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  1. #1
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default LAP: a unique noun?

    lap - the top part of your legs that forms a flat surface when you are sitting down. (Oxfore ALD)

    I was discussing this with a colleague. It seems to us that laps exist only when we are sitting and only when we have the idea that someone or something is, or may in the near future, be on them. We could not think of any other 'part of the body', or indeed any other 'location' that has such a limited existence.

    I'd be interested to know what others think.

  2. #2
    Rover_KE is offline Moderator
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    Default Re: LAP: a unique noun?

    Good question, 5jj.

    I can only think of 'Come and sit on my knee' when you mean lap or knees.


    Still thinking.


    Rover

  3. #3
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    Default Re: LAP: a unique noun?

    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    lap - the top part of your legs that forms a flat surface when you are sitting down. (Oxfore ALD)

    I was discussing this with a colleague. It seems to us that laps exist only when we are sitting and only when we have the idea that someone or something is, or may in the near future, be on them. We could not think of any other 'part of the body', or indeed any other 'location' that has such a limited existence.

    I'd be interested to know what others think.
    You can punch someone with your fist even if you don't a fist when you think of doing it. Your grip is similar.
    Smiles, pouts, and grimaces, etc. are transient physical attributes.
    Your normal lumbar spine lordosis disappears when you bend over forwards.
    A woman's cleavage will normally disappear if she lies on her back.
    ...

  4. #4
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: LAP: a unique noun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rover_KE View Post
    Good question, 5jj.

    I can only think of 'Come and sit on my knee' when you mean lap or knees.
    Knee(s) sidetracked us a little.We finally agreed that we thought that the lap extended from somewhere near the waist (exact position depending on how erectly you are sitting) to somehere close to the knees, but not generally including the knees.

    Knee(s) in your sense started at the knees and extended back a short distance.

    So, starting from the waist and moving toward the knees, we have 1. lap (only), 2. knee(s) and/or lap, 3. knee(s) only.

    We agreed with your thought that knee(s), generally singular, is a lap-type word.

  5. #5
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lare.AP: a unique noun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    You can punch someone with your fist even if you don't a fist when you think of doing it. Your grip is similar.
    Smiles, pouts, and grimaces, etc. are transient physical attributes.
    Your normal lumbar spine lordosis disappears when you bend over forwards.
    A woman's cleavage will normally disappear if she lies on her back.
    ...
    We thought that smiles, etc are essentially using a noun to speak of an verb-action that is limited in duration. There are very many of these - we went from smile through shout to jog and explosion, and concluded that they were qualitatively different from lap.

    Fist bothered us. We ended up, not too happily, with the thought that it was, to us, qualitatively different; this was largely because we thought that the formation of a fist was generally the result of conscious action, which is not normally the case with a lap. We also thought that a fist is a three-dimensional 'object', whilst a lap is very much more a two-dimensional surface. We couldn't come up with any other fist-type words, so fist may be (almost) unique, as lap and knee are in a different way.

    Lordosis
    may belong in the lap-group. If you are lying face down, can you, say"Come and sit on my lordosis."? I can't, because I didn't know the word until I read your post. if you can, then it is a lap-word, and we now have three.

    We are still playing with cleavage. In the narrow sense that it is the space between a woman's breasts, I think that it is no more a lap-type word than a gap between two bricks that no longer exists if we remove one of the bricks. However, if we can extend it to include the whole visible area of the upper breast (which I think we can), then it may be lap-like.

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