales, along the perennial question (around Wimbledon, the NCAA college
> basketball tournaments, etc.) about whether a 5th seed is a higher or lower
> seed than a 12th seed.

Thanks for an excellent example, LH.
It appears that "draft pick" is another example of a
"negatively-oriented scale" or "reverse scale".
People use phrases such as "draft pick number 3", "draft pick number
five", and "the fifth draft pick".

Yet, in common parlance a "higher draft pick" means a numerically
lower draft pick.
Also, a "lower draft pick" means a numerically higher draft pick.

Perhaps the sense of "higher" meaning "better" dominates the
underlying numerical sense.
No doubt linguists have already examined this topic. Apologies for
boring the knowledgeable.

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

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