hold up one's little tentacles

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Mimi2020

Senior Member
Chinese
Total Inability To Service User Pulls: GitHub wobbles with a good old Thursday TITSUP
Problems appeared to start at around 1400 UTC, judging by the shrieking on social media, with GitHub admitting that, yup, something was amiss with the API and webhooks (required for integration with the likes of CI/CD systems) at 1431 UTC. By 1457 UTC the repo held up its little tentacles and said there were errors across the whole of GitHub.com.

I found British English is harder to understand sometimes! what does "held up its little tentacles" mean here? i understand it is an imagery.

Thank you for your help!
 
  • Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    The arch tech talk is way over my head too.

    But I think there's a play on words here with the expression "throw up your hands" in defeat. Like holding up your hands in a gesture of surrender.

    The network doesn't have hands but is being imagined as a giant octopus with tentacles held up in defeat.
     

    lentulax

    Senior Member
    UK English
    what does "held up its little tentacles" mean here? i understand it is an imagery.
    Yes - it's based on the idiom 'to hold up your hands', which means 'to admit to being at fault'; the particular suitability of 'little tentacles' here I'll leave for some expert developer to explain.
    'Yup' sounds more American than British - but ...

    Edit : cross-posted
     

    Mimi2020

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    The arch tech talk is way over my head too.

    But I think there's a play on words here with the expression "throw up your hands" in defeat. Like holding up your hands in a gesture of surrender.

    The network doesn't have hands but is being imagined as a giant octopus with tentacles held up in defeat.
    Wow, thank you! makes perfect sense.
     

    Mimi2020

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Yes - it's based on the idiom 'to hold up your hands', which means 'to admit to being at fault'; the particular suitability of 'little tentacles' here I'll leave for some expert developer to explain.
    'Yup' sounds more American than British - but ...

    Edit : cross-posted
    Thanks a lot!! I thought it is British because of the .uk url
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    TITSUP is not common American English, by a long shot. The address is co.uk so I assume for those two reasons that it's a British source, although I haven't read it.

    My guess is they used "tentacles" because GITHUB is used far and wide across the internet so it doesn't have enough hands to have its hands in everything like it does.

    Added:
    Their website lists staff in the UK Editorial section and the US Editorial section. The writer is listed in the UK section.
     
    Last edited:

    Mimi2020

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    My guess is they used "tentacles" because GITHUB is used far and wide across the internet so it doesn't have enough hands to have its hands in everything like it does.
    Very good point!! Thank you for expanding on previous comments.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    I have to say that the general arch tone sounds very British to me, and reminds me of British music reporting in the 1980s and 90s. The "yup" is exactly the kind of faux Americanism that style of writer *would* throw in.

    TITSUP is totally British.
     

    Mimi2020

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I have to say that the general arch tone sounds very British to me, and reminds me of British music reporting in the 1980s and 90s. The "yup" is exactly the kind of faux Americanism that style of writer *would* throw in.

    TITSUP is totally British.
    ”faux Americanism"--this is enlightening! :)
    I understand "TITSUP" is a play on words. But what does it mean?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It’s presumably a version of the slang expression “go tits up”, meaning fail disastrously. It’s a cruder version of the more common “go belly up” (which Lexico seems to think only means to go bankrupt – but if so, that’s news to me!)

    NB: tits = breasts
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It’s a cruder version of the more common “go belly up” (which Lexico seems to think only means to go bankrupt...)
    That's generally what it means in the U.S., in my experience. It's an analogy to fish who float belly up when they've died. I don't think I'd use it for individuals, just businesses.
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I’d never even come across that definition (except to the extent that going bankrupt would qualify as failing disastrously!). Seems I’m not the only Brit who doesn’t use it that way, though — see post #4 here: if things are good?
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Seems I’m not the only Brit who doesn’t use it that way, though
    That's my impression. Here in the U.S. it's not an analogy to "go tits up" since we don't use that phrase. So "go belly up" just means bankruptcy, overwhelmingly. (I suppose you could describe a failed play that was cancelled as going belly up, although there are financial implications there, too.)

    One common way here to say things have gone wrong is to say they've "gone south". That doesn't automatically imply a permanent condition.
     

    Mimi2020

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    I’d never even come across that definition (except to the extent that going bankrupt would qualify as failing disastrously!). Seems I’m not the only Brit who doesn’t use it that way, though — see post #4 here: if things are good?
    I saw it.--"I'd like to keep working at the current workplace unless things go pear-shaped:cool:/belly-up;)/tits-up:eek:."
    now another great term to pick up--"go pear-shaped". :) Thanks!
     

    Mimi2020

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    That's my impression. Here in the U.S. it's not an analogy to "go tits up" since we don't use that phrase. So "go belly up" just means bankruptcy, overwhelmingly. (I suppose you could describe a failed play that was cancelled as going belly up, although there are financial implications there, too.)

    One common way here to say things have gone wrong is to say they've "gone south". That doesn't automatically imply a permanent condition.
    “gone south"--love it! This is great to know the different expressions for a similar situation in British and American English.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    That's very true! I suppose it's so familiar here that some of us don't really register it any more, or realise how distinctive it must seem to non-Brits.
    It makes me mildly nostalgic for the kind of music writing I recall from NME but also the London Time Out music listings in the 1980s. I figured only about 5 people in the world were meant to totally understand all the allusions. It was way more literate and clever than equivalent writing in North America though probably not saying anything more. I'm always interested in writing styles and genres and figuring out how to mimic or parody a style too :)
     

    Truffula

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    100% what Myridon said. This isn't a British vs American usage thing, this is a joke about the Github mascot. "The repo" = the Github repository itself. So "The repo held up its little tentacles" is the Octocat's version of raising a hand (or putting its hands up in surrender) :D
     

    Mimi2020

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    100% what Myridon said. This isn't a British vs American usage thing, this is a joke about the Github mascot. "The repo" = the Github repository itself. So "The repo held up its little tentacles" is the Octocat's version of raising a hand (or putting its hands up in surrender) :D
    Thank you!
     
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