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Degrees Fahrenheit. There are nine Fahrenheit degrees to every five Celsius degrees (cf. °C), so Fahrenheit temperature measurements to the same ``decimal place'' are almost twice as precise.

Absolute temperature, measured in Fahrenheit degrees, is the Rankine scale. The globalizing bulldozer of standardization ruthlessly crushes the fragile flower of mensuration diversity. Visit our memorial entry for an extinguished victim of this remorseless social Darwinism: °R.

To determine the temperature Fahrenheit from cricket chirping, divide the number of chirps per minute by four and add forty. This is according to Polly's Ghost, a novel by Abby Frucht. Apparently crickets don't chirp at temperatures below 40°F. Or maybe they chirp in reverse. At 55°F they should be chirping at 1 Hz. If we were serious about precision, we'd measure temperature in chirps per minute instead of Fahrenheit degrees (never mind Celsius.)

I should probably mention that Fahrenheit didn't just fool with choosing among essentially equivalent schemes for designating temperatures. His major contribution to thermometry was overcoming technical obstacles to developing a good mercury (Hg) thermometer. His mercury thermometer was substantially more accurate than existing alcohol thermometers. He took into account the effects of glass expansion (and discovered that different kinds of glass had fractionally different expansion coefficients). He also discovered that the boiling point of water depends on pressure.

Nevertheless, the intriguing, almost enigmatic question about Fahrenheit is: how did he come up with numbers like 32 and 212 for the freezing and boiling temperatures of water? For a long time, this question was essentially unanswerable, but with the publication of some old scientific correspondence the answer has become clear. Basically, the numbers arose almost accidentally. The main consideration seems always to have been to preserve comparability between earlier scales and new ones. The boiling point of water was never a calibration point for Fahrenheit, and the nonzero freezing point (I think it was 8 before he multiplied all temperatures by four) was inherited from an earlier scheme. That earlier scheme was used for recording atmospheric temperatures, and the freezing point was assigned a positive number so there would be no need to record negative temperature values. As you can see, I'm away from my references. I'll return and fix things up later.

When Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit was elected a foreign Fellow of the Royal Society, he contributed a paper on thermometers (written in Latin). The paper was a bit unclear on his points of calibration. He mentioned three points, the lowest one being defined in terms of a brine solution. It has been suggested that Fahrenheit was purposely unclear to protect the trade secrets of his instrument-making business, but this isn't really plausible as an explanation for calibration points. Instead, it seems that two of what have been regarded as his ``calibration points'' were simply given so his audience would have some idea of the range of his scale.

The meaning of Fahrenheit's name is given at the Fahrvergnügen entry. It's not especially deutlich.

Federal Reporter. US legal journal. Now numbering in its third series -- F.3d.

Fighter. Prefix on military plane designations. You'll never guess what B- and FB- stand for. Longer list at USN entry.

Flash. A key on an AUTOVON phone, q.v.

Symbol for the chemical element Fluorine, at atomic number 9 the lightest halogen. The stable form at room temperature is molecular: F2. Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

This page cooly examines some of the evidence concerning the effectiveness of fluoride in preventing cavities.

Here is how General Jack D. Ripper (Sterling Hayden) explained his actions to Group Captain Lionel Mandrake (Peter Sellers) in Dr. Strangelove:

I can no longer sit back and allow communist infiltration, communist indoctrination, communist subversion, and the international communist conspiracy, to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids.
I'm not sure exactly what that was about, and Ripper is no longer around to tell us, but I figured this was a good place to mention it.

f, f., f
... and page following. [Double eff if more than one following page.] Abbreviation in book indices and references.

Fortran filename extension common in Unix.

A programming language based on Fortran 90. The basic idea is that Fortran 90 (as well as Fortran 95) maintains backward compatibility to run programs written for compilers going back at least to FORTRAN 66. This makes for large compilers, and allows or leads to programming practice that is now considered uncouth (although it works dammit!). F is a true subset of Fortran 90 and Fortran 95, but it's missing all the good old stuff.

Forward. Basketball position. We don't have much to say about PF or SF either.

Foxtrot. Not an abbreviation here, just the FCC-recommended ``phonetic alphabet.'' I.e., a set of words chosen to represent alphabetic characters by their initials. You know, ``Alpha Bravo Charlie ... .'' The idea behind the choice is to have words that the listener will be able to guess at or reconstruct accurately even through noise (or narrow bandwidth, like a telephone).

The problem here is that the foxtrot is dated. Try ``Fandango.''

Even on the best phones, ``eff'' sounds almost indistinguishable from ``ess.'' Most people just use ``Sam'' and ``Frank'' to distinguish these. You can try ``Foxtrot'' and ``Sierra,'' but people will just become confused, so if you're really not going to use the standard Sam and Frank, then you get more mileage from the SBF recommendations (Fandango and Succotash) than from the boring old FCC recommendations.

When I ordered my X-server from Xi Graphics, the guy who took my order actually asked me to spell my first name. I was so stunned that I just said ``Ay El Eff Arr Ee Dee.'' Sure enough, the package came addressed to Alsred. I mean, I know it's becoming an unusual name and all, but really! (When I was in graduate school and everyone was foreign, I once introduced myself to someone with ``I'm Al'' and he replied ``How do you spell that''? It's even an entry in this glossary.)

Update on Fandango and Foxtrot: maybe Foxtrot will come back. Alicia just wrote saying that she needed a new activity now that summer sailing is coming to an end, -- maybe she'll take up Swing Dancing. And the New York Times had an article on same.

Of course, Foxtrot is the name of a comic strip. I wonder if the late Charles Schulz got kickbacks from the peanut farmers for not changing his strip's name to Macadamia Nuts or something. It could have been quite a racket. Too bad he didn't get to name his own strip.

(In addition to the syndicate's address above, the peanuts site can be reached at <http://www.snoopy.com/>.)

Frequency. In most of the hard sciences and engineering, the word frequency is reserved for various kinds of event rate, essentially measured in units of inverse time -- Hz, rpm, etc. The deviations from this usage, typically marked by some modifier, generally preserve the notion of rate. Thus, the inverse of the wavelength is sometimes called a spatial frequency, and the angular frequency is the frequency with which a unit (one radian) of angle is turned.

These standard examples concern counts or events per unit of a continuous variable (typically time or distance) [and each describes an intrinsic rather than extrinsic quantity in the sense these words have in thermodynamics]. High values of these frequencies do manifest the conventional notion expressed by the term ``frequent'' in ordinary language, and carry the sense that distinguishes ``frequent'' from ``a lot'' (at one time or infrequently).

A further technical generalization is frequency as number of occurrences per sample. This preserves the conventional notion of frequency as count of events per unit of something else, but the something else is discrete, and these frequencies are given in essentially dimensionless units (like errors per bin). This usage is appropriate and more-or-less natural in some parts of biology and in most of the social sciences, and is the standard usage in statistics, but a physical scientist has to keep the difference in mind when reading statistical literature: statistical ``frequency'' can mean number (N).

Ratio of variances. The basis of the F-test, one of the most basic tests in ANOVA.

Factory Automation.

Failure Analysis. Often available free; price reflects value.

Famous Artists. Read all about the Famous Artists School incident suffered by Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert.

Field Artillery.

Flight Attendant[s]. Airline stewardesses -- and stewards, I suppose, but I have the impression the FA term was introduced around the time that there began to be male flight attendants, possibly to avoid the term ``airline steward'' altogether. That goes for the US; other countries, including other Anglophone countries, may follow other patterns. British Airways had ``stewards'' as well as ``stewardesses'' in 1990 (and maybe before and maybe after, but 1990 was the sample point). Cf. azafata for Spanish and Flugbegleiter for German.

Focus Assistant. University staff responsible for advancing the designated focus of a house (university residence). Cf. ATA, ETA.

``Football'' (i.e. soccer) Association. Cf. FIFA.

In England, the FA is the senior administrative body of English soccer. There is also a Football League, which until the start of the 1992 season represented teams at all levels of professional play. I'm not sure exactly how responsibilities were, or were not, divided. The league was subordinate in principle, but represented a different set of interests. In the last years of this arrangement, there was an increasing feeling within the FA that the interests of the Football League were in conflict with those of the top teams and, therefore, those of the England team. (The FL, dominated by the larger number of lower-division teams, preferred more and weaker top teams, and more games between teams in the top and lower divisions.)

In 1958, the north and south divisions of English soccer's Third Division were joined and redivided to produce a system of four ranked divisions. In 1991, the FA decided to take the First Division out of the FL and create a special Premier League (eventually also called the Premiership) for those teams starting in the 1992-3 season. After serious contention, threats of legal action, and some compromises on detail, this plan took effect. By agreement, at the end of the 1994-5 season the Premier League was winnowed from its original 22 teams to 20 (by four relegations and two promotions). (Also starting in 1992, the earlier Second, Third, and Fourth Divisions of the FL became First, Second, and Third Divisions when the original First left to form its own league.)

In May 1996, the Nationwide Building Society replaced Endsleigh Insurance as the FL's sponsor, and the FL was frequently referred to as the Nationwide League (and less often as the Nationwide Football League). Over the Summer in 2004, to widespread cynicism (well, it's England, isn't it?), the old Divisions One, Two, and Three were renamed The Championship, League One, and League Two, respectively for the start of the '04-05 season. Coca-Cola took over sponsorship, but ``Coca-Cola League'' doesn't seem to be a very catching name.

Fuel-Air (ratio). See the AF entry. All comments there apply.

Federal Aviation (flight) Administration. There's an FAA Research Group (``Applying current theory in the area of Human Factors and Ergonomics to improve the task structure, environment and training facilities used in aviation maintenance'') at UB.

IBM-owned trademark. This is rich.

Fuerza Aérea Argentina. `Argentine Air Force.' I just happened to visit their website in December 2005, and the homepage is dominated by a soft-focus heavenly picture with these words: ``A nuestros héroes de Malvinas, a los que nos dejaron y a los que están entre nosotros.'' [`To our heroes of Falklands, those who left us and those in our midst.'] The Argentine air force emerged from the Falklands war as the least embarrassed branch of the services. Also, the air force had a smaller part in the (earlier) Dirty War (the war against the leftist insurgency) than the army, navy, federal police, provincial police, and federal penitentiary service.

One common way in which some thousands of the disappeared were disposed of was by dropping them (many alive, usually drugged; some with their bellies slit; a few previously dead) into the middle of the Atlantic. But the drops were apparently from naval aircraft.

French Association for American Studies, more often abbreviated AFEA, q.v.

A common way to write fab that puts one's mortal soul in peril.

fab, fab line, wafer fab
FABrication [facility]. Factory for or the process of making chips. Harris Semiconductor offers a description of the process.

As of 2001, there are almost forty 12-in. wafer fabs in the world, about two thirds of these in the Asia Pacific region -- predominantly Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea.


Fab four
The fabulous four Liverpudlians: John, Paul, George and Ringo.

The band name The Beatles was chosen partly in allusion to The Crickets, the name of Buddy Holly's band, and partly in reference to beat -- whether musical or poetic (as in beatnik) or both I'm not sure. (More on this at the R.E.M. entry.)

Ringo Starr was originally named Richard Starkey. He married Barbara Bach, who was originally named Barbara Goldbach. I guess Starkey is his ``real name'' -- his kids (by first wife Maureen) use the last name Starkey.

Flexion, ABduction, and External Rotation Test of the hip.


Fatty-Acid Binding Protein.


fabula docet
Loosely translated, `stories teach.' Strictly translated, they don't. Okay -- strictly, the Latin fabula is singular: `a story, the story, story.' The notion is best expressed in English using the plural, or else as something like `fiction teaches.'

Of course, it might not teach the truth. (Cf. experientia docet.) Also, for something interesting on the subsequent sense development of fabula, see the discussion of hablar in the Spanish entry.

Forward Air Controller. ``Forward'' means closer to the target.

French American Center for the Arts.

Celebrating the great love of the French for American Art? Yes! And it was just a wild (I mean wild) guess! Anyway, it's the half of it.

From Paris Voice (``the magazine for English-speaking Parisians'') June 2001:

A new American institution devoted to cultural exchanges between the US and France opens its doors this month at the Espace Pierre Cardin on place de la concorde. With the death of the former American Center still on many Paris expats' minds, some people wonder if things will be different this time.''

Federal Advisory Committee Act. According to this document,
Congress enacted the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) to control the growth and operation of the "numerous committees, boards, commissions, councils, and similar groups which have been established to advise officers and agencies in the executive branch of the Federal Government" (5 U.S.C. App. 2 § 2(a)). An "advisory committee" is defined as "any committee, board, commission, council, conference, panel, task force, or other similar group, or any subcommittee or other subgroup thereof" that is "established or utilized" by the President or an agency "in the interest of obtaining advice or recommendations for the President or one or more agencies or officers of the Federal Government" (5 U.S.C. App. 2 § 3(2)).

FACA places a number of procedural restrictions on bodies that constitute "advisory committees." Every advisory committee must file a charter (5 U.S.C. App. 2 §§ 9(c), 10(a)(2)); its meetings must be open to the public (id. § 10(a)(1)); it must keep "[d]etailed minutes" of its meetings (id. § 10(c)); and it must generally permit "[i]nterested persons . . . to attend, appear before, or file statements" with it (id. § 10(a)(3)), unless a decision is made to close the meeting (id. § 10(d)). In addition to governing how the group functions, FACA also requires an advisory committee to make publicly available "the records, reports, transcripts, minutes, appendixes, working papers, drafts, studies, agenda, or other documents which were made available to or prepared for or by [the] advisory committee" (id. § 10(b)). This obligation exists only "until the advisory committee ceases to exist" and is no longer subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

FACA also imposes a number of requirements on federal officials regarding creation and use of advisory committees. A committee must specifically be authorized (either by statute or by the President), or be determined by an agency head to be in the public interest (id. § 9(a)); it must be "fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed" (id. § 5(b)(2)); and precautions must be taken to assure that an advisory committee is not "inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority or by any special interest" (id. § 5(b)(3)).

FACA is generally regarded as a hindrance to agencies' efforts to obtain information from the scientific community and stakeholders. Several survey participants argued that it should be amended to specifically exclude ad hoc agency efforts to obtain information from the public, state or local authorities, and scientists. They maintained that FACA should be limited to situations where an agency seeks the opinion of an advisory committee as an authoritative, expert source, consistent with the original intent of Congress.

Foundation for ACCounTability. An O that monitors how well HMO's manage the M of their subscribers' H.

Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances. A US law passed in 1994, motivated by actions against clinics and physicians that provide abortion services. According to the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources Committee Analysis dated July 29, 1993 (Senate Report 117), from 1977 and to April 1993 there were over 6,000 blockades of clinic entrances, 131 death threats, 327 clinic invasions, 84 assaults, 71 chemical attacks, 36 bombings, 81 arsons, two kidnappings, and one murder. (In such statistics, one can expect the larger numbers of broadly less serious crimes to be undercounts.)

Mnemonic for the notes in the spaces between the lines of the treble clef. Also mnemonic for the lines below the treble clef, ending in E, which is part of the EGBDF mnemonic.

Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Described by the ACHE as the ``Pinnacle of Achievement.'' Good job, fella!

Fellow of the American College of Certified Medical Practice Executives.

Firmware ACPI Control Structure.

Just the FACS, ma'am. We'll handle the power management.

Fluorescence-Activated Cell Sorter.

Faculty Access to Computing Technology at SUNY.

Fairchild Advanced CMOS Transistor logic. Registered trademark held by National Semiconductor since they bought Fairchild Semiconductor.

Fatal Alcohol Crash Team. Crash-test dummies out on the town? Not quite: FACT is a kind of police forensics unit.

For your convenience, we have strategically scattered information about nonmultiplicative factors to other entries. See, in particular, the decisive-factor entry and the discussion of Joseph Black. For kicks, you could visit the adder entry as well.

Fairchild Advanced CMOS Transistor logic with controlled slew rate and other anti-bounce features. Registered trademark held by National Semiconductor since they bought Fairchild.

FORTRAN Analytical Cross-reference Tabulation System.

Fondos de Ayuda al Desarrollo. Spanish, `Development Assistance Funds.'

Fixed ACPI Description Table.

Field-Application Engineer[s].

Forced-Air Electric heating. See the HWO entry for nonusage information.

Free Application for Federal (post-secondary) Student Aid. A form submitted to the Department of Education (DoE), giving information on a student's (or at first a prospective student's) resources (and a dependent student's family's resources), on the basis of which ``need'' is determined. The result of the need analysis is in a ``Student Aid Report'' (SAR) sent to a student or the similar report (Institutional Student Information Report -- ISIR) sent to educational institutions the student selects to have it sent to.

The ``Free'' does make it sound commercial, doesn't it? Maybe if they charged a hundred dollars a pop, they could turn it into a lottery and one out of every thousand applicants would get a four-year free ride.

Forced-Air natural Gas heating. See the HWO entry for nonusage information.

Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry.

fag hag
A straight female friend of a gay man. According to the My Perspective feature by Heather Matarazzo (entitled ``Who you callin' a fag hag?'') in the March 29, 2005 Advocate, you can't be a fag hag if you're lesbian, but if you're a straight female who hangs out more than once a week with a gay male friend, then you are one. She dislikes the term. A joke based on the term is mentioned at the entry for The World Unclaimed.

A German adjective meaning `pale.' There is some semantic overlap with the English word `sallow,' but bleich is closer in sense. It would be interesting to know how languages of much sunnier areas handle this.

The association between paleness and ill-health of some sort has some generality. The word fahl is derived from an OHG word falo, and the cognate English word now spelled fallow originally also meant `pale,' but pale relative to red: pale brown or reddish yellow, like withered grass. If a field is not replanted after the fruit is harvested, then it may well appear fallow in this sense the following season, hence the modern sense of fallow or ``to lie fallow.'' In the case of vegetation, perhaps a certain element of ill-health or non-vibrancy was understood. The old sense, with no imputation of ill-health, survives in the common name fallow deer for a species of deer lighter-colored than the red deer. The words fahl and fallow are cognate with the Greek poliós (`gray'; cf. polio) and Lithuanian palvas (`pale yellow'). The Latin pallidus, `pale,' definitely implied that the paleness was due to sickness or emotional stress (in contexts where such implication made sense). The English word pale is derived from this Latin word via Norman French; the English word pallid was borrowed directly from Latin in the fifteenth century. The English word pallor also comes from Norman French, unchanged in spelling or meaning from the classical Latin pallor, a noun based on the verb pallere (the same verb that the adjective pallidus was based on). There are other connections with less-common words; one worth mentioning in this entry is fahl, used by geologists as a synonym for Fahlerz, q.v..

A German noun literally meaning `pale ore.' The term is used specifically for certain kinds of copper ore. English-speaking geologists, mineralogists, and miners use either the German name, the half-translation ``fahl ore,'' or just ``fahl.'' An older name is ``gray copper ore.''

Fahl ore is sometimes defined simply as tetrahedrite. You may think this is of little help to you, but it's not of much help to me either. For unfortunately good reason, mineral terminology is sloppy in places. A single term will be used for a particular allomorph of a single well-defined compound, and it will also be used for what one finds in reality, which is typically an approximation. For example, tetrahedrite in the narrowest sense is a copper mineral with a pyrite structure and a composition Cu12Sb4S13. What one finds by digging, and what a name is needed for, is usually a mix. A fraction (up to one sixth) of the copper (Cu) sites in the crystal are occupied by iron (Fe), cobalt (Co), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), silver (Ag), and zinc (Zn) atoms. In addition, the antimony (Sb) may be replaced by arsenic (As). The pure mineral corresponding to tetrahedrite is tennantite: Cu12As4S13. The two are hard to tell apart by physical properties and appearance. In nature, deposits of tetrahedrite and tennantite are not homogeneous: different parts contain different concentrations of the various substituents, and vary in color.

In addition to the usual looseness of mineralogical terminology, the term fahl often has the burden of being used to indicate not so much a mineral but a geological situation. Specifically, fahl occurs where typically sulfidic copper minerals become exposed to the air and percolating water. They oxidize to form a mix of oxides, hydroxides, and hydroxy-carbonates (particularly azurite and malachite). The metals in these minerals are dissolved by ground water, trickle down, and recombine with sulfur to form a messy mix of minerals such as chalcolite (Cu2S) and tetrahedrite.

The mechanism of the previous paragraph describes only one of the ways that tetrahedrite can form, but it is a mechanism of great archaeological importance. The copper minerals on the surface can be reduced by aqueous surface solutions to produce native copper. It is reasonably speculated that the association of the native metal with this ore was a critical clue led to neolithic man to invent copper smelting. The tetrahedrite below accumulates in easy-to-mine clayey deposits. (After all, pickaxes were not initially available.) Archaeologists understand Fahlerz in the sense of this specific kind of clayey copper ore.

Fully-Automatic High-Quality Translation. We're talkin' machine translation (MT) here, natural-language processing (NLP) rather than natural language processing.

Fahrvergnuegen, Fahrvergnügen
German word meaning `driving pleasure' popularized in the US by a VW advertising campaign in the 1980's. The idea was to suggest that the quality of VW design and manufacture gave VW cars something that, if not quite ineffable, was not easily expressed in English (and presumably, by implication, not available from American or Japanese car makers).

In German class in junior high school, we were taught to say ``Viel Vergnügen beim Tanz'' (loosely, `dancing with you was a pleasure') to our partners after a turn on the floor, but we weren't taught to dance, so the phrase would probably never have been true. The morpheme fahr in the headword is from the the verb fahren, `to drive.' ``Sie fahrt'' means `she drives' and sounds like a Bostonian saying ``zee fart,'' but after a while even seventh-graders tire of this joke.

German also has a verb reiten, `to ride.' The difference between driving and riding in English is not entirely clear-cut. To ride suggests something more passive to drive. To ride is to be conveyed, probably as a passenger. There are exceptions, however, and some are useful. In particular, a man driving a horse-drawn carriage and a man riding a horse are both driving a horse in some sense of that word, but consistently using the verb ride in the one of those two instances where it is applicable allows us to indicate that the carriage-rider is not riding the horse, even though the verb we use in the case (drive) is nonspecific. Similarly in German, to ride a horse is ``ein Pferd reiten,'' while to drive a horse is ``ein Pferd fahren.'' (Of course, when the horse has two riders, one might well be a nondriver. If you want to give that horse bamboo spine, I'm not going to abet you lexicographically.) In English, perhaps by analogy with horseback riding, we use the terms ``bike riding'' and ``motorcycle riding.'' The respective German terms use fahren: ``Fahrrad fahren'' and ``Motorrad fahren.''

A disk drive is ``ein Diskettenlaufwerk.'' The verb laufen means `to run.' (Die Platte is also used for `the disk,' as part of compounds like die Magnetplatte, but das Plattenlaufwerk is even rarer than das Disklaufwerk.)

Fahrenheit is a name that was given to people from Fahrenhaupt (in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern). The place name Fahrenhaupt seems like it ought to mean `main drive.' The most famous Fahrenheit, of course, is Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit. In the middle of the seventeenth century his family moved from Königsberg (then the capital of East Prussia, now Kaliningrad in Russia) to the Polish port of Gdansk (Gdańsk in Polish). There he was born in 1686. Since his family was German, and perhaps since Gdansk was from time to time under Teutonic Knight, Prussian, and German control, German references describe him as German. I don't know if the Poles claim him. His parents died suddenly in 1701, and his guardian sent him to apprentice in Amsterdam. He made his career in the Netherlands and died in The Hague in 1736, so the Dutch consider him Dutch. It reminds me of Einstein's repeated quip about what nationalities he would be assigned, depending on whether his theories proved true or false.

I'm also reminded of Handel. Georg Friederich Händel was born in Halle (in Saxony -- a German, um, Land), the son of a barber-surgeon (that was a common career combination, back then). In 1710 he was appointed Kapellmeister to George Louis, the elector of Hanover and the future King George I of England. That year Haendel (this spelling was used too) preceded his patron to England and found favor in Queen Anne's court. His warm reception in London made him reluctant to return to Hanover; Anne's death in 1714 and the crowning of George as King of England made the return unnecessary. From 1715 his name was George Frideric Handel, and in 1726 he became a British subject. In 1741 he wrote his Messiah, probably the most famous of all oratorios, whatever those are. He also wrote something called Music for the Royal Fireworks (1759). I've never heard it, but I bet it would make a great B side to Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture. Handel died in 1759 in London. So the British have good cause to call him a ``German-born English composer.'' I believe the general unofficial view in Germany is that he was a German composer, but that England never produced any good composers of its own so they adopted him. Something similar, though to lesser degree, seems to have happened with Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847). It's surprising I haven't mentioned somewhere how much Samuel (Erewhon) Butler despised Felix Mendelssohn's music. (He considered it repetitive.)

Fédération Aéronautique Internationale -- The World Air Sports Federation. (The organization seems to like describing itself with this bilingual name. Who are we to argue?) Founded in 1905.

Football Association of Ireland. That's soccer (``association football''), as opposed to North American football (collision football) or rugby (um, adhesion football?).

Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

Federación Argentina de Iglesias Evangélicas. `Argentine Federation of of Evangelical Churches.' Evangelical means 'Protestant' in this case. For example: the 26 member churches in February 2004 include a Congregational, a Lutheran, a Methodist, and a Reformed church, the Salvation Army, a couple each Menonite and Presbyterian churches (including Iglesia Presbiteriana De Taiwán En Argentina), and half a dozen Pentecostal. The rest are mostly harder to classify, but the tendency is evidently, as with Iglesia Discípulos De Cristo, toward what are called Evangelical churches in the US.

Before you get too involved in studying the history of Protestant churches in Argentina, you should note some quantitative facts: at the beginning of the twenty-first century, 92% of the population of Argentina is counted Roman Catholic, and 2% belongs to a Protestant denomination (including some, like the Baptist and Anglican, that don't belong to FAIE) . (Also about 0.7% Jewish, see DAIA.)

Glazed thick earthenware pottery, especially if it's glazed in opaque colors. Oh.

Fine. Now what I want to know is, why did this word just pop into my head? Isn't it too late to be going mad?

Pronounced like French faïence (even spelled that way if you like), it takes its name from the Italian town of Faenza.

FAIK, faik
For All I Know.

Guaranteed to fail in a way completely unforeseen by the designers.

A rock band. They've got a mailing list (generic link). Read the archives. To subscribe to the mailing list, send the one-line message
SUBSCRIBE FAILURE Firstname M. I. Lastname
to <listproc@u.washington.edu>

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting. A rich site; visit for some news reporting that respects your intelligence. I wrote the previous sentence before buying an issue of Extra!, its unbelievably stupid magazine. I went back to check to see What was I thinking!?, but the site has moved, and neither its previous nor current location is responding.

``FAIR is the national media watch group that offers well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship. FAIR seeks to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press. FAIR scrutinizes media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints.

Ultimately, FAIR believes that structural reform is needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong, non-profit, alternative sources of information.''

Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform.

Established in 1978 as a ``national, membership-based, educational organization ... working to help the American public convince Congress that our nation's immigration laws must be reformed.''

Whether you agree or disagree, you have to admire that lovely sentiment --

``working to help the American public convince Congress.''
It's not an advocacy group, see? It's a public-spirited group that simply wants to help Congress hear its constituents' message! They're not pushing their platform, they're advancing America's platform!

Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights.

An organization that sued to keep US military recruiters off US campuses, on the grounds that because of the don't-ask-don't-tell policy, granting access to military recruiters is tantamount to endorsing discrimination against homosexuals. [No law requires any institutions of higher education to grant such access, but the Solomon Amendment (not named after the third king of Judea and Israel) puts such institutions at risk of losing various sorts of government funds.]

A section of vehicle surface, or an attached structure, designed to reduce drag. For example, the contoured sheet metal where wing meets fuselage.

fairly amazing, when you think about it
This is going to be a pretty boring elementary talk, gee-whiz ex cathedra or managerese. I have nothing worthwhile to say. You should leave immediately.

faith and/or good works

faith and/or good works entry
The subject (previous) entry serves as a sort of time indicator -- end-of-time indicator, to be exact. As you know, when the rapture occurs, all the good little millenarians and millenialists and whatnot will ascend to heaven, leaving their shoes but not their socks behind. (When they begin to feel a tickling sensation under their socks, I hope they will be considerate enough to park their cars.) From heaven, they will watch as the rest of us experience The End Days from the orchestra seats.

So what we've done with the previous entry is, using special signal-processing software operating over spare Iridium satellite bandwidth, we detect the brainwaves of the closest millenarian, in order to fill in the entry and determine whether the rapture has occurred. Thus, when the definition component of the entry is -- OH MY GAWD! It's empty! This can mean only one thing! There are no millenarians with brain waves detectable on earth!

A region of Lower (i.e. northern) Egypt. Now called Al Fayyum, and variously transliterated.

Fellow of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine.

Freight All Kinds.

fake book
A thick collection of music for songs an audience might reasonably request. So called from the idea that they allow musicians to fake familiarity with the songs. Most of the ones that were floating around were illegal. Nowadays you can buy some collections in book stores that the publishers call fake books, but they're really fake fake books.

Check out the International Lyrics Server.

fake room
A second bedroom kept by a gay or lesbian couple living together, for show. If you're not entirely out of the closet, you may need a whole room to go with that.

Faculty of Arts and Letters. At UB, the former Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (FNSM), Social Sciences (FSS), and FAL were merged into a College of Arts and Sciences CAS in 1998. This brilliant restructuring maneuver energized faculty, inspired the students, made old letterheads obsolete, and dramatically reshaped the topology of the organization chart, yet left largely unchanged the number and nature of staff, departments, courses, and research. Stunning! University presidents and their boards of trustees -- what would we do without them?

Flagstaff (Arizona) Arts and Leadership Academy.

A predatory bird with a short curved beak. Birds so called are mostly members of the family Falconidae, and particularly members of the genus Falco. Duh.

A model name for cars manufactured by Ford. The name was used in the US for a line of compact cars first sold in 1959.

In 1962, Ford started selling Falcons assembled at one of its existing plants in Argentina. Starting in 1963, Falcons were manufactured in Argentina. The line was very popular there. Production peaked at 34 thousand in 1980; production finally ended in 1991. You want more details? See Todo Falcon -- Web Oficial del Ford Falcon en Argentina [`Everything Falcon']. The weird thing that strikes people about the car is that in Argentina the sheet metal was never modified very much after the mid 1960's. It's sort of like a Ford version of the Beetle or the Checker. They changed the lights, the grille, or the bumper every few years. This usually looked poorly integrated. ``Clumsily grafted'' seems to be a typical description. (The Falcon SL pictured here is a typically ghastly example.)

Something not mentioned at the official Everything-Falcon site has to do with the Argentine federal police: they must surely have been the biggest fleet purchaser of Falcons. The secret police were known for their unmarked Falcons. Here's one Australian tourist's story of his Falcon-related experiences down that line. When someone approached you from one of those unmarked Falcons, it was pretty scary, but this fellow got off with just an ID check. This reminds me of something that happened to my father when he visited Argentina in 1979. (Stop me if I've told this one before.) While there, he visited the publishing house that had continued to sell a translation dictionary of his from the late 1940's and early 1950's. I guess the Ford Falcon wasn't the only instance of Argentine business sticking with what worked. (It was an English-to-Spanish dictionary specifically targeted for technical translation, with sporadic words having large entries apparently at random wherever he felt like expanding on a topic. This seems to run in the family; it's practically spooky, but not as spooky as the rest of this story.) He was there making sure they stopped publishing his by-then already obsolete work. (Some years later, though, he did give me permission to put it up on the web if I made it extremely clear that some entries might be very much out-of-date.) He was at their storefront place on a side street, and as he talked with the owners there, traffic along the street seemed to peter out. It did peter out. Then some Falcons pulled up from both ends of the street and stopped, surrounding a doorway across the street. Soon there was a lot of noise -- of shouts, running, and guns firing. One man ran out the front door and had a chest-sized hole blown through his chest with what looked like a pistol-handled shotgun.

I remember once in the 1990's I attended an SPIE conference in Central Jersey (that's short for central New Jersey, okay?) and someone commented that he needed a US passport. I joked that I had one on me, and he commented that that was a very European habit (to carry a passport in my own country). Someone on the Classics list reported that during the 2004 elections, her precinct at first refused to accept her US passport as a valid ID. It makes sense to me: no American would ever use a passport as ID -- it's just for international travel. So when you're visiting Argentina, like my father, you should always carry your US passport.

So back to our story on a side street in Buenos Aires. After the firing was over, someone came into the shop and asked my father and the shop owners to show their ID's. One of the owners reached a little too quickly into his back pocket, and the government gentleman raised his gun. The editor fellow continued pulling out his wallet, but with a slower, if not exactly relaxed, motion (rate of speed, I think it's called). This glossary has another entry about presenting Argentine ID.

You probably think this is one of those joke entries, like the (somewhat lame, I admit) positive buoyancy entry, where I start out along the road of real events but then derail imaginatively. Nope. I didn't make anything up, though similar events were common enough that I could have.

Federal And Local Cops Organized Nationally. ``Operation FALCON'' was a nationwide sweep for fugitives that was conducted April 4-10, 2005, under the direction of the USMS. (This coincided with ``National Crime Victims Awareness Week.'') A total of 10,340 fugitives were arrested on felony warrants, and more than 13,851 felony warrants were cleared ``by arrest or other means.'' (The difference in these numbers is due at least in large part to multiple outstanding warrants for individual fugitives. It was unclear how many arrest warrants were cleared by the discovery that the fugitives named in them had died; actuarily, there ought to have been a few.) The number of arrests represents more than a factor-of-seven greater arrest rate for USMS and USMS-directed operations than the weekly average for 2004. That presumably reflects a higher-than-average allocation of resources: officers from 959 other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies took part, putting a daily average of 3100 non-USMS officers into the effort.

The announced emphasis of Operation FALCON was on ``gang related crimes, homicides, crimes involving use of a weapon, crimes against children and the elderly, crimes involving sexual assaults, organized crime and drug related fugitives, and other crimes of violence.'' The arrested included 4,291 ``major narcotics violation suspects,'' but there were only 210 drug seizures during the operation. The latter included 30 kg cocaine, 190 g heroin, 204 kg marijuana, and 39 kg ``other drugs'' (i.e., at most 330 g per seizure); 243 weapons were also seized. Arrested were 1818 burglary and 1727 assault suspects, and 638 armed robbery, 553 sexual assault, 483 weapons violation, 203 stolen vehicle, and 162 murder suspects. They included 154 ``documented gang members.'' Cash in the amount of $373,000 was seized -- $36 and change per arrestee. It's not clear to me under what authority this cash was seized.

The number of outstanding warrants may seem surprising. If so, consider three facts: First, as is well-known, state and local law-enforcement agencies make a certain calculation in deciding how strenuously to pursue fugitives -- resources are always limited. Second, in the case of fugitives wanted on bench warrants (i.e., bail jumpers and other no-shows), police may delay pursuit in the not-entirely-unreasonable expectation that the fugitive will turn up. Finally, cases grow cold, other cases come up, and in the meantime fugitives return to associations and places they knew would be investigated in any initial search. A systematic review of cold cases can net a share of those, and many individual cases reported for this operation seemed to fall into that category.

Historically, it is also the case that coordination among different agencies has sometimes been poor, occasionally obstructed by professional rivalries. Also, cases tend to go cold when the suspect appears to have left a local jurisdiction. It seems the USMS usually does a bit more than half of its work apprehending federal fugitives. During FY 2004, at least, it cleared 39,000 federal felony warrants, while ``U.S. Marshals-led fugitive task forces ... clear[ed] 37,900 state and local felony warrants.'' By contrast, in Operation FALCON, eight of nine arrests were on state or local warrants.

On the matter of jurisdictional conflicts and poor coordination, I remember reading in 1980 or so about the relevant case of a serial murderer back in the 70's who turned out to have worked for a police force and who had thus been familiar with this problem. He deliberately left remains and other clues in multiple jurisdictions in an effort (which must be judged a partial success) to thwart investigations. I can't track this down, so I'm probably misremembering some details. A recent case in which apprehension of the killer is claimed to have been delayed by interagency rivalries (RCMP vs. local cops, in this case) is that of a Vancouver serial killer, allegedly Robert Pickton, a pig farmer arrested in 2002. On the other hand, the disappearances began in 1983, and the RCMP was apparently not involved until 2001.

fall down
The default sense of intransitive fall. Use defaults; lean code is readable code.

Falling on the Floor: A Jump-Start Guide
Also high on the list of book titles I'd like to see.

false friend
As a term in linguistics, this term is equivalent to faux ami. When the French term is used in English, however, it is much likelier to be understood in the narrow linguistic sense.

false pleonasm
Sometimes a word will occur twice within a simple noun phrase, either implicitly (``NASA administration'') or explicitly (``history history''). Here at the glossary (or in the glossary) we call these false pleonasms, because that's what they are.

In the first example, the second A of NASA is expanded administration, but the SBF does not regard this as a pleonasm. The reason is that there are two different entities legitimately called ``administrations.'' NASA as a whole is an agency but it is named synecdochically after its management, as an ``administration.'' That part of NASA is the NASA administration (distinct from higher levels within the executive branch of government, which might engage in administration of NASA's administration, or just plain administration administration). If someone were to refer to NASA redundantly as the NASA agency or (more equivocally) as the NASA administration, then the latter term would be an AAP pleonasm, and both would be perverse.

Another false pleonasm is ``a US state.'' Whaddaya expect me to say, ``a United state''?

Explicit examples of false pleonasm are rare because they are mostly regarded as poor style, because they are easily avoided, and because they are obvious. Thus, the given example (history history) can be converted into a more complex noun phrase in which a preposition establishes a distinction between the instances of the repeated word (history of history) or can be replaced by another, possibly not-quite-synonymous term (historiography). The language provides other alternatives that do not rely on a previous coinage, like metahistory or higher-level administration.

Creative false pleonasm, in which a single word appears thrice or more, or which is otherwise novel or amusing, is generally regarded as good style wherever other forms of punning are (vide postmodern English). Sealed acronyms can be problematic, particularly if there is uncertainty regarding the status (as sealed or not) of the acronym. Recursive acronyms, or XARA's, necessarily have a pleonastic form. I don't know if that makes them false pleonasms, but I do know this: I'd rather have pleonasm than a neoplasm.

falso amigo
A term in Spanish and Portuguese that translates `false friend' in both the linguistic sense (faux ami) and in ordinary senses. In western Romance languages such as Spanish, Portuguese, and French, adjectives typically follow the nouns they modify. The principal exceptions are quantifiers: cardinal numbers and some quantifying adjectives precede the noun (ordinal numbers have more complicated behavior). Falso and vero are among of the small group of other adjectives in Spanish that quite commonly precede the noun, though they are also used postnominally. (The cognates in Portuguese and French appear to function similarly.) As a linguistic term, falso amigo is rather the established form, and it would be strange to call a faux ami ``un amigo falso.''

Another related common term in Spanish is falso cognado. The Spanish Wikipedia page for falso amigo warns against confusing falsos amigos with falsos cognados. I can't but agree: a ``false cognate'' or falso cognado ought to be a word that appears to be a cognate but isn't -- regardless of its meaning (which determines whether or not it is a false friend). It is true that false friends are most often cognates, especially among European languages. Such cognates generally mislead not by appearing to be cognates when they are not, but by suggesting an incorrect meaning. In any case, usage may have demolished the distinction. The reference shelf of relevant books that is nearest to hand right now contains three dictionaries of Spanish-English false friends, and two of them bear athetizable titles:

  1. Marcial Prado: NTC's Dictionary of Spanish False Cognates (Chicago: NTC Publishing Group, 1993).
  2. Bernard H. Hamel: Comprehensive Bilingual Dictionary of Spanish False Cognates / Gran Diccionario de Términos Equívocos del Inglés (Los Angeles: Bilingual Book Press, 1/e 1998).
  3. Marcial Prado: Diccionario de Falsos Amigos Inglés-Español (Madrid: Editorial Gredos, 2001).
It might be that the rot is mostly on the English side (although, FWIW, the English Wikipedia page also cautions against comfusing false friends and false cognates). Prado begins the foreword of his NTC book this: ``The study of false cognates or, as I call them, falsos amigos, ....'' The wording leaves the weird impression, doubtless mistaken, that Prado thinks he invented the venerable term himself. It should also be borne in mind that NTC is the deep discounter among reference publishers. Its products are a bit cheaper in a good way, and a lot cheaper in bad ways -- quantitatively and qualitatively.

Of course, if you want cheaper, there's Wikipedia. It is interesting that the corresponding Galician (northwest Iberian) Wikipedia page indicates in passing that falso cognado is the same thing as a falso amigo. If both Spanish and Galician pages are to be believed, then falso cognado in Spanish is a falso cognado in Galician of falso cognado in Galician.

The FAMily Channel. A cable TV channel.

Financial Analyst Meeting.

Foreign Affairs Minist{ry|er}. Cf. FM.

Fatty Acid Methyl Ester[s].

German: `family name.' D.h. (that is: `I.e.'), Nachname (`last name'). Vgl. Vorname (`first name'). In German as in English, the family name or surname is the last name. That's not the case everywhere. The situation is confused because different contexts (formal and informal, say) can require different orders. Hence the joke -- Bond, Ionic Bond.

An excellent source for information on German surnames is Familiennamen: Herkunft und Bedeutung von 20 000 Nachnamen [`Surnames: Origin and Meaning of 20,000 Last Names'], Rosa Kohlheim and Volker Kohlheim (Duden, 2000). A cool thing about this book is that it lists ``bekannte Namensträger'' (`famous bearers of the name') and is illustrated with pictures of some. It also has charts and maps of the German Sprachraum, where one can see correlations of the relative prevalences of different names with dialect boundaries. For given names there's the five-volume Historisches Deutsches Vornamenbuch, Wilfried Seibicke (de Gruyter, 1996). Hanks and Hodges do the same for names encountered in the English-speaking world (including names from throughout Europe and the world, with varying degrees of coverage as you might expect). See also Reaney and Wilson.

Hanks and Hodges had a special consultant for Jewish names, and the Kohlheims' book has good coverage of Ashkenazi Jewish names, but there's a very complete work that is more comprehensive even for Jewish names of German or Yiddish origin: Etymologisches Lexikon der jüdischen Familiennamen, Eva H. Guggenheimer and Heinrich W. Guggenheimer (K. G. Saur, 1996). This is written in German with a Roman font, as you'd expect, but it also provides the spellings of principal forms, as appropriate, of the names in Amharic, Arabic (and Farsi), Cyrillic, Georgian, and Hebrew alphabets (used for Yiddish), and with special characters in the Roman alphabets for Czech, Hungarian, Polish, Romanian, and Turkish. A much less complete collection forms the second half of A Dictionary of Jewish Names and their History, Benzion C. Kaganoff (Schocken Books, 1977). The first half is an interesting history.

Floating-gate Avalanche-injection MOS (Memory Element). Intel-introduced terminology. [Vide D. Frohman-Bentchkowsky, FAMOS--A New Semiconductor Charge Storage Device,'' Solid-State Electronics, 17, 517-529 (1974).] The principle on the basis of which EPROM's work.

Food Allergy Network. See also the AAAAI.

F and B
Food AND Beverage[s]. Restaurantese. You're probably worrying: ``I succeeded this time, but looking things up is treacherous! What if I had looked under F&B, what then? I would have missed it!'' Calm dowwwn. Have a drink and a snack.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

A German noun (masc.) cognate with English fang.

The singular form is used in the sense of `catch, haul, take.' For example, ``die Fischer brachten ihren Fang ein'' can be rendered as `the fishermen brought in their haul.' It's also used like `the hunt' in English: ``auf Fang ausgehen'' is `to go hunting' or more literally `to go out on the hunt.' Similarly, ``zum Fang auslaufen,'' ``zum Fang ausfahren,'' and ``aus Fang fahren'' mean `to go fishing.' It may help to understand that ausgehen just means `to go out,' while auslaufen means `to go out on a watercraft' (less awkwardly: `to put out to sea' vel sim.). The verb ausfahren is a bit more general, meaning `to set out riding or driving' in a precise translation. Since going out to capture or kill land animals can be done on foot (I mean, let's be sporting about this), ausfahren tends to imply fishing. If you want to be explicit, you could just use ``zum Fischfang ausfahren.'' Of course, the laconic expression is ``fischen gehen'' (`to go fishing').

For the anatomical parts so called, the plural (Fänge) is more common. The claws (usually Klauen) of a bird (Vogel) such as a hawk (Habicht) can be called Fänge, and more figuratively, ``in seinen Fängen halten'' means `hold in one's clutches.' Fang is also used for sharp, predatory dentition, though tusks -- particularly those of a boar (Eber) -- also count as Fänge. You can remove ambiguity with die Fangzähne (`the fang-teeth').

Infinitive form of a German verb meaning `to catch, capture' or `to grasp.' The principal parts are fangen, fing, (hat) gefangen. It has the obvious stem change (umlaut of the a in second- and third-person singular). Although the verb fang in Old English did not survive into Modern English, the cognate finger is used as a verb.

Number of independent inputs to a logic gate. This is not a calculation; just look at it! If you know what the gate is, you know its fan-in.

Short for Fannie Mae, which is short for Federal National Mortgage Association (US FNMA, q.v.). During the mortgage mess that started to be big news in mid-2007, Fannie Mae began to be in the news so much that ``Fannie'' was understood. As Fannie Mae started to be sold short, its name was shorted also.

Fannie Farmer Cookbook
Once an institution of American cooking, such as it was. Also known as The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book. Bartleby.com serves the 1918 edition online ``because it was the last edition of the cookbook authored completely by Farmer.'' It may not hurt that it is one of the last editions, if not the last, clearly in the public domain. For a strong opinion about this cookbook, see the mondegreen entry.

Fannie Mae
Colloquial name for FNMA (Federal National Mortgage Association). THE FNMA entry is where we'll deposit our information on the subject.

Colloquial term for buttocks (in the US; maybe you want to avoid the term in the UK). That is, one fanny is the two buttocks or hindquarters of one person. It's good to have this word, because it functions as the dual of buttock. So do ass or arse, backside, behind, booty, bottom, breech, bum, butt, caboose, can, derrière, fundament (see the entry for A Latin American Speaks), heinie, posterior, prat, rear, rear end, rump, seat, seat cushion, tail, tailbone, tail-feather, tush, and tushy. I guess we need some more words in the second, third, and fifth fifths of the alphabet; fanny helps round things out at the first place in the alphabet where the vocable density starts to tail off. Uropygium would likewise be appreciated.

Tush is a domesticated pronunciation of the Yiddish slang tuchis. (The ``ch'' is like that in Bach, although it might be more palatalized. When I used to hear this word I wasn't paying attention to the difference between /x/ and /ç/.) A word less widely adopted in English is the rhyming huchis, one of the words for `head.' The rhyme would often occur in discussion of the two ways of thinking (i.e., with huchis or with tuchis).

Fanny (now more often spelled Fannie, I think -- perhaps to make a distinction) was originally, and still is, a nickname for Frances. It seems like a pretty radical abbreviation, losing three consonants from sundry parts of the original, but it doesn't beat Peg for Margaret. In France it has been a nickname for Françoise, I think. My entire basis for this belief is the established fact that Fanny is a nickname for Frances in English, and the information that Claude Bernard, the French physiologist, married one ``Françoise Marie (Fanny) Martin'' in 1845.

The earliest famous Fanny that I can think of was Frances Burney (1752-1840), the author of Evelina (1778) and other novels.

A well-known fictional Fanny is Fanny Price, the heroine of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park (1814), who has the same names as her mother. Their legal name is Frances Price. Almost, so it might seem, to compensate, they have a sister and aunt who is never given a first name. She is first described as ``Miss Ward'' (the elder Frances Price was neé Ward), and after her marriage as Mrs. Norris. Mrs. Norris is not a sympathetic character. I think that in all of Jane Austen's work, there is only one use of ``who'' where only ``whom'' would have been acceptable, and it is put in the mouth of Mrs. Norris. (Mrs. Norris is also the name of a cat in the Harry Potter series.) It is reasonably conjectured [for example, by Maggie Lane, in her Jane Austen and Names (Blaise Books, 2002)] that the original Mrs. Norris was an Elizabeth, since her goddaughter is called Betsey.

This godchild business highlights the fact that at the time, nicknames were not so readily recorded as given names. So long as Fanny or Betsey was recognized as a diminutive form of Frances or Elizabeth, one could be reasonably confident that someone called by the former had been assigned the corresponding latter at birth. That standard has slipped.

An early apparent instance of this slippage seems to be the case of the actress Fanny Ardant, who was given the name ``Fanny Marguerite Judith Ardant'' at birth (according to IMDb). She was born to French parents in France in 1949. I suppose the naming was inspired by a very popular French movie trilogy of the 1930's, sometimes known as the Fanny series. The three movies were Marius (released in France in 1931), Fanny (1932), and César (1936), named after three main characters (a young man, his lover -- who discovers she is pregnant shortly after he begins a five-year maritime stint -- and his father). You mightn't think that would make Fanny a very attractive name, but apparently Fanny was a very sympathetic character. There were a number of stage and film remakes. (Another name whose popularity is surprising is Cassandra.)

This sort of stuff tends to be forgotten. My mother was given the middle name Beatrice at birth, and it wasn't until I was in my forties that I happened to learn that her father had been a great admirer of Dante.

Number of inputs that can be driven by a single output. This is not necessarily a well-defined number.

In BJT logics, the constraint is typically that the current drive on the output stage can become insufficient for the input current draw. I.e., the output voltage shifts. Roughly speaking:

fan-in × input current × output impedance = noise margin.

An exception is I²L, in which it is useful to define current noise margins and related current quantities analogous to the usual (voltage) noise margins and related voltages.

In MOSFET logics, inputs are very-high-impedance gates, and DC fan-out is practically unlimited. However, parasitic capacitances of gates increase RC delays, so maximum fan-out is determined by maximum allowed fall and rise times.

Future Air Navigation System. This is never installed, on the tomorrow-never-comes principle (somewhat similar to the none-dare-call-it-treason principle).

It's not idle or self-indulgent! It's prudent, results-oriented rehearsal for improbable eventualities.

First Aid Nursing Yeomanry. One of those WWII women's auxiliaries, like the US WAVES or the British WRNS. This one was a British Women's Transport Service. (Actually, I think that may have been the official name.)

Financial Aid Officer. Universities have'em. [Get information from the government or from a university resource (CMU).]

Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. Food and agriculture continue to be regarded as related matters. In one of his more etymological moments, W.C. Fields remarked that it could hardly be regarded as a mere coincidence, that the alimentary canal and alcohol -- so closely allied -- should have such evidently related names. (Yes, yes, I know: I already mentioned this fact at the BM entry. I like to repeat myself, and anyway no one would have noticed if you hadn't brought it up.)

Forced-Air Oil heating. See the HWO entry for nonusage information.

Fuse, Alarm, and Power.

Future Anthropic Principle. See Martin Gardner: ``WAP, SAP, FAP, and PAP,'' New York Review of Books, May 8, 1987.

Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Family Application Programming Interface.

Federación de Asociaciones de Profesores de Inglés de España. If I have the acronym or even half the expansion correct, then this organization has a rather low profile on the net. FAPIE is reputed to publish a Boletín de la Federacién de Profesores de Inglés de España. This leaves me all confused -- is it a federation of associations of professors or a federation of professors? I need to know! (But not badly enough to try to find out.)

Functional Activity Program Manager. [Federalese.]

Formal and Applied Practical Reasoning.

FAQ, faq
Frequently Asked Question; an electronic file of answers to Frequently Asked Questions. Many of the USENET (internet news) FAQ's that appear in the newsgroup news.answers are available on WWW from OSU and from FAQ.org.

Fil has collected a bunch of Electronics-related FAQ's in one spot, in HTML format.

There's actually an FAQ about FAQ.

The question of how to translate FAQ (in the collection sense) into French is a subtle one. One general approach is to translate the underlying expansion; this yields something like questions fréquemment posées, which is obviously unacceptable because it is too similar to the English. The solution has been to supply the English acronym with the French expansion foire aux questions. Normally, of course, a completely different and unrecognizable acronym would be required, but an identical acronym is acceptable in this case because the French expansion, meaning something like `question fair,' would be incomprehensible without it.

False Alarm Rate. Usually spikes on sunny days just before and during final exams.

Federal Acquisition Regulation[s]. Of the General Services Administration (GSA).

Floor Area Ratio. The ratio of total floor area of a structure to the area of the lot on which it stands. This statistic is often used in zoning laws to state limits on construction density.

Fullword Address Register.

Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia. `Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.' The organization is known by the Spanish acronym in English as well. Note, however, that FARC is construed singular in English, but retains the grammatical number and gender of fuerzas in Spanish -- i.e., ``las FARC.''

Farm Animal Reform Movement. They would prefer that you murder innocent plants.

Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies. A BYU organization that in 2002 or so merged with CPART to form ISPART.

Forward Air Refueling Point. Oh, you want to pick up some more ammo? Sure!

WHAT DID YOU SAY??! Oh, F - A - R - Q. That would be Frequently Asked Research Question. The IPL answers many that shouldn't have been asked in the first place right there.

Farrer Hypothesis, Farrer Theory
A hypothesis about the order of the synoptic gospels and about the hierarchy of textual indebtedness among the gospel writers. See FH.

  1. A litter of pigs (not pig litter, unless that's how you feel about it, alright already let me finish the glossary entry!).


  2. To give birth to a pig litter. (Similarly, to litter means to give birth to a litter, not necessarily of cats. Some places it does, anyway.)

Farting People, The
`The Farting People' seems to be the generally accepted translation of the Icelandic word Prumpufólkið. That is the title of the second and most famous track (you'd heard of it, right?) from ``Abbababb!'' (by consensus, that seems to be `Abba babb!' in English), an album of children's music. Hear it here. The album sold over 6500 copies in Iceland! I think that means it went Pyrite. It was distributed by Smekkleysa, which means `bad taste'; the record label pre-existed the conception of this album.

The lyrics of Prumpufólkið were written by the comedian Jón Gnarr, who also performed the dozen or so sound effects on that song and wrote the lyrics to ``Óli HundaÓli,'' the fifth of thirteen songs on the album. In 2010 he was elected mayor of Reykjavík. This reminds me of a friend of mine who is also of Scandinavian descent: Moe (that's his actual nickname). Moe attended a high school in South Dakota that was so tiny that everyone had to fill multiple roles. Moe, for example, was both a nerd (computer programming) and a jock (basketball), and probably a bunch of things I never heard about. But Gnarr's is a different case, because his campaign for mayor was an extension of his comedian shtick, and was taken seriously by no one except, apparently, a plurality of Reykjavík voters.

Faculty of Arts and Sciences. I should probably say something about the meaning of the word faculty.

Federation of American Scientists.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. What happens to the child when the mother drinks a lot of alcohol during pregnancy. It's pretty bad. Cf. ARND.

Foreign Affiliate Sales. That is, sales by (not of) foreign affiliates.

Frame Alignment Signal.

Free Alongside Ship. Or maybe ``Free AlongSide (ship).'' Whatever. Most commonly used as postpositive adjective to price (``$500 FAS'') or as preposition to port of shipment (``FAS New York''). Indicates that price includes delivery to quay. (``Delivery to dock'' would be a convenience only to fish.)

Fanciful etymology: Boston Tea Party.

Financial Accounting Standards Board.

This is a word that seems to come up frequently in science journalism. Often, it is claimed that scientists themselves have used the word. I shudder to think what tortures reporters have applied to make scientists emit this vocable. In three decades as a physicist, I don't think I've ever heard this ostentatiously pretentious noise uttered in my presence by another scientist. (Except ironically, of course, or in quotation. I did hear it uttered in seriousness by an electrical engineer once.)

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

(NSF) Facilitation Awards for Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities.

Function- and Algorithm-Specific Integrated Circuit.

Fachbereich Angewandte Sprach- und Kulturwissenschaften (`Faculty of Applied Linguistics and Cultural Studies').

Fabric And Suppliers LINkage Council. An EDI coordination group.

Filipino-American Student Organization.

A friend of mine did a study of interpretation work at a Tokyo hospital. Some local nonprofits train volunteers for this (teaching them some Japanese medical vocabulary, at least) and supply the hospital with mostly native speakers of some of the more necessary languages, including English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, and Tagalog. One thing she didn't mention in the papers she wrote on the subject is the following: she sat in on some of the separate classes for groups training in various languages, and the Filipinos were clearly the ones who were having the most fun.

There's a FASO (webpage here) at the University of Notre Dame. Their major annual event is Fiestang Filipino. Fiestang I was held on April 29, 1995, and Fiestang II was December 2 the same calendar year, but since then it's been mostly the last week of February. In 2008 (Fiestang XIV, on February 23), it won the university's MSPS Culture Show of the Year award.

Familial Advanced Sleep-Phase Syndrome (ASPS). The first instance of apparently genetically determined ASPS to be reported in the medical literature (in 1999, view press release here). From the pattern of inheritance, it appeared to be controlled by a single gene, and that gene was identified in 2001 (press release).

Fairchild Advanced Schottky Technology. Now available from National Semiconductor.

Fixed-Abrasive Sawing Technique.

Foundation for Academic Standards & Tradition.

Fast-A. A for algorithm; fast for hashing. This is cute, but if you ever want to communicate with people outside the field, you may be mistaken for not-from-around-these-parts. FAST-A is used to compare a protein or DNA sequence to all entries in a sequence library. I imagine there must be slower ways. You can get a man page for FASTA from Stanford. You can download the latest version from the University of Virginia ftp site.

She said, ``fasta, fasta, the lights are turnin' red.'' -- Life in the fast lane -- sure to make you lose your mine.

fast food
I don't get it. You don't need any food to fast.

Fairchild Advanced Schottky Technology, but betteR. Now available from National Semiconductor.

File Allocation Table.

Arabic word meaning `conquest.' Also the name of a terrorist organization founded around 1960 by Yassir Arafat.

Member of a large heretical sect of the Motorist persuasion.

Heretical precepts:

  1. The entire road is a parking lot.
  2. The rearview mirror is for (a) backing out of parking spaces, (b) hanging fuzzy dice and pine scent fresheners, (c) personal grooming.
  3. Blinkers should be used because the law requires it. They must be turned on at some point before the end of a turn.
  4. Most of driving is pressing on the accelerator when the lane ahead is empty, and on the brake otherwise. (When in doubt, depress both.)
  5. The driver with blinders has the right of way.

fat binary
Binary code executable on both a Macintosh and a Power Macintosh.

Frequency And Time Circuit Analysis Technique. This acronym was not created but perpetrated.

It is that which gives a beast of burden its reason for existence.

It is that which men in former times had to bear upon their backs.

It is that which has caused nations to build byways from City to City upon which carts and coaches pass, and alongside which inns have come to be built to stave off Hunger, Thirst and Weariness.

[According to The Profit (1973), by Kehlog Albran (1933-1927).]

Oh, I'm sorry, that's freight... but it's okay, you needed to know that too.
[Image of camel caravan]

In book 17 of the Odyssey, as Odysseus finally arrives at his home disguised as a beggar, he explains to Eumaeus the swineherd (translation of A.T. Murray):

``... a ravening belly may no man hide, an accursed plague that brings many evils upon men. Because of it are the benched ships also made ready, that bear evil to foemen over the unresting sea.''

Shortly afterwards, Odysseus's dog dies. As Murray puts it --

``the fate of black death seized him straightway.''

OECD Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering.

Fortran Automatic Timing System. This is a stupid acronym and I like it.

fats and oils
Fats and oils are a range of chemicals on a continuum, they are all triesters: each molecule of fat or oil is one glycerine esterized to a long-chain fatty acid at each of its three hydroxyls. Double bonds in the fatty acids push its compound further toward the oily side of the fat-oil spectrum.

The term oil is rather ambiguous, as it may refer to mineral oil or to petroleum. Fat is a more precise term that doesn't usually exclude triglyceride oils.

Need to cut down on your fat consumption? Here's a true fact and a health tip: Sugars are carbohydrates, not fats. For more worthless dieting tips, see calorie and lose weight entries.

fatty acids
Long chain alkanes with a carboxyl group on the end and few-and-short, if any, side chains. Apart from an occasional hydroxyl, no other functional groups are attached. Other than the length, the main thing distinguishing different fatty acids is the number and location of any double bonds. Both oleic acid and stearic acid, for example, have eighteen carbons in a single chain. However, oleic acid has one double bond in the middle (it is cis-9-octadecenoic acid) while stearic acid has none (it's plain octadecanoic acid).

Foreign Agricultural Trade of the United States. The fatus of the land, so to speak. Estimated by the USDA.

Forgiving, as machines can forgive. For a counterexample (in an incorrect sense of the word counterexample) see the Liouville entry.

faute de mieux
French, `for lack of anything better.'

faux ami
French, `false friend.' A word in a foreign language that seems familiar but is not. Specifically, a foreign word that resembles a word in one's own language, but which has a different meaning. Often though not always, the words are cognates, but one or both of the cognates has undergone a change in meaning. (See also falso amigo.)

Faux amis are like approximate homonyms. As in the case of English-language homonyms, there are two large subclasses of homonyms: homographs, which are written similarly, and homophones, which sound similar. These two subclasses overlap, and in languages with a one-to-one correspondence between pronunciation and spelling, the two coincide perfectly. (I am aware of no European language with such a perfect correspondence.) Different languages, of course, have different sound-value correspondences, so visual and aural classes of faux ami overlap imperfectly. An example of a visual (homograph) faux ami is once, meaning `eleven' in Spanish. In the episode of ER that aired October 25, 2001, a Spanish-speaking patient dies because her prescription drug bottle was labeled in English, ``once'' a day. She wouldn't have made this mistake if it had been labeled in the original Latin -- q.d. (For more on once in Spanish, see the entries for las once and las onces.)

Examples between English and German include knave/Knabe. This is a typical instance in which a word's negative connotation has become the essence of its denotation. The German modal verb wollen, with will as first- and third-person singular conjugations in the present, has the meaning English will had not too long ago: `want to.' (The modal for constructing future tense is werden.) Another example, for those who recognize it, is starve/sterben (as explained at the linked entry). If one is alive to the sound shifts that have affected English and German since their source languages diverged from a common Germanic root, one notices many more examples. E.g., German Tier, meaning `animal,' is the cognate of English deer; German dick (like Dutch dik) is an adjective meaning obese (i.e., thick); dieb and tief (both pronounced with long-ee vowel sound) mean `thief' and `deep,' in that order.

Some examples between English and Spanish:

For an example involving a number of languages, see the libraries entry. Here are some other scattered examples involving at least two languages other than English:

Language word English meaning
Swedish tryck push (as a door)
Norwegian (Bok Maal) trekk pull (as a door)

Language word English meaning true friend
German Öl oil olya in Swedish (vide infra)
Swedish öl beer Bier in German

For a more thorough discussion of the above, see the this oe entry.

Language word English meaning
German Gift poison
Swedish gift bride
English gift something given (see gift entry)

Language word English meaning
Spanish olla pot
Swedish olya oil

Language word approximate English meaning
Spanish algún some
cualquier any
French aucun none*
quelques some, any

* There are a few difficulties in translating these words into English. The first is that negation is coordinated or additive in French and Spanish, somewhat as in slang English. Thus, Standard English I have no problem is normally translated No tengo ningún problema in Spanish, corresponding to [I] don't have no problem. Typical parallel expressions in French use aucun in place of ningún. This corresponds to an older usage in Spanish, now markedly formal, that uses the adjective alguno in place of ninguno.

[Note: algún is the prepositive version of the adjective alguno. In Spanish as in French, adjectives other than quantifiers usually follow the substantives they modify -- placement before the substantive often marks poetic diction just as placement after the substantive marks poetic diction in English. Some adjectives appear commonly both before and after the substantive, and a few of these have different postpositive and prepositive forms. For example, the (etymologically related) adjectives that have masculine forms uno (`one'), alguno, and ninguno following a substantive have the forms un, algún, and algún before it (the feminine forms are unchanged). The adjective grande (postpositive form, both genders) becomes gran before a substantive.]

For glossary visitors not fluent in English, I will point out something well known (usually unreflectively) by native speakers. English takes advantage of the absence of coordination: negation in Standard English is somewhat multiplicative. For example, ``I don't want no feedback.'' For the purposes of elementary education, this is called a ``double negative'' and marked incorrect. Between even moderately sophisticated speakers, this is simply a kind of litotes: speaker is saying, generally, that he wants some feedback. If the stress is placed as indicated above, on the word no, then typically it might mean ``I do want less feedback, but not none at all.'' (If this ``not none'' bothers you, think ``not zero.'') Some emphatic intonation is usually applied to the sentence in order to make clear that the double negative is not a careless ungrammatical slip.

Generally speaking, English syntax uses the position of negation to make distinctions that other languages may make in different ways. In particular, negation of a modal verb in a periphrastic tense is not generally the same as negation of the verb. An example follows.

Did I ever tell you about the time I managed to not quite electrocute myself? (I was not suicidal. It would be wrong to say that ``I did not quite manage to electrocute myself.'') I may have mentioned it somewhere else around here -- there's a hint of it at the M (for Metal) entry. What happened was, I was operating an induction furnace, which melts ferromagnetic metal by surrounding a crucible with an electromagnetic coil and having the metal to be melted function as the core of a heavy-duty electromagnet. (The area enclosed by the hysteresis loop on the M-H diagram is the energy absorbed per cycle, up to a constant factor.) I doubt that the Filipino lab technician explained any of this to me.

To avoid oxidation, the crucible and the mold which received the molten metal from the crucible were enclosed in a vacuum chamber (which was evacuated cold and refilled with nitrogen before heating). The crucible was mounted on a horizontal axle, and this axle extended out of the chamber through a gasketed bearing, to a handle that allowed the operator (yours truly) to pivot the crucible for various purposes. On the handle there were a couple of thick bolts that hold the handle in place against the axle. Believing myself to be savvy and generally in-the-know about bolt-based mechanical systems, I never paid much attention to these exposed bolts on the handle, and I never touched them. Then one day my hand happened to brush one of them.

As I was getting up off the floor, at my new location a few feet away from the furnace, the lab tech ran up and admonished me in an alarmed voice --

You do not have to touch the bolts!

A second difficulty in translating, say, French quelques into English has to do with the any/some distinction. The distinction between the English words any and some corresponds reasonably closely to that between Spanish algún and cualquier. German and French, although they have apparent cognates, do not make the distinction.

faux pas
French, `false step.' Usually, in English, an embarrassing false step committed while attempting to traverse the minefield of proper conduct in polite society. Similarly, the meaning of savoir faire is more tightly circumscribed in English than in French. In French, the term can serve as a translation of the English know-how. In English, savoir faire refers to a sort of confidence in one's sophistication -- the ease associated with knowing how to navigate polite society. Hence, considered as naturalized English terms, faux pas and savoir faire terms are examples of faux amis.

Federation of Women's Clubs Overseas.

fax, FAX
FACSimile transmission. Method of transmitting a copy of a paper image electronically. The technology has been available in principle for a long time, but the step that made the method most efficient was data compression.

That annoying shriek that announces a fax - the fax calling tone defined by CCITT T.30, is only 1100 Hz.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. German: `Frankfurt General News.' (Or maybe that should be Frankfort with an oh.) In any case it's Frankfurt aM. Published by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung GmbH.

Fachbereich. German, `department' of people.

Fighter-Bomber. Prefix on military plane designations. You'll never, ever, guess what the prefixes F- and B- stand for. Longer list at USN entry.

Food and Beverage[s].

Framing Bit.

[Football icon]

FullBack. An offensive position in American football.

Fibre Box Association.

Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report. A report that is filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (see FinCEN) of the US Treasury Department, for foreign accounts over 10,000 USD held by US companies or individuals.

Free-standing Bulk Acoustic Resonator.

Federação Brasileira de Bridge. `Brazilian Bridge Federation.' A member of the CSB.

Federal Bulletin Board. They had to use fifty million push-pins! If they hadn't, they would have been forced to go electronic, and everyone realized that would be a bad idea. Oh no! They have a URL!

Forward Body Bias[ing].

Finnish Broadcasting Company. See YLE.

Fluidized-Bed Combustion.

Free-Body Diagram. A diagram of the force vectors determining the motion of a body free to move.

Fiber Bragg Grating.

Friends (i.e., Quaker) Burial Ground.

Federal Bureau of Investigation. FBI agents are ``G-men.''

The Federation of British Industries. Since August 1965, it has been the CBI. (Careful, you may not guess the entire change in name. Better follow the link!)

Fuzzy BitMap.

Full-Band Monte Carlo (simulation). This refers to the simulation of electrons and holes in semiconductors. Most electronic states are far above or below the Fermi level (term used for the electronic chemical potential in this context). Consequently, most states are unoccupied or occupied, respectively, with near-unit probability. (``Far,'' in the earlier sentence, means distant in energy. When the system is in thermodynamic equilibrium, the occupation probabilities approach 0 or 1 exponentially away from the Fermi energy, and the exponential scale is kBT, where kB is Boltzmann's constant and T is the absolute temperature. At room temperature, this has a value of 0.026 eV, so ``far'' means distant by more than a few meV.)

There are a variety of different kinds of Monte Carlo simulation, but they all have in common the approach of following the behavior of only the most interesting electrons

Fixed-Base Operator. Of aircraft.

Filtered BackProjection. An approach to computed tomography.

Fédération de Bridge de Polynésie Française. Not the largest of the four NBO's comprising the South Pacific Bridge Federation (SPBF -- Zone 7 of the WBF).

Fluidized-Bed (Coal) Reactor.

Foundation for Biomedical Research.

[Football icon]

Fbr, FbR, FBR
FumBle Recovery. Defensive stat in football.

[Football icon]

Football Bowl Subdivision. NCAA football's old Division I-A, officially renamed in 2007. Division I-A teams that do well are eligible to participate in the BCS. For further information, see the entry for FCS (the old I-AA).

Fly By Wire.

Fractional BandWidth.

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