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Topic: What's the word?
Replies: 11   Last Post: Aug 3, 1999 3:25 PM

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John Conway

Posts: 2,238
Registered: 12/3/04
Re: What's the word?
Posted: Mar 27, 1996 7:42 AM
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On Wed, 27 Mar 1996, Walter Whiteley wrote:

> Remanent is still used in fabric stores for the small end pieces
> of bolts of cloth etc. [in Canada]. As such, it has the association of a
> relatively small (and unimportant) bit: too small for a regular sale and
> discounted! [A bit like remainder in division
> which is smaller than the divisor.]
> Walter Whiteley

Are you sure you don't mean "remnant"? That word, of course,
is still VERY current. Etymologically, it was derived by
corruption of "remanent", which is (in England, at least),
just about obsolete except in specialised circumstances.

However, I deliberately chose to use the older form, as
being more appropriate for a technical use, and as having
the primary meaning "all that remains when something has been
taken away". [It also has the merit of ending in "ent", like
"complement" and "supplement".] The shorter word "remnant"
has these "scrappy" connotations which would be distracting.

John Conway

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