Date: Wed, 31 May 1995 10:34:25 EDT From: Larry Horn Subject: Re: 'rush hour' Re: >>Subj: 'rush hour' >> >>Why is it called 'rush hour' when it is so slow? >And when describing traffic flow, "big bottlenecks" restrict even more traffic >whereas a big bottleneck for liquids allow for more flow? >-- Jim Uh-oh. Son of "words-that-are-their-own-opposites"? Actually, the latter one makes some sense, given that it described something that is "bigly" (i.e. 'to a great extent') a bottleneck (i.e. 'a narrow passage'); _big_ = 'major' here, not 'large'. But there may well have been a transfer, where 'bottleneck' can now refer to the congestion itself, not just to the 'narrow or confined space where traffic may become congested' [OED]. As for the former, perhaps the reananalysis we're tempted to make is 'the hours that rush by while you're stuck in a bottleneck'. Larry