Future idiom

I have always been fascinated by the unexpected paths this language has taken over the past several centuries, and how some terminology has survived long past the actual objects it describes: we may not know what a petard is, but we’re damned sure we don’t want to be hoist on, or with, it.

Now Shakespeare wrote Hamlet back around 1600. Is there anything that happened during my lifetime that could produce an idiom which might engage readers — assuming there will still be readers — in 2400?

I’m thinking there’s at least one possible candidate:

Seriously. I’d bet there won’t be knobs of any sort in 2400 — the first blow already has been struck — but the decimal system as we know it will remain, and 11 will always be just a little bit beyond it. We’re already practically to the point where you can talk about turning something up to 11 without having to explain it at all: the idiom is just that handy. Four hundred years from now, when the last Marshall stack is tucked away in the corner of a Museum of Curiosities, there will still be things that go to 11.


  1. Roger Green »

    9 December 2013 · 2:52 am

    You’re right, and ‘giving 110%’ is in the same ballpark, 11 being 10% more than 10.

  2. CGHill »

    15 December 2013 · 5:34 pm

    In the January ’14 Car and Driver, Daniel Pund describes an option for the Porsche Cayman and Boxster:

    Optionally available is the pricey sport exhaust system ($2825) that gives you effectively a two-stage volume control — those two stages being quiet and 11.


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