Profit and loss are sharply contrasted in business, so investments must be loss‑proof, and only very select items can be loss‑leaders. These principles are in fact very old, hence the use of lossful in the 17th century, recorded in a property owner’s comment (1623): “As the rate of Money now goeth, no man can let his Timber stand … but it will be very losse-full to him.” How 21st century is that! Also from the early modern era – lossless is on record (1587) to refer to assets like furniture, as when people forced into exile were allowed “losselesse of furniture to depart”. The Oxford English Dictionary has no further record of either word until after World War II, when lossless and newcomer lossy emerge in the technology of electrical engineering. They move with the times into computer engineering as keywords in digital compression, where they distinguish two levels of re-encoding to reduce the size of digital files. In lossy compression, redundant elements of the file (from music and sound recordings) are irretrievably removed.
Please login below to view content or subscribe now.