I've tried giving up using innuendo several times...
...but its hard. So very, very hard...
The spirit of Kenneth Williams* is alive and well in the corridors of Redmond, with staffer Raymond Chen detailing some internal Microsoft jargon in a euphemism-heavy MSDN posting. Chen was discussing the problem of getting to grips with jargon that it is assumed everyone knows but which no one thinks to explain. In this …
The problem is, if you can't use it in its primary sense to refer to a control because it can also refer to a penis, then it really now only has one meaning.
So now we have an inordinate number of words for penis but no word for a cylindrical control that can be rotated to alter the state of a machine.
@TonyJ - "Dial"
Not really, I would say that a dial has an important measurement indication function, and may not have a control input function, e.g. a clock dial. Hence, a radio has a tuning dial (the measurement indication is important), and a volume knob.
"Hence, a radio has a tuning dial [...]"
And often controlled by an indirect "tuning knob". The latter usually has a geared effect for fine control.
In the wartime mechanically tuned multiband radio receivers the dial had to show many frequency ranges. The Hammarlund HRO comes to mind as unusually having a vernier dial integrated with the large diameter tuning knob. A frequency band was selected by plugging in a large modular box of appropriate tuning components. The front of that box had a graph for the operator to convert the dial vernier number to a frequency in that band.
Erratum: the HRO was produced by the National Radio Company. Hammarlund made a later competitor "Super Pro".
The name "HRO" :
"The design was finished in 1934 and National pushed hard to get the receiver out by the end of that year. When creating the tools for the first production run, the tool makers had to work overtime and used HOR (Hell Of a Rush) as a job number on their overtime slips. As National's marketing department didn't want their radios to become known as HORs (whores), the name was changed to HRO (Hell of a Rush Order). "
DJs/musicians call them 'pots'
<pedantry>As a musician myself, I use the word 'pot' to refer to the electronic gubbins (i.e. the potentiometer) within. The plastic do-dad that provides the interface to that is something I'd still refer to as a knob.</pedantry>
"One of Kenneth Williams's most quoted lines is in his role as Julius Caesar"
My favourite line from that, aboard ship, was "Sic transit Gloria". Did they call the character Gloria just so they could use that line?
But when it comes to innuendo the whole of the Carry On series pales in comparison to Round the Horne.
"But when it comes to innuendo the whole of the Carry On series pales in comparison to Round the Horne."
Difficult to believe that it was broadcast on BBC radio during Sunday lunchtimes in the 1960s - the most dedicated "family listening" slot.
The innuendo must have gone over my mother's head otherwise she would not have allowed us to listen to it. As it did over my teenage head in those less informed days. We had not heard of homosexuality. Girls' were effectively in chastity belts - while boys were handy peers as A.L.Rowse mentions in his autobiography of his school days in Cornwall in the 1920s.
Supposedly the boss of the BBC dept at the time (Bill Cotton?) loved the idea of the broadcasting rude things to little old ladies who wouldn't understand them.
So whenever some earnest young producer came to him to say "that line in Julian and Sandy it means this thing homosexuals do ....." he would archly ask them "Really - how do you know ?"
The innuendo definition is surely the UK primary definition of knob, the control panel / door fixture etc definition is the secondary one
Lots of youngsters not really used to knobs as a control on most things - buy a TV, radio etc these days and typically no volume / tuning knob
Still get knobs on some things like washing machines*, but plenty of teenagers will want to avoid the tedium of having to operate white goods when they know if their clothes / bedding etc. gets skanky enough a primary care giver will reluctantly do the washing.
* Yes I know some of the more expensive / newer ones do not have knobs, but still plenty of be-knobbed washing machines still around as (unless you are rolling in cash) you only replace a washing machine when it gives up the ghost
"The innuendo definition is surely the UK primary definition of knob, [...]"
That must be a relatively recent change for what in my day was only a secondary usage. In the 1950s there was the expression "with knobs on" - meaning something was an embellished version of some product or story. A knob was the standard UI control on many things - particularly radios. The more knobs - the more functions it had. A "dial" was more commonly used to mean a moving display that showed a scale of something eg frequency, temperature, time.
There is also the homophone "nob" - possibly an old variant - which referred to a head or someone from the UK upper classes.
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