PEP 312 - Making lambdas implicit worries me, surely it's just the name 'lambda' that is bad...

Stephen Horne intentionally at
Fri Mar 14 17:46:43 CET 2003

On Fri, 14 Mar 2003 09:40:44 GMT, Alex Martelli <aleax at>

>Stephen Horne wrote:

>> BTW - on the 'never'/'rarely' issue - there is a term "relative
>> absolute" which with a simple play on words expresses the fact that it
>> is perfectly valid to use 'absolute' words as extreme relatives.
>I'm not familiar with the specifical oxymoron you quote, but in more
>classic terms it does seem a form of hyperbole, or even catachresis.
>Like many other rhetorical figures, it can usefully color one's speech,
>but particularly in technical discourse it's best used cautiously, as
>it can engender misunderstandings.

The question is not, IMO, whether we intended to use a specific
syntax. It's whether we can reasonably be expected to filter out every
single potentially confusing syntax. Natural language tends to have
some colour anyway - the more we focus on draining out all the colour,
the less we focus on the issue at hand. Sender and reciever must
co-operate in removing possible confusion - "active listening" being
the phrase that has beaten into my head with a sledgehammer just

But as I explained before, I'm probably biassed on this issue.

>Knowledge of rhetorics has its uses, and providing hi-falutin' terms 
>that are not widely known is one such use, particularly in pedanter-
>than-thou duels...

And I must say that your use of "hyperbole" caught me a little by
surprise, while your use of "catachresis" was a masterstroke -
pressing home your advantage and defeating me utterly ;-)

<limps off in the direction of the nearest dictionary>

More information about the Python-list mailing list