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Acceptance Test.

Advanced Technology. Yesterday's AT is tomorrow's joke. You might gaze upon my works and despair. IBM's PC/AT is vintage 1984.

A.T., AT
German, Altes Testament. English, `Old Testament' (O.T.).

Anthropology Today. A journal published by Blackwell on behalf of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland. The sister publication of at is JRAI.


Antiquité Tardive. Published by la Association pour l'Antiquité Tardive, it ``aims at enriching the study of written texts from the fourth to the seventh centuries by setting these into a wider context using a multidisciplinary approach covering history, archaeology, epigraphy, law and philology.'' Did I just read the word ``enriching''? Indeed I did. I also just read that the one issue per year costs 62 euros. At those prices it better have a centerfold, and she had better not be an antique.

Astatine, at atomic number 85 the heaviest known halogen. Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

German, Atmosphäre. English, `atmosphere.'

ATtention. First code in a command-set protocol defined by Hayes for its modems and become the industry standard.

(Domain code for) Austria. But for 1866 and 1945, this would be Germany (.de).

The US government's Country Studies website has a page of links (``Austria Country Studies'') amounting to the online version of its Austria book.

Ariadne, ``The European and Mediterranean link resource for Research, Science and Culture,'' has a page of national links. There's an official government site (also in English).

Rec.Travel offers some links.

Telephone numbers for International direct dialing to Austria begin with 43.

Academic Theme Associate. University staff responsible for advancing the designated academic theme of a house (university residence). Cf. ETA, FA.

Actual Time of Arrival (of flight or of transport vehicle). In contrast with ETA.

Advanced Technology Attachment. A standard for interfacing disk drives. Nothing more than the name used by ANSI group X3T10 for Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE).

Air Transport Association. A trade group representing commercial airlines.

All-American Twirling Academy. ``The ATA All-Stars are located in Gainesville and Lake City, Florida. Group and private lessons are offered for age 4 through high school at all skill levels.''

American Teachers Association. Founded at Nashville, Tennessee, in 1904, on the initiative of John Robert Edward Lee of the Tuskegee Institute, as the National Association of Colored Teachers. The name was changed in 1907 to the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools, to better reflect the target membership. The name was changed to American Teachers Association in 1937. In 1966, the ATA merged with the NEA. With luck, this page of ATA history won't be history itself at the end of February.

American Tinnitus Association.

American Trans Air. A commercial airline. In my experience flying from South Bend, Indiana, to the coasts, ATA offers the best last-minute deals through their hubs in Detroit and Chicago (Midway).

A lot of people wonder how it ended up with the not-very-mnemonic carrier code TZ. The answer is that by the time ATA got into the business (1973), all the more appropriate two-letter codes (AT, TA, TR) were taken.

Getting into the business just before deregulation, ATA is sort of a 'tween company: it doesn't have the high costs of the old-line major passenger airlines, but not the low costs of a Southwest or JetBlue. They also don't have the name recognition of the majors. Around 2002, I encountered a travel agent at AAA in New Jersey who had never heard of it. After we finished booking on ATA, he had the cojones to tell us cheerfully that we saved 1,800 or whatever dollars -- sure, no thanks to him.

ATA was the tenth-largest US carrier in 2004, ranking by passenger miles. I think ATA needs to invest in more advertising. In late October 2004 they filed for bankruptcy. Also, they're now ``ATA Airlines.'' This is supposed not to be pleonastic because ATA is no longer an acronym, just a name -- sort of a decorative collection of letters, like Kodak, but pronounced ``ayteeay.'' It's as if they had a little switch attached to the language, which turns the significance of an established usage off when flipped and prevents their name from having an expansion that ends in ``Air Airlines.'' At least they didn't claim ATA now stands for the word father translated into TURKISH.

One can sympathize with the company's name problems: air and trans are as vanilla as airline word names get (as also American, in the US), and the lack of a distinctive name is probably part of their visibility problem. Indeed, as part of their bankruptcy restructuring, they were originally expecting to sell most of their main hub facilities at Midway to AirTran Airways, a low-cost carrier founded in 1993. Eventually, Southwest won the bidding war, in an agreement to buy the lease rights to six gates at Midway. The agreement involves some cash, transfer of a hangar at Midway, and very significantly a code-share agreement, the first for both ATA and Southwest. ATA will make Indianapolis, previously a secondary hub, the new center of its operations.

American Translators Association. Cf. ALTA (L is for Literary).

American Trucking Associations [sic, plural], Inc. A national trade association. Their Management Systems Council (MSC) has a web page. The other large trucking-industry trade association is the TCA.

`Father,' in various Central Asian languages. Cf. atta.

The father of modern Turkey was given the single name Mustafa at birth (1881, in Salonica). A mathematics teacher bestowed the name Kemal (`perfection') on him, and it was as ``Mustafa Kemal'' that he entered a military academy in 1895. After his graduation as a lieutenant in 1905 he was posted to Damascus, where he formed a secret society of anti-royalist (i.e., anti-Ottoman), reform-minded officers called Vatan (`Fatherland'). Other stuff happened that is not relevant to this entry. Let's just say that Mustafa Kemal was to Turkey everything Charles de Gaulle could have wanted to be for France. In 1934, he promulgated a law requiring all Turks to adopt surnames, and the Grand National Assembly gave him the surname of Atatürk, `father of Turks.'

Alma-Ata (now ``Almaty,'' grumble grumble) is the largest city in Kazakhstan. The name means `father of apples.'

`You,' in Hebrew (stress as usual on the final syllable).

Assembly of Turkish American Associations.

The nipa palm tree. It grows throughout the Scrabble forest.

AT Attachment Packet Interface. Similar to SCSI. (Cf. ATA supra.)

  1. n. `target'
  2. interj. `on target, dead on, that's right.'

Also, there's a brand of orphan computers called Atari. At least there's an FAQ for the eight-bit machines, from the <comp.sys.atari.8bit> newsgroup. We also serve a little bit on the operating system.

Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. What's wrong with this picture?

ATAS was founded in 1946 and is based in the Los Angeles area. It presents the annual prime time Emmy awards, offers other events in its LA headquarters, and publishes Emmy magazine. The similarly named National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) is a distinct organization based in New York. Oddly enough, NATAS is a national organization, with chapters around the US (20, as of 2004). NATAS handles the Daytime, US News, and Documentary Emmys. Sports is subsumed in one or more of those categories. NATAS chapters handle Regional Emmy Awards. Enough! PLEASE! What do you think this is, some kind of general reference encyclopedic dictionary? We're just interested in acronyms (and initialisms and abbreviations and some necessary related explanatory entries). All I ever wanted to know was, did ``Emmy'' originally stand for M.E.? (Cf. emcee.) Ah! I found an answer. (No, I'm not going to tell you here. That wouldn't be efficient. You have to follow the link.)

The NYC-based NATAS has a regional chapter based in NYC: NY-NATAS. ATAS, in addition to being a ``sister organization'' to NATAS, also serves as one of its regional chapters. This begins to sound like incest. Buy the rights, it could be a hit. There's also a IATAS, which awards International Emmys (iEmmys). IATAS is a division of NATAS. It may be possible to draw the organization chart in two dimensions, but it can't be a good idea.

All-Terrain Bicycle. Less common synonym of MTB.

ATB, atb
All The Best. Chatese, texting abbreviation.

Anti-Theater Ballistic Missile.

A few are still kept targeted at Broadway, although that is no longer considered a serious threat (vide ATW). People have been saying for over fifty years that Broadway is chatting with death's valet. People have probably been right, but musicals still animate the body.

ATBM can also be synonymously expanded as Anti-Tactical Ballistic Missile. Again, as with ABM, confusion arises from the fact that hyphenation is not explicitly nested: ATBM is anti the TBM. These are not ballistic missiles directed against tactics, except insofar as those tactics take the form of the firing of tactical ballistic missiles. Evidently, the end of the cold war has had collateral linguistic benefits.

AT Bus
Variant name for ISA bus.

Accelerated Thermal Cycling.

Address Translation Cache.

Air Traffic Control. Productive prefix (ATCA, ATCAA, ATCBI, ATCRBS, ATCS, ATCSCC, ATCT).

``All Things Considered.'' National Public Radio Program that needs some new theme music.

Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical.

Arquitectura y Tecnología de Computadores. [In Spanish, there has been a major struggle between ``Computador'' and ``Ordenador.'' (The latter follows French usage.) An important reason to avoid using ``computador'' is that a verb form naturally associated with that is ``computa.'' In Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift has some fun with something similar, turning over in his thought various unsatisfactory alternative etymologies of ``Laputa,'' the name of the floating island. It is less important to know that in the Italian dub of ``Last Tango in Paris'' (``Ultimo Tango a Parigi'') Marlon Brando's character calls Maria Schneider's ``putana,'' but we tell you anyway.] If you're confused, read through to the end of the Pav entry. (To save time, you can start at the beginning of the Pav entry. To save frustration, wait until I publish the entry.)

According to the Computer Spanglish Diccionario, a useful resource served by Yolanda M. Rivas, ordenador is seldom used.

Audio TeleConferenc{ing|e}.

Australian Transputer Centre.

Automat{ ic | ed } Traction Control.

Automatic Train Control.

Average Total Cost.

Azienda Trasporti Consorziali.

Air Traffic Control Association.

Air Traffic Control Assigned Airspace.

Air Traffic Control Beacon Interrogator.

The Association of [the] Thai Computer Industry.

Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting.

Air Traffic Controller.

Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System.

Advanced Train Control Systems.

Air Traffic Control {Specialist | System}.

Air Traffic Control Systems Command Center. Operational since 1994.

Air Traffic Control Tower.

Air Transport Division of the Transport Workers Union (TWU). It represents airline mechanics and ground crew.

Advanced Technical Demonstration.

Automatic Thermal Desorption (TD).

Address Transition Detection Circuit.

aTDC, ATDC, atdc
After Top Dead Center. See TDC.

Asynchronous Time-Division Multiplexing.

ATtention Dial Tone. Hayes modem AT command.

Advanced Technological Education. A joint program of the Divisions of Undergraduate Education and of Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education of the NSF, ``promotes exemplary improvement in advanced technological education ....''

Automat{ ic | ed } Test Equipment. For external circuit testing. Cost in the megabuck range. See, for example, Teradyne's Semiconductor Test Division.

(Bureau of) Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The ``revenooers.'' More at BATF.

Australian Track & Field Coaches Association.

Albert The Great. Albertus Magnus. There's an unintentionally funny site hawking his out-of-copyright-by-now works, at <http://www.AlbertTheGreat.Com/>.

(``Please make payment in advance to receive over 40 volumes of truth'' from ``First Floor Rear'' somewhere in Pennsylvania.)

Albertus Magnus, a Dominican priest (OP), died in 1280; he was canonized and declared a doctor of the Roman Catholic Church some time later (1931). In 1941, Pope Pius XII declared him the patron of all those who devote themselves to the natural sciences.


Alexander The Great.

Automatic Test Generation.



[Football icon]

ATH, ath, Ath.
ATHlete. A symbol or abbreviation used in lieu of a specific football position. Read the athlete entry below and you'll know at least as much as I do on the subject.

Advanced THermal Analysis System.

A lot more people would be atheists if they didn't think that God would disapprove.

A town in Alabama (home of Athens State University, founded in 1822, and... it's a county seat!), Arkansas, California, Georgia (home of UGA, the oldest state-chartered university in the US, and another county seat!), Illinois, Indiana (the University of Indianapolis has an Athens campus, but it's in Greece), Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio (county seat, and home of Ohio's first state university), Pennsylvania, Tennessee (it's a county seat!), Texas (seat of a different county!), Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia (in Mercer County, where Princeton, naturally, is the county seat; I've been there), and Wisconsin. That's twenty-two states, and not a few college towns.

In fact, Tennessee has two Athenses, because Nashville is known locally as ``the Athens of the South.'' In an article about the South that was published in 1962 (``You-All and Non-You-All,'' described within the U and non-U entry), Jessica Mitford wondered puckishly ``whether Athenians ever think of their city as `the Nashville of Greece.' '' For a similar idea, based on Emory University's self-assumed status as a ``Harvard of the South,'' see the this S.P.D. entry.

Adelaide, capital of the state of South Australia, is also known locally as the ``Athens of the South.''

[Football icon]

I just noticed a specialized use of this word. It apparently designates a football player without a single specific position, but I don't feel competent to give a certain definition, so I'll just cite a couple of instances.

The back page of Notre Dame's student newspaper (The Observer) had a graphic that included this text: ``23 players signed letters of intent: 12 offense, 9 defense, 2 athletes.'' (My italics; otherwise, I've sedated the fonts and capitalization for readability. This was from the issue of February 4, 2010, the day after National Signing Day 2010. National Signing Day is the earliest date when student athletes may sign national letters of intent. There will be more about it at the link, once I sort some of it out.)

The previous evening, an article on the website of the Huntington, W.Va., Herald-Dispatch reported the letter-of-intent pickings of Marshall University (the local Division-I school). The article included this: ``Quarterback Ed Sullivan [he wants to be in the ``big shoe,'' no doubt] and athletes Jermaine Kelson, Antwon Chisholm, Jazz King and [Harold `Gator'] Hoskins ranked among Marshall recruits who opted for Huntington over BCS teams. The Thundering Herd also added considerable bulk along the line of scrimmage, signing five offensive and defensive players to bolster the front.''

A list at the foot of the Herald-Dispatch article included position codes and other information. Those described as ``athletes'' in the body of the article had the position code ``ATH.'' The student athletes (a general term) were listed in no particular order that I could discern. Anyway, here are the position codes, in order of their first occurrence in the list, along with the number of players with that designation, along with their average heights and weights:

  Position    #       height  weight (in lb.)
     QB       1       6'2"      195
     K        1       5'10"     175
     OL       3       6'4.7"    283
     ATH      5       5'10.6"   180
     DB       3       5'11.7"   177.7
     LB       2       6'2"      207.5
     DE       3       6'4.3"    245
     DT       2       6'4"      275
     TE       2       6'4.5"    210
     WR       3       6'0"      181.7

It turns out that ATH, Ath, or ath is very widely used in this context. FWIW, there don't seem to be any specific codes for special-teams positions. The ATH players aren't always relatively small. Oh, and I found an authority (Bob -- a guard... in the Notre Dame library, working beneath Touchdown Jesus!) who explained that ``an athlete'' is someone who can play more than one position. There are position names for the special teams, but everyone on those teams has a position on the main offensive or defensive team -- sort of like a day job.

This entry is under construction. What that means is that I've got my feet propped up on the desk and I'm looking out the window, trying to come up with a good pun on atheism when I should be doing real work instead.

athletic shoe
This entry is under construction. But hey, we've already got a head term. Well-started is half done, so I'd say the entry is about 45% complete. The hang-up is with bowling shoes: are bowling shoes not athletic shoes because they have slippery soles, or are they not athletic shoes because bowling is not a sport? And how can I finish the entry if I don't know? How will I know if I don't do the research, and how will I do the research without funding? Send money now!

And shouldn't it be the foot rather than the shoe that is called athletic? The shoe should be an ``athlete's shoe,'' but instead we have ``athlete's foot'' and ``athletic shoe.'' This isn't working right: the more I write, the more incomplete this entry gets. You know, when people say they have to run just to stay in one place, I look at their running shoes and think: if you want to get anywhere, maybe you should run the other way. If I erased this entry completely, I'd be done. Cf. sneaker.

Just to incomplete this entry more completely, I'd like to add that the odd attribution of athleticism to a shoe reminds one of homebuilding. (Well, okay, it just reminds me, but since I am one, it reminds one.) Specifically, rich folks will say something like ``I built this house in 1997'' when all they mean is that they hired a general contractor in 1996. At least with similarly misattributed corporate research and claimed accomplishments, no one doubts that the actual work was performed by humans and machines with individual identities distinct from that of the corporation. Nevertheless, have a gander at the GE entry. (Starship's ``We Built This City (on Rock and Roll)'' gets a free pass because attempting to parse rock lyrics dissolves the brain. Marconi plays the mamba. Oh noooo!)

American Truck Historical Society. ``Incorporated in 1971, the not-for-profit American Truck Historical Society was formed to preserve the history of trucks, the trucking industry, and its pioneers.''

aths, Aths, ATHS
Australian Tuchas for Huchas Society. My best guess, anyway. Okay, here's another try:

ATHlet{e|ic}S. An abbreviation particularly common in Australia, where -- in keeping with Fowler's worst suggestion and widespread UK and Oz practice -- abbreviations are frequently written without a closing period. (There is no Australian organization, so far as I have been able to determine in way too much time devoted to the search, whose initialism is ATHS.)

Addiction Treatment Inventory. A questionnaire created by TRI for drug treatment centers to report statistical data describing their programs. Used by DENS.

Advanced Thin Ionization Calorimeter. A balloon-borne cosmic-ray detector.

Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number. Here's an explanation from the 2004 edition of IRS publication 17 (Your Federal Income Tax: For Individuals), p. 15:
If you are in the process of adopting a child who is a U.S. citizen or resident and cannot get an SSN for the child [or an ITIN either] until the adoption is final, you can apply for an ATIN to use instead of an SSN.

Use form W-7A. (An ATIN is only assigned if the child has already been placed in the return-filer's home and can be claimed as a dependent. An SSN must be applied for and used as soon as possible afterwards, and use of the ATIN discontinued.)

Asian Technology Information Program. ``[A] non-profit organization dedicated to providing objective and high-quality information about technology developments in Asia.'' (Link above is to US server; http://www.atip.or.jp/ is in Tokyo.)

Advanced Threat InfraRed CounterMeasures (IRCM).

Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions. Previously called ECSA.

Association of Teachers of Japanese. That URL is more permanent than it looks, but if it ever dies, the link to ATJ from <japaneseteaching.org/> will probably be kept current.

Isn't that the Nahuatl word for water? Could be. I'll have to check.

Hmmm. So it is. And a lot of folks have come up with interesting speculations connecting Atlantis with the Nahuatl word atl and tlan, which isn't a word in Nahuatl but occurs in a bunch of names. Doubtless these connections are at least as significant as various other observed coincidences.

Active Template Library. For Microsoft Windows; used in creating server-side components and ActiveX controls.

Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

IATA abbreviation for what used to be Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport. Now it's Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. They extended the subway system connecting the gates and main terminal straight through to Mississippi and... Hmmm, let me check this. Okay, they added ``Jackson'' some time after the death in June 2003 of Maynard Jackson, the first black mayor of the city of Atlanta (he was first elected in 1973). He was active in the major expansion of Hartsfield, which was completed ``on time and under budget'' during his second term. (The quotation marks are standard, apparently because it was a phrase he took pride in repeating.) The ``Hartsfield'' honored an earlier mayor, William Hartsfield.

American Theological Library Association. Good places to go and read comforting things after you've received reading matter from the next ATLA.

Association of Trial Lawyers of America.

The trial lawyers have evidently recognized that ``trial lawyer'' is not a term with positive associations. The organization has been rebranded the ``American Association for Justice'' (AAJ).

I believe it was one of the Oliver Wendell Holmeses who remarked that there is no more trying experience than undergoing a trial. I don't think it was a tautological pun. I do imagine it was the jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., who remarked this. Holmes Senior, the doctor, practiced in the days before modern anesthetics.

Atlantic Monthly
What can I say? I won't pretend that it's the acronym expansion of ``AM'' or ``AMM.'' Even I have standards.

It was founded in 1857, so it has seen its share of ups and downs. The first years of the 21st century have been downs. Visit.

Edward Weeks was the editor from 1938 to 1966.

Abbreviated Test Language for All Systems. Used for test specification and test programming. IEEE standard 716. It's about the fourth item on this long page.

Argonne Tandem-Linac Accelerator System. Since LINAC stands for ``linear accelerator,'' one may regard ``ATLAS'' as an abbreviation of ``Argonne Tandem-Linear-Accelerator Accelerator System.'' That is an example of what we here at SBF call an AAP pleonasm (this stands for ``acronym-assisted pleonasm pleonasm'').

One would naturally expect ``ATLAS System'' as an AAP pleonasm pleonasm for ATLAS. This occurs, of course, but the AAP-assisted ``ATLAS accelerator'' pleonasm is much more common. One can also find higher-order-redundant pleonastic redundancies of higher order, like ``ATLAS LINAC accelerator at Argonne.'' ATLAS has 62 resonators.

A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS. Name of one of the six particle-detector experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The ATLAS collaboration was formed in 1992 when the proposed EAGLE (Experiment for Accurate Gamma, Lepton and Energy Measurements) and ASCOT (Apparatus with SuperCOnducting Toroids) collaborations merged their efforts into building a single, general-purpose particle detector for the LHC.

at least as good as
No worse than. (Doesn't sound so good that way, does it?)

Adobe Type Manager.

Air Traffic Management.

Amateur Telescope Maker.

Association of Teachers of Mathematics. UK organization; nearly 4000 members concerned with mathematical education in primary schools, secondary schools, colleges, polytechnics and universities.

Asynchronous Transfer Mode. A nontechnical introduction is available from the ATM Forum; the text within the gifs is hard to read.

ATM passes information in 53-byte cells consisting of 48 bytes of payload and 5 bytes of header. It's defined for 155Mbit/second data rates and faster. See also SDH.

A tod{a|o} madre. This is a common Mexican slang expression roughly equivalent to the interjection `awesome!' The initialism occurs in graffiti or wherever else one might write it, but in speech the unabbreviated words are used. At the most basic level of grammar, the form with toda would be correct, since madre is (grammatically as well as naturally) female. In practice, todo is common.

The phrase can be translated as `at full mother,' on the pattern of expressions like a toda velocidad (`at full speed'). The phrase doesn't make any more literal sense in Spanish than the translation does in English. From time to time over the past few years I've asked various Mexicans what sense they could make of the phrase, and never gotten more than admittedly ignorant speculation. It's just an idiom.

At The Moment.

Automat{ed|ic} Teller Machine. So far, only bank tellers, not fortune tellers. Okay, I'll have to think about that.

The first ATM was inaugurated in London on a Tuesday, June 27, 1967. It was apparently called an ``automated cash dispenser'' at the time. I read this in an article by James Hudnut-Beumer. He's a professor of of American religious history at Vanderbilt University, and the article, published June 21, 2017, in The Conversation, is

``Why cash remains sacred in American churches.''

It never would have occurred to me to ask the question, but I was interested to read there that Marty Baker, pastor of the Stevens Creek Church in Augusta, Georgia, is widely credited as the first to install an ATM inside a church. He installed two of them in the church lobby in 2005. Not one to do things by halves, apparently. These ATM's are also known as ``giving kiosks.'' It's striking how equivocal the verb derivatives can be -- dispense cash or dispense with cash, Kiosks that give cash or kiosks for giving, or forgiving or cash for dispensation?

Marty Baker saw that it was good, so he founded SecureGive, a for-profit company that makes and manages giving kiosks of many different persuasions. The term ``ATM,'' having been replaced in this context, has apparently been repurposed with the new expansion ``Automatic Tithing Machine,'' for a kind of giving kiosk that transfers funds directly from the giver's account into the church's. Some users place their ATM receipts in the plate (or pouch or slot or whatever) at the appropriate time in the service.

Now let's discuss some ethical, um, issues. If you write or say ``ATM machine,'' then you are a bad person. In principle, it's okay just to think it, but bad thoughts lead to bad actions, so keep that in mind. If you want to be a very bad person and burn in hell forever, say ``Automatic ATM Machine'' (the teller is silent).

Automatic Tithing Machine. Explained in previous entry.

Azienda Trasporti Municipali. Transit in Milano, Italy.

Asynchronous Transfer Mode Address Resolution Protocol.

Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)-Data eXchange Interface (DXI)

A unit of pressure [abbrev. atm.] equal to 105,350 Pa. Vide bar.

[Phone icon]

Automated (Telephone) Trunk Measurement System.

Aeronautical Telecommunications Network.

Augmented Transition Network (parser).

Abort To Orbit. Space shuttle landing abort plan; AOA, RTLS, and TAL are other options.

Actual Time Over. Actual as opposed to targeted or predicted time that an aircraft passes a coordination point.

Australian Taxation Office.

Automatic Train Operation.

Association of Train Operating Companies. ``[A]n unincorporated association owned by its members. It was set up by the train operating companies formed during the privatisation of [UK] railways under the Railways Act 1993.''

Automatic Transfer Of Kana kanji. Kana is the Japanese syllabary, with about 95 characters -- hiragana and katakana (about 145 including diacriticals). Kanji are Chinese characters used in Japanese (a few thousand).

atomic mass
Physicists' term meaning mass of an atom, when the mass is given in amu (atomic mass units). Totally different from atomic weight, you understand, although quantitatively identical.

atomic names
Given names without accepted shorter form. What is ``accepted'' is, of course, a matter of opinion.) Many atomic names, such as Drew, Joe, Ron, Sam, and Tom, are short or diminutive forms of other names. Since every name that is not itself atomic must by definition have an accepted form that is shorter, and given the usual mathematical facts about phonemes, every name must be or yield at least one atomic name. Some of these are probably only rarely given names themselves, since there does seem to continue to be a tendency to avoid giving legal names that are primarily used as nicknames based on other names. Aargh! Why does everything have to get so complicated when you think about it? I really only wanted to mention traditional atomic names like Kim, Lee, and Saul.

For obvious reasons, atomic names tend to be monosyllabic. Aaron and Oscar are pretty solid exceptions, although I knew an automobile repairman who used ``Os'' for the latter.

A semiconductor physicist of my acquaintance was upset when his granddaughter was given the non-atomic (molecular?) name ``Candace.'' He feared she would end up being called ``Candy,'' not be taken seriously as a student in school, drop out, and lead an miserably unambitious, unliberated existence. This is only a slightly extreme version of the theory that Nomenclature is Destiny. (Following that link you can find another kind of atomic name: Atom Egoyan.)

atomic number
The number of protons in a nucleus. Physicists abbreviate this by the capital letter Z.

atomic weight
Chemists' term, short for relative atomic weight. The atomic weight of a chemical substance is one twelfth of the weight in grams of one mole of the substance, divided by the weight in grams of one mole of carbon atoms. Because of the principle of equivalence (even just the weak principle of equivalence), this ratio is the same at any altitude, so it's practically a measure of mass.

Physicists define a quantity that is one twelfth the mass of a carbon atom. (Or, if you prefer, defined as one twelfth the mass of a mole of carbon atoms, divided by Avogadro's number, which is the number of carbon atoms in a mole of carbon atoms.) Since a ratio of masses equals the corresponding ratio of weights (principle of equivalence, remember?) the mass of an atom of some element (its atomic mass), given in amu, equals the atomic weight of the element.

Physicists prefer to distinguish mass and force (weight), so in contexts typically described or analyzed in physical terms, one tends to see the atomic mass term. (These contexts are more likely to be in solid, surface, interface, gas, or plasma phase, and to depend on detailed dynamics of individual particles matter. Typical instance: atomic mass spectroscopy.) Chemists tend to deal primarily with weights, and in chemical contexts, one sees atomic weight. (Chemical contexts are predominantly liquid-phase, typically involving macroscopic numbers of particles. Any situation involving a molecular species or chemical reaction is likely to be analyzed in chemical terms.) It is, of course, impossible to define a sharp boundary between chemical and physical contexts or approaches. To some extent, the distinction is one of conceptual approach, even when the substantive situation is the same, and has more to do with pedagogical traditions in the different disciplines than with any great difference in effectiveness.

Asynchronous Transfer mode (ATM)-Oriented Multimedia Information System.

Atoms in the Family
The title of a book by Laura Fermi (neé Capon) about her husband Enrico, the famous physicist who died in 1954. The book was published that year by the University of Chicago Press. As Laura explained in the acknowledgments, it was Dr. Cyril Smith who gave her the idea for the book.
``You should write your husband's biography,'' he told me. ``I cannot,'' I answered. ``My husband is the man I cook for and iron shirts for. How can I take him that seriously?''

Fermi is one of my favorite physicists, and this is one of my favorite books.

atom smasher
Atoms are very small. I guess that's why they're so hard to smash. I may have something to say here later about cyclotrons and other accelerators, but for now I just wanted to have this entry here for a quote.

Interviewed at a training session in Las Vegas, ahead of a non-title bout February 22, 2003, 36-year-old juvenile delinquent Mike Tyson was being philosophical about his bad-boy image: ``Every religion has a saying about throwing stones in glass houses. I can't throw a sand pebble. I can't spit, I can't throw an atom at nobody.'' (This and other reflective contemplations in the London Independent, February 10, 2003. More about this fascinating creature at the bite me entry, coming soon.)

atonal music
Music that has tones, alright, but no key -- or many. Sounds like it keeps slipping a cog. Generally associated with the name of Schönberg, but it was pioneered by Liszt as early as the 1830's. Schönberg (1874-1951) had to emigrate to the US to escape the Nazis, and the separation from even that small audience that could appreciate his work was a living death.

Absolute Thermoelectric Power.

Acceptance Test Plan.

Adenosine TriPhosphate. A kind of biological fuel for internal transport in a biological cell. Energy is stored in ADP by adding a phosphate group, and extracted by removing it, elsewhere, from the product ATP. In a pinch, you can extract a bit more energy from ADP by removing another phosphate group and leaving AMP.

Advanced TurboProp. Made by British Aerospace. As of this writing (8/1996), United Express flies these critters from O'Hare to South Bend seven (7) times a day. Total flight time is only 25 minutes. Most of them are only four or five years old, so you have pretty favorable odds of arriving.

Airline Transport Pilot. Highest grade of pilot certificate.

All Tests Pass.

Alternate Transient Program. A version of Electromagnetic Transient Program (EMTP), a standard code for real-time simulation of power systems including single-phase and three-phase balanced and unbalanced circuit modeling, various equivalent-circuit models for T-lines, and time-dependent models for simulating circuit breakers, lightning arrestors, and faults. Considered user-inimical.

Appletalk Transaction Protocol.

Application Transaction { Protocol | Program }.

Association of Tennis Professionals.

Authority To Proceed. Granted by Air Traffic Control.

Automatic Train Protection. A system used on some British railway lines. The system determines a maximum safe speed for the train and applies the brakes if that speed is exceeded. There were plans to install it widely in the 1990's, but costs proved greater than expected.

American Technological Preeminence Act.

Gee, you don't think this wording will offend anyone? Nah -- I checked it out. All our constituents are fine with it.

Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers. Members of this trade union are not strictly required to be theatrical themselves; they just serve as publicists and managers of theater productions -- which productions are themselves theatrical in some sense of the word.

You wanted that spelled out.

Automatic Test-Pattern Generation.

Association of Teachers of Preventive Medicine. Founded in 1942, it's ``the national association supporting health promotion and disease prevention educators and researchers.... ATPM members also include members of the Association of Preventive Medicine Residents.''

AppleTalk Print Services.

Americans for Tax Reform. A group that wants taxes reduced. It's not officially affiliated with the GOP.

You know, this entry used to read

``Americans for Tax Reform. A group not officially affiliated with the GOP that wants taxes reduced.''

That was funnier, but the edited entry is better because we want to serve browsers who visit us with precise and unambiguous definitions.

Attenuated Total Reflection.


Authorization To Recruit.

Automat{ed|ic} Target Recogni{tion|zer}.

Remember in Robocop, that behemoth with machine guns that required some adjustment?

Assistive Technology Resource Alliance.

Adaptive TRansform Acoustic Coding.

Atom-Transfer Radical Polymerization.

Abstract Test Suite.

(FAA) Air Traffic Services.

Asian Test Symposium.

Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.

They're in the accreditation business. That could get interesting.

Auxiliary Territorial Service. A British something or other founded in 1941.

Advanced Television Systems Committee. ``ATSC was formed by the Joint Committee on Inter-Society Coordination (JCIC) to establish voluntary technical standards for advanced television systems, including digital high definition television (HDTV). ATSC suggests positions to the Department of State for their use in international standards organizations. ATSC proposes standards to the Federal Communications Commission.''

Australian Telecommunication Standardisation Committee.

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe RailRoad (RR).

(Australia's) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

ATSIC was created in 1990 by the Labor government of Hawke. During parliamentary discussion of the ATSIC Act in 1989, MP John Howard said that establishing ATSIC would be ``sheer national idiocy'' and described ATSIC as a ``black Parliament.'' As PM in 2004, he's getting his opportunity to replace it. It's a fascinating story, so now you know what to look out for.

(Australia's) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Services. In April 2003, this new government agency was created by Philip Ruddock (then the indigenous affairs minister). This agency was to manage ATSIC's budget under policy direction from ATSIC's elected leaders.

Laotian monetary unit. But what would you buy with it?

[Phone icon]

American Telephone and Telegraph [Company].

Gothic for `father.' The first sentence of the Lord's Prayer in Gothic is
Atta unsar þu in himinam, weihnái namô þein;.

Attila (ca. 406-453), was the last and most powerful king of the Hun empire. His fame was such that he remains famous (in Hungary and Turkey) and infamous (in the rest of the West) to this day. His name remains a popular boy's given name today in Hungary and (also as Atilla) in Turkey. The last of his many wives was named Ildikó, and that name is still used in Hungary today. The wife of a colleague from Hungary has that name, and she explained its origin to me with pride. (But maybe she just enjoys the expected shock value.)

Ildikó was a Goth, and he died shortly after marrying her. Historians tend to trust the reports of Priscus, a historian who traveled with Maximin on an embassy from Theodosius II in 448. According to Priscus, he died on the night after a feast celebrating that last marriage. After he was buried with rich funeral objects, his funeral party was killed to keep his burial place secret. Let's review: a man of moderate dietary habits, in his mid-forties, apparently healthy and with everything in the world to live for, gets a nosebleed and chokes to death. Many are dead and no one alive will admit he attended the funeral. This doesn't sound suspicious? ``The Scourge of God'' didn't have any enemies? Other reports say one or another of his wives killed him, but the reports that have come down to us are not contemporary. If only Dan Rather would give us his gut sense of the matter, then we could be sure.

The Hun empire included many Goths, and in the Gothic language, Attila can be understood as `little father.' Ata or Atta is also a common word for `father' in various Central Asian or at least Turkic languages (see ata), and in one or another of these Attila may mean `land-father.' There are other possibilities. You could look it up.

Stalin, another fellow with some blood on his hands, was known by the epithet of ``little father.'' In Romanian, that was tatucul. Here I guess we see the diminutive ending -cul preserved from Latin. According to the W. Meyer-Lübke Romanisches etymologisches Wörterbuch, the Romanian word tata, meaning `father,' has cognates in many Romance languages, though not in Latin. The meaning in some of these other languages is familial but varies. In Old Romanian taica meant `older sibling, advisor to young maidens,' and some tata cognates have referred variously to a younger sibling, older sibling, maiden, etc. Come to think of it, I've heard ``tatas'' used in English. It had something to do with mamas, iirc. Let me look that up in a slang dictionary... oh! I guess I don't want to go there.

There's a cognate of tata that also meant `father' in Lombardic. This was the language of a West Germanic tribe that settled in northern Italy and ended up speaking a version of Romance with little Germanic vocabulary left in it, so this is a weak reed to support a Germanic etymology. The Meyer-Lübke doesn't draw any connection to East Germanic (i.e., Gothic) or other pre-Romance languages. It seems very hung up on the idea that the initial vowel would not have been elided. In the instance of one Romance tata variant [(l)ata], it suggests a possible connection with the word ätti in Swiss German (i.e., one of the local varieties of German spoken in Switzerland). I have one thing to say to these crazy linguists: get your head out of your ass!

Before Stalin, and before he himself had much blood on his own hands, Tsar Nicholas II was known as the little father. His enemy Nestor Makhnos (a bloody anarchist military commander) was given the nickname batko by his men; this meant `little father.'

When John F. Kennedy ran for president in 1960, his younger brother Bobby Kennedy served as campaign manager. He was rather bossy with the campaign staff, who used to say ``Little Brother is Watching You.'' (I just figured I'd throw that in there for a little comic relief, so it's not all about dictatorial leaders or bloody assassinations.)

Okay now, back to that earlier Scourge of God. The stress in the English pronunciation of Attila is on the second syllable, but in Gothic and in modern Serbo-Croatian it is on the first syllable. All the continental German forms of the name apparently have initial stress.

Middle High German documents from around 1200 record Attila's name as Etzel. This represents two systematic sound shifts: (1) umlaut, specifically assimilation of a to i (yes, even though the vowels were originally separated by a consonant; that's how umlaut works), and (b) affrication of the voiceless stop /t/ into /ts/, part of the second Germanic sound shift (LV). Attila's name provides one bit of evidence that, in at least one High Germanic dialect, the LV2 process had not ended by about 450. Taken all together, the various bits of evidence suggest that LV2 began spreading from the southern extreme of the West Germanic region in the sixth century (probably from Lombardy, when the Lombards still spoke a Germanic language).

Etzel became an important character in medieval German folklore. Edsel is a variant form of the name. The most famous person to bear it in modern times was Edsel Ford, son of the Henry Ford who founded the car company named after himself. When the company introduced a new line of cars in the late 1950's, they got the name Edsel. The line flopped infamously, and the name Edsel came to stand for commercial failure. Studies later showed that one of the many reasons it failed was a public perception of the Edsel name as odd. Naming the the new line ``Attila'' or something else better known would probably not have helped much, however: the line was introduced at the start of a recession that killed off the Nash, Packard, Hudson, and DeSoto marques, and left one or two others mortally wounded.

The Ford family was partly of Dutch or Flemish descent, but if there is a particular reason for the choice of name, it is not publicly known. There have been reports that the Ford family was opposed to using Edsel as the name of a car line, but their objections can't have been too strong. The company had been family-owned, only becoming a publicly traded corporation in 1956, but the Ford family has retained a controlling interest to this day (July 24, 2005, if you must know). The company had great trouble choosing a name, even going so far as to solicit some famously terrible suggestions from the famous poet Marianne Moore (``The Intelligent Whale,'' ``The Utopian Turtletop,'' ``The Pastelogram,'' ``The Mongoose Civique''). Plato was right about poets. At the meeting that chose the name, Ernest Breech stepped into the breach. Chairing the meeting in the absence of Henry Ford II, he urged the adoption of Edsel, name of the company's second president.

Agence de Transfert de Technologie Financière. ``ATTF Luxembourg was created in 1999 by the State of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg (Ministry of Finance) - main shareholder, the Central Bank of Luxembourg (BCL), the Chamber of Commerce of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg, the Financial Sector Supervisory Commission (CSSF), the Institute for Training in Banking, Luxembourg (IFBL), the Luxembourg Bankers' Association (ABBL - replaced in 2002 by the Federation of the Professionals of the Financial Sector - PROFIL) and the University of Luxembourg....''

American Telephone and Telegraph Global Information Solutions. The former NCR, after it was bought out, and before it was spun off.

at the weekend
British for `over the weekend' or `on the weekend.' The two translations given here have slightly different but overlapping ranges of meaning. Without venturing to specify these precisely, it seems that in Canada the semantic ranges are not the same as in the US: googling with restrictions to .ca and .us TLD's indicates that the on form (not the on reading!) is relatively more popular in the former. Gorrr, these people are making the language incomprehensible!

At this time portable electronic devices may now be used.
Around the time also heralded by ``At this time you are now free to move about the cabin, but we ask that otherwise you remain seated with your seat-belt fastened for your safety.'' Not long after the ``last and final boarding call'' for your flight.

attire, proper
I feel certain that somewhere in this glossary there is a muddled, poorly-remembered reference to the material quoted below, but as I have only a muddled, poor recollection of where that entry is, I'll deposit the quotation here. It's taken from page 19 in my Pocket Books copy (chapter 3, at any event) of John P. Marquand's The Late George Apley. (Marquand's Apleys are fictional; the book is a satire so gentle that you have to read pagefuls just to get a laugh.)

  Shortly before he [Thomas Apley, the writer's (George's) father] purchased in Beacon Street he had been drawn, like so many others, to build one of those fine bow-front houses around one of these shady squares in the South End. When he did so nearly everyone was under the impression that this district would be one of the most solid residential sections of Boston instead of becoming, as it is to-day, a region of rooming houses and worse. You may have seen those houses in the South End, fine mansions with dark walnut doors and beautiful woodwork. One morning, as Tim, the coachman, came up with the carriage, to carry your Aunt Amelia and me to Miss Hendrick's Primary School, my father, who had not gone down to his office at the usual early hour because he had a bad head cold, came out with us to the front steps. I could not have been more than seven at the time, but I remember the exclamation that he gave when he observed the brownstone steps of the house across the street.
  ``Thunderation,'' Father said, ``there is a man in his shirt sleeves on those steps.'' The next day he sold his house for what he paid for it and we moved to Beacon Street. Father had sensed the approach of change; a man in his shirt sleeves had told him that the days of the South End were numbered.

For more Marquand material, see the BF entry. For yet more material -- the whole nine yards, as it were -- try Sartor Resartus, by Thomas Carlyle.

(No, no one really knows the origin of the expression ``the whole nine yards.'' I'm sure there's a Nobel prize in it for the fellow who cracks that nut.)

American Telephone & Telegraph Information Systems. I've seen both this and ATTGIS used.

ATTN, Attn.

attributive noun
A noun functioning as a modifier--usually as an adjective.

An attributive noun may itself be a compound noun or noun phrase. In that case, the attributive noun is traditionally hyphenated. Thus, the noun phrase ``intermediate frequency,'' consisting of the adjective intermediate modifying the noun frequency, becomes the attributive noun ``intermediate-frequency'' and can modify the noun amplifier in the noun phrase ``intermediate-frequency amplifier.'' The hyphen allows a reader encountering the words intermediate and frequency in sequence to parse them immediately as a modifier. If a compound attributive noun is written without a hyphen, then a reader is likely to misinterpret it initially as a subject or predicate, and is forced to reread or rethink the text when the noun functioning as noun is finally encountered.

Of particular interest in the present reference is the fact that the better literature, back in the day, preserved the hyphen in abbreviations. Hence, an intermediate-frequency amplifier was abbreviated I.-F. amp., whereas the center frequency of the signals such a device was designed to amplify was simply I.F. Sigh. For old times' sake, we've indicated the various historical abbreviated forms for the electronics abbreviations DC, AC, and IF. In part, this preservation of hyphenation in abbreviated forms was intended to help the reader recognize the abbreviation. It was an innocent time. A similar motivation led to the disappearance of periods in British abbreviations, as discussed in the Mr entry. We now continue with the discussion of attributive-noun hyphenation in unabbreviated cases.

The hyphenation rule is applied loosely. Some noun phrases, particularly proper nouns (e.g., Dow Jones) or disciplinary titles (e.g., Fluid Mechanics) are likely to be recognized as attributive in context and are not hyphenated. Sometimes the attributive noun phrase itself consists of an attributive compound noun modifying another noun (so in formal rather than functional terms, one may have an adjective followed by three nouns). In these cases there is no generally accepted rule; one hyphenates in whatever way seems likely to make the meaning clear most immediately.

In the case of attributive noun phrases that include a quantifier, American usage follows an interesting rule: when the noun phrase is transformed into a modifier, the noun component of the original phrase is put into singular form. For example, the noun phrase ``two cars'' becomes the adjective ``two-car,'' as in ``two-car garage.'' British usage does not follow this rule (hence ``two cars garage'', with the stress on the first syllable of garage and the comma after the quote for good measure). I'm not sure what the traditional rule has been, but now the plural-singular transformation seems to apply sometimes in Britain. It might just be American media influence. Canadian usage appears to coincide with US. Another example: ``nine days' wonder'' (British) vs. ``nine-day wonder'' (N. American). Of course, there are exceptions. See if you can find the one in the car alarm entry!

Another difference between British and North American dialects' use of plural (but not directly concerning attributive nouns) has to do with the grammatical number of collective nouns. In North American English, collective nouns are generally grammatically singular unless the noun form is plural (``Congress meets,'' ``the Miami Heat is out of the play-offs,'' but ``the Yankees win''). In British, collective nouns are usually grammatically plural even when the noun form is singular (``Manchester United win'').

Attributive nouns get a mention in the Latin lesson at the A.M. entry.

Atü, atü
German, Atmosphärenüberdruck. English, `above atmospheric pressure.'

Advanced-Technology Vehicle.

Advanced TeleVision. FCC term encompassing everything from digital HDTV to enhancements of the current analog standard. Here's their latest document on the matter, as of early 1998. The IEEE Approved Indexing Keyword List instructs that HDTV be used in place of ATV. I like this idea better than the FCC's, because frankly, ``advanced television'' is an oxymoron.

All-Terrain Vehicle.

ATazanaVir. A protease inhibitor used in the treatment of AIDS.

All-Terrain Vehicle Association. Sister organization: AMA.

American Theatre Wing. Their logo displays a mask with two of them (wings, that is; the feathered sort, not the architectural). ATW is ``devoted to promoting excellence in the American theatre.'' I infer that this is done by staging expensive productions of musicals in New York City. ATW bestows Tony Awards.

``Wing'' sounds kind of martial. Or maybe wings are intended to suggest angels' wings and death. Vide ATBM.

``As the World Turns.'' A CBS daytime soap opera.

German, Abgasuntersuchung. `Gas emission investigation.' Cf. ASU.


French with the same meaning but not the same usage as à le. The French expression à le is used primarily to explain what au means. I suppose au can be regarded as a contraction of à le.

A contraction of à   la is à la.

Americans United for separation of church and state.

AU, a.u.
Astronomical Unit. The average earth-sun distance. Obviously this is not a very precise definition: even the two most obvious averages -- time average and angular average -- are unequal by Kepler's 2-3 law. No matter, the eccentricity of earth's orbit is small (~1%). In the most interesting units, 1 AU = 8.3 light minutes. In units that would be more meaningful to those planning to drive, it's about 149.6 million kilometers (that's 92 or 93 million miles, give or take a gas station). Even though we could do so, we do not give a more precise value at this entry. After all, el que quiere celeste, que le cueste. Also, we get more hits this way. See the IAU entry.

Auburn University (in Auburn, Alabama).


Latin, Aulus. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina.


Chemical symbol for gold, from the Latin aurum. For a bit on gold in semiconductor electronics, see the Gold entry. For a bit on the geology of gold mines, see the pluton entry. For a movie connection see AU1.

For more general information visit the gold entry in WebElements and the entry at Chemicool, where it was #2 on the Top Five List a long time ago when I checked.

AUdio. Filename extension for a Sun Unix sound file format.

Australia (ISO code used in TCP/IP addresses). Country code 61 for telephone. Currently, the country consists of six states, some territories with various degrees of self-government (the Northern Territory, the Australian Capital Territory, and Norfolk Island) and various federally administered external territories.

Association des Universités Africaines / Association of African Universities.

Association of University Architects.

African Union Broadcasters.

American University of Beirut.


a.u.c., A.U.C., AUC
Ab Urbe Condita. Latin: `from the founding of the city [of Rome]' (around 753 BCE). Roman date designation.

Area Under Curve. True, it's a count-on-your-fingers way to say `integrated,' but medical researchers apparently use this expression `professionally.' Maybe they're trying to drum up new business; the acronym certainly makes me sick. In the medical context, AUC is frequently the time integral of a solute concentration in blood or plasma.

Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia. Spanish, `united self-defense [forces] of Colombia.' Nominally a union of at-least-originally independent militias fighting against the left-wing armies of Colombia (ELN and FARC), and the name acronym is construed plural in Spanish, but nevertheless it does appear to be under a single command. I seem to recall it was begun by Jesús A. Castaño, who was killed in 1980, and continues under the leadership of his sons.

It is certainly in organizations of people that grammatical-number distinctions begin to blur. This is even more the case for the military and civilian ``wings,'' or what have you, or organizations regarded as terrorist.

This is interesting: they seem to have a website.

Association Universitaire Catholique d'Aide aux Missions. A publisher in Louvain.

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada. Despite the enormous difference between the vocabularies of English and French, this organization somehow managed to contrive a French name that would correspond to the same initialism (it's usually impossible): Association des universités et collèges du Canada.

Academy of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Organizations. It appears that

au courant
French: `up to date.'

Stupid: `with berries.'

Sometimes I feel like a wrote a beautiful reference work and some jerk-off came along and scrawled graffiti all over it, and it turned out that I was the jerk-off. I also have an entry for au.

Doctor of AUdiology. According to itself, this ADA is the ``Home of the Au.D.''


The Audi car company (fnd'd. 1909) got its name from the imperative singular of audio (Latin for `I hear') because the founder, a German named August Horch, had sold the rights to his name along with his first car company (fnd'd. 1899). The use of a Latin calque was the man's son's suggestion. Perhaps it's a slight approximation or exaggeration to call it a calque. Oh, alright, it's not a calque -- audi is the Latin translation of German horch. [The German verbs hören (`to hear') and horchen (`to listen') are cognate with the English words hear and hearken. Needless to say, all are cognate with das Ohr, `ear.'] The semantic distance between horchen and hören is perhaps not so great as between listen and hear.]

Im Jahre 1932, Audi and Horch combined, along with Wanderer and DKW (Das kleine Wunder), into Auto-Union, adopting a logo in the form of four interlocking rings that is still the trademark of Audi. [Kleine Wunder can be literally translated `small wonder,' but the German expression only has the sense of `small miracle,' and does not suggest `no surprise [that]' like the English expression. Little wonder the company folded and was merged away.]

More details on Audi company history here.

I cribbed this from a posting on the Classics list, naturally. Here it is in the archives.

Incidentally, Audi is itself not, um, unheard of as a surname. Robert Audi (b. 1941), for instance, is the author of many philosophical works, such as Action, Intention, and Reason (Cornell University Press, 1993), and general editor of The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy (CUP, 1/e 1995, 2/e 1999).

a.u.e, a.u.E, AUE, aue
Alt.Usage.English, a newsgroup.

AUstralian Eastern Standard Time.

German noun (fem.) meaning `eye.'

Spanish noun (masc.) meaning `culmination' or, in a figurative sense, `apogee.'

I'd like to mention that symbol on the greenback, the eye above the pyramid, and I would, if I could see any excuse to do it.

Auger process
Two-stage photo-ionization process, in which the energy of a photon is initially absorbed by a deeply-bound state. This electron has not absorbed enough energy to escape (to be ionized). When the hole it leaves behind is filled, however, the energy is transferred to an electron in a higher-lying state, which does become ionized. [Pronounced ``Oh-zhay.'']

Associated Universities, Inc. ``... a not-for-profit corporation based in Washington, DC. It was founded in 1946 by nine northeastern universities to manage major scientific facilities. AUI currently operates the National Radio Astronomy Observatory under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation [NSF].''

Attachment Unit Interface. A type of connector.


Latin, Aulus. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina.

Standard (Hepburn) transliteration of Japanese version of the Indian holy syllable om. Part of the name of the Japanese poison-gas cult Aum Shinrikyo mentioned at the LPF entry. Shinrikyo means something like `supreme truth.'

Authorization for Use of Military Force. Name of an act of the US Congress passed on September 14, 2001.

African Union Mission in Sudan. Officially AMIS, q.v.

Acceptable Use Policy.

Association of University Programs in Health Administration. It describes itself as ``a not-for-profit association of university-based educational programs, faculty, practitioners, and provider organizations. Its members are dedicated to continuously improving the field of healthcare management and practice. It is the only non-profit entity of its kind that works to improve the delivery of health services throughout the world - and thus the health of citizens - by educating professional managers at the entry level.''

au pis
French expression literally meaning something like `at worst' (see au and pis aller). The English expression ``at worst'' often has a meliorating connotation, as if to suggest that the worst possible may not be so bad. The flatter connotation of au pis is apparently better captured by `if worse comes to worst.' I suggest the mnemonic ``oh piss!'' (Better yet ``aw pee!'')

Incidentally, pis also means `udder,' so ``veau au pis'' does not have to mean `calf at worst.' Unfortunately, ``pis pis'' just means `worse udder.' I was kinda hoping there could be an udder-worst-type pun.

Association of University Radiologists. Affiliated societies on the web: APDR and A3CR2.

Auriga. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy.

AppleTalk Update-based Routing Protocol.

Autonomous Undersea System[s]. (US Navy acronym.)

AUStralian Computer Emergency Response Team. ``Emergencies'' are security breaches. See CERT for other relevant organizations.

ausgeruhter Kopf
`Well-rested head' in German. The education director of a Texas academy emailed today to praise our WAC entry. It reminds me of the classic movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High, from 1982. It was a perfect movie. For example, its main page at IMDb says that the ``plot synopsis is empty.'' See what I mean? Perfect! Anyway, one of the characters is Brad Hamilton (played by Judge Reinhold) who likes to describe himself as ``a single, successful guy,'' at least until he loses his job and his girlfriend. It just goes to demonstrate the fragility of life.

But I wasn't reminded of this immediately. I just mentioned the email to mom, and read her the WACky entry. She didn't think it was so inspired. I must have read it too fast. Yeah, that's it. Then I mentioned that yesterday I had an email from a guy who wrote ``And Stammtisch Beau Fleuve means what? Table reserved by a beautiful river?'' That made her laugh, even though it's a fair interpretation. After she stopped laughing, she commented that what her grandmother would have said about the glossary was (is?) that it's the product of an ausgeruhter Kopf. Googling on this phrase and related ones (vom ausgeruhten Kopf, etc.) suggests that this is no longer, if it ever was, a common expression. Anyway, since you asked what I wrote (you did, didn't you?), here it is:

``Beau fleuve'' is believed to have been used in reference to the Niagara River, and to be the source, in corrupt form, of the name of the city of Buffalo. I started the glossary when I was an asst. prof at the University of Buffalo, and there was a bunch of friends I ate lunch with regularly. At the time (1995), the fellow in charge of Engineering Computing was stupidly reluctant to let me set up a web site for a small glossary of microelectronics terms (and some other words and abbreviations I used in class). To bypass him, I got a website from a different university webserver for the stated purpose of having a web presence for a university group (my lunch group). To get the relevant university official to grant my request, I tried to make it sound a bit more serious or at least established [than it actually was], so I gave our informal group a name.

Asociación de Universidades confiadas a la Compañía de Jesús en América Latina. (Spanish: `Association of Universities entrusted to the Society of Jesus [SJ] in Latin America.') Corresponding US organization is AJCU.

AUstralian Science and TEchnology Heritage Centre. Launched in December 1999, it was the immediate successor to ASAP.

AUStralian TELecommunication Authority.

See Janeite.

Australia Day
Previously known as Anniversary Day and Foundation Day, Australia Day commemorates the beginning of settlement in Australia, when Governor Arthur Phillip landed at Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788. Interestingly, this is a holiday that was once celebrated as a Monday holiday to make a three-day weekend, but which now is celebrated on the actual day. In the years before the 1988 bicentennial, it was celebrated on the first Monday following January 26, but in 1988 it was celebrated on the anniversary (a Tuesday that year) and has been ever since.

For someone whose national holiday celebrates independence and freedom, the particulars of the event commemorated on Australia Day can induce queasiness. Governor Phillip came to found a penal colony. The ships he came with carried, in addition to 450 sailors and government personnel, over 750 prisoners (including 15 children).

Australia celebrates its other national holiday in common with New Zealand: Anzac Day, described at the ANZAC entry. Australia has other public holidays, but they're not especially national: Good Friday and Easter Monday (I guess that's a three-day weekend plus a day to dry out), Christmas and Boxing Day, and New Year's Day. There are three officially observed days that are not public holidays: Commonwealth Day (second Monday in March), Mother's Day (second Sunday in May), and Father's Day (first Sunday in September). Various other holidays are widely celebrated unofficially or are official at the state level, but are not declared public holidays at the national level (so I understand). These include the Monarch's birthday and Labour Day.

Labour Day in Australia is celebrated on different days in different states. The day generally commemorates the establishment of the eight-hour day, and this was won separately by various trade unions at different times in different states. The eight-hour day was an early focus of the union movement (see 888) in the nineteenth century.

Austrian scientific suicides
It seems like a category large enough, or at least disproportionate enough, to merit its own entry:
  1. September 5: Ludwig Boltzmann
  2. September 23: Paul Kammerer
  3. September 25: Paul Ehrenfest

UK Association of University Teachers. According to a webpage viewed in April 2005, it was ``the trade union and professional association for over 48,700 UK higher education professionals'' (this included not just instructional personnel but also librarians and some others). In addition to a newsletter, they had a magazine cleverly named ``AUTlook.'' Alas, this bit of cleverness will have to be abandoned. In 2006, AUT merged with NATFHE to form a new union is called the University and College Union (UCU).

One of those ``little magazines.'' This one is published in Puerto Rico and is dedicated to bad poetry in Spanish (subtitle: Revista Internacional de Poesía). Perfect-bound, glossy cover. The cool thing about it is the way they assign dates to the issues. Vol. 1, Núm. 8 is dated ``Noviembre 2002 a febrero 2003.'' Isn't that great?

Rhyme schemes? We don' need no steenkeen rhyme schemes!

Checking authorization. This is a special terminology used by DSL dialers. For example, say you launch the dialer and it reports
Dialer Error629.  Connection closed by remote computer.
Technical support will conclude that you're successfully connecting but that there are other problems. Check the cabling. Power down and power up. Turn off all other appliances. Jog around the block. Hmm. Apparently your operating system is too old. You should spend a few hundred dollars on an OS upgrade and more memory. Look, why not just buy a new computer? Etc.

Thank him politely and call back later. Talk to someone who understands the arcane terminology. ``Authorized''? Let's try another userid and password. Ah-hah -- works! The problem appears to be: your password was munged!


By the way, the equivalent terminology from the ``Online Control Pad'' dialog box is

Internet Connection Not Established

Network connection is not available.
Do you want to work offline?
This typically means `password mistyped.'

AUTOmobile. In Scandinavian countries, bil is common.

Humphrey Carpenter has speculated that
Autobiography is probably the most respectable form of lying.

Maybe it's the only form.

According to the back-cover copy of her An Accidental Autobiography, Barbara Grizzuti Harrison was asked to describe the book she was writing and responded, ``an autobiography in which I am not the main character.'' This doesn't strike me as particularly novel.

A term from Greek roots meaning `self-headed.' It sounds like it ought to have something to do with soccer. I don't remember our ninth-grade gym teacher, Mr. Carey, using that term when he introduced us to the exotic sport of ``sock-a-bowel'' and pint-size Armando introduced us to the experience of being consistently and reliably out-dribbled, but somehow I'm not surprised. Anyway, it turns out to be a term meaning `self-governed,' used to describe different Orthodox (i.e., Eastern rite) churches.

AUTOmatic DIgital Network. Part of DMS.

Transfer of infection from one part of the body to another part of the same body. The standard otoscope or whatever it's called has a disposable paper cover for the cone that fits in the outer ear. After looking in my infected ear (outer-ear infection; I guess that qualifies as a sports injury if you catch it in an Olympic pool), my doctor went around to check the uninfected ear. ``Shouldn't you change that?'' ``No, the infection won't transfer.''

Supposing for the sake of argument that he's wrong, I wonder: is infection transferred from one part of the body to another part of the same body by the good offices of a physician properly ``autoinfection,'' ``iatrogenic infection,'' or what? And is the physician a ``vector'' or the 'scope a ``vehicle''? (An auto? BTW, the word transfection refers to something else entirely.)

The last time I had a check-up, I asked him (same doctor) why he was examining my ears. What was he actually looking for? He said he was looking for my brain; if it wasn't there he'd be able to see straight across. If I'd had a brain I would have pointed out that in that case, there was no need to check on both sides.

The Divinyls had a hit with ``I Touch Myself.'' The middle line of the chorus is ``When I think about you I touch myself.'' Sort of like doing push-ups, I suppose.

You know, the three main forms of plague -- bubonic, pneumonic, and septic, in increasing order of how soon an obituary may be needed -- all result from infection by the same bacterium (Yersinia pestis). They differ essentially in where they are or start out, and one kind can turn into another. Similarly, pulmonary tuberculosis (the usual TB), scrofula, and a host of other unpleasant diseases can all arise from the same bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Some of these diseases, however, can be caused by other similar bacteria. Scrofula in children is usually caused by Mycobacterium scrofulaceum or Mycobacterium avium.

Spontaneous ionization of a motor vehicle occurring in equilibrium, or the same process occuring with something other than an auto. The reaction
H2O --> H+ + OH-

is a common example of autoionization.

automatic camp-on
You stay on a line that rings busy, and when your called party hangs up, your call rings through. I could use this to call some people.

A Spanish word meaning `able to care for oneself.' Effectively an antonym of the English word invalid.

AUTOmatic VOice Network.

This US military network was activated in December 1963, and became the principal long-haul, nonsecure voice communications network within the Defense Communications System. It eventually became a part of the Defense Switched Network (DSN), the replacement system activated in 1990 to provide long-distance telephone service to the military.

You can get more information about this system from the `touch tone dials'' page at telephonetribute.com and by following links from the AFCA home page.

When I worked at military labs in the 1980's, my desk phone was always part of AUTOVON. I could call out of the network (and most of my calls off base were off network as well). When calling people at other government labs, I had a choice: I could call their regular number (seven-digit number, preceded by an area code if different from mine) or I could call them within AUTOVON, in which case I always dialed a seven-digit number. The last four digits of the AUTOVON number were the same as the ordinary phone number, and the first three digits essentially identified the military site. There was a slight preference for calling within AUTOVON when possible, simply for budget reasons. Otherwise, for low- or non-ranking people like me, AUTOVON was not noticeably different from the regular civilian phone network.

AUTOVON, derived from the Army's Switched Circuit Automatic Network, was in fact designed to provide the Department of Defense with an internal telephone capability functionally equivalent to toll and Wide Area Telephone Service (WATS) calls. However, it was also designed to provide precedence preemption for high-priority (much-higher-priority-than-me) users. This was implemented with a fourth column of keys, the fourth (1633-Hz) column at the DTMF entry. The column, labeled A/B/C/D from top row to bottom row there, had keys labeled FO/F/I/P, for Flash Override, Flash, Immediate, and Priority. (Also, the octothorpe key was labeled A.) Higher keys had higher precedence, and pressing one had the effect of pre-empting any lower-precedence call that was in the way. (The precedence below ``priority'' was ``routine.'') Phones with higher-precedence keys that were functional were available only to higher ranks in the military chain of command. With a few exceptions (POTUS, Sec'y of Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff) those with access to them were only authorized to press those keys for specific levels of emergency. Here's some more detail.

ATM User-to-User.

Autonomous Under{sea|water} Vehicle. A self-propelled submarine robot, intended to function with minimal control input. AUV's are still mostly experimental. Cf. ROV.

French phrase meaning à les (in French).

This glossary entry is on the very cusp of futility: only a vanishingly small fraction of French-nonspeakers have the requisite level of ignorance to benefit from it, and those few wouldn't know to look here. Perfect!

Of course we're not going to give the English.

Apple UniX.


The license plate number of the Rolls Royce Phantom 337 belonging to Auric Goldfinger, in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger. Goldfinger was played by Gert Fröbe (credited as Gert Frobe). Goldfinger is the chief villain in this one, of course.

Do I really have to explain this? Gold cation of valence 1 (Au1+) is aurous. Auric is valence 3 (Au3+)! Honestly, sometimes I think you people don't even care.

Also in that movie, Honor Blackman plays the role of Pussy Galore. Somehow I think that when her parents were considering names, the future they imagined for her was nothing like being a Bond woman. (Particularly as she was born in 1927, and Ian Fleming didn't invent James Bond until after he retired with the rank of Commander from WWII service in British Naval Intelligence.)

Air-to-Vapor (mass ratio). Mechanical engineers seem to prefer to call this a ``weight ratio.'' Cf. AF.

Alleged Vegetarian.


Appendix Virgiliana.



Authorized Version (of the Bible in English). For a very long time that was the KJV. There's an old saying that a translation is a commentary. There's a Bible commentary called The Unauthorized Version, by Robin Lane Fox.

Academy of Video Arts & Sciences.

Australian Veterinary Association. It ``is the professional organisation representing veterinarians across Australia.''

  1. A verb meaning `be of use.' It means just that as an intransitive verb. The construction ``avail oneself of'' means for one `to take advantage of.' (Similarly with myself, yourself, etc.)
  2. A noun that is apparently short for `speaker availability.' (Availability, of course, is a noun constructed on the adjective available, from the verb avail. It's crazy, but I love this stuff.)

Chris Suellentrop did a series of ``Dispatches from Campaign 2004'' for Slate. His September 8 dispatch included this: ``It's been more than five weeks since Kerry last took questions at a press conference, or an `avail,' as it's called.''

Avance Logic, Inc.
Makes video and audio chips. Homepage has petulant blinking.

I'm not sure in what year I wrote the preceding part of this entry. I checked back in late 2004: no more blink; no more Avance, either.

Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights.

American Voter Coalition.

Association of Visual Communicators. Look at me when I talk to you!

Atomic Vapor Cell.

Automatic Volume Control.

Isn't it fun to speak progressively more softly, so people lean toward you, and listen real hard, and then suddenly to shout at the top of your lungs so their ears hurt? No? Killjoy.

(UK) Association for Veterinary Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Audio-Visual Copyright Society, Ltd. ``Based in Australia, serving the world.''

AVDP, avdp.


Alta Velocidad Española. `Spanish [.es] High Speed [train].' A 300 kph TGV derivative operated by RENFE. Cf. ave.


AVErage. Try to use this only if you can avoid capitalizing the a, so it isn't mistaken for an abbreviation of some oddly named avenue. In fact, avoid it altogether and use avg.

Spanish, `Bird.' See also AVE.

[Football icon]

Ave Maria
Latin, `Hail Mary.' Name and first words of a common Roman-Catholic prayer. A desperation football pass.

English for AViation. Cf. ESP, EAV.

Avestan. Makes you wonder why they bother to define an abbreviation.

American Volunteer Group. Better known as the Flying Tigers. This was a group of personnel (pilots and ground crew) released from active duty in the air forces of the US Army and Navy, serving as volunteers on the Chinese side in the Sino-Japanese war. The group was formed by Colonel Claire Chennault. Chennault had retired from the USAAC as a captain in the 1930's and was appointed to command the largely nonexistent Chinese air forces by Chiang Kai-Shek, leader of the Nationalist Chinese government.

The AVG flew Curtiss P-40B fighters purchased by the Chinese government under a special arrangement with Curtiss-Wright. (The British had taken over a French order for P-40B's after the fall of France, and Curtiss had six assembly lines working on the order. Under an arrangement proposed by Curtiss Vice-President Burdette Wright (an old friend of Chennault), the British waived priority on 100 P-40B's rolling off one of those lines, allowing them to be sold to China. In return, Curtiss added a seventh line and delivered later-model P-40's to Britain that were more suitable for combat.) The P-40's used by the AVG were less maneuverable than Japanese Zeros, and they had crude gunsights, but the Tigers developed tactics that allowed them to achieve impressive kill ratios. After the Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the US into WWII as an active combatant, the Flying Tigers' success was one of the few bright spots in a Pacific war that was starting out badly for the US. (In this connection also, recall James H. Doolittle.)

Chennault's status was rather irregular and his command a bit informal. According to a history page at the self-described official site, he was originally invited to China in 1937 by Madame Chiang, on a three-month mission to make a confidential survey of the Chinese Air Force, and his official status until the US entered the war was always a subject of speculation. ``Chennault himself states [probably in his Way of a Fighter] that he was a civilian advisor to the Secretary of the Commission for Aeronautical Affairs, first Madame Chiang and later T.V. Soong. ... Even while he commanded the American Volunteer Group in combat, his official job was adviser to the Central Bank of China, and his passport listed his occupation as a farmer.''

In July 1942, the AVG was incorporated into the USAAF, and Chennault was promoted to brigadier general. Chennault had great publicity, close connections with FDR and the White House, and a good relationship with Gen. Chiang Kai-Shek. In October 1942, he wrote FDR that with just 105 more fighters, and 30 medium and 12 heavy bombers, he could win the war by gaining air superiority and destroying Japanese shipping and industrial production. It's not clear how much of this wooly optimism FDR bought into, but Chiang's ground forces (could they even be called an army?) weren't engaging the enemy, so this approach had its attractions. In late spring 1943, Chennault was given command of the US Army's newly formed Fourteenth Air Force, and priority on supplies airlifted from India. The 14th underperformed. Chennault was eased out of command after FDR died.

When the war ended in 1945, ten AVG pilots formed an air cargo company called Flying Tiger Line, originally flying Conestoga freighters purchased as war surplus from the United States Navy. It achieved a number of firsts, and after acquiring its rival cargo airline Seaboard World Airlines on October 1, 1980, it surpassed Pan Am as the world's largest air cargo carrier. As it happens, my uncle Robert flew for them in the late 1970's or early 1980's. In 1989, the company was purchased by FedEx.

AVeraGe. Plural avgs. Singular also abbreviated ave. (deprecated).

AViation GASoline.

Advanced Video Guidance Sensor. NASA designation of a device developed for DART that gathers navigation data by capturing reflections from laser beams directed at an object at close range (within 500 meters), using them to compute relative bearing, range, and attitude. (Though not all at the maximum range. Range and attitude -- relative orientation of target craft -- were expected to be available only within 200 meters. I'm not sure they know if that's so yet.)

Ambulatory Visit GroupS.

Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy. The content of what ought to be the homepage has me a bit disoriented, but anyway I'm glad that even ducks can have a dose of quackery.

Advanced Very-High-Resolution Radiometer.

Association for Veterinary Informatics.

Audio Video Interleaved.

Advancement Via Individual Determination.

Antelope Valley Internet Dialers. ``The Internet User Group for the Antelope Valley.'' Judging from the map on their home page, it appears that Antelope Valley is located on earth, and probably not in Antarctica.

Oh, here's something: meetings are held in Lancaster, CA. Also, there are no meetings until further notice.

Audio-Visual Information Systems.

Latin, `bird.' Well known, of course, from the expression rara avis, `rare [i.e., strange] bird.'

The Latin word avis became ave in Spanish, so the Latin prayer Ave Maria would sound like `Mary bird' in Spanish, to anyone who didn't know that it doesn't mean that.

Spanish noun meaning `advertisement' and verb meaning `I notify, alert.'

Spanish, `visualize, envision.' I think this may be primarily a Latin American usage. If the English verb eviscerate had a close cognate in Spanish, it would be eviscerar, which in Latin America would sound close to avisorar, except for the initial vowel.

Association of Visual Language Interpreters of Canada. This appears to be one of those unrequitedly bilingual organizations. (Here ``bilingual'' and ``one of those'' are both meant in the Canadian sense or context. Then again, maybe not.) The old AVLIC logo featured a Canadian maple leaf (well, maybe a stylized sugar maple leaf; I'm no naturalist) and the text ``AVLIC/AILVC.'' The new logo has a more naturalistic maple leaf dotting the letter i of a lower-case ``avlic.'' Also, the English name of the organization is spelled out along the bottom, either alone or above the French version.

To be fair for a change, I should probably note that there's a good reason why AVLIC/AILVC seems not to be well-represented in French-speaking parts of Canada, and why there is no provincial AILVC chapter for Quebec. According to the AVLIC Mission Statement, AVLIC is ``a national professional association which represents interpreters whose working languages are English and American Sign Language (ASL).'' (That is, they interpret between ASL and English.)

Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation.

ArterioVenous Malformation. Here's a support page.

Audio Video and Multimedia.

Automated Valuation Model. Used by expert systems to generate assessments -- in real estate, at least.

Automatic Vehicle Monitoring. Normally refers to remote monitoring of road vehicle location.

American Veterinary Medical Association. The main publications of the AVMA are the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) and the American Journal of Veterinary Research (AJVR).

Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association. Cf. the national AVMA.

American Veterinary Medical Foundation.

Audio Video and Multimedia Services.

Australian Vaccination Network.


A currency subunit used in Macao. The basic currency unit is the pataca, equal to 100 avos. Macao is a former Portuguese colony, and avo is a much-shortened form of Portuguese oitavo, `eighth.' I think this is cute because the original word has been not merely shortened, but shortened almost to its semantically least significant component -- essentially an inflection. It's like shortening eighth to th.

Similar radical shortenings (radical eliminations, literally) in European languages include auto, bil, and uncle. More generally, Japanese has a lot of much-shortened loans from European languages, particularly English. For some examples, see the perm entry.

Arginine VasoPressin. Plays a rôle, along with the renin-angiotensin system and natriuretic hormones, in water homeostasis. Why can't they make a beer that doesn't take you to the bathroom? Is the current scheme a safety feature?

Assistant Vice President.

Association Variose pour la Promotion de la Sidénologie. The same organization serves a more Englishy site where they explain AVPS as the ``Fundation for AIDS Research & Care.'' (``Thi site is first intended to professionals,'' dontcha know.)

Aortic Valve Replacement.

{ Adult | Age } Verification Service. You say you're over eighteen, eh? Then you must have a what -- VISA, MasterCard, American Express? What's the number? Expiration date? Hmmm... Looks like you're good! Justreadtheagreementand SIGN HERE FOR YOUR ``FREE PASS'' TO OVER 200,000 HARD-CORE SITES!

American Vacuum Society.

Really, nature does not abhor a vacuum -- it's the pressure outside that pushes stuff in.

The first time I wore my ``Nature abhors a vacuum tube'' tee shirt to work (in 1994 or thereabouts), a student objected!

Anti-Virus Software. I should probably warn you that the editor of this glossary had a cold in March, and in April the compiler came down with probably the same rhinovirus. The two are in frequent email contact, and these emails affect what you read on your computer! You shouldn't be too worried, but if I were you I'd wipe the screen and the keyboard, just in case. Heck, wipe the file system -- you can never be too careful. Use some Listerine on the speakers, too, and any other oral cavities on your PC.

Application Visualization System.

Association of Vision Science Librarians. It's ``an international organization composed of professional librarians, or persons acting in that capacity, whose collections and services include the literature of vision.''

Amphibious Vehicle, Tracked.

AudioVisual Terminal.

Automated Voice Technology.

AutomobilVerkehrs- und -Übungsstraße. (I.e., AutomobilVerkehrsstraße und AutomobilÜbungsstraße.) German `Automobile-Traffic Streets and Test Tracks.' Formerly Rennstrecke für Autorennen in Berlin (`Racetracks for Car races in Berlin') now a part of the Autobahn system). That's about how people drive on the Autobahn too.

Arbitrarily-Varying WireTap Channel.

(Domain code for) Aruba. The principal export is homeward-bound tourists. The official languages are Dutch and Papiamento. Papiamento written looks like Spanish with spelling slightly adjusted -- less different from Castilian (the Iberian language called ``Spanish'' in English) than Catalan is -- plus a number of Dutch words. Aruba is a Dutch possession.

On April 29, 2003, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands knighted Aruba native Sidney Ponson. At the time, he was a 43-54 career pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, with a 4.74 ERA. He had never had a winning season. In the subsequent three months, he caught fire, racking up a 12-5 record with a 3.45 ERA. He turned down a $21 million 3-year deal and at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline he was dealt to the San Francisco Giants for for pitchers Kurt Ainsworth, Damian Moss and Ryan Hannaman. In San Francisco he was only 3-6, but had a 3.71 ERA. In the off-season, Baltimore lured him back for $22.5 million over three years.

You know, the sports analysts talk about his not giving up the long ball so much in 2003, and mental toughness and rotator-cuff injuries and controlling his weight -- what a crock! Pitching is a science, like astrology and psychology. He just got psyched by the knighthood. After ten games in 2004, he's 3-7 with an ERA of 6.47.

Addison-Wesley or Addison-Wesley Longman, or Addison-Wesley Publishing Group. Can you say ``assignment agreement''? Sure you can!

A chain of root beer stands named after the founders -- Roy Allen and Fred Wright. It was the earliest restaurant franchise.

``Another World'' An NBC daytime soap opera. Another homepage, with links to NBC's.

Occurs in email subject headers. Apparently stands for Antwort (German: `answer').

Application Whatnot.

Okay, I confess, I made it up. A moment of weakness.

ArtWork. Typesetters' abbreviation.

American Whitewater Affiliation. ``[T]o conserve and restore America's whitewater resources and to enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely.''

See some relevant phonological thoughts at the AWWA entry.

American Women's Association. An American expats' mutual support group. Similar organizations go by various similar names (American Women of ..., American Women's Club of ..., American Women's Organization of ..., etc.). The umbrella organization is FAWCO. See also AWA Singapore, which serves a page of AWA links in various countries.

Animal Welfare Act, originally enacted in 1966. In amendments passed in 1970, the USDA is instructed to conduct an annual lab-animal census. They counted 1,213,814 in 1998. Such precision! What day was that?

Uncertainties concerning what constitutes an animal under that law were resolved by Secretary of Agriculture Clifford Hardin, who exercised his administrative authority to exclude rats, mice, and birds. These together make up anywhere from eighty to ninety-eight percent of warmblooded lab animals, depending on which interested party's estimate you believe. The AAVS filed suit against the USDA in 1999, maintaining that the original intent of the legislation was to include them. It's a good thing no one is proposing counting fruit flies or flatworms.

Here was the USDA's breakdown for 1998:
Oooh! Bunnywabbits287,523
Guinea pigs261,305
Other Animals142,963
Other farm animals53,671

``Other animals'' includes ferrets, woodchucks, armadillos, chinchillas, horses, spotted hyenas, and opposums. The categories are given above in the order in which the USDA presents them. If you don't like that order, then you could try suing the USDA. A few groups that you would expect were unhappy with the decision to exclude the most common lab animals. They took the usual multi-track approach -- direct petition, indirect pressure, lawsuit. On October 6, 2000, a lawsuit brought against the USDA by the ARDF was dismissed by US District Court Judge Ellen S. Huvelle.

Airborne Warning And Control System. An electronically very souped-up Boeing 707. [Pronounced ``AY-wax.'']

Alert, Well, And Keeping Energetic. The American Sleep Apnea Association (ASAA) organizes local support groups called A.W.A.K.E. groups in the fifty states and D.C., and in the seven Canadian provinces that have a land border with the lower 48 states. (Those seven turn out to be all the Canadian provinces that have a land border with any part of the territory of the US, because the Yukon Territory, oddly enough, is a territory and not a province.) Some of the groups have websites. This page leads to contact information for all groups in the A.W.A.K.E. Network.

A nonglossy magazine published by the Jehovah's Witnesses, for its missionaries to hand to prospects. The Gideons leave a whole Bible on its back in your hotel room, but not even one missionary in that position.

``The week of March 14-20 2004 has been declared Severe Weather Awareness Week by the Governor of the State of Indiana and by the Commissioners of St. Joseph County.'' This isn't getting off to a very good start -- I didn't find out until the week was two days old. I guess I missed the first announcement on account of the wild festivities for Einstein's 125th birthday.

``As part of Awareness Week, the State Emergency Management Agency and the National Weather Service will be conducting two `Test Tornado Warnings' between 2:00PM-2:30PM and between 7:00PM-7:30PM, Wednesday, March 17, 2004.'' March 17th in St. Joseph County, home of the Fighting Irish. If you think the Einstein shindig was big...

``Should actual severe weather be a threat on March 17, the testing will be held on March 18.'' It's reminiscent of the day of the Doolittle raid in Tokyo.

You know, this whole awareness thing was so memorable that the next year when I ran across the forgotten old email announcing it, I created an entirely new entry for it (contrast). I may be stuck in a rut, but I have deleted the announcement.

awareness days
Small parts (typically one seventh or one eighth) of an awareness week, usually found in isolation, embedded in weeks, months, even lives of obtuseness. Look, I don't really want to define this. I just wanted to pass along a blurb for Every Day Is a Holiday by George Mahood:
Perfect for fans of A.J. Jacobs: Bored with his routine, George Mahood decided to change his life by celebrating every holiday on the calendar -- from Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day to Inane Answering Machine Message Day. Join him on his strange, hilarious adventure!

(With National Curmudgeon Day between them, you have a three-day holiday.) Paperback price $13.40 for this shlock? I'd rather read a book.

Oh wait, here's a good one: National One-Hit Wonder Day was September 25, 2018. Wait -- it was September 25, 2017? But I just heard-- EVERY YEAR??? This soooo wrong.

awareness months
Various organizations lay claim to portions of the calendar for propaganda purposes. They usually take a day, a week, or a month. Most such designations seem, individually, to be useful or at worst anodyne. To politicians, it looks like a cheap way to satisfy constituents and look public-spirited into the bargain. Thus, it's easy to get lawmakers to vote, and chief executives to proclaim, that these designations are official lah-dee-dah. Therefore we'll pretty much ignore that.

Many of these observations, celebrations, PR events or what-have-you's have names that include ``Awareness Month,'' and many don't. Months claimed in connection with health issues are frequently named ``<Foobar> Awareness Month'' or ``<Foobar> Safety Month.'' Many related to group pride or solidarity of one sort or another get names including ``Heritage Month'' or ``History Month.'' Just to shake things up, some group is bound to rename its ``<Foobarian> Pride Month'' ``<Foobarian> History Awareness Month.'' And on the other side, the shills for research on one or another disease will discover that the victims live in shame, requiring ``Oblong Somitis Incognita Awareness Month'' to be rechristened ``OSI Pride Month.'' In short, I don't think the distinction between awareness months and pride months, say, is a sharp one, so I'm going to use this entry as a central repository for designated months, however designated. The entries for awareness days (eventually) and awareness weeks will function similarly.

There aren't a lot of awareness trimesters or awareness fortnights, although Prevent Blindness America does sponsor a 61-day ``month'' (see PBA). I can google up at most tens of thousands of awareness weekends, versus millions of weeks and months.

Most designated months coincide with calendar months. This is a sensible approach, since ``October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month'' is a little more memorable than, for example, ``The 31 days following the fifth day after the fourth Thursday in September are Breast Cancer Awareness Month.'' In order to discourage the sensible practice, I'll go out of my way to provide more extensive publicity -- a whole entry, say -- when I become aware of month-long awareness months that don't coincide with calendar months. The only one I have an entry for just now is Hispanic Heritage Month.

(``National,'' as in ``National Holiday,'' is the frequently elided first word in the official names -- as they occur in the presidential proclamations -- of many of the heritage and history months.)

I'm going to have to automate this. It's too much. In connection with the business of aligning awareness months with calendar months, let me note this: When Comte created the Positivist Calendar, even though he made 28-day months and intercalated five or six year-end days that had no weekday correspondences (so that the rest of the year, days of the week corresponded to date mod 7), he did align the years. (Year 1 coincided with year 1789 of the Gregorian calendar, naturally.)

awareness weeks
Awareness weeks are the young of awareness months, so go to that entry for information about the species generally. Here's a list of awareness weeks that (a) I am aware of or (b) I was aware of:

Automated Work Administration System.

Afrikaner Weerstands Beweging. Afrikaans: `Afrikaner Resistance Movement.' A neonazi party in South Africa, led by Eugene Terreblanche, sentenced to six years in prison for the attempted murder of a black man, who was paralyzed in the beating.

The party flag is essentially the same as the flag of the National Socialist (Nazi) Party of Germany (black device on white disc on red field), except that the four-armed black swastika is replaced by a three-legged black triskelion. Supposedly, this emblem represents three sevens.

Auto White Balance.

All-Wheel Drive. Hey, just try driving without one.

AWD on a vehicle with four wheels sounds like it ought to be equivalent to 4WD, but it's not. 4WD includes ``low-range'' (high torque) gearing for deep mud or snow or steep grades. A 4WD must be stopped or slowed to a crawl to shift in or out of low range (done by toggling a switch or lever). AWD is power to all wheels, but without the special gearing.

AWD, .awd
At Work Document. Microsoft-defined file type and filename extension for a compressed bitmap format used for faxes. Specifically, an OLE compound object file that stores bilevel (B&W) facsimile data. The compression algorithm used in AWD is not published, but is based on CCITT Group 4.

Active Wavelength Demodulation System.

Advanced Warfighting Experiments.

Asian Weightlifting Federation.

American Wire Gauge. A set of numbers designating of (US) standard wire thicknesses.

Arbitrary Waveform Generation.

Array Waveguide Grating.

American Wire Gauge.

Additive White Gaussian Noise. Not very realistic sometimes, but a mathematically tractable and convenient model for the systematic analysis of linear systems.

Are We Going To Have To Go Through All { That | This } Again?

Are We Going To Have To Go Through { That | This } Again?

Alert With Info.

The Strawberry Statement collects the scattered thoughts of James Kunen, a 60's student radical at Columbia University. (Bibliographic details at the AAHM entry.) It's written in diary style, so I can tell you that on a Tuesday, July 16, 1968, the author visited the programming director at WABC radio in New York City. The two had a mutually unsatisfactory meeting, but agreed that there was some news content on the mostly-music-format WABC-AM, in the form of two newscasts per hour. Kunen felt these were insufficently detailed, and characterized them for the book: ``Canada is still sinking and the Russians have bombed Detroit, now back to the Show.''

Animal Welfare Information Center. I'm out of work. Can my dog get food stamps from Animal WIC? No, AWIC is part of the National Agricultural Library.

Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System.

Association for Women in Science.

Copyeditor's abbreviation for awkward.
[This glossary entry is just begging for a juicy example, isn't it?]

A pattern-matching utility in Unix. Named after the last initials of its creators Al Aho, Peter Weinberger, and Brian Kernighan. Kind of a batch version of sed.

Depending on your release, this may differ from nawk (New awk).

Michael Neumann's extensive list of sample short programs in different programming languages includes a couple of awk programs.

Animal Welfare League.

A simple tool -- something like an ice-pick -- for making holes in leather. An ice-pick usually has a long handle like that of a screwdriver. An ice-pick applies impact force; it is held in the fist, about as a dagger is held. An awl applies steady pressure to a precise point; its handle has a blunter end that can be cupped in the palm. All the awls I've seen, anyway.

Nowadays, shoe repair and manual shoe manufacture have gone the way of cobblestones. I suspect that most English-speakers' first encounter with the word awl, or even with the concept, occurs in Shakespeare's tragedy ``Julius Caesar,'' in the punny opening scene. Sadly, the standard (Schlegel) German translation is missing this bit. It wouldn't have been hard to recreate the pun: English awl and all can be translated to Ahle and alle. (The respective initial vowels here are short and long in quantity, but these are close enough for a good pun -- especially with a good actor's pronunciation.)

Air and Waste Management Association.

American Wholesale Marketers Association.


Ancient World Mapping Center.

American Women's Organization of Greece.

Absent WithOut Leave. This is a US military acronym, but even outside the military, I think it is one of the best known of military acronyms. The writer of an AP news item distributed September 8, 2004, seemed to think it necessary to define it (incorrectly, of course, as ``Away Without Leave'').

It's also occasionally expanded as ``absent without official leave,'' but in the military usage it is implicit that leave must be granted offically, or rather by a commanding officer. The way the Oxford Dictionary of the US Military handles this is to expand it as ``absent without (official) leave.'' They claim the acronym came into use in the 1920's, but I think it was already in use during WWI. Various American soldiers AWOL from their units during one or another World War are complaisantly mentioned by Gertrude Stein in some of her books.


Ancient World OnLine.


Ancient World On TeleVision.

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs. It's hardly surprising that there'd be some association.

Average Wholesale Price.

Arab World for Research & Development. It's ``an independent research center (registered with the Ministry of Economy)... works in social political and economic research and development... highest standards in research methods including surveys, opinion polls, focus groups, in-depth interviews, and case studies.'' It conducts projects throughout the Arab world, but it seems to be based in Morocco.

American Welding Society.

Automatic Warning System. Now installed on most British railway lines; first used in 1948. By each signal there is one permanent magnet and one electromagnet that is energized when the signal is green. When the train passes the signal, a bell sounds in the driver's cab if it's green, and a horn otherwise.

When the horn sounds, the driver must push a button within a few seconds or else the brakes will be applied. Since the 1950's there has also been a mechanical visual display which changes to a sunburst pattern when the button is pushed, and to plain black when the bell rings.

Such a system is called ``fail-safe'' because its failure modes are designed to be safe. For example, in a power failure, the electromagnet goes off and the system signals to stop; if the brakeman is incapacitated, the brake goes on automatically. A common way for fail-safe systems to fail to perform safely as designed is by being turned off.

In the Jethro Tull song `Locomotive Breath,' Ian Anderson sings something like

old Charlie stole the handle
and the train it won't stop going no it couldn't slow down

For more railway-related songs, visit this chronological listing with comments or this alphabetic list.

The word fail-safe came into popular use with the novel Fail-safe, by Eugene Burdick & Harvey Wheeler, (NY: McGraw-Hill, 1962). This story of accidental nuclear war was published during the Cuban missile crisis and was made into a movie of the same name (Dr. Strangelove without the yuks).

Aviation Week and Space Technology magazine.

Abstract Window Toolkit. Provides the Java GUI. Contained in the java.awt package. (A package is a collection of importable classes. Don't you just love the uneven level of detail you get in this glossary?)

Common abbreviation for Shakespeare's play All's Well That Ends Well.

American Water Works Association. ``[A]n international nonprofit scientific and educational society dedicated to the improvement of drinking water quality and supply. Founded in 1881, AWWA is the largest organization of water supply professionals in the world. Its more than 50,000 members represent the full spectrum of the drinking water community: treatment plant operators and managers, scientists, environmentalists, manufacturers, academicians, regulators, and others who hold genuine interest in water supply and public health. Membership includes more than 3,700 utilities that supply water to roughly 170 million people in North America,'' including Mexico, where the word for water (agua) sounds more like awwa than it looks, because the g in Spanish is glottal. (The Spanish word is derived from the Latin aqua; for a similar pun on this, see OCWA.)

The consonantal w is a glide, and if one purses the lips slightly when pronouncing it, one produces a bilabial sound that is represented by a beta in the IPA, and which is the usual sound of b in Spanish. It is therefore not surprising that in ordinary speech, the glottal g and bilabial b of Spanish sound similar. This has led to some orthographic changes. For example, in Cervantes's original text, the word for `grandmother,' now spelled abuela, was spelled aguela. For some discussion of the Modern Greek g (gamma), see the galaxy entry.

Haested Methods sponsors a number of electronic discussion groups related to water works. See their forums page for information about WaterTalk, SewerTalk, StormTalk, and GISTalk. They also sponsor a Spanish-language version of WaterTalk, called AquaForo.

American Water Works Association (AWWA) Research Foundation.

Aww, mama
can this really be the end?
To be stuck inside of Mobile,
With the Memphis blues again.

Refrain of ``Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again.'' First released by Bob Dylan on ``Blonde on Blonde'' (1966).

A Webpage Wasted On Tom Lehrer. This GeoCities site has been deactivated due to inactivity. Are you the site owner? Click here to reactivate your site.

There was also A [now defunct] Webpage (Wasted) On Tom Lehrer. Maybe it was related content. The names allude to his 1959 album, ``An Evening Wasted with Tom Lehrer.''

Asociación World Wide Web Argentina. (A translation? Hmmm. Let's see if we can guess something here... maybe, em, could be sort of rough, but, uhh, well, something like ``Argentine WWW Association''?)

Architecture eXtended. (Antediluvian PC/AT term.)

Axe, hatchet.

Advanced X-ray Astronomical Facility.

Airborne eXpendable Current Profiler.

Another one of those secret North Germanic acronyms, like KLM. Its expansion is probably an off-color inside joke, but ... ``The AXE system is Ericsson's core switching platform for all narrowband and wideband public network switching applications well into the [twenty-first] century.''

axial lead
Refers to a cylindrical two-lead electrical package with one lead coming out of the center of each end. Cf. radial lead.

An obvious or generally accepted proposition. The word reached English via French axiome < Latin axioma < Greek axíôma, `that which is worthy or fit.'

Probably the best-known statement of an axiom is the first sentence of chapter I in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice:

IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Axioms explicitly so-called occur most often in mathematics. Most high-school students used to make the acquaintance of axioms, even if they did not come into a friendly relationship with them (i.e., even if they didn't exactly become familiar) in standard one-year courses in formal geometry. That was before high-school geometry courses were abased by mathematics-hating ``teachers'' and other saboteurs of children's education, who adopted wretched books full of time-wasting pictures and geometry-related stories with a very optional afterthought chapter or two about proofs at the end.

Euclid's geometry text taught rigor of thought to over twenty centuries'-worth of schoolboys. Euclid made a distinction between axioms and postulates, explained at the postulate entry.

Anomalous X-ray Pulsar.

Academic Year. Here're the AY calendars for UB in 1995-1996 and 1996-1997.

Alpha Youth Athletic Association. Funded by the Borough of Alpha, New Jersey.

All You Can Eat.

Common abbreviation for Shakespeare's play As You Like It.

Ask Your Local Orthodox Rabbi. (Also: ordained rabbi.) It's a lot faster than wading through the enormous Judaism FAQ. Same as CYLOR.

You have my permission to pronounce this like the word its very creation suggests. A simple two-dimensional locally-anisotropic lattice-gas model (for CuO-plane superconductivity) with nearest- and Next-Nearest-Neighbor Interactions, originally proposed by D. de Fontaine, L. T. Wille and S. C. Moss in Phys. Rev. B, vol. 36, pp. 5709ff (1987). I'm not sure if the author list includes the name of the graduate student whose job was to carry the acronym expansion tools.

America's Youth on Parade.
``There's no twirling spectacular quite like AYOP. It brings together the best baton twirlers, teams and corps in the world for a series of National and World Open Championship contests - all under one umbrella. It can be appropriately called the `World Series of Baton Twirling' ... sanctioned by the NBTA INTERNATIONAL.''

And where are AYOP events held??? That's right -- they're ``held [every year in July] in the spacious, air conditioned Notre Dame University Athletic and Convocation Center (JACC)''!!!! Hip-hip hooray! Hip-hip-hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Go! Fight! Win! Hip-hip hoo--what? Oh, it's not cheerleading? Better go to the majorette entry (once it exists) and learn more.

Adequate Yearly Progress. Under the terms of the NCLB Act, federal (US) funding depends on demonstrated AYP. Measures of AYP, in order to be considered valid for NCLB purposes, must have a 95% student participation rate. (There are easy ways around this requirement, I think. When similar state-level legislation was implemented in Texas, large numbers of the poorest-performing students were recategorized as learning-disabled or encouraged to drop out and enroll in GED programs, and some exam papers were doctored.)

Arizona. USPS abbreviation.

The Villanova University Law School provides some links to state government web sites for Arizona. USACityLink.com has a page for Arizona.

Arizona is a community property state.

The US is the world's second-largest copper producer after Chile. Each produces about two million tons a year. You might ask: if they both produce about that much, and if production varies by maybe 10% year-to-year (how did you know that?), then how come Chile is consistently first and the US consistently second? Go ahead, ask, I can answer. The reason is, production is driven by the market. In a year with high demand, prices go up and production everywhere increases, so while the overall numbers vary a lot, the ratio of production between major producers varies less rapidly. Part of how this works is that the cost of extraction varies for different sources. At any given time some sources are not worth using. When prices increase, it becomes profitable to use those higher-cost resources. Major producing countries like the US and Chile have a number of such mines, so production by both varies with world demand. Some statistics show this kicking-in of higher-cost resources. In the US, Arizona is has the richest and most economically efficient copper mines, and in a typical year between a half and two thirds of US production comes from Arizona. When demand is low and increases rapidly, most of the extra production comes from Arizona, which has ready excess capacity. On the other hand, when demand increases steadily, Arizona's share declines, as higher-cost producers enter the market. Instead of saying Arizona here, I probably should be saying Phelps-Dodge.

Of course, a lot of other factors affect production, such as resource depletion, lack of investment capital (a major factor for Zambia), political issues (gee, why can't Zambia just borrow abroad on the strength of its rich resources, and why did the bottom fall out of Zairian production in the early nineties?), personnel and transport (proximity to market) considerations, etc.

(Domain code for) Azerbaijan.

American Zinc Association. More links for Zinc at Zn.

Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Founded in 1924 as the American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums (and abbreviated AAZPA), later known as the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. I think the current name (I write in 2009) was adopted around 1997. The abbreviation AAZA and the name ``American Association of Zoos and Aquariums'' (those are prophylactic quotation marks) have also been used. With all these different tags, I would have liked, just once, for them to have used ``aquaria'' in the name. Heck, I'll do it myself.

Association zaïroise de défense des droits de l'homme. `Zaire Association for the Defense of Human Rights.' Founded in 1991. Changed its name to ASADHO when Mobutu's government fell and Laurent Kabila changed the country's name to Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Spanish: `hostess, stewardess.' General term for an attendant at a public gathering or on a plane or train, etc. ``Attendant'' here is meant in the usual sense of someone who attends to the needs of the public, rather than someone who simply attends an event (attendee). That might be a public attendant. Everything would be so much easier if ``servant'' didn't have such poor connotations. Anyway, the male form of the word is azafato. Azafata and azafato are the only terms I've ever heard used in Spanish that would be translated as `flight attendant.' The fact that the attendance takes place on a plane is apparently not regarded as meriting explicit recognition.

Spanish noun (masculine) meaning `luck, fortune' or `good fortune,' just as the English noun luck means luck or `good luck,' depending on whether you're speaking generally or wishing it to someone. ``Juegos de azar'' are `games of chance.'

It's slightly unusual to have a noun ending in -ar that isn't the noun use of a verb infinitive, but you get used to it before the time when you can remember getting used to it. Another slight oddity: the woman's name Pilar. [Other non-infinitive nouns ending in -ar that I can think of are male: pulgar (`thumb'), collar (`necklace'). Mar is trickier; see its entry.] The word asar, which in Latin American prounciations is a homophone of azar, is a verb meaning `cook over an open flame.' Asado, meaning precisely `grilled beef steak,' is the national dish of Argentina.

Latin had four classes of verbs, whose active infinitives (if they weren't deponent verbs they had active infinitives) ended in -are, -ire, or -ere. (That's right: mere spelling didn't quite tell you the conjugation of -ere verbs.) The -are class was the largest, I'm pretty sure. Romance languages typically collapsed these four regular conjugations into three, and the conjugation that collected the -are verbs (-ar in Spanish) were usually still the largest group. Modern Greek has a class of verbs with infinitives ending in -aro. It dates back to Byzantine times, when it was constructed on the basis of -are verbs borrowed from Italian (or perhaps more precisely Venetian). The ending is highly productive, and seems to provide the most common conjugation for loan verbs. For example, stoparo and sakaro (`to stop, to shock') are standard in Modern (demotic) Greek today. (German has a similar class of verbs, with infinitives ending in -ieren, mostly borrowed from French.)

Greek-speakers living in foreign countries often use this conjugation to create hybrids used in local versions of Greek (a North American example: muvaro, `to move'). The pattern is not uniform, however. Greeks in Germany use preparizo for `to prepare,' from the German preparieren. The German verb is borrowed, in turn, from the French preparer. This verb is also an -are verb (viz., it's derived from the Latin preparare). I believe that Latin -are verbs generally ended up as -er verbs in Modern French.

azide, azido-
An azide is an organic chemical with an N3 functional group. That is, a chemical which can be represented by the formula


where N is nitrogen and R represents a molecule bonded to the functional group through a carbon chain. Particular azides have names including the prefix azido-.

Note carefully the difference between an azide and an amine. An azide has three nitrogens bonded to one organic group; an amine has three organic groups bonded to one nitrogen (R3N).

The AriZona Language Association, Inc. ``[T]he not-for-profit professional association for language teachers in Arizona, dedicated to promoting the effective teaching of all languages. AZLA is the Arizona affiliate of ACTFL (the American Council of Teachers of Foreign Languages) and SWCOLT (the Southwest Conference on Language Teaching).''

AZOmethane. (CH3)2N2.

AriZona Planning Association. A chapter of the APA.

A-Z soup
Just give it a second. You can figure this one out.

AZidoThymidine. Systematic name, minus the numbers: dihydro methyl pyridinyl carbonyl azido dideoxythymidine. It has a lot of alternate trivial names, such as retrovir and zidovudine (abbreviated ZDV). It's an important AIDS drug, in the class of NRTI's. Like all of the drugs first found effective against AIDS, it somehow blocks the action of reverse transcriptase, which a retrovirus like HIV uses to insert its RNA-encoded genetic instructions into the host cell's DNA.

A time-release form of AZT.

A characteristic copper ore: Cu3(CO3)2(OH)2 with this structure:

              O == C
              O == C

The mineral takes its name from its color. For more about the occurrence of this hydroxy-carbonate, see the Fahlerz entry. For a similar mineral, see malachite.

AriZona Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

Indian pronunciation of English assume.

Bohr Radius. The radius of the orbit of an electron in Bohr's model of the hydrogen atom, it is also the scale parameter in the eigenstates of the Schrödinger equation for the hydrogen atom. It's about 0.52917721 Å, or about two nanoïnches in, uh, customary units. The Bohr radius is itself used as a unit of length (as, for example, in the definition of a dimensionless screening radius rs). As a length unit, the Bohr radius is also called a bohr (q.v.).

The formula for the Bohr radius is

        a  = ----- ,

where ħ is the reduced Planck's constant (h/2π), α the fine-structure constant, c the speed of light in vacuum, and m0 the free electron mass.

If you want to compute the properties of an isolated hydrogen atom, you start with the complete Hamiltonian for the nucleus and electron, and separate out the Hamiltonian for the center-of-mass motion. This leaves a Hamiltonian for the electron-nucleus separation. (In classical physics, the Hamiltonian is a function of independent momentum and coordinate variables, and ``canonical'' equations of motion equivalent to Newton's equations are obtained as first-order partial differential equations involving the Hamiltonian. In quantum mechanics, the Hamiltonian is an operator function of momentum and coordinate operators, and it is formally identical to the classical Hamiltonian so long as intrinsic spin is ignored. The Schrödinger equation is a first-order partial differential equation involving the quantum Hamiltonian.)

Anyway -- the Hamiltonian, or any equations derived from it, looks similar for the electron-nucleus separation as for an electron orbiting an infinite-mass nucleus, but with a ``reduced mass'' (its value, half the harmonic mean of the electron and nuclear masses, is about 0.05% smaller than the free electron mass). Using the reduced mass can give you a slight improvement in accuracy for an even slighter amount of computational work, if all you're dealing with is an atom with one electron, or a Rydberg atom with only one highly excited electron. (A Rydberg atom is an atom with one or few electrons in large-n states, and the other electrons not in highly excited states.) The Bohr radius, however, is defined using the free electron mass, and not the reduced mass.

Diode imperfection factor (A). The zero subscript indicates that the correction is applied to a particularly elementary model: a single-exponential (Ebers-Moll) model.

A paper dimension standard used only in those corners of the world (mostly just a few remote stations in Antarctica, a bunch of Pacific islands, some parts of North America, and the continents of Australia, Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia) that stubbornly cling to centuries-old metric units. A0 sheets have a total area of 1 square meter, and a ratio of length to width that is the square root of 2. Each successive standard size (A1, A2, ...) is defined by halving the length of the longer side of the sheet, thus preserving the ratio of height to width. The earliest known suggestion of this scheme was by Georg Lichtenberg, in a letter to Johann Beckmann date October 25, 1786. [The old quarto, octavo, 16mo, etc. are also defined by successive halvings, but have two width and length ratios (whose geometric mean, of course, is also the square root of 2). Cf. B0.]

Name Area (sq cm) Width (cm) Length (cm) Length (in)

It is superfluous to note that Hermann Melville was rather a literary naturalist. But in chapter 32 (``Cetology'') of Moby Dick, he makes a surprisingly direct connection: ``According to magnitude I divide the whales into three primary BOOKS (subdivisible into CHAPTERS), and these shall comprehend them all, both small and large. I. THE FOLIO WHALE; II. the OCTAVO WHALE; III. the DUODECIMO WHALE. As the type of the FOLIO I present the SPERM WHALE; of the OCTAVO, the GRAMPUS; of the DUODECIMO, the PORPOISE.'' After enumerating the Folio whales, he writes (the ``books'' here are still metaphorical; we continue in chapter 32 of Moby Dick):

      Thus ends BOOK I. (Folio), and now begins BOOK II. (Octavo).

OCTAVOES.*--These embrace the whales of middling magnitude, among which present may be numbered:--I., the GRAMPUS; II., the BLACK FISH; III., the NARWHALE; IV., the THRASHER; V., the KILLER.

*Why this book of whales is not denominated the Quarto is very plain. Because, while the whales of this order, though smaller than those of the former order, nevertheless retain a proportionate likeness to them in figure, yet the bookbinder's Quarto volume in its dimensioned form does not preserve the shape of the Folio volume, but the Octavo volume does.

A paper size. See A0.

Tops. In the best category.

Alpha1-Antitrypsin Deficiency. ``[A] genetic condition that can cause severe early onset emphysema, liver disease in both children and adults, or more rarely, a skin condition called panniculitis. It is estimated [that] there are 80,000 to 100,000 men, women and children with A1AD in the United States, yet only a fraction of them have been identified,'' according to...

Alpha1 National Association. ``[A] non-profit, membership organization, dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and their families affected by alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency.''

This was the ``number'' on the vanity plate issued by the state of California for a car belonging to Lawrence Welk. If you're much younger than me, you probably don't get it. Lawrence Welk had an orchestra and a television show (called ``The Lawrence Welk Show''), and his trademark way to set the beat to begin a piece was to say ``uh-one and-uh two and-uh.''

A paper size. See A0.

You mean the UK school-leaving exams? See A-levels. Part of a system that might very well end up being a one-off for 2002.


Alexander to Actium, by Peter M. Green.

Atlantic Reporter, Second Series. Legal publication.

Advanced Antennas for Future Combat Systems. CECOM research program.

American Association for Laboratory Accreditation. ``[A] non-profit, professional membership society committed to the success of laboratories through the administration of a broad-spectrum, nationwide laboratory accreditation system and a full range of training on laboratory practices taught by experts in their field.''

``A2LA accredits testing laboratories in the following fields: acoustics and vibration, biological, chemical, construction materials, electrical, environmental, geotechnical, mechanical, calibration, nondestructive and thermal. Accreditation is available to private, independent, in-house and government labs.''

Based in Frederick, MD.


A paper size. See A0.

American Association of Academic Chief Residents in Radiology. The AUR link on the A3CR2 page is less prominent or direct than the A3CR2 link on the AUR page. I guess we understand the pecking order here.

The social science of small-group interactions would probably explain why the APDR doesn't get a link at A3CR2: this town ain't big enough for two alphas.

``Ay THREE cee arr two.'' It has kind of a ring to it, but they should drop the ``two'' so it scans with ``cee THREE pee oh.''

A paper size. See A0.

A paper size. See A0.

A paper size. See A0.

A $60 value, and you also get...
Oh sure, you could go to the mall today and get it for $17.98, but what do they know about value? And you don't get the convenience of ordering from the comfort of your own living room couch what you can see clearly right there on your TV screen, and having it delivered to your front door in ``just days.''

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