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the "1, 2, 3" is _syntactically_ an "explist" - that terminology
appears at lots of places in the manual - but what is the term for the
corresponding thing in the _semantics_? Let me suppose, for a moment,
that it is "vlist" (for "list of values"); then functions always
receive vlists and returns vlists, and the function "id" above returns
exactly the same vlist that it received, even if it had length 0...

I'm perfectly happy to call it a "stack"; it typically lives on the Lua state stack, either being passed or returned, and it also constitutes values stacked up into a pile, rather like a stack of cards.