[DWJ] "Orthogonal" (orthogonally to T-shirt slogans)

Eleanor Joslin eleanor at dreamvine.org.uk
Mon Jun 7 05:58:58 EDT 2010

On 07/06/10 10:11, Minnow wrote:

> It occurs to me that if in modern (1998, 1999, 2002) dictionaries the
> meaning Roger used is not given, and if it has to be explained to a
> group of erudite and intelligent folk such as are here, and a well-read
> and intelligent Oxford graduate and professional writer like Diana has
> no idea what it means, it might not be the best word to use in any but
> specialised circles.

True, but most of us do not check whether words are in the dictionary 
before we use them.  If we're used to moving in circles where a word is 
understood, it's easy to forget that outsiders are not likely to know it.

I remember using the word "boilerplate" (in the sense of standard text 
that can be reused with very few changes) in conversation with my 
mother, who is also a well-read, intelligent English graduate, and being 
surprised to discover that it made no sense to her at all.  It seemed 
quite straightforward to me.  But then she is not a lawyer or a computer 
programmer, and I am (the latter).


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