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Vexatious vocab in feline flap-fitting

[17 June 2014] Fitting a cat flap to his door – and not just any old cat flap but the tongue-twisting SureFlap Microchip Cat Flap – our colleague James Fisher-Martins of Português Claro needed to, er, paws for thought at an unusual word in the product instructions:

‘Importantly, please check whether there is metal in the substrate that the flap is to be fitted into.’

Stopping only to do the said check ‘importantly’, as required by the grammar – ie, in full ceremonial DIY dress of boiler suit and woolly hat – he thought it best to peruse a dictionary lest ‘substrate’ had some special technical meaning other than ‘door’ or ‘thing’. Well it doesn’t, at least not in the world of feline flappery. The New Oxford gives merely ‘a substance or layer which underlies something , or on which some process occurs.’

So that’s a door or thing, then.

 

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