Fandango’s Flashback Friday — February 17th

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Flashback Friday post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 17th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on February 17, 2010 on my old blog.

Fuh-Cough and Other Oddities

Here’s an oddity of the English language that may not have occurred to you. The letters “o-u-g-h” in that order can be pronounced in at least seven different ways.

  • though (like o in go)
  • through (like oo in too)
  • cough (like off in offer)
  • rough (like uff in suffer)
  • plough (like ow in flower)
  • ought (like aw in saw)
  • borough (like a in above)
  • Arguably, there is an eighth way of saying “ough,” and that would be hiccough (like up in puppy), although, admittedly these days, the word is often spelled hiccup because of the way it’s pronounced.

The English language usage can be a little off-putting in other ways, too. For example, take the item that is in the basements or utility rooms of most American homes. It’s that device that heats the water for our showers and baths and so we can wash our dishes and our clothes. It’s the ubiquitous hot water heater.

That’s what you call it, right? A hot water heater? It seems that most people refer to it as a hot water heater, when, in fact, it doesn’t heat hot water, it heats cool water. When you don’t have hot water, it’s because your water heater is on the fritz. In other words, it’s not heating the water, which wouldn’t need to be heated if it were already hot.

So why is it called a hot water heater if its purpose is to heat water that is not already hot? Perhaps the device should be called a cold water heater, or a tepid water heater. Or maybe simply a water heater.

Another strange term, in my mind, anyway, is “air conditioning.” We have come to recognize air conditioning as the process by which the air in our rooms, homes, offices, and stores gets cooled.

When I was a kid our house was not “air conditioned,” so on those particularly hot and sticky days in July and August, we’d all pile into the Chevy and drive to the movie theater to spend a few hours relaxing in the air conditioned comfort of the theater.

In addition to advertising the name of the movie, the marquee would also tout, “It’s COOL inside.” It didn’t really matter what movie was playing as long as the air conditioning was working properly.

But why is air conditioning synonymous with cooling? If one is conditioning the air to make it more comfortable, couldn’t that include warming it in winter as well as cooling it in summer? Why is warming a house in the winter called heating, while cooling it in the summer is called air conditioning?

Kinda makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

9 thoughts on “Fandango’s Flashback Friday — February 17th

  1. Paula Light February 17, 2023 / 5:31 am

    We just bought a new water heater. Seems like people are leaving off the “hot” now. Maybe they read your post!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. leigha66 February 19, 2023 / 11:46 am

    Good flashback. The English language is so confusing!

    Liked by 1 person

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