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Approximate Measurement Dictionary

Define indefinite terms with statistics
 (+5) [vote for, against]

I am the proud owner of a copy of "The Macmillan Dictionary of Measurement."

But I am disappointed in its coverage of approximate terms. So, just how much is a "pinch," a "dab," a "skosh?"

I propose a dictionary (probably online) which would give statistical precision to such units. This should include regional differences, and would make a great thesis topic.

Just how many beans? How much water? How finely ground? At what temperature? Enquiring minds want to know.

 — csea, Dec 06 2010

Thermodynamics of Hell http://www.whosoeve.../v2Issue2/hell.html
One theory [csea, Dec 07 2010]

 A pinch is exactly 1/16 of a teaspoon.

You might also look into the nature of a "dollop," and the exact mass and volume of "pea-sized gravel."
 — ye_river_xiv, Dec 06 2010

 Thanks, good start, [y_r_x].

 I looked up dab in (the)^2saurus and found that it is similar to a "bit, touch, drop, pat, smidgen, speck, dollop, pinch, soupcon."

 The last time I put a "dollop" of yogurt in my lentil soup, I'm quite sure it was an order of magnitude larger than a speck!

Without having looked, I suspect "pea-sized gravel" is much more thoroughly defined.
 — csea, Dec 06 2010

I have a measuring spoon in my kitchen that has units including "pinch", "smidgeon", and "dash".
 — DIYMatt, Dec 06 2010

A pinch was originally pour out a pile of material, pick up what you can between two finger tips, and put that in your recipie. Likewise a dash is shake the dispenser once vigorously over the pot/bowl. Almost everything that is dispensed this way is completely insensitive to exact volume, or is accompanied by a "to taste" notation anyway.
 — MechE, Dec 06 2010

So we already have a lot of the words. Who starts giving them standard (or whatever we are going for) values?
 — Boomershine, Dec 06 2010

The European Union.
 — 8th of 7, Dec 06 2010

Good enough. Now, how the hell much *is* a dollop? And, what about words like 'gob' or 'shitload'?
 — Boomershine, Dec 06 2010

sp: Approximate.
 — Boomershine, Dec 06 2010

Measures like 'glug' and 'splash' are inherently mutable, tending to become larger with each successive application.
 — DrBob, Dec 06 2010

 //...inherently mutable, tending to become larger with each successive application.//

Just give us a starting quantity [DrBob], and we got us a useful term. "Glug" and "splash" might be synonyms...or not, but they could share this part of your definition. [+]
 — Boomershine, Dec 06 2010

Alright then. Here goes.

Glug, Splash: [Definition] Small measures of liquid, generally relating to wine and alcoholic spirits. The exact quantity is usually defined as that amount that you consider sensible but which is not quite enough to satisfy your desire for more. 'Glug' and 'Splash' are inherently mutable, tending to become larger with each successive application.
 — DrBob, Dec 06 2010

 // tending to become larger with each successive application //

Tennin' ... tennin' t' be'cm larger ... yesh .... wif each... HIC .... shuckshessi .... shecksussi ..... nexsht glass ... HIC .... you're .... what ? ... youre .. my besht mate you are .... eh ? Shuckshess ... he he hee ... heres to shuckshess ... HIC ... you're my besht mate, you know .... HIC ....
 — 8th of 7, Dec 06 2010

[DrBob] Perfect. One down.
 — Boomershine, Dec 06 2010

I'd like to see the page numbers in this erudite little volume.
 — pocmloc, Dec 06 2010

 It was my intention that the units would be characterised by reviewing published references, and field research involving visits to appropriate measurers.

 The results would be plotted on a frequency distribution plot, from which peaks could be determined. (e.g. It's very possible that regional differences could strongly affect the size of a "dollop.")

 This could be a bit of a challenge, hence my mention of a thesis topic.

{Boomershine], Thanks, fixed.
 — csea, Dec 07 2010

This would be invaluable for someone trying to cook according to Granny's recipe. ("Now, let's see, in Sverdlovsk oblast, in the reign of Nicholas I, 'ein bissel,' when applied to chicken fat, meant between 5 and 8 grams")
 — mouseposture, Dec 07 2010

Yes!
 — csea, Dec 07 2010

 Not all approximations can be defined numerically.

The term 'rough as a badgers arse' when applied to Jodie Marsh, is not a measure of surface deviation.
 — Twizz, Dec 07 2010

The inner deviations are all the more interesting.
 — pocmloc, Dec 07 2010

Would this dictionary also include relative / comparative measurements? For example, some useful units of speed, which are currently ill-defined: the speed of a hot-water-immersed cat, a bat departing hades, or first-month molasses. Also, temperatures, such as [hotter|colder] than hell (by my own reckoning, and general use of said descriptions, the mentioned region seems to be about room temperature - an entirely unreasonable result), or the cryogenicity of a witch's mammary. And time, such as that which will elapse before the obese diva's aria or the return of the Holsteins. Measures of steepness, as compared to that of a cow's face; or lack of steepness, as is commonly referenced to [a pancake|Kansas].
 — lurch, Dec 07 2010

 Reducing all measurements to a single standard (I favor MKS) would allow any desired relative comparisons to be made.

Regarding thermodynamics of Hell, see [link.]
 — csea, Dec 07 2010

 // hot-water-immersed cat //

 Experimental evidence based on an averaged randomised selection of local cats* indicates that "not enough room to swing a cat" is represented by a space no greater than 3272 mm across its smallest dimension.

 Tests are continuing to improve the accuracy of this value, as soon as we have mopped up the blood and caught some more cats.

* Length of cat's tail, and grip point on said tail plus length of swinger's arm are critical factors so many trials will be necessary. Grasping the cat by the head is unsatisfactory as (i) this offers the cat a wide range of options for clawing and biting, and (ii) repeated forceful inpact of the tail tip against a hard surface only seems to increase the frequency and intensity of (i).
 — 8th of 7, Dec 07 2010

Unfortunately, protocol number 71828.141b defining EU standards for cat tail lengths is still stalled pending resolution of the Isle of Mann problem.
 — mouseposture, Dec 08 2010

 "dod": A dod is a measurement of food sufficient for 1-4 people. A 'good dod' is about 4, a 'wee dod' is possibly less than 1.

For example:"Jin, go to the butchers and get a good dod of stewing steak"
"Er... how much do I ask for?"
"You know, a dod"
"No - I don't. What do I ask for a couple of lbs? 1/2 a kilo?"
<angrier voice>"Look. Just ask the butcher for a dod - he'll know what to give you."...
 — Jinbish, Dec 08 2010

But a Doddle... Now there is something entirely different. I think that refers to a small piece of excrement measured in cubits.
 — Ling, Dec 08 2010

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