thirty / -30-

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thirty / -30-

Post by Archived Topic » Tue Apr 06, 2004 8:10 pm

Usually displayed at the end of press releases it marks the end of a news article. I'm not sure what it comes from though a guess would be that it is derived from putting three "X" marks. XXX=30. Anyone know for sure?
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thirty / -30-

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Apr 06, 2004 8:25 pm

From the Word Maven's Archives:

The use of thirty for the end of a story is an old piece of journalism and telegraphy slang that first appears in the late nineteenth century. In order to signal the end of a transmission, it was necessary to have a code for the end of a transmission that was unmistakably not part of the transmission itself. This code was the sequence XXX, which, many decades before the rise of the pornographic film industry, was unlikely to occur as a part of the actual story.

This type of typographically unusual combination is common in journalism: the deliberately misspelled lede for "lead," the abbreviation TK for "to come," and the use of meaningless Latin as a placeholder for actual text, are all intended to be clear signals that something is still missing, and the words being used are not part of the real story.

XXX as an indication of completeness came to be read as thirty because of the interpretation of the meaningless X's as the Roman numeral for the number 30.

Eventually thirty developed its own figurative senses, so that in addition to meaning 'the end of a transmission', it could mean 'the end (of anything)', as 'the end of a workshift' or even 'the end of life; death'. These extended uses are no doubt rather rare beyond jounalism circles.

-30-
Reply from Leif Thorvaldson (Eatonville - U.S.A.)
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thirty / -30-

Post by Archived Reply » Tue Apr 06, 2004 8:39 pm

Hmmm. Mythology rules. I always heard that -30- was used because it was difficult to set in old-fashioned typesetting machines. It's not all that hard on a typewriter, so Leif's official explanation actually makes a lot of sense.

-Lois Martin, Birmingham, Alabama
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Re: thirty / -30-

Post by Ken Greenwald » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:13 am

Several weeks ago I read the following:
<2011 “In the old days when the main mass medium was newspapers (teenagers, ask your grandparents), reporters indicated the end of a story by affixing the number ‘30.’”—Science News, 18 June, page 2>
A WW search revealed that the topic had been previously discussed. But when I checked some reliable sources, I found that the origin of -30- provided in the above postings was actually only one of several possibilities (which relegates its provenance to the dreaded “origin uncertain”).

It is important to realize that the ‘–30–’ of journalism, indicating the end of a story, was not seen in the newspaper or magazine by the readers, but instead was to be found at the end of the reporter’s typewritten page to let the typesetter know that there were no more pages coming. It is also said to have been used in broadcasting as well other areas, but I never saw or heard it – maybe I’m too young.

FACTS ON FILE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WORD AND PHRASE ORIGINS

30 (thirty): For over a century the symbol 30 has been used by reporters to mark the end of a typewritten newspaper story. It comes either from the old telegraphy symbol indicating the end of a day’s transmission, a kind of ‘Goodnight, I’m closing up the office,’ or from old printer’s jargon. The maximum line on Linotype composing machines is 30 picas, about 5 inches, and when an operator reaches 30 picas, he can go no further. [[Note: The Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins includes the same possibilities.]]
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AMERICAN JOURNALISM REVIEW (October / November 200From AJR, October/November 2007 (AJR))

So Why Not 29?

Why did reporters for years end their stories by writing “-30-”?

. . . The use of the symbol was once so prevalent that it made its way into Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, which says 30 is “a sign of completion.” But the tradition of using it to cap off a piece of sprightly copy dropped off considerably when the computer replaced the typewriter — the what? — in America's newsrooms. So it's a term whose meaning is lost on many younger journalists. . .

So where did the term originate? Some say the mark began during a time when stories were submitted via telegraph, with “-30-” denoting “-the end” in Morse code. Another theory suggests that the first telegraphed news story had 30 words. Others claim the “-30-” comes from a time when stories were written in longhand — X marked the end of a sentence, XX the end of a paragraph and XXX meant the end of a story. The Roman numerals XXX translate to 30. . .

Don Harrison, 79, editor . . . says that “-30-”, as well as “#” and “end it, ” were essential for writing stories on deadline. “You had to use something when you were typing because you would write two or three paragraphs on deadline,” Harrison says. “Then the copyboy would pick it up and send it to the composing room. It was necessary [to have] some way to say, ‘This is it, it's over. . . Put a head on it and put it in the next day's paper.’” . . .
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Also see –30– in Wikipedia for some examples of its use as the titles of books, movies, etc.
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The following are quotes are from the Oxford English Dictionary and archived sources:
<1889 “At midnight ‘30’ (the end) flashed out on a large floral ‘sounder; and a majority of the guests adjourned.”—Kansas Times and Star, 7 May> [[‘sounder’– Telegraphy. An instrument for receiving telegraphic impulses that emits the sounds from which the message is read.]] Note: This quote predates the OED’s – see below – by 6 years.

<1895 “Thirty. . . among printers and telegraphers, the last sheet, word, or line of copy or of a dispatch; the last; the end.”—Funk’s Standard Dictionary of the English Language> [[OED's earliest quote]]

<1929 “‘30’ or ‘Thirty’ indicates the end of a shift or of the day's work, and has come to mean, also, death.”—American Speech, Vol. 4, page 290>

<1938 “Newsmen . . . mourned today at the bier of Edward J. Neil, . . . who was killed by shrapnel while covering the civil war in Spain. Prominent . . . was a shield of white carnations with a red~flowered figure ‘30’—the traditional ‘good night’ in the lore of the fourth estate.”—The Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), 20 January, page 2/8> [[‘fourth estate’– journalism]]

<1941 “30, end of anything.”—Hash House Lingo by J. Smiley, page 58>

<1945 “‘I say thank you and thirty.’ This last, the word ‘thirty’, is the traditional signing-off signal of the newspaper business.”—J. O’Hara in The New Yorker, 27 January, page 22/3>

<1948 “He had just written the editorial sign ‘30’ to the copy of Volume 20, No. 4, of the publication which he had founded and over which he had presided for 20 years.”—Sooner Magazine, November, page 22/2>

<1973 “The number 30 at the bottom of any news copy meant the story was finished.”—The Matlock Paper by R. Ludlum, xxix. Page 251>

<1978 “‘But what is the connection between Kalki the god and Kelly the drug merchant?’ . . . ‘When we know those two things, it's fat thirty time.’”—Kalki by Gore Vidal, iv. i. page 88> [[Reference to the end of the world]]

<2006 “30 (Ending Notation): The journalistic standard for ending a news story is to center the number 30 at the end of the story. The same applies to news releases, . . . Without some sort of ending to a news release, the reader will be inclined to think there is more to information on a separate page. If a news release does exceed one page, it is common to center the word more [[or ‘no 30’]] at the bottom of the page, indicating more to come (Lorenz & Vivian, 1996).”—Sport Public Relations: Managing Organizational Communication by Stoldt, Dittmore, & Branvold, Vol.10, page 112>

<2006 “City News Service says -30-, the end. The story has ended for Chicago's venerable City News Service. Saturday was the final day of business at the agency that trained generations of journalists and writers . . .”—Post-Tribune (Indiana), 2 January>
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Ken G –July 18, 2011
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Re: thirty / -30-

Post by Wizard of Oz » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:52 am

.. now Ken that does explain a lot of things in my youth .. I often would get a letter or note from a young lady and on the bottom she would append XXX .. and then she would dump me .. but all is explained .. I used to think that the XXX represented 3 kisses .. but NO it obviously meant the end, finished, sign off .. death of the relationship .. oh dear ..

.. do you think that the XXX of kisses on the bottom of a letter developed from the journalistic habit ?? ..

WoZ
XXX
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Re: thirty / -30-

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:55 am

I bet you only used to put two kisses on your replies.
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Re: thirty / -30-

Post by Erik_Kowal » Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:06 am

Wizard of Oz wrote:.. do you think that the XXX of kisses on the bottom of a letter developed from the journalistic habit ?? ..
I fear it may have come from the young ladies in question symbolically crossing out their counterpart as though with a winning line in noughts-and-crosses / tic-tac-toe.
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Re: thirty / -30-

Post by Bobinwales » Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:39 pm

Have you no romance in your souls? ................Three little kisses = three little words.

It is all total slop, and long may it last.
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Re: thirty / -30-

Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri Jul 22, 2011 1:29 am

Wiz, I think its origin may have been in baseball (and exported) – three strikes and you're out!
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Ken – July 21, 2011 (who has struck out quite a bit more than once)
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Re: thirty / -30-

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:23 am

Edwin F Ashworth wrote:I bet you only used to put two kisses on your replies.
Maybe that was the problem ..
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Re: thirty / -30-

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:24 am

Rearrange the following into a well-known phrase or saying:

XXX ..
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Re: thirty / -30-

Post by trolley » Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:18 am

Twenty after ten...
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Re: thirty / -30-

Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:33 am

OOO X – Three hugs and I got one in the kisser!
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Re: thirty / -30-

Post by dante » Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:39 am

dreißig. But when you would expect dreißig something (or whatever double figure), Germans reverse the order and it's: einunddreißig. Interestingly Slovenian, unlike all other Slavic languages, also reverse order in double figure numbers: 31 - enaintrideset , 32 - dvaintrideset .. Which developed, I guess, under the influence of the neighboring German speaking nations.
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