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Jeroen W. Pluimers on .NET, C#, Delphi, databases, and personal interests

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Me starting to understand the real life meanings of Shim

Posted by jpluimers on 2020/11/12

The combination of being partially word blind and having learned English initially from my urge to understand computing books during my (Dutch) secondary education in the mid 1980s, I often have a gap between understanding “daily life” or “real life” English words, especially when they also have a meaning in the computing world.

So it took me a while to get the non-computing meaning of shim.

In computing, shim is used as word for tiny shell that separates two layers, which means my original association was with “sphere”.

Had I associated with an adapter or something that puts space between to layers, it would have been much easier to understand the “real life” meaning of a spacer shim.

Similarly, I had trouble understanding washer (which I associated with washing, and is right: it often means washing machine, but can also mean dish washer, which is an odd word for me as it washes much more than dishes). It took me much longer to get there is an additional meaning for a mechanical construction washer, which is a thin disc (so not a tube-like ring) often used as spacers, so in a sense similar to a shim.

In Dutch, I have the same problem with “wasmachine” (English washing machine) and “afwasmachine” (Dish washer).

To add to the confusion, hardware washers in Dutch are called rings.

–jeroen

All of the above links are from Wikipedia.

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