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Defensive End. A position in American football. A generic term, because the defensive line typically has two ends (RE and LE). It ain't topology, you know. See OLB.

DelawarE. (No, not ``DElaware.'' That would be just too obvious.) It's a USPS abbreviation. Actually, it's a USPS symbol for the state. It's written without the period that normally follows an abbreviation, but the symbol happens to be formed from a subset of the letters that spell the state name, so it's an abbreviated form of the state name, so we're gonna let it slide.

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

Desktop Environment. The term is general across GUI's, but I think the term comes up more in Linux because of the broad selection, and the tendency of Linux users to sample and experiment with different distros.

Detector Efficiency.

Diatomaceous Earth.

Discard Eligibility.

(Domain name code for) Germany [Deutschland]. Germany has the greatest variety of etymologically unrelated names among European countries. Italy uses versions of at least three: Alemani, Germania, Tedesco. For crying out loud, as recently as 1990 it had two official names in German (and capitals, etc.).

The Saxony entry at SN explains a couple of the names of Germany, but remember that etymology is not an exact science. Italian Tedesco and various forms of Dutch or deutsch come from Old High German diutisc, `national' used to distinguish the national (i.e., local ethnic language and people from the international or catholic Latin). The Aleman- names come from a tribe known to Julius Caesar as the Alemanni, from cognates of our words all + men.

The US government's Country Studies website has a page of links (``Germany Country Studies'') amounting to the online version of its Germany book. Ariadne, ``The European and Mediterranean link resource for Research, Science and Culture,'' has a page of national links.

Here's some general information online from the Chemistry Department at the Free University of Berlin. A Center for Information Services at the FU Berlin serves a geographically organized list of German WWW servers. Marcus Berndt serves a page of German press links. There's a German FAQ.

The international telephone calling code for all of Germany is 49.

Some German search engines:
Deutscher Branchenindex
DINO (Deutsches InterNet-Organisationssystem)

Here's the German page of an X.500 directory located in Germany.

We have a bit more information at FRG.

DiEthylAniline. Let's say, N,N-diethylaniline, just to be specific.

Drug Enforcement Administration. They break down your door and make sure that you obeyed your doctor's prescription. Something like that, anyway.

DiEthyl AzoDicarboxylate. Cf. TEAD.

For a review of ``DEAD chemistry'' in general, see E. Fahr, H. Lind article in Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. Engl. vol. 5, 4 (1966). For Diels-Alder reactions of DEAD with dienes, see B.T. Gillis, P.E. Beck, J. Org. Chem. vol. 27, 1947 (1962) and vol. 28, 3177 (1963); B.J. Franzus, J. Org. Chem. vol. 28, 2954 (1963).

dead honest
Frequently so.


dead language
Some people (by ``some people'' I mean mostly teachers of Latin or Greek) take offense at the use of the term ``dead language'' to refer to a language whose native speakers are all dead. Spanish is perhaps more in-their-faces about this: the phrase lenguas modernas (`modern languages') is about equivalent to lenguas vivas (`living languages'). The second term is less common, but there are regional variations (e.g. the vivas term is more common in Argentina).

dead man's handle
A common safety device on machinery that requires continuous human monitoring; typically a lever or handle meant to be held by the human monitor or operator. The design of the system interprets release of the handle or lever as inattention, incapacity or absence of a (live) operator, so release triggers safety action such as shut-off moving equipment, braking of the vehicle, purging of chemical vapors vel sim.

A typical old implementation of a dead man's handle in railed vehicles is a brake bar that applies the brakes when released. In the electric trams in San Francisco, the main brake is set up this way. A driver there once explained to me how he used the brake bar to steer (switch tracks) as well. I don't know if this was a design feature, but I imagine you're bound to come up with this sort of trick anyway if you stand for hours all day doing mostly nothing but handling the brake (see manual transmission). A lot of the drivers in the electric busses develop a patter and compete for best-driver of the month, often actively encouraging their passengers to mail in votes. If professors are frustrated actors, then these drivers are frustrated stand-up comedians.

There used to be a comic strip about a crime investigator (I think) named Modesty Blaise, back in the sixties. (Since then, people have been reading newspapers less regularly, making it more difficult to sustain a plot. One adjustment has been to repeat plot developments so that anyone reading three or four strips a week can follow, but that has slowed the stories down. Anyway, the comic strip, illustrated by Neville Colvin, is no more.) A series of books, by writer Peter O'Donnell, was spawned by the comic-strip series, and one of those books was Dead Man's Handle. Has a nice ring, doesn't it?

The old-style dead man's handle on British trains is a DSD.

dead reckoning
A corruption of ded. reckoning, which abbreviated deduced reckoning. Navigation in which one computes (i.e. reckons) one's position by integrating velocity vector to deduce position vector. The alternative is piloting -- i.e., navigating by identifying landmarks (which might include, say, stars).

Vide Deke.

Dear Leader
Official expression of affection and admiration spontaneously used by all North Korean subjects for Kim Jong Il, son of the late Stalinist leader Kim Il Sung (``[Something-I-forget] Leader'') and currently at least the nominal leader of North Korea (.kp).

Many dictators have delusions of grandeur. Dear Leader has delusions of taste. That's not so rare either.

You can have a dearth of just about anything, but you can't have two. The Ur-fermionic operator. Cf. job statistics.

Nickname for `Debbie,' which is a nickname for `Deborah.'

DEButante. A young woman making her formal debut into Society.

A verb meaning bar. It's one of those counterintuitive uses of de- like denude. These seem contradictory because the prefix in its living, still-productive form is mainly privative.

In many older words the prefix has a more geometric sense. The best-recognized geometric sense is `down,' as in depress (press down), depend (< Latin dependere, `to hang down'), descend (< L. descendere, `to climb down'), and devour (< L. devorare, `gulp down').

The sense of de- in debar is `away from.' So to debar is to bar away from, as to denude is to strip away from, etc.

Debating links in this glossary:

Directional Electron Ballistic Coupler. Various ideas have been suggested.


Latin, Decimus. A praenomen meaning `the tenth,' typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Also just ``D.'' -- there really weren't that many common ones.

Declination. Latitude, in a spherical polar coördinate earth-centered system used for astronomy. The other coördinate in this system is (RA).

Digital Equipment Corporation. Founded 1957. Bought by Compaq in 1997 or 1998, which was in turn bought by Hewlett-Packard in 2Q2002.

Double-bit Error Correction.

The title Decadence and the Making of Modernism caught my eye. It's on a book by David Weir, and it was published by a university press (University of Massachusetts's), so it's a fair bet to be a dull read, but it's fascinating for almost two pages. The table of contents is quick read. Here are some highlights: the last numbered chapter is ``7 The Decline of Decadence.'' Chapter 6 is ``Decadence and Modernism: Joyce and Gide,'' so it seems you have to work up to the title subject no matter which end you start from. Chapter 4 is ``Decadence and Aestheticism: Pater's Marius the Epicurean.'' Wow, let's keep going. Here's the beginning of the Acknowledgments:
Decadence and degeneration have little in common: one refines corruption and the other corrupts refinement. [Whether that's true or not, it certainly sounds like having a lot in common.] The decadent, at least, maintains a standard of decline, while the degenerate lets those standards slip. In this book, I have tried to measure up to the level of decadence achieved by my models and mentors, friends and colleagues. [I can imagine their pleasure at this acknowledgment.] But in decadence as in other matters, nothing fails like success: those who are truly decadent do not do.

(No, what it is that the truly decadent do not do is not elaborated upon. I'm not sure if I'm decayed about this or degenerated.) I'm afraid that Chapter 1 (``The Definition of Decadence'') bored before it enlightened me. Possibly this counts as a negative success, a consequence of the author's ``negative culpability.''

(And decadence and degeneration are subtly important, sure, but let's not neglect degradation.)

What, you read all the way through the entry? Congratulations! You've won our Grand Prize! Just call during business hours and mention this entry. (Offer expires December 21, 2005.)

The transfer of an image by means of decalcomania, or the image so transferred. The word decalcomania is borrowed from the French décalcomanie, constructed from the verb décalquer `to transfer a tracing' and manie, `mania, craze.' (The meaning of the term is most easily understood by ignoring the second element. This -manie word was apparently constructed on the pattern of the earlier potichomanie (borrowed as potichomania, q.v.). Decalcomania was all the rage in the mid-60's. The mid-1860's. In Europe, anyway. The Modern Greek word for decal is chalkomanía.

DECd, deCd
DiEthyl CaDmium. An organic precursor used in MOCVD growth of II-VI material.

Decertif{y|ication}. A bad end to a labor union.

decisive factor
A foggy concept useful for emphasizing whatever one pleases.

In the Beatles song ``Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds'' there's a lyric ``girl with kaleidoscope eyes.'' Many people think the song is called ``Lucy in Disguise with Diamonds,'' and almost everyone understands the kaleidoscope lyric as ``girl with colitis goes by.'' Most normal people, however, will accept the published title and the intended lyrics as somehow more ``true'' or ``valid'' than their own perceptions. Moreover, normal people will believe it contributes to their understanding of the song to know that it was motivated by a drawing that John Lennon's 5-year-old son brought home from school, depicting his classmate Lucy in a diamond-decorated sky, even if they still suspect that there's a sly reference to LSD.

These attitudes distinguish people who have their heads on straight from people who do deconstruction. Deconstructionism is a religion which preaches the irrelevance of the personal motives of the author, and seeks perversely to find in every ``text'' the meaning that is the opposite of that intended. While even the texts that espouse this viewpoint can be and indeed have been deconstructed, there is a bias in the selection of texts: Until recently, Marxist and other texts to which deconstructionists had some political attachment were less likely to undergo this destructive analysis. It appears that even deconstructionists hold some meanings to be somehow more worthwhile in some way, for reasons which are not contained in deconstructionism itself. Whitman was not contained between his hat and his boots, but that's completely irrelevant.

It is difficult to regard as intellectually honest an enterprise that questions the possibility of meaning.

This just in! In response to an email barrage from thousands of ordinary Americans outraged by my calumny of deconstruction and my controversial opinions about the possibility of meaning, I find I must issue a complete and abject retraction. (Well, not thousands actually. Two. Well, actually, somebody looked at me funny today. Must have read the deconstruction entry. It's important to be sensitive to reader response, because there's so little of it.)

I leave my original comments above, as a silent self-indictment of my ignorance. It is obvious that no one takes me seriously as a critic of criticism, despite my credentials. (Hey, everyone's a critic!) I therefore refer the gentle reader and ordinary American to the newsweakly People. The results of a scientific, 100%-biased survey revealed for 18 September 1995 include the following progress in the field of Lori Petty studies:

``The man-tailored garb ... worn in Manhattan last [F]all inspires Denise Wingate to theorize,

`She's going for the European deconstructionist look, but it's sloppy.' ''
I hope that helps (HTH).

Finally, one may say that deconstruction is third-person self-abnegation. This is a shareware definition: If you use it you owe me a nickel. If you understand it you owe me a dime. If you think a truth value can be meaningfully assigned to it, call me, I have a bridge for sale cheap.

I was going to write about Kierkegaard here, and how he tried to submerge the author of his own books by using various transparent pseudonyms, and about other stuff, but I was deflated to learn that Plato was also a deconstructionist, so somehow it doesn't seem so novel anymore.

Jacques Derrière is a famous deconstructionist. [If it is past 5pm October 8, then dissing Derrida is passé and the preceding statement is inoperative.] [I should probably note that -- okay, I am eager to point out that -- I wrote the preceding many years before Jacques Derrida's death on the night of October 8, 2004. Wow, I've got ESP!]

Those with a penchant for the bizarre and a desire to hear clear enunciation of the lyrics of ``Lucy in the Sky'' and a strong stomach will want to pick up Volume IV in the Rhino Records ``Golden Throats'' CD series, composed of covers of Beatles songs by other artists better known for other achievements (or, better said, activities). William Shatner's cover of Lucy, spoken as if in alarmed supplication before a highly advanced alien life-form (his approximation of psychodelia), is worth the price of replacing your CD player, which will have to be taken away for environmentally safe disposal.

The misheard lyrics at the beginning of this entry are examples of mondegreens.

Just to be a little serious here... Postmodernism (``po-mo''), poststructuralism, deconstruction, and theory (just ``theory,'' as if there were no other) are all terms used very roughly interchangeably for a category of literary criticism that literary critics on the other side regard as perverse at best and cynically dishonest at worst. Putative explanations of these approaches (and of whether and how they differ) are generally either incoherent or deep, and over time I and many others who were willing to listen have gradually concluded that they are not deep. The same ideas, or lack of ideas, or cynical rhetorical cons, have also been used in other humanities disciplines than literature.

Among those interested in po-mo are a small number that I respect on independent grounds, and their participation in this fraud or madness is puzzling. My best and most generous guess is that these honest scholars find a few isolated bits of theory, usually general perspectives or sympathies rather than specific claims, that they only interpret in ways that offer some insight.

I may come back later and try to be a little less circumstantial. For now I want to mention an interesting feature of this battle of the po-mo's and traditionalists (the battle was joined in the 1960's). Both sides feel or claim to feel besieged: the sides protest either that their approaches have gone out of fashion and can't get published or taught (traditionalists) or are under political attack and now in decline (po-mo's). To a small extent both sets of claims are true, because the situation is different in the various humanities disciplines and universities. But it looks suspicious. I recently ran across a comment that presented one historian's impression of the pressure of fashion (not just the po-mo fashion). As a start, I'll transcribe a bit:

To the [charge of the work being aggressively unfashionable as history] I must still plead guilty: the history in this book covers a broad sweep of time; it does not refer to localities, draws on only one oral source, and is neither ethnographic nor deconstructionist. My only consolation here can be that fashions change.

(This is from p. xi, in the Preface of David Blaazer's The Popular Front and the Progressive Tradition: Socialists, Liberals, and the Quest for Unity, 1884-1939. (Cambridge U.P., 1992).

decoupage, découpage
Decorative cutting, in one or another sense. Either decoration with paper cut-outs or the editing of film. The French original names the action of `cutting up' or `cutting out'; it's from découper -- `to cut up' or `to cut out.' A particular sense in French is `to divide into districts' (for voting, say).

Digital European Cordless Telecom[munication]. Standard issued by ETSI as an alternative to CT-2 cordless standard. Ten channels spaced 1.728 MHz apart, starting with 1897.344 MHz (channel zero) and ending at 1881.792 MHz (channel 9). An accuracy of 50 kHz is expected. I've also seen it expanded as ``Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephone.'' After what happened with GSM, I wouldn't be surprised if both expansions are official.

Digital Engine Control Unit.

Defect-Enhanced Diffusion.

Doctor of Education. (Doctor Educationis.) More at the Ed.D. entry.

Dravidian Etymological Dictionary. By Thomas Burrow, who began the title with A. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961.

Right now, all I can think of to say about dedications is that a couple of dedications to devices are mentioned at the IBM 650 entry. There's another interesting one in the book The Fast Diet Book (New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1971). (``As told by Bub Redhill to Robert E. Rotheberg, M.D.'') It's the chronicle of a 53-day diet from 242 lbs. to 200 lbs. (including an initial six-day fast to 224). It's dedicated ``To Adiponecrosis.''

See also Acknowledgments. In fact, see book dedications for at least one more dedication. I've decided that aggregation of book dedication content will continue only at that entry, because I (as well as my editor) had forgotten that this one even existed.

Maybe I'll dedicate the dedications entry to material on non-book dedications. Ralph Bass and Lowman Pauling wrote a song called ``Dedicated to the One I Love.'' The Shirelles took it to #3 in 1961, and the Mamas and the Papas cover went to #2 in 1967. It's probably not the only song that contains the lyric ``This is [title of song],'' but it's still pretty cute. It reminds me of ``This Song Has No Title'' [Bernie Taupin (lyrics) and Elton John (music)]. Those precise words do not occur in the song, however. The fourth line of the chorus is ``Oh, this song's got no title, just words and a tune.'' So ``This Song Has No Title'' is just the title. ``This song's got no title'' is the hook, I'd say.

Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, Revised. In 1987.

Dravidian Etymological Dictionary, Supplement.

Diploma[te] in Environmental Engineering. A credential issued by the American Academy of Environmental Engineers (AAEE) or the person (called a ``diplomate'') who has been awarded that credential. Not ``diplomat''!


Dee Day
The first English edition of Euclid's Elements, translated by Sir Henry Billingsley, prefaced by M. John Dee, and published by John Day (London, 1570). The author is identified on the title page as ``Euclide of Megara,'' a disciple of Socrates present at his death. The confusion of this Euclid with the younger Euclid of Alexandria began in the Latin West during medieval times and did not begin to be corrected until the Latin translation of Federico Commandino published in 1572.

Cf. D-Day.

Vide Deke.

(NASA's) Deep Extragalactic Evolutionary Probe. NASA likes XARA's.

Documenting Effective Educational Practices. ``Project DEEP will plumb the everyday workings of high performing colleges and universities to learn what they do to promote student success.'' I admit it: I'm surprised and impressed to find semantic awareness and an understated and appropriate pun in a sentence emanating from educationists. Too bad about the missing hyphen. DEEP is a joint project of NSSE and AAHE.

Oil-drenched. If you think oil is bad, you should try frying in water.

deep in the shit sector with no dilithium
Stuck in Beirut with nothing but an arquebus.

deeply nuanced
Able to reach comfortable conclusions while appearing to take seriously and refute the fatal counterarguments.

deeply respectful
Hypocritical or stupid.

(Australian government's) Department of Employment, Education, and Training.

Commercial name for Diethyltoluamide. In most of the major languages of continental Europe, the unvoiced English ``th'' sound is absent or, when present, not used to render the th in ethyl. There is also a fair degree of consistency in the pronunciation of the vowels in di and eth.... Hence, in the most common European languages used by scientists, the first two syllables of diethyl are pronounced as an Anglophone would pronounce ``dee et.'' That might have nothing to do with the origin of the ``DEET'' name, and the T in the name is almost certainly intended to be thought of as representing the toluamide, but there you go: an idea.

More precisely: N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. It's also called chigger wash and skeeter skat. (Did I mention that it's a powerful insect repellent? Also, partly by design and partly because separating isomers is a hassle, the commercial product is mix. The names that don't look very IUPAC tend to refer to the mixes.) Most of the other names are boring, though. (Pyrocide Intermediate 5734 is the dirtiest mix and the sexiest name, but ``detamide,'' ``delphene,'' CAS 134-62-3? Please people -- a little more whimsical imagination!) See also 6-12.

deutsche Einheit
`German Unification' in German.


The three letters associated with the number three (3) on the North American (and formerly also on the British) phone dial or keypad.

default default
In C++ and C#, a default constructor is a class constructor that is called without parameters and thus assigns default values to all member variables: ClassName::ClassName() in C++ and ClassName.ClassName() in C#. If the programmer does not explicitly define a default constructor, then the compiler defines one. That is the default default constructor.

Campaign to DEFend the CONstitution. ``Because the Religious Right is Wrong.'' ``The Campaign to Defend the Constitution combats the growing influence of the religious right over American democracy, education, and scientific progress and leadership.'' The main focus of their efforts seems to be getting creationism and its camouflaged versions out of the public schools and secondarily getting Congress to loosen purse strings and federal constraints on embryonic stem cell research. (Embryonic stem cells are also much less frequently called fetal stem cells. It might be that the latter term is a shibboleth for those opposed to their use.)

DEFense readiness CONdition. A term used in the US Armed Forces for the levels of activation and readiness, the defense posture. At any given moment, different parts of the armed forces can operate at different DEFCON's. DEFCON has a place in the popular imagination, but not mine. The standard peacetime level is DEFCON 5. What the heck is peacetime?

Lawyers and people who want to sound like them pronounce this word so the last syllable rhymes with ant.

Old meaning: throw out the window.

In Jeremiah 9:21 it is written:

Death has come to our windows.

New meanings: kill the window manager process; throw out the Windows; terminate Bill Gates.

The October 2, 2005, edition of Arab News (Saudi Arabia's principal English-language daily) quoted Saudi authorities to the effect that 92% of the 2.2 million Internet users in the kingdom wish to access forbidden or indecent material. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that they wish to access sites that happen to contain such material (as defined by Saudi censors). Maybe they're the sort of people who read Playboy for the fiction. Maybe it's computer viruses calling home. This doesn't much concern me or probably you either, but Walter Laqueur mentions the report in The Last Days of Europe (2007), trying to make a point about the nature of religious commitment among young Muslim men. I don't see this as especially significant. (And I remember that some other young Saudi men, three of the 9/11 hijackers, went out to a Daytona strip club on 9/10.) The reason I mention it here is that on page 211, still discussing access to pornography (mostly), he writes the following in parenthesis:

``They close doors and we get in through the windows'' is a frequent comment.

What I want to observe is that in some versions of the quote, windows should be capitalized. Also, an aside on Laqueur's latest, subtitled ``Epitaph for an Old Continent'': what makes it most readable, and almost heartening, is that he makes a surprisingly slippery and weak argument. Better news: Mark Falcoff, resident scholar emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute, reviews the book in the July-August 2007 issue of Commentary and writes, ``perhaps never before have [the main themes of the book] been laid out in such a detailed (and lugubrious) fashion.'' If this comment be even remotely correct, which I doubt, then no book on the subject is really detailed at all.

Defenestration of Prague, The
A popular name, but a mischaracterization. It was not Prague itself that was defenstrated -- that would have been difficult -- but two governors of Bohemia: William Slavata and Jaroslav Mirtinic. They escaped with minor injuries, but let's get our bearings here.

Rudolf II, king of Bohemia (1576-1612), was, as you surely remember, one of the greatest monarchs of all time. Well, more on that later. I mean, he funded Kepler.

Pompous fools' self-delusive perception of contempt.

defensive driving
  1. Keep an eye peeled for Smokey.
  2. There is safety in numbers. Follow Benjamin Franklin's advice -- be neither first nor last. Recognize that the vehicles around you are running radar interference. (I think Franklin put his advice in his AUTObiography, written in the eighteenth century. That just goes to show you how far he was ahead of his time, and how little he followed his own advice.)
  3. Test your radar detectors regularly.
  4. Implement a NASA-style redundancy reconciliation system for your radar awareness environment.
  5. Collect license plates from exotic places with bad or slow motor vehicle information systems.
  6. Repaint your car frequently.

defensive parking
A skill. First of all: how hard is the wind blowing?

Read why Sens. Paul Tsongas and Warren Rudman think we're better off with less of one.

Of course, in 1998, the Federal Budget is in surplus for the first time in ages, just in time for the coming depression. Maybe we can all be Keynesians again. Please?

definite article
Definite articles are used by roughly 20% of languages world-wide, but they are rather popular in the languages of Western Europe. All the major Romance, Germanic, and Celtic languages (supposing for a moment that there is a major Celtic language) have them. (Hebrew and Arabic also use definite articles.) The largest European language group that generally does not use definite articles is the Slavic language family. (I grant that's a pretty big exception.)

[An exception to the exception is that Macedonian and Bulgarian have postfixed definite articles. These languages, like Arabic and Hebrew, don't have indefinite articles. Romanian and the North Germanic (i.e., Scandinavian) languages use postfix definite articles. The exceptional Scandinavian language of Iceland, as well as Albanian and the famously isolated Basque language, are like Macedonian and Bulgarian: postfix definite article only, no indefinite article.]

Proto-Indo-European, the origin of most of the European languages, did not have definite articles. Latin (and Sanskrit) did not have them, although classical Greek did.

definite article before name
In Spanish it is natural and common to use a definite article before certain titled names. For example, ``uncle Joe'' is ``el tío Joseé'' when referred to in the third person. It's pretty regular, but as a native speaker I never learned the rules as such. I infer from usage that one never uses the article in direct address, or if a possessive adjective precedes the title. (As in English, possessive adjectives preempt an article. That is strikingly not the case in Italian.) But that isn't why I wrote this entry; I only noticed it when I started to figure out how to explain what I did set out to write about, which is a Chilean dialectal difference.

In Chile, it is also common to prepend a definite article to a person's name. Not just ``el tío Enrique'' (`uncle Henry'), but even ``el Enrique'' (`Henry'). Something similar occurs in Modern Greek.

defining deviancy down
The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's phrase for a mechanism that allows one to ignore the practical poor consequences of social policies treasured for reasons of ideological principle: modern variety of Panglossianism.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. ``[T]he [UK] government department which deals with food, air, land, water and people.'' Heck, I do that every day myself. Defra is the successor to MAFF.

Some of the pages expand Defra as ``Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs.'' Part of that is thought food, and the other part makes me think of Lady Chatterly's gardener.

DiEthyleneGlycol DiStearate. A/k/a DGD.

Swallowing. A very useful word when one is discussing the upper-GI activity of swallows.

DiEthylene Glycol diMethylEther.

    A partial list only. Check the TV guide for local listings.
  1. ``Celebrity Boxing.'' An hour-long Fox TV special on the ides of March, 2002. Three bouts are on the card, each scheduled for three two-minute rounds using ``weighted gloves.'' The headliner is Tonya Harding against Amy Fisher.
    Harding was the first American woman figure-skater to land a triple axel, but she achieved ``celebrity'' in January 1994, when her Olympic figure-skating rival Nancy Kerrigan's knee was injured in a crowbar attack by a man who was hired by Harding's then-husband (he later tried to change his name to escape notoriety, but people who had the name he wanted objected; I forget how that turned out). She eventually pleaded guilty to a charge of hindering prosecution in the case, but served no time; she was stripped of her national title and banned from the USFSA, which bars her from any kind of official participation in USFSA-sanctioned events. She was sentenced to do community service and three days in the Clark County jail in 2000, for assaulting her then-boyfriend with a hubcap. She seems to favor blunt metal weapons. Amy should insist on metal detectors. About a month before Fox announced its shameless exploitation, Harding's landlord sued her for back rent.
    As an eighteen-year-old in 1992, Amy Fisher became known as ``the Long Island Lolita'' after she shot the wife of auto mechanic Joey Buttafuoco, a man with whom she had had an affair. Tonya should insist on metal detectors. Amy did almost seven years in prison, and was released after a hearing in which the thick-skulled woman she tried to murder testified on her behalf.
    According to Fox's alternative-programming chief Mike Darnell, quoted Feb. 27 in the Gannett rag USA Today, ``This is legitimate. We'll have a real referee, a real doctor, real announcers. To all the world this will be a real boxing match.''
    Amy's parole board forbade her to participate, but Paula Jones was available. Paula Jones is the woman who was afraid that Arkansas state troopers' stories about former governor Bill Clinton and an anonymous woman would ruin her reputation, and who therefore revealed that she was the anonymous woman.
    Every few months Tonya gets in a little minor trouble with the law and it makes national news, and we all get to find out ``whatever happened to....'' Paula Jones cowered and Tonya won handily. Whew -- I was worried that Tonya would have to guard her newly installed (2001) XL boob enhancements. Read the latest on our girl at the CHL entry.
    The XFL folded; there's hope.
    But maybe not quite yet....
  2. ``The Girl Next Door: The Search for a Playboy Centerfold.'' A two-hour Fox-TV special investigation/pictorial, scheduled to air during the May sweeps in 2002. Hmm -- Fox. Why does that name ring a bell?
    Scott Grogin, a Fox flack, said ``We respect all of our viewers' rights to their opinions. If this is a show they don't like or feel is appropriate, please don't watch.'' I don't understand: just because ``all of [their] viewers'' don't feel a show is appropriate, why shouldn't I watch it?
  3. ``The Anna Nicole Show,'' an unreality show on E! Entertainment Television (a cable network), was renewed for a second season to air in early 2003. It is said to be, eh, modeled on MTV's ``The Osbournes.'' Oh, did I forget to mention the Osbournes? And the Isaac Stern show on E!? Oh fiddlesticks -- make that the Howard Stern show.

    You know, I've heard that the Jerry Springer, oh wait, the Jerry Seinfeld show was about nothing. So maybe the Nicole show is really a knock-off of the Seinfeld show, except that it's stupid, crass, somewhat more explicitly sex-obsessed, and not funny. Second opinion: it's effortlessly hilarious. Sobering thought: spin-offs. Tremble.
  4. Getting back to the Stern show -- this is really high concept: it's basically a show about women visiting a radio broadcast studio and exposing their breasts, but their breasts are blurred out on TV. I mean, shows with some parts bleeped or obscured are nothing new, but making the nonbroadcastable element the main focus of the show -- that's shrewd. Or something. Maybe they plan to market an uncensored version, a ``director's cut.'' ``Direct to video.'' The mind boggles; trepanate and apply Drano. Okay, update 2004: uplink to satellite.

  5. In 2003, National Geographic Magazine will have its first swimsuit issue. Perhaps they'll just use selections from the Miss World or Miss Universe swimsuit competition. Somehow I'm not expecting central African women with river blindness doing laundry the old-fashioned way. So when did Fox buy National Geographic?
  6. As of April 15, 2003, colleges where you can earn a Bachelor of Hair in just six months (something like that) can have their own .edu domain, just so you know what prestigious and serious institutions of learning they are. Hair: it's all about the brain.
  7. Okay, more from Fox: a seven-episode ``reality TV'' series debuted April 21, 2003, entitled ``Mr. Personality.'' In it, a female contestant must select one from a number of masked suitors. Their looks are kept hidden from her but not the studio audience, so she must choose on the basis of ``personality.'' Nothing any more wrong with that than with ``The Dating Game,'' really, but the host and moderator is Monica Lewinsky. The show placed second in the ratings for its time slot (12.2 million viewers estimated by Nielsen Media Research, trailing an estimated 13.8 million for back-to-back episodes of ``Everybody Loves Raymond'' (who?) on CBS). Mr. Personality won decisively with the lucrative 18-to-49-year-old demographic, however.
  8. I've been told that I should include something about a show called ``The Bachelor,'' but believe me, no one ever explains enough about it to make it comprehensible to anyone who hasn't seen it.
  9. Presumably, you're aware of the Jerry Springer show, and I needn't say more. In Britain the subtitles are said to come in handy. (``Jerry Springer -- The Opera'' premiered in London in 2003 and has been a popular and critical hit. US productions began in 2008. There's also a domestic British approximation of the TV show called ``Trisha,'' mornings on ITV. In Australia, broadcast of The Jerry Springer Show is traditionally followed by an episode of Judge Judy. In Belgium, Jerry's show is broadcast dubbed, but I don't know into which language or languages. (It reminds me of watching ``The Jeffersons'' on Italian TV many years ago. Italian is the natural language for that show, and it deserves the opera treatment. A lot of sopranos also have the perfect body style to fit into the capacious Mrs. Jefferson role. For more on the Italian-English moving-pictures nexus, see the silent movie entry.)
  10. The ``Girls Gone Wild'' degradation is discussed under Calvin Broadus.
  11. For the 2004 Superbowl, CBS/Viacom/etc. put on a half-time show to give Fox a run for its money. I mention a detail or two at the SB entry (for comedic context, see Uncle Miltie). But the Australians soon came roaring back, showing that no one can outFox them when it comes to gratuitous sexual exploitation in sports. (See Heidi United S.C.)
  12. On January 22, 2004, a news conference was held in New York to announce a match between a human (heavyweight champion Lenox Lewis) and an animal (rapist, anthropophage, and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson).

At the end of 2003, in a column for Fox News, Eric Burns complained about foul language on radio. (He had already dealt with foul language on TV in earlier essays.) I'm not saying his sentiments are entirely wrong or anything.

degree lottery
A degree lottery is not much different than a green-card lottery, or a Shirley Jackson lottery, or any of the other traditional lotteries. It's not as complicated as power-ball, everyone gets an equal chance, and of course, there's no studying. For the price of a ticket, you get a chance to win a genuine college degree, and get this: it's from a nonaccredited college! So you know you're getting the degree you deserve! Is that cool or what? This is such a deal. Don't tell your friends who already have their own degrees -- let other people have a chance, other people like you!

I don't know for a fact certain that this exists, but I probably just don't read enough of my spam.

DiEthyleneGlycol Succinate.

Don't Even Go There. Listed in a sampling of ``popular shorthand texting terms'' in a WSJ article by Stephanie Raposo posted online August 6, 2009: ``Quick! Tell Us What KUTGW Means.''

It seems to me that the phrase abbreviated by DEGT, understood in the sense of ``it's better not to broach that subject'' or ``better not to start thinking along those lines,'' first popular in the early 1990's. In ordinary speech and even in unabbreviated writing, it seems that first-person jussive forms like ``let's not [even] go there'' are more common than the strictly imperative second-person corresponding to DEGT, but LNGT is at best rare and LNEGT looks too much like length misspelled. Not that there's anything surprising in that.

Di(EthylHexyl)Adepate. A plasticizer in plastic food wrap.


I suppose this is a word that doesn't need a definition, and I also hope it doesn't, because if it does then I probably can't give it. You can't spell dehegemonization without D-E-M-O-N-I-Z-A-T-I-O-N. There: now the entry contains some information. My work is done here.

Let's play. There's a conference with the title ``Dehegemonization: The US and Transnational Democracy.'' It's scheduled for Wednesday, April 5, 2006, but I'm writing the entry now because I'm a good guy and want you to know about this in time to attend. I only just heard about it myself today (Tuesday, March 28, 2006). The conference will take place at George Mason University. As you know, just two days ago in the NCAA Men's Basketball Finals, the eleventh-seeded GMU Patriots dehegemonized first-seeded UConn (pronounced ``you con'') to advance to the Final Four. I mean -- how appropriate is that? Can you say sin-crow-nisity? Can I spell it? Maybe you read that sports report too quickly. ``Final Four'' has at least three syllables. You should say it slowly, as if you were pronouncing a word like Goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool in one of the fanático-de-fútbol dialects (that's all dialects) of Spanish. Notice that the vowel represented by ``ou'' in ``four'' is a nominal monophthong with r-coloring, which is noticeable in the lowered pitch of the third formant in the final seconds before the liquid begins (I mean the letter r).

Notice also that the Patriots were among the last five at-large teams selected for the tournament, and that during the regular season they were unranked except for one week when they were bottom-ranked (#25). (The #11 seeding was just within their regional bracket, one of four.) Notice that the UConn team they dispatched was not just first-seeded in the bracket, but second-ranked nationally going into March Madness, and favored to win it all -- as it had in 2004. Notice that just to reach the Elite Eight and face UConn, the Patriots had to defeat Michigan State (NCAA champions in 2000) without their own second-leading scorer, and then beat North Carolina (champs in 2005).

Italian contraction of de i, meaning `of the' and used before a plural male noun or noun phrase that does not begin in a vowel. Here's a complete list of the di contractions meaning `of the.'

di + gli = degli
di + i = dei
di + il = del
di + l' = dell'
di + la = della
di + le = delle
di + lo = dello

(There's a similar set of contractions with a.) The forms vary to indicate grammatical gender and number, and to coordinate with the initial sound of the following word. (Usually a noun or a quantifier; in the following, we'll call it a noun.)

For female nouns beginning in consonants, la and le are the singular and plural endings, resp. This is easy to remember because -a is the most typical ending for female nouns in the singular, and those nouns normally take plurals in -e. For nouns beginning in a vowel, l' is substituted for la (le is the common plural form).

Il and its plural i are used for male nouns beginning in a consonant, unless they begin with x, z, gn, pn, ps, or a consonant cluster beginning in s. For those exceptions, lo (sing.) and gli (pl.) are used. Before male nouns beginning in a vowel, the same plural form gli is used, but the singular article is contracted to l'.

Notice that unless a noun is singular and begins in a vowel, its gender is obvious from its article.

Italian: `gods' (plural of dio).

In linguistics, something like a pronoun. Pronouns (I, you, that) and other words (like here) with context-dependent referents. Such words are said to be deictic (adj.) or deictics (noun). I don't know if the terms are precisely enough defined for it to be possible to say whether all deictics are lexical variables and vice versa.

déjà vous
  1. English pronunciation of déjà vu
  2. French: `You, already.'

déjà vu
I have this funny feeling that I've seen this entry before.

Data Encrypti{ on | ng } Key[s].

Journalists' jargon for the subtitle of an article. It's ``deck'' purposely misspelled so it won't be mistaken for a word that is meant to be part of the article text. I don't understand why that word (deck) was chosen in the first place. Most of the meanings suggest something flat or a covering. All I can think of is that It suggests the batter on deck; that batter resembles a subtitle in being next to come (after the batter up or the title).

DElta Kappa Epsilon fraternity member. Cf. Tau Bate.

Dekes who have served most recently as US presidents are George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Gerald R. Ford. F.D.R. joined what had been the Deke chapter at Harvard shortly after it had been expelled for dual affiliation with Alpha Delta Phi. If FDR is counted as a Deke, then he was the only Democrat among the six Deke US Presidents.

DELete. A non-printing ASCII code, different from BS (BackSpace).

Delphinus. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

delay line
Dallas Semiconductor Corporation sells some all-Si programmable ones made in CMOS logic. Another approach is to use surface acoustic waves (SAW's).

Copyeditor's instruction: DELEte.

Dell Computer Corporation was founded by Michael Dell.

DELaware, MARyland, and VirginiA. Occurs in ``the Delmarva peninsula,'' an unofficial term meteorologists find useful. As a geographic term, ``Delmarva'' is probably equivalent to ``the Delmarva peninsula,'' but ``Delmarva'' was originally used in business names and so might refer to whatever protean region is convenient.

DEscription Language for TAxonomy.

DEtailed Labor and Time Analysis.



Dat's not us.

Deutschmark. The legal tender in Germany until the beginning of 2002 (the end of the transition to the euro). Check the currency converter entry before it (the DEM) vanishes. Oops, too late.

Digital Elevation Model. A data exchange format developed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) for geographical and topographic data.

Delaware (state) Emergency Management Agency.

Emacs for DOS. Here.

de mal en pis
French expression meaning `from bad to worse.'


De mater semper certum est.
Latin, `Mama's baby, papa's maybe.'

Deming wheel, Deming Cycle
The brilliant and subtle concept of the universally acknowledged genius W. E. Deming, of sainted memory, that emphasizes the necessity for research, design, production, and sales to be in each others' hair all the time in order to achieve improved quality that satisfies customers. It's like a wheel! With four spokes! Wow!

Satisfy the customers, and profits will follow naturally. In fact, why not give the product away? That'll really satisfy them.

I hope you're taking notes. Next lesson: PDCA.

DEMOgraphic. Used as a noun to indicate a population subgroup, as in ``the 18-49 demo.''

DEMOnstration. I've never seen this abbreviated ``demon.'' At least I don't think I have. The principle is demonstrated here. Ooh -- dead link. Too bad. No demo demo.

A political demonstration, placards and chants and all that, I haven't ever heard called a ``demo,'' but somebody might. In Spanish, a political demonstration is called a manifestación. (A strike, in the sense of work stoppage, is a huelga.)

A demo version of a software program is something of a balancing act: it has to be good enough to motivate a purchase, but not so good that it obviates the need for a purchase. Typical strategies in demo design are disabling a crucial final function (such as saving or printing the document output by the demo program), or having the program expire. Since games don't have much in the way of useful output, and since there are approximately a million very similar games available for free, coercing purchase is hard.

Many games have a demo mode in which they play themselves. That's not for people too lazy to play their own games; it's for people to see how the game is played.

Japanese for the conjunction `but' or the sentence adverb `however.' Not very surprisingly, I've also heard ``demo demo demo'' used to express `on the other hand' (not a pleading but-but-but).

A homonym of the native word demo is the gairaigo for `demonstration' (only in the public-protest sense, afaik) and also `democracy' (though this shorter word is also borrowed as demokurasÓ. The verb demoru, of course, means `participate in a demonstration.'

Democracy Now
English translation of Demokratie Jetzt, the name of an East/Eastern German civic group.

The German word jetzt, which now means `now,' looks like a cognate of the English word yet, but probably isn't. Yet is clearly related to words in Frisian languages, but not to any word in other Germanic languages. The English word has many uses, as an adverb and conjunction, but its principal sense underwent an almost subtle transformation during the twentieth century. Yet used to mean what still still means: roughly, ``now as until now.'' That is its sense in Francis Scott Key's words ``Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave....'' He was born in 1779 and was inspired to write the poem, as you recall, by the resistance of Fort McHenry to a British attack in September 1814. (Note that there is an element of continuity or implicit progression in this sense of the word. One could not define it as ``now as before,'' because that includes a meaning like again. Yet was occasionally used in that sense long ago.)

Some people still use yet in the sense of still. (You want an example? Okay, I'll give you an example: Steve's mom. Yes, the very same Steve who's mentioned at the ARMA, job, RPI, and yes entries. Small world, huh? No, not the Steve at the S1S entry.)

Despite the exceptions, however, it is no longer common in American English to use yet in affirmative statements. Instead, in declarative statements it occurs in the phrase not yet, meaning ``still not.'' One could probably argue that this serves a useful purpose. In questions, yet means about the same thing as already.

Democratic Republic of
More-Or-Less Socialist Dictatorship of.

Hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue.

-- François de La Rochefoucauld

(See also UNCF.)

Demokratie Jetzt
A group that formed in East Germany in Autumn 1989 and joined Bündnis 90 in 1990.

demo viewers
Viewers of a demonstration? Hah! No. VIEWERS in the critical 25-54 DEMOgraphic.

Diesel-Electric Multiple-Unit train. A kind of self-powered passenger rail car. Specifically, a DMU in which a diesel engine generates electric power which in turn powers electric motors at the wheels or axles.

DEMUltipleXer. Pronounced ``dee-mucks.'' Not very useful without a mux somewhere.

Denglisch, Denglish
A German word for German with a large admixture of English, or for the English component of the admixture.

Department of Education, Northern Ireland.

Not just a river in Egypt.

Drug Evaluation Network System. ``A national, electronic [they considered paper?], treatment-tracking project.'' A collaboration of TRI, CASA, ONDCP, and CSAT.

There are two or three common numberings in use.

A wonderful new bureaucratic euphemism. When your federal funding agency experiences severe budget cuts, it may cut off funding that it had previously committed to provide for research in a multi-year contract. You are said in this instance to be deobligated, which might seem to confuse where some of the obligations lie. On the bright side, if your proposal was turned down, you can't be deobligated. (See, however, a rumor related at the NSF entry.)

DEPosit. Money, more often than sediment.

Look, we've got a Depardieu entry coming up just ahead. Check there, maybe you'll find what you're looking for.

The surname of a French actor named Gérard. He had a starring role in an American movie in 1990: he played a Frenchman in Green Card. In 1992 he starred in another English-language movie: he played Christopher Columbus in 1492. This is obviously an actor with a gift for doing accents, but that's not why I put this entry here.

According to A Dictionary of Surnames, by Patrick Hanks and Flavia Hodges (OUP, 1988), this surname arose from an Old French oath: par Dieu (`by God,' ultimately from the Late Latin de parte Dei, `for God's sake'). The name is supposed to have arisen as a nickname for people who used that oath frequently. Cognate French surnames are Pa(r)dieu and Depardé. English cognates: Pardoe, Pardew, Pard(e)y, Perdue. Cf. Purdue, pardo.

departing knowledge
A business term for the knowledge that leaves because it is stored in the brains of personnel that leave. ``Yet the proven principles, tools, and practices of knowledge management can be systematically applied to capture departing knowledge and transfer it to new employees.'' (It's easy: just tap their brains and turn the spigot.)

Dep control, Dep. control
DEPerdussin CONTROL. Deperdussin has his own entry (immediately below, for now).
Wheel control. -- Instead of the control stick just described, a control wheel as in an automobile, called a Dep. or Deperdussin control, is frequently used; the wheel is turned to the left to depress the left side of the machine and to the right to depress the right side. A control wheel is shown, in diagram, at the left of Fig. 91. (As in the case of the rudder, ailerons are sometimes connected so as to be operated by a motion opposite to the one described.)

[My italics. You're missing little by my not reproducing the figure. The almost schematic figure shows wires from either wheel control or stick control pulling wing-flap ailerons in opposite directions.]

The paragraph block-quoted above is from page 182 of The Airplane: A Practical Discussion of the Principles of Airplane Flight, by Frederick Bedell, Ph.D. (originally published in 1920), rewritten and enlarged with the assistance of Theodore E. Thompson, M.E. (D. Van Nostrand Company, Inc., 1930).

According to CONTACT! The Story of the Early Birds (pp. 118-119; bibliographic details at the Deperdussin entry):

Equally promising was the Antoinette-type monoplane of Armand Deperdussin, an enterprising and generous silk merchant who employed as his designer one of the truly great engineers of the aeronautical world, Louis Béchereau. The prototype of the Deperdussin was a four-bladed canard monoplane designed in 1909 for Christmas exhibition in a Paris department store. The first flying model, built in 1910, performed well from the start. Powered by a 40-hp, four-cylinder Clerget engine, it had a long fuselage with a very small cross section, two wheels with skids, and a sturdy tail skid. It was one of the first machines to employ the ``wheel'' control, as distinct from the ``stick'' control--an innovation sometimes referred to as the Dep control. While some early pilots complained that it had an irrepressible tendency to steer to the left--to ``chase its tail''--Béchereau's advanced construction was on the threshold of worldwide fame.

[The ``Equally'' at the beginning of the paragraph refers to monoplanes designed by Edouard de Niéport (eventually Nieuport) with very low-camber wings and very streamlined fuselage (``very'' compared with contemporary designs).]

The British spelling of the noun that is spelled ``dependent'' in American English. The correct spelling of the adjective is ``dependent'' everywhere. For a similar case involving a noun-verb contrast, see practise.

I noticed an article in a 2008 issue of an IEEE Transactions journal (not camera-ready copy, in other words, and publication not rushed as in a Letters journal) that repeatedly used the -dant spelling for the adjective. Dependence is a rather common mathematical notion; the adjective (but not the noun) dependent appears very, very frequently. The world is going to hell in a handbasket with an escort of printers' devils. [Other highlights of the paper: ratio test used to determine convergence of a power series that happened to be an ordinary geometric series (yes, this involved explicitly taking the limit of a constant, although the operation was performed on the wrong constant); series derived by recursion from a formula that could have been rearranged to yield simple closed-form result; series left unsummed.]

Armand Deperdussin soared to the heights of fame and then crashed to obscurity. One of my thousands of projects is to gather together snippets of information about him. I've already written a bit about him at the Dep control entry above and at a S.P.A.D. entry. For now, all I need to write here is that he's mentioned at a few places in the book CONTACT! The Story of the Early Birds, by Henry Serrano Villard (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1968).

A diplomatic term meaning ``will do nothing about.''

Double with Even (number of aces), Pass with Odd. A contract bridge bidding convention known by its initialism.

DEPuty OPerationS DEPuty. DEPOPSDEP's rank below the OPSDEP's, of course. All is explained at this page.

Distortionless Enhancement by Polarization Transfer. An NMR technique.

Double-Ended QUEue. Like disk, this is an IBM neologism. There are two theories about this word. One is that it did not become popular because its spelling looks like a pedantic affectation (like ``rôle,'' ``résumé'' or ``coördinate''). The other theory is that it looks odd because it didn't catch on. However, the inverse of a chicken-and-egg problem is not a chicken-and-egg problem: that is, it's perfectly possible that the chicken didn't come first and the chicken egg didn't come first. In the present context, it may be both theories of deque nonuse are correct.

It's amazing how convincing that sounds. The same argument works with chicken eggs, if chicken eggs should happen not to exist.

Some readers might be interested to know that a ``deque'' is intended to refer to a list that can be pushed or popped (extended or shortened) on both ends. You could do the same using a stack with a rotate feature (like an HP calculator). In fact, you could do the same and more with linked lists. You could even do it all in machine language. Come think of it, that's how it's ultimately done.

In C++, STL includes a template for deques.

Defence Evaluation and Research Agency of the UK. Blimey, pages available in Russian!

De Re Militari. Latin, `on military matters.' The Society for Medieval Military History. With the $35 annual membership fee, you get the year's issue of JMMH.

Date of Expected Return from OverSeas (military service).

A word in French and German that can often be translated into English as `of the.' (Though not always, of course. In particular, French des also functions as the plural indefinite article, and so is typically translatable as `some.') The fun part of this entry (under construction and thus still a bit recherché) comes at the end, but you'll appreciate it better if you know the content of the intervening paragraphs.

Grammatically, the two words have different analyses. The French des is a contraction of the preposition de and the plural (common gender) definite article les. The German des is the singular genitive form of the definite article for masculine and neuter genders. Syntactically, however, they have a similar distribution: French prepositional phrases in des and German noun phrases in the genitive (unmediated by any preposition), both follow the nouns or noun phrases they modify.

Moreover, although des is followed by a plural noun in French and a singular noun in German, both nouns are likely to end in the letter s. In French, most plurals end in s, and in German the genitive form of a singular noun of masculine and neuter gender is usually declined with a final s. (German feminine nouns and plurals only get a final s in the possessive form, which is something slightly different.)

So des has similar distribution in German and French: following general nouns while preceding nouns that usually end in s (otherwise usually x or n). It remains only to observe that many French words have been borrowed by German and preserved with spellings identical or similar to their current French spellings, and both languages have borrowed words in common from another language such as English. Hence, one encounters coincidences like the following:

Original phrase             Language   English translation
---------------             --------   -------------------
garage des hôtels           French     garage of the hotels
Garage des Hotels           German     garage of the hotel

assistant des jobs          French     jobs assistant
Assistent des Jobs          German     job assistant

encyclopédie des pullovers  French     encyclopedia of sweaters
Enzyklopädie des Pullovers  German     encyclopedia of the sweater

caméras des touristes       French     video cameras of the tourists
Kameras des Touristen       German     cameras of the tourist

limonade des camarades      French     friends' lemonade
Limonade des Kameraden      German     friend's lemonade

To a small extent the older similarities were diminished during the 20th century by the German replacement of many spellings that had retained a c by spellings with z or k. Moreover, the 1996 spelling reform endorsed more rapid naturalization of foreign loans. (Setting some kind of precedent for the euro crisis that began in 2009, it seems.)

Data Encryption Standard. A particular one defined by the ol' NBS (National Bureau o' Standards) and adopted by ISO to avoid fighting.

(Data communication) Destination End System.

DEsmethylSertraline. A metabolite of the SSRI sertraline.

DiEthyl Stilbestrol. Prescribed to pregnant women between 1945 and 1961 or so to prevent miscarriage. It was considered perfectly safe, and it was -- to the mother. While it is well known that DES daughters are at increased risk for cervical cancer, sons as well as daughters are at elevated risk for a number of reproductive-system disorders.

It continues to be used as a growth promoter in cattle. Recently, it's found some potential application in the treatment of AIDS.

Discrete-Event System.

`Discounts' in Spanish. Look, I'm really going to kill the frog here. You may prefer to just figure out the essential bits by reading the paragraph that contains the list of titles (starting at ``To recap'').

The common noun descuento and the verb descontar in Spanish are usually accurately translated by the English `discount.' The verb takes a common stem change, and descuento means `I discount.' Descuentos is the plural of the noun descuento and is not a verb form.

In Spanish, as in English and many other languages, counting and telling are related concepts described by partially related sets of words. (I suppose this has to do with the notion and feeling of sequence.) The connection is obvious in the manifestly related words count and recount, as well as from raconteur, borrowed from French. As is somewhat typical, in English words of Germanic provenance the cognate relations are less obvious than in those of Romance, so one is less likely to notice the connection of talley with tale and tell. The connection is clearer among German cognates of these words: Zahl (`number') and erzählen (`tell'). (See

The Spanish word cuento means `story' (perhaps I should write `tale'). It also means `I count' and `I tell,' (forms of the verb contar) and can function as the count noun `count' (had to say that, sorry, it won't happen again, soon) although that is not its principal sense. The form cuentos is just the plural of the noun, but cuentas is `you count' and `you tell,' and the noun `bills' [in the sense of invoice]. (Singular cuenta, of course. One German word for this kind of bill is Konto, from the Italian conto. Another German word for bill is Rechnung, literally `calculation,' cognate with the English word `reckon.' That will come up again if I ever write comprehensively about ``Yes, We Have No Bananas.'')

So back to descuento. All the meanings that this word ordinarily takes have to do with quantities, and most are translatable by the English word `discount.' [The exception is in sports -- really only in soccer, that I'm aware of -- where officials can extend the duration of a match to compensate for interruptions during regulation. In English this is called ``overtime'' (North America) or extra time (RoW); in Spanish it's ``tiempo de descuento.'' It comports with the idea that one should discount (not count, ignore) clock time taken up by officials.] There are a number of books with ``Tiempo de Descuento'' as title, and for many of those it must be a pun.

English has a profusion of privative prefixes. Offhand, the following come to mind: a- (with an- to avoid hiatus; see this AA entry), in- (with forms il-, ir-, and im- assimilated to liquids and labials), non-, un-, de- dis-, dys-, and occasionally even des-, distributed not entirely unsystematically among parts of speech and etymological sources. (We also have an entry for anti-.) Spanish displays less variety. This is partly because the vocabulary is largely Latinate, so the Greek a- and dys- and the Germanic un- naturally occur less frequently. (The Latinate prefix non- in English occurs as the unbound morpheme no in Spanish.) The upshot is that the privative prefix des- has broader use than any single similar prefix in English.

To recap the main points: descuentos is a common word with meanings unrelated to cuentos, but des- is a productive prefix. The right context can force or at least suggest a reading in which descuentos is a nonce word coined from des- and cuentos with the evident meaning of `unstories,' `antistories,' or the like. This punnishing bit of drollery has been exploited (BTW, see the discussion of explotar at the miga entry), I am surprised to say, in fewer than a dozen book titles that I can find. Here are the fruits of my research:

There's also El imitador hermético y otros des(EN)cuentos (2008), by Ana Criado Peña. The title is difficult to parse blind. It's `The hermetic imitator and other not-quite-stories.' Here ``not-quite-stories'' is anti-stories with the perenthesized infix ``(EN).'' Perhaps it's meant to suggest encuentros (`encounters'). The three parts of the messy contrivance mean `that you give,' `in' and, of course, `stories.' Normally, I'd be inclined to suppose that two of these free-morpheme senses are irrelevant, but there it is fwiw.

    As a noun:
  1. Plural of desert -- lifeless, typically dry, stereotypically sandy place(s). Stress on the first syllable.
  2. That which is deserved. A noun derived from the verb deserve. Stress on the second syllable. The word now occurs mostly in the expression ``just deserts.'' (Just here is related to justice, it is not to be interpreted as mere. ``Just deserts'' are appropriate rewards or, more usually, punishments.) NOTICE THE SINGLE ESS. This has nothing to do with postprandial repasts!
  3. As a verb:
  4. 3rd pers. sing. present of the verb to desert.

Drug Efficacy Study Implementation.

A subcontinent Indian. Literally (in Hindi) a `national.' In English, or at least in the US and the UK, the word is pronounced ``day-see'' or ``deh-see,'' but in some parts of India the ``see'' becomes ``she.'' I've certainly heard both see and she versions from Indians in the US (regarding which, see ABCD), and the vowel in the first syllable is somewhere between the two versions given above. The few English dictionaries that include this word seem to agree that the stress is on the initial syllable. However, from the way I originally wrote the ABCD entry, it seems I was under the impression that it had final stress, though I don't remember this any more. From my tenuous understanding of Hindi phonology, final stress is appropriate for this word, but stress varies less between syllables in Hindi than in English, though pitch variation may obscure that. I haven't looked into other Indian languages. English pronunciation tends to push stress to the front, but this shouldn't be such a big affect among Indian immigrants in the US. Okay, I'm done. Pronounce it however you like.

desirability stories
A genre of picaresques whose moral is always the allure of your date to other men. I'm not sure if these are actually required on a blind date, but perhaps the alternative hasn't been tried.

Desirable Men
Desirable Men: How To Find Them by Dr. Romance (a/k/a Nancy Fagan), (Rocklin, CA: Prima Publ'ng., 1997). We have small extracts at the following entries:

Defence Export Services Organisation. A Whitehall department that sells British weapons round the world. According to a March 9, 2005, article in the Guardian (by David Leigh and Rob Evans), ``no fewer than 161 of the department's 600 officials work for the `Saudi Armed Forces Project'.''

despectivo, despectiva
A Spanish adjective with the senses of `disrespectful' (equiv. desdeñoso, despreciativo) and of `pejorative' (also peyorativo, but dictionaries tend to mark such terms as despect.).

dessert wine
In the UK, this term traditionally describes a relatively sweet wine, but in the US it's high-alcohol wine, sweet or dry. I guess the question is what you were planning to do after dinner (and what meal of the day dinner might be).

According to Jancis Robinson's book, by (not further-specified) law in the US, grape wine is designated dessert wine if its alcohol content is between 14% and 24% (alcoholic strength entry) or fortified (dessert wine entry). These are inequivalent though approximately consistent definitions. The microbes that convert sugar into alcohol die off at alcohol concentrations above 15-18% (they are effectively poisoned by their own excrement), so higher alcohol concentrations require either distillation (and then the distillate is usually called by some other name than [distilled] wine, such as brandy) or fortification. Fortification is the admixture of some fluid with higher alcohol content. (Some fortified wines are port, sherry, madeira, and Wonder Bread. Oops, not Wonder Bread; that's differently fortified. Better go easy on that stuff -- it's making me dizzy!)

A Spanish verb, originally a military term, but now widely used in transferred senses. In military terms, it is `to detach a small group from a larger force, to serve as a task force for some special action, expedition, guard duty, etc.' The word was based on the Italian staccare, `to cut off violently.' The Italian word is believed to be based on the same hypothetical Gothic root *stakka (or *staka) supposed to be the origin of the Spanish word estaca.

In nonmilitary usage, the transitive verb destacar is figuratively `to emphasize,' or more precisely `to throw into relief or high contrast, to make salient.' (The thing destacado is typically the merits or qualities of some person or thing.) The word is also taken literally in this figurative sense: to increase the contrast or salience of some feature in a painting, particularly in chiaroscuro (that's claroscuro in Spanish). Intransitively, destacar is `to stick out or become (literally) unglued.'

Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron. Pronounced about like ``daisy'' to reflect German phonetics, but I don't know if the Swabians voice the s.

Det, det
DETerminant. Abbreviation used in mathematics and linguistics, but not exactly for the same puppy.

In mathematics, the determinant is a scalar function of a square matrix. For an n×n matrix M with elements Mi,j, it is the sum of n! terms. Each of the n! terms corresponds to a different permutation s of the numbers 1 to n. Each term is the signed product of n matrix elements Mi,s(i) for i from 1 to n. The ``signed product'' is just the stated product multiplied by -1 if the permutation s is odd. For a 2×2 matrix, the determinant is M1,1M2,2 - M1,2M1,2. For matrices of order 4 or higher, it is convenient to evaluate by the method of minors.

A system of n linear equations in n variables is described by a square, nth-order matrix of variable coefficients and also, if the system is inhomogeneous, by an n-component vector of constants. Kramer's method expresses the solution of the inhomogeneous system in terms of determinants. Each variable has the value that is a quotient of determinants. The denominator in each case is the determinant of the square matrix of coefficients, and the numerator is constructed from the same square matrix by substituting the (column or row) vector of constants for the appropriate column or row of the coefficient matrix. If the determinant of the coefficient matrix is zero, then a solution is possible only for constant vectors that make all the numerator determinants zero. If the system is homogeneous (equivalent to a constants vector with all components zero), then a nontrivial solution (one in which the variables are not all zero) is possible only if the denominator (determinant of coefficient matrix) is zero. In other words, depending on the situation, what the determinant determines is the existence of solutions: whether solutions can exist for all constant vectors in the inhomogeneous case, or whether nontrivial solutions can exist in the homogeneous case.

Kramer's method is not a practical way to solve systems of linear equations (much quicker and less pathological is some use of Gaussian elimination that puts things in triangular form or tridiagonal form, like LU decomposition), but it does demonstrate the significance of the determinant.

There's no reason why you should believe this except that I would hardly make it up, but the only reason I wrote anything past the first paragraph of this entry is that I came back later looking for a lost puppy. But now I'm tired of all this, so information on degenerate versus nondegenerate conic sections will have to wait for another serendipitous visit. Oh yeah, and a determinant in linguistics is a word like the or a word or morpheme that fulfills a similar function.


Direct Energy Transfer.

Distance Education and Training Council. Self-described as ``Global Leader in Distance Learning Accreditation.''

DiEthyleneTriAmine. A curing agent (i.e., polymerizer) for epoxy.

DiEthyl Toluene DiAmine. A hard constituent in copolymer polyureas.

DETe, deTe
DiEthyl Telluride. An organic precursor used in MOCVD growth of II-VI material.

French, `strait.'

According to Dora Jane Hamblin's memoir of life at LIFE, fact-checkers were much put-upon to provide facts, working long into the night to fill in the blanks labelled KOMING in writers' incomplete copy. For example, a population size might be left missing, to be filled in by the fact-``checker,'' or the checker could adjust the copy. Fatigue or mischief led to the following sentence for an issue in June 1946:
Detroit, which was a pleasant, elm-shaded little city of 250,000 when the auto came out [in 1886].

In F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, as Jay Gatsby is finally showing Dolly around his mansion, he receives a call.

... I can't talk now, old sport. ... I said a small town. ... He must know what a small town is. ... He's no use to us if Detroit is his idea of a small town.

As of 2005, Detroit is the 11th-largest city in the US. Its population has fallen along with the fortunes of the domestic car manufacturers, from 1.8 million in 1950 to 900 thousand in 2000.

developing countries
Oftentimes inaccurate euphemism for `underdeveloped countries.' I mean look: at this point in history, the way they got underdeveloped was by not developing.

Fund-raising for a charitable institution (medical or educational, in the instances I've encountered).

Remember, you can't spell device without vice. Heck, you can't spell service without vice either. Remember that the next time you hear about ``free energy devices.''

DElaware Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

Directed-Energy Weapon.

Dew-Drop Inn
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

(Just to kill the frog: the pun in the preceding sentence is a compound antanaclasis.)

Dewey, John
John Dewey was a prominent educrat in the first half of the twentieth century. You've probably never read anything he wrote, especially if you value your time. Therefore, you need to know something about him fast. The main thing you need to know is that intellectually, his works have all the nutritional content of a diet Twinkie.

He systematically collected and rearticulated most of the general statements about education that are both obvious and approximately true. Most people who regarded themselves as thoughtful agreed with his useless platitudes and ignored the stuff that would have required them to think, while a few foolish people, thinking that those stupid things he wrote might be influential, opposed him. These facts were later misinterpreted: Dewey was thought to have convinced the educational, eh, elite of his new ideas, and thus made his opponents look foolish. This is the source of the myth that Dewey was influential.

Dewey is called a philosopher on the same principle that dead politicians are called statesmen. (Or is that ``statespersons'' now? ``Statespeople''? Ugh. All the more reason to keep calling them politicians.) Coincidentally, Dewey was a philosopher. And he was famous. So it is possible to say, with a relatively clear conscience, that he was a famous philosopher. Of course, John Dewey was a famous philosopher in the same way that Anne Boleyn was a famous chess player. They are famous, but not for philosophy or chess. Still, John Dewey did fumble with philosophical concepts in his writing, sometimes amusingly, in the mistaken belief that deeper mud makes a stronger foundation. This makes him quite useful to students of philosophy today. A Ph.D. dissertation in philosophy usually consists of pointing out some pesky little inconsistency in the work of a famous philosopher -- i.e., tapping a famous philosopher on the shoulder. Many philosophy graduate students simply can't reach that high, and end up pinching a famous philosopher on the ass. Fortunately for these students, Dewey is what you might call ``accessible.''


My introduction has piqued your interest, and you're still reading! You'll be sorrr-rrry! Here's a sample of John Dewey brilliance, from chapter 1 of his greatest work, Democracy and Education:

Society exists through a process of transmission quite as much as biological life. This transmission occurs by means of communication of habits of doing, thinking, and feeling from the older to the younger. Without this communication of ideals, hopes, expectations, standards, opinions, from those members of society who are passing out of the group life to those who are coming into it, social life could not survive. If the members who compose a society lived on continuously, they might educate the new-born members, but it would be a task directed by personal interest rather than social need. Now it is a work of necessity.

In case you're wondering: yes, he did intend for this book to be read by adults. There's also a bit of Dewey content in a block quote at the Slightly to the Right entry.

DEW Line
Distant Early Warning LINE. A 3000-mile line across the North American continent, along which radar surveillance was maintained continually, to guard against a bomber attack over the Arctic from the Soviet Union. The line was flanked on the Atlantic and Pacific by Navy patrols using long-range aircraft supported by modified-destroyer escorts. The line was backed by the Mid-Canada Line and the Pine Tree Line, built earlier in the decade. The DEW Line began operation in August 1957. Data from the systems was gathered at NORAD headquarters.

It cost a fortune to build ($600 million; $1 billion including naval flanks; 26 dead due to flight accidents in generally terrible weather) and a larger fortune to maintain (a quarter billion dollars per year). Given the supersonic speeds of bombers of the time, it would have provided about one hour's warning of an attack against the lower 48. Two months after it went into operation, the USSR launched Sputnik. By 1963, ballistic missiles were considered to be the major threat, and in 1965 the Navy patrols on the Atlantic and Pacific flanks of the DEW Line were discontinued. BMEWS was added. An air-defense pact signed by US President Ronald Reagan and Canadian PM Brian Mulroney in March 1985 turned the DEW Line over to Canada in 1989. By that year, the North Warning System was in place. That required only 13 minimally-manned AN/FPS-117 long-range radar sites.

The Soviet Union fell apart for Christmas 1990. Over time, of course, various pieces of the early-warning system had been decommissioned as they had become redundant. Particularly since 2001, an attack over the Arctic has not seemed to be a major concern, and things like the DEW Line are of mainly historical interest (though North Korea is working hard at justifying missile defenses). A good place to learn about Cold-War-era early-warning systems is Dave Word's ``Early Warning Connection'' (with a links page).


Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry. Yeah, ``absorpti-O-metry.'' DEXA scans are used to determine bone mineral density (BMD).

Rightward. The term is used in epigraphy to describe writing from left to right, and letters whose stance (that is a technical term) is the normal one for dextrograde writing.

The common writing directions are dextrograde, sinistrograde (leftward), boustrophedon (alternating), and vertical. In horizontal writing, it is normal (very normal) for successive lines in a block of text to be written below the ones preceding. Likewise, vertical writing is implicitly downward writing. Parallel lines of vertical writing may progress to the left or to the right.

Direct EXchange UCS. The UCS EDI standard used for direct store delivery (DSD).

Dark-Field. An imaging mode for TEM.

Data Flow.

Decision Feedback.

Degree[s] of Freedom.

Demagnetization Factor.

Design For. Another one of those acronym prefixes (like CA-). E.g., DFESH, DFLP, DFM, DFR, DFT, DFX, and DFX,

Distributing Frame.

Distribution Function.

Distrito Federal, `Federal District' in Spanish. Typically the national capital of a Latin American country, similar to `District of Columbia' (DC). Thus, the capital of Mexico is Méjico, D.F..

Duty Factor.

Democracy For America. The 2004 Dean-for-President campaign, retasked and run by Howard's brother Jim.

Designated For Assignment. A baseball euphemism meaning sent down from the majors.

Design For (DF-) Assembly.

DoD Supplement to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).

(US) Defense Finance and Accounting Service.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Thank you, Australia!

Deutscher Fußball-Bund. `German Football Association.'

Distributed FeedBack. In EE applications, this does not refer to the situation of having multiple back-seat passengers.

Data Flow Control.

Development Finance Company.

Digital Future Coalition. ``...committed to striking an appropriate balance in law and public policy between protecting intellectual property and affording public access to it. The DFC is the result of a unique collaboration of many of the nation's leading non-profit educational, scholarly, library, and consumer groups, together with major commercial trade associations representing leaders in the consumer electronics, telecommunications, computer, and network access industries.''

Data Flow Diagram.

Design For (DF-) Disassembly.

Digital Frequency Discriminator. The frequency measurement component in a wide bandwidth instantaneous frequency measurement (IFM) receiver.

Digital Flight Data Recorder.

Department for Education and Employment. Seems to be the old name of the DfES. I tried visiting the URL <http://www.dfee.gov.uk/>, in July 2001 and was autoforwarded to DfES.

(UK government) Department For Education and Skills.

Design For (DF-) Environment, Safety, and Health (ESH).

Delay Flip-Flop.

Data Flow Graph. Used in logic design.

Degenerate Fermi Gas.

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. `German Research Foundation.' Like the US NSF, but its annual budget (once 2 billion DM, which gives you an idea of how long ago it was that I last checked) comes jointly from the states and the federal government. It seems to function rather more autonomously, respecting which areas of research are emphasized, than the NSF does, but I'm judging only from the homepage description.

Digital Function Generator.

Discrete Frequency Generator.

Degenerate Fermi Gas Model. A degenerate Fermi system is a system of fermions in which the electrochemical potential (called the Fermi level or Fermi energy in many statistical-mechanical contexts) is far above the potential-energy minimum. ``Far above'' means by many multiples of kBT, where T is absolute temperature and kB is Boltzmann's constant.

Data Facility Hierarchical Storage Manager. Or for short.

Doesn't stand for anything that I'm aware of, but it sounds good flowing off the tongue. Someone should create an organization whose name can be abbreviated DFI.

Oh, look! Someone has already thought of it:

Department For International Development. According to a position advertisement in The Economist, DFID ``is the UK's government department responsible for promoting development and the reduction of poverty. DFID is committed to the internationally agreed target of halving the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by 2015.'' Naturally, they sought a ``microfinance expert'' for CML.

David Florida Laboratory. A Canadian facility for spacecraft assembly, integration, and aerospace testing, operated by the Canadian Space Agency. This Florida business could get confusing.

Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. The Minnesota Democratic party, whose name dates back to the merger of the Democratic and Farmer-Labor parties in 1944.

Distributed-Feedback (DFB) Laser.

Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. An organization that still (in 2005) has an organ called a ``politburo.''

Design For (DF-) Low Power.

Defect-Free Manufacturing.

Deputy Foreign Minister. Or maybe Deputy Finance Minister.

Design For (DF-) Manufacturability.

Difference Frequency Mixing.

Deutsches ForschungsNetz. (`German Research Net').

Deutsches ForschungsNetz (DFN) Computer Emergency Response Team. ``Emergencies'' are security breaches. See CERT for other relevant organizations.


I used to have a DTO entry defined as design-to-operability. I probably screwed up in transcription. Hope this is right.

Department of Fisheries and Oceans of Canada. That would be Fisheries and Oceans Canada in the modern mode. We have some information on that.

Diisopropyl PhosphoroFluoridate. No, not ``DPF.'' Not here, anyway.

Disappearing-Filament Pyrometer.

Decreasing Failure Rate.

Design For (DF-) Recycling.

Design For (DF-) Reliability.

(NASA's) Dryden Flight Research Center. Earlier DFRF (next entry).

(NASA's) Dryden Flight Research Facility. Previously ADFRF (Ames-...), now DFRC.

Distributed File System.

Duty-Free Shops.

Dying of Sick Sigma. Oh, wait a sec... I may have misheard that. It's ``Design for Six Sigma.'' Huh, I got it right after all.

Density Functional Theory.

(UK) Department For Transport.

Design For (DF-) Testability.

Discrete Fourier Transform.

Dynamic Fault Tree. DFT methodology or analysis was developed to combine FTA with Markov analysis.

Department For The Aging of New York City. See New York State's Aging Services Network Locator.

German, DatenfernÜbertragung. `Data transmission.'

Deutsches Forschungs-und-Versuchsanstalt für Luft-und-Raumfahrt. `German Research and Development Establishment for Air and Space Travel.'

Dallas - Fort Worth (airport).

Degenerate Four-Wave Mixing. Man, those laser physicists must be kinky.

Design For (DF-) eXcellence.

Design For (DF-) X. ``X'' represents an a priori unknown variable. Acronym designates robust design tool(s).

[Football icon]

Defensive Guard. A position in American football.


Director General. Chiefly British.

Distributed Generation (of electric power).

Democratic Governors' Association.

``The Democratic Governors' Association ... was founded in 1983 to support the candidacy of Democratic Governors throughout the nation. [I'm sure that with a few sensible reforms, that sentence could achieve literally the significance intended by the original framers.] The DGA provides political and strategic assistance to Gubernatorial campaigns. In addition, the DGA plays an integral role in developing positions on key state and federal issues that effect the states through the Governors' Policy Forum Series.''

Cf. RGA.

Differential Gravimetric Analysis.

Direct Graphics Access.

Directors Guild of America.

Deutsche Gesellschaft Alterszahnmedizin. `German Gerodentistry Association.'

In a few places I've seen DGAZ given incorrectly with ``German Association of Esthetic Dentistry'' as an English gloss. This is certainly an error, but not of translation; the error is that the German acronym DGÄZ (next entry) has been misspelled ``DGAZ.''

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ästhetische Zahnheilkunde. `German Association of Esthetic Dentistry.'

Please note: if you have any difficulty writing, typing, printing, or otherwise indicating the vowel ``Ä,'' you are strongly advised to substitute ``Ae.'' This is common practice. [Indeed, the diacritical mark on the Ä (called an Umlaut) arose as an abbreviated form of e: it represents the two vertical strokes used in writing e in the Fraktur scripts used for German until the middle of the twentieth century.] The letters ä and a represent rather different vowels. They're as different as e and a. In fact, they're almost precisely as different: ä represents the same sounds as e (except in some double-vowel combinations). To write ``DGAZ'' for DGÄZ is thus a spelling error. In a way, it's worse than writing ``DGEZ'' for DGÄZ, since ``esthetisch'' is a plausible borrowing from English, whereas it's hard to see how an ``asthetisch'' spelling could arise.

In summary: if you can't manage ``DGÄZ,'' just write DGAeZ. That's what the organization itself did, in choosing the domain name <dgaez.de>. ``DGAZ'' (entry above) is another organization altogether.

Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund. `German Trade Union Federation.' A congress of fifteen industrial unions (cf. CIO); most German union members belong to the DGB. In 1997 the membership was 8.6 million workers (incl. 2.6 million women), of which 5.21 million (1.03 million women) were manual laborers, 2.46 million (1.33 million) were white-collar workers, and 643 thousand (170 thousand) were managers. The largest unions outside the DGB umbrella are (in order of decreasing membership) the DBB, DAG, and CGD.

The DGB was founded in 1949. The same goes for a large fraction of German organizations.

DiethyleneGlycol Distearate. A/k/a DEGDS.


Diccionario griego-español. Spanish, `Greek-Spanish Dictionary.' Under construction. Expensive but worth it is the verdict on volumes out so far. Far better than LSJ (which nevertheless provides the initial skeleton on which it is constructed). Unlike the LSJ, the DGE includes personal names and toponyms, and words and usages from Mycenaean Greek and Christian (generally Koine) writings. (The LSJ does include a few of the most important proper nouns.)

The original intention was to provide a slightly improved version of the LSJ for the use of Spanish-speaking universitarios, supplemented by information from other useful references, but almost from the beginning, the project has suffered from mission creep. There was the desire to incorporate advances in the understanding of Indo-European that took place in the twentieth century, and advances in other branches of linguistics. The mission crept so far at the beginning of the project that the decision was made to completely redo the first volume even before the rest of the first edition was done. A number of important appendices to the dictionary have been published. One can certainly sympathize with and even admire the ambitiousness of the project, but the staff available to accomplish this great work is limited.

Volume V, whose last entry is dionychos, appeared in 1997. As of 1998, the schedule was for subsequent volumes to arrive every other year (vol. VI in 1999, ktl.), but in fact volumes VI and VII did not come out until 2002 and 2009 (yes, in that order). They're not even out of the xi's. At the present rate, all current participants will be buried before the DGE is finished. What they need is a new business model. They should make the primary medium of publication electronic, do a quick Spanish translation of the LSJ so they have a complete zeroth edition, and color-code the entries to reflect the degree of vetting and updating that has occurred. Then they can make regular updates to the online version, and issue annual or semi-annual patches to libraries (and individuals) that subscribe to any locally served version. (If you can't afford a digital connection, you can't afford the DGE, so a hardcopy edition is beside the point.) Fwiw, as of this writing (February 2014), the online version is about halfway through epsilon.

As it is, the main current output of the DGE effort is appendices (annejos). Appendix volumes I and II (published in 1985 and 1993) are a valuable dictionary of Mycenaean Greek. (Mycenaean Greek was written in Linear B, a syllabic script in which many of the symbols represent multiple similar syllables). Appendix Volume VI (a compilation of 25 articles written by various members of the project over the preceding 20 years) was published in 2005. The most recent indication I noticed, that the DGE effort has not been abandoned, is that Sabine Arnaud-Thuillier and Frederic Glorieux, of the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Madrid, were scheduled for the Posters/Demos session of the DCA conference of April 2013, with ``Diccionario Griego -- Español'' as the title.

There was also a fiducial DLE effort, but it was slow off the mark. Ummm, relatively speaking, that is.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Amerikastudien, e.V. `German Association for American Studies.' DGfA is a constituent association of the EAAS.

Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft. Designation on catalog codes. Part of Polydor these days.

A list of others is kindly served by Wayne Garvin.

Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Medizin, Naturwissenschaft und Technik e.V. `German Society for the History of Medicine, Natural Science, and Technology, Inc.' The homepage claims rather plausibly that DGGMNT is the world's oldest [formal] society specifically dedicated to the history of a scholarly discipline (die älteste wissenschaftshistorische Fachgesellschaft der Welt). It was founded on Sept. 25, 1901, as Deutsche Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Medizin und Naturwissenschaft. I'm not sure when the technology bit was added to the name.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde, e.V. `German Society for Herpetology and Terrariatology.'

Unless you're rereading this entry, you probably haven't encountered the word ``terrariatology'' before. AFAIK, the word exists in English only for the purpose of translating the German word Terrarienkunde. On the Internet, as of early February, the only instance that I can find of the English word is in a 1986 essay by Eugene Garfield (yeah, the famous ISI guy) where the DGHT's name is given in translation.

The German word is quite common. Das große Wörterbuch der deutschen Sprache of Duden defines it as ``Lehre von der Haltung u. Zucht von Tieren im Terrarium.'' [`Knowledge of the care & breeding of animals in terraria.'] The big Langenscheidts Enzyklopädisches Wörterbuch (English to German and back in four volumes) dutifully offers `terrariatology' as a translation. Offhand, I can find neither this ostensible English word nor terrariology in any English monolingual dictionary such as the OED.

Direct Graphics Interface Standard.

German, dergleichen or desgleichen. English: `the like.' Both words of the English term are cognate with the expansions of the German abbreviation: gleich and like are cognates; English simply lost a lot of g's.

However, the German expressions elide a bit less. The English idiom can be thought of as abbreviating an expression like ``of the like kind,'' with ``of'' and ``kind'' understood. The German articles der and des are in the genitive case, so they are equivalent to ``of the.'' Also, adjectives in German nominalize in a way that they do not automatically do in English. Thus, from the German adjective klein, meaning `small,' one has ``der kleine'' meaning `the small one.'

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neuroradiologie. `German Society of Neuroradiology.'

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Operations Research, e.V.. `German Society for Operations Research.' Merged with GMÖOR in 1998 to form GOR.

Differential Global Positioning System (GPS).

d. Gr.
German der Große. English: `the Great.'

Director General of the Research Councils (in the Br. Department of Trade and Industry). What's a ``department''? I thought the Brits called them ``Ministries.'' Maybe ministries have departments. I suppose I could look it up. But then so could you.

Defense General Supply Center.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zahnärzliche Implantologie. `German Society for Dental Implants.'

`i.e.' [Abbreviation for das heißt, in German.] Equivalently (but less common in my education) d.i.

D. H.

(UK) Department of Health.

DH, dh
Designated Hitter. Bats for the pitcher. Used in the American league of Major League Baseball (MLB). In the World Series, the DH is used in alternate years. Use of the DH is considered immoral by many baseball purists.

Die Hard. A sequence of movie starring Demi Moore's ex-husband.


Dionysius of Halicarnassus.

Double Heterostructure.


Dialogues d'Histoire Ancienne.

DeHydroepiAndrosterone. Same as DHEA, q.v.

DocosaHexaenoic Acid.

An Asian tree, now also found in the Scrabble forest.

DiHydroxyAcetone Phosphate.

Dual-channel Heterojunction Bipolar Transistor (HBT).

Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol.

DeHydroEpiAndrosterone. A/k/a DHA. An adrenal hormone which early research (1995) indicates has effects similar to melatonin. No, as a matter of fact, I haven't looked into this matter recently.

DHEA Sulfate. Also abbreviated DS and DHA-S; I hope they settle on a common usage soon. Considered less active than DHEA. Serum DHEA-S is the marker of adrenal androgen, and a level greater than 700ng/dl suggests a possible androgen-producing tumor of adrenal origin.

Scots Gaelic for `right.'

Department of Health and Human Services of the US government.

DiHydrogen MonOxide. Of special interest is the Dihydrogen Monoxide Research Division of DHMO.org (DMRD), which ``provide[s] an unbiased data clearinghouse and a forum for public discussion'' of the controversy surrounding dihydrogen monoxide.''

Diesel-Hydraulic Multiple-Unit train. A kind of self-powered passenger rail car. Specifically, a DMU in which power from the diesel engine is transmitted hydraulically to the (powered) wheels. Automatic transmissions in cars are another example of hydraulic power transmission.

US Department of Homeland Security.

(Australian government's) Department of Human Services and Health.

DiHydroTestosterone. An anabolic steroid. For the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima, only eleven Chinese athletes tested positive. Obviously, they must be using other drugs.

de Haas-van Alphen.

Die Hard (DH) Five. The current release of a popular entertainment product. If you liked the first, then you're guaranteed to like the current one, because the title, star, action and plot are the same.

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