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I was recently answering a question on Super User about RAID. In this context RAID means "redundant array of independent (or inexpensive) disks". I wanted to point out to fellow user that he should make sure that computer is set to boot from the array.

I used syntagma "RAID set" but I'm not sure if it fits. I felt that the best way to say what I wanted would be to use "RAID array" but then we have the array array problem.

I've seen that the automated teller machine machine problem is solved by simply dropping the second machine, but here I also had RAID card so using just RAID wouldn't work and I wanted to avoid just saying array because I think that it's unlikely that any of the settings which would need to be changed would contain RAID in its expanded form.

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No you don't have an "array array" problem: see my reply to the question about PIN. It doesn't matter what RAID originally stood for, it now has a meaning of its own, and the word "array" is nothing to do with it (I'm sure that many people who use the word would not be able to tell you what it originally stood for without looking it up). Whether it can stand as an independent noun or not is a different question, resolvable only by considering comprehensibility and current usage. –  Colin Fine Mar 3 '11 at 16:41
There's only an "array array" problem if you believe that the way a word originated tells us something about how to use it correctly today. That is called the "etymological fallacy", and it is in fact a fallacy. –  David Schwartz Mar 10 '12 at 9:45
@rhetorician Please do provide some references for that. I'm well aware of the other ATM and its use in telecommunications networks, but I'm pretty much sure that what you're saying is not the case. For example, the automated teller machine predates Asynchronous Transfer Mode by some 20 years if not more, according to for example Google Ngram Viewer. –  AndrejaKo Jun 12 at 7:45
From sunsite.uakom.sk/sunworldonline/swol-04-1997/…: "When ATM emerged from the work on B-ISDN in the mid-80s, it was developed as a standard by the CCITT (Consultative Committee of the International Telegraph and Telephone) for proposal to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). From dictionary.reference.com/browse/automated+teller+machine?s=t: "Also called automated teller, automatic-teller machine, cash machine, money machine. Origin: 1980–85." Seems like a tie to me! Don –  rhetorician Jun 12 at 10:29
@rhetorician I really can't find any reference to automated teller machines in that asynchronous transfer mode article. Just because something has same acronym, it doesn't mean it's the same thing. Furthermore, your justification doesn't mention the pre-1980s use of ATM as automated teller machine. –  AndrejaKo Jun 12 at 11:55

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Storage management jargon to the rescue: I believe you want RAID volume.

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That's exactly what I was looking for! –  AndrejaKo Mar 3 '11 at 16:17

Just fight the urge, and use RAID as if it were the expanded form! E.g., “You will still be able to boot from the RAID.”

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But that use is incorrect. It's just as silly and wrong as saying "Bring the scuba." –  David Schwartz Mar 10 '12 at 9:47
There's no “correct” or “incorrect”. It is used, period. –  F'x Mar 10 '12 at 17:19
"You would still be able to boot from the RAID" is used? By whom? –  David Schwartz Mar 10 '12 at 21:47
@DavidSchwartz used by David Patterson, Garth A. Gibson, and Randy Katz in "A Case for Redundant Arrays of Inexpensive Disks (RAID).", the paper that defined the term. They don't have "boot from", but they do treat it as a noun, with "a RAID" and "the RAID", with RAID referring to the array itself. –  Jon Hanna Jan 19 '13 at 14:33
@JonHanna: See my comment to the question. It is simply false that the way a word originated tells us something about how it should be used today. –  David Schwartz Jan 19 '13 at 15:39

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