(Click here for bottom)

Because English spelling is only approximately phonetic, a few spelling rules and mnemonics have been invented to help one in remembering correct spellings. (Some others are mentioned further below.)

Probably the most famous rule is

``i before e except after c.''
This is useful, but even more useful is the more complete, but less well-remembered version:
``i before e except after c, or when pronounced as a.''

The latter rule takes care of neighbor, their, the heir/hierarchy confusion, and deity, for which a special mnemonic is given below. Some special cases are still left over (e.g., height), and while it is best simply to memorize many of these, some others are best regarded simply as diphthongs not covered by the rule (e.g., science, although words like conscience are trickier cases).

For more English spelling help, see this 28-rule list.

There is a similar, much less severe problem in German. Words with ``ie'' are pronounced in some cases, depending on the accent and the consonants following, like words with ``i.'' English speakers are taught to choose between ``ei'' and ``ie'' spellings according to the (English) sound of the second letter (d.h., ``ei'' for ``long i,'' ``ie'' for ``long e''). These spellings, which obviously represent literal transcription of diphthongs in earlier pronunciations, have an interesting history, because the old pronunciations they represent arose among German-speaking settlers in the ``east.''


Id est. The Latin phrase corresponding to `that is.' Cf. d.h., viz.

(Domain code for) Ireland.

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

Indo-European. A large language family that includes most of the languages of Europe and northern India. The name is taken from the two extreme ends of the region over which the language group had spread before the age of rapid European colonial expansion. By a similar reasoning, German philologists and linguists also call this the Indogermanischen language family, presumably since the languages spoken at the extreme NW end of the region are Germanic. One reason this usage is not so widely popular in English is that the adjectives ``Germanic'' and ``German'' are similar and may be carelessly conflated, whereas the respective German terms germanisch and deutsch are quite distinct.

Indo-European is the official language family of the Stammtisch Beau Fleuve. Nevertheless, we concede that Chinese is a major world language. Unix curses have also been uttered.

Industrial Engineer[ing].

The WWW Virtual Library has an Industrial Engineering index.

In Spanish, however, IE is Ingeniería Electrónica, which stands for `Electronic Engineering.' We`re everywhere!

LookSmart has a short page of IE links.

Information Element.

Japanese: `family, household,' roughly translated. Cf. seken. Do not confuse with similar-sounding iie (`no').

International Endometriosis Association. Old name of what today (2008) calls itself the Endometriosis Association.

International Energy Agency.

InterExchange Carrier. Between telephone exchanges.

I've seen ``International Electrical Commission.'' I presume that was its name when founded in 1906. Now it's the International Electro[-]technical Commission of the ISO. Preceding are sites in Chiba. You can get it from Geneva, Switzerland. It ``is the international standards and conformity assessment body for all fields of electrotechnology.''

International Engineering Consortium. Mostly concerned with education of engineers for electronics and information industries.

ISDN Echo Cancellation. What happens if you forget to pay your bill again, before they even restore ISDN service from the last time it was cancelled. Probably.

International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) / Commission Electrotechnique Internationale. Having the acronym spelled out in French like that is a material help to that large group of technically trained people who don't read English. I mean, conversely, if it were only in French, sure I'd be at a complete loss to know what it meant. I also appreciate the highway signs in Ontario; they allow me to see double and feel disoriented without DWI.

Of course, I'm just kidding. Everybody realizes that the only reason the acronym appears in two languages is to assuage British resentment of French cultural success. Look, in the twentieth century Britain was forced to give up a world-wide empire that extended to every inhabited continent, whereas France lost a much smaller area mostly restricted to Africa and Asia. And no amount of ``European plane'' window-dressing can disguise the fact that final assembly of Airbuses is in Toulouse. High fashion too takes off from the runways of Paris, not London, and no one eats ``British cuisine.'' Finally, France has completely outclassed England in the competition that matters most -- outrageous idiot intellectuals. The glory days of Karl Marx at the British Museum are long past. What can England answer to Sartre, Foucault, Derrida, Lacan? Benny Hill? Freud's granddaughter hosted an interview programme on the Beeb whose lame attempt to epater le bourgoise was using a bed for a couch. Oh, it's crushingly hard to be British these days, when your long-time rival is so triumphant.

IEC (System for Conformity Testing and Certification of) Electrical Equipment.

IEC Quality (Assessment System for Electronic Components). As you probably realized at the IECEE entry already, the IEC has a pretty bad case of logorrhea. You can see this in the longwinded suborganization names, and you won't be surprised to learn that they go in for stilted bureaucratese big-time (``who have need of,'' ``most economic and cost[-]effective,'' ``time delay,'' etc.).

Bus standard which follows HPIB. Just as GPIB does. Gives new meaning to the expression ``de facto standard.''

Improvised Explosive Device.

International Electron Devices Meeting.

International Electron Devices & Materials Symposium.

Institute of Electrical Engineers. British Organization similar to IEEE.

Interestingly, whereas Electrical Engineering degree programs in the US are accredited by an organization (ABET) separate from the IEEE, in Britain the IEE handles the job.

Institute of Environmental Education.

Integrated Electronics Engineering Center. At SUNY Binghamton (BU).

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Claims to be the ``world's largest technical professional society. A non-profit organization, ... promote the development and application of electrotechnology and allied sciences for the benefit of humanity, the advancement of the profession, and the well-being of [the] members.'' Visit the homepage.

Vide SMC.

IEEE standard
There's an IEEE Standards homepage.

IEEE Transactions in Electron Devices is a monthly. The next issue's preview is on the web. A publication of The Electron Devices Society.

IEEE 802.2
Connectionless operation is ``type 1,'' connected operation ``type 2.'' Always use type 3.

Independent Evaluation Group. Back in the 1980's, one IEG that was so designated was a panel of technical experts under the leadership of R. Joseph Sovie of NASA Lewis Research Center. That IEG was established by the SDIO Power Program Office to provide it with analyses and counsel regarding its own (the Power Program Office) activities.

Institute of Electronics, Information and Communication Engineers. Japanese Organization.

(Not to be confused with Interface Engineering Inc., Consulting Engineers.)


Israel Exploration Journal. Catalogued by TOCS-IN.

IEEE/IEE Electronic Library. Here.

Intensive English Language Institute (at UB). Founded in 1971. Changed name in 1995 to just ELI.

iEmmy, iEMMY
International Emmy. Conferred by IATAS.

Interactive Employment Network.

Individual Education Plan. For a particular student's special needs.

Initial Enrollment Period.

Instantaneously Effective Photocathode.

ISDN Enhanced Power Controller.

International Electronic Packaging Society. Merged with ISHM in 1996 to become IMAPS.

Initial Enrollment Questionnaire. A questionnaire sent to those becoming eligible for Medicare, intended to determine if some other insurance coverage will pay any medical bills before Medicare.

International Earth Rotation Service. This is the international entity in charge of making the sun, moon and other celestial objects go around the earth about once every twenty-four hours. It's very important.

Don't believe me? Okay, it's in charge of deciding when to make time jump, as explained at the UTC entry. They also have a longer official name: International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service.

Illuminating Engineering Society. They seem to prefer IESNA these days as the regular noun form, but continue IES as an attribute noun and productive prefix.

Institute of Environmental Sciences.

Internet Engineering Steering Group. Executive committee of the IETF.

Illuminating Engineering Society of North America. You shouldn't get the wrong idea. It's perfectly okay for an attributive noun be modified by its own attributive noun. There's an IES Annual Conference in August.

Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser (sic), one of seven institutes of FORTH.

Internet Engineering Task Force. A task force under the IAB. (Old IETF address still works.)

Inelastic Electron Tunneling Spectroscopy.

Intelligence Electronic Warfare.

International Elbow Working Group.

InterFeron. Also IFN.

IF, I.F., I.-F.
Intermediate Frequency. This does not refer to a specific frequency range, like RF. Instead it refers to a frequency chosen for use in intermediate stages of a radio or other tunable broadcast receiver -- hence, ``IF stages,'' ``IF amplifier'' .... As explained at the superhet entry, an adjustable frequency is generated (using a VFO) to be mixed with signals coming from an antenna. Discrimination (i.e., selection of incoming signal or station) is accomplished by filtering for a particular difference or sum frequency. In other words, you tune the receiver by adjusting the VFO so that its frequency, combined with the signal frequency, yields the fixed chosen IF.

Subsequent amplification may be conveniently performed at this frequency. This has the advantage that the frequency range of signal to be amplified is fractionally small (i.e., a small fraction of the IF). Within this narrow band, it is easy to achieve linear, frequency-independent amplification.

IF is not the final frequency because after amplification, the desired signal is extracted as deviations (AM, FM, or long story) away from a pure IF signal.

For information on the use of punctuated forms of the abbreviation, read the attributive noun entry.

International Federation of Audit Bureaux of Circulations. ``Bureaux'' is French for bureaus. This spelling is used to remind you that the IFABC is an international organization. ``Of'' is an English word meaning that internationalization (i18n) only goes so far, thank you. In French, the final ex is silent, unless the word is immediately followed by a vowel sound. Liaison! Like, you really needed to know this.

If information is nonnegative, then it probably won't hurt much to visit the ABC entry.

International Fund for Agricultural Development. Here's a gopher.


Institut français d'archéologie orientale du Caire. Name reported in English as `French Achaeological Institute in Cairo.'

International Foundation for Art Research.

Interrupted Feedback. Earphone in the host's ear which allows the engineer or other responsible person to confuse any host who appears to be in danger of making too much sense.

The comedian who smashes watermelons with a mallet on cable TV has complained that the ``brightness'' knob on most sets does not seem to work properly. (He should talk.) This is why.

International Federation for BodyBuilding and Fitness. I haven't been able to determine when the ``and Fitness'' was added to the name, but I estimate January 2005.

The IFBB was founded in 1946 by Ben Weider and his brother Joe. In January 1998, then-President of the IOC Juan Antonio Samaranch welcomed the IFBB ``into the Olympic family.'' (That doesn't mean it gets to be even so much as a demonstration sport at any Olympics. Cf. WBF.)

Bodybuilders have always been at the cutting edge (that's a pun, son) of chemical progress. Wayne DeMilia, who headed the IFBB pro division from 1980 until 2004 and oversaw such limited testing as was conducted, said in 2005 that ``everybody in bodybuilding takes drugs.''

``The problem, as the media is finding out now, is that testing runs two to three steps behind people coming up with new drugs and masking agents,'' he said. In addition, he noted that there are no effective tests for growth hormone or insulin, and masking agents for diuretics have grown more effective. Possibly most important, except for a few years in the mid-1990's, the IFFB didn't conduct off-season random testing of the bodybuilders. As the Olympics and such mainstream sports as football and baseball have learned [SBF is echoing news reports here; the SBF content-injector doubts that mainstream sports have learned very much], announced tests on the day of competition are unlikely to catch anyone who has been alerted. ``Let's be honest,'' DeMilia said, ``They're taking stuff that can't be detected.''

Ben Weider, CM, CQ, SBStJ, PhD, is still president of the IFBB as of this writing (2006). He is also a historian by inclination and publication, so the following is mildly amusing. In a 1999 interview (and elsewhere) he rhapsodizes: ``Getting bodybuilding recognised by the IOC was almost like making an impossible dream become reality. ... As Churchill said during the Second World War, it was a struggle of `blood, sweat and tears,' and a lot of perseverance.'' Of course, ``Blood, Sweat, and Tears'' is just the name of a rock band; everyone knows that WSC's famous phrase was ``blood, toil, tears, and sweat.'' It's evident that Weider wanted to include the toil concept, so it's amusing that the president (of an activity that is practically distilled toil) remembered only the bodily fluids.

L'Institut de formation bancaire, Luxembourg. A/k/a ``the Luxembourg Institute for Training in Banking'' and ``das Luxemburger Institut für Bankberufsbildung.'' The IFBL was set up at the beginning of the 1990's by the ABBL.

Independent Film Channel. ``Launched in September 1994, The Independent Film Channel (IFC) is the first channel entirely dedicated to presenting independent film, unedited and commercially uninterrupted 24 hours a day.''

Inside Front Cover.

Intellectual Freedom Committee of the ALA. It became the IFRT probably because, as I speculated at the LRRT, some furniture store had a fire sale.

InterFerential Current (therapy). A kind of E-STIM, q.v.

International Finance Corporation. Part of the World Bank Group.

Investment Finance Company.

Internet Fraud Complaint Center. ``The Internet Fraud Complaint Center ... is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).''

International Federation of Catholic Universities. Its pages are generally available in French and Spanish as well as English, but the php code likes to decide for itself which language you want to see. Find the language switch hidden at the bottom of the left-hand frame or follow our FIUC link to start in the other languages.

International Foodservice Distributors Association. Part of FDI -- Food Distributors International.

Institution of Fire Engineers. What, a hospital for pyromaniacs? A school for young arsonists? ``The institution is the international qualifying organisation and learned society for fire engineering and fire safety professionals.'' Sounds like they're working at cross purposes.

(Mexican) Instituto Federal Electoral.

Internships in Francophone Europe. Pardon? If you knew French, you could speak the native language of the fascinating people of one and two-half major European countries! But that's not all! If you order now, you also get... Monaco, at no extra charge!

Institut für Energiedienstleistungen GmbH. `Institute for Energy Services.'

International Federation of Esthetic Dentistry. ``The International Federation of Esthetic Dentistry was founded in 1994 by the American Academy of Esthetic Dentistry, the European Academy of Esthetic Dentistry and the Japan Academy of Esthetic Dentistry. Its purpose is to contribute to the progress and development of worldwide esthetic and oral health and to enhance communication between member organizations.''

The national organizations that are members of IFED are generally called academies. The British academy doesn't belong to IFED, but it's BAAD.

Maybe IFED could hire K-Fed as a goodwill ambassador. He's got a nice smile, and like the UN goodwill ambassadors his celebrity is mostly expired, and I hear he's available cheap.

Centro Internacional de Formación ``Aristides Calvani'' -- Caracas, Venezuela. Look, don't blame me: I don't make up the acronym, I just report it. In English that would be `the international center of the Aristides Calvani group.' They seem to study stuff. What kind of stuff they study might be indicated by the title of the book I got this out of, which they cosponsored: La Decisión: Aportes para la Integración Latinoamericana (`the decision: requirements for Latin American [economic] integration').

Identification: Friend or Foe. Military avionics.

IF and only iF. [Mathematics usage.]

Inverse Fast Fourier Transform (FFT).

International Federation of Gynecologic Endoscopists.

International Financial Institution. A generic term.

Institute for International Cooperation. An entity created by and for JCIC.

International Federation for Information Processing. Now has very clever pages that poop on Netscape for Unix. Too bad. The old homepage made it sound rather bureaucratic, and it was founded by the UN (UNESCO, actually). Oh well, probably somebody has to do this work, whatever it is, and good it's not me.

[Football icon]

International Football League. If it exist, then this must be its acronym. [I'm really sorry about this, but I had a strong desire to see the present subjunctive in use.]

Introductory Formal Logic. A first-year course that most university philosophy departments consider essential and most philosophy undergraduates consider difficult. Horrors -- it's as hard as math! Runaway, runaway! It's got symbols! Aieeee!

You think I'm kidding, that nothing could be as bad as dread Physical Chemistry? This article, written from a pedagogical point of view, uses words like fear and loathing, and urges that the courses be made easier so the students will show up in class (I exaggerate only a little).

International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. Founded in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1927 at an international conference; celebrates its 75th anniversary in Glasgow, Scotland, in 2002. As of May 2001, has 1622 members in 143 countries.

Do you realize that, if they had hurried up and founded it in 1901, they could be celebrating their centennial this year, instead of this awkward bis-jubilee next year. That would be cool. The ``and Institutions'' was not part of the official name until after 1976 sometime. It didn't just happen to be left unrepresented in the acronym.


International Forum for the Literature And Culture of Peace. Dr. Ada Aharoni, a Cairo-born Israeli poet, writer, and professor in Haifa, founded IFLAC, or ``IFLAC: PAVE PEACE,'' or ``IFLAC PAVE PEACE,'' in 1999. She is the IFLAC president (as of this writing, 2005), and also the founder, editor, and factotum of various such putatively worthwhile projects as the magazine Horizon Pave Peace. I don't know what it is about her and non-dirt roads. I do know that poetry will not bring peace to the Middle East. What is needed is a space race. Israel and Hamas will compete to see who can put a man (okay, okay -- or a woman) on Mars first. No extra credit for the return trip.

You know, I'm a poet too. There aren't any certification tests for poet. I'm a five-star black-belt poet with an iron cross, eagle ring, six olive clusters, and three large coconuts, and my poems can crush your poems without breaking a sweat.

On second thought, I think that another high-level conference is just the thing that will bring lasting peace. But only if the joint closing statement is carefully crafted to paper over the unresolvable differences.


Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association.

Instantaneous Frequency Measurement.

Intrapulse Frequency Modulation.

Interactive Facility Manager Assistant.

International Facility Management Association.

International Fire Marshals Association. Used to be called Fire Marshals Association of North America (FMANA).

InterFeroN. Also IF.

Identified Flying Object.

International Federation of Organic Agricultural Movements. ``I-foam''? It sounds like something from DuPont.

If only I had spent more time at the office!
People often say that no one ever goes to his grave regretting not having worked hard enough. Setting aside that many regret poverty, there is the counterexample of Prince Felix zu Schwarzenberg. He was groomed by Metternich for diplomatic service, but for most of his life he practiced his eloquence only in the seduction of women. It was only during the revolutions of 1848 that he discovered the joys of work. Before he died in 1852, he remarked, ``If only I had worked harder!'' [Yeah, I'll try to track down the original.]

Instantaneous Field Of View (FOV).

Independent Feature Project. That's the expansion whenever an expansion seems to be given, but I'm not sure it's official. I would have guessed it was ``Independent Filmmakers and Producers,'' but IFP seems to have some unresolved emotional issues concerning the word producer. Their ``About IFP'' webpage is not very helpful, but perhaps the sort of people who would lionize Moore's Bowling for Columbine as a documentary are not the sort to be fussy about details.

Inkatha Freedom Party. Ruling party of KwaZulu in South Africa.

International Federation of the Phonograph Industry. They don't dwell on the expansion of their name. IFPI administers the ISRC system.

IFPI is affiliated with RIAA.

Initial Flight PLan.

Intelligent Flight Path Monitor. [Avionics still (1997) in development.]

International Federation of Philosophical Societies. FISP.

Income Fund Reimbursable. (UB bookkeeping item.)

Increasing Failure Rate.

Instrument Flight Rules. Vide IMC.

IFRAME, iframe
Inline FRAME. The <iframe> tag is like the <img> tag, but instead of inserting an image it inserts a floating frame, with content just like an ordinary <frame> tag in a frameset. Inline frames were at first supported only by Microsoft's Internet Explorer, but they're part of the HTML 4 standard. Nevertheless, as of June 2001, I'm not aware of a platform on which even the latest Netscape Navigator release supports it. This page contains mark-up for one to appear at the right of this entry.

International Federation of Health Records Organizations. French name Fédération Internationale des Associations du Dossier de Santé

``A nongovernmental organization in official relations with WHO,'' who have this information sheet for the IFRHO.

International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations. ``IFRRO works to increase on an international basis the lawful use of text and image based copyright works and to eliminate unauthorised copying by promoting efficient Collective Management of rights through RROs to complement creators' and publishers' own activities.'' Gee, I hope it's okay to quote that.

InterFace Roughness Scattering.

Intellectual Freedom Round Table (of the ALA). Another one! Cf. EMIERT, LHRT.

IFRT used to be the IFC.


International Federation for Research in Women's History.

International Federation of Science Editors.

Internet Freeware Shareware Programming Languages for the Macintosh. A document now called Anopolis.

The Institue of Formal Social Sciences. A wonderfully stupid site, and apparently completely sincere.

``An Online Teaching And Reference Institute
of N U M E R I C A L Systematic Philosophy
Ideometry. A Natural Science
Tables of Prime Factors In Ideo-Quinary Numerals

You get the idea. If you poke around, you can read about ``Computer Aided Philosophy.''

Institute of Food Science & Technology.

International Federation of Social Workers.

Institute of Food Technologists. (Here's the same site via an alternate URL.)

International Fuel Tax Association.

Instruction-Fetch Unit. An element of computer architecture, and not of dog training.

Instituto de Física de la Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. `Institute of Physics of the Autonomous University of Puebla' in Mexico. Long form: ``El Instituto de Física 'Ing. Luis Rivera Terrazas' de la Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla.'' (The institute is named for the engineer Luis Rivera Terrazas. There are two autonomous universities of Puebla.)

Irish Federation of University Teachers. (Cónaidhm Éireannach na Múuinteoirí Ollscoile.) ``The only dedicated trade union and professional association in Ireland that consistently defends traditional University values such as academic freedom and the need for pure research.''

If you can't say anything nice, don't.
That's how it goes, right?

ImmunoGlobulin. Certain classes of small proteins that function as antibodies.

In Geardagum. A scholarly journal of ``essays on Old and Middle English language and literature.'' The title is Old English for `in days of yore,' almost literally. The modern word yore comes from the O.E. geara; day comes from dæg, though here dagum is better understood as the dative of `times.' (The g in both cases represents yogh, a letter that was eventually replaced by g, y, and gh in various collocations. Note, however, that most gh's in Modern English arise from noninitial h's in Old English.)

Input Gate.

Inspector General. There's a bit of information on inspectors general at the RAT entry.

Interface Group.

Immunoglobulin A. A class of antibodies secreted by mucus glands in the gut, salivary glands, tear ducts, mammary glands, and colostrum. ``S-IgA'' is IgA from saliva. The IgA antibodies in milk lend some immune defense to a breast-fed baby; in this connection, see IgG.

Independent Grocers Alliance. Founded in 1926. Looks like a self-defense alliance for ``family-owned retailers'' against the big conglomerates. About 4000 stores in the US, another 400 in IGA International. Here's what their toilet paper looks like, on exhibit at VTPM.

Independent Grocers of Australia. [O]perating along the Eastern Seaboard and in South Australia. Over 2000 stores.

International Geosphere Biosphere Program. Here're sites in Sweden (IGBP Secretariat Stockholm) and in Germany.

Insulating-Gate Bipolar Transistor. The terms ``COMFET'' and less frequently ``GEMFET'' are used, as well as the unnecessarily ambiguous ``IGT.'' Basically, the MOS gate, when turned on, causes minority carrier injection, which modulates the high-resistance drift region required for voltage blocking.

Indiana Gaming Commission.

InterGovernmental Conference. A meeting of European Community (EC) member nation delegations for negotiation. Decisions must be reached by unanimity. The Stammtisch has successfully implemented this approach. Kissinger liked to observe that university faculty politics are vicious because they are petty (he put it differently).

An IGC met in Turin in 1996.

Institute for Global Communications. It claims to be ``the nation's only unionized Internet Service Provider.''

Institute of Global Cultural Studies. Located at the University of Binghamton (part of SUNY).

International Game Developers Association. As of 2003, the principal association for developers of computer games. Formerly known as the IGDN.

International Game Developers Network. Now called IGDA.

Immunoglobulin E. A class of antibodies that play a rôle in active immunity to worm parasites. Their inappropriate overproduction is associated with asthma and other diseases.

Institute of Global Environment and Society.

Insulin-like Growth Factor. This is not really my intellectual bailiwick, but there's spot more information on this at the HGF entry.

International Game Fishing Association.

Insulated-Gate FET. Really the same animal as a MOSFET, but in practice almost a complementary term. Whether the gate is metal or highly doped polysilicon (or anything else, although for commercial devices there is no anything else), if the gate insulation is oxide it's called a MOSFET. IGFET is now a rare term, so if anyone uses it they're either trying to be general or they're referring specifically to some gate insulator that isn't (silicon-, for all practical purposes) oxide.

The idea for an IGFET was patented in Britain in 1935. The first commercially successful IGFET's were Si MOSFET's, which became available in the later sixties (nMOS ROM and SRAM) once cleanrooms became clean enough to keep sodium out of the oxide.

Immunoglobulin G. A class of antibodies. The major immunoglobulin in normal human blood serum, and the only immunoglobulin that can cross the placenta.

Index-guided laser.

InterGalactic Medium.

Immunoglobulin M. A class of antibodies active against bacteria and foreign red blood cells. Their size prevents them from crossing the human placenta. An important detail.

Internet Group Management Protocol. A TCP/IP protocol for multicasting.


ignoratio elenchi
The name of the fallacy of ``ignoring the point [of the argument]'' or ``irrelevant conclusion.'' In Latin, elenchus is a pearl pendant worn as an earing -- a drop-pearl, as in Pliny's Natural History, 9.113 or Juvenal 6.459. So I guess ignoratio elenchi means `the ignoring (or the ignorance) of the pearl.' Oh wait -- there's a Greek word that would be transliterated elenchos. In neuter gender it means `reproach, disgrace, dishonor,' and in male gender it means `refutation.' Of course, the word is Latinized into the second declension, -os becoming -us. So ignoratio elenchi means `ignoring of the refutation.' Too bad, I preferred the `pearl.'

A special case is the non-denial denial.

Inter-Governmental Organization.

Integrated Global Ocean Services System.

Interior Gateway Protocol. A protocol used to communicate routing information between internet routers. This is not for header or other message information but for information about the internet path itself.

Insect Growth Regulator. Such hormones are used in pest control (preventing a chrysalis from maturing, for example). An advantage is that, if strategically deposited, these can be effective in small quantities. A disadvantage is that hormones don't differ all that much across the animal kingdom...

International Guitar Research Archives. Other links at the guitar entry.

Interior Gateway Routing Protocol. A Cisco proprietary routing protocol for IP and ISO CLNS networks.

Impaired Glucose Tolerance. Above-normal blood glucose levels normal, but too low to justify a diagnosis of diabetes. Previously called ``borderline,'' ``chemical,'' ``latent,'' or ``subclinical'' diabetes.

Institute of Gas Technology.

Insulating-Gate (bipolar) Transistor, q.v..

Integrated Telecom Technology.

International Geophysical Year. Cf. IHD.

Imperial Household Agency. A self-perpetuating bureaucracy nominally under the Japanese prime minister. Its principal tasks are to prevent any correct or unfavorable information about the Japanese imperial dynasty and its preposterous myths from becoming public, and to make the life of the Empress a living hell (from the time she becomes Crown Princess). They're also in charge of some protocol stuff. It cannot be proven that they call directly upon the services of the violent nationalists who threaten and harass anyone who publicly opposes the IHA's policies.


Institute for the History of Ancient Civilizations. At North East Normal University, Changchun 130024, Jilin Province, China. IHAC maintains its own library and publishes its own journal, the Journal of Ancient Civilizations (JAC, q.v.).

Okay, here's the information you've been waiting for: what's the weather like in Changchun? Thanks to a job posting, we can say that it is ``normally sunny, dry and clear'' but
Winter c. -25 to -10 °C
Summer c. 16 - 28 °C

Take a sweater.

For more information, see this posting on the Classics list.

I have great admiration for ...
... but I disagree.

I have great respect and admiration for ...
... but I disagree.

I have the greatest respect and admiration for ...
... but I disagree.


Inner Hair Cell. Supports a cilium in the cochlea. Listen to your inner hair!

International Humanitarian Cooperation. Development Aid.

Institute for Health and Disability. A network of programs for children and youth and their families, based at UMN. As of 2004, it seems to have changed its name or disappeared.

International Hydrological Decade. Cf. IGY.

International Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change Program.

Insensitive High Explosive.

Alfred Nobel's first great technical achievement was the invention of dynamite, a manageable form of nitroglycerine.

Inside Higher Ed. (Sic. There's no ucation in the official name.) A website for ``jobs, news and views for all of higher education.''

Interface Homme Machine. French -- a language in which, unlike English, adjectives generally follow the nouns they modify (significant exceptions: quantifiers, bien, mal).

`him' in German -- a language in which, unlike English, the letter aitch often follows the letter ai.

International House Of Pancakes. Originally a chain of breakfast A-frames with blue roofs. Nowadays they stack 'em under other architectures as well.

``I HOP'' may also express the idea that ``I am hopping [mad]!'' Today I ate at the local IHOP for the last time. I was served late, I had to ask three times for my drink, my order was taken and forgotten, then apparently taken incorrectly, and the food was unsatisfactory. At least I didn't have to wait five minutes to be cashed out, as happened on an earlier occasion.

You're probably thinking I should stop complaining and just get a life, but stop a moment and think: I am I really the sort of glossarist who would bore you with the petty irritations of my life if there were not some important larger point to be made? Would I just blather on about such stuff? What do you think?

Wrong! There is a bigger point here, and I'll make it eventually.

Once while waiting too long to be seated, I looked at the seating chart and noticed a management notice to the effect that employees caught hanging out at a certain nearby table would be dismissed. I guess management was never there when I was. For reasons beyond my ken, employees at that IHOP are particularly prone to haunting the place when they're off duty. Scratch that, generalize; they're particularly prone to being off-duty when they're there. The second-to-last time I ever go there, as I was beginning my meal, my waitress asked if there was anything I would want, as she was going on break. An off-duty co-worker sitting nearby razzed her, saying ``you just took a break!'' You probably think I'm making this stuff up. Your fall-back opinion is that it serves me right for going more than once. I guess I just thought it had to be a fluke, and another fluke, and... Really poor service is rarely a fluke; it's a management failure. Today among the off-duty personnel at nearby tables, I overheard one waitress complaining that the other day she figured out that she had only earned 4.5% in tips. I was tempted to tell her that that was probably right. (I actually checked discreetly to see who it was. She wasn't anyone who had ever waited on me, though of course I'd seen her around.) In the future if I want service this poor I can go to Denny's -- it's closer.

I can't say that all big restaurant chains have shabby service. Indeed, over the long run you imagine none can. But in the highly competitive restaurant business, chains exhibit the effects of management failure in interesting ways. To contrast, consider the restaurants in my area that are not franchises of some chain. They go out of business at an extraordinary rate, as I suggest at the pork rinds entry. But more to the point, on an individual basis they decline quickly. The suddenness is expressed in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman (1949):

Willy was a salesman. And for a salesman, there is no rock bottom to the life. He don't put a bolt to a nut, he don't tell you the law or give you medicine. He's a man way out there in the blue, riding on a smile and a shoeshine. And when they start not smiling back -- that's an earthquake. And then you get yourself a couple of spots on your hat, and you're finished.

Most retailing is like that; it doesn't matter whether the salesman travels to the customers like Willy, or puts up a sign and waits for the customers to come to him. What matters is that when you're being paid for a commodity, you're often competing on the basis of customer service. Restaurants -- prepared-food retailers -- can compete by offering unusual cuisine (don't tell me they can offer food that everyone likes more) or low price, or convenient location or speed. But it's not called ``food-service'' for nothing.

Oops! You made a mistake: you came here before I finished the entry. Say ``my bad'' and come back in five months.

Institut für Halbleiterphysik (Eng., `Semiconductor physics'). At Frankfurt (Oder).

International Hydrological Programme. A UNESCO program.

ISDN High-voltage Power Controller.

Integrated High Performance Turbine Engine Technology.

International Human Powered Vehicle Association.

German, `her [fam.], their, your [formal].'

Institute of Historical Research. Founded in 1921 by A. F. Pollard. Part of the School of Advanced Studies of the University of London. As of early 2008, the institute housed three research centers:

International Hotel & Restaurant Association. Founded in 1946 in Paris, France, and moved to Geneva, Switzerland, in 2008. Its members include both national hospitality industry associations and hotel and restaurant chains.

International Hot Rod Association. A drag-racing association created in 1970. Vide goracing.com, VROOM!

International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association. ``Sportsclub''? Is that anything like a clubbell?

Indian Health Service. ``[A]n agency within the U S Dept. of Health and Human Services [DHHS] ... responsible for providing federal health services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. ... The IHS is the principal federal health care provider and health advocate for Indian people...''

International Handling & Storage Magazine. Published by IHSE.

Illinois High School Association. It's about athletics. ``The IHSA governs the equitable participation in interscholastic athletics and activities that enrich the educational experience.'' (Doubtless the use of a restrictive clause is intentional: if it doesn't enrich the educational experience, then it's governed by Bob the Bookie; inequitable participation is the responsibility of Felix the Fixer.) And don't wonder why they don't mention athletics or sports in the organization name. It's not necessary: they mention ``High School,'' so obviously it's all about sports.

International Handling & Storage Exhibition. Meetings in 2000, 2003, ...

International Humic Substances Society. ``[F]ounded in 1981 to bring together scientists in the coal, soil, and water sciences with interests in humic substances. IHSS has [as of early 2002] a membership of nearly 900 scientists.''

International Herald Tribune. For a while it was operated jointly by the New York Times and the Washington Post, but Pinch Sulzberger decided he needed to control this ultra-important trifle (``The World's Daily,'' available to sticks-in-the-mud throughout many places in Europe). In 2002, Pinch offered to buy the Post's share for $65 million, and threatened to launch an international edition of the New York Times if the Grahams (the family that owns most of the Post) didn't sell. The NYT took over at the beginning of 2003. I'm not sure when they began the practice, but the IHT masthead is now (2008) subtitled ``The Global Edition of the New York Times.''

Institute of Human Virology.

I... I. The Roman numeral representing the number two. It is often appended to indicate the second person in a line to bear a name. The line may be a sequence of monarchs of a given realm. A current example is Queen Elizabeth II of England. Note that the monarchs need not belong to the same dynasty: the first Queen Elizabeth, now referred to as Queen Elizabeth I, was a Tudor; Queen Elizabeth II is a Windsor. (I'm not sure to what extent the pope of the Roman Catholic Church counts as a monarch, but that would be a stronger example in recent centuries.)

Look, I know the following is disordered, but it might help you to figure things out until I do.

That briefly is the usual practice with ruling houses. A definite outlier is the House of Reuss, which has had a number of lines (e.g., younger and older Reuss-Plauen lines, and Reuss-Lobenstein) as well as extinctions. One is reminded of Candide's adoptive family and their precious quarterings. The Reuss Younger Line, is a dynasty that ruled a German principality from 1806 (founded with Napoleon's Confederation of the Rhine) until 1918 (defeat of the German Empire). All the males of that house were named Heinrich, but they each got a serial number that was unique enough (counting restarted each century). Hence, the first member of the family to reign in the principality was already Heinrich XLII. If some later ruler of the principality had had the same number, then presumably he would have been Heinrich XLII the Second, or Heinrich XLII II, not to be confused with his cousin Heinrich XLIV.

This is a real entry, and not something concocted by Monty Python. All males of the House of Reuss have been named Heinrich since Heinrich I von Weida. Read some of the messy details here. The Reuss Elder Line followed the same numbering practice (and ruled a smaller principality that existed from 1778 to 1918), but was less fecund. Both comprised archipelagos of territory in Thuringia. They had the unimaginative names of Fürstentum Reuß <fooere> Linie, where <fooere> took the values ältere and jungere, resp. (`Principality of the Reuss <Foo> Line,' <Foo> `Elder' and `Younger'). The lines were also distinguished as Reuß-Greiz (elder) and Reuß-Gera (younger). There were a number of lines in the Reuss house, and a few extinctions.

The weird numbering of the Reusses (set aside the use of a single given name for all males) approximates the usual practice of assigning numbers to nonrulers. In the line of a common family, a ``Jr.'' is used to distinguish the son when a father and son have the same given names; II and III are used to designate bearers of a name in the second and third generations when three generations bear the same name. For an instance of 2.0, see the downtown Holland entry. The Romans used many given names that simply stated birth order. In this connection, see Septimus; for a related idea, read about Jefferson Finis Davis. You may not want to be reminded of Bush 41 or Bush 43.

Most names in English are specifically male or female, but it sometimes happens that a parent and child of opposite sex share a name. For example, I know a father and daughter Gene and Jeanne, though I don't know how they spell their names. Dale and Dana would be clearer-cut cases. Anyway, I've never encountered Jr. or II used in such a case, and it would seem odd to me, but you never know.

It occurred to me to write this entry when I learned of a Douglas MacArthur II who was the nephew of General Douglas MacArthur. There wasn't any remarriage involved. Captain Arthur MacArthur III and Mary McCalla MacArthur had a son in 1909 and named him Douglas Arthur MacArthur or something after Arthur's younger brother Douglas (who did not have a middle name Arthur), and this Douglas was known as Douglas MacArthur II. So far as I can tell without working too hard, Gen. Douglas MacArthur had one son, by his second wife, in 1938, and Douglas MacArthur II did not have a son.

Illegal Immigrant. This acronym is understood in Hong Kong, which exists entirely on its own border (sort of like a Julia set).

Impact Ionization.

Independence Institute. A Colorado think tank.

Ion Implant[ation].

Information Industry Association. How come I didn't know about this? A slow-down in production?

If I Am Right. The scientist in any of those 1950's monster-from-outer-space movies might have found this handy when talking to the military man. Cf. IMTIC.

Using IIAR too frequently can make you seem self-centered and dismissive of others' contributions. Therefore, be sure to also consider ``If You Are Wrong.''

I think the Beatles had a relevant song.

International Institute of Ammonia Refrigeration.

You don't have to refrigerate ammonia. It keeps.

i.i.a.r.f.t., IIARFT
It Is A Remarkable Fact That. (I recommend against pronouncing the initialism as an acronym.)

In the foreword to their Sphere Packings, Lattices and Groups (New York: Springer-Verlag, 1988), J. H. Conway and N. J. A.  Sloane wrote:

At one point while working on this book we even considered adopting a special abbreviation for ``It is a remarkable fact that,'' since this phrase seemed to occur so often.

For a greater example of prescience, see the entry for ``Likes romantic walks on the beach.''

And for all you militantly descriptivist lexicographers out there, no, I've never seen the abbreviation given above, in either form, in use anywhere else... yet.

Independent Inquiry Committee. There are two kinds of IIC:
  1. IIC's funded and accountable to outside parties, with staffs and members, ultimately selected by outsiders, whose interests do not conflict with the goal of a thorough investigation and an accurate and complete report.
  2. Real IIC's.

Inter-IC (bus). A popular serial bus for low bit-rate communications (100 kbit/s) -- between IC's, as you may have guessed. It was developed by Philips Semiconductor in the early 1980's. Two lines wire-or'ed, (SDA, SCL) plus ground.

Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification.

Identically Independently Distributed (random variables).

Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos. Institut Inter-Américain des Droits de l'Homme. Instituto Interamericano de Dereitos Humanos. Inter-American Institute of Human Rights.

Institute of Industrial Engineers.

Institute of International Education.

Institute of International Finance, Inc. ``The Global Association of Financial Institutions.''

International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade.


Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas. The institute for philological research at UNAM.


Although four has been written IV more commonly than IIII for centuries, IIII is still a common form on clock faces. The accepted reason for this tradition seems to be that the size of IIII provides a better visual balance to VIII on the opposite side of the clock face. This also explains why nine is written in the more usual way (IX rather than VIIII).

IIII, VIIII, XIIII, XXXX, LXXXX, CXXXX, DCCCC, MCCCC were fairly standard in (Roman) Republican times. In early Imperial times, subtractive forms became increasingly common -- not just IX for nine but XIIX for eighteen, etc. There was evidently a long period during which both subtractive and additive forms were common. For an analysis of the epigraphic evidence see B. E. Thomasson ``Zu den Notis Numeralium in Lateinischen Inschriften,'' Opuscula Romana 3.1961, 169-178, in particular the table on p. 171.

Compound semiconductor[s], chalcopyrite[s] like CuInSe2. This (Cu-In-Se, called CIS) is the most studied instance at this time (2005), along with the alloys CuIn1-xGaxSe2 (written more compactly as ``Cu(In,Ga)Se2'' and also called CIGS) as well as Cu(In,Ga)(Se,S)2 or CIGSS. The I-III-VI system offers direct-gap semiconductors with a broad range of lattice constants and bandgaps, so various I-III-VI's are being investigated for possible exploitation as photovoltaic materials. The CIS system also has good minority-carrier lifetimes, making it attractive for polycrystalline-film PV's.

(As the example suggests, the group-I elements are transition metals -- group IB in the most common traditional namings, or group 11 in the IUPAC numbering. Also as the naming and examples suggest, the group-III and -VI elements are main-group elements in the p-block: groups IIIA and VIA in the traditional American scheme, IIIB and VIB in the traditional European scheme, and 13 and 16 according to IUPAC. It's a lot easier to add obvious comments about the notation than to go and learn anything about the actual semiconductors.)

Same as I-III-VI.

A group compound semiconductor compounded of one or more elements from what used to be called group IIIA (mostly Al, Ga, and In) with nitrogen. Also written and pronounced ``III-nitride.'' The III-N's are a subset of the III-V's.

The International Institute of Informatics and Systemics.

Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi. It was created as a State University by a 2007 act of the Delhi Government. (Yes, Delhi -- the capital of India -- is a state in its own right.)

Compound semiconductors combining an anion from group V [from nitrogen (N) on down] and a cation from group III [well, skip boron (B) usually, use aluminum (Al), gallium (Ga) and indium (In)]. Usually takes zincblende (ZB structure when grown epitaxially (MBE, MOCVD and variants). The stable bulk allotrope often has Wurtzite structure.

Compound semiconductors that are sometimes thought of as derivative of the III-V's, with a monovalent-divalent species pair replacing the group-III metal. E.g., LiZnAs.


Triumviri Rei Publicae Constituendae Consulari Potestate. Latin, `three men with consular power for the constitution of the republic.' Something like that. Whatever. Official name of the second triumvirate, about which we don't say much at the triumvirate entry. (It ought to be said about the Roman republic that at that point it hardly existed anymore except as an elaborate formality overlying the reality of the Roman Empire.)

This was the initialism that was at one time used by Institut canadien d'information juridique. Only available in French and English (the latter as CanLII).

IIM, iim
Institut Interculturel de Montréal/ Intercultural Institute of Montreal. You're probably wondering why they chose French and English names that can share a common abbreviation -- it seems to make too much sense. In fact, it looks like they were a tad embarrassed about the intercultural message one might draw from their splash page. In order to demonstrate their commitment to an ever-deepening understanding of cultural pluralism, they color-coded the second I of IIM and color-coordinated it with Interculturel and Intercultural, so you would be able to figure out which language was home. They can't help themselves.

IIM was created in 1963. As an entertainment input to those who would never think of learning about this organization and having a cynical chuckle or curl of the lip, I present their self-description. IIM is

a non-profit research and social action organization, dedicated to promoting an ever-deepening understanding of cultural pluralism, intercultural relations and social change. Its scope is local, national as well as international.

Although harmonius [sic] ethnic relations and cultural diversity are generally recognized as desirable, little is understood about the transformative possibilities they offer our pluralistic world.

iim is committed to exploring these possibilities in order to meet contemporary economic, ecological, social and civilizational challenges. These can only be met by a sincere search for wisdom and insight from each and every culture, through dialogue, understanding and cooperation.

The philosophy and practices of iim find their roots in the non-institutional and community sectors of our societies. The Institute's spirit has been one of engaging itself in a dynamic interaction between the public and private or the formal and informal sectors, without compromising its identity as a community organization.

International Ice Patrol. We're not talkin' little ice cubes here.

(US) Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.

Institute for Interconnecting and Packaging Electronic Circuits.

IIRC, iirc
If I Recall Correctly. Occasionally ``... Remember ....''

Indian Institute of Remote Sensing.

Intelligent Information System.

Intelligent Intermodal Solutions. ``Intermodal'' as in intermodal freight transport. A product group from SAIC.

Internet Information Server.

Interim Interswitch Signaling Protocol.

Illinois Institute of Technology.

Indian Institute of Technology. Campuses all over India.

Indiana Institute of Technology.

Image Intensifier Tube.

Iowa Interpreters and Translators Association, Inc.

International Interconnect Technology Conference. It's sponsored by the IEEE Electron Devices Society. The thirteenth annual IITC: San Francisco, CA, June 7-9, 2010.

Two-Six (semiconductor). As in: compound of a IIb metal (viz. Zn, Cd, and Hg, in periods 3, 4 and 5, respectively) with a group VIa cation. The latter is usually S, Se, or Te. [The remaining two VIa elements are Po and O. Polonium is rare, and very radioactive (its most available isotope has a 138-day half-life by alpha decay; it self-vaporizes). Transition-metal oxides show a variety of interesting behaviors and phase transitions, but they're basically insulators. Pseudobinary alloys with Mn are also common ``II-VI'' materials.

A major motivation to study II-VI semiconductors is their broad range of bandgaps (from 0 in HgTe to wide in CdTe) and the demonstrated possibility of making MBE- and MOCVD-grown heterostructures as in the III-V system. (VCSEL's are popular structures.) They also have interesting magnetic properties [Dilute Magnetic Semiconductors are generally II-VI materials with low Mn (or Fe) concentration]. A variety of technological challenges, though, have so far prevented the practical fabrication of electronic and electro-optic devices out of II-VI semiconductors. These include difficulties in doping, instabilities in the epitaxial growth process, and rapid micromechanical degradation of optical devices during use (2.5-hour laser lifetimes were reported at an 8/95 II-VI conference in Edinborough).

There was an unofficial II-VI homepage, which is supposed to have moved to this new location, but I can't reach it.

A friend of mine (Dan) works for II-VI Incorporated, so I've put a link in. See?

Cleveland Crystals serves a list of properties.

There's a low-traffic UK-based mailing list for II-VI researchers called semiconductors-2-6.

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