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ElectroReflectance (spectroscopy).

Elizabeth Regina. `Queen Elizabeth' in Latin. You were expecting maybe Elisabetha? No. The reason is suggested here and confirmed here. Or was, when the University of Washington Classics-List archives were still in existence. If I have a spare week this year, I'll try to retrieve the relevant files.

There's an entry on IR that refers to the British royal family and introduces the concept of ``ER IR.'' The ER meant there is not the one defined in this entry but the one defined in the next.

Emergency Room (in a hospital). Also the name of a popular television series set in a hospital. ER is widely used metonymically for the whole Emergency Ward (EW) or Emergency Department (ED).

Endoplasmic Reticulum. If you don't know what it is, then you can suppose it's about the same as Kurt Vonnegut's Chronosynclastic Infundibulum (the spelling wobbles).

Environmental Restoration.

ERbium. One of four different elements named after one puny village. [The others are Terbium (Tb), Yttrium (Y), and Ytterbium (Yb). Ytterby is in Sweden.] Atomic number 68. A rare earth (RE) element.

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

(Domain code for) Eritrea.

Event Rule. Model used in one approach to the design of asynchronous logic circuits. See, for example, C. J. Myers and T. H.-Y. Meng, ``Synthesis of timed asynchronous circuits,'' IEEE Trans. VLSI Systems, vol. 1(#2), pp. 106-119 (June 1993).

Explicit Rate. A field in the RM cell header. It specifies the cell rate to be used over a virtual connection (VC).


Family-member suffix in Indo-European. Some of this remains in Latin and Greek: mater and mêtêr, respectively, for `mother'; pater and patêr for `father.' [Okay, in the Greek words preceding, the first or only eta has an acute accent. Distinguishing eta and epsilon is much more important that indicating accents, which weren't even introduced until Byzantine times. Hence, in transliterating the Greek, I use the standard Roman-character representation of eta -- a circumflexed e (ê). ISO Latin-1 doesn't include characters with with multiple diacritics, so I do without the acute accent on eta. I do all this without explaining it (even parenthetically) in order to make the entry read fluently and not interrupt the line of argument.] Greek also has thugátêr, `daughter.' This -er survived rather sturdily into Germanic: mother, father, daughter, sister, brother, in English; the corresponding Mutter, Vater, Tochter, Schwester, Bruder in German, as well as Vetter, `[male] cousin.'

For information on sibling words in Latin, see the germanus entry.

Earned Run Average.

Electronic Research Associates. A fifties company that was bought by Remington-Rand, became part of Univac, then Unisys.

Equal Rights Amendment. A constitutional amendment stating something like ``equality of rights under law shall not be denied on the basis of sexual identity.'' The one proposed for the US constitution consisted essentially of that and a second paragraph of boilerplate to the effect that Congress had a right to pass laws pursuant to the aims of the preceding paragraph. A lot of people believed that the law consisted of a laundry list of specifics, such as that public restrooms must be unisex. A lot of people who knew better wondered how the law would play out when it reached the courts. In the end, the amendment came close to the number of state ratifications needed, but fell short as time ran out. A couple of states tried to rescind their earlier ratifications, which was certainly a constitutionally uncertain area, but these deratifications were moot, since there weren't enough ratifications even if those states were counted in the ``for'' column.

Along the way, ERA's were incorporated in a number of state constitutions. In New Jersey, ratification of the federal ERA was put to a vote and failed, but a state ERA was passed into law (i.e., amended the 1947 state constitution) by the legislature.

The ERA is often called the ``ERA amendment.'' See the AAP pleonasm entry for more examples of this sort of thing.

Explosive Release Atmospheric Dispersion. Name of a particular program endorsed by the EPA for modeling air dispersion of radionuclides following an explosive release. Cf. MACCS for nonexplosive release.

Electronic Residency Application Service. ``...brought to you by the Association of American Medical Colleges [AAMC]! ERAS is a service which transmits residency applications, and supporting credentials from medical schools to residency program directors using the Internet...''

(NASA's) Environmental Research Aircraft Sensor Technology.


Greek muse of lyric poetry and mime. Thoughtful combination there.

Exploratory Research for Advanced TechnOlogy. (Japanese government program.)

Education Records Bureau.

Engineering Review Board.

Electronic Research Collections. ``[A] partnership between the United States Department of State and the Federal Depository Library at the Richard J. Daley Library, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The Government Printing Office [GPO], which is responsible for the national system of federal depository libraries, officially recognizes this unique partnership as the first electronic partnership agreement between an executive agency and a depository library. This partnership began in 1994. ...''

Engineering Research Center. A bunch have been funded by the NSF, but the term was widely used by other organizations before the NSF.

{Engineering|Electronic} Rule Check. A feature on CAE systems.

Environmental Research Consortium.

Energy Resources Conservation and Development Commission.

European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics.

Endoscopic Retrograde CholangioPancreatography. The new improved Supercalafragalisticexpealadocious (sp.?).

Elastic Recoil Detection.

Energy Research and Development Administration. A US government agency that was absorbed within the Department of Energy (DoE). See AEC entry.

Environmental error Record Editing and Printing program. That's the environment of an IBM system, okay? So don't start with your environmental cover-up conspiracies.

ElectroRheological Fluid. A fluid whose flow properties change under the influence of electric field. Usually, the change is toward greater viscosity in greater electric field, an effect (the ``Winslow Effect'') discovered serendipitously in 1940 by Dr. Willis M. Winslow. It is generally believed that the stiffening is caused by the formation of rigid chains of aligned dipoles. Accordingly, ERF's are typically suspensions of polar droplets in insulating nonpolar matrices, as for example milk droplets suspended in chocolate. ERF's have been proposed for microprocessor-controlled shock absorbers and robot actuators. The Winslow effect typically weakens with increasing temperature, one of the reasons these smart fluids do not have a significant market application.

Emergency Response Facility. Part of the apparatus mandated by the US NRC for operating nuclear plants.

Symbolic function name for the error function. Cf. erfc.

Symbolic function name for the complementary error function.

erfc(x) = 1 - erf(x)

Unit of energy in the cgs metric systems, a derived unit equal to 1 cm2g/s2, or 10-7 joule.

ergative case
A grammatical case used to mark the agent of a transitive verb. This case is only identified or distinguished in ergative languages (q.v.), where the ergative case is not, or not always, the nominative case.

ergative language
In simplest terms, a language in which the subjects of intransitive verbs are treated grammatically in the same way as the direct objects of transitive verbs. What in English would be considered the subject of a transitive verb (or perhaps the agent of the action described by the transitive verb) is in what is called the ergative case. The subject of an intransitive verb is in what is called the absolutive case. As you recall (you read the first sentence of the entry, right?) the absolutive case is used for direct objects too.

Probably the best-known example of an ergative language is Basque. Many of the languages of the Caucasus are also ergative, and this is one of the hints that has motivated attempts (so far generally inconclusive) to locate the apparent language isolate Basque in a common family with Caucasian languages.

Besides ergative, there are two other major kinds of case languages: accusative (like Indo-European languages generally) and active. Active languages focus primarily on agency and pay little direct attention to whether a noun phrase is functioning as subject, object, or predicate nominal.

Earthquake Research Institute. At the University of Tokyo.

Eridanus. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Epsilon Eridani is a main sequence star like the Sun, but slightly younger, cooler, and fainter. The star is a mere 10 ly away. Because of its proximity and similarity, it has been a popular subject of science fiction; it has featured in the writing of Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert, and in the television series Star Trek and Babylon 5.

Since 1998, evidence has been accumulating for a planetary system somewhat resembling ours. By November 2008, when it had the nearest known planetary system outside our own, evidence was announced suggesting that it has an Earth-like planet. That rocks! Enough of these wishy-washy Jupiters.

Educational Resources Information Center. A FirstSearch database. Select it on the second screen once you've entered FirstSearch, or visit AskERIC at Syracuse University.

The genus of plants called heath. Erica is Latin, and it looks like L... okay, it looks like English, but a proper noun and not a common noun in English. But the OSPD4 claims it's English meaning `a shrub of the heath family.' (I don't think they mean to claim that the heaths constitute an entire family in botanical taxonomy.) All three major Scrabble dictionaries accept both erica and ericas, and all reject ericae.

ERIC/Clearinghouse on Rural Education and Small Schools.

Environmental Research Institute of Michigan.

Employee Retirement Income Security Act (of 1974). See EBSA.

Extracellular signal-Regulated protein Kinase.

Echo Return Loss.

ER lamp
Ellipsoidal Reflector LAMP. A kind of incandescent lamp. ER lamp bulbs are usually (perhaps always, I'm not sure) similar to R lamps in material construction (i.e. blow-molded with an aluminum or silver reflecting film evaporated on). Sometimes the term ``R lamps'' is used loosely to refer to both R lamps and ER lamps. In the strict sense of the term that excludes ER lamp, an R lamp has a bulb with a parabolic reflecting back surface.

As the name implies, however, an ER lamp has an ellipsoidal reflecting surface. The filament is placed at the nearer focus of the ellipsoid. Light reflected from the bulb back converges to the further focus outside the bulb. Depending on the distance, this makes an ER lamp either a spotlight or a floodlight.

(European) Exchange Rate Mechanism.

Explicit Rate Marketing. What -- you mean they're actually gonna tell me what they're really gonna charge me for the call? How novel! Go on -- you're kidding!


European Radio Message System. This acronym was presumably designed to be evocative of Hermes, the Greek god of thieves. In many European languages, aitch (`H') is silent.

Electronic Random Number Indicator Equipment. Also referred to by masculine third person pronouns.

The story of this device begins at the UK Ministry of the Department for the Bureau, where someone long ago had the following brainstorm: some people like fairground cuisine but are not so keen on green vegetables, whereas some other people feel vice versa. Therefore, a cotton-candy-and-asparagus pudding would please everyone! For some reason this idea was never implemented, but it inspired similarly bold outside-the-cranium thinking elsewhere.

What eventually spilled out, in 1957, was the idea of Premium Bonds. A financial instrument ideal both for people who like to gamble and those who like to invest in a safe source of reliable income. The idea is that the bonds pay by lottery, with winnings that average out to an interest rate of 3% per annum, (3.25% from August 2005 on), tax-free. ERNIE determines the lottery winners. The randomness of ERNIE and the Premium Bond draw is certified by the Government Actuary's Department (GAD). Shouldn't that be the Electronic Government Actuary's Department (E-GAD)?

Effective Radiated Power.

Enterprise Resource Planning. That's business enterprise, not Starship Enterprise (NCC-1701).

As you can probably guess, when I first entered this entry I had no idea what ERP is, only what it stands for. I still have no idea, but it appears that our university has contracted with some company ``as the University's enterprise resource planning (ERP) vendor to replace our administrative systems.'' [It turns out they meant administrative information systems.]

Event-Related (electroencephalographic) Potential.

Emergency Response Planning Guidelines.

ERR, Err
A common abbreviation for Shakespeare's play The Comedy of Errors.

Equipment Restoration and Renewal. Sometimes the gods of acronymy smile down without acrimony. ``The Office of Research is pleased to continue the Equipment Restoration and Renewal (ERR) for the 2006-2007 academic year. This program is designed to provide University funds to restore or replace equipment required for current research and other scholarly activities.''

There are no errors in this glossary, just jokes you don't get.

error latency
Delay between the appearance of a logic fault and the time that an error is detected. The two broad categories of built-in self test (BIST) differ qualitatively in this respect:

error propagation
In statistical analysis there's something called ``propagation of errors.'' This is the calculation or estimation of standard deviation (or similar measures of uncertainty or variation) in derived quantities, based on known or estimated errors in source quantities from which they are derived. In almost the simplest case, if y = ax + b and the constants a and b are known, then the error in y is a times the error in x, by any reasonable definitions of error (e.g.: standard deviation, average deviation, range, interquartile range). Propagation of errors normally assumes linearity and typically assumes that the errors in multiple sources are independent. That isn't what I wanted to write about at all, but I haven't written a propagation-of-errors entry, so I figured I should get some of that out of the way.

I wanted to write about how errors propagate in society, sort of as rumors do. The phenomenon has been studied in the context of science citation -- citations of nonexistent papers are recycled in subsequent papers by authors who, uh, don't have access to the original literature. Name misspellings in citations sometimes also appear too coincidental to be explained as independent random events. Studies of the error-propagation phenomenon usually rely on a serendipitous natural experiment, so when one stumbles upon such a natural experiment, one should take advantage...

Yesterday (2005.11.14) I stumbled in this way upon an error in the generally quite accurate Encyclopædia Britannica. In the Micropædia article on Karl Jaspers, the title of one of his late works (1949) is given as Vom Ursprung und Zeit der Geschichte, with translated title The Origin and Goal of History (1953). The German word Zeit means `time,' and represents an error for Ziel (`goal'), which would coincide with the translated title. The error seems to have crept in during the fifteenth edition, which has copyrights in every year from 1974 to 1994. In the 1982 printing, Karl Jaspers rates a main entry in the Macropædia (``Knowledge in Depth''), and the title is given correctly. By 1994, he's been demoted to the Micropædia (``Shitty Little Factoids'') (okay, literally ``Ready Reference''). His entry has been slightly reworked, and in particular he's gone from being ``[t]ogether with Martin Heidegger... one of the two most important representatives of the German-speaking world in the Existential movement'' to being just ``one of the most important Existentialists in Germany.'' His picture is smaller, and they've mangled that title.

I reported the error immediately through Lin (one of our reference librarians), but no change was made even to the online edition, so this was an ideal moment to google together a study. An unrestricted search on Jaspers and the correct title found 717 pages. (The number fluctuated between 714 and 718 over the duration of the study. Propagate that error.) Of these (usually) 717 pages, 475 were in German, 194 were in English, and 115 were in Chinese (mostly simplified script). Yes, Google includes some pages in searches on more than one language. No, I didn't know there were so many Chinese existentialists, but it seems that many virtually identical pages were counted separately. In contrast, the next-largest hit counts were 47, 46, 35, 26, and 23 for...

(Don't you want to at least try to guess?)

Russian, Japanese, Dutch, French, and Spanish, among the languages Google attempts to identify.

Now for the fun part: a search on Jaspers and the Zeit version of the title (again an exact-phrase search) yielded 25 hits, or 21 if pages with the word Britannica (all counted against English) were excluded. Among the 21 were 2 German pages (served for an American university course), 3 English pages, 0 Chinese pages, 12 Russian pages (mostly copies or adaptations of one page) and a Korean translation of the EB article (there were 8 with the correct title in that language). The few remaining hits seem to be accounted for by translations of that one Russian page into Slovenian and maybe some other Slavic languages.

What I conclude from all this is that most people can spell better than I can, that few people read the Encyclopedia Britannica, and that Karl Jaspers is dead. The EB agress with me on the last point. When I run into a better experiment, I'm going to cut and copy most of this entry over into an ``error nonpropagation'' entry. Null results are a nullity.

I checked back in May 2007 and found a kind of improvement: there are more ghits (40 or 41) because the EB is packaging this content in a greater variety of pages, but fewer other sites are propagating the error. Two of the ghits are for this glossary, which makes clear that the Zeit version is an error, and only nine ghits outside the EB propagate the error uncritically (so far as my Russian and Chinese guessing ability allows me to say). The rest (and most) of the incorrect pages are served by the EB, which 16 months later is increasingly isolated in its error.

I'd like to take credit for this progress, such as it is, but the experience suggests that I shouldn't have had the error reported to EB. Also, the number of sites with the correct title has declined to 655; this suggests that there has been a slight decrease in global interest in Jaspers, and that this decrease has been (not surprisingly) greater among those who don't read German.

Emergency Relocation Site. I don't really have much to say about this. See this EOF entry.

Evaluated Receipts Settlement. Payment on receipt of goods or services rather than of invoice.

Electronic Reservation Services Provider.

European Rail Traffic Management System.

Earth Resources Technology Satellite.

E. R. T. W.
ENGINEERS RULE THE WORLD. A little message posters put in their dot sigs when they want to make sure they're obnoxious, or forget.

Earth Return Vehicle. In his famous speech of May 25, 1961, John F. Kennedy threw down the moon-shot gauntlet: ``This nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.'' That ``returning him safely'' business has always added to the complexity of the missions. I suppose it would look bad if we sent terminally-ill cancer patients or willing suicides up. Oh well.

The second-most human-habitable planet in the solar system appears to be Mars. Among enthusiasts of manned space exploration, the most popular plan for a manned Mars mission is ``Mars Direct,'' developed primarily by Robert Zubrin. In this plan, a Mars habitation module and ERV are launched using a commercial launch vehicle. This payload is sent to Mars two years before the first manned mission. While on Mars, an autonomous chemical factory powered by a nuclear reactor manufactures propellant, oxygen, and other resources necessary for the crew's survival on Mars and return to Earth. (Really, they should just find people who wouldn't want to come back. You think that'd be hard?) The Mars Direct plan further envisions a second habitation vehicle and ERV to be sent around the time of the first manned mission, as part of a continuing program and as a back-up if a problem develops with the first ERV and habitation. The habitation units could be linked up to provide the basis of a future museum and gift shop.

In the Mars Direct plan, the same vehicle that must carry the resources for a months-long return journey to Earth must also be landed on and lifted from the Mars surface. A more energy-efficient approach called Mars Semi-direct was developed to avoid the costs and difficulties of landing and relaunching the ERV, using a method somewhat resembling the Lunar Orbiter/Lander pair of the Apollo missions. In Mars Semi-direct, the ERV remains in orbit around Mars and only a Mars ascension vehicle (MAV) is landed on Mars, intended to lift the intrepid but homesick humans up to the ERV. Fuel for the MAV is supposed to be manufactured on Mars. In the Hybrid Direct plan, the MAV takes extra fuel for the ERV up as well. I think they should also manufacture some gold and bring some of that back. It might stir up some interest.

Einsteinium. Atomic number 99.

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

(Domain code for) Spain [España]. Here's an on-line Spanish-English dictionary from Savergen.

The principal language of Spain is Spanish. Speaking loosely in Spanish, the language is often called español, which really refers to the people and country. In educated usage, the language is called castellano, `Castilian,' referring to the northern provinces where this language originated. Since you're reading about Spain in an English-language reference, there's a possibility that you are a Brit living in Spain. ``Have you logged into www.BritsCentral.Com lately[?] The Search Engine dedicated to Brits living in Spain.''

Electron Spectroscopy.

Elementary School. The one before Middle School (MS) or Junior High School (JHS).

End System.

Errored Second.

And speaking of errors... Systematic US spelling reforms, mostly instituted by Noah Webster, call for certain final consonants normally doubled (before suffixes that begin in a vowel or wye) in Commonwealth spelling not to be doubled. For words of two syllables or more, the consonant is doubled only if stress falls on the final ultima (the final syllable). Hence occurred and demurred, but, uh, I can't think of any penult (second-to-last syllable) examples ending in arr just off-hand.

Expert System.

The German word for id. The word used by Freud, in fact. The word es is normally the nominative pronoun meaning `it,' but the capitalization indicates that it is a noun. More about that at the id entry.

Of course, es is also capitalized when it is the first word of a sentence -- typically when it represents the subject of an indicative sentence.

It's worth pointing out that the he/she/it pronouns distinguish natural gender, while the corresponding German er/sie/es pronouns have traditionally distinguished grammatical gender. Thus, for example, an inanimate object (with certain rare traditional exceptions like a ship) is ``it'' in English. In German, on the other hand, an inanimate object is referred to as er, sie, or es, depending the gender of the noun used to describe it.

Similarly, a girl in English is always ``she'' (female natural gender) whereas ``ein Mädchen'' (`a girl') is ``es'' (neuter grammatical gender). Most nouns describing adult humans have the same gender grammatically as naturally, so for speakers of English and western Romance languages (which have no neuter), the jarring from this kind of German usage may be infrequent. In fact, the principal exceptions to natural gender for nouns describing humans are diminutive forms like Mädchen (literally `young maid'), which are generally neuter. There has been some drift in usage in recent decades, and many Germans now refer to people by pronouns corresponding to their natural gender, regardless of the grammatical gender of the nouns first used to refer to them.

My mother is a native German-speaker, and I remember that when I was growing up in the US, my father and I would often become exasperated by the ambiguity introduced when she would refer to multiple instances of he and she (actually el and ella, since the conversation was usually in Spanish). It occurred to me that over-reliance on personal pronouns might be a specifically German habit, and that Germans are prone to it because the occurrence of neuter gender makes pronoun-space collisions less frequent. In 2007 I read a lot of fairy tales by Clemens Brentano. These were written around the beginning of the nineteenth century, so for purposes of analyzing German usage, there is a bit of a diachronic problem. Nevertheless, FWIW, I found that Brentano has a slight occasional tendency to use pronouns ambiguously. Not enough to confuse the attentive reader, but enough to make him uncomfortable. Okay, maybe it's my problem.

One of those very important two-letter words in Scrabble.® All three major Scrabble dictionaries accept it.

According to TWL 2006, it is one spelling of the name of the nineteenth letter of the alphabet. Another is ess. The regularly formed plural of each word is accepted. See also ar.

You know, all this ``accepted'' business reminds me of the famous ``Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons.'' That's one fraternity, in principle, but the free masons and the accepted masons are two different groups. ``Free masons'' were like wildcat stonemasons or independents: actual ``operative masons,'' members of a masons' guild, who worked on the building of cathedrals in Europe. When the market for cathedral-building crashed in the seventeenth century or so, the guilds kept up membership by accepting ``speculative masons'' -- nonmasons, not to put too fine a point on it. These were the ``accepted masons.''

Embryonic Stem (cell).

Education Savings Account.

ElectroStatic Analyzer.

Electronic Security Association. A generic term used by the National Alarm Association of America (NAAA). See the NAAA document on its ESA program. It's mostly text, but instead of scanning it or something, they made gifs out of the paper document, so you can have the pleasures of fax right on your own monitor.

Endangered Species Act.

Enterprise Systems Architecture. Includes VM/ESA, VSE/ESA and MVS/ESA. (IBM trademarks.)

Entomological Society of America.

European Space Agency.

Esaki diode
See tunnel diode.

Equivalent Standard Axle Load.

Equivalent Standard Axle Load KiloMeter[s].

Enhanced Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) Simulation code.

European Society for Artificial Organs.

Electricity Supply Board (of the Republic of Ireland).

European Savings Bank Group.

Electronic Stability Control. Still at this writing (January 2005) a standard or optional feature on a small fraction of vehicles sold. Different motor-vehicle manufacturers use different names for it; here are the most common names used in the US in the 2005 MY:

Environmental Stress Cracking.

ESCape. A keyboard key or signal traditionally indicating that the current level of interpretation should be escaped. For example, in the vi editor, pressing the escape key terminates the text-entry mode and returns one to command mode (i.e., terminates the interpretation of data as literal character data). The function of the escape key is also explained as an alt-mode, a key for entering an alternate mode. Of course, if you're already in command mode in vi, pressing escape just causes a message ``Already in command mode'' to appear. So the ``alt'' in ``alt-mode'' is not democratic, and there is a preferred direction to ``escape'' in.

Appropriate to its function, the escape key has a keyboard equivalent of ^[ -- i.e., control-left-square-bracket. It still works for me on a Unix box, but generally I don't know how much luck you'd have with that key combination nowadays. (The programmer of an application has substantial freedom to determine what keyboard input it recognizes and how, and might in fact have to go out of his way to have it recognizes control-character sequences.) The main utility of knowing the sequence is that if you encounter an old instruction to press ^[ to escape, you'll know to press the escape key if that doesn't work.

On ancient teletype machines that I used in the mid-1970's, the escape key was labeled ``HERE IS.'' There's a xeroxlore picture dramatizing the use of the escape key to escape the clutches of a computer gone crazy. (``Nobody move! Okay, Tom, sloooowly reach over and press...'' or something like that.) Trying (and failing) to locate an online copy of it, I found other stuff.

European Society of Cardiology. Also Société Européenne de Cardiologie.

Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis. [Pronounced as word, final letter a shwa, rather than as a mere letter sequence.] Also called XPS, at the entry for which there are tutorial links.

Based on the phenomenon (discovered by Hertz in 1887; explained by Einstein in 1905 with the introduction of the light quantum hypothesis) that light irradiation of solids can cause electrons to be emitted. The energy spectrum of emitted electrons yields information about the density of occupied states. Further information can be gained from single-crystal samples by measuring as a function of angle and polarization. Qualitatively similar things are done with UV light instead of X-rays, in UPS.

Enterprise Systems Connection (ESCON) Director. Hardware managed by ESCM.

European Society of Cosmetic Dentistry. It's a member of IFED.

ES cell
Embryonic Stem CELL.

Enterprise Systems Connection (ESCON) Manager. Software that controls the ESCD.

European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music.

Enterprise Systems (ESA) CONnection.

Edible. Your ten-dollar word for today. When it becomes necessary to be polite about your host's cooking, you can say ``this is just esculent!''

As you probably recall, Scrabble® tile values were originally pegged to the dollar, to avoid the extreme deflationary pressures observed in, say, Monopoly®. Indeed, esculent is not just a ten-dollar word but also still a ten-point word. (But steer clear o' them pinkos and reds -- they'll give you 100% and 200% inflation in a single jolt.)

Electronic Software Distribution.

Electron-Stimulated Desorption.

ElectroStatic Discharge. You know: polyester carpeting and rubber soles. It is worth knowing that some items, like high-precision or low-noise Op Amps, may be damaged but not completely knocked out by ESD. Therefore, just checking that it ``still works'' is no guarantee that it still conforms to specs. There's an EOS/ESD Association.

The Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus (UAF ) maintains a page on red sprites and blue jets, some of the more spectacular atmospheric discharge phenomena.

The Engineering Society of Detroit.

Enhanced Small Device (interface).

Electronic System Design Automation.

Earth and Space Data Computing Division [of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)].

European Security and Defence Policy.

Enhanced Small Disk Interface.

ESD plastic
ElectroStatic Dissipative plastic. It would be a bit strong to call these ``conducting plastics,'' since plastics with resistivities as high as 1012 ohm-cm may count as ESD plastic.

Entry-sequenced data sets. Vide VSAM.

Vide compass directions.

European Science Editing. Bulletin of the European Association of Science Editors (EASE). ISSN 0258-3127.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Initially passed in 1965 as part of LBJ's Great Society spending orgy, it was repeatedly reauthorized. The 1994 reauthorization was called the Improving America's Schools Act (IASA). After being allowed to lapse in 1999, this was succeeded (great word, that) by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002. This act was a cornerstone of Harvard-MBA George Bush's ``compassionate conservative'' election platform. In other words, it was part of the fiscally responsible conservative Republican spending orgy.

European Society for Environmental History. ``ESEH aims to promote environmental history in Europe, by encouraging and supporting research, teaching and publications in the field.''

Environmental Scanning Electron Microscop{y|e}. ``Environmental'' refers to the fact that the sample can be examined in gas environments (10 torr is typical) rather than only under high vacuum. This makes possible the imaging of volatile, moist or oily materials such as biological tissues. The use of conductive atmospheres such as water vapor makes possible the imaging of insulating samples which would otherwise charge (and distort/degrade the image). The vapor-tolerance of the systems makes possible the study of samples at high temperature.

Here are some images of everyday objects, taken at Ann Arbor. (They were really there for a while; then you had to follow the instructions: update the links by changing ``www'' in the tiff URL's to ``www-personal,'' then they moved them again. Really, who needs to be jerked around?)

Here's an Aussy site.

European Seminar in EthnoMusicology. Annual event. The tenth, in 1994, was the first to be disseminated electronically.

European Science Foundation. Founded in the mid-1970's.

Exchange Stabilization Fund.

Extended Superframe Format. Vide FDL.

Extended Superframe Format Data-Link. Vide FDL.

Epitaxial Silicon Film[s] on Insulators. That's silicon-on-spinel or silicon-on-sapphire (SOS), according to a first-page footnote to ``High-Density Static ESFI MOS Memory Cells,'' by Karl Goser, Michael Pomper and Jenö Tihanyi: IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits, vol. SC-9, #5, pp. 234-238 (October 1974). I think this term is synonymous with the modern (lo, these 25 years later) term SOI (silicon on insulator). Anyway, who still uses spinels?

Enhanced Service Gateway.

Experimental Sheet-Growth Unit[s]. (Sheets of silicon for solar panels.)

Environment, Safety, and Health.

Name of the sound typically represented by sh in English, and of the symbol used to represent that sound in the IPA. That symbol is the ``long ess'' common in manuscript and print documents of the 17th and 18th centuries. (It looks like an eff with the short horizontal line missing or shorter. You know -- ``in Congrefs affembled'' and fuchlike. The division of labor between it and the other lower-case ess glyph varied over time, between different western European languages, and between different printers and writers of the same language. It continues in use today as the integral sign. See also shilling.)

European Society for the History of Science.

Electron Spectroscopic Imaging.

ElectroSpray Ionization.

ElectroStatic Interference.

Enhanced Serial Interface.

Europäisches Software-Institut. German meaning ... [translation is left as an exercise for the reader].

European Semiconductor Industry Association. Under the aegis of EECA.

Every Situation is Different.

To paraphrase Tolstoy's claim about families: it is only every unhappy situation that is different.

Electron-Stimulated Ion Emission.

Effective Series Inductance.

Effects Screening Level.

English as a Second Language. ESL is occasionally pronounced `eassel' (i.e., as `easel' with an unvoiced sibilant).

A synonym or near synonym of ESL, depending on whom you ask, is EFL. (See that entry for discussion; it can even be an antonym.) There are many other similar terms. The initialism E<foo>L, where <foo> is any short alphanumeric string chosen at random, has a fair chance of being synonymous with or at least related to ESL. See our EXL entry for an extensive partial list. The contrastive term I recommend is EMT.

There are no very common acronyms for English as a third or fourth or further language. I think the ordinary sense of ``second language'' probably subsumes any language beyond the first as ``a second language.'' As someone for whom English is my principal, my most fluent, technically my third language, and not my favorite language for poetry, I find the existing terminology somewhat beside the point. If you want to be contentiously pedantic about it, use ESOL (q.v.).

Electrically addressed Spatial Light Modulator (SLM).

Electronic Support Measures. Think Electronic Counter-Counter-Measures (ECCM).

Escuela Mecánica de la Armada. `Naval Mechanical School.' Infamous as a concentration camp or prison, and as a base for torture and counterinsurgent activities, during Argentina's Dirty War. (``Infamous'' after the war. During the war you didn't ask dangerous questions.)

European Society of NeuroRadiology.

European Southern Observatory. It's located in Malta. No? Okay, it's located in Chile. They have a 3.6-meter telescope at La Silla. La silla means `the chair.' It is etymologically unconnected with English sill.

English {to|for} Speakers of Other Language[s]. Cf. EFL, ESL. Contrast EMT.

Typically pronounced `EE-sol.'

The misc.education.language.english newsgroup offers an FAQ.

European Space OPerations Centre of the ESA. I know ESOP must stand for something else, because one company proudly lists it as a component of its retirement plan, and the company is not in Europe. Ahhh! It must be

Employee Stock Ownership Plan. A ``federally-qualified employee retirement program that allows employees to benefit as the company grows and profits increase.'' So what does it allow employees to do as the company shrinks and losses increase? Why is this called a ``benefit''?

Trying to track down something I'd discarded somewhere in the SBF glossary, I noticed that there were at least nine (9) files with hits on the word brain. So immediately I thought of the esophagus, another important organ, and discovered that no file contained that word. The problem is now corrected.

Endless Snorts Of Stupid Laughter.


Education Support Professional. I knew that! Bus drivers, school nurses, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, secretaries, janitors, computer techs, tutors, guards, cafeteria staff, bus drivers, foodservice personnel, and bus drivers.

The noun professional refers to someone who is paid to do something on a regular basis. The adverb professionally (as in ``professionally done'') means `as if, even working for the government, you could actually lose your job or a pay raise for really screwing up too much.'

Back in the mists of medieval time, the nouns professional and professor were related. They referred to people who had an unusually high degree of education, and whose work required some degree of abstract thought. Since higher education was intimately connected with theological and clerical education (whence clerk, in the business sense), these involved solemn professions of faith. What professors and professionals professed was their faith. I profess physics.

Electronic Stability Program. It's magic! (Oh, alright Mr. Clarke: it's indistingishable from magic.) One synonym of electronic stability control. For other synonyms, see the ESC entry.

Encapsulating Security Payload provides confidentiality for IP datagrams by encrypting the payload data.

English for Specific Purposes. Collective term for programs of targeted EFL instruction. Common examples include EAP, business English, medical English, and English for computer support personnel.

European Studies Program.

Extended Self-contained PROLOG.

Extra-Sensory Perception. You knew that! And I knew that you knew it. Isn't that spooky?

Milan Kundera seems to have been of two minds about ESP; CSICOP is not.

A Japanese guitar-maker. Hah! You didn't know that.

No, it's not in alphabetical order. It's in surprise order. You're gonna tell me that you can't find what you're looking for because the definitions aren't alphabetized? If you already know how the definitions should be alphabetized, then why do you need to look it up, huh? Oh, just a hunch, sure.

V. Spanglish.

V. Spanglish.

Expurgated Scrabble Players Dictionary. Pejorative and accurate term for OSPD3 and OSPD4.

Escuela Politécnica del Ejército. That's the expansion of ESPE gives on its own website, and what appears on its emblem. That makes it Ecuador's `Army Polytechnic School.' Other sites linking to it quite reasonably give the letter ess its own word: Superior.

Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. ESPN is the leading sports programming network in the US. In February 2004, it was charging cable companies $2.61 per month per household, reportedly highest in the (nonpornographic?) cable industry. It was set to go up. It must have, too, but it's not my problem.

European (EU) Strategic Programme for Research in Information Technology, established in 1984. Since then, the mixed-case Esprit has come to be used.

Eco-Socialist Review. It's not easy being green and red.

{Effective|Equivalent} Series Resistance.

Emergency Sun Reacquisition. Where is it? Where'd it go?!! Eclipses are so scary. Nighttime too.

For a serious explanation of this NASA initialism, see this SOHO entry. Then again...

It's too late.
She's gone too far.
She's lost the Sun.
She's come undun...

from ``Undun,'' by the... I'll let you guess who.

Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate.

EISCAT Svalbard Radar. [``EISCAT'' stands for European Incoherent SCATtering studies of the sun-earth interaction as observed in the atmosphere.]

Electronic Summary Report. Term used by Crosstarget software.

Electron Spin Resonance. Please see more at synonym EPR.

English Speaking Residents Association. A support organization of native-English-speakers in Israel. The acronym is typically written and pronounced Ezra.

Economic and Social Research Council. One of the UK's seven research councils. The research councils report to the Office of Science and Technology within the Department of Trade and Industry.

End-Stage Renal Disease. Kidney failure severe enough to require lifetime dialysis or a kidney transplant.

European Synchrotron Radiation Facility. At Grenoble, France.

Environmental Systems Research Institute, Inc. Sells GIS code.

Extrapyramidal (psychiatric) Symptom Rating Scale.

Electronic Switching System. A series of telephone-system switching systems manufactured by Western Electric for AT&T:

Environmental Stress Screening.

Name of the letter which is number 19 in the English alphabet. For difficulties with ess, see AUTOBIOGRAPHY. For difficulties with Scrabble, see es.

Latin, `be, exist.'

European Society for the Study of English.

``The Society is a European federation of national higher educational associations for the study of English. The Society endeavours to reflect the cultural and geographical diversity of Europe in its institutions.
The aim of the Society is to advance the education of the public by promoting the European study and understanding of English languages, literatures in English and cultures of English-speaking peoples.'' Hence, many ESSE members are EAAS members as well.

A brand name used by Standard Oil of New Jersey by 1941, and still used by its current corporate descendant, ExxonMobil. The name is constructed from the names of the initials of Standard Oil. The name was created to solve a brand problem that was brought into being by the break-up of the original Standard Oil in 1911. The US government deemed Standard Oil monopolistic, and in a landmark action broke it up into seven regional companies plus scattered other bits, so the result was not horizontally and not (immediately after the break-up) too vertically integrated.

Each of the seven regional companies was allowed to use the brand name Standard in the states of its region. Each did so, at first, because ``Standard'' still had a lot of residual cachet. On the other hand, the companies were supposed to compete outside their own regions, and to do this each had to use another name. ``Esso'' was deemed too close to ``Standard,'' but Standard Oil of New York allowed Standard Oil of New Jersey (``Jersey Standard'' for short) to use the brand in its region (New York and the six New England States). By 1941 Jersey Standard was using ``Esso'' there, in its own region (the District of Columbia, West Virginia, and the Atlantic seaboard states from New Jersey south to South Carolina, minus Delaware), and in states where it acquired the rights (Delaware, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Louisiana). In other states, Jersey Standard used either ``ENCO'' or (less often) ``Humble.'' See the Wikipedia entry for further details, including the international picture.

`Eating disorder' in German.

Eastern Standard Time. GMT - 5 hrs.

ElectroShock Therapy. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT, q.v.).

The Elizabeth Svendsen Trust for Children and Donkeys.

Endoscopic ScleroTherapy. For variceal bleeding. Cf. TIPS and see a 1994 study.

English for Science and Technology.

(Werner) Erhardt Sensitivity Training Seminars. Toilet training for adults. Information about Werner Erhardt's name can be found in the electrical banana entry.


est., EST

European Science and Technology Assembly.

A Spanish word usually meaning some sort of `pointed [or tapered] stick.' It can be a thick piece of wood for use as a club, a branch cutting planted to make a tree, or a pointy stick -- a stake. In fact, it is probably a cognate of stake. The likeliest source of the word is Gothic, *stakka.

Estaca is also the word for an annual point on a deer's antler, and for a long (30-40 cm) nail used to join beams. See also destacar.

estate planning
In The Song of the Harper, (ca. 2650-2600 BCE, tr. William Kelly Simpson), it is written:
Remember: it is not given to man to take his goods with him.
No one goes away and then comes back.

English Short Title Catalogue. It ``lists over 460,000 items [as of late 2006], published between 1473 and 1800, mainly in Britain and North America, mainly, but not exclusively, in English, from the collections of the British Library and over 2,000 other libraries.'' It's available free on line from the British Library.

A kind of acronym used by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (S.T.C.). More information -- oh! oh! my grieving heart! the words, they overflow romantically! -- at this Col entry.

Electrical STIMulation therapy. A treatment, mostly for pain, consisting of current pulses passed through the skin. How and even whether it works is not entirely clear. This sounds a lot worse than intended, but E-STIM has also been reported to be effective for toilet training.

E-STIM is referred to by two other common terms and their initialisms: interferential current (IFC) and transcutaneous electric [nerve] stimulation (TENS). When the two are distinguished, IFC refers to E-STIM using pulse frequencies of 4 to 5 kHz, while TENS uses frequencies around 20 to 200 Hz. Addled discussions that I have seen on the web suggest that some of the people involved in this therapy are so ignorant they shouldn't be allowed anywhere near a wall outlet.

The Spanish name of Stockholm.

Spanish for `stupid.' (Male form of noun and adjective.) After all the hype (this entry is linked from both the Retarded and SABI entries), I feel I ought to write something more, but I can't come up with anything intelligent. I guess I'll just mention that estúpido is a pretty good pun on es tupido, meaning `he is dense' or `he is thick.' In Spanish tupido also has the same transferred sense as in English, of having a head filled with something heavier and less nimble than gray matter, although the sense may not be uniform across dialects. The only imperfection in the pun is that the accentual stress in tupido is on the penult, while in estúpido it occurs on the antepenult.

ElectroStatic Voltmeter.

Experimental Safety Vehicle[s]. Cars with added safety features other than more competent drivers.

European Society of Veterinary Cardiology.

European Society of Veterinary Clinical Ethology.

European Society of Veterinary Dermatology. Moo to you too! Doc, my skin feels leathery.

European Society of Veterinary Endocrinology. ``ESVE is affiliated with the European College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ECVIM-CA) and the Society for Comparative Endocrinology (SCE).''

The European Society of Veterinary Internal Medicine.

European Society of Veterinary Neurology.

European Society of Veterinary Nephrology and Urology.

European Society of Veterinary Ophthalmology.

European Society of Veterinary Orthopaedics and Traumatology. Ya gotta help me, doc -- I can't trot!

European Society of Veterinary Pathology.

European Society for Vascular Surgery.

ElectroSlag welding.

Es war einmal...
The standard first words of fairy tales (Märchen) in German. Functionally, though not literally, equivalent to ``Once upon a time there was...'' You're probably wondering precisely how frequently this phrase is used, as opposed to near equivalents like ``Es lebte einmal'' (`There once lived'). Here's what you should do to satisfy your quantitative curiosity: go to <http://www.wispor.de/>. That website has a collection of opening lines for the stories of They're in alphabetical order except for H.C.A., whom I list last because so many of his stories (particularly the Kunstmärchen -- the ones he made up himself) have unhappy endings or, as I like to think of it, are unfinished.

In Italian, stories begin with ``c'era una volta.'' Giambattista Basile (born ca. 1575, died Feb. 23, 1632) wrote fairy tales in Neapolitan. The majority of his tales began with ``dice ch'era na volta'' (`it is said that there once was').

East Division of the Society for Women in Philosophy.

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