Friday, February 28, 2014

Double the Pain

“Double pane windows” gets 8,660,000 results on Google. Surprisingly, the incorrect “double pain windows” gets 2,130,000 hits, a demonstration that trying to spell a word based on its sound alone is risky business.

Pane is an interesting word. It came from the Latin pannus, a piece of cloth—the part of a garment that hangs down. To some, that evoked images of a wall or the side of a building. The OED allows us to track the progress of the word in English through the years.

·      A section of a wall or fence.
·      A side of a quadrangle, cloister, court, or town.
·      The flat surface of an object having several sides.
·      An area of land.
·      A patch of ground in a garden.
·      The skirt of a gown.
·      A bedspread.
·      Strips of cloth joined side by side to make a single garment.
·      Slashes in a garment to reveal a decorative lining.
·      A portion of a window formed by a single piece of glass held in place by a frame.
·      In computing, one of the areas into which a window is divided while using an application.
·      Each of the segments of a checkered pattern.
·      A section of a paneled door.
·      A subdivision of a sheet of stamps.

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

Nook edition

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