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It’s a Diamond Kite

December 9, 2011

Kite

No. It’s a Kite.
Of all the situations to mis-name something, I’d have thought kite makers could get ‘kite’ right.
I’ve ruled out them meaning the sparkly, girls’-best-friend type of diamond. Assuming they mean the other sort of ‘diamond’ or Rhombus as they’re properly called then they’re just wrong.
Most students get the name of the 2D shape with two pairs or adjacent, equal sides correct, usually because that shape looks like a …. KITE!
The kite in the picture is clearly not a rhombus [or a diamond] and (despite the length of this post) I’m lost for words.
It’s a KITE.
Simple.

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2 Comments
  1. Anonymous permalink

    While the shape of this object is not a geometric diamond shape, I believe the use of the word diamond in the name of this object is actually a reference to the girl’s-best-friend* type of diamond. The following image is a good example of the diamond shape this object appears to be based on:http://www.vectordiary.com/isd_tutorials/008_diamond/diamond_illustration.gifYour posting appears to suggested that the manufacturer should have labelled this particular kite-shaped kite as a kite, which would have meant the product would have been labelled as a Kite Kite.While you are correct in your statement that this particular design of kite is a geometric kite shaped kite and not a geometric diamond, I personally think using the term kite to describe the shape of a kite would just be confusing. Imagine telling someone you would like to purchase a kite kite. Which reminds me of the man who went into a fish and chip shop and asked for fish and chips twice. To which man behind the counter replied "No need to repeat yourself, I heard you the first time."Also, kite the object and kite the shape are two different uses of the same word, in much the same way that orange is both a fruit and a colour. After all, a box kite is still a kite, but is not the shape of a geometric kite, in the same way a blood red orange is still an orange.I believe that the word for the geometric shape kite actually comes from the most common type of kite design (i.e. the diamond design or kite design). It would appear that the kite industry has avoided the confusion of using both the geometric term for kite and the object name for kite by calling them diamond kites instead.So I have to disagree with you, I think kite makers have been wise in the naming of this type of design of kite by using the precious stone type meaning of diamond, as opposed to the using the geometric term of kite.*As the song title to which you refer is "Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend", the apostrophe should be before the s, as the noun "girl" is singular in this context.

  2. Anonymous permalink

    One of the things I enjoy most about your posts is the way the lead me to investigate more about things we see everyday. With this in mind, I have reviewed my own initial assessment and have discovered more information about kites and their names.It would appear that you were correct in your assertion that the name derives from the geometric diamond shape (itself is an alternative name for the geometric term rhombus – the meaning of diamond for rhombus coming from the diamond design used in playing cards) and not the precious stone type as I had thought might be the case.From what I understand, the original diamond shaped kites were actually geometric diamond/rhombus shaped in design, which one assumes is how they obtained their name. However, over the years, the shaped has been varied to the point where some are no longer true diamonds but their name has remained the same. Diamond shaped kites have been around since 1618, but the geometric use of the word kite has only been around since 1893.In conclusion, you are correct in your assessment that this is not a true diamond or rhombus shaped kite and that is a kite shaped kite (which of course it would be, as the geometric term comes from this type of not-quite-diamond-shaped diamond kite).So it would appear that the design of a suit in a pack of cards lead to the word diamond becoming synonymous with the word rhombus; that in turn lead to the rhombus shaped kite being known as a diamond kite; a design which was altered slightly (and by doing so was no longer a rhombus); which lead to the geometric term kite being used to describe the shape of something that had originally been a rhombus.I think that while the term diamond stop being precisely correct when the design was altered, I believe the word diamond in relation to kites took on a new meaning. Although it had come from the original diamond/rhombus shape, it became the name for any kite where the design involved two rods of equal length, with the mid-point of one of the rods placed somewhere along the length of the other rod at an angle of 90 degrees.Thank you for making this post. It has been an interesting journey for me into the history of kites and geometric terminology.

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