RE: Gage vs. Gauge

Subject: RE: Gage vs. Gauge
From: "Nuckols, Kenneth M" <Kenneth -dot- Nuckols -at- mybrighthouse -dot- com>
To: "Jackie Samuelson" <JSamuelson -at- deltad -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2006 13:20:03 -0500

Jackie Samuelson asked...

> Does anyone have a very specific definition and set of examples that
> differentiate GAGE and GAUGE?
> We have a debate going on, whereas an engineer has found many examples
> of GAGE (in spec books about wire sizing, etc.) but no where can I
> a reference that explicity defines the use of one over the other. Our
> standard thus far has been to use "gauge"... But if we can find some
> resource that helps to draw the lines between the two, we can opt to
> gage when appropriate.
> A web search yielded results that explained that gage can be used to
> define metal/wire sizing, and gauge is for more abstract things (like
> measuring tool, or the act of measuring with said tool) but it was a
> style thing and not a standard...

>From Merriam-Webster (not the _most_ authoritative source, but still
_an_ authoritative source):

GAUGE - n.

1 a : a measurement (as of linear dimension) according to some standard
or system: as (1) : the distance between the rails of a railroad (2) :
the size of a shotgun barrel's inner diameter nominally expressed as the
number of lead balls each just fitting that diameter required to make a
pound <a 12-gauge shotgun> (3) : the thickness of a thin material (as
sheet metal or plastic film) (4) : the diameter of a slender object (as
wire or a hypodermic needle) (5) : the fineness of a knitted fabric
expressed by the number of loops per unit width b : DIMENSIONS, SIZE c :
MEASURE 1 <surveys are a gauge of public sentiment>
2 : an instrument for or a means of measuring or testing: as a : an
instrument for measuring a dimension or for testing mechanical accuracy
b : an instrument with a graduated scale or dial for measuring or
indicating quantity
3 : relative position of a ship with reference to another ship and the
4 : a function introduced into a field equation to produce a convenient
form of the equation but having no observable physical consequences

GAGE - n.

1 : a token of defiance; specifically : a glove or cap cast on the
ground to be taken up by an opponent as a pledge of combat
2 : something deposited as a pledge of performance

Alt : a variant form of GAUGE

The "variant form" is the less preferred and/or less specific term;
therefore its use should be avoided (unless you need to clarify for an
audience who is not familiar with the more correct term). From the
definition given by Webster, the word "gage" in and of itself has
nothing to do with the diameter of wiring (GUAGE definition 1:4) except
as an alternate spelling of the correct term, which is "gauge."

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