Author Topic: word suggestion - potential spoiler Sept 6 standard  (Read 1379 times)


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word suggestion - potential spoiler Sept 6 standard
« on: September 07, 2014, 01:11:49 PM »
I am going to make a word suggestion that does not show up in the dictionaries.  The word is "gerb."  I am a pyrotechnician and gerb is a very common word referring to a product that makes a fountain of colored sparks.  If you google "fireworks gerb" it comes up with a number of hits including this from Wikipedia:  "A gerb is a type of firework which produces a jet of sparks, usually lasting between 15 and 60 seconds. It is a thick-walled tube filled with pyrotechnic composition and possessing a choke, which is a narrowing in the tube. Gerbs are often referred to as 'fountains'."  Note the last part - they did not say fountains are ofter referred to as gerbs.  The implication is that gerb is the common term.

Among the fireworks people gerb is universally used rather than "fountain" that you might see at a roadside fireworks stand.  Its even a competition category in several sizes at Pyrotechnic Guild International conventions.

So how about a non-dictionary word being added?  Besides, I keep trying it over and over in Chi because I am too old to remember its not a word; I need a break here. :)
Stevens Point, WI


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Re: word suggestion - potential spoiler Sept 6 standard
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2014, 05:17:00 PM »
I think the first question you have to ask is 'Why is it not in the dictionaries?'.

There are plenty of other examples of esoteric, occult, trade-related jargon already to be found in the pages of the OED or of Merriam-Webster - it's their job, after all to track down and record all legitimate words that are in regular use among speakers of English.

 So why is this word - and it certainly seems a genuinely useful word - not there?  Has anyone ever suggested the word to them?


Alan W

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Re: word suggestion - potential spoiler Sept 6 standard
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2020, 10:35:20 PM »
Tom, one of the advantages of having your suggestion languish in the in-tray for years is that a word that wasn't in the dictionaries may have been included by the time your suggestion is evaluated. Maybe that's happened here. At any rate, gerb is now present in the online Merriam-Webster and Wiktionary. Both dictionaries identify it as an alternate spelling for gerbe, which has a few other meanings, apart from the variety of firework.

Gerbe is already accepted in Chi, but since the alternate spelling gerb is acknowledged by dictionaries, and is in use, as revealed by Google, I'll add that version to our list.
The word comes from the French word for a wheat sheaf. The OED quotes the 1886 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica:

Gerbes are choked cases, not unlike Roman candles, but often of much larger size. Their fire spreads like a sheaf of wheat.
Alan Walker
Creator of Lexigame websites