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    • Join Date: Jan 2006
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    Question Procrustean?

    I've got a problem with a word I don't understand completly. Can you help me satisfying my curiosity about the word 'procrustean'

    I have been looking in 'Oxford Advanced Learner's' only to find 'pro-cras-ti-nate' as in 'delay action; keep on putting off'.

    Best regards IQ

    • Join Date: May 2006
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    Re: Procrustean?

    Procrustean - producing or designed to produce strict conformity by ruthless or arbitrary means. (

  1. rewboss's Avatar

    • Join Date: Feb 2006
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    Re: Procrustean?

    Procrusteus was an inn-keeper who (according to the story) always made sure his guests fitted the beds exactly, either by cutting off their feet or by stretching them on a rack. So if a system is "procrustean", it means it always makes sure things fit -- if necessary by taking very drastic action.

    For example, some programming languages might use "procrusteun string assignment". Suppose I am using a programming language that makes sure all strings are exactly eight characters in length. It might use procrustean assignment: if the string is too short -- "rewboss", for example, has only seven characters -- then it adds spaces to make the string long enough; if the string is too short, it just chops the end off, so "usingenglish" would become "usingeng".


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