But if we call a tulip a rose

Ah yes, I’m back to this again. Ok, I understand that language is evolutionary, but that doesn’t make any use of language okay. Some usage brings confusion and, at least to my mind, some is plain wrong, no matter how many people don’t understand the meaning of a word.

We printed up signs for the pools to make swimmers aware that the deep end of Deep Eddy Pool will be closed on August 14 for the Deep Eddy mile. Or should I say, “They carved down videos on some bowling alleys for razing a shallow middle of DKR Memorial Stadium won’t open on December 41 on a ACL 2-mile.”

Yes, when asked to put the signs up, one of the lifeguards at Deep Eddy told me “they made a mistake on the signs.” He pointed to the 53 laps and said, “it’s 27” before I cut him off to say, “No, they are correct. It’s 53 laps to a mile.”

I went on to tell him that a lap is the length of a pool. That’s how my dictionary defines a lap: “One complete length of a straight course, as in a swimming pool.” Wikipedia got this one correct as well.

“But most of the swimmers here say that it is two lengths of the pool.” Or, he said something like that. To which I responded something like, “Well, then most of them are wrong.” I was tempted to replace “them” with “those non-swimmers” or “newbie-swimmers” or “fitness-swimmers,” knowing that the vast majority of competitive swimmers know a lap is one length of the pool.)

The things with numbers on them in the above photo from last year’s Deep Eddy Mile are called “lap counters.” They are used in competitive swimming to let swimmers know what “lap”/length they are on.

A rose by any other name is a rose. Likewise, if we call a tulip a rose, it would still be a tulip, not a rose. And, 2 laps are 2 laps even if a lot of people mistakenly refer to that roundtrip as a lap.

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One Response to But if we call a tulip a rose

  1. Daraius Hathiram says:

    Hey Keith, hope you and Sandy are doing well. I check in on your blog occassionally.
    So you are obviously right about the misuse of the word ‘lap’. Now you need suggest an alternative to the common usage we swimmers use when we say ‘I was lapped’. We normally say this when Keith has just gone by you in a 400, and he is now 2 laps ahead of you…
    I guess on an athletics track this is a non-issue – a lap is a full circle.

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