= F =
feature key n.
[common] The Macintosh key with the
cloverleaf graphic on its keytop; sometimes referred to as
`flower', `pretzel', `clover', `propeller', `beanie' (an
apparent reference to the major feature of a propeller beanie),
splat, `open-apple' or (officially, in Mac documentation)
the `command key'. In French, the term `papillon' (butterfly)
has been reported. The proliferation of terms for this creature
may illustrate one subtle peril of iconic interfaces.
Many people have been mystified by the cloverleaf-like symbol that
appears on the feature key. Its oldest name is `cross of St.
Hannes', but it occurs in pre-Christian Viking art as a decorative
motif. Throughout Scandinavia today the road agencies use it to
mark sites of historical interest. Apple picked up the symbol from
an early Mac developer who happened to be Swedish. Apple
documentation gives the translation "interesting feature"!
There is some dispute as to the proper (Swedish) name of this
symbol. It technically stands for the word `sevärdhet' (thing
worth seeing); many of these are old churches. Some Swedes report
as an idiom for the sign the word `kyrka', cognate to English
`church' and pronounced (roughly) /chur'ka/ in modern Swedish.
Others say this is nonsense. Other idioms reported for the sign
are `runa' (rune) or `runsten' /roon'stn/ (runestone),
derived from the fact that many of the interesting features are
Viking rune-stones. The term `fornminne' /foorn'min'*/
(relic of antiquity, ancient monument) is also reported, especially
among those who think that the Mac itself is a relic of antiquity.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.