[Python-3000] Derivation of "pass" in Python (was Re: PEP: Supporting Non-ASCII Identifiers)

Terry Reedy tjreedy at udel.edu
Wed May 2 05:42:19 CEST 2007

""Martin v. Löwis"" <martin at v.loewis.de> wrote in message 
news:463770D9.3050405 at v.loewis.de...

|> Thus, when someone is offered something, they may say, "I'll pass",
| > meaning they are declining to act.  Ergo, to "pass" in Python is to
| > decline to give up the opportunity to act.

The person being quoted meant "to decline, to give up...".  The missing 
comma inverts the meaning.

| Ah, ok. It would then be similar to "Passe!" in German, which is
| used in card games, if you don't play a card, but instead hand
| over to the next player. Even though this is clearly the same
| ancestry, it never occurred to me that the same meaning is also
| present in English (also, "passen" is somewhat oldish now, so
| I don't use it actively myself).

In the card game bridge, for instance, 'pass' is the official word for 'no 
bid'.  Anything else meaning the same thing is illegal.  So 'pass', among 
other things, can either mean 'not fail' or 'fail to act' ;-)


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