DrinkDecaf and DJ Nightshade Present:
The Authoritative Dictionary of Generic Units and Their Proper Uses
For far too many years the world has been at a loss when it comes to knowing which generic unit of measure to use and when to use it. Imagine the embarrassment of the poor farmer who sets up his vegetable stand at the market but cannot close a sale because he is unsure just how many of his delicious cabbages constitute the precise “some” his customer desires! This tragedy is not even worth comparing, however, to the staggering number of disasters that have occurred from buildings collapsing due to miscommunication between surveying crews during construction of the foundations. After all, a “scoche” as the superintendent understands it might be more like a “tad” to his workers. Thankfully, there is now hope for all of us! The International Council of Generic Units (ICGU), formed during the late 18th century by concerned scientists, has worked hard to create a better world through Measuring Unit Comprehension (MUC). The following is a comprehensive listing based on their criterion.
A Bit: Quite often used interchangeably with a few, the proper use of this unit depends on the properties of the objects for which it is applied.
A Bunch: More than a few by just enough, but many less than too many.
A Couple: Often mistaken by the common man to mean only two, in actuality, this dynamic unit can mean anywhere from a tad more than nada to a few less than some.
A Fair Amount: A continuous unit of measure that is used for liquid volume, umbrellas, left socks etc. Approximately enough, with an error of plus or minus a smidge.
A Fair Number: Exactly equivalent to a fair amount, except that this unit is not continuous. Usually in the vicinity of enough, give or take a smidge.
A Few: More than a couple but at least a couple less than quite a few.
A Good Amount: (see A Good Number)
A Good Number: Although it is often used interchangeably with its linguistic cousin a good amount, its usage varies depending on what is being measured and/or the thickness of the ozone layer over Geneva Switzerland at the time of utterance. The usual spectrum of units comprising this measure ranges anywhere between (but is never equal to) lots and lots and lots.
A Handful: A popular misconception is that this unit is judged in relation to an actual hand. This issue was finally clarified, however, in the International Council of Generic Units (ICGU) circa 1837. All parties agreed that the hand was not nearly generic enough to be the basis for this all too important measure. It was decided therefore, that a handful, in most cases is equal to some, and is always more than a smattering, and a few less than a lot.
A Lot: A few more than many, but a smidge less than lots. Although a lot is usually quite a few, it is also usually not nearly enough.
A Smattering: Not as widely used as it was in the past, a smattering denotes a cluster of smithereens a bit larger than a smidge but never greater than a good amount.
A Wee Bit: A Teeny Weeny Bit less than a bit.
An Abundance: (see Plethora)
Cluster: A bit more than a bunch, and generally used in more of an organic fashion.
Countless: A tad to a horde too many.
Enough: Although some rogue groups have declared that nothing is ever equivalent to this unit, enough can be defined as a couple more than a few, but a lot less than the whole kit and caboodle.
Hordes: Contrary to popular belief, a horde is the proper generic unit for more than just Vikings and Barbarians. A horde is lots and lots more than a bunch, but a smidge under an abundance.
Just Enough: Enough ± a wee bit.
Lots and Lots: Mathematically defined as a smidgen more than a lot plus lots, a wee bit more than many, but many less than quite enough.
Lots: Roughly equivalent to many, it is a good amount more than a lot, but just enough smaller than lots and lots to be irritating.
Many: a wee bit less than lots, but still not nearly enough.
More Than Enough: A handful more than enough, but also a bunch less than a plethora.
Nada: Also known as zilch, this unit is commonly defined as the amount that is required as a down payment to purchase various products. This barbaric use of the unit was widely punished with being blown to smithereens in better days, but now usually results in no worse than public humiliation. Nada is less than a teeny weeny bit.
Not Nearly Enough: More than a smidgen, but (obviously) less than enough by a factor of anywhere between a teeny weeny bit to hordes.
Not Quite Enough: (see Quite Enough)
Plethora: A member of the “Golden Trifecta of Generic Units (GTGU)”, this all-important unit must be handled with extreme care. While it is a known fact that it is only a teeny-weeny bit less than the whole kit and caboodle, this unit can wreak havoc if used in the wrong context. For safety reasons, the International Council of Generic Units (ICGU) passed a referendum to limit its use and create its less powerful equivalent, an abundance, to be used by untrained civilians.
Quite a collection: Many tid bits.
Quite a Few: More than the unit a few, but slightly less than many by the degree of some.
Quite enough: Not as popular as it once was, this unit was once defined as a scoche more than a handful. More recently its negative form, not quite enough, has been defined as what used to be a bunch more than enough.
Quite the collection: Lots and lots of tid bits, and in rare instances, also a plethora of smithereens.
Scoche: A member of the “Golden Trifecta of Generic Units (GTGU)”, this unit is the base for every other generic unit. Once thought to possess magical properties, this unit is now recognized as the “golden ratio” of generic units. Its applications are as numerous as interpretations of its exact value. It is generally agreed, however, that it takes many a scoche to be a handful.
Smidge: Some and a couple. Often confused with smidgen.
Smidgen: A few and a bit. Often confused with smidge.
Smithereen(s): Most famous for its use in the phrase “Blown to smithereens,” this unit denotes bits of the whole kit and caboodle. The sum of all smithereens never amount to more than a handful.
Some: While the exact figure of this unit is difficult to pinpoint, most scholars agree that this unit is always a smidge less than quite a few, but a fair amount more than not nearly enough. Often equivalent to a handful.
Tad: This unit is defined as a tad more than a tid bit, which is, of course, ridiculous.
Teeny Weeny Bit: Perhaps the most controversial of all the generic units, this unit has been long loathed by parents and school teachers alike. Luckily for the long term survival of this term, it has been championed by an unlikely ally: the infant to toddler demographic. With backing by this hugely influential segment of society, it once again is making headway as a cutting edge generic unit. It is arguably the smallest generic unit possible that is greater than zilch, though generic unit mathematicians have hypothesized the existence of an as yet undiscovered generic unit equal to A Bit / Plethora. For now, however, Teeny Weeny Bit has taken the disputed throne of the smallest unit greater than nada. Though much progress has been made in its acceptance, it is still widely discriminated against as being the wussiest generic unit.
The Whole Kit and Kabodle: (see The Whole Schmeal)
The Whole Schmeal: The third and greatest member of the “Golden Trifecta of Generic Units (GTGU)” since 1837, when it replaced Tid Bit as the leading generic unit. The Whole Schmeal requires years of training for proper use, and so has been given many safe alternatives, such as The Whole Kit and Kabodle, The Whole Shebang, and Vicky. All can be roughly translated as a smidge more smithereens than is strictly necessary. In other circles, it has also been defined as the sum of all the other generic units combined, with not even a teeny weeny bit left over.
The Whole Shebang: (see The Whole Schmeal)
Tid Bit: In days long gone, this unit was a member of the “Golden Trifecta of Generic Units (GTGU)”, until it was usurped by the whole schmeal during the International Council of Generic Units (ICGU) circa 1837. Though many lamented its passing from the GTGU, its subsequent revival among the uneducated hordes prompted some historians to hail its fall as the best thing that could have happened for the unit. They were, of course, severely flogged for saying this.
Too many: This unit varies from a few in some instances, to an abundance in others, although it is never equal to either.
Vicky: (see The Whole Schmeal)
A Gnome's Penis: (Length, Dry measure) The distance between two adjacent objects, or the precise width of that sidewalk crack that looks like you can skate over it, but causes you to wipe out every time.
Quite a ways: (Length) A piece longer than a ways.
A ways: (Length) A bit closer than over yonder.
A Ways: (Length) The distance a North American Muskrat can travel on land before becoming nervous about its distance from water.
Over Yonder: (Length, Location) As far as Grandpa can see.
A Piece: (Length) As far as Grandma can see.