Friday, November 30, 2012


In vector calculus, the gradient of a scalar field is a vector field that points in the direction of the greatest rate of increase of the scalar field, and whose magnitude is the greatest rate of change.

A generalization of the gradient for functions on a Euclidean space that have values in another Euclidean space is the Jacobian. A further generalization for a function from one Banach space to another is the Fréchet derivative.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Dord is a notable error in lexicography, an accidental creation, or ghost word, of the G. and C. Merriam Company's staff included in the second (1934) edition of its New International Dictionary, in which the term is defined as "density".

Philip Babcock Gove, an editor at Merriam-Webster who became editor-in-chief of Webster's Third New International Dictionary, wrote a letter to the journal American Speech, fifteen years after the error was caught, in which he explained why "dord" was included in that dictionary.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

cot death

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is marked by the sudden death of an infant that is unexpected by medical history and remains unexplained after a thorough forensic autopsy and a detailed death scene investigation. It is still sometimes referred to by the former terms cot death (in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, India, South Africa and New Zealand) or crib death (in North America).

Monday, November 26, 2012

Gaffer tape

Gaffer tape, gaffer's tape, gaff tape or gaffa tape is a strong, tough, cotton cloth pressure sensitive tape with strong adhesive properties. It is used in theater, film and television productions as well as during live performances and any other kind of stage work. While related to duct tape, it differs in that it can be removed cleanly because it uses a synthetic rubber adhesive rather than a natural rubber adhesive. The tape is often referred to as a production expendable because it is discarded after the production process is complete.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


Gruit (sometimes grut) is an old-fashioned herb mixture used for bittering and flavoring beer, popular before the extensive use of hops. Gruit or grut ale may also refer to the beverage produced using gruit.

Gruit was a combination of herbs, some of the most common being mildly to moderately narcotic: sweet gale (Myrica gale), mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), yarrow (Achillea millefolium), ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea), horehound (Marrubium vulgare), and heather (Calluna vulgaris). Gruit varied somewhat, each gruit producer including different herbs to produce unique flavors and effects. Other adjunct herbs included black henbane, juniper berries, ginger, caraway seed, aniseed, nutmeg, cinnamon, and even hops in variable proportions. Some gruit ingredients are now known to have preservative qualities.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


The Order of Cistercians (O.Cist. Latin: Ordo Cisterciensis or, alternatively, O.C.S.O. for the Trappists (Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance) is a Catholic religious order of enclosed monks and nuns. They are sometimes also called the Bernardines or the White Monks, in reference to the colour of the habit, over which a black scapular is worn. The emphasis of Cistercian life is on manual labour and self-sufficiency, and many abbeys have traditionally supported themselves through activities such as agriculture and brewing ales.

Friday, November 23, 2012


A twinstick, in Canadian broadcasting, is a term for two television stations, broadcasting in the same market, which are owned by the same company. The term derives from the use of "stick", in broadcasting industry jargon, as a term for a broadcast transmitter tower.

In the United States, a broadcast operation of this type is more commonly known as a duopoly.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


A window valance is a form of window treatment that covers the uppermost part of the window and can be hung alone or paired with window blinds, or curtains. Valances are a popular decorative choice in concealing drapery hardware. Window valances were popular in Victorian interior design. In draping or bunting form they are commonly referred to as swag.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


There are two types of cattery, boarding cattery and breeding cattery.

A boarding cattery is where cats are housed temporarily when they can't stay at their owners' home. Boarding catteries, cat boarding kennels, are mostly used by owners who are away on holiday although they may also be used during house moves, building work or when their owners are incapacitated, for example if they have to go into hospital.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


In linguistics, code-switching is the concurrent use of more than one language, or language variety, in conversation. Multilinguals - people who speak more than one language - sometimes use elements of multiple languages in conversing with each other. Thus, code-switching is the use of more than one linguistic variety in a manner consistent with the syntax and phonology of each variety.

Monday, November 19, 2012


A kremlin is a major fortified central complex found in historic Russian cities. This word is often used to refer to the best-known one, the Moscow Kremlin, or metonymically to the government that is based there. Outside Russia, the name Kremlin is sometimes mistakenly thought of as being Saint Basil's Cathedral because of its distinctive environment, although this is not a part of the Moscow Kremlin.

The name Kremlin (or Kreml) has been allocated to various Soviet Navy vessels during construction. In each case, the name was changed prior to commissioning. Vessels which have briefly carried this name included Admiral Kuznetsov and Ulyanovsk.

Russia's presidential administration is located in the Moscow Kremlin. During the Soviet era, the government of the USSR was located in that kremlin, but now the Russian government occupies a building outside it.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Metonymy is a figure of speech used in rhetoric in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept. For instance, "Westminster" is used as a metonym (an instance of metonymy) for the Parliament of the United Kingdom, because it is located there.

The words "metonymy" and "metonym" come from the Greek: μετωνυμία, metōnymía, "a change of name", from μετά, metá, "after, beyond" and -ωνυμία, -ōnymía, a suffix used to name figures of speech, from ὄνῠμα, ónyma or ὄνομα, ónoma, "name." Metonymy may also be instructively contrasted with metaphor. Both figures involve the substitution of one term for another. In metaphor, this substitution is based on some specific similarity, whereas, in metonymy, the substitution is based on some understood association (contiguity).

Saturday, November 17, 2012


Splenda is the commercial name and registered trade mark of a sucralose-based artificial sweetener derived from sugar, owned by the British company Tate & Lyle. Sucralose was discovered by Tate & Lyle and researchers at Queen Elizabeth College, University of London, in 1976. Tate & Lyle subsequently developed sucralose-based Splenda products in partnership with Johnson & Johnson subsidiary McNeil Nutritionals LLC.

Friday, November 16, 2012



A sound which represents the symbolic thunderclap associated with the fall of Adam and Eve. A coinage from Finnegans Wake author James Joyce said to represent the thunderclap associated with the fall of Adam and Eve. The word is a hybrid of words in many languages that relate to thunder.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


A rolleron is a type of aileron used for rockets, placed at the trailing end of each fin, and used for passive stabilization against rotation. Inherent to the rolleron is a metal wheel with notches along the circumference. On one side, the notches protrude into the airflow. During flight, this will spin the wheels up to a substantial speed. The wheels then act as gyroscopes. Any tendency of the rocket to rotate along its major axis will be counteracted by the rollerons, deflecting in the opposite direction of the rotation.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Apotemnophilia is a neurological disorder in which otherwise sane and rational individuals express a strong and specific desire for the amputation of a healthy limb or limbs. It is due to hypothesized damage to the right parietal lobe, as the disorder has features in common with somatoparaphrenia. When experienced very strongly, some people with apotemnophilia come to feel discontented with their bodies and want to actually remove an otherwise healthy limb, a condition called body integrity identity disorder. Some apotemnophiles seek surgeons to perform an amputation or purposefully injure a limb in order to force emergency medical amputation. A separate, though occasionally comorbid, definition of Apotemnophilia is erotic interest in being or looking like an amputee. This separate definition should not be confused with acrotomophilia, which is the erotic interest in people who are amputees.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Atelier is the French word for "workshop", and in English is used principally for the workshop of an artist in the fine or decorative arts, where a principal master and a number of assistants, students and apprentices worked together producing pieces that went out in the master's name. This was the standard way of working for European artists from the Middle Ages to the 18th or 19th century, and common elsewhere in the world. In medieval Europe such a way of working was often enforced by local guild regulations, of the painters' Guild of Saint Luke if there was one, and those of other guilds for other crafts. Apprentices usually began young, at perhaps the age of twelve, working on simple tasks, and after some years became journeymen, before perhaps finally becoming a master themselves. The system was gradually replaced as the guilds declined, and the academy became considered a superior method of training, although many artists continued in fact to use students and assistants, some paid by the artist, some paying fees to learn.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Skookum is a Chinook jargon word that has come into general use in the Pacific Northwest region of North America.

The word skookum has three meanings:

  1. a word in regional English that has a variety of positive connotations;
  2. a monster; similar to the sasquatch.
  3. a souvenir doll once common in the United States in tourist areas.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


  1. (ice hockey) A feint, fake, or other move made by the player with the puck to deceive a goaltender or other defender.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Friday, November 9, 2012


A parterre is a formal garden construction on a level surface consisting of planting beds, edged in stone or tightly clipped hedging, and gravel paths arranged to form a pleasing, usually symmetrical pattern. Parterres need not have any flowers at all. French parterres originated in 15th-century Gardens of the French Renaissance, such as the Chateau of Versailles, and were elaborated out of 16th-century Baroque Garden à la française knot gardens, and reached a climax at the and its many European imitators, such as Kensington Palace (illustration, right).

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Cloudscape photography is photography of clouds or sky.

An early cloudscape photographer, Belgian photographer Léonard Misonne (1870–1943), was noted for his black and white photographs of heavy skies and dark clouds.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


A draisine primarily refers to a light auxiliary rail vehicle, driven by service personnel, equipped to transport crew and material necessary for the maintenance of railway infrastructure.

The eponymous term is derived from German Baron Karl Christian Ludwig Drais von Sauerbronn, who invented his Laufmaschine (German for "running machine") in 1817, that was called Draisine (German) or Draisienne (French) by the press. It is the first reliable claim for a practically used bicycle, basically the first commercially successful two-wheeled, steerable, human-propelled machine commonly called a velocipede, nicknamed hobby-horse or dandy horse.

Later, the name draisine came to be applied only to versions used on rails and was extended to similar vehicles, even when not human-powered. Because of their low weight and small size, they can be put on and taken off the rails at any place, allowing trains to pass.

In the United States, motor-powered draisines are known as speeders while human-powered ones are referred as handcars.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


A détournement is a technique developed in the 1950s by the Situationist International, and consist in "turning expressions of the capitalist system against itself." Détournement was prominently used to set up subversive political pranks, an influential tactic called situationist prank that was reprised by the punk movement in the late 1970s and inspired the culture jamming movement in the late 1980s.

Monday, November 5, 2012


Pieing is the act of throwing a pie at a person. The pie thrown is usually just a pie crust/bottom filled with whipped cream. This can be a political action when the target is an authority figure, politician, or celebrity and can be used as a means of protesting against the target's political beliefs, or against a perceived flaw—e.g. arrogance or hubris—in the target's character. Perpetrators generally regard the act as a form of ridicule to embarrass and humiliate the victim. In some U.S. states pieing may conform to definitions of battery, but not assault. Pieing and pie fights is a staple of slapstick comedy, and pie "tosses" are also common charity fundraising events, especially in schools.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Shoeing, throwing shoes, showing the sole of one's shoe or using shoes to insult are forms of protest in many parts of the world.

Incidents where shoes were thrown at political figures have taken place in Australia, India, Ireland, Israel, Hong Kong, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and most notably, the Arab world.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Planking is the action of lying face down with arms to the sides, in unusual public spaces and photographing it.

Planking began as the lying down game in Europe and Japan in the late 2000s. The term "planking" was coined in Australia and became an internet meme in 2011.

Friday, November 2, 2012


In geography, a confluence is the meeting of two or more bodies of water. It usually refers to the point where two streams flow together, merging into a single stream. It can be where a tributary joins a larger river, called the main stem, or where two streams meet to become the source of a river of a new name, such as the confluence of Bell Creek and Arroyo Calabasas, forming the Los Angeles River. In a broader sense, the merging of any two streams is a confluence.

The term is also used to describe the meeting of tidal or other non-riverine bodies of water, such as two canals or a canal and a lake. A one-mile (1.6 km) portion of the Industrial Canal in New Orleans accommodates the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet Canal; therefore those three waterways are confluent there.

Thursday, November 1, 2012



  1. To bind with a flexible rope or cord.
  2. To encircle with, or as if with a belt.