Talk:display

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I still think this is wrong.[edit]

As a noun, 'display' seems to have three uses:

  • a flamboyant, public presentation, as in, 'that vulgar display of questionable taste' or, 'The fireworks display for the Coronation was such as to be remembered for a lifetime.'
A display-1 is flamboyant, that is to say, not understated or quiet.
A display-1 is public, that is to say, not private.
A display-1 is staged in order to evoke or provoke a response. The use of 'display' to describe an event implies expectation of some sort of response. The emphasis here is on form; if it were on content, it would be the second type of 'display'.

A display of this sort is generally visual, though, especially in the common, judgmental form, one could say, 'Did you hear James on that broadcast? His speech was such a display of ignorance and poor scholarship that I thought I would faint!' Note that the broadcast itself is not the display; the matrix created by the contents of James' speech and its presentation constitutes 'a display'.

  • a visual or multi-media installation or presentation in a particular space, as in, 'The museum includes an interactive display on the life of early Mesolithic man.' or, 'Visitors to Harrods may take in a display on the lower level in remembrance of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed.'
A display-2 is space- or time-bound, presented within a controlled locus.
A display-2 is information-focused, that is to say, it is constructed to communicate particular facts, feelings, contexts or data.
A display-2 is inherently organized; if the focus is merely on form and eschews content, it is of the first type.

A content-focused display-2 may move past the organizational logic of its installation to invite participation, response and reaction from viewers or users. This response may, in turn, affect or influence the arrangement or character of the elements on exhibition, even add new elements. A display-2 of this sort is called an 'interactive display'.

A particular image or series of images used in a lecture may constitute the logical space for a display-2, as, 'In last night's talk to the Entomology Society, the professor included a display of 27 types of subterranean beetle.' This could be said whether the professor had a table where she set up photographs -- or even the beetles themselves, preserved in amber -- or showed slides or videos of the beetles.

'Display' is not used to refer to the locus of an installation but to the sum and structure of its content. To refer to the space, one would say, 'display case' or 'display area', each of which could contain multiple displays.

  • In the computer context, 'display' means the visual rendering of data or, in the case of more complicated, wysiwyg data, the visual interpretation of information using, generally, light-mediated display equipment such as monitors or projectors
Display-3 is within space and time. It implies a link with the equipment that assembles the information or data being displayed. If such a link is multi-directional, one may speak of 'an interactive display'.
Display-3 is generally constructed by analogy from display-2. However, content logic does not form a part of what one speaks of as 'display'; this logic remains in the generating equipment and in the skills that assembled there the materials that are, willy nilly, shown as the computer 'display'.
Display-3 circles around once again to signify 'presentation', in which sense one may refer to 'high-resolution display' or 'real-time display'.

As a writer and designer of computer handbooks and manuals, I have worked professionaly in the field for 30 years. My clients include Netscape, Hewlett-Packard, Sun, Oracle and Xerox. I have never used nor run across the use of the single word 'display' to denote equipment per se.

So it seems to me that the current definition for the noun 'display' errs both by not including some distinct variations in its use but also by including a putative use that does not exist. When an electronics store advertises, '27-inch display' it is talking about the size of the display presented by the monitor or imaging device, not the size of the device itself. So even in this slangy, shorthand usage, 'display' does not mean a device. Or am I missing some entire network of language?

So maybe it's not really an adjective[edit]

In the adjective form, two meanings come immediately to mind, the first continuing from the meanings of the noun, the second moving into a new area altogether.

  • If one wishes to speak of the physical locus of an installation or the equipment on which or by means of which information or data is revealed, 'display'-3 becomes an adjective, as in 'display monitors' or 'display projectors' -- though these are more usually referred to simply as 'monitors' or 'projectors'.

I have been reminded that, 'This is not an example of an adjective, but of the attributive use of a noun. Almost any noun may be used this way in English, so we do not consider such use to be an adjective. --EncycloPetey 00:51, 13 May 2007 (UTC)' Which is fine.

However, it doesn't answer to my frustration, coming upon this entry while trying to find out about 'display equation'. This is an extension of the meaning of 'display' in a matter analogous to that which created the noun display-3. I don't understand this use of 'display' . . .

  • When referring to printed material, 'display' becomes an adjective used to designate material taken out of the normal flow of text and presented in a visually isolated format. There are thus 'display quotes', in which the quoted material has a distinct format from regular text -- often a smaller type between wider margins -- and 'display equations' in which mathematics notation is not presented in regular lines of text but set apart, often centered and spaced out, sometimes numbered.

. . . as a direct attributive use of any noun defined under 'display'. Perhaps it would make more sense to define a 'display-4' which is in the field of typography, and from which the attributive I was seeking is clearly derived. That would be fine with me, and I can see the logic - it is in some ways a parallel to the definition of computer displays that branches off of 'display-2'. So maybe I'll let this sit a while and come back to work on the noun 'display' relating to typographic presentation, which as an attributive gives its nouns the opposite of the meaning 'in-line'.

As in the computer world, the term 'display' in typography is not used to refer, in gross, to data or information in printed form. Although, just as one can 'make a display of oneself' in a broadcast, one can do it in print. The 'display' here is not the print form but the staged, flamboyant, public content logic.

Thanks to EncycloPetey for his comment on my first comment. Eventually I'll figure out the etiquette allowing me to pursue a thought to its conclusion and still embrace discussion. Right now, I'm new and haven't learned how this whole folks-interrupt thing can be productive. Don't mean disrespect. Kboy 02:31, 13 May 2007 (UTC)


That's the end of my comment, and the rest of this is the old stuff that happened while I was working on my comment. I'm not sure what the value is of it interrupting or pre-empting what I've gone on to finish, but perhaps I'll figure that out some day. Just now, it seems a waste of attention and effort. Well.

I think this is wrong.[edit]

I'm a writer and designer of computer handbooks and manuals.

In the computer context, 'display' means the visual rendering of data or, in the case of more complicated, wysiwyg data, the visual interpretation of information using light-mediated display equipment such as monitors or projectors, which in this context could easily be called 'display monitors' or 'display projectors'.

One may, for example, discuss 'high-resolution display' or 'real-time display'.

If someone says, 'a display', I presume they are speaking about one of two things:

  • a constructed exhibition or installation for public viewing or
  • information or data projected or assembled on a screen.

This term is not used in referring to the locus or structure housing the physical installation nor the equipment on which or by means of which the information or data is revealed.

I have never used nor run across the use of the single word 'display' to denote any type of equipment.

You don't get out much: http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/retina-display.html

In electronics, the "screen" is almost always called a display in marketing-speak. If you buy a computer monitor, it's a "display." Sometimes the word refers more specifically to the component that provides the pigmentation or phosphors rather than the enclosure or control circuits, but it is definitely used as a noun referring to a physical thing in this context.

A need for the adjective[edit]

The term 'display' is generally not used to refer, in general, to data or information presented in printed form. When referring to printed material, 'display' becomes an adjective used to differentiate material taken out of the normal flow of text and presented in a visually isolated format.

This material is said to be 'displayed', in analogy to the use of 'display' as an exhibition or installation.

An adjectival form of 'display' is also frequently used in relating to the qualities or characteristics of

I came upon this entry while looking for 'display equation'. I expected at least to find an entry for the adjective 'display' relating to typographic presentation, the opposite of 'in-line'. Is there some reason we don't have such a definition here?

Barring some objection or cogent argument for a different path of action, I am inclined to rewrite this definition in line with what I have experienced as common usage, with examples. Kboy 00:41, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

This is not an example of an adjective, but of the attributive use of a noun. Almost any noun may be used this way in English, so we do not consider such use to be an adjective. --EncycloPetey 00:51, 13 May 2007 (UTC)