Talk:smash

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I like the edited definitions better -- I wasn't really satisfied with the original -- but I have the nagging feeling there's about 3/4 of a sense missing. Smashing something under slow pressure, or, say, smashing the fender of a car when backing carefully around a turn isn't breaking something brittle, nor is it hitting something very hard, nor is it destroying it completely and suddenly. -dmh 14:27, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)

OK, I commented out this sense because it didn't seem to make sense ("smashing cans with a steamroller" - surely a smash is sudden rather than slow?) but it does now. It's something like "to damage something by an impact" (also as in "to smash someone's face"). I'll add something to that effect. I'm not convinced by the slow smash though. — Paul G 16:14, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Hm, the sense of "to strike violently" is already there. I don't see how you can smash something by slow pressure - I would use "crush" in that sense. — Paul G 16:18, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I couldn't find anything convincing in BNC, but here are some results from googling "slowly smash":
  1. I watched the face rotate around the y-axis in my head and thought that all you have to do is slowly smash the curves horizontally and eventually invert them
  2. Grass and weeds grow through the cracks in the pavement and slowly smash open the rotting road.
  3. And through all these tectonic tribulations, mountain ranges form as plates slowly smash together while rifts appear as they drift apart
  4. While many details emerge — exactly how shifting ice floes can slowly smash a sturdy ship ...
  5. All models of ETX,DS and LX will happily keep following an object after it sets and (possibly) slowly smash into their bases.
Items 1, 3 and 4, in particular, seem to pick up a sense something like "deform under continuous pressure". -dmh 16:59, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)
To "smash under slow pressure" sounds like "to crush" to me.
Backing a car into something I would call smashing it - I would say "to dent" or "to ding", maybe depending on what the damage was.
Hippietrail 23:09, 2 Sep 2004 (UTC)
That's all well and good, but the usages above are genuine and they don't seem well covered by the existing definitions. They may or may not be synonymous with something else, but that hardly makes them unfit. The quote I gave with the definition is definitely not "crush", "dent" or "ding".
I'm not sure there are necessarily as many senses as we now have -- we're probably not quite getting the central sense. It will be interesting to see what translations come in. I generally take multiple translations (unless they're clearly closely related) as prima facie evidence of an uncpatured sense. -dmh 02:12, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)
Sorry I didn't see the examples before. Some seem like "foreigner English". Let me comment on them:
  1. I cannot guess what this one means!
  2. "Slowly break through the rotting road"
  3. "as plates slowly collide.
  4. This one actually does sound okay as is. In this sense "crush" is a synonym though. I might use "smash" for a wooden ship but not for a metal ship.
  5. This one sounds very very wrong.
1 and 5 could be foreign English, 2 and 3 are a bad choice of words. 4 works if the material is brittle and will shatter - which may be another synonym in this case.
Hippietrail 06:23, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)
This seems like a pretty clear case of regional/dialectal variation. None of the examples I cited seems foreign or wrong to me (else I wouldn't have cited them), and I had no trouble coming up with the quote I gave in the definition. All six sound just fine. On the other hand, "There was a terrible smash on the M24." sounds very odd to me. I included it, however, because it's well-attested in BNC and other places, and in fact I'm 99% sure I've heard it myself on the radio in London.
In short, British English -- and I'm assuming Australian as well -- is comfortable with smash as "car wreck" and uncomfortable with smash as "deform under continuous pressure." American English likes "deform" but doesn't like "car wreck". I'll mark the new definition as "US", and if anyone outside the states recognizes it, they can always correct the entry. -dmh 14:10, 3 Sep 2004 (UTC)