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Mark Brader:
I posted this on April 27, 2003:

Not having looked it up in the Oxford, I had considered this by analogy with anachronism, of course, but as ... which also wouldn't do; and I failed to find a meaning for "ana" which would be useful in this case.

The etymological fallacy strikes again. The relevant meaning is the one derived by back formation from "anachronism".

Mark Brader, Toronto "It is almost always wrong to strive for (Email Removed) gilt by association." Martin Ambuhl
Not having looked it up in the Oxford, I had ... meaning for "ana" which would be useful in this case.

The etymological fallacy strikes again. The relevant meaning is the one derived by back formation from "anachronism".

Might be a back formation but it's nonsensical nevertheless; not as bad as "ambucopter" which, thank Lucifer, seems to have given way to "air ambulance" (which suggest limping along in Doc Martens to me but there you go..)

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Green Magic
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"Sonia laid the pen down on the counter, where it ... the machine." Bottom of the antepenultimate page of cap. 5.

I would probably call this surface a "worktop" but I have come across counters in combined kitchen-dining rooms where the ... being passed from the cooker to teh dining table or at which one can eqat breakfast perched on a stool.

Here in underpondia I think "bench" and "benchtop" would be the most common terms, though "counter" and "countertop" are gaining ground.

Michael West
Melbourne, Australia
I would probably call this surface a "worktop" but I ... at which one can eqat breakfast perched on a stool.

Here in underpondia I think "bench" and "benchtop" would be the most common terms, though "counter" and "countertop" are gaining ground.

My feeling is that 'counter' has been pushed by real estate agents who have invented or popularised a lot of fancy words over the years.

Rob Bannister
W Australia
Here in underpondia I think "bench" and "benchtop" would be the most common terms, though "counter" and "countertop" are gaining ground.

My feeling is that 'counter' has been pushed by real estate agentswho have invented or popularised a lot of fancy words over the years.

Was Sonia in a house or an office? (The mention of powder and a machine makes it sound like a copy machine in an office. (Well, if "powder" is "toner.") Of course, the "rain-darkened room" sounds more like a house than an office.)
Anyway, in a house here (USA), "counter" or "countertop" would be perfectly normal. But in an office, it would be a "work surface" or "work space" or even a table or stand.
Maria Conlon
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My feeling is that 'counter' has been pushed by real estate agents who have invented or popularised a lot of fancy words over the years.

Was Sonia in a house or an office? (The mention of powder and a machine makes it sound like a copy machine in an office. (Well, if "powder" is "toner.") Of course, the "rain-darkened room" sounds more like a house than an office.)

The machine is a washing machine and the powder is washing powder.
Anyway, in a house here (USA), "counter" or "countertop" would be perfectly normal. But in an office, it would be a "work surface" or "work space" or even a table or stand.

Counter to me is the surface area in a shop or place of exchange where money is counted (and goods exchanged).
Horizontal general purpose surfaces in the kitchen to me would be "top", "kitchen top" or (just possibly) "worktop".

My wife keeps referring to my desk as my "table". Apart from the fact it has integral drawers, it might be. Some desks don't have integral drawers and are no more than four legs with a horizontal work top, just like many tables. What's in a name? Since money does get counted on my desk, why isn't it a counter?

http://www.dacha.freeuk.com/colour/1b-0.htm
Blue Magic
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Anyway, in a house here (USA), "counter" or "countertop" would ... surface" or "work space" or even a table or stand.

Counter to me is the surface area in a shop or place of exchange where money is counted (and goods exchanged).

I just read a film review in the Guardian, which employs the term "counter-jumping". I suppose that wouldn't mean much to US readers?

Fran
Was Sonia in a house or an office? (The mention ... the "rain-darkened room" soundsmore like a house than an office.)

The machine is a washing machine and the powder is washing powder.

Ah. That didn't even occur to me, I think because I don't use the term "washing powder" or even just "powder" in connection with washing clothes. It's either "soap" ("laundry soap") or "detergent" ("laundry detergent"). It doesn't matter whether, in fact, it's soap or detergent, and it doesn't matter whether it's liquid or powder. I just call the cleansing agent "soap" or "detergent," as if the words meant the same.
Anyway, in a house here (USA), "counter" or "countertop" would ... "work surface"or "work space" or even a table or stand.

Counter to me is the surface area in a shop or place of exchangewhere money is counted (and goods exchanged). Horizontal general purpose surfaces in the kitchen to me would be "top", "kitchen top" or (just possibly) "worktop".

Our washing machine is in a separate room ("laundry room") and the only surface is a small table, which I use for folding the clothes and towels and such. I wouldn't call that a "counter" under any circumstances that I can think of.
My wife keeps referring to my desk as my "table". Apart from thefact it has integral drawers, it might be. ... just like many tables. What's in a name? Since money does getcounted on my desk, why isn't it a counter?

I don't know. Maybe because it's a desk?
Your concept of "counter" is very likely based on the original usage, when counting had something to do with it. I don't know how America's kitchen work surfaces came to be called "counters," but these days, counting seldom occurs on them.
(I used to think that a counter was "counter to" something. I never could think of what, exactly, it was counter to, though.)
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Frances Kemmish filted:
I just read a film review in the Guardian, which employs the term "counter-jumping". I suppose that wouldn't mean much to US readers?

No, but with a little context we might be able to puzzle it out...something to do with draughts, maybe?...r
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