Saturday, August 14, 2004

Word name as model e.g. - "Interference"

I'm just noting this example down for my future reference. I want to collect examples of words whose names suggest what they are about, but misleadingly so. (The term 'stretching' is an example of this; while it implies that you're stretching your muscles, what you're really doing is getting them to relax -- people hurt themselves stretching because they think it really is about stretching the muscles).

Clay Shirky, talking about radio:

If two or more broadcasters are using the same frequency, a standard receiver won't be able to discern one signal from another. Though engineering parlance calls this interference, the waves aren't actually interfering with one another -- rather the profusion of signals is interfering with the receiver's ability to listen to one specific signal.

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