nape of the earth, or nap of the earth?
I was next-to-positive that "nape" was always the word, so I was startled when Google showed me that "nap" is far more frequent on the Web, about 6000 to 300. "Nap" was also more frequent in groups, by a smaller margin.

The origin has been asked about in a couple of groups, but not with much success, and not in a.u.e. Memories seem to date it to the 1960s.
"Nap" seems to me to be a candidate for the set of idioms that are correct by virtue of repetition, but I'm curious about the evolution, whatever it was.

Rich Ulrich, (Email Removed)
http://www.pitt.edu/~wpilib/index.html
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nape of the earth, or nap of the earth? I was next-to-positive that "nape" was always the word,

Say what? 'Nape' is the back of your neck.
'Nap' is the short fuzzy ends of fibers on the surface of cloth, drawn up in napping. To fly close to the nap-of-the-earth is to fly as close to the ground as you can safely get. The allusion is obvious. You're flying close to the fuzzy stuff sticking up from the earth, like trees, bushes...
nape of the earth, or nap of the earth? I was next-to-positive that "nape" was always the word, so I ... the set of idioms that are correct by virtue of repetition, but I'm curious about the evolution, whatever it was.

http://www.word-detective.com/122002.html
Mike
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
nape of the earth, or nap of the earth? I ... repetition, but I'm curious about the evolution, whatever it was.

http://www.word-detective.com/122002.html

Thanks. Yes, I saw that one. It describes "nap of the earth" as relating to the nap of carpets, and dates it to Viet Nam, with only an implicit citation. ("I haven't found it any earlier...")

The time frame seems respectable, but the derivation sounds bogus to me. Maybe, because I grew up with nape.

Also, it seems easier for me to imagine that "nape" would have been modified to "nap" than vice-versa.

Rich Ulrich, (Email Removed)
http://www.pitt.edu/~wpilib/index.html
nape of the earth, or nap of the earth? I was next-to-positive that "nape" was always the word, so I ... the set of idioms that are correct by virtue of repetition, but I'm curious about the evolution, whatever it was.

That's the first I've heard of that idiom.
Who uses it, and what's it supposed to mean?

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
nape of the earth, or nap of the earth? I ... repetition, but I'm curious about the evolution, whatever it was.

That's the first I've heard of that idiom. Who uses it, and what's it supposed to mean?[/nq]"nap" has been around for centuries, meaning the short projection of fibres sticking up (usually almost imperceptibly) from a cloth of some kind. Best known to those of us who gladly misspent our youth as the term for the lie of the cloth on a snooker table. You needed (if you were of a sufficient level of skill) to be aware whether your shot was with, against or across the nap. It made a difference to the power required to achieve a given velocity and to the effect of spin (aka side aka AmE English) required to perform a given manoeuvre.

The "nap of the earth" seems to have been coined in the last half century - presumably from the time that electronic aids allowed pilots to fly for extended periods at low level in variable weather. I first saw it in a computer game about helicopters in the 70s. It's common in air forces and among computer flight simulator fans. Also known as "NOE". It means following the contours of the earth so your craft is always the same distance from the ground.

"nap" in the "cloth fibre" sense fits neatly here because it fits the idea of a surface with little bumps and protuberances. For those who espouse the "nape" theory, I would ask "In what sense does the earth have a nape?"

John Dean
Oxford
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
That's the first I've heard of that idiom. Who uses it, and what's it supposed to mean?

"nap" has been around for centuries, meaning the short projection of fibres sticking up (usually almost imperceptibly) from a cloth ... protuberances. For those who espouse the "nape" theory, I would ask "In what sense does the earth have a nape?"

The earth has a nape in the sense that it has a
contour that is tricky to follow, requiring close
attention from the barber who is producing the
GI or burr haircut that was universal in my youth before the Beatles, time of early Viet Nam. He has to work between the cords of the neck ("Bend your
head forward"), to shave it clean.
I do like your example of "nap" as relating to the lie of the cloth on a snooker table, and the fact that it matters to the experienced snooker player. (I have played snooker and pool very few times; I missed that part.)

The nap of carpet still evokes, for me, "bumps and protruberances" that are too trivial, by far. No one traverses a carpet with care for the nap. Your
snooker table seems more reasonable than that.
But I still like my "nape."

Rich Ulrich, (Email Removed)
http://www.pitt.edu/~wpilib/index.html
Richard Ulrich filted:
The nap of carpet still evokes, for me, "bumps and protruberances" that are too trivial, by far. No one traverses a carpet with care for the nap.

One might, if one is a manx kitten with untrimmed supernumerary claws (former girlfriend's sister's roommate's pet), or Scooter (pet cockatiel of one of my neighbors circa 1986, who had a tendency to snag a talon on the pile and trip himself)..r
That's the first I've heard of that idiom. Who uses it, and what's it supposed to mean?

"nap" has been around for centuries, meaning the short projection of fibres sticking up (usually almost imperceptibly) from a cloth ... protuberances. For those who espouse the "nape" theory, I would ask "In what sense does the earth have a nape?"

Thanks - I kneww about the nap of cloth (a towel is an obvious crude example, and some have thought that "nappy" is derived from that rather than "napkin".

But I wasn't aware of the "nap of the earth" meaning, which I take it is akin to "tree-topping". Not that I'd trust such an electronic device what doe it do if you're approaching a 3000ft cliff?

Steve Hayes from Tshwane, South Africa
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/7734/stevesig.htm
E-mail - see web page, or parse: shayes at dunelm full stop org full stop uk
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