Saturday, July 21, 2012

word of the day: antipode

The word of the day is antipode:

Etymology:  < Latin antipodes, < Greek (οἱ) ἀντίποδες (in sense 1 below), plural of ἀντίπους having the feet opposite, < ἀντί opposite + πούς foot (whence also a singular antipos n.).  
1. Those who dwell directly opposite to each other on the globe, so that the soles of their feet are as it were planted against each other; esp. those who occupy this position in regard to us. Obs.
2. fig. Those who in any way resemble the dwellers on the opposite side of the globe. Obs.
3. Places on the surfaces of the earth directly opposite to each other, or the place which is directly opposite to another; esp. the region directly opposite to one's own. 
4. a. transf. The exact opposite of a person or thing. (In this sense the sing. antipode is still used.) 
b.   at antipodes phr. in direct opposition.
5. As adv. (orig. n. in apposition) in phrases like to walk antipodes to . Obs. 
6. Chem. (with pronunc. /ˈæntɪpəʊdz/ ); sing. antipode. An enantio-morphic compound. (OED)

"Another very clear situation is found in the work of Bonsen et al (86) with the two optical antipodes of dihexanoyl, diheptanoyl, and dioctanoyl lecithin."

 - Verger and de Haas, "Interfacial enzyme kinetics of lipolysis", Annual Review of Biophysics & Bioengineering 5:77 (1976)

Personally, I would use the word "enantiomer".

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