Monday, October 31, 2011
Today, and several days before today, at the checkout counter at a retail store, when I moved my credit card through the store's counter-mounted implement, I understood I was "swiping" my card. I rather liked that term because it was so precisely expressive of the physical action of moving the card through the machine's slot. However, lately I've been hearing the word "slide" to depict that action, a word that, although not descriptively inapt, seems less precise and, frankly, a word that owes its recent adoption to political correctness. I understand that "swipe" sometimes means "steal" and often refers to an act of wiping up various forms of detritus, as from a countertop or floor, which lead me to ask, Why this change of the word in common parlance?