Stories We Like: A Guide to the Comma
Manager: "I'm sorry, Mr. Marx, but we can't let you use the pool; this country club is restricted."Restrictive is attested from c.1400.
Groucho: "Well, my daughter's only half-Jewish; could she go in up to her knees?"
A bug or design error that limits a program's capabilities, and which is sufficiently egregious that nobody can quite work up enough nerve to describe it as a feature. Often used (especially by marketroid types) to make it sound as though some crippling bogosity had been intended by the designers all along, or was forced upon them by arcane technical constraints of a nature no mere user could possibly comprehend (these claims are almost invariably false).
Old-time hacker Joseph M. Newcomer advises that whenever choosing a quantifiable but arbitrary restriction, you should make it either a power of 2 or a power of 2 minus 1. If you impose a limit of 17 items in a list, everyone will know it is a random number - on the other hand, a limit of 15 or 16 suggests some deep reason (involving 0- or 1-based indexing in binary) and you will get less flamage for it. Limits which are round numbers in base 10 are always especially suspect.