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    #1

    What does "on the order of one minute" mean?

    Dear all,

    The whole sentence reads, "Such systems spray the appliances, hood plenum, and lower duct for a limited time, on the order of one minute." (Source: NFPA Journal July/August 2015 p70 bottom left paragraph, sorry but I have not found the article on the Internet.) Does this phrase mean that the system sprays only for one minute? If so, what is the purpose of using "on the order of"? Could someone please help out? Many thanks in advance!

    finefeeling

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    #2

    Re: What does "on the order of one minute" mean?

    The article speaks in general about a process that can vary from one factory to another. Some factories may spray a bit longer than one minute; some may spray a little less than a minute.

    "On the order of" means approximately.

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    #3

    Re: What does "on the order of one minute" mean?

    I expected the phrase to be of the order of one minute. Yes- it means approximately.

  1. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: What does "on the order of one minute" mean?

    In AmE, "on" is common there.

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    #5

    Re: What does "on the order of one minute" mean?

    The "order" refers to the rough "order of magnitude" of the number. If it's "on the order of one minute," then it's not measured in seconds. It's not tens of minutes or hours.

    It might be 2 minutes or 5 minutes. But it's not 5 seconds or 30 minutes.

    If you think something will cost $30, but it ends up being $200, then you are off by an order of magnitude. It's not tens of dollars, it's hundreds.

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