Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Seventeeth (for Seventeenth)

The seventeenth number (17) is considered unlucky in Italy. If you write 17 as a Roman numeral, it comes out as XVII, which can be rearranged to form VIXI, meaning “I have lived”. This has the implication that one is no longer living…i.e., dead.

Some European airlines, such as Lufthansa, do not have a row 17 in their airplanes. Many worldwide do not have row 13, and some in Asia omit 4 and 9, because the word for 4 sounds like "death" in Japanese, and the word for 9 sounds like "torture".

On the flip side, some airlines offer flights containing“lucky” numbers as well—7, 11 (lucky in the West), or 8 (lucky in China).

The word seventeenth was clearly not lucky for some cataloguers, as seventeeth places as a high probability typo on the Ballard list, and occurs 21 times in OhioLINK.

(Plane image from people.com.cn; airline information from USA Today)

Leanne Olson

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