rick at linuxmafia.com
Tue Jul 13 14:18:59 PDT 2004
Quoting bruce coston (jane_ikari at yahoo.com):
> Actually i figured out what they were doing immediately after hitting
> send and its a horribly over-technical distinction that will hideously
> mislead all but the top ~1% of dictionary users, thus its a good 1 4
> me but awful on the whole.
Mercy me, it's a pleasure to find someone who even cares about the
quality of dictionaries. It makes me have hope for the quality of
Personally, I fall back on http://www.m-w.com/ for many things, but I
suppose it would be really delightful to have better references
~ $ dict blunderbuss
2 definitions found
From Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) [web1913]:
Blunderbuss \Blun"der*buss\, n. [Either fr. blunder + D. bus
tube, box, akin to G. b["u]chse box, gun, E. box; or
corrupted fr. D. donderbus (literally) thunder box, gun,
1. A short gun or firearm, with a large bore, capable of
holding a number of balls, and intended to do execution
without exact aim.
2. A stupid, blundering fellow.
From WordNet (r) 2.0 [wn]:
n : a short musket of wide bore with a flared muzzle
Ah, I hear faint echos of the OED.
It's now traditional to test dictionaries using that word, ever since
J.R.R. Tolkien in his tongue-in-cheek heroic fantasy "Farmer Giles of
Ham" gently pilloried the editors of the _Oxford English Dictionary_ for
the extremely odd definition they saw fit to include in the first
Still, property is property; and Farmer Giles had a short
way with trespassers that few could outface. So he pulled
on his breeches, and went down into the kitchen and took
his blunderbuss from the wall. Some may well ask what a
blunderbuss was. Indeed, this very question, it is said, was
put to the Four Wise Clerks of Oxenford, and after thought
they replied: `A blunderbuss is a short gun with a large
bore firing many balls or slugs, and capable of doing
execution within a limited range without exact aim. (Now
superseded in civilised countries by other firearms.)'
However, Farmer Giles's blunderbuss had a wide mouth
that opened like a horn, and it did not fire balls or slugs, but
anything that he could spare to stuff in. And it did not do
execution, because he seldom loaded it, and never let it off.
The sight of it was usually enough for his purpose. And
this country was not yet civilised, for the blunderbuss was
not superseded: it was indeed the only kind of gun that
there was, and rare at that. People preferred bows and
arrows and used gunpowder mostly for fireworks.
> Still using kanotix myself but wondering about the libranet distro.
> i'm thinking i may want to change kanotix to sarge from experimental
<choke> You're tracking the experimental branch? That's pretty gonzo,
Cheers, Founding member of the Hyphenation Society, a grassroots-based,
Rick Moen not-for-profit, locally-owned-and-operated, cooperatively-managed,
rick at linuxmafia.com modern-American-English-usage-improvement association.
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