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24/7/365 also 24-7-365

adverb adjective

used to show that something happens or is available all day and every day of the year, with no pauses for evenings, weekends or holidays

'The center will be open 24-7-365, Kincaid said, and will employ some 30 people – about half full-time and half part-time, and will operate on about a $1.6 million annual budget.'

Your Houston News 21st February 2013

'Hourly, rather than monthly, usage billing ensures that organizations pay only for the exact resources allocated, while enjoying free 24/7/365 access to qualified, VMware-certified engineers for reliable high-level technical support and peace-of-mind.'

PRNewswire 20th February 2013

Parenthood – a massive, scary and wonderful adventure, but one area of life in which, particularly in its starter years, there's very little time to relax. Being 'off-duty' is not an option as a parent, where your working hours are beyond compare because you really are required all day, every day, each month, the whole year … or to put it more succinctly – 24/7/365.

in 2012 there was … some evidence for use of a modified version 24/7/366, taking into account the extra day afforded by a leap year

24/7/365, also alternatively written as hyphenated 24-7-365, has recently begun to appear to describe the concept of 'happening constantly', throughout the entire day, and on every day of the year. It is of course an abbreviation of the phrase 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and can be used either as an adverb, e.g. the centre opens 24/7/365, or as an adjective, e.g. we offer 24/7/365 customer support. The third component 365 can, like the regular number, be variously pronounced three six five, three sixty-five, and occasionally three hundred and sixty-five.

Background – 24/7/365

24/7/365 has appeared more regularly in the last couple of years or so, and is of course inspired by the use of the term 24/7 to mean 'all the time', i.e. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. With its embellishment of 365, this new variation emphasizes the fact that something happens not only all day, but also on every day of the calendar year, with no breaks for weekends, public or other holidays. However unlike days and weeks, which unequivocally contain 24 hours and 7 days respectively, the number of days in a year varies once every four years. In 2012 there was therefore some evidence for use of a modified version 24/7/366, taking into account the extra day afforded by a leap year.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary the first recorded use of 24/7 was in a 1983 edition of the US magazine Sports Illustrated. Credited with its coinage is US basketball player Jerry Reynolds, who used it to describe his jump shot, claiming that it was good "24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year". 24/7 subsequently became appropriated into the language as shorthand for 'continual(ly)' or 'constant(ly)', and was quick to be adopted into the business world as a catchy way of describing services which operate around the clock. Of course with the advent of web-based commerce this concept had taken on a whole new relevance by the end of the 20th century.

In English, the use of numbers as an alternative to words has, historically at least, been pretty unusual and is in fact still less common than it might seem. There are limited examples, a notable one from the recent past being the expression 9/11 as a reference to the terrorist attacks in the United States in September 2001. When numbers do appear, they are usually combined with other words (e.g. 20/20 vision) or letters, as in examples like 3D (three-dimensional), and 4WD (four-wheel drive [vehicle]). In recent years of course we've also seen 3G (third generation – describing a high-speed mobile Internet connection) and its successor 4G (fourth generation wireless). In the contexts of e-mail and short messaging, the digits 4 and 8 are now used as informal shorthand for for/-fore (e.g. 4U = 'for you', B4 = 'before') and -ate/-eat (e.g. L8R = 'later', GR8 = 'great').

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

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This article was first published on 29th April 2013.

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the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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