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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Unforgetting Deoldinized Mouth-Gestures

Last meeting, possibly the meeting before, I encountered the word 'deplane' in somebody's work.  I circled this odd word and wrote in the margin: 'is this a word?'

Immediately, privately I imagined being pulled over by a cop who approached my window and said,
   "Sir, I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to deautomobilize."
Then I laughed to myself ( or, unfrowned).

Then I wondered what it means to 'plane' in the first place.  The only 'plane' I could think of that's an action word (or verb, apparently) is the carpentry term used to describe the mechanical reduction of thickness of a piece of wood.  The concept of 'deplaning' then got slightly more convoluted as the negative prefix in that case would denote an addition of material.

I began to notice this word turning up all over the place in news reports, magazines, advertisements, and in a Douglas Coupland novel - which is a different rant.  It seems this term slipped itself into our Newspeak sometime in the last five years, almost completely unnoticed by me.  For half a decade people have been going to the airport, ticket in hand, and 'planing'.  Five years from now will they be required to present their 'planing pass'?  Am I wasting precious milliseconds every time I use the wasteful terms 'board the airplane', and 'disembark'?  I like disembark.  Because embark isn't a freaking noun.


Maybe I just feel left behind.  Maybe I'm getting old already.  Although I've been aware of the meaning of 'lol' for over a year now I still can't decipher 'lmao' or the other ones I can't remember.

Will my archaic, inflexible vocabulary be considered a handicap as I try to get published?  Or is there still a market for dinosaurs like me?

5 comments:

  1. 'Deplane' has been around for at least twenty years. I haven't flown much recently but in the previous millenium I was a fully accredited 'road warrior' and heard the term often. I presume it is one of these words invented because the alternative does not give the impression of erudition deemed appropriate for the referenced action. I.e., it sounds better to say 'deplane' than to say 'get of'.

    As for whether people say 'to plane' instead of 'to get on', I haven't heard that one, and I hope I never do. Perhaps 'to board' meets their needs.

    I doubt the antiquity, or otherwise, of your vocabulary will be a particular handicap. It may depend on your genre. I'm sure we all wish we had larger vocabularies, whether old or new words, specialised words or rare words.

    npi - no pun intended

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm reminded of George Carlin, who made fun of this word.

    And when someone told him they were getting ON the plane, he said, "You can get ON the plane. I'll get IN the plane. I'm going to follow the captain. He seems to know where to sit."

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm reminded of George Carlin, who made fun of this word.

    And when someone told him they were getting ON the plane, he said, "You can get ON the plane. I'll get IN the plane. I'm going to follow the captain. He seems to know where to sit."

    ReplyDelete

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