nineveh_uk (nineveh_uk) wrote,
nineveh_uk
nineveh_uk

The cold-blooded murder of the English tongue...

...turned out to be a cased of mistaken identity.

I was all set to rant about “actuation”, which I noticed on my bottle of sinus spray as I was brushing my teeth this morning (it contains 140 actuations, and each actuation is 0.1ml*). Fortunately I checked the OED first and discovered a quotation in the same sense from 1713 (plus others since). So I can still say that it is a ghastly word, but not that it is a ghastly modern word dreamt up by people trying to do anything but write something in plain English**. I still think it’s a pity that it used instead of something ordinary like squirt. Squirt feels silly, but only because we don’t generally use it in a technical sense and so its associations are very different. If we did employ it as technical language, it would rapidly cease to feel inappropriate when used as such.

*”Dose” can’t be used instead, because a single dose may be more than one “actuation”.

**Though it is a ghastly C18 word dreamt up by people trying to do anything but write something in plain English.
Tags: irritation, real life
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