Sunday, December 09, 2012

word of the day: bourse

The word of the day is bourse:

Etymology:  < French bourse in same sense, literally ‘purse’. The form burse n. was in regular use from c1550 to c1775, when it became obsolete; bourse is a re-adoption of the word from modern French, as an alien term. 
An exchange, or place of meeting for merchants; the money-market (of a foreign town). Used esp. of the French institution corresponding to the Stock Exchange in London.  (OED)

"They were joined by national flagships: in the UK, Celltech, then British Biotech, then Celltech again (after British Biotech's demise on the stock exchange); for a while, Genset shone in France and Lion Bioscience in Germany, until they, too, disillusioned their bourses; then there was ES Cell International in Singapore and Macrogen in South Korea; and now we have Genmab in Denmark and Actelion in Switzerland and several potential flagships in Belgium (as is much in the nature of things Belgian)."

 -  "Where have the flagships gone?", Nature Biotechnology, 7 December 2012

The flowery prose is cute, but I fear the editors are losing control.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

word of the day: moiré

The word of the day is moiré:

Etymology:  Probably < French moiré
A. n. 
1. A variegated or clouded appearance like that of watered silk, originally as an ornamental finish applied to metal (in full moiré metallique); a pattern or effect giving this appearance.2. = moire n.1 1. Also: an item of clothing made of this fabric. 
B. adj.  
1.a. Of silk: having a rippled, lustrous finish; watered. Also, of paper, metal, etc.: having a clouded appearance like watered silk.
b. Of a garment, shoes, etc.: made of moire. 
2. Designating a wavy or geometrical pattern of light and dark fringes (stripes) observed when one pattern of lines, dots, etc., is visually superimposed on another similar pattern, or on an identical one that is slightly out of alignment with the first. (OED)

"Please do not scan laser printouts of figures and send them to us as digital files. The dot pattern on a laser print often creates a moiré pattern when scanned."

 - Scientific Reports submission guidelines

Sunday, December 02, 2012

word of the day: putsch

The word of the day is putsch:

Etymology:  < German Putsch (first half of the 19th cent.), spec. use of German regional (Swiss) Putsch knock, thrust, blow (1431), sudden rush, especially against an obstacle (1555), revolt, riot (19th cent., perhaps also 1524 in an apparently isolated attestation), of imitative origin. Compare earlier putschism n., putschist n. With the sense development compare also coup n.3 2b, coup d'état n. at coup n.3 5a, stroke of state n. at stroke n.1 14b.The German word became known outside Switzerland following the Zurich Putsch (German regional (Swiss) Züriputsch) of 1839.1. An attempt to overthrow a government, esp. by violent means; an insurrection or coup d'état.2. In a weakened sense: a sudden or forceful attempt to take control of an organization, business, etc.; a sudden vigorous effort, a concerted drive or campaign. (OED)

"Pakistan has a way of cutting careers short, some tragically.  One Prime Minister was sent to the gallows after being toppled in a coup.  Nine years later, the general who led the putsch died in a plane crash; conspiracists posit that it was brought down by combustible crates of mangoes on board."

 - Nicholas Schmidle, "Homecoming dept.: after Pakistan", 26 November 2012

Saturday, December 01, 2012

word of the day: bezel

The word of the day is bezel:

Etymology:  < Old French *besel, *bezel, in modern French biseau , bizeau (compare Spanish bisel ), also basile ; of unknown origin: it may be diminutive of bis , bez , or contain that word. (It does not represent medieval Latin bisalus .) Compare belef adv., bevel n.2 
1. A slope, a sloping edge or face: esp. that of a chisel or other cutting tool (commonly basil.) 
2. The oblique sides or faces of a cut gem; spec. the various oblique faces and edges of a brilliant, which lie round the ‘table’ or large central plane on the upper surface, comprising the 8 star-facets, 16 skill-facets, and 8 lozenges.  [Compare Spanish bisel ‘edge of a looking-glass, or crystal plate.’] 
3. ‘The groove and projecting flange or lip by which the crystal of a watch or the stone of a jewel is retained in its setting.’ (OED)

"Johnson was in New York to promote a limited-edition luxury wristwatch called the Big Unit ($15,500), which incorporates, at his suggestion, a baseball (on the second hand) and his old uniform number (on the bezel, which marks fifty-one minutes after the hour, rather than fifty)."

 - Reeves Wiedeman, "Second acts: pitchman", 26 November 2012 The New Yorker