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Random Language Question
3

Random Language Question

Random Language Question

(OP)
Why is the surface of an airport referred to as tarmac when is most cases is it either concrete or asphalt pavement?

I thought it was a runway, taxiway or parking area.

Just curious.
 

RE: Random Language Question

Um, at least in UK general parlance, asphalt = tarmac.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tarmac

I believe asphalt is generally cheaper than concrete for roads or the like so back before A/C got so heavy may have been a more common choice.

"On the Tarmac" is emphasizing the fact it's on the ground (be it runway, taxiway or ramp) rather than in its natural environment - the air.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Random Language Question

Why do some engineers refer to brine when they have an ethylene glycol mix?
Why do some people refer to vacuum cleaners as "Hoovers" or to "Hoovering"?
I'd guess there are a lot of specifics that have become generics.

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Random Language Question

I call the stuff on a runway asphalt (unless it's concrete or dirt or grass, etc).  

the old joke after a hard landing was "that wasn't the pilot's fault, and it wasn't the control tower's fault, it was the asphalt."

 

RE: Random Language Question

Missing from Kenat's link is the etymology of "tarmac".

Macadam was a method of road construction using an aggregate and binder.  It was invented by a guy named Macadam.

Tarmac is a shortening of "Tar-Macadam" which was macadam road construction using tar as the binder.

RE: Random Language Question

Why do people refer to "cement" when they mean "concrete"?

Why do people refer to "sewerage" when they mean "sewage" (and vice versa)?

Why do people refer to "iron" when they mean "steel"?

There are many, many technical terms with specific meanings which are abused and / or mangled by the general public. Get used to it!

(But I am less forgiving when it is an engineer who uses the wrong term - I dream that one day I will have educated all mechanical and electrical engineers as to the difference between "cement" and concrete"!)

RE: Random Language Question

The runway/taxiway is also known as the tarmac by some, even though it would rarely be constructed of tarmac these days. That doesn't make its use incorrect.

Similarly, we can still call it an 'iron' even though it's made of plastic and aluminium, or we can call it a 'glass' even if it's made of plastic.

RE: Random Language Question

"I'll have a plastic of beer please mate."

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Random Language Question

My glasses have plastic lenses.

- Steve

RE: Random Language Question

don't forget about hamburgers and butterflies!   

RE: Random Language Question

I always thought that those protesting against the use of whale oil would be better off protesting baby oil.

RE: Random Language Question

I thought whales had smooth skin already?
 

RE: Random Language Question

Barley, Hops, Water and Yeast....I prefer to say Guinness

drawn to design, designed to draw

RE: Random Language Question

This Mid-western boys works for a company that extends over most of North America.  Not only do I put on my hearing translator each morning to discern the dialects of those from Louisiana to Boston to Canada but there are many differing names for the EXACT same piece of equipment - such as - it could be a sway brace, horizontal diagonal or brace or even a "gooser"  

Any you are worried about "tarmac"??

RE: Random Language Question

Why does she say no when she means yes?

RE: Random Language Question

Or vice versa??

RE: Random Language Question

Ha, but sometimes yes means yes and no means no too. Try something easier like quantum physics.
  

----------------------------------
  
If we learn from our mistakes I'm getting a great education!
 

RE: Random Language Question

Most references to such are made by ignorant newspeople.  They refer to anything upon which an aircraft sits as "Tarmac".  Tarmac is, in fact, penetration macadam.  It is constructed by placing aggregate on a surface then covering it with bituminous material...not done much anymore in that context.  Similar to a chip seal.  It would be disastrous to use penetration macadam or chip seal on an airfield....too much FOD.

As another noted, Tarmac is used to denote asphalt pavement.  Most airfields, aprons, and staging areas on airfields are concrete...nothing to do with Tarmac...yet the news people insist on mis-using the term.

RE: Random Language Question

With all respect Ron, I think you are missing the point.

Tarmac IS an alternative word for runway, apron etc. You have nailed the engineering definition, but English word usage isn't so easy to confine.
(Do you want to argue against the use of 'apron' because it's not made of fabric?)

RE: Random Language Question

oh, now you've opened a tin of worms.

RE: Random Language Question

I notice that most high tension power lines have a lot of sag in them - are they losing tension?

RE: Random Language Question


Ron, your first sentence hits right on the mark.  I hear newscasters referring to vibratory rollers as 'steam' rollers and any kind of digging equipment as 'steam' shovels.  Even my SO who should know better recently referred to a cutting torch as a blow torch.  I made the mistake of correcting him..........

"If you are going to walk on thin ice, you might as well dance!"

RE: Random Language Question

Just because a cable is sagging doesn't mean there is no tension in it.

But "high tension" power transmission lines are called that because for for some inexplicable reason "tension" meant voltage when discussing electricity back in the day.

Maybe because people were still nervous about working around electricity and as the voltage increased they got more tense?

RE: Random Language Question

   How about shock absorbers?

               JHG

RE: Random Language Question

Isn't 'tension' derived from the French word for 'voltage'? Perhaps it's vice versa! Ultimately from Latin 'tensio'...

RE: Random Language Question

What about people who say "jackhammers" when they mean paving breakers.

A jackhammer is a drill.

or Bulldozers when they are looking at a front end loader / TLB (known in the UK at least as a JCB (after the inventor)

Stephen Argles
Land & Marine
www.landandmarine.com

RE: Random Language Question

Per Merriam-Webster:
Pronunciation: \ˈjak-ˌha-mər\
Function: noun
Date: 1916
1 : a pneumatically operated percussive rock-drilling tool usually held in the hands
2 : a device in which a tool (as a chisel for breaking up pavements) is driven percussively by compressed air

I think we are starting to split hairs here.
 

"Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor." - Robert Hunter
 

RE: Random Language Question

A hare, maybe?

"Good to know you got shoes to wear when you find the floor." - Robert Hunter
 

RE: Random Language Question

Obviously it's foolish to be pedantic on an international forum about word usage judged relative to the norm in your region.  

RE: Random Language Question

I speak English and American and often find myself translating for both my English and American colleagues.

- Steve

RE: Random Language Question

the French word for 'voltage'?

did they disenfranchise Alessandro Volta? is there a French scientist's name they use instead?

 

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