Hurdle vs. Hurtle

I probably use the dictionary more than anybody else at the company. Today I saw the following sentence and it didn’t look right to me:

“A simple economic hurtle, a positive net present value at 10% discount rate (NPV10), was applied.”

So I wheeled myself over to the bookshelf, pulled out my trusty Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, and noticed that it does not look brand new. It has some stains and dirt and creases, not as many as my Bible, but it sure shows some wear and tear.

Anyway, I looked up the definition of “hurtle,” and found it was only a verb, not a noun. It means “to move with a rushing sound, to hurl or fling.”

This was not the idea the author was trying to convey. Rather, this is what I plan to do when I leave the office at 5 p.m.

So I looked up “hurdle,” which can be either a noun or a verb. As a noun it means “a barrier or obstacle over which a man or horse must leap.”

This was the criterion the author meant.

And then serendipity hit. That’s when you were looking for something else, but you fortuitously come across something pertinent.

It just so happened that another interesting definition of the noun “hurdle” was “a sled formerly used in England for dragging traitors to execution.”

Well, you learn something new every day, eh?

And actually that particular definition worked in this case, because the simulations for this particular field showed that no case met the NPV criterion, so drag that one off to be killed!

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Profound Quotes of the Day:

“Many a calm river begins as a turbulent waterfall, yet none hurtles and foams all the way to the sea.”

– Mikhail Lermontov, Russian poet, 1814-1841

“The biggest hurdle is figuring out who your friends are. Your real friends.”

– Eleanor Mondale, American TV/radio reporter and daughter of US VP Walter Mondale, 1960-2011

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