I know it's an imprecise term, perhaps circumstrcribed by some sensible denouements, but how long do most of us think one has to go between denouements before one can speak sensibly of one era ending and another beginning?
I heard someone on the radio speaking of the departure of Australian-led peacekeepers from East Timor as "ending an era", and yet they'd only been there for just under four years, which seems a little short to me.
cheers
Chrissy
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I know it's an imprecise term, perhaps circumstrcribed by some sensible denouements, but how long do most of us think ... an era", and yet they'd only been there for just under four years, which seems a little short to me.

Not very long:
(quote: W3NID) era3 : a period in the history of a person or thing the seven years ...form one of the greatest eras in the annals of British statesmanship Ernest Barker*: as a : a period set off or typified by some prominent figure or characteristic feature *a style popular in the Victorian era* *dates back to the era of the horse and buggy* *calls the twenties an era of extravagance* b : a period of existence or prevalence of something (as a process, quality, or group) *another era of rapid expansion in industry* *an era of prosperity* *the relatively brief cowboy era* : DAY c : a stage in the development of a person or thing (as a nation, institution, or art) *during the first era of the nation's existence* *a new era in the development of the textbook; specifically : one of the five major divisions of geologic time see GEOLOGIC TIME table
synonyms see PERIOD
(/quote)
It's the significant political change in E. Timor that makes the difference. It's an era.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
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I know it's an imprecise term, perhaps circumstrcribed by some ... under four years, which seems a little short to me.

Not very long: (quote: W3NID) era 3 : a period in the history of a person or thing *the seven ... table synonyms see PERIOD (/quote) It's the significant political change in E. Timor that makes the difference. It's an era.

The third post to a thread being the traditional start of drift, what's the view on epoch? I used to see an epoch as being absolutely ages and ages, but Norton's Star Atlas soon disabused me of that quaint notion. It seems that an epoch is an instant, and dictionaries agree; an epoch may even be the beginning of an era. I suppose another epoch is the end of it.

Paul
In bocca al Lupo!
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The third post to a thread being the traditional start of drift, what's the view on epoch? I used to see an epoch as being absolutely ages and ages,

It does, in geology.
but Norton's Star Atlas soon disabused me of that quaint notion.

That would be the other meaning, used in astronomy, says Merriam-Webster.
It seems that an epoch is an instant, and dictionaries agree;

Your dictionaries don't recognize both meanings?
an epoch may even be the beginning of an era.

Best wishes Donna Richoux
Spot on.
It seems that an epoch is an instant, and dictionaries agree;

Your dictionaries don't recognize both meanings?

They recognise 'period', but not necessarily ages and ages, and they put the stoppage or transition meaning as prime.
COD 1954: Beginning of era in history, science, life etc., ... date ... period in history or life marked by special events.

Chambers C20 1973: a point of time fixed or made remarkable by some great event from which dates are reckoned: the particular time, used as a point of reference, at which the data had the values in question (astron.) ... a planet's heliocentric longitude at the epoch ... a precise date ... a time from which a new state of things dates ... an age, geological, historical, or other.
SOD 1959: I A point of time ... an initial point assumed in a system of chronology ... the beginning of a new era ... a fixed point of time ... II a period dated from an epoch in sense I ... etc.

So I understand that the 'period' meaning is contingent upon the 'start date' meaning. Until I ground my first parabolic mirror and took up star-gazing, I hadn't even known that the time datum meaning was even there. I wondered if my skewed appreciation of the word was shared by others.
an epoch may even be the beginning of an era.

Paul
In bocca al Lupo!
writes

Not very long: (quote: W3NID) era 3 : a period ... in E. Timor that makes the difference. It's an era.

The third post to a thread being the traditional start of drift, what's the view on epoch? I used to ... agree; an epoch may even be the beginning of an era. I suppose another epoch is the end of it.

It's either a "turning point" or a "time period", so "an instant" or "an era".

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
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The third post to a thread being the traditional start ... to see an epoch as being absolutely ages and ages,

It does, in geology.

Geologists likely have a different notion of what constitutes a long time than do laymen, just as astronomers acquire a skewed concept of great distances. Epochs are the shortest kind of interval in the geological time-scale, 'mere moments' in comparison to e.g. eras. Similarly, while an astronomical unit (about 150 million kilometres) is an awfully long way by terrestrial standards it's minuscule on the scale of interstellar distances let alone intergalactic ones.

Odysseus
I know it's an imprecise term, perhaps circumstrcribed by some sensible denouements, but how long do most of us think one has to go between denouements before one can speak sensibly of one era ending and another beginning?

No less than 100 years. Generally, many more. Eras tend to be long: the era of the dinosaurs, the era of the French kings, the era of mammals. Or they just seem long: the era of Coop in our midst, the era of my time in Bellingham,...
I know it's an imprecise term, perhaps circumstrcribed by some ... can speak sensibly of one era ending and another beginning?

No less than 100 years. Generally, many more. Eras tend to be long: the era of the dinosaurs, the era of the French kings, the era of mammals.

Aren't they "the age of the ()"?
Or they just seem long: the era of Coop in our midst, the era of my time in Bellingham,...

I guess I was just rebelling against the workout the word was getting.

I do hope you get over the Coop thing ... it's almost the first thing I remember about you when I appeared here. Love him or hate him ... just let him be ... At worst, in your view, he's hurling malevolent electrons into cyberspace ... but there's such a lot of it, that anyone can ignore them ... surely. I'm no Confucian but he was surely right when he advised us to forget hurts and remember kindnesses. Life's too short to dwell on pain.
cheers
Chrissy
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