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Latin, Kaeso. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina.

As discussed at the end of the ramo entry, the name Kaeso is an exceptional survival of the letter K in a native Latin word, after the sound of that letter began to be represented by C. It is widely assumed that the existence of the abbreviation was a major factor in preserving the archaic spelling.

k., k
Karat. One twenty-fourth part purity, or ``fineness.'' Pure gold is 24 karats; 18-karat gold (75% Au alloy; see golden spike) does not look substantially different. Karat is also abbreviated kt., and also written carat, though the latter word might be confused with the weight measure for gems that is also called carat.

'Kay. Texting abbreviation for okay.

Kelvin. The famous Lord Kelvin was George Thompson before he was elevated to the peerage (and also afterwards). The kelvin absolute temperature scale is more popular than Rankine. This is impossible to understand, especially as Kelvin never invented a cool nonreciprocating engine. The degree symbol (°) ``should not'' (sez SI) be used in designating absolute temperature (though it was so as recently as the seventies -- I don't recall when SI promulgated this particular fashion). Thus, in the new style:
273.15 K = 0°C

Kernschale. German for `nucleus shell.' That is, the electronic shell closest to the nucleus. When I first wrote this entry, that word was the most common explanation I had seen of the origin of the K, L, M... notation used in X-ray spectroscopy and elsewhere. I had never seen a very reliable cite for the claim, evidently because it was post facto -- a science-folk etymology. Now that I've learned the true origin, this entry will serve to direct people who are only aware of the Kernschale etymology to the correct history. Essentially, the scheme was devised by Charles Glover Barkla in the period 1906-1911. William B. Jensen published a good short article on the subject in 2003, which he (or rather the University of Cincinnati, from which he is now emeritus) serves on line.

Other etymologies that I have seen less often (all German with the one indicated exception): kernnah (`near the nucleus'), kaerne (Danish for `core'), Kathodenstrahlung (`cathode ray'), and kurz (`short' -- relative to L, for lang, `long').

[Football icon]

Kicker. Specifically, the football player who kicks PAT's and FG's. Kick-offs and punts are the job of the punter (P).

Standard abbreviation of the metric prefix kilo- for a factor of a thousand.

Kilo. Usually capitalized. In computer usage, a factor of 210 = 1024. An important question is often: ``K's of what?'' In discussing RAM and ROM memory as devices or chips, it turns out that it means kilobits, so a 16K memory only stores 2 kilobytes. On the other hand, file size and serial (magnetic and optical disk) storage are usually in terms of bytes, and when RAM or ROM storage is discussed in the context of an integrated system, that is the usage that prevails. In other words, if you install eight 4Meg DRAM packages on your motherboard, your system will find its memory capacity increased by only 4Megs.

(Man, this entry is aging fast.)

Kilo. No, this isn't the same as the previous entry. Kilo here is not an abbreviation, just the FCC-recommended ``phonetic alphabet'' name. I.e., one of 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).

``Kilo'' is obviously a bad choice. Use ``Kitchen'' or ``Kvetch'' or ``Kelvinator'' or ``Kiloton.''

Kinase. Part of the name of many enzymes.

King['s]. Back when the monarch was not so ceremonial, this stood for something. Now it's mostly a decoration on longer abbreviations.
King's Bench
King's College
King's Counsel
King's Own Scottish Borderers
``King and Queen'' (iron)

Kitchen. Floorplan abbreviation.

Knight. Combining form -- prefer Kt. in isolation.
Knight Bachelor
Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Knight of the Blessed Sacrament
Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Knight Commander of the Order of St. Michael and St. George
Knight Commander of the Star of India
Knight Commander of the Victorian Order
Knight of the Garter
Knight Grand Cross Order of the Bath
Knight of Hanover (Obs.)
Knight of the Order of St. Patrick
Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great
Knight of the Order of the Thistle... (Knight Templar).

k, K
Konstant. Anyway, a constant. The letter may have been chosen because it's the first letter in the German word Konstant, but there are a lot of constants and many of them need variable names, from time to time. Lower-case k is used for various constants that arise in the law of mass action in chemistry.

In various parts of electrostatics, k or K is the dimensionless dielectric constant. That is, the ratio of the electric permittivity of a (presumably homogeneous) material to the permittivity of the vacuum. Electrical engineers often also write Boltzmann's constant simply as k, just to cause trouble.

Wavevector magnitude is also often written as k. I suppose back in the days of optics in air, that was mostly a constant, but in the optics of refractive media or in the wave mechanics of anything, k is not very constant at all. Oh well, at least it's the magnitude of a vector, and vector property will usually be indicated in some typographic way. (Typically this is done by the use of boldface in print, and by an arrow or line above or below the letter in handwriting; some people use a squiggly line or a double line. In some situations, you have vectors in different kinds of vector space, and you're happy for all the clarification you can get.)


Chemical element symbol for potassium. From Kalium, Latin for `potassium.' The Latin name is related to the Arabic qali. With the definite article, al qali is the origin of the international scientific term (ISV) alkali (q.v.). Potassium is in the IA group (column) of the periodic table, called the alkali metals. The name `potassium' is a Latinization of the English term potash, from pot ash. [As recently as the 1930's in Chile, and even today in places like Burma (Myanmar), people have made their own soap, using fat scraps or getting tallow from a tanner or butcher, and using pot ashes in a home implementation of the saponification process.]

Very soft metal you can cut with a (dry!) spoon. You want to keep it nice and silvery, you keep it in mineral oil to prevent oxidation. Reacts violently with water (2K + 2H2O --> 2KOH + H2). By ``violently,'' I mean that if you toss a sliver of potassium into a pan of water, it will bounce out from the force of the hydrogen generated on the bottom part in contact with the water. (It helps a bit that potassium is the second lightest metal, after lithium.) Then it'll skitter around on the floor burning off the drops of water that stuck to it. This is not a good experiment to do in the living room. You want to use your older sister's bedroom, now that she's away at college. She'll never guess it was you. (If your bedroom is part of the same house, you might also want to make sure the entire room is fireproof. A fire extinguisher may or may not be enough.)

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

Bananas are a good source of potassium. Some years ago, David and his brother came down from climbing in the mountains and their legs were shaking, not from the cold. ``So,'' as David said, they ``went into a grocery and bought some bananas.'' How do people figure out stuff like this? I probably would've checked into an emergency room and gone bananas. I guess that stuff about Gatorade replacing the minerals you use up (sweat off?) in exercise is not complete hooey. Later on, David singlehandedly rescued the MS Windows project as it was about to be abandoned in favor of IBM's OS/2 [so Jennifer Edstrom and Marlin Eller: Barbarians Led by Bill Gates (1998)].

A typical banana contains 300-400 mg of potassium. On November 1, 2000, the International Banana Association was pleased to announce that the FDA, which monitors health claims, had approved a label saying ``Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke'' for bananas sold in the United States.

StriKe, in baseball. The kind that occurs during, rather than instead of, the game. Major League Baseball experienced the second kind of strike June 12 to August 10 in 1981, and from August 12 to the end of the 1994 season (owners canceled the remainder of the season on September 14).

In baseball, three strikes make an out. In bowling, three strikes make a turkey, sometimes. (Specifically, during promotions before Thanksgiving.) In hockey, three goals by a single player make a hat trick.

Of similar interest: in the rules of baseball promulgated by Alexander Cartwright in 1845 (see WS), scores were called ``aces.'' The name was changed to ``runs'' during the first convention of baseball players, held in May 1857 to reconcile differences between what had come to be known as ``the New York game'' and ``the Massachusetts game.'' These meetings also established the principle that games are won by the first team that will have a lead at the end of nine or more innings.

A turn at bat used to be called a ``hand.'' Hands, aces -- does this suggest anything? Baseball was a bettors' game.

Under Cartwright's rules, the first team to score twenty-one aces won. The first baseball game on record was played by these rules on June 19, 1846. It was decided in four innings by a score of 23 to 1. The team trounced was Cartwright's own Knickerbockers. The New York Knickerbockers, and all the other players then, wore knickerbockers -- trousers gathered tightly to close at the calf. In Chile in the 1920's, these were known as guardapedos, roughly `fart catchers.' In the US and elsewhere in that era, short pants or knickerbockers were boys' standard attire for all occasions, and the first pair of long or straight-leg pants was a sort of coming-of-age sign. The team name New York Knickerbockers continues in use in shortened form as the name of the New York NBA franchise, the Knicks. They wear shorts. In Britain today, knickers are what Americans call `panties.' If this information intrigues you, see the Nick entry.

That first recorded game was part of another sports tradition that continues today: the humiliated Knickerbockers and their tormentors, ``the New Yorks,'' were both -- you may have guessed this -- New York teams, and they were playing in New Jersey (Elysian Fields, in Hoboken). This tradition of profitable hospitality continues in the New Jersey Meadowlands today. [Football icon] Giants Stadium, part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex, is home field to both of New York City's NFL franchises: the New York Jets and the New York Giants.

Back in the nineteen-seventies, when these New York teams began playing their home games in New Jersey, one other pro team moved and changed its name: the New York Nets, which became the New Jersey Nets. We all figured they were so terrible that they had few New York fans to alienate by the name change.

Keep Alive. Message used in the link management interface (LMI) of a frame relay port, to verify link integrity.

`Touch,' `keep alive' -- sweet whispered nothings of the electronic world.

26-40 GHz.

Kathleen, Adam, David, and Ashley. Names, respectively, of the wife and son of the owner, the owner himself, and his daughter. The first time I noticed ``KADA,'' I assumed it was just an unusual name (it was embroidered above the right breast pocket). On a subsequent visit I saw it again, and I thought it was too much of a coincidence for two different people to have in the same store. Hypothesis: maybe they're sharing uniforms? Gathering additional experimental data: so I looked around, and I noticed that all the employees appeared to have the name KADA. I asked the woman who took my cash, and she explained, adding that she'd been working there for two years and only recently found out. That's okay: I'm slow too. I only noticed it after coming in at least a score of times over the last five years. So it's not some anonymous corporate franchise: these McDonaldses (one southbound on SR 933, less than a mile before Mendoza's and one on Indian Ridge Boulevard in Mishawaka) are family restaurants. Actually, in Spring 2005 the uniforms were changed (no change in ownership) and no longer bear a KADA logo. But now (Winter 2006), people towards the front of the house have to wear either a tie or this silver medallion that goes where a tie knot would go. You know, the fast food business is highly complex, carefully calibrated stuff. If it were up to me, I don't think I'd know that it was time to remove a logo or add a medallion. On the plus side, I would know that it was time to wipe off the tables.

In the Roman-character spelling of Ladino, kada is probably `each' (cada in Spanish).

Kaufhaus des Westens. German: `Department Store of the West.'

Korean Academy of Esthetic Dentistry.

Kirtland Air Force Base. Home of Sandia National Labs -- Albuquerque.

Native Japanese word now used in the sense of `science.'

Kids Are Getting Older Younger. The acronym is used in the toy industry as the name of a worrisome phenomenon: children are losing interest in ordinary children's toys at younger ages, and moving on to video games, the Internet, and cable TV. For example, ``action figures'' (boys' dolls) that used to hold 8-year-olds' attention can now only be marketed to 3-5 year-olds.

That's not the only problem besetting toy manufacturers, according to an article by Constance L. Hays for the New York Times, February 23, 2005. Toy sales have come to be dominated by discounters like Wal-Mart and Target. These not only put pressure on margins, but they also focus on stocking only the fastest-moving merchandise and sell store-brand knock-offs. In consequence, stores specializing in toys and games lose business and close, the variety of products that can find shelf space decreases, and investment in new games becomes unprofitable.

Among the specialist chains that have shrunk or are shrinking, F.A.O. Inc., the parent of F.A.O. Schwarz and Zany Brainy chains, went bankrupt at the end of 2003, and emerged with just its traditional showcase on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, and one store in Las Vegas. Toys'R'Us was for sale, and like KB Toys had seen its sales decline. According to later reports, Toys'R'Us, which had restructured in 2004, was sold to a group of three private equity firms (called ``financial sponsors'' in investment banking parlance) for $6.6 billion.

The main Greek word meaning `and.' Hence, by the decision of Dr. Zamenhof (Doktoro Esperanto), kaj is the Esperanto `and.'

Kansas Association for Infant Mental Health. ``[A]n affiliate of the World Association for Infant Mental Health, [it] is an association of professionals in Kansas who are concerned with the emotional development of infants.''

Cosmopolitan Kansas has to face the world. The KAIMH offers much of its material in Spanish (clumsy but understandable translation) and French as well as English. Its official names in these languages are Asociación de Kansas por la Salud Mental del Bebé and Association de Kansas pour la Santé Mentale du Nourisson, resp.

Japanese word meaning `corporation, company, office.' Occasionally used in English to mean Japanese corporation.

A Japanese word meaning `improvement.' Used in business with the specialized sense of `incremental but continual improvement.' Often touted until about 1991 as the secret of Japan's industrial success. See, for example, Maasaaki Imai's Kaizen: The Key to Japan's Competitive Success (Random House, 1986). The book is copyrighted by The KAIZEN Institute, Ltd., which claims trademark on ``KAIZEN.''

``Cholesterol-free'' saltines. How very unique. I hope that's not all they're free of. Distributed by Kako, Inc., of Berwyn, IL. Cf. CACO Chocolate Sandwich Cookie.

kako, kakou
Japanese name for the age of 61. What about 77?

Sanskrit term widely used in Buddhism. A time unit equal to the duration of psychotherapy. Also loosely translated as `the longest finite time that is not actually infinite.'

Here's a more technical definition:

One thousand mahayugas -- 4,320,000,000 years of human reckoning -- constitute a single day of Brahma, a single kalpa.

Keep-Alive Memory.

Kolmogorov-Arnold-Moser. An amazing theorem. Small-enough perturbations of an integrable system leave a measurable region of space with the same (nonmixing) qualitative behavior as the initial integrable system, and the measure of the exceptional region shrinks with the magnitude of the perturbation. Very roughly speaking. The theorem was proposed by A. N. Kolmogorov in Dokl. Akad. Nauk USSR, 98, 527 (1954) [this was in the cold war days before Sputnik and before cover-to-cover translation of Soviet scientific journals]. The theorem was proved independently by V. I. Arnold, Uspekhi Mat. Nauk, 18, 13 (1963) [Eng. transl.: Russian Math. Surv. 18, 85 (1963)] and by J. Moser, Nachr. Akad. Wiss. Göttingen, #1 (1962).

Japanese: `divine wind.' This name legendarily referred to the typhoon that in 1281 destroyed an armada of the Mongol Empire and saved Japan from invasion. Toward the end of WWII, when the Japanese Empire had been pushed back from its Pacific Ocean conquests, the name was, uh, resurrected. It described the flights of suicide pilots who would crash their explosive-laden planes into ships of the American armada expected to invade Japan. The existence of this term effectively restricts the semantic range of the term ``suicide bomber.''

Japanese is transliterated into English (here and usually) using the Hepburn system. Like most scholarly and recent popular Romanizations, this is as phonetic and as parsimonious as reasonably possible. The letters i and e therefore represent different vowels, pronounced in a way that is typical among European languages other than English. The biggest error made by English-speakers pronouncing this word (as well as karaoke) is to pronounce the final e as ``ee'' instead of the correct ``eh.'' And don't shwa it into an ``uh.'' In Japanese, that happens to a final u and not any other vowel in final position.

The word kami, the `divine' in `divine wind,' has a different semantic range than the English word divine -- unsurprisingly, given the different traditions of religious and related ideas. Absent the original historical context, reasonable alternative translations of kamikaze would include `demon wind' and `demonic wind.'

The alternate (from a traditional Anglophone perspective) sense of kami occurs in some legends retold at the absurd entry, but as long as you're on this page you should probably read the Kaopectate entry (infra) first.

A Japanese word that means:
  1. One of the characters in the Japanese syllabaries.
  2. One or both of the Japanese syllabaries (hiragana and katakana).
  3. The system of writing that utilizes the Japanese syllabaries.

In other words, before getting into detail, let's understand that the single word kana in Japanese has meanings corresponding to the terms letter, alphabet, and alphabetic writing in English. This multiple use is more natural in Japanese than in European languages, for a number of reasons. (If you're comfortable with that and just want to know about kana, skip forward to the next unindented paragraph.)

This is the ``next unindented paragraph'' that I mentioned earlier. Probably the first thing to be said is that the two kana sets (hiragana and katakana) are almost completely equivalent phonemically. The difference is similar to that between italicized and nonitalicized text: Katakana is used to write loans from languages other than Chinese. Hiragana is used for pretty much everything else. Any native Japanese word or Chinese loan word can be written in hiragana. Good adult style, however, demands the use kanji for most content. On the other hand, Japanese is a somewhat inflected language (verbs and some adjectives are inflected for tense, some of the keigo stuff takes the form of inflections, such as the ubiquitous polite -masu). Particles occur as postpositions and case markings (like prepositions or noun declensions) that seem to hound most nouns. These inflections are written in hiragana. Hiragana and kanji also occur mixed together in compound words. There are various exceptions to the hiragana/katakana division of labor: katakana can be used for emphasis, like italics in English; it's also used for clarity, like block letters in English (see furigana for an example). Hiragana is sometimes used by mistake for words that don't seem foreign. One example is tempura, discussed along with other examples of kana at the AACM entry. For one or two shortcomings of kana, see the gakki entry. For a brief overview of Japanese writing (now he tells me!) see the benny entry.

Gee, there's still a lot left to say. I guess this entry is still under construction. We'll put in a little bit at a time.

The name of a state, a dam, and a reservoir in northern Nigeria.

Japanese name for Chinese (Han) logographic characters used in writing Japanese. (In Mandarin today they're called hanzi.)

Chinese characters arrived in Japan carrying Chinese literature, and for a while that's mainly what they were used for. Japanese remained a spoken language, and Chinese was a learnéd (pronunciation hint there) language that was read, written, and probably mispronounced. Chinese plays a role in Japanese that is similar to that of Latin in English, Greek in Latin, and Sanskrit in Indonesian (and in Old Javanese before that): a prestige language that long ago provided a vast infusion of loan words, and which continues to be used for creating neologisms by people who generally don't know the original language. The earliest loan words from Chinese to Japanese were presumably the first words of Japanese that could be written. When a kanji represents such a word, it is said to have an on reading. Kanji also came to be used to represent native Japanese words with similar meanings (these are kun readings). Eventually, simplified forms of selected kanji were used, on an acronymic principle, to represent the basic syllables of Japanese, and these became the kana.

The closest parallels I can think of in English arise from chemical element symbols. A complete but obsolete parallel occurs when one reads the chemical symbol S as a word: reading it as ``sulfur'' is a kind of on reading, since this word etymologically related to basis of the symbol; ``brimstone'' is a kind of kun reading, since it associates an etymologically unrelated but semantically similar (and chemically equivalent) word to a symbol that abbreviated sulfur (or British sulphur or French soufre). A similar situation is presented by the chemical symbol W, which abbreviates the German word Wolfram. In English this is pronouced either ``double-yoo'' or ``tungsten,'' the latter being the etymologically unrelated name for precisely the same element. ``Tungsten'' is something like a kun reading.

A reasonable objection to chemical nomenclature parallels is that S and W are really intended to represent a chemical element (or an atom or mole or fixed fraction of the element; or its nucleus in nuclear formulae). In other words, chemical symbols are part of a semasiographic writing system, intended to represent ideas independently of language. (Mathematical expressions and statements, and international traffic symbols, are the standard examples of semasiographic writing.) The Han characters in Chinese (like the logographs of Mayan and Sumerian scripts, so far as we can tell) are really logographic: they are intended as visual representations of speech. On the other hand, semasiographic writing systems have been developed to communicate in writing the kinds of ideas normally conveyed by natural language in speech. I think that A Study of Writing, by I. J. Gelb (Univ. of Chicago Pr., 1963) begins with an extended explanation of how to interpret some Native American and Siberian semasiographic scripts. By their nature, such writing systems are only loosely attached to particular languages. For example, Nahuatl was the dominant language of the Aztec civilization, but their semasiographic script was used by neighboring tribes that spoke very different languages.

All writing systems for natural languages have some degree of ambiguity, if only because natural languages evolve in ways that cannot be foreseen when scripts are instituted. Some scripts are more ambiguous than others. The on and kun readings of kanji can normally be distinguished by context, but sometimes not. This is something like homograph ambiguity in English, except that the words that fail to be distinguished are not words with (probably) similar sound but words with similar meaning. It's like having sacred and holy, or acid and sour, represented by a common symbol. In this way, Japanese writing shades a little bit into semasiography. In various situations, one uses kana to clarify the pronunciation (and hence the reading) of kanji. These kana are called furigana. The multiple readings, leading to at least two pronunciations for one kanji, seem to be regarded as less of a problem than the problem of homophones and homographs when words are written using only kana. (For an example of each, see the gakki entry.) Phonetic writing using only kana has been advocated from time to time; such movements have always failed. There is a widespread feeling that it's impractical.

Japanese: `contextualism.'

What does that have to do with anything? Why is there an entry for this word here? Why are you here? What does it all mean?

A rock group. Greatest Hit: ``Dust in the Wind.''

The Scarecrow listened carefully, and said, ``I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas.''
``That is because you have no brains'' answered the girl. ``No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.''
The Scarecrow sighed. ``Of course I cannot understand it,'' he said. ``If your heads were stuffed with straw, like mine, you would probably all live in the beautiful places, and then Kansas would have no people at all. It is fortunate for Kansas that you have brains.''
-- Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900), by L. Frank Baum, ch. 4 (``The Road Through the Forest'').

This might imply something about the intelligence level in California and Florida, but I'm not sure. I'll have to think about it.

In 1996, Senator Dole (R-KS) only wanted to stay away for a four-year, instead of a six-year term. Must have been homesick.

A Japanese portmanteau combining kanshi and kambun -- `Chinese poetry' and `Chinese prose,' respectively -- and meaning `Chinese poetry and prose,' naturally enough. As you probably guess, the overlap of the words is slightly greater than it appears: the first morpheme in both words corresponds to a kanji with the reading kan, but in kambun the consonant n of kan is assimilated to the bilabial b of bun and becomes the bilabial nasal m. This is a regular shift before bilabials (at least b, p, and m -- I'm not sure about f). In the original version of Hepburn's Romanization, this change was indicated by representing the n as an m. In modern versions it is common to retain the n. Hence the variants sammai and sanmai.

At the Golden Globe awards, on January 22, 1996, Brad Pitt spake thusly:
I'd like to thank the members of -- actually, the makers of Kaopectate. They've done a great service for their fellow man.
I missed it, but the web is a passable substitute for the tube.

In an acceptance speech given at the 1991 Emmy awards ceremony, Kirstie Alley thanked her husband Parker Stevenson ``for giving me the big one for the last eight years.'' They didn't split up until late in 1996.

Basically, what this shows is that actors should not be allowed to speak without a script. (See also lightness.) This is not a new thought, of course. Warner Brothers pioneered sound movies in 1927; in 1925, when CEO Sam had proposed the idea, Harry had had his reservations. Apparently he eventually came around: ``Who the hell wants to hear actors talk? The music -- that's the big plus about this.''

The bad guys' organization in the sixties TV series Get Smart. KAOS is not an acronym but it does sound like chaos (unlike gas, q.v.). KAOS is not to be written with periods (* K.A.O.S.).

KAOS needs a few bad men.

The good guys' organization is CONTROL.

Korea Association for Photonics Industry Development. A member of ICOIA.

Kansas Pilot Project

German for `Good Friday.' See karg for etymology.

A once common German word with senses like `scanty, meager, frugal, poor, sparing, stinting,' and `limited.' Many of the forms of this word which function in modern German as adverb and as absolute and comparative forms of the adjective (including karg, karge, karger, and kargere, and the allowed ä forms of all but the first) are now common surnames. The scarcity (Kargheit) of superlative and other inflected absolute forms like kargem, however, suggests that the word is tens of times more common as a surname than as a word -- something like smith or wright in English. (Yeah, I'm going by ghits of German pages, and yes, the more common forms appear on pages where the word is almost always a surname.)

You might think Karg and its congeners are common surnames because the names were assigned when there were a lot of people who were poorly, poor, and poorer. There were, but that's not the reason. The meaning of the word has drifted far. This word, and the cognate English words care and chary, ultimately arise from a proto-Germanic root *kara, `care [in a now literary sense], sorrow, trouble.' There doesn't seem to be any reflex of the original noun in modern German, except in Karfreitag and Karwoche. Karfreitag is literally `lamentation friday,' called `Good Friday' in English. Karwoche is `Holy Week.' The y in chary and the g in all the other German forms stem from the g in the proto-Germanic adjective form *karag-oz (karag in Old High German).

[A possibly helpful aside: it's interesting that there is a parallel association of sadness or cares with carefulness in reflexes of another root. Sorge (cognate with English sorrow but not with sorry) means a `trouble, worry,' and sorgenvoll, which by construction is `full of worries,' means `worried, anxious.' But sorgsam, literally equivalent to `troublesome,' is more like `taking trouble.' The actual meaning of sorgsam is `solicitous.']

In Middle High German, karag, (by then karc or karg) also took senses much less associated with sorrow. Its new meanings clustered around clever, shrewd (the primary sense) and around close-fisted, mean, miserly, niggardly, parsimonious, penny-pinching, stingy, tightfisted (does English really have enough words for this second concept?). I suppose the semantic-evolution reflects the old Sprichwort ``sadder and wiser.'' And presumably someone who was both sadder and wiser would be extremely unspendthrift, or say penurious and thrifty or stingy. One could see shrewd (German schlau) as a bridge from clever (klug) to parsimonious (enough with the German already!). The surname forms are generally taken to reflect the sense of clever. In English, Sharp and possibly Smart are similarly common surnames. (Wise doesn't count, since it's probably most often an Anglicized version of the German or Yiddish surname originally meaning `white.') Incidentally, klug also gave rise to surnames, and the form Kluge, as a brand of equipment, is the source (in one telling) of the American engineering slang term kludge.

In Modern German, the cluster of senses around `clever' stopped being expressed by the word karg, and the senses around `parsimonious' generalized so they no longer referred primarily to money. Hence the meanings listed at the top of this entry.

See karg for etymology.

Japanese word for `death from overwork.' The Japanese Health Ministry officially recognized this phenomenon in 1987, and the official numbers showed the incidence of karôshi increasing steadily in the years that followed.

Prominent cases of karôshi seem to involve the car industry. (No, it's not how you might think. The word karôshi is constructed on local roots. Also, the English word car has not been widely adopted in Japanese; if it had been, it would most likely have taken a pronunciation that would be transliterated .)

German for `Holy Week.' See karg for etymology.

Kansas Academy of Science.

Vide Kansas entry for possible clarification.


KDE Advanced Text Editor.

Korea Association of Teachers of English.

katharevousa, katharevusa, katharevoussa
One of two forms of Modern Greek. Specifically, the form that attempted to preserve traditional Greek as much as possible. (The other form we call demotic. Sounds kind of evil, doesn't it?) The spellings given as headterm are different transliterations of the same word, given in decreasing frequency of occurrence. The word they transliterate is kathareúousa in Modern Greek, feminine of kathareúón, from the present participle of the Ancient Greek verb kathareúein `to be pure.'

`Katey,' in a rough translation from the Russian. Also `Cathy' and many similar names. To be precise, Katyusha is one of the very many diminutive and affectionate forms of the Russian woman's name Ekaterina (initial E is normally palatalized in Russian, but transliterations like Yekaterina are less common) which is cognate with the English name Catherine.

It is also the name applied since WWII to various rockets originally of Soviet design, particularly the M-8 and M-13.

An Ashkenazi name that looks like the German word for `cat.' (Itself an interesting word, because its gender is female regardless of the sex of the feline in question.) However, `cat' is not what the surname Katz stands for. It is in fact an ACRONYM, constructed from the Hebrew Kohen TZedek (`priest [of] righteousness'). You may recognize the three-character Hebrew root (tz)dk from the word tzedaka, `charity.' For more, see the gas entry.

`Cow' in German. Pronounced ``cow.''

One of the islands of Hawaii.

One of the islands of Hawai'i. We're ambidextrous!

Kaust, KAUST
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. A graduate school scheduled to open in September 2009, it was meant to be independent of the clerics who have controlled Saudi education since 1979. (I've no certain idea how successful that has been.)

`Adorable' in Japanese.

Boltzmann's constant (so-called by Planck) relates energy units to temperature units = 1.3806 × 10-23 J/K = 8.617 × 105 eV/K.

Often written simply as k, and leading to confusion with other constants k.


KeyBoard. Some other keyboard-related content: AFK, BAK, PEBCAK, PIFOK.

KiloBase. ``Base'' here refers to a nucleic acid base.

kb, Kb
KiloBit. ``Kilo'' in the sense of 210 = 1024. Add-on RAM is traditionally measured in bits (see the K-for-Kilo entry). You can still buy DIP's in the kilobit range, but you wouldn't put them in your computer. More likely in your toaster.

kB, KB
KiloByte. ``Kilo'' in the sense of 210 = 1024.

King's Bishop. Designation in the descriptive notation for the file designated f in the algebraic notations. One of the two files labeled B, for Bishop.

Knight Commander Of the British Empire. An honor typically bestowed by the British Monarch on US citizens who have contributed to the betterment of UK-US relations, Australians who (mutatis mutandis), etc.

Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test.

I don't know. If my briefs had any intelligence I'd wear boxers. Boxers are not known for intelligence.

Nononononono, sir! I didn't mean it that way, sir, no!

Lord Roxton was hurled to one side, but Malone, with a footballer's instinct, ducked his head and caught the prize-fighter round the knees. If a man is too good for you on his feet, then put him on his back, for he cannot be scientific there.
[From chapter 9, entitled ``Which Introduces Some Very Physical Phenomena,'' of The Land of the Mist. Pg. 423 of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Professor Challenger Stories, (John Murray, London, 1952).]

I suppose also that if my briefs had any intelligence (and hence alternate job prospects), I'd have nothing else to wear but boxers.


Kadanoff-Baym Keldysh. Leo P. Kadanoff and G. Baym in the US, and independently Keldysh in the ol' Soviet Union, developed equivalent formalisms for nonequilibrium (i.e. time-dependent and not-necessarily-near-thermal-equilibrium) quantum field theory, based on two one-particle Green's functions and two correlation functions (only three quantities independent). Kadanoff and Baym's little book, Quantum Statistical Mechanics -- Green's Function Methods (New York: Benjamin, 1962), was out of print when I wanted it in the eighties, but it was still available cheap in Taiwan, possibly even legally. If you're not going to learn this material, then reading Kadanoff and Baym's compact book is almost the fastest way.

Thousands of Barrels of Oil Equivalent.

Thousands of Barrels of Oil Equivalent per Day..


Kilobits per second.

King's Counsel. Even if the King is a queane, but not if the monarch is female. See QC for equally scintillating thoughts.

Kansas City.

The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Knights of Columbus. There doesn't seem to be a headquarters (Supreme Council) homepage, but you could visit Knightsite for lists of links, or Council #1477 (University of Notre Dame).

I've been informed that the absence of an evident headquarters site is related to the Roman Catholic principle of subsidiarity. <shrug>

Knowledge Community.

Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. ``Started in 1969 by Roger L. Stevens, the Kennedy Center's founding chairman...''

The Kennedy Center prefers the acronym without hyphen or slash. Theatre people outside KC officialdom tend to include a slash or hyphen, or omit the KC altogether, and also to write the penultimate word in the name as Theatre (see the theatre entry for more).

KiloCALorie. Pronounced ``KAY-cal,'' the ``cal'' as in ``Calvin'' or ``Calvin Klein jeans.'' Also called kilogram calorie (vide kg cal.) and Calorie with a capital cee.

Kansas City Barbeque Society.

Knowledge-Centered Design. A project at Lockheed, where the relevant link is unreachable.

King's College London. The initialism seems to be approximately as recognizable to UK academics as UCLA is to Americans. But whenever this American sees KCL, he thinks (viz. I think) of KCl first. In that spirit, I should ``clarify'' that ``London'' above is the one in England, and that ``UK'' is not the ``University of Kentucky.''

Kirchhoff Current Law: the sum of currents into a node is zero. This is simply a statement of the law of conservation of current, in the context of a lumped-parameter circuit.

Potassium ChLoride.

Chemical formula for potassium cyanide. ``Cyanide'' in the usual sense is a gas [it's (CN)2]. Ingesting something like KCN is one way to commit suicide by cyanide poisoning. It's not a good way to go. A lot people who took cyanide in some form to commit suicide afterwards shot themselves.

Korean Central News Agency. The state news (and ``news'') agency of North Korea.

Knowledge and Cognitive Systems. An NSF program.

Korean Confederation of Trade Unions. For many years, in the name of promoting rapid economic development, the government of the Republic of Korea suppressed independent labor movements. A general strike in 1987 caused a broad change in policy.

Before 1987, most unions were organized not by trade or industry but by enterprise. After 1987, I forgot what I was going to write.

(South) Korean Church Women United.

(South) Korean Construction Workers Union. Originally organized as a trade union of blue-collar workers. Eventually merged with KFCTU to form KFCITU.

Kansas Dental Association. For other Dental organizations, see the list maintained by Sue Hutchinson.

Korean Dental Association. For other Dental organizations, see the list maintained by Sue Hutchinson.

(South) Korea Development Bank.

(Encryption) Key Distribution Center.

Konika Direct Digitizer.

K Desktop Environment. The K doesn't stand for anything in particular, but KDE is a play on CDE -- Common Desktop Environment. (Adding a little bite to this is the fact that KDE was founded by Matthias Ettrich, a German student, while CDE was a joint development of the American companies HP, IBM, and Sun. German typically uses k to represent the unvoiced velar stop typically represented by c in English. The philosopher Immanuel Kant was the grandson of a Scottish saddler named Cant who emigrated to Prussia.

Many examples of the k/c correspondence are obvious: (Kuh, `cow'; kann, `[I, he] can'; kenne, `[I] know,' more obviously related to the somewhat archaic word `ken.' There are at least a couple of factors that can make the connection less obvious: semantic shift and further sound changes.

A good example of semantic obscuring of the relation is associated with the English word cup. This and the French word coupe, the word copa in Spanish and Portuguese, and coppa in Italian all have about the same meaning and are all derived from the Late Latin word cuppa, also meaning `cup.' The vocable was an early adoption old English (before 1000) as well as German. In German the skull came to be referred to metaphorically as a cup to hold the brain, and eventually to the head. The word is currently spelled Kopf. (A historical parallel is mentioned under Goran GROSSKOPF.) The word Kopf is perhaps still widely remembered by English-speakers from the compound Dummkopf, `dumb head.' (For a bit on the p/pf connection, see the kfm entry below.)

Knowledge and Distributed Intelligence. Name of an initiative at NSF. If you fund it, they will come.

Kinetoplast DeoxyriboNucleic Acid. A kinetoplast is a mass of circular DNA inside a large mitochondrion, consisting of multiple copies of the mitochondrial genome. Kinetoplasts are only found in organisms (protozoans, actually) of the class kinetoplastea.

Potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KH2PO4). Along with ADP a popular crystal for second-harmonic generation in nonlinear optics. Cleveland Crystals offers a tutorial. Cf. KD*P.

Deuterated KDP (q.v.): Potassium dideuterium phosphate (KD2PO4). Most properties, as one would expect, are similar to the majority-isotope KDP. However, the piezoelectric coefficients can be almost a factor of three larger for fully-deuterated KD*P.

Korteweg-de Vries (a soliton equation).

(Domain code for) Kenya. Commercial web presence at <http://www.africaonline.co.ke/>.

Keuffel & Esser. Biggest US manufacturer of slip sticks (slide rules) until the bottom fell out of the market in the early seventies.

Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization. ``Funded through financial support from member [the US, Japan, South Korea, and the EU have members on the executive board; other members are Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Indonesia, New Zealand, Poland, and Uzbekistan] and contributing countries, KEDO was created in 1995 to advance the implementation of the Agreed Framework between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), under which the DPRK agreed to freeze and ultimately dismantle its existing nuclear program. In return, KEDO is providing the DPRK with alternative sources of energy in the form of heavy fuel oil and a modern nuclear power plant that will be built, operated, and regulated in accordance with international standards of safety. Through its activities, KEDO is contributing to a stronger international nuclear non-proliferation regime, while improving the prospects for lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.''

The page from which the above material is quoted was last updated in 2002.

Keebler Elvis
A singular of the Keebler Elves. (It just came to me that it had to be a third-declension critter.)

Greek, `Center of Greek Folklore Research.'

keep in touch, Let's
Code phrase spoken by the male party at the end of a blind date to communicate that he never wants to meet the female party ever again under any circumstances.

keep in touch, We should
Don't call me. A variant of ``Let's keep in touch.''

Exercises of a certain sort. See keggles.

Informal name for Kegel's exercises, named after A.H. Kegel, a US gynecologist who thought them up. Keggles consist of alternate contraction and relaxation of the perineal muscles. It's intended to reduce urinary stress incontinence, but men have reported side benefits.

Japanese: `respect word' or `honorific language.' It's hard to translate into English somewhat as futon is hard to translate: there's no native term for the thing because it didn't exist in English-speaking culture. Keigo subsumes all the inflections and alternate wordings used to show respect or deference. It corresponds to the ``polite'' or ``formal'' forms in European languages, but it's much more pervasive.

Kellogg Institute
``The Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies aims to advance investigation in comparative international studies. Named to honor the woman who donated the initial endowment for it, the Institute is a research center at the University of Notre Dame. The Kellogg Institute promotes international research by attracting faculty, students, and visitors to Notre Dame and by providing them with a supportive community of scholarship, through various activities.''

An AM radio station in El Paso, Texas, which is hundreds of miles from the sea.

Kindergarten Evaluation of Learning Potential.

Kennedy Men
Members of a famous political family for whom the term ``lady-killers'' might have been specifically invented.


The title of Kepler's book Harmonices mundi libri V is often given in translation as * Harmonies of the World. Oh nooo! Kepler was an excellent student of Latin and Greek, and he knew better what he was writing. ``Harmonices'' is the genitive singular of the Greek word ``harmonicê'' (``ê'' is used to represent a long Greek ee in Latin characters, i.e. an eta), an adjective modifying an implied noun ``episteme'' (meaning ``knowledge,'' or ``theory'').

What can be deceptive is that ``Harmonices'' looks so much like a Latin nominative plural (e.g. ``homines,'' ``mulieres,'' ``reges''). The context, however, makes sense of the use of the genitive singular for the Greek word. A clumsy but accurate translation would be:

``[The] Five Books of [=on] [the] Theory of Harmony of the World [or Universe]''

It is also worth noting that the Greeks used ``harmonice'' [episteme] to mean the mathematical theory of music, as distinct from ``harmonica'' (neuter plural nominative, compare ``physica''), meaning musical theory presumably in a more general sense.

Perhaps this is a good place to note that this glossary represents the work of many contributors.

Kentucky Education Reform Act.

How could we not have a kerfuffle entry!? Okay, okay! This is the kerfuffle entry! Sheeze! You don't have to make such a-- such a fuss about it!

Kermit, KERMIT
A file-transfer protocol from back in the day. The protocol began to be developed at Columbia University in 1980. By 1981, the year the IBM PC was introduced, it had been implemented in several no-frills programs, and in 1982 the developers started presenting it at user-group conferences. One of the virtues of Kermit was that it was based in the open-source world (which dealt and still deals mostly in ASCII and its descendants), but understood EBCDIC, which IBM mainframe computers of the time still used. I think the persistence of old IBM mainframes was a major factor that kept Kermit in wide use in the 1990's. As of 2009, I imagine someone somewhere still uses it.

The name of the protocol, although often (and originally) written in all-caps, is not really an acronym. More precisely, it was never very successfully backronymed. The true origin of the name is explained on the copyright page of Frank da Cruz's KERMIT: A File Transfer Protocol (Bedford, Massachusetts: Digital Press, 1987):

The KERMIT File Transfer Protocol was named after the star of THE MUPPET SHOW television series. The name is used by permission of Henson Associates, Inc.

The question of why the protocol was so named is answered in footnote 3 of page 3 of the cited work:

Why? Mostly because there was a Muppets calendar on the wall when we were trying to think of a name, and Kermit is a pleasant, unassuming sort of character. But since we weren't sure whether it was OK to name our protocol after this popular television and movie star, we pretended that KERMIT was an acronym; unfortunately, we could never find a good set of words to go with the letters, as readers of some of our early source code can attest. Later, while looking through a name book for his forthcoming baby, Bill Catchings noticed that noticed that Kermit was a Celtic word for free, which is what all Kermit programs should be, and words to this effect replaced the strained acronyms in our source code (Bill's baby turned out to be a girl, so he had to name her Becky instead). When BYTE Magazine was preparing our 1984 Kermit article for publication they suggested we contact Henson Associates Inc. for permission to say that we did indeed name the protocol after Kermit the Frog. Permission was kindly granted, and now the real story can be told. I resisted the temptation, however, to call the present work ``Kermit the Book.''

A couple of the initialisms used have been are ``KL10 Error-free Reciprocal Micro Interconnect over TTY lines.'' and ``KL10 Error-free Reciprocal Microprocessor Interchange over TTY lines.'' So far as I can tell, the latter expansion exists primarily in Wikipedia and in its legion of imitators. (Hey-- create 1000 websites, fill them with free content and Google ads, and get rich quick! Now I've given away the secret.) It may be that the wiki expansion was originally a misrecollection of the ``Micro Interconnect'' version, but by now this probably-incorrect ``incorrect'' (in the sense that backronyms are generally incorrect) expansion has established a probably undislodgeable foothold in software history.

The ``KL10'' in the expansions is not entirely arbitrary: the PDP-10 series of computers from DEC used processors in a series that started with KA10 (introduced in 1968, painstakingly handmade -- I'm not kidding: the processors were made out of boards with 9 discrete transistors each, the backplanes wire-wrapped using a ``semi-automated manufacturing process''). This was replaced in 1973 by the KI10 (a bit more civilized, based on SSI TTL). The letter L in the expansions above is often written minuscule (so ``Kl10''), and KI (or Ki) would not be very unreasonable misreading, so I expect some who are aware of this suppose the at least triply incorrect expansion ``Ki10 Error-free Reciprocal Microprocessor Interchange over TTY lines'' explains KERMIT.

In 1975 I started to run FORTRAN programs on a PDP-10, writing them with the feature-rich what-you-see-is-all-you-get text editor TECO, on teletypes (TTY's, mentioned above) with a roll of paper and round keys including one labeled ``HERE IS'' (ESC) and often even on one of those newfangled Textronix terminals that had -- gasp -- a screen monitor! Oh yeah. That year the KL10 was introduced (ECL-based).

It hardly needs to be said that including ``KL10'' or even ``K-series'' in an expansion of KERMIT was implausible. But the other efforts must have been even more desperate. In my own efforts to discover any other expansions that have been used, I have learned that a video was released in 2008 of LCD Soundsystem's song ``New York, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down'' (from the 2007 album Sound of Silver). The song is lip-synched by Kermit the Frog; the video release was reportedly an ``unofficial'' one by friends of the band.

Extemporizing on the stump by 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. The usual practice of US political candidates is to repeat pretty much the same stump speech from pretty much every stump they stand to speak on. This practice has obvious advantages (no gaffes) and disadvantages (no interest), but the former are apparently widely supposed to outweigh the latter. The term was reportedly coined by Slate's chief political commentator Will Saletan.

Pertaining to preaching. Popular term in historical Jesus speculations (``studies''). One of the binary distinctions among gospel material is between kerygmatic and non-kerygmatic. The passion narrative (PN) is considered an example of kerygmatic material.

Kerrymeandering ... kerygmatic ... Kerrymeandering ... kerygmatic... I have this vague idea that I'd like to coin a new word, but I can't think what it might be.

A piece of exercise equipment in the form of a round or rounded weight attached to a jughandle large enough to put a hand through. Kettlebells are traditional in Russia. In Russian, a kettlebell is called a girya (nom. plural girye). (A dumbbell is a gantel.) Traditionally, Russian kettlebells look like cannonballs with handles. They look pretty stupid, but all the same you don't want to say that to anybody who looks like he uses them (specifically a girevik, generally a muzhik). Incidentally: Li'l Abner was not a son of Ma and Pa Kettle; he was the child of Mammy and Pappy Yokum (and a proud son of Dogpatch!). Al Capp's comic strip of that name first appeared in 1934 and received its first movie treatment in 1940. Ma and Pa Kettle first appeared as supporting characters in the 1947 movie ``The Egg and I.''

The basic KB weights are one or two pood. A pood was 40 old Russian pounds, or about 36.11 righteous American pounds. After the Revolution, Russia adopted various supposedly scientific French things, among them mass executions and metric mass units. Since a pood was about 16.38 kg, the pood was redefined to be exactly 16 kilos, and since then the standard KB's have weighed only 35.27 lb. (Just as with the 30-cm English ``metric foot,'' the conversion meant a decrease in the unit size.)

The common weights sold are multiples of 4 kilos up to 32 (nominally 9, 18, 26, 35, 44, 53, 62, and 70 lbs.), and 40 and 48 kilos (nominally 88 and 106 lbs., or 2.5 and 3 almost-poods). The maximum weight of 106 lbs. is substantially less than the typical maximum weights of dumbbells, presumably because KB's are awkward to lift. Dumbbells on the rack at a gym typically run up to 150 lbs. or so. Of course, it's hard to make a direct comparison in availability because one doesn't normally buy the heavier dumbbells but instead constructs them by loading free weights onto dumbbell handles. Prefab dumbbells are available at least to 120 lbs., but the popular weights of prefab dumbbells are generally kinda wimpy, though they have their uses. Still, there's no way to make bigger KB's from tools and parts, unless one of the tools is a blowtorch.

The word kettlebell, like barbell and clubbell, was constructed on the model of dumbbell, q.v.

Kilo-Electron-Volt[s]. A kiloelectron-volt is a convenient energy unit for X-rays.

  1. A Dutch rock group. (And roll too.)
  2. An American rap group.

Like nylon (PA for polyamide), but different.

Stronger, mainly. The stuff is used to stop bullets, and hence is also called ballistic nylon. (We have at least one other explicitly ballistic entry; see this entry too.) An important difference between an ordinary llama and a trained pack llama is that a trained pack llama knows that it is wider with a pack on, and therefore does not try to pass between two closely-spaced trees. The sides and bottom of a llama's training pack are made of kevlar. (More information at this improved site.) It is claimed that llamas are smarter than dogs.

Kevlar is called an aramide, so I suppose it's got some aryl (benzene-ring) groups. Nomex is another brand of aramide.

Kinetic-Energy Weapon[s]. I suppose bullets would count, but the term was used in the SDI program. The two main classes of space-based weapon systems contemplated and under development were KEW and DEW (directed-energy weapon) systems. KEW weapons were based on the idea throwing stuff at targets, and DEW were based on beaming stuff at targets.

Potassium Fluoride.

New (as of the early 90's or so) name for the fast-food chain that used to be called Kentucky Fried Chicken. The name is presumed to have been changed to improve the health of the bottom line; the word fry has come to mean something like `clog thy arteries and fry in hell' (or in oil, which is presumed to be equivalent).

KFC was acquired by Pepsico in 1986, but as of early 1997 Pepsico was spinning off its fast-food subsidiaries [Pizza Hut (acq. 1977), Taco Bell (acq. 1978), and KFC, the smallest, each in the $1-3 billion annual sales range; cf. $16, $7, and $4 billion for McDonald's, Burger King and Wendy's, respectively (1995 US sales only)]. [FWIW, in 1996 or so, McDonald's did as much business outside the US as within. This continued to be the case in 1998, despite the Asian recession.]

The CIPW has interesting news about Pizza Hut architecture. It'll be a while before I have a chance to update this entry, but for now let me mention that in June 2009, NPR broadcast a story on Pizza Hut messing with its brand. They're running a campaign which uses ``the Hut'' and emphasizes some of their non-pizza food items. Many industry analysts are confused as to what exactly they're trying to do with the brand.

I remember there was an uproar many years ago, probably when Pepsico acquired Pizza Hut or Taco Bell. Other national fast-food chains (``restaurant chains,'' they're called; they serve ``food items'') that had been selling Pepsi soda products felt that they found themselves indirectly supporting their competition, and switched to Coca-Cola products. [As it happens, early June 1997, Coke admits that it's trying to get McDonald's to stop selling Dr. Pepper and 7Up (both distributed by the distant-third soft-drink company). Considering their record the past year or two, McDonald's will probably do whatever is most stupid. Back to our story.] In those days, Pepsico was challenging Coca-Cola aggressively, and for many years appeared to be winning the war in which it had been coming in second for a century. [We proudly serve a cola war anthem from the 50's.] The 1984 ``New-Coke'' debacle, in fact, resulted in part from Coca-Cola's attempt to move the taste of their flagship product closer to Pepsi's. Coca-Cola management had made a fundamental blunder, which was to imagine that consumer preferences were determined by flavor, when any fool could have told them that they are determined by image. I stopped paying attention for a while, and then suddenly in 1996 there were cover stories on various national magazines about how Coca-Cola had eaten Pepsi's lunch. (The October 28, 1996 Fortune magazine had a clever graphic illustrating the metaphor caption ``Pepsi's Enrico: Bottled Up By Coke.'')

More recently, Coke has been gearing up to challenge the 'Dew market sector (Pepsi's market leader Mountain Dew). [Fresca was an earlier, essentially unsuccessful attempt to challenge.] Much of the reported Coke victory in the soda wars had to do with international operations. Retrenching foreign operations and divesting its restaurants are part of Pepsico's response to Coke's strength: ``concentrating on its core businesses'' (soda and snacks). [Fresca has very variable regional market penetration. In Denver it's popular; in South Bend the biggest stores don't even carry it in cans.]

It is worth noting (and if it isn't that's really your problem) that Coke also tried diversifying a bunch of years ago, but recognized this as a mistake earlier. It's also noteworthy that Coca-Cola generally does not own its own bottling plants, so its need for capital is perhaps intrinsically less. Nevertheless, as of the year 2000, Coke was aggressively decentralizing, and had reduced headquarters staff (in Atlanta).

In Buffalo, Pepsi continues to be the prohibitive favorite. It's prima facie slightly surprising, because as one travels northward in the country, the preference for sour increases and that for sweet decreases, and Pepsi is sweeter than Coke. However, New York State, with unusually high soft-drink penetration, is somewhat of an exception to the national trends. In any case, sodas are actually quite sour (phosphoric acid); the sweetness masks that partly, but it's more complicated than I know. And of course, none of this has anything to do with sales, which are determined completely by image for any drink other than hemlock (few repeat customers).

Incidentally, when Coca-Cola brought back the old Coke formula as ``Coke Classic,'' it wasn't the classic Coke. Coke was always sweetened with sugar, but around the time that they introduced New Coke (maybe we should call that ``Coke New'') they switched from sugar to high-fructose corn syrup. (The price of sugar in the US is maintained much higher than the international price by severe import restrictions; that's why so many US products are sweetened with corn.) The precise mix of sweeteners apparently varies by country.

If you want to taste the real ``real thing'' in the US, you can get it around Lent. Specifically, in the run-up to the Jewish holiday Passover, stores will have sections of special holiday foods. The special laws of kashrut for Passover, as observed by Ashkenazi (roughly: northern and eastern European, and most N. American) Jews, forbid the consumption of corn during Passover. Coca-Cola sells a special production run of sugar-sweetened (i.e., kosher l'Pesach) Coke. Don't worry, it's safe for goyim too. Tell you the truth, I can't taste the difference, but then my taste buds may be destroyed from years of aspartame (Nutrasweet) poisoning.

Oh yeah, this is a KFC entry! Colonel Sanders is dead. He was a real Colonel, at least in the sense of being a member of a group called the Kentucky Colonels. Actually, the term colonel is a traditional term of respect throughout the US South. So I've heard.

Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker (who died in early 1997) was called a colonel in the same way (the name was bestowed by the governor of Louisiana). However, one of Parker's greatest strokes was to advise Elvis to do more-or-less ordinary service as a private in Germany (EP was drafted for NATO duty). When he returned after doing his humble service, he was immunized against any accusations of cultural subversion, despite the hip movements that had scandalized the mainstream earlier. [When he appeared on the Ed Sullivan show, they televised him only from the waist up.] Also while in Germany, he dated a teenager named Priscilla, whom he later married and divorced in the US. [Another major musical performer who had a German girlfriend while on NATO duty was the late Johnny Cash. She playfully stuck a pencil in his ear and perforated his eardrum. The facial scar also comes from Germany, but was inflicted by a drunk surgeon or dentist. Many decades ago, a facial scar was a mark of pride and distinction in Germany, earned while fencing in a Prussian academy. I doubt that that would have been a significant consolation to Johnny. My grandfather, the one who was a lawyer in (then) Breslau, joined a medical club in part because it wasn't a fencing club. He had the absence of scars to prove it.]

Oh yeah, another guy with a service-related eardrum perforation was Frank Sinatra. This is according to FBI files released on Dec. 8, 1998, seven months after his death and fifty-six years to the day after the declaration of the war in which he did not see service. Walter Winchell passed along a rumor that ``Ol' Blue Eyes'' had gotten out of military service in WWII by paying a $40,000 bribe. A four-year investigation by the FBI concluded that the rumor was false. According to its records, he was 4-F on account of a perforated eardrum, being (surprisingly only) four pounds underweight, and having emotional problems. The ``emotional problems'' were a euphemism for severe phobia of crowds and paranoid tendencies, it being felt that there was no purpose served in stating the full severity of his mental problems, since he was already 4-F on account of his physical condition. As essentially everyone but the FBI realizes, fear of crowds and hearing deficiency as reasons for his not being drafted are so odd they raise suspicion as much as they allay it. More on the FBI witless antics at this V.I.P. entry. (Sinatra's dossier is mentioned at the end.)

There's also a Texas Navy, with rather more admirals than sailors, let alone ships. This is not surprising. [See this page also, where it is speculated that there are more Texas Navy admirals than Kentucky colonels.]

You might wonder why there's this much information on soda and fast food in a microelectronics glossary. The reason is that burgers and greasy fries are the preferred life-support regime of all computer professionals. We also drink CokePepsi like all the other sheep, but Jolt is our sentimental favorite.

Kung Fu Cinema.

Isn't there a Food Channel? They could have Kung Pow! Chi-- I mean, Cinema.

(South) Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions. Formed in merger of and KFCTU.

(South) Korean Federation of Construction Trade Unions. Originally a union of white-collar workers in construction, formed when a loosening of government policy allowed enterprise unions to combine into trade unions. See KFCITU.

Kevin FEDerline. First long-term husband of Britney Spears. In the early part of 2007, after they were divorced, his appearance money (the money he was paid for making a celebrity appearance at a private event) was officially ``table scraps.'' (I.e., $10K, or whatever the event promoter had to spare.) Cf. IFED.

Okay, now work with me on this one. I'll give you a couple of hints:
  1. ``K'' stands for Kentucky.
  2. ``FL'' does not stand for Finger-Lickin'.
Give up? It's the Kentucky Foreign Language Conference. The 53rd is in 2000.

You know, English is a foreign language in a lot of places.

Funny thing happened tonight at the Hollywood Diner on US 33 (here in the unincorporated wilds north of South Bend, Indiana). A couple of women came in a bit giddy; one was evidently trying to be a dumb blonde joke, though the dye job was a bit streaky. The Hollywood Diner is your basic ethnic chicken restaurant, Greek nuance. That is, it says ``<Ethnic>-American'' somethingerother on a sign outside, and inside you can have <Ethnic>-style chicken, and potatoes are available fried, American, mashed, <Ethnic>-style, and baked after 4pm, where <Ethnic> = Greek. You can also have Veal Parmagiana or Belgium waffles (we use the attributive noun form in our Greek-American restaurants here) or deluxe burger and fries. Okay, okay, you can have a gyros omelet too. I'm a regular; I have the menu and waitresses memorized. There are other entrees. This ethnic chicken restaurant is very slightly unusual in that it doesn't actually say ``<Ethnic>-American'' anywhere. It doesn't have to because that's the local default. You don't have to define defaults explicitly. Indeed, you don't even have to say explicitly that you don't have to define defaults explicitly. I think I'll leave it at that.

The ``blonde'' was asking each employee if he or she was Greek. In the cases where she was asking an employee if she was Greek, she was asking about the employee's, rather than her own, Greekness. I suppose this would have been clearer had I used a direct quote rather than a paraphrase. She could have gotten a reply from the busboy if she'd asked in Spanish. Coming from a gringa, the question is etymologically ironic. The seater asked her whether she thought he was Greek. She said ``I don't know, I'm not from around here.'' I had to think that over. She was visiting from Kentucky. (That's the connection, BTW.) He's Irish. Coulda fooled me. Maybe that means he's a Notre Dame fan or that he drinks green beer on St. Patrick's Day. Kiss me, I'm in Saint Joseph County. He owns some property in Kentucky, he says. Blonde's friend says she's from South Bend. So the seater asks, ``just passing through?'' ``No, I live here.'' Makes sense to me. He wants to know what street; he owns a taxi company here in town, too. I'm a regular, how come I never hear about this? He says that's a big street. I get up to leave. Actually, she was born in Canada, but she grew up in New York. Shrewd guess: ``upstate New York, I bet.'' No: ``South Carolina.'' There comes a time at night when most of us sound less alert awake than asleep. That time has arrived for me as well.

Oh, the 53rd KFLC is past. It's an annual thing: The following one (also past) was the 54th. Hey cool, I was just browsing The German Quarterly for 1951 (published by the AATG). The News and Notes section on page 125 is a statistical report of the third KFLC, held May 11-13, 1950. Attendance was ``approximately 400,'' from DC and 27 states, and from two other countries (Canada and the UK), unless someone got his UK's confused. Don't expect to see this information in Harper's Index anytime soon. The largest contingent was from Kentucky -- whaddaya know. Among attendees, 42 did not list themselves as representing any language. On the other hand, some people listed more than one language. Here are the 16 languages listed as being represented, and the numbers of attendees listing them:

French     83
Spanish    82
Latin      80
German     77
Greek      76
Russian    27
Hebrew     12
Italian     7
Polish      3
Arabic      1
Coptic      1
Czech       1
Dutch       1
Egyptian    1
Portuguese  1
Slovak      1
(The sum is 783. Hmm, that doesn't look right. Let's say 378. Also, the calculator thinks it's 454. I suppose everyone has a right to an opinion. My opinion is that ``Egyptian'' isn't a language anyone knows well enough to be qualified to teach, and that it was just a Copt in attendance who also taught Arabic. I once asked the only Copt I know if he knows Coptic, and he said ``of course not!'' He speaks Arabic. Once when I told him that someone else wondered how I could tell that he [that other person] was Egyptian, he said I should have told him ``from the smell.'')

Out of the 153 institutions represented, 100 were colleges and universities, 31 were high schools, 12 churches, 6 theological seminaries, and 2 publishing houses. Yes, Mr. Arithmetic, there were two ``others.''

There were 107 lectures and papers, and they treated of 13 languages. One of the languages was Ukrainian.

This reminds me of a favorite saying of my late college roommate Warren. He used to say,

Al, why are you telling me this?
Warren, wherever you are, if you have Internet access: I was telling you because it's interesting. [No, not to everyone equally.]

A week or so after the incident at the Hollywood Diner, I noticed Irish seater guy having dinner with a couple of taxi drivers.

Kelvin Force Microscop{e|y}.

German, kaufmännisch. `Commercial' (adj.).

The German verb kaufen (`to buy') doesn't look at all familiar to an English-speaker, as Mutter (`mother') or Wasser (`water') do, but it's just as close a cognate. German kauf corresponds to English cheap.

Originally, the associated verbs meant the same thing in Anglo-Saxon and Old High German: `to bargain or trade.' In a primitive economy, trading was largely on a barter basis, and the distinction between buying and selling was a soft one, since both participants in a transaction bought, and both sold. The sense evolution of the German verb was toward the sense of `buy.' This is perhaps natural, since after any transaction, the thing one has left to talk about is what one has bought, and not what one has sold. The more general sense is preserved in the German verb verkaufen, `to sell.' This is often puzzling to foreign students of German, since one expects the ver- prefix to mean something like `repeatedly' when attached to this verb. It is less puzzling to Germans perhaps primarily because, like the native speakers of all languages, they were briefly puzzled when young and quickly moved on. (But I still remember as a kid, imagining Columbus ``discovering'' or ``descubriendo'' America by removing the cover.)

Anyway, the prefix ver- does have the sense of `repeatedly' here, but what a Verkaufer (`seller') does repeatedly is trade or bargain. (He also buys, but probably in bulk, so this activity is less salient.) So far as the unprefixed verb kaufen itself is concerned, the root sense (`trade') is now obsolete and kaufen always means `to buy' (except in some idioms whose relation to trade is a bit obscure). However, the root sense is preserved in words like Kaufmann (merchant, trader) and the expansion of the head term above: kaufmännisch (`mercantile, commercial').

In English the initial sense evolution was similar, and the noun cheap came to mean purchase. The phrase ``good cheap'' meant a `good bargain.' In attributive and predicate use it functioned as an adjective, and in the sixteenth century this adjective was shortened to plain ``cheap.'' The noun and verb uses (okay, okay, the ``nominal and verbal uses'') of cheap petered out in the seventeenth century.

So much for the sense evolution. The sound evolution is straightforward. A bit more so in English than German, in this case. The Old English verb was céapian, and as often happens the high vowel following the k sound became a palatalization, and that ``ky'' sound evolved into the initial ch sound we have today. That, apart from a bit of Sturm und Drang with the vowels, and the loss of -an as part of the general collapse of conjugation in Middle English, is all she wrote. Hence, cheap.

In Dutch, Low German, and High German, regardless of the vowel following, the palatalization evident in English, Frisian, and Old Saxon (``Ingvaeonic'' languages) did not occur. Hence, the initial stop remained hard (written k in German). [The OED2 lists etymologies (including that for kaufen) in which Old High German had an initial ch that became initial k in Middle High German. The modern German etymologies do not agree. I think this is just century-old etymology in the OED that hasn't been updated. The textual evidence for Old High German is much more limited than that for English, and it comes, or used to come, primarily from scattered (in time and geography) western German monasteries where various inconsistent spelling schemes were used. Of course, possibly I'm misunderstanding what the OED editors meant by initial ch in Old High German. Maybe they mean some hard ``ch'' as in Chemie.]

On the other hand, High German underwent the Second German[ic] Sound Shift. One of the first things the shift did was turn final unvoiced stops (/p, t, k/), if they immediately followed a vowel, into unvoiced fricatives (approximately /f, s, x/ respectively) at about the same point of articulation. In order, these points of articulation are in the ranges of labial to labio-dental, dental to alveolar, and palatal to velar. In the latter two cases, the precise fricative is in question, so the /s/ and /x/ are approximate. Fortunately, the proto-Germanic root of kaufen ended in p, so we needn't worry about this. Okay, I needn't worry about this. The final p, a post-vocalic final unvoiced labial stop, became an f: a (post-vocalic final -- it didn't move, after all) unvoiced labiodental stop. Oh, alright, maybe it stayed bilabial for a while; it's labiodental now. This shift was largely complete by the time of the earliest records of Old High German. And since all this stuff happened pre-historically, the Old High German form we have is koufen. There you are. Open up the vowel and presto! -- Modern German kaufen.

The same -Vp --> -Vf thing happened systematically with other words. That's why it's called a ``shift.'' Thus English ship corresponds to German Schiff, deep to tief, cup to Kopf (semantic, um, shift aside), etc.

You know, all I wanted to do was come into this file, add a short new Kindaichi entry, and quit. But no, I got sidetracked on a little ol' kfm entry. I need more discipline. All I seem to have now is bondage.

Kim Family Regime. Nickname, used in the US military, for North Korea. The country was founded by Kim Il Song, and continued by his son Kim Jong Il. Dad was ``the Great Leader,'' his eldest son is ``Dear Leader.'' Actually, the father, born Kim Sun Chu, had a great many epithets; they included, in translation, ``great sun and great man,'' ``great leader,'' ``great father,'' ``sun of the nation,'' ``the clairvoyant,'' ``the supreme brain of the nation,'' ``matchless patriot,'' ``national hero,'' and ``iron-willed, ever-victorious commander,'' and ``one of the genius leaders of the international communist movement and workers' movement.'' One hesitates to call these ``official epithets,'' because in an extreme totalitarian dictatorship, there is little space for the unofficial. That is, any deviation from official government orthodoxy is suspect and therefore dangerous, so self-preservation demands rigid adherence to safe formulas. It matters little whether the formula is officially official or merely notably repeated.

Here's a sort of parallel from the opposite end of the political spectrum, recalled in Ernst Pawel's Life in Dark Ages, p. 45. On October 9, 1934, King Alexander I of Yugoslavia had been assassinated in Marseille by a Croatian terrorist. The next morning, the entire student body of Pawel's school in Belgrade (he was 14) was assembled for a memorial meeting. The king was to be eulogized by the principal, several teachers, and a Greek Orthodox priest. Pawel's comrades told him that ``custom called for everyone to utter a reverent `Glory be unto him' [Slava mu] every time the martyred Alexander's name was mentioned.'' The leading Marxist among his classmates warned: ``And make damn sure you say it. The rat finks are out full force watching lips. If they catch you not flashing your teeth, you'll be in big, big trouble.''

North Korea's leader cult is so extensive that amazement competes with boredom. Just to get an idea, visit this page of information related to the Mansudae Creative Company, which mass-produces portraits of the KFR leaders.

German, Kraftfahrzeug. `Motor Vehicle.'

KiloGram. One thousand grams. Originally proposed by the French standardization committee as the mass of a cubic decimeter of water. [Of course, this definition is precise only if pressure and temperature are specified. For that matter, there's a percentage point of difference if you use isotopically pure ``light water'' (i.e., water made from 16O and especially 1H) rather than the naturally occurring isotope mix.] The unit was proposed in 1792, so the fact that the proposed name of the unit was grave was not yet so ironic, in English. (The reign of terror did not begin until 1793.) The current name was proposed in 1797. I think Talleyrand had a hand in it.

(Domain code for) Kyrgyzstan. You probably haven't been there either.

German, Kommanditgesellschaft. `Limited partnership.'

Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila. A defensive end with the GB Packers since he was drafted in 2000.

Komite't Gosudarstvennoi Bezopaznosti. (Russian `Committee of State Security.') The name, for most of its history, of the Soviet Secret Police. Started by Lenin as Cheka. This is distinct from military intelligence (GRU).

The KGB collaborated in the attempted coup in August 1991 against Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, and in November it was officially dissolved. Its responsibilities were taken over by the newly-created FSK, however, and the dissolution amounted to a name change and some housecleaning (the penultimate KGB chief, Colonel-General Vladimir Kryuchkov, had participated in the coup and was arrested when it failed, so there's one). The next month, the USSR itself was dissolved, and the FSK MIRVed into half a dozen daughters. Since 1995, the Russian organization has been the FSB; the successor organization in Belarus is still the KGB.

kg cal.
KiloGram CALorie. The same as a kilocalorie (kcal). Usage stems from the fact that the calorie was originally defined as the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of a gram of water by one degree Celsius. (Which degree -- i.e., starting from what temperature -- led to some ambiguity.) In other words, this was the gram calorie. The kilogram calorie was the heat needed for a kilogram of water...

Known Good Die. A die tested and ready for packaging. The usual context is in MCM's. Modules with single chips can be tested after packaging, since the yield of packages is the yield of chips (minus the losses from poor or destructive bonding). In MCM's with n identical chips, a chip yield of 1 - p produces a package yield of (1-p)n, so there is an economic advantage to pretesting.

German Königlich. `Royal.'

The Kurt Gödel Society.

[Football icon]

A three-receiver offense used by the Buffalo Bills during the Jim Kelly era.

K. g. V.
German kleinstes gemeinsammes Vielfaches. `Least common multiple.'

(Domain code for) Cambodia (Kampuchea).

Khalatnikov's book on Landau
The title in English is Landau: The Physicist and the Man, with a further subtitle Recollections of L.D. Landau. It was edited by Isaak Markovich Khalatnikov, who also contributed three essays. Following his introduction there are three dozen recollections contributed by almost as many authors, mostly physicists. (First one by Evgenii M. Lifshitz, then the rest in alphabetical order by author.)

The book was first published as Vospominaniia o L.D. Landau (`Recollections of L.D. Landau') in 1988. The translation, done by J.B. Sykes (who Englished the famous Landau and Lifshitz series), was published in 1989 by Pergamon Press.

KiloHertZ. (According to SI rules, this is spelled out as kilohertz.) One thousand Hz (cycles per second), an inverse millisecond.

Kerry Haters For Kerry. A movement, or at least a website and a blogger's handle.

Here's the blog entry for November 5, 2004:

Despite a massive outpouring of support from those who loathe him, John Kerry has lost. The entire KH4K community is filled with a combination of dread and relief -- in other words, roughly what we would have felt if he'd won. But maybe in different proportions.

To all who visited and participated, we say: The KH4K cause does not end today. It ended Tuesday! Our fight has not just begun. It's over! Where do we go from here? Somewhere else!

But please buy a T-shirt -- they're collectibles now! Thanks...

KH4K was anxious not to be confused with <http://www.johnkerryisadouchebagbutimvotingforhimanyway.com/>. Both websites are still in existence more than two years after the 2004 election.

(Domain code for) Kiribati.

Kiwanis International. An organization devoted to the principle of service, to the advancement of individual, community, and national welfare and to the strengthening of international goodwill. The gentilicial noun is Kiwanian[s]. ``The name Kiwanis was adapted from the expression Nunc Kee-wanis in the Otchipew (Native American) language, meaning `we have a good time,' `we make a noise,' or, under another construction, we trade or advertise. Some persons prefer to pronounce the word `ki'; others, `kee'.''

künstliche Intelligenz. German translation of and standard acronym for AI (`Artificial Intelligence').

Killed In Action.

KIA, Kia
The car logo uses a stylized letter A that is indistinguishable from a capital lambda. I always see ``KIL.'' Although the company is based in South Korea, the letter K in the name does not stand for Korea. According to this FAQ,
The word Kia has origins in the Chinese language with the first syllable, ki, meaning to "arise or come up out of." The second part of the word, a, refers to Asia. So when you put it all together, Kia means to "arise or come up out of Asia."

If this glossary were a switch statement, what I would ask you to do is simply ``fall through'' to the next case.

`Barometer' in Japanese. Kiatsu is `atmospheric pressure.' Japanese has also borrowed the English word barometer, which is rendered baromêtâ. The loanword is used primarily in the metaphorical sense of an instrument or device, loosely speaking, which measures any loosely atmospheric property, as in the English ``barometer of public opinion.'' The native construct is just used for the nonmetaphorical manometric instrument.

Knowledge In, B.S. Out. Formed on the pattern of GIGO.

Kids these days!
No kidding!

From Sir Thomas Browne: Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646), Book I, Chapter IV, ``Of another more immediate Cause of Error; viz. obstinate Adherence unto Antiquity''

Secondly, Men that adore times past consider not that those times were once present, that is, as our own are at this instant; and we ourselves unto those to come, as they unto us at present; as we rely on them, even so will those on us, and magnify us hereafter, who at present condemn ourselves. Which very absurdity is daily committed amongst us, even in the esteem and censure of our own times. And, to speak impartially, old men, from whom we should expect the greatest example of wisdom, do most exceed in this point of folly; commending the days of their youth, which they scarce remember, at least well understood not, extolling those times their younger years have heard their fathers condemn, and condemning those times the grey heads of their posterity shall commend. And thus is it the humour of many heads to extol the days of their forefathers, and declaim against the wickedness of times present.
[A contribution to CLASSICS-L from Timothy Larkin.]


To Kanadikó Institoúto stên Elláda. A/k/a the Canadian Institute in Greece (CIG) and also l'Institut canadien en Grèce (ICG). CIG is the former CAIA, which changed its name in 2005 or 2006.

Kentucky Institute for Education Research.

Knowledge Interchange Format.

Killer B's
Late eighties' nickname for social critics William Bennett and Allan Bloom (d. 1995). Bloom's surprise best-seller Closing of the American Mind came out in 1987, and Bill Bennett, then Secretary of Education, gave a speech in Spring 1988 condemning trends in education (I guess in particular the curriculum changes being considered there, in support of which Jesse Jackson led a march on the same campus). Synecdoche for conservatives in the canon wars.

William Bennett keeps cranking out those goody two-shoes virtue books. The real killer is that his brother Robert worked as counsel to President William Jefferson Clinton (during the first term, when the legal problems were about money).

Alan Keyes was a ``disciple'' of Allan Bloom when he attended Cornell. After speaking out against a campus protest by a black student group, he began receiving threats and transferred to Harvard, where he did a Ph.D. in government policy.

Not known as killer B's are Bowen and Bok, coauthors of a late 90's book described at the 4 p's entry.

Killer White Teeth
A sponsored link, but not for shark's teeth. (``Emily, an ordinary mom from [your server location here] discovered a clever trick [buy two products] to get a celebrity smile for less than $5.'')

kill the frog
At a couple of places in the glossary, I make a remark about ranacide that may not be entirely clear to all readers. It's a reference to a warning that E.B. White included in his introduction to the 1941 Subtreasury of American Humor: ``humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.''

A.E. Housman wrote this related thought:

Even when poetry has a meaning, as it usually has, it may be inadvisable to draw it out ... Perfect understanding will sometimes almost extinguish pleasure.

kill -9
Terminate with extreme prejudice.

The expression ``terminate with extreme prejudice'' is common in fiction, but understandably rare in the public discourse of government officials and the sane among politicians. One of the best-known instances of the phrase occurs in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979). Early in the movie, Capt. Benjamin L. Willard (Martin Sheen) has his mission explained to him. Col. Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando) has reportedly gone insane and set himself up as a god in Cambodia. (Who does he think he is, Pol Pot?) Willard isn't sure he quite understands his orders. He repeats the ambiguous word:

           Willard: ``Terminate''?  The Colonel?

            Corman: He's out there operating without any decent restraint.
                    Totally beyond the pale of any acceptable human conduct.
                    And he is still in the field commanding his troops.

          Civilian: Terminate with extreme prejudice.

(Corman is Lt. Gen. R. Corman. The civilian, identified in the movie only as Jerry, is understood to be a spook.)

The earliest use of this phrase in fiction cited by the OED is in Don't Embarrass the Bureau, by Bernard F. Conners (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill, 1972), and I haven't run across anything earlier. (This is a secret code phrase -- jargon, really -- meaning that an earlier instance hasn't been handed to me on a silver platter, and I'm too lazy to look myself.)

The only instance of the phrase that I have found in poetry (I was sure you would want this bit of intelligence) is in Peter Meinke's ``Night Watch on the Chesapeake'' (1987). [This is either a poem or a collection of poems. It was either collected or re-collected for Liquid Paper: New & Selected Poems (1991). Look, you were the one that was so interested in this -- you figure it out!] The poem, or one of the poems, has this:

and the Susquehannocks and all their kin
were terminated with extreme prejudice,
as we have learned to say. Today,

``Et cetera,'' as we have learned to say. This Peter Meinke is actually well known, as poets go, even celebrated. It's easy to confuse him with Peter Meineck (note the very different spelling), Producing Artistic Director for The Aquila Theatre Company on West Tenth Street in New York City. (The muffler-shop franchise uses another spelling: Meineke.)

Some people think that because they've only encountered this phrase (``terminate with extreme prejudice,'' remember?) in fiction, therefore it is just a fictitious phrase -- a fiction phrase, one not used by nonfiction spooks. This claim is pure fiction. An old military communications guy I trust reports that he heard it used by spooks as well as by a Vietnam-era sniper in an unconventional warfare unit.

(Here's an example of the fiction claim. H.S.A. Becket's Dictionary of Espionage defines ``terminate with extreme prejudice'' as ``murdering an agent who has outlived his usefulness, per spy novelists and movie writers. The term has never been used by any intelligence professional, espionage mythologists notwithstanding.'' Other problems with this definition, besides the confident assertion of an unprovable negative: (1) wrong verb aspect, (2) too-narrow definition.)

Let's take a brief moment here and discuss the head term of this entry, shall we? Like Jerry's instruction to Captain Willard, ``kill -9'' is a command. But after all -- what is a command, really? It is nothing but a message. Sometimes it is a very forceful message, sometimes apparently just a suggestion ending in the words ``or else.'' But basically it's just one among many possible messages. The Unix utility kill is like that. It sends a message to a process (or a process group). Despite the terrifying name, the message (``signal'') may be quite bland, like WINCH or POLL or CONT or PROF or WAITING or THAW or RTMIN+3. Type kill -l at the shell prompt for a complete list of signals. (The answer to your question is ``ell, for `list,' get it?'') You will observe that KILL or SIGKILL is always the ninth signal in the list. All the common shells have a built-in version of the kill utility, because programming is a bloody business. Eventually, you can find yourself offing a process that has -- how to put it -- ``outlived'' its usefulness. That's why a lot of the signals that you send with kill are ultimately fatal to the process that receives them. The morbid charm of an expression like ``terminate with extreme prejudice'' is that a command that ought to be clear is clarified with an expression that is pretty ambiguous on its face. Ditto ``kill -9.''

An ``arbitrary'' (in the OED's word) derivative of the Greek chílioi, `a thousand,' introduced into French as part of the metric system in 1795. It is highly irregular in English for the Greek letter chi to be represented by anything other than the letter sequence ch. Most of the exceptions stem from this French monstrosity. It is only a complaisant acceptance of French spelling that has brought this Trojan khorse into our midst. (Beware gifts bearing Greek.)

The Italians follow their own orthographic counsel, and write chilo-, which sounds like ``keel-o.'' Hence, French kilomètre (and British kilometre, American kilometer, etc.) is Italian chilometro. Of course, there is a little problem with abbreviations. To wit: ``cm'' is already spoken for (centimetro), so how to abbreviate chilometro? To get around this unforeseen problem, the Italians came up with an inspired solution: they use the letter k! Very conveniently, this letter has the same sound in Italian as "ch", and it tends to be used for words borrowed from foreign languages. (It wasn't carrying its share of the language anyway -- sort of getting a free ride on the alphabet train ever since the Romans devoiced gamma.) Hence, chilometro is abbreviated km, cleverly avoiding confusion. The Italians, they 'ave all-aways-a been-a known fora di elegante soluzioni. Similarly, chilocaloria is abbreviated as kcal, chilohertz as kHz, chilojoule as kJ, chilogrammo come kg, e chilowatt come kW, ecc., ecc. Further, for reasons that probably require further externally funded research, chilowattora is abbreviated kWh.

Indeed, as a non-native reader of Italian, I must protest that some of these irregular abbreviations can become confusing, particularly when they are spelled out, as the following bewildering list illustrates:
Italian meaning English translation
kWh chilowattora kilowatt-hour
h ora hour
ha ettaro hectare
hl ettolitro hectoliter
MWh megawattora megawatt-hour? Nah, couldn't be -- too obvious.

Of course, every language has its careless writers, so ``kilometro'' is also encountered in Italian usage, just as kilómetro (correct in Spanish) is encountered in Portuguese (where the correct form is the identically pronounced quilómetro).

The German version (Kilometer) is what you might call overdetermined: on the one hand, when German borrows a word from French, it tends to preserve the original spelling (to the extent that inflection allows). On the other hand, when a new word is created in German, the kay sound is written in the usual German way, with a ``k.'' (Note that a few centuries ago, neither English nor German had settled on a predominant letter for this sound. For example, English often used -ick for the ending now written -ic, and German had cees in many words where kays (and some zees) now appear.

Short for KILOgram. Occasionally reported as an abbreviation of other kilo-prefixed units, particularly kilometers. Don't you believe it! The appropriate abbreviation of kilometer is click (here).

The OED describes this as jocular usage, quoting the New York Times Magazine of April 22, 1951: `` `Kilobuck' ... is a scientist's idea of a short way to say `a thousand dollars.'' In answer to the OED: it is not usually jocular, just informal. It's too common to be witty. In answer to the NYT: it is any person's idea of a short way to say ``a thousand dollars'' who can count syllables. In any case, it is simply a regular alternative, unremarkable to anyone who deals in metric units all the time.

The earliest mention of megabuck that the OED is able to locate is from 1946. The recorder of the usage claimed that it was a joking term among the scientists who coined it.

The majority of given names in English are identifiably male or female. A few are used by both genders (e.g., Dale), though such neuter names typically seem to trend female. (The firm exceptions are names like Sam that are short forms of distinct names like Samuel and Samantha.) Kim is one of those neuter names -- now mostly female, I think. I thought of adding this entry when I read a newsgroup posting by a newbie who signed in this style:
Kim Johnson (Mr.)

(The surname was not actually Johnson.)

Kimba, the White Lion
An anime series of the mid-sixties, created by Osamu Tezuka (its popularity increased over time, so people tend to remember it from the seventies). In Japanese, the lion's name is Chimba. For more on Tezuka, see the Astro Boy entry.

[Kimba Wood was an Attorney General nominee of the Clinton administration who went down in flames at her Senate confirmation hearings amid revelations concerning her domestic help -- she didn't pay social security taxes on her income, perhaps because she knew the woman was an illegal alien. There's a maximum number of hours per month that you can hire someone before you have to start paying the employer contribution to social security. A lot of people make sure they employ domestic help for less than however many hours is the maximum, just to avoid trouble.]

kimchi, kimchee
Korean name of spicy pickled cabbage. Term now used widely in Japanese, less in English.

Surname of Haruhiko Kindaichi. (I'm writing in English, so I'm writing the last name last. I mean, that's why it's called the last name, after all.) Kindaichi wrote a popular book about the Japanese language, published in 1957 and still remembered today.

According to the English translation by Umeyo Hirano, published in 1978, the title of the original book was Nippongo (meaning `Japanese language'). This is accurate enough, but as the translator certainly knew but didn't bother to mention, it would have been about equally correct to say the original title was Nihongo. The actual title was written in kanji, which specify words precisely but may not completely specify the pronunciation. In this case, both the -pp- and -h- readings are correct. When Japanese fans cheer on their country's athletes at an international event, they shout the -pp- form of their country's name (Nippon), presumably because it's hard to shout a loud aitch.

On the other hand, I still remember (and occasionally use) the very first sentence of Japanese that I ever memorized. It was Watashi wa nihongo o dekimasen. (Polite way of saying `I can't speak Japanese.' I know it doesn't sound like a very promising start to an international phone call, but it worked for me. I can also do Je ne parle pas français. With a bit of elementary logic you could probably deduce that this means `I can read French but I can't speak it.' Unfortunately, I get back an awful lot of Je ne parle pas anglais.) Anyway, I was just ignorantly parroting Japanese. The point here is that the decision to use the -h- form was that of my native-Japanese instructor/trainer.

There's actually a great deal more to this p/h thing than you'd guess, and you can read about it in Nippongo. The short version is that there came a time, a few centuries ago, when the p sound came to be regarded (particularly by the Imperial court) as uncouth, and most p sounds in the language came to be pronounced as h (or b, at least in some cases). There are also other versions of the story in which the sound shift simply happened, as these things do. For whatever the reason, this is part of the reason that Japanese is a harder-than-average language to lip-read. In general, the front of the mouth doesn't move very much, and the syllables come fast.

Kindergarten, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in
Title of a 1988 book by Robert Fulghum, and premise thereof. This is a thought that some people find encouraging. I say: oh, yeah? How about this necessary fact:

When you come back to the parking lot and can't remember where you left your car, you don't look for it by walking along the middle of the driving lanes between the parked cars, because some panel truck will have parked next to your Honda CRX and you'll never be able to see it from the back, so you won't find it and you'll be stuck there forever and pretty soon you'll starve to death!

Instead, you look down the middle of the paired lanes of parked cars, because the front bumpers are all pretty much lined up, so you can see most of the hoods, including that of your own car. You don't learn that until first grade at the earliest.

More on early education at VTVM entry.

King Phillip came over from German shore
Mnemonic for remembering the hierarchy of biological categories:
kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. In the plant kingdom, phyla are called divisions. I suppose you could try to remember that King David came over from green shores.

Another common version: King Philip Can Only Find his Green Slippers.

In fact, this is a highly simplified discussion of categories; at least twenty different levels have been used, and certainly as few as one or two: every species is binomial (genus, species), and a lot of fossils are considered too poorly characterized to break up into species, so the organism is categorized by genus only. Species may be broken up into subspecies, but at times the international taxonomical organizations have sanctioned the recognition of varieties, subvarieties. They're always changing something in an effort to promote stability. I don't understand either. Anyway, the most commonly used categories in zoölogy are, in order:




Infraorder (ain't this a sin?)





There's no objective way to define genera, let alone most of the other categories, and no end of argument about it. Generally, the more related species you have, the more categories you define.

For organisms that reproduce asexually, it's tricky to define species, and as a practical matter somewhat arbitrary. In practice, it's done on the basis of morphology, and in the case of single-celled critters ``morphology'' means biochemistry. That brings us to...

The biggest problems, oddly enough, have to do with the top level of the hierarchy. Biochemically, the prokaryotes are so varied that by comparison, plants and animals are virtually indistinguishable. One group of prokaryotes, the archaea that have been found in extreme conditions (you know, undersea volcanic vents and such), are close to eukaryotes. By any biochemical yardstick, if there are two or more kingdoms for archaea, plants, and the relatively closely related animals and fungi, then there ought to be at least a half-a-dozen kingdoms for bacteria. Thus, taxonomies have been suggested with as many as a dozen kingdoms. Another proposed solution, more or less acceptable to different warring schools of thought within taxonomy, is to have a single kingdom for bacteria, divided up into subkingdoms that are called ``domains.'' I'll get back to this entry if the smoke seems like clearing.

University of King's College. I think that the way the words college and university are deployed is interesting. The first ``King's College'' in the New World was founded in 1756 in New York City, chartered by King George II. After the Revolutionary War, that school was reorganized as Columbia College. George II's son Fred never chartered anything; he died young and had a town in New Jersey named after him (Princeton, the eventual location of the College of New Jersey, originally established in, like, Elizabeth and thereabouts).

There was also a Queen's College in New Jersey, chartered by King George III [George II's grandson] in 1766 (on November 10), which was renamed Rutgers College in anticipation of (substantially unrealized) testamentary munificence from Mr. Rutgers. Oh, wait -- I must have heard wrong. Here's the official version, which is much more believable: ``In 1825, the name of the school was changed to Rutgers College in honor of Colonel Henry Rutgers, a veteran of the Revolution, ``as a mark of respect for his character and in gratitude for his numerous services' to the institution.''

In 1789, Anglican loyalists founded a new King's College in Windsor, Nova Scotia. It was ``[t]he first university to be established in English Canada, and is the oldest English-speaking Commonwealth university outside the United Kingdom.'' It received its Royal Charter from King George III in 1802. There's no explanation at the quoted page of the rationale for the university-of/college naming thing. It may have to do with the fact that a major fire closed King's College in 1920. A major grant from the Carnegie Foundation enabled King's to reopen, but in a subsidiary relation to Dalhousie University in Halifax.

Note that when King's was established, it was not yet the first or even the oldest university to be established in English Canada, because Canada was not the official name of any region. Two years later (1791), the province of Quebec was split into Upper and Lower Canada -- predominantly English and French, respectively. At the time, however, King's was still not the oldest university in English Canada, because Nova Scotia was not part of the former Quebec but was instead all of the former Acadia. In 1841, they had one of those periodic little reorganizations and renegotiations that roil Canada and mystify Americans. (Remember Meach Lake? Of course not, silly question.) Upper and Lower Canada were united into (surprise!) a single ``Province of Canada'' which still did not include Nova Scotia. Also in 1841, Queen Victoria awarded a royal charter to Queen's College, which opened in Kingston in 1842. (Queen's College, King's town ... what is this -- a chess game?) If Queen's attained universityity before 1867, then Queens must, for a time, have been the oldest university in English Canada. Finally, in 1867, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick were joined with the old Province of Canada (now divided into Ontario and Quebec) in a new Dominion of Canada. It was only from that time onward that King's can claim to have been the oldest university in English Canada. The University of New Brunswick in Fredericton was founded earlier (in 1785, also by loyalists essentially metastasizing the King's College of New York City), but as the Provincial Academy of Arts and Sciences. Hmmm. Sounds fishy to me. Université Laval traces its origins to the Séminaire de Québec, founded in 1663 Monseigneur François de Laval, the first bishop of New France, with the authorization of the King of France, Louis XIV. Queen Victoria granted a royal charter to the old Séminaire in 1852, creating the Université Laval.

``From 1941 to 1945, the College buildings became His Majesty's Canadian Ship, `HMCS King's,' where officers were trained for the Royal Canadian Navy. The academic life of the College carried on during those years elsewhere in Halifax, aided by Dalhousie University and the United Church's Pine Hill Divinity Hall.'' And that after all the trouble Canada had to get permission to call its navy ``Royal.''

King's hosted the annual ARPA meeting in 2000.

KIlo-Pound[s]. In Anthony Hoadley's Essentials of Structural Design (1964), the unit is typically (I mean, where I've noticed its use) abbreviated kips or just k, but thousands of pound feet is abbreviated kip ft. That makes sense: there's no ess in the plural of foot. The traditional system is nothing if not sensible.

A supporter of the UK Independence Party (UKIP). Evidently tailor-made for vocative use. (``You kipper!'') A kipper is stereotypically an older, working-class-to-middle-class, Tory-leaning white male. That doesn't sound like a winning coalition to me either, but you've got to consider the competition. Especially after the success of the BREXIT referendum in 2016.

Someone help me! I can't think of a good pun about kippered herring!

Kilo Instructions Per Second. You don't ever want to have an occasion to use this unit. Prefer MIPS. See also kip.


Originally Katalog der Internet-Ressourcen für die Klassische Philologie aus Erlangen. German for `Catalog of Internet Resources for Classical Philology from Erlangen.' This is a bacronym, incidentally: Kirke is the German for (and closer to the Greek than) the English Circe.

The catalog was created by Prof. Ulrich Schmitzer and has been online since 1995. From 1996 to April 2003, it was served by Universität Erlangen. When Prof. Schmitzer moved to Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the server changed and the title became Katalog der Internetressourcen für die Klassische Philolologie aus Berlin. (KIRKE is not technically a sealed acronym because of the e in Berlin.

Knowbot Information Service.

Keep It {Secret|Simple}.

Potassium (K) Indoxyl Sulphate.

Keep It Simple Series (of books).

Keep It Simple Stupid.

Remember, you can't spell kitchen without itch. You know, I find that somewhat irritating. Why not we forget it after all?

kitchen sink
Not much to say, but an entry seemed obligatory. Vide KP. Faucet Outlet claims to be ``America's favorite choice for home improvement products.''

kiwi, Kiwi
``Look! Not in the sky!''

``It's a bird!''

``It's a fuzzy fruit!''

``It's -- a citizen of New Zealand!''

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