Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Obturating Prehension

So, I've read approximately 6,382,467 journal articles over the course of the last few months working on my lit review. And I must say, scientists like to use big words. Preferably words that no one on earth can understand. Words that you forget the meaning of right after you look them up in the dictionary, because they are so inane.

For example, here's a selection of words & phrases that I have been subjected to as I've been conducting my literature review:

  • "a fortiori" means "for a still stronger reason" or "all the more"
  • "consanguineous" means "of the same lineage or origin; having a common ancestor"
  • "anisotropy," of course, means "not isotropic." Thanks Dictionary.com, for that ever-so-illumninating definition! Isotropic means "identical in all directions."
  • "pathognomonic" means "decisively characteristic of a particular disease"
  • "obturate" means "to close or obstruct"... as in "using the word 'obturate' will obturate anyone from understanding what the hell you are talking about!"

Why say "hole" when you can say "interstice"? Why say "local" when you can say "vicinal"? Someone might actually understand what you mean if you say "local."

Thank god for the Online Medical Dictionary!

3 comments:

Cleetus said...

I thought obturate meant to open up. Thats what you use a obturator for anyway.

Jorge said...

This is why making up words is way easier.

Then nobody understands anything.

Beth said...

According to the On-Line Medical Dictionary, an obturator is "an apparatus designed to close an unnatural opening, as a fissure of the palate."

Jorge, I agree -- making up words is a perfectly cromulent idea.