Now does this make *any* sense?

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Warnings on a can of Weldwood brand NONflammable contact cement:
"Contains toluene ... Use in a well ventilated area. Keep away from heat, sparks, or flame. Vapors may cause flash fire. ... Vapors can ignite explosively."
So... exactly how is that different from ordinary contact cement?
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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The label or testing laboratory musta been the same one, ones that Titebond III used. ;~)
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You sure it doesn't say INflammable? There's a lesson you don't want to learn the hard way.
G
Doug Miller wrote:

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Sorry to gripe here, but the misuse of the word "inflammable" is silly and can be dangerous. The prefix in- is a negation when applied to a root word, examples:
inhospitable = not hospitable insecure = not secure inadmissable = not admissable ... inflammable = not flammable
If something will combust it IS flammable (remember your chemistry classes). Asbestos is (basically) inflammable. A linseed oil soaked rag is quite possibly flammable.
On to the original post; perhaps the nonflammable portion of the name refers to the _cured_ cement product; it clearly states that the vapors are flammable.
Chris
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Because of that, sadly enough, the English language has since defined flammable and inflammable to mean exactly the same thing - catches fire easily.
The opposite is now "nonflammable".
Sigh.
The English language has been well and truly flammed.
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They have *always* meant exactly the same thing. There has been no redefinition.

"Now"?
The opposite of "flammable" has *always* been "nonflammable".
"Inflammable" does not mean, and never has meant, "not flammable". The root word of "inflammable" is "inflame". The "in" part is not, and never has been, a prefix.
It is precisely because of this confusion that the term "inflammable" has been largely abandoned in favor of the clearer and _absolutely_synonymous_ term "flammable": too many people mistakenly thought that "inflammable" was a synonym for "nonflammable".
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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BZZZT! thank you for playing.
_BOTH_ terms *predate* Modern English.
They are tracable, to separate roots in Old Latin.
"Inflammable" comes from the same root as 'inflame'.
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DJ Delorie wrote:

For certain values of "since". If it ever meant "non-flammable" it was before 1605.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
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There was an old George Carlin routine...
"Flammable, nonflammable, noninflammable... why are there three?"
-CJ
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wrote:

Indeed it is, and you unfortunately are contributing to the confusion with your own misuse of the word.

.. but this is _dead_wrong_.
In this case, "in" is NOT a prefix applied to the root word and meaning "not" but rather part of the root word itself, which is "inflame". "Inflammable" "capable of being inflamed", i.e. synonymous with flammable.

No, it's not. Asbestos is absolutely non-flammable. Gasoline, e.g., is inflammable.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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Unfortunately, you sir, in _this_ case, "know not that of which you speak".
The words 'flammable', and 'inflammable' actually come from *SEPARATE*, *UNRELATED* roots.
That leading 'in' in 'inflammable' is no more a negation prefix than the leading 'in' in 'innocent', 'inside', 'inflamed', or 'inflammation' is.
Note: the seeming 'contradiction' has been in existence for a *LONG* time. All the way back to Old Latin, in fact.
"Flammable" traces to "flamma', meaning 'flame', while "inflammable" traces back to 'inflammare', meaning 'to inflame'. which is constructed from the 'intensifier' (!!) prefix 'in', and the root _is_ derived from 'flamma'.
In engineering circles, there _is_ a technical distinction drawn between the two terms -- it has to do with how fast/easily/quickly combustion occurs. One of them burns, the other burns *quickly*. Unfortunately, I can never remember which is which.
The flammable/inflammable distinction is fairly s similar to the difference between 'explosive' and 'high explosive'.
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On Tue, 31 Aug 2004 13:49:11 +0000, snipped-for-privacy@host122.r-bonomi.com (Robert Bonomi) wrote:

The inference there is that the latter is the more rapid perhaps, but that is not a genereal inference. They are generally synonymous.
Bill.
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<snip my earlier gaffe>

Replies such as this should enshrined somehwere as a shining example of good posting and a friendly attitude. Robert, I have enjoyed learning from you. This also highlights that it has been entirely too long since my Latin classes. :)
Yes, the English language is silly at times, but we can only do our best to work with it and not "blow ourselves up" with cement and such.
Chris
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I'll admit, I had the 'non-opposite-ness' of those two words drummed into me at an _early_ age. One of the hazards of growing up in a household where *both* parents had professional journalism backgrounds. :) They did a fair amount of writing for the construction-engineering industry, and also the transportation industry. Using the *correct* one (basis the trade-specific _technical_ meaning) of the two terms, in those in those environments, was an absolute necessity.
Beyond that, I cheated. For the history, I grabbed the handy dictionary (a serious one, with derivations), and looked up both words. Then it was just pontification, based on the 'half a line' of derivation, in each listing.

'Silly' doesn't _begin_ to cover it -- Have you ever heard of anyone making an _ane_ remark? Is the politician who waffles on the issues, ever called _cisive_ ? How about words that sound exactly alike, and have exactly *opposite* meanings? e.g. 'raise', and 'raze'.
Seen in a science-fiction novel: "I was hardly gruntled at the summons." (That line has been a personal favorite for many years.) [ trivia: my spell checker questioned 'ane', and 'cisive', but did *not* object to 'gruntled'. ]
And a sci-fi short-story (concerning an alien that crashes on Earth) that starts out: "I awoke with a ringing in my ears. Two in the right, and one in the left.     But who on Earth knew *my* number?"
Then, go look up the 'Retief' sci-fi short stories, written by Keith Laumer. And contemplate the poor editor(s) who had to _deal_ with those stories. And the number of proof-readers that must have been driven into complete nervous breakdowns.
Lastly, hunt up a James Thurber story called 'The Wonderful O'. The story premise is laughable cum ridiculous, but it is _well-told_. Not unexpected, considering the author. There's a line in that story -- "'Geep', whuppled the parrot." -- that, _in_context_, is one of the funniest bits I have ever read.
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On Tue, 31 Aug 2004 12:55:20 +0000 (UTC), Chris

Rubbish! Webster [or any other]: Inflammable 1. Flammable 2: Easily inflamed ...
OK flame away.
Bill.
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    Greetings and Salutations.
wrote:

    Regards     Dave Mundt
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Chris wrote:

It is not a "misuse". Both Webster and Oxford define it as being equivalent to "flammable". Oxford dates it back to 1605. It's actually something of an archaism--if the word were being coined today it would probably be "enflameable", but spelling in 1605 was a bit more flexible than it is now.

Not according to standard English usage.

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--John
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Chris,
Ever since I was old enough to care what was on a warning label (grade school?), this one has perplexed me.
I could only blame the obtuseness of the "English" language for this inconsistency.
(That, and never use that term in the vernacular!)
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wrote:

Bonomi's, in this thread. The "in" in "inflammable" is not a prefix meaning "not", it's part of the root word, which is "inflame".
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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wrote:

In the case of "inflammable" the -in is not a prefix. The original usage was inflame, therefore, if something easily burned it was "inflammable" or easily inflamed. Inflammation of the hemorrhoids, for example, does not mean my piles are "not" flaming.
Just so you know.
BTW, where can I get a "Frigerator"?
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