Ilivetolearn's Blog

December 31, 2011

clothing, dolphin, window, or kitchen equipment?

Filed under: names/language — ilivetolearn @ 10:57 pm

Not only have I added the great compound noun “biscuit joiner”  to my vocabulary this fall, I’ve also collected a couple of others. If you heard that there was such a thing as a “slash jacket,” you would assume:

1) the costume department of a certain Spanish masked-hero film was making before-and-after clothing for its combatants;

2) the techies responsible for turning those symbols on your keyboard into words have figured out a new way to confuse the emoticon-impaired.

3) a rapper has come up with a new gangsta clothing line.

You would be wrong on all counts. It’s a very innocent item that might be on the school-supplies list of your middle-schooler come September.

I learned this from my volunteer stints at the homeless shelter, where people donate the darnedest things. These were actually useful and will find their way into someone’s backpack/looseleaf binder soon. Other items we had to pass along were…a wedding gown (OK, maybe one of the residents might be planning a wedding, but what are the chances?), and a few odd cans of dog and cat food. Unfortunately, people who lose their homes don’t get to bring their pets along to the shelter.

Back to those word compounds. Our fridge died and we replaced it with the French-door variety, much better suited to the space we have. Now we are always aware of which side of the door swings closed first because of that thingie that has to fold into place so both doors can come together and make a tight seal.


We’d been calling it a “flange” before we read the manual. Never in a million years would we have come up with the correct term: “flipper mullion.”



These newfangled appliances. Ours also came equipped with “Sabbath mode,” which turned itself on at random in the early days of ownership. Another reading of the manual…we find that there’s a setting in which opening the door (not work…?) will not automatically turn on the interior light (work) so that observant Jews can have access to cold things protected by (hardworking) flipper mullions.

Of course at this time of year, we have our auxiliary refrigerator going–the garage. It has no flipper mullions and no Sabbath mode, but I’m betting we could find a slash jacket or two out there, hanging out with the biscuit joiner.


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