Emmett asked: What are your thoughts about rotation of mechanisms?
You make an interesting point about the axis of rotation relative to the operator of the mechanism. I'm sure that drives word choices in some instances, but I doubt there's any truly universal interpretation. There are just too many exceptions to your "axis of rotation" rule. For example, consider valves that control the flow of water (or other fluids). Your common outside water tap certainly follows that rule. But in many industrial applications, those valves can be oriented in pretty much any direction, and one would still literally "turn on" or "turn off" the flow. I've even seen wall mounted light dimmers that use a small disc, half of which protrudes above the surface of the switch plate, and this literally involves a turning motion on an axis NOT through the operator.
I'm convinced by previous responses in this thread that most of the current usage is driven by anachronistic origins, as Glenn observed.
We now have dimmer switches that require a sliding motion. Those can be operated with a single digit, but if the the operator finds it easier, or wants more precision, with thumb and finger. And some dimmers use a touch sensitive plate. In one instance I recall, when I was carrying something in both hands, I operated that dimmer with my elbow.
This has been an en"light"ening discussion. Thank you all.
My father would often say to his children at bedtime: "OUTEN the lights!". I have no idea if he made this phrase up or heard it somewhere, but the meaning was clear. Has anyone else heard it?
And relative to antiquated terminology, do not most of us still dial a phone by pressing buttons?
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