Shashi Tharoor’s Globe of Words is a regular column in which the political leader, mediator, author as well as wordsmith the same level quality explores words as well as language
A few days ago I got some prestige (once again!) by tweeting out a brand-new “Word of the Day”– algospeak, a noun, for words made use of on social networks blog posts to prevent making use of various other words that formulas could determine as improper or improper therefore filter. “Algospeak” is a method of bypassing material small amounts filters on social networks systems to prevent having your blog posts eliminated or down-ranked by material small amounts systems. As an example, claiming “unalive” as opposed to “dead”. Currently you really did not recognize there was a word for that method, did you?
Algospeak is a neologism– a brand-new silver developed for a current demand that really did not exist in the past– however English has plenty of extremely accurate words for extremely typical functions we consider given, words we really did not recognize also existed, as well as possibly never ever really felt the demand for. As an example, philtrum is the upright groove on your top lip, listed below your nostrils. Bizarrely, sexy powers were when credited to this typical face attribute, so the Greek word for “love remedy”– philtrum– was made use of for it. Currently when was the last time you went gaga over a person’s philtrum?
In a similar way, the smooth section of the temple in between the brows is called the glabella. Can you think about at any time when you were so struck by a person’s temple that you rhapsodised over his glabella? Or analyzed her nails to baptise the crescent-shaped or half-moon creamy colored mark at the base of the finger nail a lunule? If you’re stupefied with a person’s nails to the factor that you require to call the marks on them, a ring may be better than a word!
Everybody connections shoe laces at some time or the various other in their lives, however did you recognize there’s a word for the little steel or difficult plastic at the pointer of both ends of a shoelace that enhances it? It’s called an “aglet”, a word that originates from the Latin acus, or needle– as does words “intense”. Yet the safety factor or handle on the back of an umbrella isn’t called an aglet; it’s a ferrule (which is additionally the term for the steel band at the end of a table leg),
I obtained these from the Merriam Webster thesaurus, an abundant resource of such stories of word beginnings. Several, I would certainly send, are absolutely worthless for the non-specialist: I indicate, that also requires to recognize that the impression at the end of a moulded glass container is called a punting? Or that the strip dividing the panes of glass in a home window sash is called a muntin? Everybody see home window panes day-to-day as well as discover the muntins, however have we ever before really felt the demand to call them?
After that there are words that are basically unneeded due to the fact that there are flawlessly appropriate choices to reveal the very same idea. For instance, all of us recognize the infinity sign, which appears like a number 8 pushing its side. This number eight-shaped contour has a name, the lemniscate sign. Yet exists any type of reason we can not simply state “infinity sign”? The etymologists inform us that lemniscate originates from a Latin word that indicates “with hanging bows”– a concept that’s mirrored in the sign’s elegant form. Yet truthfully, that cares? Or that little dot over the letters i or j is called a tittle. Why can not we simply call it the dot? (” Tittle”, incidentally, does have various other usages. If you intend to reveal a concept of something absolutely irrelevant or tiny you can make use of “tittle”– “I uncommitted a tittle of what you consider words lemniscate!”)
Years back, the after that United States Protection Assistant Donald Rumsfeld notoriously said this gnomic knowledge: “There are well-known knowns. These are points we understand that we understand. There are well-known unknowns. That is to state, there are points that we understand we do not recognize. Yet there are additionally unidentified unknowns. There are points we do not recognize we do not recognize.” I believe it is rather secure to consist of the majority of these words in the last group– however to include, “as well as there are points that it matters not we do not recognize that we do not recognize”!