Contents page

Index (83KB)


wall: [WPI] interj. 1. An indication of confusion, usually spoken
   with a quizzical tone: "Wall??"  2. A request for further
   explication.  Compare octal forty.  3. [UNIX, from `write
   all'] v. To send a message to everyone currently logged in,
   esp. with the wall(8) utility.

It is said that sense 1 came from the idiom `like talking to a blank wall'. It was originally used in situations where, after you had carefully answered a question, the questioner stared at you blankly, clearly having understood nothing that was explained. You would then throw out a "Hello, wall?" to elicit some sort of response from the questioner. Later, confused questioners began voicing "Wall?" themselves.