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Latin, Gaius, Gaia. One of the most common of the Latin praenomina, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina, q.v.. Abbreviation dates from before the end of the 3 c. BCE, when the letter G was introduced to indicate a voiced version of C (which was originally always hard, like a K). Similar situation with Gnaeus (Cn.). Cf. K.

In case this wasn't obvious: Caia (later spelled Gaia, as above) was a woman's name corresponding to Caius (just as Julia corresponded to Julius). This name had nothing to do with the Greek word Gaia.

Yes, ``G.'' was sometimes used, but less often.

Frederic D. Allen wrote an article entitled ``Gajus or Gaïus'' for volume 2 of HSCP (1891), pp. 71-87, in order to collect in one place the evidence for whether Gaius was pronounced disyllabically (with a consonantal i) or trisyllabically. He marshaled evidence from Latin, other local languages (Faliscan, Oscan, and Etruscan cognates are known) and from Greek. His concluding paragraph:

      As results of the foregoing investigation, we may lay down: (1) that the name designated by the Romans by the letter C was originally Gauius; (2) that this form had passed into Gaius by 190 B.C., though it survived longer in some of the provinces of Italy; (3) that for some reason, not assignable at present, the customary pronunciation (of the educated classes at least) remained Gaïus (trisyllabic) at any rate until the end of the first century of our era, and probably still longer.

The puzzlement implied in the third point reflects the fact that while Gaius maintained its distract form, other -aiu- forms like Maius and Graius assume contract forms relatively early. Allen can think of no other explanation for the difference than the etymology (and the lingering usage) summarized in (1) and (2).


Carbon. Atomic number 6. The Tori Amos song ``Carbon'' also mentions ribbons of lithium, but it's such a meaningful song that I haven't a clue if it's about anything.

Learn useful stuff about carbon at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool. What's this? There are also lithium entries at WebElements and at Chemicool.

I really ought to have something to say about carbon, but I guess I'm just overwhelmed by the task. Have you ever heard of organic chemistry? Why don't you examine one of our diamond entries?

Catcher. Baseball position #2. Squats behind HP.

Gate Cee? At Midway Airport? That's gate Aitch -- they switched after Friday, October 26, 2001. Good move: now ``gate Cee'' won't be misheard as ``gate Gee'' (see PA entry). As of Monday the 29th, though, a lot of personnel and electronics hadn't gotten the message yet.

The speed of light. ``c'' abbreviates ``celerity.'' The International System (SI) standard for time (the second) is fundamental, but the unit of length is defined in terms of the time standard by the speed of light. The speed of light has been defined as an integer number of m/sec which closely approximates the speed determined from earlier length and time definitions. Thus, the speed of light is ``known'' exactly: it is
299 792 458 m/s.

This is a sensible-enough proposition: compared with human scales of length and time, the precision with which time can be measured or defined is sharper than the corresponding length precision. Thus, defining a length unit in terms of a time unit allows one, in principle if not exactly in practice, to define a length unit more accurately than current length measurement allows. But however sensible this may be, and no matter for how long time measurement continues to be more precise than length measurement, the value of c will probably change at some point. The reason is that measurement is a simple but tedious subject which attracts minds that can master nothing more subtle. Self-important busybodies come to dominate the international weights-and-measures organizations during the long periods when well-enough ought to be left alone, and eventually they agree among themselves to make their dominance felt in some unnecessary decision or another.

Physicists often use a value of unity for the speed of light. That is, we assume that one second equals 299 million-odd meters. This is convenient and entirely legitimate, but at first (in a junior-level ``Modern Physics'' course, say) it can seem confusing. For one attempt to ease the discomfort, see the GeV entry.

In ``Genie In A Bottle,'' Christina Aguilera sings

Hormones racing at the speed of light But that don't mean it's gotta be tonight Baby baby baby (baby baby baby...)

Here's something less recent, from Flamm O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds (1939):

Excellent, remarked Mr. Furriskey with that quiet smile which endeared him to everyone who happened to come his way, but do not overlook this, that the velocity of light in vacuo is 186,325 miles per second.

Degrees Celsius. This temperature scale also used to be called ``centigrade.'' Interestingly, as originally defined by Celsius, his temperature scale had 0 at the water boiling point, and 100 at the freezing point.

There are different stories about the origin of the Fahrenheit scale (°F). I like the one according to which it was defined in terms of a zero set by a particular brine fusion point and a high temperature of 100 equal to the human body temperature. That would make Fahrenheit and Celsius both centigrade scales. However, I'm informed that ``other versions have the defined points at 0° and 96°; 32° and 96°; or even 0°, 32°, and 96°.'' Fahrenheit was vague about this in his one published explanation of how the scale was defined and thermometers calibrated, but seemed to imply he used all three points. It's been suggested that he was trying to disinform his competitors.

So Celsius thought the temperature should decrease when things got hot, and Fahrenheit was okay with water freezing at 25 and body temperature about three times that, maybe. Didn't anybody have an intuitive system with sensible numbers? How about Réaumur?

Center. A basketball position. If I knew anything about basketball, this would probably be the entry where I would demonstrate the fact.

Center is also a position in other sports, like...

[Football icon]

Center. An offensive position in American football. Takes an offensive position in front of the quarterback (QB).

Center is also a position in related sports like soccer and rugby, as well as many other team sports played on fields, courts, or rinks with two mirror symmetries (lacrosse, field and ice hockey, volleyball, basketball... the list goes on, but I don't). Center is usually a center forward (or center midfield) position, and the center or center-forward position is usually a scoring position. In football, the flashy players on offense and special teams are in the backfield. Football is like chess, with the forward positions uncelebrated, providing protection and making opportunities for the sprinters that start out behind. It's a game of strategy -- it's cerebral! That's why head protection is considered so important, see?

This is a good opportunity to mention that the chess game in the first Harry Potter book is a lot more convincing than quidditch in any of the rest that I've read. Quidditch is basically two games going on in parallel. One game has most of the players and more often than not is completely irrelevant. The other game is determined mostly by the ride, with glory going to the jockey. I tellya, it's pure make-believe.

c., C.
A century; about pi billion seconds. ( American billions.) The SI only sanctions one unit, fundamental or derived, for any measurable quantity, with convenient units for different situations to be formed by power-of-ten prefixes. Thus the use of minutes, hours, days and weeks, to say nothing of such ambiguous time units as month or year, is discouraged.

At the time of the French revolution, an attempt was made to institute metric time, or at least more evenly-spaced, conventional time units. There were thus to be ten hours in a day and ten days in a week, exactly three weeks in every month, with five or six intercalary days at the end of every year. The idea never caught on, unless you count Mexico. In Mexico, you hear the expression ``ahorita nomás,'' but it sounds like ``horita nomás.'' That is: you are told ``in a small now'' and you think you hear ``in a little hour.''

There's a new effort to institute metric time. A proposal to standardize time references on the internet is based on thousandths of a day or 1.44 minutes (1:26.4), called pieces.

[column] [An aitch elision that sounds similar is in name of a Classical Greek verb form known as aorist, which comes from a- and horizein. (It's not really an aitch, we write aitch to indicate rough breathing in Ancient Greek words.) Come to think of it, ahorita nomás is in fact a kind of aorist tense marker, indicating the action in a casual sort of way, without any real information about its completion. It could conceivably be useful in translating the Greek New Testament into Spanish. Okay, I'm joking. But in case you wanted to know, this flip bit of slang does not occur in any common Spanish translations of the Bible. Not even the dumbed-down (this is kind) Biblia en Lenguaje Sencillo.]

Thomas Jefferson, who was a big booster of decimal units (it is largely due to his influence that we had 100 cents per dollar while the British still had that colorful system of farthing, pence, and shilling), proposed a time standard that was based on a length unit (about a foot): the second was to be the small-oscillation period of a pendulum of standard length.

Note that the present system of numbering centuries was developed before the concept of zero had rediffused back into Europe. It's not clear what would have occurred in the alternative, but in the event, the first hundred years of the common era CE are known as the ``first'' century. This is preceded immediately by the ``first'' century BC or BCE. There is no zeroth century. Similarly, the first year of the first century CE (abbreviated a number of ways, including ``1 c. CE'') is the year one (abbreviated ``1 CE''). It is preceded immediately by the year 1 BCE, which is the last year of 1 c. BCE. In other words, there is no year zero either. Moreover, the first one hundred years, beginning from 1 CE, did not end in the year 99. Instead, they ended with the last day of the year 100. The new century thus began with the year 101. It is left as an exercise for the reader to show that 1901 was the first year of the twentieth century, and the twenty-first century will begin on New Year's Day in 2001. All of you people who celebrate at the end of 1999, it's like arriving an hour early for a party, only 8760 times worse.

To this, Wendy Warren answers ``The fun is when the calendar goes from one-nine-nine-nine to two-zero-zero-zero.'' According to a front-page article in the Monday, December 18, 1995 New York Times (which is often reliable) Warren and 900 of her closest friends have booked a hollow 600-foot obelisk in Seattle to celebrate the coming simultaneous triple-carry of the annual shift register.

TAFKAP had a hit record in the mid-eighties called ``(Tonight) We're Gonna Party Like It's Nineteen Ninety Nine.'' Already this year, the murder rate in Minneapolis is higher than in New York City. [National Lampoon's ``Deteriorata'' (a parody of Max Ehrman's ``Desiderata'') offers the following consolation: ``And reflect that whatever fortunes may be your lot, / It could only be worse in Milwaukee.'' Minneapolis is in Minnesota; Milwaukee is in Wisconsin. The consolation preceding the one just quoted is ``Take heart amid the deepening gloom that your dog is finally getting enough cheese.'' Wisconsin (WI) is known for cheese. What is the deeper meaning of this poem?]

The US Naval Observatory (USNO) is doing its best to proselytize for the true millennium.

Charlie. Not an abbreviation here, just the FCC-recommended ``phonetic alphabet.'' I.e., a set of words chosen to represent alphabetic characters by their initials. You know, ``Alpha Bravo Charlie ... .'' The idea behind the choice is to have words that the listener will be able to guess at or reconstruct accurately even through noise (or narrow bandwidth, like a telephone). Hence, ``Candles'' would be no good because it might be heard as ``Scandals,'' especially if anyone happens to be serving as President of the US.

Personally, I prefer ``Cucaracha!''


Latin Circiter, meaning `around' and used (in both Latin and English) in the sense of `about, approximately' or else short for ca., meaning the same thing but tending to be used mostly for proximity in time. Gee, this is so ambiguous and confusing!

C, c.
Concentration. A quantitative measure of the density of a solute in a solvent. Common chemical measures are molarity and molality. Normality is used for acids and bases.

In many particular applications, trades, and industries, absent any qualification or special context, ``concentration'' is implicitly concentration of a particular standard substance that is understood. In the wastewater treatment industry, that's disinfectant.

Consonant. From 13-14th century French, based on Latin roots to mean `sounded with' or `co-sounded.' What consonants are sounded with is vowels. This idea is not quite right, because many consonants can be sounded alone (semivowels like w, liquids like r, nasals like m, and fricatives like esh). To different degrees, such consonants can function as vowels. Nevertheless, I'm not aware of any consonant other than the rolled r that can function fully as a vowel (i.e. that can be freely substituted for a vowel and still produce something pronounceable). There's a Serbo-Croatian children's song in which a single verse is repeated, each time with a different vowel, the last time with r (that's the fun part). Although it is difficult to draw a sharp distinction between vowels and consonants, the simplest effective approach is to define vowels (q.v.) directly, and then define consonants as all other sounds or letters.

Coulomb. The SI unit of electric charge. Although it may seem natural to think of the charge unit as fundamental and the current unit [ampere, (A)] as derived from it (A = C/s), in fact the fundamental definition is of the amp, and one coulomb is the charge corresponding to a current of one amp integrated over one second.

There is a natural unit of charge, of course -- the magnitude of charge on the proton or electron, typically written e or q. This is 1.602 × 10-19 C.

cum. Medical Latin, `with.'

Curie [unit].

Cytosine. A pyrimidine base in DNA and RNA that pairs with the purine base Guanine (G). GMW of the isolated base is 111.1 grams per mole.

Euler's Constant. A constant defined by the requirement that
     1   1   1         1
     - + - + - + ... + - - ln(N) - C 
     1   2   3         N
converge to zero as N approaches zero.

The value of C is approximately 0.577215... It is sometimes convenient to define a quantity gamma = exp(C) = 1.781072...

A programming language created in 1974 by Dennis Ritchie. For a bit of programming-language genealogy involving C, see the Algol entry. Also C this list of Usenet FAQ's. (Oh yeh, I'm a laff riot.)

Michael Neumann's extensive list of sample short programs in different programming languages includes four C programs, not all of them short.

The name is spoken like the musical pitch: ``cee sharp.'' C# is a class-crazy version of C++. Although you can do pointer arithmetic if you promise the compiler that you'll take responsibility for any untoward results, it manages to eliminate most of the necessity for explicitly pointing and referencing. The language was created at Microsoft, but they have made some effort to make it nonproprietary.

There have been one or two non-MS compilers available since at least 2005, but outside of a machine running Windows, it's hard to see much reason to move from C++. Scratch that; Novell sponsors an open-source project called Mono that ``provides the necessary software to develop and run .NET client and server applications on Linux, Solaris, Mac OS X, Windows, and Unix.'' Its programming languages include no platform-independent C++, but it does include a C# compiler. That has to beat learning Objective-C just to pull in an extra 10% market share. (Nothing against Objective-C, but it's very different from C++. Objective-C takes its object model and syntax from Smalltalk, while C++ uses Simula-type objects. Objective-C's message-passing way of dealing with objects might be a more natural fit for event-driven programs, and it's charming that Objective-C is a strict superset of C, but these things don't make recoding easy. Translating between C++ and Objective-C requires thinking across two different models.)

Michael Neumann's extensive list of sample short programs in different programming languages includes three C# programs.

An object-oriented extension of the C language. [Strictly speaking, standard C is not an exact subset of C++.] The GNU C++ compiler is g++. Plus, there are usenet FAQ's Usenet FAQ's. (Like Gauss's mathematical publications, our links are few but good -- as of July 2007.)

``Double plus'' is a Newspeak adverb; that might be one of the better reasons to switch to C# (``cee sharp'').

Michael Neumann's extensive list of sample short programs in different programming languages includes over a dozen C++ programs.


Abbreviation of circa, Latin for `around,' often used like the English words near or close in the sense `approximately.' Most used in giving dates and date ranges. Also abbreviated just plain c.

Now you, dear reader, are obviously a very sensible person, as evidenced by the fact that you are looking things up here in a (very good, I may say) glossary, instead of risking a vocable miscue. Alas, not everyone is as intelligent or even as conscientious as you. Some people see the word circa enough times, and they think they know what it means when they don't. They lack imagination, which is a necessary component of learning -- if you can't imagine alternatives, then you risk supposing they don't exist, and thus failing to realize that you have guessed wrong. To cut to the chase, what I'm trying to say here is that some people wildly misunderstand the term circa. They seem to think it's a word that just goes in front of a number to indicate that the number is a year. I won't characterize these people further, but I will note that they apparently have a statistically enhanced probability of attending ed school.

For a variant of this, see the links from this page (``Gallery of Space Books'') that is part of The Space Educators' Handbook. Among the books linked from there one finds, for example ``TOM CORBETT : A TRIP TO THE MOON (circa 1953)'' above the image and ``Copyright, 1953, by Rockhill Radio Recording'' below. You get the idea.

Cab-to-(rear)-Axle (distance). Precisely, the horizontal distance from the rearmost point of the truck cab to the rear axle or (midpoint of rear axles). Clear or effective CA measures the back of the cab from the rear surface of any obstruction behind the cab.

For more, see Chassis Dimensions in the NTEA's glossary of Truck Equipment Terms.

Calcium. Atomic number 20. An alkaline earth element. Makes water hard, by the reaction
2NaA + Ca2+ --> CaA2 + 2Na+
where A- is some large organic anion, and CaA2 precipitates out.

Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

CaliforniA. USPS abbreviation.

The Villanova University Law School provides some links to state government web sites for California. USACityLink.com has a page mostly of California city and county links.

California is a community property state, but it's not the only one. I think Arizona is another. If you have a prenuptual agreement, then the community property laws still have to kick in at the end of ten years. Tom Cruise filed for divorce from Nicole Kidman as their tenth anniversary was approaching. I guess he couldn't think of what to get her. Or could.

The California Historical Society is online.

In 2003, California found itself in a hole about $38 billion deep. Governor Gray Davis suggested balancing the budget by firing all the teachers and tripling the auto registration fee, but he was only able to fully implement the second part of this plan. Nominally, the budget was balanced by the usual accounting tricks, but there's something truly original on the way: California is going to balance its budget by a direct application of democratic principles. Specifically, they're holding a recall election to see if Davis can keep his job, and who gets to replace him -- and anyone can get on the ballot for $3500. Everyone's joining the party! If just one third of California's population buys a place on the ballot, the budget will swing into surplus. Unbelievable! As I write on August 6, they're well on their way to solvency. I think I've heard about four million gubernatorial hopefuls who already filed their papers. There are probably also some relative unknowns (that girl I mention in the rehab entry, for example) who've filed but haven't had their fifteen minutes of air, yet. (Thank the gods for all those satellite channels.) Of course, because being a candidate for high state office has become so commonplace, a lot of people forget whether they've already filed; these people are encouraged to file again -- twice, thrice, whatever they can afford out of the Social Security check. They're always assured that ``filing again can not reduce your chances of winning.'' This is great! Good news: I hear the filing deadline will be extended due to ``unforeseen delays'' -- the unusual number of candidates is causing some logistical difficulties in the paper-ballot districts -- this is a uncharted seas for the phone-book publishers.

(Domain name code for) Canada. One country as of this writing, and looks increasingly like it may stay that way. Here's a lesson in Canadian. Also for California, in the second-to-last position: <foobar.ca.us>.

``Canadian initiative, Canadian initiative, ...'' works better than ``one sheep, two sheep, ....''

In breakfast menus, ``Canadian'' is an adjective meaning `with bacon,' just as ``Virginia'' is a dinner-menu adjective meaning `glazed ham' and ``Hawaiian'' is just an elegant way of saying `with a pineapple annulus.' ``Wisconsin'' (WI) means `with yellow cheese.' `Nova Scotia' or just `Nova' (in a food context) means `lots of fresh,' but can only modify the word salmon. ``Louisiana'' means `cooked with hot spices, and imagine accordion music in the background.' ``New York'' is a restaurant term meaning expensive. ``New York-style cheesecake'' is mostly manufactured in Philadelphia. Here's what Alice May Brock says:

Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.

When this entry was first written, Canada had ten provinces and two territories. The territories were distinguished by the fact that their capital cities had concatenated compound common nouns as names. To wit:

The capital cities of the provinces all have three or four vowels, so long as you spell out St. John's.

There's a search site called <canada.com>.

On April 1, 1999, the region previously called the Northwest Territories (prescient plural there) fissioned into two, with about the eastern half becoming the new Nunavut Territory; the capital is Iqaluit (formerly called Frobisher Bay). Alas, Iqaluit doesn't look like a concatenated compound common noun, but you never know. I don't at any rate. Agglutination is a common feature of North American autochthon languages, so there's hope. ``Frobisher Bay'' at least consisted of two nouns, though they weren't concatenated and one was proper.

Here's the Canadian page of an X.500 directory.

If I had to guess, I'd say that the ccTLD with the greatest number of hyphenated second-level domains is <.ca>, on account of all the bilingual acronym pairs. The CBC sponsors a Canadian-oriented search engine called MegaCrawler. Not a whisper of French -- I am amazed. (To follow their links, copy the URL and remove the duplicated part.) There's also a Friendly Canadian search site that appears to use babelfish machine translation. Even Yahoo! Canada does better than that!

Here's something I hadn't realized: Canada is a part of Europe! In this online TNR article, editor-in-chief Martin Peretz explains ``Europe (by which I mean Great Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Poland, Canada, Australia, and a few others) holds the fate of Palestine in its hands.'' There you go. His magazine is owned by a Canadian company, so I figure he ought to know. Australia is part of Europe too.

Also from the news media: Canada is a part of the US. Or so it seemed for a while in January 2009. For the incontrovertible evidence, you could visit the Financial Times page of World New Headlines, as I did. In the left sidebar, under ``World,'' I clicked on ``US.'' There I found an alphabetized list of US categories:

  • Canada
  • Economy & Fed
  • Politics
  • Society
  • So at least part of the US is part of Europe too. Possibly not Hawaii, though. This is really almost as stupid as the new ESPN homepage unveiled at the beginning of January. Checking the next month, I see that the US category has been renamed ``US & Canada,'' and Canada has been moved to the end of the list. What about Mexico? Isn't Mexico a part of the US? President Polk sure thought so. The ESPN page has been somewhat repaired as well.

    Canadian Alliance. A political party in a North American region that US people sometimes have difficulty thinking of as a separate country up there. Let's take a quick jaunt back down Memory Lane for this one:

    The Reform Party of Canada was founded by Preston Manning in 1987. For a while in the late 1990's the party was trying to enlarge by merging with some smaller parties on the right, which after the humiliation of 1993 included the Tories (also called Conservatives, PC), but the Tories weren't interested. Manning made a renewed push in this direction in 1998, and in 1999 a few provincial Tories from Ontario and Alberta left the PC and created a forthrightly temporary party called the United Alternative for the express purpose of consummating some such merger. In 2000, Reform and United Alternative merged.

    At one time it appeared that the new name would be Conservative-Reform Alliance Party, which would have had a pronounceable acronym, but for unknown reasons that name wasn't chosen. Instead they have become the Canadian Reform Conservative (no hyphen!) Alliance, with an official short form of Canadian Alliance and an official abbreviation of CA for that. (Note that ``(no hyphen!)'' is not part of the name. It's a comment. I should have written it with square brackets so that not so many readers would have been confused.)

    ``Progressive Conservative,'' ``Reform Conservative'' ... diet sugar, compassionate conservative, sofa-bed, hurry up and wait. Something for everyone, a comedy tonight!

    In the federal elections of 2000, the Canadian Alliance failed to make the ``breakthrough'' it had long hoped for in the east (i.e., in Ontario), while the Tories sank a little deeper. In 2003-4, Canadian Alliance and Tories merged, and Canadian Alliance ceased to be used as a party name. Stockwell Day, who is discussed at the Victoria Day entry, became shadow Foreign Minister and took the opportunity to visit lots of foreign countries.

    Cell Arrival.

    Cellular Automaton (sing.) or Automata (pl.).

    U. Frisch, B. Hasslacher, and Y. Pomeau, Phys. Rev. Lett. 56, 1505 (1986), showed that a particular class of local, hexagonally coordinated two-dimensional lattice gases evolve according to conventional two-dimensional hydrodynamic equations.

    Here are a few CA links. Cf. QCA.

    Cellulose Acetate (polymer resin).

    Central America. Many businesses in Central America (Centroamérica or América central) list ``CA'' after the name. If you know where the country is, then this is superflous; if you don't know that Panama, Costa Rica, or whatever is a country in Central America, then the ``CA'' isn't likely to help. In the US postal system, which uses CA as an abbreviation for California, it might even lead to confusion. For example, Panama is the name of an unincorporated community near Bakersfield, California.

    ``Central America'' has always been an essentially political designation, and changes in sovereignty have changed the extent of the region. Today, those who are paying attention recognize that it is the territory of the countries on the American mainland between Mexico and Colombia, including with their nearby island posessions. Other islands in the Caribbean (whatever their political status) are not generally called Central American. (The corresponding terms in other languages sometimes have different meanings.)

    Central America is entirely within North America because Colombia defines the northwest limit of South America. This raises the question, how was ``Central America'' defined when Panama was still a part of Colombia. The answer is rather involved, and I'd like to publish a short form of this entry so another entry that links to it has something to link to. So to make a long story short, the term was a loose one. For example, a January 1812 letter to the editor of the Christian Observer mentioned ``...the boundless regions of central Africa; central America on both sides of the isthmus of Panama; and the whole of Australasia and Polynesia; all of which may be regarded as uninhabited [for the purposes of his argument reconciling Malthusian theory with Christianity].''

    The region became independent of Spain in 1821 was initially a part of the Mexican empire. In July 1823 it seceded to form las Provincias Unidas del Centro de América (`the United Provinces of the Center of America'). ``It'' was the Spanish colonial administrative region that had been called la Capitanía General de Guatemala (`the Captaincy General of Guatemala') until 1821, and that consisted of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. The borders of these states were approximately what they are today. The biggest differences were that Guatemala included Chiapas, and Britain controlled the Mosquito Coast, a strip about 40 miles deep along most of the Caribbean coast of present-day Nicaragua and the 100 or so easternmost miles of the current Caribbean coast of Honduras. Costa Rica included a bit of modern-day Panama.

    In 1824, the name was changed to la República Federal de Centroamérica (`Federal Republic of Central America'). This was the origin of `Central America' as a relatively precise political term.

    In the 1830's a sixth state, Los Altos (loosely `the highlands'), was carved out of the western Guatemalan highlands, including Chiapas. The republic descended into civil war in the late 30's, and in 1840 it was dissolved. At that time, Chiapas chose to become part of Mexico, and the rump of Los Altos returned to Guatemala.

    Certification Authority.

    Channel Access. A network protocol designed for EPICS, q.v.


    Classical Antiquity. A journal formerly published as California Studies in Classical Antiquity (CSCA).


    The Classical Association. ``[T]he largest classical organisation in Great Britain. It has a worldwide membership, and unites the interests of all who value the study of the languages, literature and civilisation of ancient Greece and Rome.'' The CA was founded in 1903, which seems preposterously recent. (I've also seen 1904.)

    As you might expect from an essentially national organization that eschews any geographic or political cue in its name, this is one of those associations that sometimes styles itself ``The Association.''

    The Classical Association publishes three journals, all of them important in the UK and other places where there are classical scholars who can read English: Classical Review, Classical Quarterly and Greece & Rome. (In 2005, with the sole purpose of mystifying everyone, CA switched publishers for these journals from Oxford to Cambridge U.P.)

    Cluster Analysis.

    Cocaine Anonymous.

    College Assistant.

    Common Anode. All the anodes in a particular LED display are a common node.

    Complexing Agent.

    Computer-Aided or Computer-Assisted. I ask you: how informative is this prefix? And the inelegance of it all! What price progress? Cf. CARP.

    Connection Activation unit. Part of a Connection Information Distribution (CID) mechanism.

    Corriente Alterna. Spanish for `Alternating Current' (AC).

    Crank Amperage. A typical car battery provides 700 A. The same battery might provide only 550 A in cold conditions (Cold Crank Amperage -- CCA).

    Cricket Australia. ``formerly known as the Australian Cricket Board,'' until they adopted the Canadian or Australian or whatever naming convention, ``is the governing body for professional and amateur cricket in Australia.'' Well, some amateur cricket, anyway. It's a full member of the ICC.

    Current Amplifier. An ordinary bipolar transistor, in common-emitter configuration, is most simply regarded as a current amplifier.

    Cyanoacrylate Adhesive. Superglue.

    Cyclic Acetal.

    Canadian Acoustical Association. The French name is l'Association Canadienne d'Acoustique, represented ACA or L'ACA. Their logo cleverly arranges a letter C centered above two A's on a maple leaf, representing both orderings.

    Canadian Automobile Association. The French name is Association canadienne des automobilistes (not a direct translation, since automobiliste is a motorist), but CAA is used in both languages. You think that's a small concession? They actually offer a French translation of ``1145 Hunt Club Road'' (1145, chemin Hunt Club). (It should probably be ``1145, Hunt Club Road,'' since Road is part of the name. However, for reasons that are difficult to articulate but obvious to everyone, there is a desire to find something to make the translation nontrivial.)

    Canadian Aviation Administration. Now become part of Transport Canada.

    Civil Aviation Authority.

    Clean Air Act.

    College Art Association. Founded 1912, became a constituent society of the ACLS in 1942. ACLS has an overview. It called itself the College Art Association of America at least as recently as 1984.

    Computer-Assisted (CA-) Assessment.

    Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990.

    Civil Aviation Authority of China.

    In the interest of full disclosure, and so you can see what incorrect glossary entries look like (as we steadily work to extirpate them), here is what this entry used to read in its entirety:

    PRC (Chinese) national airline. Supposed to be ``China Administration of Civil Aviation'' but the order is wrong, so it's probably French. The only English expansion seems to be `Chinese Airliners Always Crash.' Similar expansions at this site or this one. More explanation from Hong Kong. (Visit before July 1, 1997! Oops, too late. Don't visit now.) Note that if ``China Administration of Civil Aviation'' really were the expansion, its acronym would be a child's dirty word in many European languages. Here's the Air China site; I don't know of a specific CAAC site. (Use this alternate URL if you want to drag out the experience.)

    On January 2, 1997 the Chinese government publicly congratulated itself for a record 29 accident-free months for the nation's airlines. (They waited until after the last plane had landed safely before the New Year.) The International Airline Passenger Association (IAPA) had cited China as one of the most dangerous countries in which to fly in 1994.

    Consortium of Art and Architectural Historians. A listserv based at Rutgers.

    Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs. It's ``the largest programmatic accreditor in the health sciences field. In collaboration with its Committees on Accreditation, CAAHEP reviews and accredits over 2000 educational programs in nineteen (19) health science occupations. CAAHEP is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).''

    Computers And Ancient Languages (especially of the Ancient Near East). A mailing list run by Petr Zemánek out of Universitas Carolina in the Czech Republic (.cz). FTP archives at <ftp://praha1.ff.cuni.cz/pub/lists/caal/>.

    China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

    Children's AIDS Awareness Project. That particular program no longer seems to be in existence, but see this page, which offers ``[a]ge-appropriate knowledge about the transmission and risks of HIV and its prevalence among youth'' down to the K-3 level (!).

    At education-world.com, there's a curriculum article'' explaining that ``HIV/AIDS Education Isn't Only for Health Class! (It's for English, Math, Science, Spanish.)'' The article continues...

    HIV/AIDS curriculum is often relegated to Health class where instruction can be clinical and boring. But at Patrick Henry High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a special AIDS Awareness Week program involved teachers of all disciplines. AIDS education came to life in art class and English class, in math and in geography.

    Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency. A standardized test administered by colleges.


    Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute. In Nicosia. They have an events page listing exhibits of Cypriot artifacts, lectures on Cypriot archaeology and conferences with sessions or papers devoted to Cypriot archaeology.


    Classical Association of the Atlantic States. Their seal has the name in Latin: ``Causa Artium Alit Scientiam.'' It's great that it works out to the same letters.

    The ``Atlantic states'' are New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia. The organization name is pronounced ``cass'' (to rhyme with pass) by its members; the 1999 fall meeting was in Easton, PA. The Spring 2000 meeting was in Princeton. After that, they let the website slide. Dang, and Janice tells me the fall 2000 one was the best in at least eleven years.

    Well, the Spring 2001 meeting was in New Rochelle, New York at the end of April, and I finally went. Boy was I embarrassed! Everybody laughed at me, except a couple of people who thought I was joking and laughed with me (I could tell from their ear-lobe muscles). But I wasn't laughing very hard. I was humiliated. It turns out that the Latin C - A - A - S phrase in the seal doesn't translate ``Classical Association of the Atlantic States'' after all.

    How was I to know? Causa looks a bit like Classical. I mean, the words have to be different in different languages, or they wouldn't be different languages, now would they? So there: Quod Erat Disputandum (Q.E.D.). After all, just look at the words: does causa or scientam remind you of any particular word in English? I thought not. I tell ya, it's not fair. It's not fair!

    They say that Causa Artium Alit Scientiam means `the cause of the arts nourishes science.' This is a somewhat biased reading: scientia meant `knowledge.' The current meaning of its English cognate science represents an adaptation and restriction of the meaning of the French etymon. The Germans use Wissenschaft.

    Okay, so some months after the Spring meeting, I got another copy of the program, along with a standard sheet entitled ``Professional Development Documentation.'' There CAAS is revealed to have provider/district registration number 1879, and the meeting turns out to be a professional development activity. I was there two days and I only accrued Professional Development in the actual amount of six hours? Add insult to injury.

    I mentioned this to my cousin Victoria, who teaches bilingual kindergarten in California. She says she could use the hours. The states require public school teachers to do unbelievable amounts of often pointless busy-work, like accruing professional development hours or filling out forms detailing microscopically how each component of their lesson plans meets which of the state's myriad educational achievement goals. It's exactly like being punished by being made to stay after school.

    In the US, private schools manage to escape a large part of this burden. An anonymous informant in the other .ca place reports on work conditions under the Catholic school board there:

    A requirement of the permanent contract is passing a course in religious instruction. The course ran five months, once a week for three hours. This was the first year the course has been so onerous (I won't even get into the idiot assignments we had to do) and it was so onerous because the OCT won't recognize it as an official course if it doesn't have hours and work equivalent to a university-level course. Attendance was mandatory (you were allowed to miss at most two classes).

    At professional meetings, it would be offensive to ``take attendance.'' One thing that surprised me about the CAAS meeting was the large number of participant packages (detailed program, meal tickets, pin-on ID) that were not picked up. A lot of people seem to have paid admission and not come for the show. I can't imagine what they got out of it.

    Commission on the Accreditation of Ambulance Services.

    Canadian Alliance Against Software Theft.

    You know, I was sure I had the URL for this around somewhere. Where did it go? It should be right -- Oh no! I've been hit by ...

    The Bookmark Thieves.

    The really scary thing about these guys is how fast and silently they work. Turn your head away from the computer, and it's gone (the bookmark, not the computer; this entry isn't about hardware theft). They're just like those softwear pirates. Look away from the tumbling and spinning clothing mass, and before you even know it, they've socked it to ya. Vicious peg-leg pirates who ``only take what we need,'' but you're left holding the bag -- of unmatched socks. Fgrep won't get you a.out of this one.

    Carolina Animal Activists Together.

    Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing. At JHU.

    It should be obvious: just promote them to the next grade regardless whether they learned anything or not.

    College of Applied Arts and Technology. Obscure synonym of (English) Canadian equivalent of US Community College. The equivalence is somewhat approximate. Also, the option of completing a baccalaureate degree in the other colleges (``senior colleges'' in a rare but reasonable US usage) in three years is much more common in Canada. Cf. CEGEP.

    CABernet. A red wine that tastes like (and is) Cabernet Sauvignon. Less an abbreviation than an affectation.

    Canadian Association of Broadcasters. ``The Collective Voice of Canada's Private Broadcasters.'' The French acronym is ACR.

    CAB holds its annual convention in October.

    Cellulose Acetate Butyrate.

    Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences. Used as a productive prefix by CAB International (CABI). After I had to download, crop and zoom their welcome gif just to learn the expansion of CAB, you can be sure I wasn't going to waste all that effort on just one entry.

    Civilian Aviation Board. No homepage because it disappeared in 1978, under airline deregulation. Its duties were distributed to the DOT, FAA, and NTSB.

    Alfred E. Kahn was the last head of the CAB, and he eagerly argued his job out of existence. He told an airline executive ``I really don't know one plane from another. To me they're just marginal costs with wings.'' After the CAB was disbanded, president Jimmy Carter made Kahn ``inflation czar.'' In a way, this was very appropriate for a man who in the long run lowered the real costs of air travel. However, Carter didn't give Kahn any power. Nobody on the fiscal side had any power over inflation in those years (see WIN), and in the Carter years inflation was compounded by economic stagnation (i.e., low or negative economic growth). The combination came to be called stagflation. The trouble with fiscal measures against stagflation was (and is) that increased government spending fuels recovery but worsens inflation (in theory). When Ronald Reagan ran against Carter in 1980, he made ``Are you better off now than you were four years ago?'' an effective campaign mantra. Fiscal measures not availing, and Reagan promising increased spending combined with tax cuts, Paul Volker applied the monetary brakes. Volker, appointed chairman of the Fed by Carter, raised interest rates (in the usual indirect ways, by raising the reserve rate and decreasing money supply) dramatically early in the Reagan administration, triggering the worst recession in US post-war history. That seems to have done the trick for twenty years. Amazing.

    One of the vegetables quantified like an important body part (cf. corn). However, cabbage, in addition to being counted in head, comes from L. caput, `head,' via the Fr. cabus, modifying choux (`cabbage') in choux cabbage (`headed cabbage'). The government of British Columbia answers your urgent questions here.

    Another connection between cabbage and the human body, beside the latter eating the former and the former inflating the latter: cabbage is doctors' slang for a heart bypass, evidently derived from the common pronunciation of CABG. This usage has so far only come to the attention of SBF investigators in Canada, but the border is porous. (In fact, this porosity is a significant consideration when provincial governments negotiate compensation with physicians. It turns out that the physiology of Canadians and Americans is quite similar -- we have over 99% of our genes in common -- so Canadian physicians are able to find work in the US with very little retraining.)

    I read once that ``my little cabbage'' (or however that's translated) is an affectionate lover's pet-epithet in France. Romaine?

    California Association for Bilingual Education. ``[A] non-profit organization incorporated in 1976 to promote bilingual education and quality educational experiences for all students in California.''

    In California, bilingual education basically means education in Spanish and English.

    Central American Bank for Economic Integration. English name of the Banco Centroamericano de Integración Económica (BCIE, q.v.).

    Joseph C. Cabell, a prominent Virginian who died in 1856, is mentioned at the Harvard of the South entry. We don't mention him anywhere else, but William H. Cabell was governor of Virginia from 1805-1808. His grandson James Branch Cabell (1879-1958) was considered in his time (at least by his fellow literati) to be the most distinguished citizen of Richmond-in-Virginia, as he styled it. Virginia has old family like that. The Virginia Lees are another such.

    Massachusetts had something similar, and the famous Boston saying that ``the Lodges speak only to the Cabots, and the Cabots speak only to God.'' As you can imagine, moving in such restricted social circles limited their marriage prospects, so the most famous Lodges and Cabots were Cabot Lodges. Then came the Kennedys -- new money (hold your nose).

    Interestingly, Branch Cabell was born at 101 E. Franklin Street. What's that you say? You say that doesn't seem very interesting? Well just let me finish! That address is now the site of the Richmond Public Library. If they would just move to new digs, they could make that place the Branch Cabell Branch Library. As it is, there's a James Branch Cabell Library at VCU, but it seems to be the principal library on the main (Monroe Park) campus.

    Coronary Artery Bypass Graft[ing]. Pronounced ``cabbage.''

    Centre for Agriculture and Biosciences (CAB) International. Homepage here.

    CableACE Awards
    CABLE Awards for Cable Excellence AWARDS. We selected this term for inclusion in our highly exclusive, excellence-oriented glossary because it is an AssistedAAP Acronym, after a fashion. ACE originally (1979-1983) stood for ``Award for Cablecasting Excellence.'' The official expansion of ACE became ``Award for Cable Excellence'' for 1984. One supposes that they imagined that ACE would eventually stop being thought of as an acronym (was it thought of at all?) and be accepted as a word ``synonymous with cable programming excellence'' (text quoted from a cable executive's dreams). For 1992, they changed the name to the silly head term this entry denounces, and just five years later, 1997, was the last year they gave the award at all. Let that be a lesson to you.

    The awards were sponsored by the NCTA, which eventually created a ``National Academy of Cable Programming'' that oversaw and tried to lend a little lightweight gravitas to the awards from 1985 on. The original pretext for these NCTA-sponsored awards was the exclusion of cable TV programming from eligibility for the Emmy Awards. Cable shows became Emmy-eligible in 1988, but the disappearance of an organization's raison d'être is hardly enough, on its own, for the organization to fold. That the ACE thing coasted along for less than a decade after 1988 is thanks solely to its having a stupid name.

    The awards were given annually from 1979 to 1997, but not in 1986 and twice in 1995, because they temporarily switched the event from December to January. (Cf. APA annual meetings.) The awards ceremonies took place in LA, often at the Wiltern Theatre. I never heard of it either. They were very memorable. Save a link to this page at IMDb, listing results of an ongoing investigation into who, if anyone, was honored by these awards.

    CAucasian, BLack, INdian, and ASIAN. Racial self-description of Tiger Woods.

    Originally a ship's galley (kitchen), or a cabin on the ship's deck that houses the galley.

    In the US, the word was adopted in railroading to refer to a train car for the use of the train crew, usually the last car on a freight train. That car would have kitchen and sleeping facilities. Cabooses (I wish the plural were cabeese) are largely obsolete. Loosely, the word is used to mean the last car. This usage should be continued because it infuriates railroad buffs. In the UK, cabeese (what the heck), or at least the word caboose for such a car, never caught on. Presumably this is because it's a small country.

    A caboose served other purposes besides quartering the crew. Crew on the caboose monitored the freight cars and cargo for problems like overheating axleboxes and load shifting. The last car is (was? was and now will be again?) sometimes a guard's van.

    In Canada, the word caboose was also adopted for a mobile bunkhouse used by lumberjacks.

    Canadian Association of Broadcast Representatives. Founded in 1950 as a nonprofit cooperative organization to promote the interest of Canadian broadcast sales companies. So why isn't the name CABSC? That's pronounceable.

    Citizens Advice BureauX. This expansion is not the official title of any organization, but the plural of what is strictly speaking a common noun. A citizens advice bureau is a sort of traveler's aid for people who aren't necessarily traveling (for people who aren't necessarily, ahem, travelling, in Britain). ``The Citizens Advice service helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free information and advice from over 3,000 locations, and by influencing policymakers.''

    California Association of Criminalists.

    Central American & Caribbean Bridge Federation. The initialism CAC may have been official at one point, and is part of the organization's logo as of 2006, but CACBF now seems to be more common. Other information about this zonal bridge federation is at the CACBF entry.

    Certified Alcoholism Counselor.

    Citizen Advocacy Center.


    Classical Association of Canada. See CAC/SCEC.

    Coast Artillery Corps. I believe this is a bit historical.

    Collective Action Clause. A clause in a prospective agreement (``offer'') between a debtor (such as the Greek government, say) and its creditors. The clause essentially states that after the offer is ``voluntarily'' accepted by a certain fraction of creditors (or more likely creditors representing a certain fraction of the debt), it is binding on all creditors. It's a nifty little deal you can swing if you control the courts where such a deal might be adjudicated (such as the Greek courts, say, in the case of Greek-law bonds). After enough debtors ``voluntarily'' accept the offer, the CAC is said to be ``activated.'' I suppose one legal principle supporting a CAC is that you can't squeeze much water from a stone.

    Connection Admission Control. Talkin' ATM here.

    Consumers Association of Canada.

    Central American & Caribbean Bridge Federation. Founded in 1971 to organize and govern bridge in the named area, CACBF was recognized (probably as ``CAC,'' q.v.,) as Zone 5 of the WBF in 1976. Venezuela and the three Guyanas belong to this zonal organization instead of the South American organization (CSB). Colombia used to belong to CACBF, but is now (2006) in CSB. More about some of the member federations of the CACBF can be found at the NBO entry.

    Memory buffer for processor registers. By retrieving contents of memory locations adjacent to those immediately called, or by holding recently used data, the cache reduces delays associated with memory fetches. Because of the simplicity of cache algorithms, this is most useful in array processing. Instruction and data caches are typically separate. SRAM and DRAM are typical memory types.

    Cache is pronounced like ``cash.'' It frequently occurs as a misspelling of cachet (pronounced ``cash-AY''). For example, a Reuters wire report on August 30, 2005, included some comments of Brandimensions COO Bradley Silver interpreting poor box office results: ``He also said that the data indicates that even movie stars don't have the same cache as they once did.'' (Then again, maybe animatronics is more pervasive than I ever suspected.)

    Official Expansion: Cooperative Approach to Continual Improvement.
    Accurate Expansion: Corporate Approach to Continual Irritation.

    Pronounced khaki. Part of the religion of Demmingism.

    Caca and similar-sounding words, from the Latin, mean `shit' in various European languages (particularly Romance languages; sometimes, given the form, a children's word). The tendency is for the word to have female gender, so the regularly constructed Italian plural would be cache (pronounced kah-keh, not like cache) rather than cachi (male plural, pronounced kah-kee). Actually, the count-noun version is probably pretty rare.

    Catholic Apostolic Church In North America.

    Canadian Association Of Children's Librarians (a division of the CLA).

    Central American Common Market. An unfortunate acronym. Take my word for it, or just see CACI entry above.

    Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

    A Greek root meaning `bad.'

    CACO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies
    ``Not Too Big, Not Too Small
    Just The Right Bite Size''

    About 3 cm in diameter and 1 cm high, or thick.

    ``PROUDLY Made in U.S.A.''
    Owned and Operated by Americans''

    After all, what country is better known for delicious cookies? Don't answer that.

    Important selling points:

    1. RIGHT size enjoyable by old and young alike. (I'm still thinking about this one.)
    2. SMALL size, so if you're counting calories you can just eat a few and not feel guilty (just 20 Calories per cookie).
    3. Entire manufacturing process automated from mixing room to bagging. Cookies untouched by human hands other than purchaser's.

    Bud's Best Cookies, Inc., is located in Hoover, Alabama. That's outside of Birmingham. It started in 1992 with an initial investment of $12 million, and as of 1999 was making a million cookies a year. Of course, those are small cookies.

    Cf. Kako.

    A bad writer or speller. The first word listed in the archives of wwftd. James Murray, the first general editor of the OED, cited himself in that work only once. The cite constituted the sole authority adduced for the word cacographer, attested only in the plural: ``Norman cacographers.''

    Calcium Carbonate. A weak basic salt (the salt of a weak base with an even weaker acid), it is the active ingredient in the antacids Tums and Chooz. For other antacids, see the Maalox entry.

    Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.


    Classical Association of Canada -- Société canadienne des études classiques. Publishes the scholarly journals Phoenix (issues two to four times a year, and they're caught up now to only six months behind schedule) and EMC/CV, and CCB/BCEA.

    Canadian Association of College and University Libraries. A division of the Canadian Library Association (CLA).


    Classical Association of the Canadian West. Occasionally, the annual meeting is held jointly with CAPN.

    Canadian Association of the Deaf.

    CAnadian Dollar. On the upswing in 1999. Visit one of the currency converters we link to for up-to-date information.

    A website for Houston, in TX [a state bordering on and once part of Mexico (.mx)], is eager to advance the international money-based amity that NAFTA was partly intended to foster. Their currency converter defaults to CAD/USD. On the upswing in 1999.

    Computer-Aided (CA-) Design. [Pronounced ``cad.''] Also expanded Computer-Aided Drafting.

    A popular CAD package is AutoCAD, for which there are usenet newsgroups comp.cad.autocad and alt.cad.autocad and some online faq's. The scripting language for AutoCAD is a version of LISP called AutoLISP. An extensive multipart FAQ for AutoLISP (including recent releases called Visual Lisp, Vital Lisp and ACOMP) appear in the AutoCAD newsgroups; a hypertext version is here.

    Computer-Aided (CA-) Diagnosis. A medical acronym, but it sounds like something I do: computer-aided diagonalization.

    Coronary Artery Disease. CAD is associated with a diet high in saturated fats, and saturated fats melt at higher temperatures than unsaturated fats of comparable molecular weight. Thus, unsaturated fats -- the ``good'' kind -- tend to be oilier.

    Oil-based person. He should at least have offered to marry her, some opine.

    Oh, here's something: in chapter two of her What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us, Danielle Crittenden reports that ``that in [her mother-in-law's] college circles in the mid-1950s, a man who took a woman out for more than three dates without intending marriage was considered a cad.''

    Wow. I'm always shocked when the ``joke'' entries are confirmed true. (This happens constantly.)

    She continues ``Today, the man who considered marriage so rashly would be thought a fool. Likewise, a woman.'' Apparently, what her mother didn't tell her she found out from her mother-in-law. The world changes in unexpected ways. What your mother-in-law didn't tell you, you could look up on the internet, if only you knew where to look.

    Spanish: `each.' It is used much like English each, but cannot function as a noun. (You have to use cada uno or cada una, meaning `each one,' or cada cual, which is literally something like `whichever,' but in practice about equivalent to `each one.') The word todo (`all') can function as a noun as well as an adjective, and is inflected for grammatical number and gender. (Cada, you will have noticed from the examples, is not.)

    Cada is derived from the Late or Vulgar Latin word cata. This was used with much the same sense as cada, but in a construction that might have made gender agreement slightly tricky. Everyone seems to agree that Latin borrowed the word from the Greek preposition kata.

    Computer-Aided (CA-) Design and Manufacture. It rhymes and it's alliterative.

    Computer-Aided (CA-) Design and Drafting. Some buck convention and go with the more poetic Computer-Aided Drafting and Design.

    Originally a Scots word for a boy who does odd jobs, from the French cadet. Now used for a golfer's attendant, someone who carries the clubs, and also for various devices for carrying or holding various things (e.g., tea caddie or service, bicycle caddie or rack). More often spelled caddy.

    Variant spelling of caddie. In defiance of the authority of respected dictionaries, this is actually the standard variant.

    Let me explain. The Tradewinds is a family restaurant in Mishawaka, Indiana. Bethel College is practically in its back yard, and there's a sign painted at the back of the building advertising a 10% discount for anyone with a current college ID. I had come in a few times before I discovered this, and now most of the third-shift staff still have to be reminded that I get a discount. Jen knows me and remembers that I get a discount and is aware that it still gets forgotten a lot. A couple of weeks ago when she brought my check, I heard her use an interesting new locution: ``Here's your check -- with the caddy discount.''

    So I decided to add a new caddy entry to the glossary. But then I wondered whether this abbreviation for academic is in common use or was just a nonce term or a neologism of hers. So I decided to return to The Tradewinds and ask. All for you, dear reader. As you can see, maintaining this vast information resource can run into real money, or at least 90% of real money plus sales tax.

    Jen explained that yes, she does like to create new words but no, she never said ``caddy discount.'' She said ``fatty discount.'' It wasn't a comment on the food groups I was eating, or to my BMI; it was an ironic reference to the fact that the discount was rather small (even though I had lemon meringue pie with that meal). That's what she claimed, anyway.

    This entry isn't a total waste, you know. I can still take the opportunity to point out that ``caddy'' is a nickname for Cadillac.

    A shrub found in the Europe and the Scrabble tablelands.

    Czech Academy of Dental Esthetics.

    Computer-Aided (CA-) Dispersive InfraRed (IR).

    A shrub found -- no wait! It's a Muslim judge, usually for a town or village. The office is called a cadiship, but even though all three major Scrabble dictionaries accept cadi (though not cady) and cadis, none of them accepts cadiship.

    Cumulative Advance/Decline Indicator.


    cadit quaestio
    Latin: `the question falls.'


    Centre for Ancient Drama and its REception.

    Combined Air Defense Systems.

    Computer-Aided (CA-) Design System.

    Computer-Aided (CA-) Design, Manufacturing, And Testing.

    Computer-Aided (CA-) Dispatching System.

    Caelum. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

    Constellations are named after things they resemble, or evoke, or at least sort of seemed to suggest to whatever sleepyhead named them. (We'll pull in the cloud-interpretation scene from Hamlet later.) The official IAU constellation names are Latin. Caelum is a well-known Latin word meaning `sky.' That some stars may resemble or at least suggest the sky is very plausible -- you'll have no argument from me. So alpha Caeli could be interpreted, mischievously, as the `first [brightest star] of the sky,' but it's really the brightest in the constellation Caelum, which is a pretty drab bit of sky between Columba and Eridanus. The respect in which Caelum suggests the sky is that it's mostly black.

    The most common alternative meanings of caelum are closely related to `sky' -- heaven, vault of heaven. Metonymic senses are common as well (air, atmosphere, temperature, climate, weather, horizon, height, vault, arch, covering). There's also a rather less common word caelum, which happens to have the same spelling, declension, and gender, and which essentially means `precision chisel' (L&S defines it as a ``chisel or burin of the sculptor or engraver, a graver'').

    We have Abbé Nicolas Louis de Lacaille to thank for this bad joke of a constellation name. The great achievement of de Lacaille (1713-1762) was to get in on the ground floor of the constellation-naming business by breaking open a whole new unclaimed territory (the southern hemisphere, basically). He spent the nights of 1750-1754 reportedly observing over 10,000 stars from the Cape of Good Hope with his 1/2-inch refractor. He ended up inventing fifteen new constellations and renaming an earlier one as Musca Australis (see the constellations entry). Fortunately, many of the other bad names he came up with were so cumbersome that it was considered permissible, despite his priority, to at least shorten them.

    Carbon Alcohol Extract.

    Common Applications Environment.

    Computer-Aided (CA-) {Education | Engineering}.

    Council for Aid to Education. A division of the Rand Corporation.

    Computer-Aided (CA-) Engineering for Cargo Accommodation and Location.

    Chinese Academy of Esthetic Dentistry. What, China got to this initialism before Canada?

    Canadian Academy of Esthetic Dentistry CANADA.

    Computer-Aided (CA-) Engineering and Design for Electronics.

    Canadian Academic English Language. This is an interesting approach to avoiding acronym-assisted pleonasm: their defining acronym is an attributive noun, allowing them to use a term like ``CAEL Assessment'' safely. E.g., ``The Canadian Information Centre for International Credentials (CICIC) promotes the CAEL Assessment as an effective measure of English language abilities.'' Their logo even has ``assessment'' in small caps underlining CAEL. It even works alternatively with ``CAEL Test Centres.'' They probably gave this a lot of thought at the beginning so they wouldn't repeat the mistakes of YELT. Eventually, however, the law of unintended consequences kicked in with a vengeance, with expressions like ``take the CAEL'' and ``CAEL is pleased.'' It just goes to show that when you use human content providers, you just can't win.

    Capital adequacy, Asset quality, Earnings, and Liquidity. The CAEL Rating System is a standard used by the FDIC to evaluate the solvency of US banks. It's a five-point scale: 1 is excellent, 5 is trouble: regulatory intervention imminent. The FDIC did not register CAEL as a trademark, and in 1999 found it necessary to issue a statement that included the following:
    ... The FDIC is concerned that readers of the Bank Rate Monitor's Internet site may mistakenly believe that the Bank Rate Monitor's CAEL system reflects actual FDIC CAEL ratings.

    Bankers and other members of the public should be aware that depository institution ratings in the "Safe and Sound Bank and Thrift Rating System" on the Bank Rate Monitor's Internet site are not based on, and should not be confused with, the FDIC's CAEL system. The FDIC does not endorse the ratings of the Bank Rate Monitor, nor does the FDIC necessarily agree with the ratings assigned by the Bank Rate Monitor.

    Center for Computer Applications in Electromagnetic Education. A center at the University of Utah that develops software and interactive multimedia lessons in engineering, science, and math education.

    Costruzioni Apparecchiature Elettroniche Nucleari.. From their hard-to-navigate website:

    The CAEN Network's Companies is a micro-cluster of companies with excellence know how.
    The network's companies works independently or handshaking with each other providing top class products in the following fields:

    No comment.


    Classical Association of the Empire State. The Empire State is New York (NY). (There are a number of regional organizations, including the one for for Western New York: CAWNY.)


    Pronounced seizer in English. Apt; cf. Caesar eponym entry. Not spelled Ceaser. Also a kind of lettuce salad (origin of the salad name is disputed; some say it was the name of a restaurant in Tijuana, Mexico).

    caesarean, caesarean section
    An operation to deliver a baby or babies by sectioning (cutting open) the uterus (reached by opening the abdomen, in case that isn't obvious). Now typically C-section (more information there).

    In Latin, caedo means `I cut.' The stem changes to caes- in various related words. (This common stem change is evident in many sets of English words derived from Latin: video and vision, for example, and all Latin-derived verbs ending in -de that form nouns in -sion.)

    At some point, a story got started that either Julius Caesar, or the first person with that gens (see tria nomina) was delivered surgically, and hence the name attached itself to the operation. Inasmuch as it would help explain the origin of the gens name, one would expect the story to concern an ancestor of Julius Caesar. Yet, many dictionaries, including the OED, repeat the legend that Julius himself was so born. Suetonius's mention of Aurelia (Div. Jul. 13, 74.2) also diminishes the plausibility of this legend.

    It is a common pattern for ae in Latin-derived words to become e in US spelling, so many US dictionaries give ``cesarean'' as the standard spelling and ``caesarean'' as a variant. In fact, a quick web search suggests that the -e- spelling is three times as common as the -ae- spelling. However, the ae-to-e transformation is not standard for Latin names (or for the Latin versions of Greek names that we use, where alpha-iota or alpha with iota subscript was systematically transliterated ae, as in Aeschylus). Given the etymology, therefore, I think caesarean should be preferred.

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