On Sat, 8 Feb 1997, Geoff Love wrote:
> No, no, Ray, you have a bunch of magnets, not magnettes. The word
> magnette is surely the French version of the word, magnet, as the word
> Concorde is the French version of the word Concord. (Of course, the
> French people would say it is all the other way round, however...) Why a
As Steve whatsisname, the comedian whose name I never remember, said,
"Those French! They have a different word for everything."
> British car manufacturer would name a car with the French version of the
> word is beyond my comprehension, unless it was to emphasise the fact
> that the car was poles apart from anything the French could make! Of
> course, the word magnette is the FEMININE version of the word magnet,
> but I am not going to touch that with a barge pole.
Feminine form of magnet, eh? Missed this when I replied to you privately.
It's not in my big French-English dictionary in any form. I suspect it is
one of those made up things, like so many car names. I mean, where were
the S-1 through S-9 Chevy pickups?
The british do seem to have had problems with car names. The Americans had
pretty well laid claim to the wild animal population, especially the
meat-eating, dangerous, predator type of animals. In the
english-speaking, car-producing world, that pretty much left the Brits
with farm animals and suchlike. Witness my personal all-time favorite,
the Humber Super Snipe. Admittedly, Humber also produced the Hawk, but
inexplicably it was a cheaper car than the S. Snipe, whereas Americans,
even though they might not have any idea what a snipe is, would have known
intuitively that a Snipe, Super or not, should be less expensive than a
Also suggestive of real naming difficulties is the Hillman Minx. Look that
When Americans used place names for cars, they picked place names with
grit, so to speak. The Pontiac LeMans! Compare that to the Austin
Cambridge or Somerset. Counties, for heaven's sake. ANYway, the name gap
probably led to the british loss of US market share. What real man, given
his choice of a Super Snipe or a Barracuda, would have thought twice.
Nobody with any gonads, that's for sure.
Oh, sure, I have an Alpine when I might have bought a visually
similar Tiger with real hair on its figurative chest, but then my ex wife
pretty much did a job on my gonads.
Forgive me, please, it's Sat and I've had to work all day.
Ray Gibbons Dept. of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics
Univ. of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT
firstname.lastname@example.org (802) 656-8910