Losslessly
Posted: 21 March 2007 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I’d never come across it until last night, when a program informed me it couldn’t rotate an image losslessly. It does, however, get 164,000 hits on Google, all of which seem at a cursory glance to refer to loss of data with reference to computer programs.

How long has this been around? The adverb doesn’t yet seem to have made it into the dictionaries, but ‘lossless’ is quite old: obsolete in the general sense (Milton used it), and alive according to the OED in the special sense of: ‘Characterized by or causing no dissipation of electrical or electromagnetic energy.’

Has anyone actually heard it used, as opposed to seeing it in print? Perhaps I just don’t know the right geeks, but I can’t imagine saying it instead of ‘without loss’ or ‘without losing data’. It isn’t really any shorter than the former, and you’d have to allow extra time for stumbling, or speaking deliberately slowly to ensure that you didn’t stumble over it. It’s my candidate for the most awkward word in the language, easily displacing all those -lily adverbs (heavenlily, lovelily and the like) that nobody ever says either.

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Posted: 21 March 2007 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It’s been around at least two decades. I first heard it in the late ‘80s when I worked at a computer graphics software company. There are lossless and its antonym lossy which are both kinds of compressions. I’ve heard it used in speech by more than a few speakers, some of them not even native anglophones. I’ve heard losslessly, but cannot remember lossily.

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Posted: 21 March 2007 05:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Not really harder to say than “listlessly”, is it?

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Posted: 22 March 2007 01:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I came across “lossless” and, possibly, “losslessly” in connection with electrical power supply back in the early ‘80s.

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Posted: 22 March 2007 06:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ve worked in computer graphics for years and while I’m not at all surprised by it, I don’t recall ever hearing losslessly. I’ve heard lossy and lossless, but not losslessly.

Of course, I’ll go into work today and hear it 15 times within the first hour.

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Posted: 22 March 2007 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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you’d have to allow extra time for stumbling, or speaking deliberately slowly to ensure that you didn’t stumble over it.

Only if you’re unfamiliar with it.  If you use it in your work, obviously, it’s as easy to say and understand as any other word.

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Posted: 22 March 2007 12:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Listlessly is easier to say. The T makes all the difference.

I’m not sure that practice would help. Over the past five years I have had to say digital more and more frequently, and I still stumble over it. I’ve heard professional announcers get tripped up by it, which makes me feel slightly better. It’s one of the two words I simply cannot trust myself to be able to pronounce. (The other is orrery, but I’ve never had occasion to say the word.)

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Posted: 22 March 2007 04:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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kurwamac - 22 March 2007 12:39 PM

Listlessly is easier to say. The T makes all the difference.

It seems to me that the T contributes to making “listlessly” a little harder to say, so much to the point that I believe it is often left out here in South Leftpondia.  What makes listlessly easier to say is the fact that the vowels are all in more or less the sme place.  The shift from the O to the E makes Losslessly the wee trifle harder to say.  Just my opinion.

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Posted: 22 March 2007 11:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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losslessly, listlessly..... tough words indeed (particularly if one has a cleft palate). But they can’t hold a candle to “toothlessly”, especially for anyone whose front teeth are in need of restoration. Until rescue arrived a few years ago, the only way a certain member of my family (who shall here remain nameless) could say “toothlessly” was “toofleffly”. In fact, for a while he said everyfing toofleffly.

;-)

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