words with ted chiang and others

Maybe you're tired of learning new words with me and I know that not many of them stick the first time. Actually,  I often seed my list with words I sort of know but don't have a firm grasp on, or pick them up  them in a different context.  So most of the words in the current list are from Ted Chiang's book of short stories - science fiction with a different vocabulary.  

knurl  noun  a small projecting knob or ridge, especially in a series around the edge of something.  DERIVATIVES   knurled adjective  ORIGIN early 17th cent.: apparently a derivative of knurl.

I like that one.  Chiang used it as an adjective to describe wheels. 

euonym:  euonymus  noun  a shrub or small tree that is widely cultivated for its autumn colours and bright fruit.  ●Genus Euonymus, family Celastraceae: numerous species, including the spindle tree.   ORIGIN modern Latin (named by Linnaeus), from Latin euonymos, from Greek euōnumos ‘having an auspicious or honoured name’, from eus ‘good’ + onoma ‘name’.

Linnaean (system of classification):   Linnaeus, Carolus (1707–78), Swedish botanist, founder of modern systematic botany and zoology; Latinized name of Carl von Linné. He devised an authoritative classification system for flowering plants involving binomial Latin names (later superseded by that of Antoine Jussieu), and also a classification method for animals    .DERIVATIVES  Linnaean (also Linnean) adjective& noun

dimorphic adjective chiefly Biology occurring in or representing two distinct forms: in this sexually dimorphic species only the males have wings.  DERIVATIVESdimorphism nounORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from Greek dimorphos (from di- ‘twice’ + morphē ‘form’) + -ic.

ontogenic:  ontogeny noun [mass noun]  the branch of biology that deals with ontogenesis. Compare with phylogeny.• another term for ontogenesis.  DERIVATIVES adjective,ontogenically |- adverb  ORIGIN late 19th cent.: from Greek ōn, ont- ‘being’ + -geny.

 ontogenesis  noun [ mass noun ] Biology  the development of an individual organism or anatomical or behavioural feature from the earliest stage to maturity. Compare with phylogenesis  DERIVATIVES ontogenetic adjective, ontogenetically   adverb  ORIGIN late 19th cent.: from Greek ōn, ont- ‘being’ + genesis ‘birth’.

hermeneutics  plural noun [ usu. treated as sing. ]  the branch of knowledge that deals with interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts.  hermeneutic  adjective  concerning interpretation, especially of the Bible or literary texts.  noun  a method or theory of interpretation.  DERIVATIVES hermeneutical adjective,hermeneutically adverb ORIGIN late 17th cent.: from Greek hermēneutikos, from hermēneuein ‘interpret’.

COBOL noun [ mass noun ]  a computer programming language designed for use in commerce.  ORIGIN  1960s: from co(mmon) b(usiness) o(rented) l(anguage).  [I Love Acronyms!]

terabyte (abbrev.: Tb or TB) noun Computing  a unit of information equal to one million million (1012) or, strictly, 240 bytes.

aprodosia   not in the online dictionary, but I know it, even without reading the story which is what it is about.  I have prosopagnosia,  i.e. face blindness.  I can't map a face, can't remember faces until I see them a number of times.  This can be very embarrassing or alienating.. People think I'm rude or ignoring them. I didn't know what it was until I read an article in the New Yorker a few years ago about tOliver Sacks () before he died. He had it, worse than mine.  since then I have discovered that Brad Pitt has it and Tom Stoppard.   Anyway, that osia  fives it away.  In Chiang's story people with aprodosia can't distinguish between appearances, good-looking or not so.

onager noun  an animal of a race of the Asian wild ass native to northern Iran.●Equus hemionus onager, family Equidae. Compare with kiangkulan.  ORIGIN Middle English: via Latin from Greek onagros, from ohos ‘ass’ + agrios ‘wild’.  

spall  verb  [ with obj. ]  break (ore, rock, or stone) into smaller pieces, especially in preparation for sorting. the ore was spalled by young women seated at anvils.• [ no obj. ] (of ore, rock, or stone) break off in fragments: cracks below the surface cause slabs of material to spall off.   noun  a splinter or chip, especially of rock.  ORIGIN  late Middle English (as a noun): of unknown origin. The verb dates from the mid 18th cent.

ziggurat |noun  (in ancient Mesopotamia) a rectangular stepped tower, sometimes surmounted by a temple. Ziggurats are first attested in the late 3rd millennium bc and probably inspired the biblical story of the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:1–9).  [One of Chiang's stories is about the Tower of Babel.]

homunculus  (also homuncule)  noun (pl. homunculi or homuncules)  a very small human or humanoid creature.• historical a microscopic but fully formed human being from which a fetes was formerly believed to develop.  ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Latin, diminutive of homo, homin- ‘man’.

parthenogenesis  noun [ mass noun ] Biology reproduction from an ovum without fertilisation, especially as a normal process in some invertebrates and lower plants. cyclic parthenogenesis is well displayed in aphids. DERIVATIVES parthenogenetic   adjective  ,parthenogenetically adverb ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: modern Latin, from Greek parthenos ‘virgin’ + genesis ‘creation’.  [I knew this one only from my Greek mythology - Zeus, you know.]

paralinguistic   adjective  relating to or denoting paralanguage or the non-lexical elements of communication by speech.

tautology   noun (pl. tautologies) [ mass noun ]  the saying of the same thing twice over in different words, generally considered to be a fault of style (e.g. they arrived one after the other in succession).• [ count noun ] a phrase or expression in which the same thing is said twice in different words.• Logic a statement that is true by necessity or by virtue of its logical form.  DERIVATIVES tautological  adjective ,tautologically  adverb,    tautologist noun,tautologize (also tautologise)  verb, tautologous  adjective  ORIGIN mid 16th cent.: via late Latin from Greek, from tautologies ‘repeating what has been said’, from tauto- ‘same’ + -logos (see -logy) . [I LOVE TO USE THIS: i.e. repeat something someone has just said - it adds a nice touch of humour to a scene.]

This last word is not from Chiang. I got it from the Manchester Guardian and I guess I should have known it before. It is used commonly now in Europe, more than in North America: Shoah noun (the Shoah: another term for the Holocaust (see holocaust).   ORIGIN modern Hebrew, literally ‘catastrophe.

There.  Another day, another blog.