That word is seen at http://www.gotw.ca/gotw/084.htm. I really can't find it in the dictionary.

Next, replace(): Truth be told, the ten-count'em-ten replace() members are less interesting than they are tedious and exhausting.

  • It's just a down-register (i.e., informal) trope used to express frankness about a quantity of items. You won't find it in a dictionary.
    – Robusto
    Sep 12, 2021 at 2:37
  • @Robusto What does it mean in this context?
    – John
    Sep 12, 2021 at 3:14
  • 1
    An example of 10 count 'em 10 in a cartoon from 1910 for a "Sane" 4th of July, where you keep all ten fingers.
    – DjinTonic
    Sep 12, 2021 at 3:33
  • I've also heard and seen it in films where a carnival barker type character is pointing to, and reading from, a poster or banner that has , e.g., 10 Beautiful Dancing Girls 10 printed on it, perhaps more for reasons of symmetry.
    – DjinTonic
    Sep 12, 2021 at 13:29
  • Oh look, a hyperextended adjective with hyphens, which I wasted my time explaining yesterday and which no one paid any attention to. So be it.
    – Lambie
    Sep 12, 2021 at 15:45

2 Answers 2


The source text is a description of a program and its design characteristics. The functions include insert(), append(), replace() and erase() and others.

The text makes light of the fact that there is so much use of replace(). An old hawker's sales patter might include such encouragement about the quantity of the deal with the phrase, "You get ten, count 'em, ten, for this ridiculously low price." In this text he is over using this tired trope starting with "six, count 'em, six" and moving through eight and finally ten. I've counted enough.

  • "You get ten, count 'em, ten, for this ridiculously low price.", sorry for my poor English, I still can't understand it .
    – John
    Sep 12, 2021 at 3:49
  • 3
    You get ten—count them, ten—items for . . . whatever. It invites you to verify the number by counting them yourself.
    – Xanne
    Sep 12, 2021 at 4:15
  • @Xanne I see. Thank you. 'em is short for them.
    – John
    Sep 12, 2021 at 4:54
  • 2
    @John Yes, exactly. It’s an attempy to write it as someone would pronounce it—an attempt at dialogue. It is unusual to find dialogue in a post or paper about code.
    – Xanne
    Sep 12, 2021 at 7:44

It's not so much a word as it is a transcription of dialog being used as a word, for effect. English lets you do that, anything can be used as any part of speech (you can for instance noun verbs and verb nouns) if it gets the effect you're after.

Here, nouning half a conversation is an allusion to a context in which those words would be uttered, as a reaction to apparent (or imagined) incredulity, and specifically referencing comically-desperate salesmen trying to fast-talk customers into buying a pig in a poke, into accepting an offer of shall we say dubious worth. It's a self-deprecating joke about the quality of the code he's describing.

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