Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton
pne

Sorry, Heise, no dice.

I was reading an article on heise online in which they mention that there's research for a solution that will let present compact cooling systems stay practicable even with smaller dice.

The word "Dice" (capitalised, as a noun in German) was linked to a glossary entry which explains that a "die" is "the naked wafer piece out of which a semi-conductor chip is made". It goes on to say that "the plural of the English noun die is, linguistically correctly, dice. However, the form dies has also gained currency, especially in the semi-conductor industry".

That made me curious, because I thought "dies" was right, so I had a look on dictionary.com.

That page includes an entry from the Random House Unabridged Dictionary (die²) which states that the plural is "dies" for senses 1, 2, 4 and "dice" onyl for sense 3—and the semi-conductor meaning is most like meaning 1 (perhaps 1a?), I'd say. The American Heritage Dictionary 4e, cited further down, also has "dies" for the meaning of the "device used for cutting out, forming, or stamping material".

So I'm guessing that the person who wrote the heise.de glossary was aware of the fact that the singular of "dice" (as in the playing cubes) is "die" [a prescriptivist will frown at the usage "one dice"], and took that knowledge and ran with it, presuming that "dice" is the only plural for all meanings of nouns spelled "die". A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Bad Heise, no cookie.

Tags: language
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