November 11, 2008

Dip vs. Dressing

The RoBeastress and I often have ridiculously passionate arguments about words. These heated discussions never really end, they just mount up and eventually include more people.

First there was the Itch vs. Scratch debate. I regularly use itch as a verb, which makes her head explode. She insists that one can Scratch an Itch, but not Itch an Itch. Most, but not all, dictionaries agree with her viewpoint. I have not yet conceded victory in this race.

Then there the pronunciation of Vaginal. No, I don't know why the word comes up in our conversations so frequently, but when it does, she naturally stresses the second syllable with a long I (və jīnəl). I am positive that it's the first syllable that requires the accent (vajə nəl) and I don't even have a vagina. Turns out that both are acceptable, so everyone wins, vaginally.

We had a long, bizarre brunchtime conversation a couple weekends ago where I posed the rhetorical question "Do any two words have exactly the same definition?"* I played devil's advocate and said no. She started coming up with words that challenged me to try and find the subtle differences in definition. Far & Distant stumped me. Infinite and Endless could be differentiated with help from my dictionary, which also pointed out that Boundless and Limitless are also not the same exact word. Her father offered up Two and Pair, but a few days later I found that Pair refers to two things that are similar while Two does not require that specification.

* Originally, the question was "Are there any two words that are truly synonymous?" but we learned that Synonym actually means similar, not same, so the question was rephrased. We also learned that we're fucking dorks.

Our longest standing battle is unequivocally Dip vs. Dressing. There has been no give on either side with this one. I maintain that the liquid that gets poured onto a bowl of salad is dressing, but if I were to take a part of that salad and put it into a bowl of that liquid instead, the liquid would then become dip. It is the method of application that dictates the word usage. To me, butter is fucking butter, but it could still be called a spread when it's dragged across a warm bagel, a spray when it's squirted onto corn, a dip when melted in a bowl for mussels to be dropped in. The RoBeastress posits that if the liquid is still the same combination of ingredients, then the words can be used interchangeably and indiscriminately. Clearly, I am stubborn and inconsistant at being a strict interpreters of the English language, but in this case she is standing firmly on the side of the Rebels.

Look at this defiance of all laws of physics and semantics:

Can you believe the nerve of her?! The cover clearly states "DRESSING - POUR IT ON" and she dares to dip her baby carrots in it. I did not take pictures of what happened to my dressing, but I can assure you, it was poured on top my salad and ingested properly, with zero Ranch left for my baby carrot ration. I am surprised she wasn't immediately dragged off the airplane by US Air Marshals and placed on the Do Not Fly List. TSA must be going soft.

All right, I know what you're saying... you have time to post pictures of your girlfriend eating carrots, but not the Halloween costume that we've been demanding to see for over a week. The truth is, I did upload all my Halloween and Vacation photos to my computer, but none of them contain a photo of me in costume. So if you want to complain, yell at the RoBeastress instead because she's got the photos. And while you've got her attention, tell her what you think a dip is.

Unless you're telling her the dip is me, smartypants.


Rachel said...

You forgot two-ey & pairy. The contribution from my mother. Also, you forgot poland.

It's a DIP. like you.

General Dowd said...

When I dip my fries in barbecue sauce, it remains sauce, if only because Barbecue Dip sounds disgusting. Overall, I agree with the Beast, in that terminology is defined by usage.


Dips are almost always thicker than dressings, thereby invalidating Beastress's "same list of ingredients" argument.

Score one for the RoBeast while she's waiting for that Ranch Dip to sloooooowly drip onto her salad, all Heinz ketchup ad-style.

100monkeys said...

I have to agree with the RoBeast on this one. Dip vs. Dressing is all in the application of the condiment and not in the particular ingedients of said condiment. And, while I wouldn't call the RoBestress' actions into any legal question I am dubious of the ethics of using dressing in dip format. Perhaps if the parent company had simply added a "/dip" to the packaging we would all know more peace.

RS3 said...

here is how I look at it if i have an itch it's an itch, that I itch. Like" oh crap by butt itches. BBq dip does sound gross, so right on gen. dowd. to be honest I don't really like the word Dip, in any way shap or form sause sounds nice.
thats my two cents.

kcw said...

We're currently locked in a battle over Brunch. Is it a substitution for lunch? A substitution for breakfast? Which then led to a mini battle over what constitues a lunch vs. a snack.

As in you can have breakfast, then brunch, then a snack...however if that snack occurs during lunchtime hours it is then lunch (my belief) since lunch does not have a defined quantity, whereas dinner has a more defined quantity (ie. big meal). Which means her argument that brunch and lunch are mutually exclusive is void (in my mind).

That's just one skirmish in this battle.

Nerdifer said...

This post is hilarious. I especially love the keyword ads on the side about vaginal discharge!