Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Chris -- 2011-03-08
I am in the business of industrial torque tools and it is common in our industry for people to use the word torquing or torqueing. I think it ocurs as either an attempt to make a gerund of “torque” when it is mistaken as a verb (for example, “That is a torquing wrench,”) or as a way to morph torque into a verb and put it in the past tense (for example, “Bill was torquing yesterday.”) The word has always bothered me as it appears awkward both in print as well as spoken. I have looked it up and it is not a recognized form of torque. The word is frequently misused in many forms. Most common is for it to be used as a verb. For example, “Bill, torque those nuts.”
Google torquing or torqueing and you’ll discover hundreds examples.
I am also in the torque tool business. I think that it is correct to use torque as a verb. Torque as you know is defined as (force X moment). The force, unless no force is being applied, is as simple as a transitive verb (I torqued bolts). If no force is applied, torque does not exist, so by it’s own definition it has to imply action by the subject (the tool user) upon a direct object (the bolt). No force = no torque. Add the force, and a subject is doing something to an object.
From a colloquial speech perspective, I am with you that it sounds less than professional. I prefer fastening. I’d also prefer to sit on a beach and drink myself into a stupor everyday in the company of a half dozen co-eds in thong bikinis. Who wouldn’t ?
For our industry this implys that “static torque” or “residual torque” is a fallacy. What we are really looking for is tension. Shop online at www.smarttoolusa.com for great online deals for all of your torque tool needs. There is still time for me to get to that beach, the English language and bolts everywhere need your support!
The OED2 has a number of entries for the verb “to torque.” The editors at the journal Nature have let the verb go by at least twice, so some professional wordanista out there somewhere likes it. The OED lists it as transitive only, but I’m sure I’ve heard people use “torque” as an intransitive verb in speech a number of times. Here’s the dictionary entry:
trans. To apply torque to. So “torquing” vbl. n.
1954 Fasteners IX. v. 3 The subject of bolt torquing. 1960 D. A. HALPERIN Building with Steel xii. 163/2 He then checks the bolts to verify that they have been torqued to at least specified minimum tension. 1978 Nature 12 Oct. 517/1 Perhaps these radio galaxies are systems where a pre-existing central black hole is gradually being torqued into alignment with the angular momentum of newly supplied fuel that has reactivated the nucleus. 1981 Ibid. 24 Sept. 261/2 Drilling conditions were rugged… Cave-ins and torquing finally caused them to abandon the hole well above their oceanic crustal target.
Last edited by patschwieterman (2006-01-27 22:13:54)
At first, I was convinced torquing was an apocryphal word. Upon further consideration, I concede torque can be a verb but that doesn’t mean I like it. It bothers me. It seems to me a lazy way to describe what you are doing if you are tightening fasteners. As Charles stated, the intent of tightening bolts is tension, though not many understand that. I think that torque is the same as joule in the sense it is a quantifiable unit of measurement. It would be awkward for me to say I am jouling my bicycle. I knew some girls in college that called people they didn’t like torquers. Maybe I need to relax and stop being so pedantic in hopes of not becoming a torquer.
I am far from being very good with words, but I love their meanings. I must admit I am guilty of using the word torque as a verb. ‘’ I need to torque him so he respects his probation.’’ It is used in the sense of putting pressure to fasten someone into a new position. I cannot find any other way of expressing this concept. I find the word torque so adequate for this idea. The idea being that torque would not only mean fastening, as I fastened the latch on the gate, but the addition of weight or force to the act. thank you
“Torquing” is used as a (mostly intransitive) verb in snow and ice climbing circles; it refers to twisting one’s ice-axe in a rock crack to gain a secure placement on which to pull (the cam action means that the harder one pulls, the more securely the tool is held by the rock). This usage has certainly been around for more than a decade – possibly much longer, as that pre-dates my first-hand experience.