Monday, October 14, 2013

Hook turn

Meaning: a counter-intuitive driving manoeuvre in which you turn across oncoming traffic from what feels like the wrong side of the road; in effect you join the traffic stream perpendicular to yours. Video here.

Logofascination: 4. It's a turn that looks like a hook. This word was only saved from a really boring 5 rating by functioning as a semi-shibboleth for Melbournians, and the ANDC taking so long to add it.  It's not in the Australian National Dictionary yet, but we've had electric trams (why Melbourne needs hook turns) since 1908.

In the wild: An ANDC post on the just-released seventh edition of The Australian Pocket Oxford Dictionary mentions some new additions, and it turns out that 'hook turn' has entered those august pages (and that I have a first edition; for some reason most people didn't think that was as cool as I did).  I'm sure the ANDC have done a better job of defining it.

Usefulness: 2. Declaiming the simplicity of the hook turn is one of the signs of a local Melbournian. You can avoid hook turns by going the long way around the block (which I did for some time) but running late in heavy traffic helps overcome any hesitations. It feels like you're crossing the streams, but after the first time they're straightforward. (No, really...)

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