放つ - translation slightly off

The translation given for 放つ is “To Fire”, and the example is “To fire an arrow”.

You don’t fire arrows, you shoot them, or loose them, but never fire them. You fire guns, cannon, that sort of thing, because shooting them involves fire.

1 Like

The OED has a sense for “to fire” meaning:

transitive. To throw or otherwise physically propel (a projectile), esp. at a person or thing; spec. to shoot (an arrow) from a bow

with citations for “firing” arrows dating back 200 years, e.g.

1823
Only the watch-towers of the Gateway remain: in these are loop-holes for firing arrows.
J. P. Neale, Views of Seats of Noblemen vol. VI. (Grandtully Castle, Perthshire)

(It also has examples of firing bricks, balls, and chunks of stale bread.)

So while I would probably use “shoot” personally I think the use of the verb “to fire” has spread enough that firing arrows is fine.

7 Likes

Sure but however incorrect, people say that all the time. So if someone writes that on a review, you want them to be wrong?

Besides, you could make some sort of firearm that propelled arrows by explosive force

1 Like

I’m not suggesting it should be blocked… just, as an archer, the main meaning being wrong grates every time I see it.

2 Likes

Yeah I mean, maybe they could switch that to an alternate meaning or something. It just seems like something only an actual archer would be that pedantic about :smiley: , and your beef is really with the general public’s incorrect colloquial use of the word.

It’s the old prescriptive/descriptive language divide, won’t ever be solved.

1 Like

200 years of people - who know nothing about archery - being wrong is no excuse. :slight_smile:

I know, I know, I’m not expecting anyone to care. :frowning:

1 Like

Well now I’m wondering if you could “fire” a laser. There’s no actual fire involved, and there’s no physical propulsion (per OED definition).

1 Like

Of course you can fire a laser

2 Likes

Wait until you learn what people do with emails

3 Likes

Ugh, [nails on chalkboard screech] speaking of pedantic “only I care about this” pet peeves.

You mean email messages. :wink:

1 Like

Email is a noun that has turned into a verb though

1 Like

Against my will, sigh. Unfortunately the entire rest of the world sometimes defies my orders.

But by physical mail analogy, you can get mail. You can mail something. You don’t get “mails”.

1 Like

But I do get mail. Sometimes lots of mail.

When you get more than one thing in the mail, do you get mails? Or is the plural still “mail”?

1 Like

The thing is when it comes to email it used to be an abbreviation and it was written separately E-mail or E mail, as in electronic mail, but as with new terms/words they have life of their own and it became a noun and instead of saying I send it to you via e mail, or I will send you an e mail, it morphed into I’ll email it to you and 1 email 2 emails…
You know what I do on Wanikani? srsing kanji. yep I just wrote that and not for the first time :smiling_imp:

4 Likes

Our Pacquet-Boats put to Sea yesterday with the Mails for Calais.

London Gazette, 1684 :slight_smile:

Side note: “mail” for a postal letter is derived from an older meaning of “mail” which was a bag or sack; a bag of letters to be conveyed by the postal service was a “mail of letters”, quickly shortened to “mail” and then applied to the letters rather than the bag. So the modern usage where one gets “mail” and not “mails” is also a drift from where it started, no less than modern usage of “emails”…

4 Likes

“Vocabs” is surely the worst.

Words, you mean words.

3 Likes

When it comes to language, “right” and “wrong” are subjective (a logical consequence of the main purpose of language being to facilitate communication). In some cases, 200 years of people saying something “wrong” can be exactly how a “wrong” usage becomes “right”, as the speakers who disapprove of a certain usage grow old, die, and are replaced with speakers who like it.

In other cases, opinions are divided along community lines, resulting in an expression being accepted in some environments but not in others. It sounds to me like that’s what’s going on in this case. It’s interesting to hear that “fire” as a verb originally entailed the use of physical fire, but I think it’s safe to say that most people aren’t aware of the distinction. So while “fire an arrow” may be “wrong” in archery circles, it is de facto correct in broader usage.

Though with that said, I don’t think we should be ashamed to express our own opinions about whether a usage is good or bad. If you are a speaker of a language, you should have the right to say, “I like this” or “I don’t like this”, even without any other reasoning–and if you do have additional reasons, then you should be able to use them to try to sway other people to your side. You may not have absolute power to call something “right” or “wrong”, but you can at least cast your vote, so to speak.

7 Likes

I wonder at what point in time was the use of a flame thrower or other source of fire no longer required when firing an employee?

5 Likes