Аксиома aka Эстель (aksioma_tg) wrote in linguaphiles,

Just real gyros or some kind of metaphor?

Hi, everybody!
Last time you helped me a lot (thank you, btw) so I decided to try my luck again.
While translating a book I came across some very unusual using of the word "gyros". Here's what I mean.


1. Talking about a Gran Prix driver who tried a rally car:

He had shown his proficiency at car-driving; the gyros could spin just as accurately in a rally car as a racing car.

2. About the same driver:

Had he been born in the 1920s instead of the 1930s he could have been at the controls of a fighter aircraft by 1940, not a racing car. He would have shown the same dash and brilliance, his gyros spinning, dark eyes flashing down a gunsight. He would have been cool, relaxed, professional, dedicated, and an ace.

So here is my question. Is he talking about real gyros? Or is it some kind of metaphor? Because, you know, gyros is not the first thing you think about when talking about a racing car. At the same time I couldn't find any other examples of using "gyros" as a metaphor. English is not my native language, so I'm a bit confused here.
Any help appreciated.
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  • 12 comments

yiskah

July 2 2014, 06:57:01 UTC 2 months ago

I think this is an abbreviation of 'gyroscope', in this context. (Not that I'm 100% sure what a gyroscope is!)

aksioma_tg

July 2 2014, 07:00:16 UTC 2 months ago

That's what made me come here! A gyroscope is a device for measuring or maintaining orientation and it is used in aviation and not typically in cars. It can be used in cars but it's a very rare ocasion... So I was just wondering...

yiskah

July 2 2014, 07:02:55 UTC 2 months ago

Oh I see, sorry! ;) However googling 'gyroscope race car' seems to indicate that they are used in racing cars...

aksioma_tg

July 2 2014, 07:08:35 UTC 2 months ago

Yes, they are. But if I was chosing a phrase to describe handling a racing car I would never chose gyros because it is not a thing everybody knows about a racing car. I've been watching F1 for 7 years and I translated a ton of articles and books and whatnot and I never saw this mentioned.
Well, it still can be real gyros, but it sounds very strange to me.
Also google found this for me: Wa-Ka-Mo-Do felt his gyros spinning just a little faster. He forced them to slow. 'I understand, my master.'
So I thought maybe it could be some kind of metaphor for brains or something?

yiskah

July 2 2014, 07:41:46 UTC 2 months ago

I've never encountered it as a metaphor for anything (native speaker, from London).

lilacsigil

July 2 2014, 07:41:13 UTC 2 months ago

I've heard it used for robots thinking hard, presumably related to gyroscopes.

kt_n_dd

July 2 2014, 09:18:55 UTC 2 months ago

I've heard of gyros (pronounced like jai-roh-z) in reference to cars, but never exactly knew what they were referring to. I assumed, since I heard it only with the verb "spin", that it had to do with the wheels or the balance of the car (so it doesn't flip on fast turns).

Native English speaker; United States.

biascut

July 2 2014, 13:03:00 UTC 2 months ago

Not an engineer, but it reads to me like a not-very-good author who thinks that "gyros" are a posh word for "wheels".

beesandbrews

July 2 2014, 14:43:53 UTC 2 months ago

Yeah not the sandwich meat. Gyroscope is a device for measuring spatial orientation, keeping right side up and level.

aksioma_tg

July 2 2014, 14:45:26 UTC 2 months ago

Yep, that's why it's not a necessary part of a car, isn't it?

beesandbrews

July 2 2014, 14:51:42 UTC 2 months ago

According to this website that I meant to link to and forgot, they are used in racing cars to help them stay orientated on circular race tracks.
www.gyroscopes.org/uses.asp

thekumquat

July 2 2014, 19:07:33 UTC 2 months ago

I think it's short for gyroscopic forces and probably being inaccurately used to describe how fast he goes round corners. Similar coverage talks about how many Gs drivers can pull (ie produce G forces) and I think technically that's usually inaccurate too. So sort of metaphorical.