Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Deep thought

We've come up with mailman letter carrier, waitress server, fireman firefighter, policeman police officer, stewardess flight attendant, manned crewed missions, and many other perfectly tolerable gender-neutral terms, but I still haven't heard a good replacement for manhole.

Nor has Google, either, apparently. See page 11 of a checklist that may appeal to your inner civil engineer.

(h/t: Jon Brodkin)


kevin keefe said...

And don't forget man-o-war

TC said...

I thought Battleship replaced Man-o-war.

How about Worker access port (wap)? Street access port (Sap) Maintenance Opening Port (Mop)

While you're at it how about a new word for steam roller?" Nobody has seen an asphalt roller powered by steam in 100 years.

Street Roller?

bjkeefe said...

My first thought was that man-o-war was an obsolete term, although TC's suggestion rings plausible. Wikipedia lends support to both points of view.

I've thought of alternatives for manhole similar to what you propose, TC. I have yet to come up with one that passes the "perfectly tolerable" test, though.

And you're right about needing a new term for steamroller. Wikipedia suggests road roller, a term I've heard nobody use, ever.

Of course, we still "dial" our phones.

fry1laurie said...

A friend and I discussed this very idea years and years ago, and we agreed that the "-er" ending in "letter" and "carrier" were male gendered and thus inappropriate (in a joking way of course). We came up with "postal person", but the "-son", same problem again. I believe we finally settled on "postalist."

bjkeefe said...

I have never heard of the suffix -er indicating male gender. Except, I suppose, in direct contrast to specifically feminine suffixes, such as waiter/waitress.

"Postalist" sounds to me more like someone who uses the postal service; e.g., the postalist sent three packages today.