People who’ve dabbled ever so little in the domain of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics—to the extent, say, of reading the fantastic story of the deciphering of the Rosetta Stone by Jean-François Champollion—are likely to have met up with the French term cartouche, designating a group of symbols enclosed in a round-cornered rectangle, and representing the name of an important personage. The following example of a typical cartouche is the name of the pharaoh Ramesses the Great [circa 1290-1224 BCE]:
Now, cartouche is in fact the everyday French word for “cartridge”. In French, as in English, there are two kinds of cartouches:
• Cartridges of the kind you fire in guns.
• Cartridges of the kind you insert into printers.
There should be no confusion between these two quite different kinds of cartridges. That’s to say, your printer wouldn’t work if you inserted shotgun cartridges into the place that’s designed to house its ink supply. And there’s no way in the world that you could fire ink cartridges out of a shotgun.
In the recycling zone of my local supermarket, there are plastic containers designed to receive such stuff as used batteries and empty ink cartridges. As a regular consumer of cartridges for the Canon printer attached to my Macintosh, I often drop empty plastic cartridges into this box. I was intrigued to find that the supermarket management has been obliged to put a warning sign on the latter container:
The words in red state that it is prohibited to put shotgun cartridges into the container. Apparently there are local hunters who don’t understand that the container is intended for empty ink cartridges. And the supermarket management was disturbed to find that their personnel might be obliged to handle ammunition, be it live or spent. On the other hand, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever dropped any ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics into this container.