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L, 'L'
eLevated train. Chicago usage. The oblong circuit of L trains in downtown Chicago is ``The Loop.'' More at the entry for the el spelling, which is also used in Chicago. The `L' usage is not entirely foreign to New York City...

Eleven Blue Men and Other Narratives of Medical Detection, by Berton Roueché (published in Boston, of all places: Little, Brown and Co., 1947) is stories mostly describing 1940's cases dealt with by the New York City Health Department. Sort of an epidemiological Dragnet. The contents of the book originally appeared in The New Yorker. The title story is about eleven old winos who live in flop-houses or in the street, and who all come down one day with something that turns them blue. (Technically, they are diagnosed with cyanosis.) The action quickly focuses on the somewhat aptly named Eclipse Cafeteria. The Health Department's Dr. Ottavio Pellitteri described this as ``[s]trictly a horse market, and dirtier than most. The sort of place where you can get a full meal for fifteen cents. There was a grind house on one side, a cigar store on the other, and the `L' overhead. Incidentally, the Eclipse went out of business a year or so after I was there, but that had nothing to do with us.''

You probably don't care, but that's on page 93 of my edition (11th printing, and looking to be about the seventh edition, 1953).

Lake. Also Lac (Fr.), Lago (Sp.) or Lacus (on all your Latin maps). You would suppose that the modern English word lake is derived from Middle English and Old French lac. That is probably the greater part of it, but the story may not be straightforward. Old English had a word lacu, apparently of Germanic origin, that meant `stream.' (The root apparently had something to do with moisture, giving rise to leak and leach [through].) The earlier English word was already being spelled with k by the tenth century; the spelling and perhaps also the pronunciation may have influenced the French loan.


Latin (q.v.). Sort of like Italian without the hand gestures. The difficulty of representing hand gestures on big government construction projects led to the development of an elaborate system of declensions (originally a calque of the Greek term meaning to fall), conjugations, and consequent accusations.

There was an old rec.humor.funny file of stupid behaviors that should be avoided by characters in horror movies that included the following advice:

``If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they do not know, or if they speak to you using a voice which is other than their own, shoot them immediately. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. NOTE: It will probably take several rounds to kill them, so be prepared.''

(You can easily find variously corrupted versions of this on the web, though I can't find any variant at <www.netfunny.com/rhf>. However, you can actually learn a bit of Latin from the first of the rhf oracularities archived at this page.)

Why don't you visit William Harris's The Intelligent Person's Guide to the Latin Language? It's part of a larger site with Latin and Latin-related information.

Other people (?) might be interested in the old favorite Allen and Greenough Latin grammar, available on-line.

The online Weather Underground (discussed at weather) is available in Latin.

A woman I know teaches Latin at a real university that I will not name. (I don't have to, it's already got a name.) A survey she conducts at the first class meeting of the first semester (what, you haven't done your homework?) includes the question ``Why Did You Choose to Take Latin?'' (It's fill-in-the-blank.) One answer: ``I am a big T.S. Eliot fan and thought it would be cool to actually understand what he meant when he makes Latin references.'' Whatever turns you on.

For more Latin-study resources, see the Latin entry.

Left. More interesting entry at LHS.

Leucine. The amino acid whose name sounds most like Lucille. Please come back where you belong!

Ligand. Used in generic and abbreviated chemical formulas in the same way as are M (metal), N (for nonmetal rather than nitrogen), and R (for oRganic group).

Lima. Not an abbreviation for the city. At least, not one very likely to be guessed in Peru (.pe) or Ohio (OH). Just the FCC-recommended ``phonetic alphabet.'' I.e., a set of words chosen to represent alphabetic characters by their initials. You know, ``Alpha Bravo Charlie ... .'' The idea behind the choice is to have words that the listener will be able to guess at or reconstruct accurately even through noise (or narrow bandwidth, like a telephone). This is a bad choice, because the first vowel is pronounced in two different ways in English: long-i (as in the personal pronoun I) for US cities named Lima and for the beans, long-e (as in the personal pronoun me) for the capital of Peru.

Obviously, an alternative is needed. The unanimous recommendation of the Stammtisch, which I will reveal to spontaneous cheers in a surprise announcement to the Stammtisch tomorrow at noon, is Limbo-stick.

Line. [Plural: ll.] Note that this is usually used in the sense of lines of text. I have never seen this abbreviation used for lines of powder cocaine, and probably never will. There's a great scene in some Woody Allen movie where Woody's character sneezes and disperses kilobucks' worth of coke. A line is also a much more precise unit; it is one twelfth of an inch, or equivalently one fourth of a barleycorn.

l., (l)
Liquid. In chemical formulae, the fact that a substance is in the liquid state may be indicated by a parenthesized el following the chemical formula. That el is always lower-case, sorry. No one should object if you make it a script lower-case el, so it's clear it isn't a parenthesized numeral one, for some odd reason.

It is important to keep in mind the distinction between a chemical in its liquid state and a chemical in aqueous solution, indicated by (aq) instead of (l). For example, H2SO4 (l) is liquid hydrogen sulphate, a strong oxidizing agent, while H2SO4 (aq) is sulfuric acid.

The liquid state, it should be noted, is not always distinguished from the gaseous state: for a single-component system above the critical temperature, there is just one fluid phase which increases continuously in density as pressure increases. The (l) and (g) notation wasn't designed to deal with those complications.

Lira. Italian, `pound.' The plural is lire, and after years of inflation, a single lira wasn't worth much. Italy got in on the ground floor with the euro.

L, l.
Liter. A metric volume unit with some uneasy relationship to the current SI regime. Over the course of its history, it has sometimes been defined to be the volume of a kilogram of water, and sometimes (as currently) to be a cubic decimeter (which is the same thing if you chose the temperature of the water carefully, but isn't if you or someone didn't). The flip-flop left some popular uncertainty about the precise volume. SI has various opinions about which units should and should exist or be used and how. You could look it up.



Latin, Lucius. One of the most common praenomina, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Also ``Lu.''

Language Arts. The school subject formerly known as English. Here's hoping they don't change the name to some ineffable symbol.

Lanthanum. Gives its name to the rare earth (RE) series (``lanthanides''; now, if IUPAC has its fickle way, ``lanthanoids'').

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

(Domain code for) Laos.

Listing Agent. The Realtor who lists a property with the multiple listing service; the seller's agent.

In trucking, the distance from the center of gravity (CG) to the center line of the rear axle(s). In a truck with two axles, the LA/WB is the fraction of weight carried by the front axle. I suppose you could expand the L of LA as Load, and the A possibly as Axle, but LA doesn't stand for Load Axle.

Longitudinal Acoustic. Refers to longitudinally polarized acoustic phonons. LA phonons interact with charge carriers primarily by DA interaction. Cf. LO, TA; vide phonons.

Los Angeles. Pejoratively (I think) referred to as La-la land. This is still what right-thinking people mean by LA, unless they are so benighted as to mean ... Low Alcohol. (Cross yourself if you spoke the words aloud.)

Most people in LA also speak English, so you're not terribly handicapped if you don't speak Spanish or one of the other local languages.

Los Angeles is a city and a county. Unlike San Francisco, however, the city is a proper subset of the county. An oddly-shaped, multiply-connected subset. Have a look at a map.

Since Los Angeles is often called ``the city of Angels,'' and you just know that can't refer to the movie stars, I imagine it is well known that Los Angeles is Spanish for `the angels.' A longer form of the toponym is El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora, La Reina de Los Angeles. This is often translated as `The City of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels.' This is close enough, but pueblo is `town.' (Metropolis has the same meaning in Spanish as in English; ciudad is `city'; aldea, the slightly pejorative/affectionate pueblucho, and the slightly informal and totally unnecessary pueblito could all be translated `village.' You can claim that semantic fields needn't overlap between languages, and there may be some small cities that are called pueblos rather than ciudades, but to most bilinguals, `city' here is a mistranslation obviously based on an anachronism.)

The original name of the settlement is actually a bit longer: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora, La Reina de Los Angeles de la Porciúncula. In order to parse this, it might be best to proceed in chronological order. Early in the thirteenth century, one Francisco Bernardone, son of a wealthy cloth merchant of Assisi, went god-crazy and founded a religious order. (A number of the legends about his life involve his losing all his clothes. Details? You need more details? See the article in the Catholic Encyclopedia. His mom's name was Pica!) He was eventually canonized, and anyway he renounced his family, so he is generally referred to as St. Francis of Assisi (San Francesco d'Assisi in Italian). BTW, this is the same San Francisco that the settlement in northern California was named after. Even people who don't believe in sainthood call him Saint Francis, the same way a lot of people use expressions like A.D. Now look, stop distracting me.

This stuff didn't happen all at once. The trouble started one day when St. Francis heard a voice which told him (in Italian, I think) ``Go, Francis, and repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin.'' Being a somewhat literal-minded chap, he thought this was an order to physically repair some church buildings. To do this, he alienated his rich father and ended up collecting stones and doing the work with his own hands. Smart going. So he rebuilt some derelict old chapels in the area, including one called Santa Maria degli Angeli (Italian for `Saint Mary of the Angels'). One day while he was praying there, the voice tried again, giving him rather more detailed instructions. Nobody really knows what day this happened, so let's just say that it almost certainly happened on February 24, 1208. So he went off and started to collect disciples. By some miracle, he eventually gained approval for his new religious order from Pope Innocent III, who seems otherwise to have been preoccupied mostly with excommunicating people. He was able to leverage this spiritual venture capital: the Benedictines let him have Santa Maria degli Angeli. It reminds me of The Jackie Robinson Story (1950).

Jackie Robinson was the first black baseball player to (fill in the blank; among other things, the first to enter the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown). He grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended the University of California at Los Angeles, but that's not what I had in mind. In the movie about his life, as a little nappy-headed boy, he is given a baseball glove by a white man. But it is, you must excuse the word, a niggardly gift: the leather is broken and the man who gives it to him first pokes the padding back into the opening, so his parsimony won't be immediately obvious.

Well okay, maybe it's not such a great analogy, but the chapel the Benedictines gave Francis was no generous gift. It was on a little bit of land called porziuncula or porziuncola, meaning `little portion.' That term might as easily have described the little chapel. In fact, it did. (Also, as the place was built up over the years into a basilica and a monastery, a village grew up nearby. That place is generally known as Portiuncula, although its official name is Santa Maria degli Angeli.)

Francis eventually spent the greatest part of his life hanging out at this place. For this and reasons one may deduce from the preceding story, the place is very important to the order he founded. One of the most important dates associated with the place is August 2. I'm not going to try to explain why. It's technical, and it has something to do with canceling all your sins. No wait -- only the guilt from all your sins. Whatever, there's always a catch. Anyway, it's kind of like ethical bankruptcy: all your old moral debts are liquidated and you get a fresh start, or something like that.

In 1769, Father Juan Crespi, a Franciscan priest, was tagging along on the first European land expedition through California (led by Captain Fernando Rivera y Moncado). On August 2 that year, they came across what Crespi described in his journal as a beautiful river from the northwest. On account of the date, the river was named Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles de la Porciúncula. The settlement made on that river in 1781 was named after the river. I have read that it ``came to be known as'' El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora, Reina de los Angeles de la Porciúncula. I guess they had time to burn in those days (and heretics to spare), and could play out their toponyms to the linguistic horizon. I don't know how the queen business snuck in there, either. Anyway, the ``official'' name is supposed to have been merely El Pueblo de la Reina de los Angeles.

LA, La.
LouisianA. All-caps is the USPS abbreviation. Conventional abbreviation is La.

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

Low Alcohol. LA beer is a euphemism for what Shakespeare called ``small beer.'' An example of grammatically, lexically, and in all other respects correct usage: Henry VI, Pt. II, in Act IV, Scene ii, l. 76:
``I will make it a felony to drink small beer.''

In one election year some years back, columnist Dave Barry's presidential platform included search and destroy operations on the light-beer manufacturing infrastructure. Okay, light beer isn't LA beer. Light beer is beer with reduced carbohydrates-other-than-alcohol. Yick, as the bard would no doubt have said.

There is an aura or aroma or something about-- You know, I'm reminded of the time the gang was over at the brew pub on Main, and Adly thought his beer smelled odd. I had to ask him to remove his hand (from the mug! don't be so bloody-minded) so I could smell the beer instead of it.

Anyway, there's an atmosphere or aura of ridiculousness about small beer, a notion that it's beneath notice. In Othello, by way of expressing the ultimate in profitless activity, Iago gives ``to suckle fools and chronicle small beer.''

Lab-Animal Allergy. Normally, this refers to human allergy to lab animals, not lab animals' allergies to, say, shampoo under test.

Lanthanum Aluminate. Laser substrate material.

Labrador Retriever.

The Observer is the ``independent [student] newspaper serving Notre Dame [ND] and [adjacent] Saint Mary's [SMC]'' universities. In the issue of September 4, 1996, the first after Labor Day, it ran a feature story captioned
Saint Mary's Women in Labor

This word is not listed as a lemma among the 1048 dictionaries indexed by Onelook (as of 2008.5.18) and is not in the OED either. I think it would be a useful addition, because it has a meaning (in Spanish, which won't mind lending it) besides `workable.' It occurs in the phrase ``día laborable,'' which means `business day' or `work day.' So if we adopted the head term, the English phrase ``laborable day'' would be understood as a day on which one can work. This term replaces the ambiguity of the attributive noun work with the deceptive specificity of an adjective (you can't work on the weekend?). However, the best thing about the word laborable is that, just like a large fraction of loan words, it is essentially superfluous.

Actually, the phrase I heard growing up was usually día hábil, which has the same meaning. There are some indications that the phrase with laborable might be a bit more common in Spain, but I'm too lazy to research this important question. Judging from ghits, the hábil phrase is about 27% more common than the laborable phrase. Interestingly, the plural form días hábiles occurs on 3.25 times as many pages as its singular, while días laborables occurs on only 2.62 times as many pages as its corresponding singular. This suggests that there might be some semantic difference, but it isn't one that people seem to be conscious of. The phrase día útil (literally `useful day') and its plural each have ghits roughly equal to about 1% of those for the common phrases. It seems to have become the common term in Peru. If you don't filter for language, you get a lot of hits for dia útil, which is the standard Portuguese phrase. (Google is not fastidious about accents, which would make a sharp language distinction. Sometimes this is an inconvenience. In determining general usage, however, it's probably best to ignore accents, since a lot of writers are unfastidious as well.) In Spanish, día[s] de semana corresponds to `weekday[s].'

LaB6 -- Lanthanum hexaboride. Popular material for electron beam cathodes. Read as words, to rhyme with cab fix.

Alternate spelling of lakh, q.v.

Lacerta. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Latin America and the Caribbean. It is possible to construct a Spanish expression that aligns with this acronym -- Latinoamérica y el Caribe -- but América Latina sounds better than Latinoamérica. (It sounds better generally, but especially in this collocation.) In the adjective forms, however, Latinoaméricana and Latinoaméricano, and the corresponding plurals, are much, much preferred to constructions like Americano Latino. (Something like the latter syntax seems to work in Portuguese. Cf. OPAS and OPS.)

Liberal Arts College.

Los Angeles Community Development Bank.

Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies. A magnet school.

Los Angeles Council of Engineers and Scientists.

``The Los Angeles Council of Engineers and Scientists (LACES) and/or its antecedents was founded in 1930.'' They couldn't be more specific? ``It is a coordinating organization of technical societies and associations in the greater Los Angeles area.''

``The specific and primary purpose for which the Council is formed is to operate for educational and charitable purposes by promoting the advancement of engineering and science.''

Los Angeles County Evaluation System: An Outcomes Reporting Program. They track the ineffectiveness of rehab efforts.

Specifically, ``an evaluation program designed to examine the process and outcomes of the alcohol and other drug (AOD) programs in Los Angeles.''

Land-Attack Cruise Missile. A cruise missile for attacking a target on land from a launch platform at sea (submarine or ship). Examples include the US TLAM, PRC's DH-10 (Dong Hai-10 or East China Sea-10), and the 3000-km-range Russian SS-N-21 (submarine-launched).

Los Angeles County Museum. Formally, it's called the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Founded in 1913, it is now one of the largest natural and cultural museums in the Western United States, it currently comprises the Natural History Museum-Exposition Park, the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, the Petersen Automotive Museum (all on museum row) and the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall.

Los Angeles (CA) County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The main city bus operator there. Cf. LADOT.

L'Association canadienne de soccer. `Canadian Soccer Association' (CSA). A member of CONCACAF.

Locatable-Address Conversion System.


London Association of Classical Teachers. By now they could probably hold their meeting in a phone booth, if phone booths weren't ancient history.

LAser Detection And Ranging.

You want a definition? Right now? Relax already! All in good time.

Relax, two, three, four,
Relax, two, three, four,
Relax, two, three, four...

Also called Judeo-Spanish. This was the traditional language of Sephardi Jews -- Jews originating from the Sepharad (Hebrew for `Spain') after the expulsions from Spain (1492) and Portugal (1497). It served the function (secular community language) for Sephardi Jews that Yiddish served for Ashkenazi Jews.

The Ladino tradition seems to have been particularly strong in Turkey. Between 1910 and 1948, nineteen Ladino-language newspapers were published in the US by the Turkish-Jewish immigrant community. My source for this is (indirectly) an essay by Aviva Ben-Ur in Part I of Multilingual America: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Languages of American Literature, ed. Werner Sollors (NYU Pr., 1998).

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, there were nearly 400 Ladino newspapers in Turkey. I'm not sure how many were simultaneous, or how name changes are taken into account. My source for this is (indirectly) the essay of Stanford professor Aron Rodrigue, ``The Ottoman Diaspora,'' in Cultures of the Jews, ed. David Biale.)

Ladino newspapers are treated as some sort of distant historical phenomenon, but I know that in Israel you could still buy a Ladino newspaper off the newsstand in the late 1970's. My source for this is my parents, who brought back a copy. Traditionally, Ladino was written in Hebrew characters, but this paper was printed in Roman characters. I suspect that this was a side-effect of Kemal Ataturk's reforms. The main systematic difference between the orthography of that Roman-character Ladino and that of ordinary Spanish was the use of the letter k where Spanish normally uses qu or c. There was serialized romance novel on the inside pages, and I don't remember much else. The language isn't much harder to understand than that of Cervantes. In Jerusalem in 1989 I chatted in Spanish with a Ladino-speaking bus driver. In 1987, when I attended the Hot Electrons Conference in Boston, a woman outside the conference hotel asked me for directions (people always ask disoriented visitors for directions). At first I didn't realize she was speaking Spanish, and even after I realized it her speech was a challenge. When I went back into the hotel I told Bob ``man, that woman's Spanish was strange!'' He replied that maybe my Spanish sounded just as strange to her. Bob obviously didn't speak Spanish, but perhaps this expressed a certain sympathetic perspective. A couple of years later he married a Hispanic woman. Anyway, Ladino isn't as strange as some Mexican dialects.

Los Angeles (CA) Department Of Transportation. Operates suburban and some other buses there. Cf. LACMTA.

Lady Bird
``Ladybird'' is a synonym of ``ladybug.'' In my experience, the ``bug'' version is much more common in the US, though evidence in the next paragraph suggests that the ``bird'' version has been used in southeastern Texas. I understand that this zoologically odd version is common in the UK, but it's not a topic I feel compelled to research, because this article is about the given name ``Lady Bird.''

Lyndon Baines Johnson, one of the most effective majority leaders in the history of the US Senate, married a woman known as Lady Bird. She was actually born Claudia Alta Taylor, but her nurse's comment that she was as ``purty as a ladybird'' led to her being called ``Lady Bird,'' ``Lady'' and ``Bird.'' She used ``Bird'' on her marriage license, but eventually she, her husband, and their children (daughters Lynda and Lucy) all had the initials LBJ. Lyndon was presidential candidate John Kennedy's running mate in the 1960 elections, the ticket won, and now I'm finally done writing the well-known and due-diligence stuff.

The only reason I put this entry here was so that I could draw attention to some relevant comments of Jessica Mitford. She was born in England on September 11, 1917, and emigrated to the US in 1939 with her first husband. The comments are in an article that by now is surely obscure. [Details about the article (``You-All and Non-You-All'') can be found in the U and non-U entry.] The most relevant information is that the article was written for and published in the American magazine Esquire in May 1962.

The prejudice Northerners feel towards Southerners is roughly parallel to that felt by English people towards Americans, and is compounded of many of the same ingredients--a thoroughgoing dislike of their public policies, contempt for their level of education and culture, and a sort of instinctive recoil at the sound of the accent--larded in both cases, it must be said, with a thick layer of that particular form of snobbishness that sneers at the provincial. It is distasteful to the Northerner that a human being should have the given name of Lady Bird; it grates on the Northern ear to hear an educated person say ``sumpn'' and ``prolly,'' or speak of a ``mess of fried chicken'' pronounced ``maiss of [sic] frad chickn.''

For more about names associated with Jessica Mitford, see the Jessica Mitford entry.

The Yiddish word for ladybug was once, in New York City's garment district, the common jargon for a polka-dot dress. So I read, long ago, but the Yiddish for ladybug is not compact; it's the Hebrew phrase meaning something like ``our rabbi Moses's little cow [or horse].'' This sounds even more absurd than the English ``ladybird.'' I'll try to investigate it further.

Lithuanian Academy of Esthetic Dentistry.

Lebanese Armed Forces. It's not just funny; it's a joke.

Latin American Free Trade Association. What's so funny?

Landscape Archaeology Group. In Athens. The Athens in Greece (.gr).

Lanthanum Gallate. Laser substrate material.

Linguistics Association of Great Britain.

Louisiana Academy of General Dentistry. A constituent of the AGD.

LAser GEOdynamic Satellite.

Lagrange point
A solution to the restricted 3-body problem where all the bodies are greatly different in size (e.g. Sun, planet, space probe or asteroid). If the planet is in a circular orbit around the sun, defining a rotating frame of reference, then there are exactly 5 points where the probe can be located so that it will stay in a fixed position in that frame. These are known as L1 through L5.

L1 through L3 are in the same straight line with the Sun and the planet, the order being L2 - planet - L1 - sun - L3. L3 through L5 are in the same circular orbit as the planet; they form an equilateral triangle with each other, and L4 and L5 each form an equilateral triangle with Sun and planet. Only L4 and L5 are stable against perturbations by other bodies; several asteroids, called the Trojan asteroids, orbit near the Sun-Jupiter L4 and L5 points, and Saturn has small satellites at its L4 and L5 points with some of its larger satellites.

L1: The Sun-Earth L1 point is about 1,000,000 miles from the Earth in the direction toward the Sun. A halo orbit around this point is useful for space probes.

L2: The Sun-Earth L2 point is about 1,000,000 miles from the Earth in the direction away from the Sun.

L3: The Sun-Earth L3 point is in the Earth's orbit exactly halfway around. A useful place if you have a spaceship that you want to keep hidden a mere 185 million miles from Earth. A few science fiction movies have been based on the idea of a Doppelgänger of the earth being hidden at the L3 point. Such a body would not satisfy the requirement of being much less massive than the earth, but it is evident by symmetry that there would be a stable orbit there. Alternatively, one can reason that the requirement is only that the third body exert a negligible force on the second, and in the case of L3 this is satisfied by the distance. Currently, of course, we can compute the celestial mechanics of the solar system to sufficient accuracy that any body approaching the mass of the earth would have been detected from its effect on the orbits of Venus (or Mars) as it passed (or was passed) by it.

L4: The Sun-Earth L4 point is in the Earth's orbit, moving ahead of the Earth, one-sixth of the way around.

L5: The Sun-Earth L5 point is in the Earth's orbit, moving behind the Earth, one-sixth of the way around. The Earth-Moon L5 point has been proposed as a location for a colony in space.

Large Aircraft InfraRed CounterMeasures. A program of the US Air Force. Examples of use: ``LAIRCM utilizes small laser transmitter assemblies to help protect Boeing [BA] C-17 and Lockheed Martin C-130 transport aircraft.'' ``The US Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $13 million contract to install LAIRCM aboard seven C-130 transports.''

Hindi word for 100,000 commonly used in Indian English. One standard use is in expressing quantities of rupees, and this is reflected in comma placement: five million rupees is written ``Rs. 50,00,000.''

Library Administration and Management Association. A division of the ALA.

[Phone icon]

Local Automatic (telephone) Message Accounting.

(Project for the determination of) Large-scale Atmospheric Moisture Balance of Amazonia using Data Assimilation (GEWEX-GCIP).

All I want to know is, was this dreamed up before the dance?

Laser-Assisted Molecular Beam Deposition.


LAMBDA Classical Caucus. A SIG (not what they'd call it) of the APA concerned with ``gender minorities.'' Formerly known as the LGBCC. You know, with the new improved meaning of ``gender,'' males are a gender minority.

The mailing list classicslgb was superseded in fall 2000 by a mailing list also called lambdacc. ``[L]ambdacc is an e-mail discussion group for those interested in the interaction between queer studies/theory, gender studies/theory, and Classics. Only subscribers can post, and the list of subscribers is kept confidential.'' You can browse its hypertext archives or subscribe by writing to majordomo@runner.utsa.edu with the message "subscribe lambdacc" in the body (no quotation marks). To contribute, send a message to <lambdacc@runner.utsa.edu>. Subscribers who wish to remain anonymous should write to: <lambanon@lonestar.utsa.edu>.

Language Infelicity Awareness Month. October.

October is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the US. One almost has the flattering sense that one's attention is being competed for. To celebrate (if that's the term) these months (or is it month?), many local organizations organize ``awareness luncheons'' -- usually early in the month(s?), sometimes coinciding with Columbus Days. It's been going on for years, although I'd never been awa-- I mean, I hadn't noticed. But I noticed this year. This morning a radio host interviewed a couple of organizers for the local annual Disability Awareness Luncheon. I wanted to call in and advise, ``Don't wear your Sunday best!'' Later this morning, I saw a bumper sticker that said ``Children Are A Gift From God.'' I happen to know some parents of teenagers and of two-year-olds who would disagree. (I mean the parents would disagree. The others would be disagreeable as a matter of course.) But that wasn't what I thought when I saw the bumper sticker. I thought: ``If children are a gift from God, why does He give these gifts to so many people who violate His sacred laws against fornication, eh? What's the logic here, some kind of reverse psychology? I'm not sure I `get' the parable of the workers in the field either.'' Alas, the bumper sticker didn't bear further analysis. (I mean, there wasn't any further analysis included on it. Okay, maybe I mean it the other way too.)

And this year (2006), Columbus Day is observed on Monday, October 9. In the US. In Canada, that day is Thanksgiving. You know, I could be doing something useful with my time. Not this.

BTW, I just googled ``Language Infelicity Awareness Month,'' and it seems to be something I invented myself. I figured you'd want to know.

LAser Microprobe Mass Analysis.

Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.

Light Airborne MultiPurpose (military) System. This might mean `helicopter.'

IATA code for Capital City Airport in LANsing, MI.

Local Area Network. A data transmission network connecting machines in a single building or work installation, typically -- say net covers to 1 km radius, Mbps data rates, single owner. Visit the FAQ.

A propos of nothing, the editor writes

If you aspire to greater LAN's, you can become an MCNE.

Sure, I'll do that tomorrow afternoon.

Laboratoire d'Analyse Cognitive de L'Information. I don't think I want to translate that, but the following should make things clear enough: ``Le LANCI est un laboratoire de recherches en sciences cognitives.'' It's at UQÀM, which has too many philosophers.

Local Area Network (LAN) Emulation. (Also ``LE.'')

lane splitting
Riding a bike between parallel lanes of four-or-more-wheeled traffic moving in the same direction (i.e., straddling a white line). It's legal in some US states.

Having, communicating in, or using the same language. The terms language-concordant and language-discordant are common terms in the study of language contact. The terms are not meant to imply that discord in the ordinary sense is present or absent.

Not having, communicating in, or using the same language. See language-concordant.

Los Alamos National Laboratory. Near Santa Fe, NM. Their e-print archive is at http://xxx.lanl.gov/.

LANd SATellite. I'd like to tell you that a LANSAT is a special kind of satellite that goes whizzing around the earth in a sea-level orbit, bumping along the land where there is any, and skipping over the oceans like a smooth flat pebble. Indeed, I just did. Unfortunately, the truth is less interesting. A LANSAT is a satellite in a somewhat higher, extra-atmospheric orbit, that collects data on terrestrial weather, crop density and the like.

  1. (v. tr.) When the course of a race is a number of traversals (``laps'') of a closed circuit (``track''), one racer is said to lap another when he, she, or it passes the other by completing a whole number of extra laps more than the other.
  2. (v.) To wash over in waves. Ocean waves and kelp lap the shore. Similarly, in semiconductor fabrication, lapping is the very gentle polishing that consists of washing in a mildly abrasive solution or suspension. Lapping compounds are described on this page.
  3. (v.) To lick the liquid from a wet surface.

Link Access {Protocol|Procedure}--Balanced.

Link Access {Procedure|Protocol} D.

Los Angeles Police Department. The City of Los Angeles is in the County of Los Angeles in the state of California. LAPD typically refers to the county police.

LAN Adapter and Protocol Support (program).

You can make your laptop smell like a cup of hot chocolate by the simple expedient of placing it on top of a chocolate bar for a few minutes. Be sure to unwrap the bar first.

Okay, if you've read this far, you've got too much time, so I'll just blather on. My old laptop died and needs to be replaced. Technically, perhaps, maybe it only failed to resurrect. I had developed a number of increasingly bizarre resuscitation tricks to keep it going for 7 or 8 months after the computer repair place charged me $40 to report that they couldn't even get it started. When these tricks finally stopped working I opened it up and didn't find the mechanical or heat-sink problem I hoped was the trouble, and I never reassembled it. It's kind of weird, like doing an autopsy to make certain the patient is dead. If a patient dies on the operating table, do they always sew him (or her, or perhaps it's ``the operand'') up? Do they stuff the organs back in haphazardly? I suppose if I'd closed up the laptop it might have worked again. Machinery often exhibits that kind of magic: open it, look inside, poke around, give it a good scare, close it, and it works. But it was such a tricky hassle to open it that I had to balance the possibility of a miraculous recovery after a tedious and exacting reassembly against the prospect of having to open it up again to retrieve the hard drive. Gary had a similar experience. You wonder if making the laptop cases unnecessarily intricate to open isn't part of the marketing strategy, something like programmed obsolescence. Considering that the profit in printers is in the ink-cartridge refills, or that Kodak used to sell its cameras at a loss to profit on film development (so I've heard), the idea doesn't seem impossibly devious.)

Linearized Augmented Plane Wave (APW) (Method).

Low-Angle Ribbon growth.

large green men
The Jolly Green Giant, and his cousins Melancholy Emerald, Morose Navy, Maudlin Midori, and Olive Drab -- the Meganthropus brothers.

LARP, larp
Live-Action Role-Playing. Describes games that are like D&D, with the small difference that instead of sitting around a table describing things, players run around and do them. Fighting is sometimes the exception: it's still done with dice-based rules. By wimps. Real fighting may be done with rubber props. Sounds like lasertron for the thoughtful.

Reportedly a ``huge logistical hassle'' for the dungeon master.

You know, this idea could be extended to many activities that are now experienced virtually. For example, addictive computer solitaire games could be played in nonvirtual space (a whole universe parallel to the internet; quaintly and incorrectly known as ``the real world''). This is a bit impractical, but it could be done with perseverance and playing pieces made of card. Some of the computer interactivity could be simulated by changing the rules and installing analog devices known as other people. Just a thought.

IATA code for McCarran International Airport, which serves LAS Vegas, NV.

Libraries Automation Service. This would probably be in Britain, given the plural-form attributive noun. Sure enow, there's one at Oxford.

Light-Activated SCR.

Laboratory Animal Science Association.

Latin American Student Association.

Latin American Studies Association. ``[T]he largest professional Association in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America.''

Read Don Quixote first; it explains everything.

Large Aperture Seismic Array.

Latin American Studies Association, founded 1966. A constituent society of the ACLS since 1990. ACLS has an overview.

``The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) is the largest professional Association in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America. With over 4,800 members, twenty-five percent of whom reside outside the United States, LASA is the one Association that brings together experts on Latin America from all disciplines and diverse occupational endeavors, across the globe.''

Here's something unusual: a LASA International Congress is held every eighteen months. It's not so they can hold it in the same season in alternating hemispheres, though. Recent meetings:

  1. Washington, DC -- Spring 1991 (April 4-6)
  2. Los Angeles, CA -- fall 1992
  3. Atlanta, GA -- Spring 1994 (March 10-12)
  4. Washington, DC -- fall 1995 (September 29-October 1)
  5. Guadalajara, Mexico -- Spring 1997 (April 17-19)
  6. Chicago, IL -- fall 1998 (September 24-26)
  7. Miami, FL -- Spring 2000 (March 16-18)

In the keynote address to OutWrite '95, the playwright Tony Kushner said
It is something between a pie and a mélange; there are membranes but they are permeable, the layers must maintain their integrity and yet they exist in an exciting dialectic tension to the molten oozy cheesy oily juices which they separate, the goo must almost but not completely successfully threaten the always-discernible-yet-imperiled imposed order.

The speech was published as the essay on pretentiousness, in Taking Liberties: Gay Men's Essays on Politics, Culture and Sex, ed. Michael Bronski (NYC: Richard Kasak Bks., 1996).

I bought Heavenly Bodies: Remembering Hollywood and Fashion's Favorite AIDS Benefit off the dollar table, figuring it would at least have some revealing décolletage, some sexy cleavage. But no, the entire book was one big bust. A decade of shows; ten chapters for ten featured designers, more or less. Chapter 7 was ``Calvin Klein -- Beige, Booze, Babes, and Boys in the Bowl.'' The facing page shows models looking more unattractive than you could have imagined it possible for beautiful women to look in transparent fashions. A kind of negative achievement. They also look appropriately somber, which I guess is one of the things you have to get down pat before you can graduate with a Bachelorette of Modeling (that's what you earn at beauty college, right?). The picture bears the following CK quote:

It's important that we use only arugula lettuce in the salad and no tomatoes! The salad has to match the chicken, the pasta, and the table linens!

I don't know about you, but I think I see the outlines of an aesthetic philosophy emerging here, and it's not to my taste. Chapter 8 is ``Isaac Mizrahi -- Le Miz at the Chinese Theater.'' If the author's French wasn't any better than mine, then perhaps ``Le Miz'' was supposed to be pronounced like ``lay me'' in English. If so the pun was doubtless inadvertent, since it is tasteless. Instead, the pun is on Les Mis, popular abbreviation for Les Misérables, a hit musical based on Victor Hugo's novel of the same name. Anyway, the designer quotes in that chapter of the miserable Heavenly Bodies book begin with this:

Fashion is about women not wanting to look like cows -- although cows are kind of charming, aren't they?

Why buy the cow when you can get the mozarella at a reasonable price?

Alternate form of Latin laser, q.v.

Laser Applications in Science Education. It's the modern way of penetrating thick skulls that doesn't cause as much unsightly scarring as traditional methods?

This was a link to related instructional material from Virginia Tech, but now it's gone 404 and we'll never know. (Virginia Tech's Chemistry Department developed some nice introductory materials for optics and spectroscopy, which it made available on-line in the 1990's. These were eventually removed from the VT site, with forwarding links to SciMedia (now autoforwarding to SciMedia, Ltd.), which has scaled back on positive externalities. They now feature links to things they sell, with English pages badly or very incompletely translated.)

Limited-Area Search Engine.

Argos, a resource for the ancient and medieval worlds which went online on October 3, 1996, billed itself as ``the first peer-reviewed, limited area search engine (LASE) on the World-Wide Web.'' Effective February 6th, 2003, Argos was taken offline. Insufficient funding for regular upkeep and maintenance was cited as the cause. Some of the people who contributed reviews were mighty nonplussed not to have been informed of the service suspension.

Latin for the juice of the laserpitium, a plant now better known as silphium, a Latin transliteration (genitive singular silphii) from the Greek sílphion. Laser was prized in antiquity for its healing and abortifacient properties. The word laser (gen. sing. laseris) was also used metonymically for the plant itself. The OED reports an English pronunciation for this word that is identical with that of the modern laser, except that the sibilant is unvoiced. A single ess in a Latin word is normally voiced in English, but off hand I can't find any other dictionaries that even list the old word, let alone contradict the OED pronunciation.

LASER, laser
Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. [Verb to lase by back-formation.] Alternatively: Looking At Source Erases Retina.

Here's some instructional material from Virginia Tech. Here's Laser Focus World.

One spelling of the word leisure in Middle English and Scottish. Here's an example at line 36 of a pleasant little romance called The Siege of Ierusalem:
For in a liter he lay, laser at Rome

This describes Vespasian, who lay in a litter at Rome, suffering from an infestation of wasps (wasp is vespa in Latin) in his nose. The word laser, though it clearly means `leisure,' seems like a bit of a semantic stretch in this particular instance, but this is one of the classics of alliterative poetry, and the unknown author wanted a word beginning in el. The poem dates from the late fourteenth century and has been argued to be of ``extreme West Yorkshire provenance.'' (I'm not sure whether extreme here modifies West, but FWIW, West Yorkshire is the area of Leeds in northern England, a few counties south of Scotland.) Because this is Middle English, it is well likely that some manuscripts used different spellings of the word in question. I haven't looked at a scholarly edition, so I don't know what other spellings were used.

The OED2 lists laser as 14-16th century Scottish spelling, and examples John Barbour's The Bruce, dating from 1375 or a little bit later. It's another romance, a nonchalant fraud in simple masculine rhyme (The Archedene off Abbyrdene / In Brwyss his Buk has gert be sene), and it could suffer no better-deserved fate than to be butchered for television. At xx. 234 it reads

Gif God will me gif Laser and space so lange till liff.

(No, I don't know what was to be done or by whom, if God gave him time and space. Do yer ain reseerch.)

The German word Leser means `reader' (from the verb lesen, `to read'). A letter to the editor is a Leserbrief (lit. `reader letter'). Leser is pronounced like the English word laser, except that the final arr is audible more to the mind than the ear (roughly: ``layz-ah,'' but that ``ah'' is between English ah and eh). Also, the first vowel is a lengthened (I mean extended-duration) short e (/e:/) rather than the ``long a'' diphthong of English. (Look, if you have any trouble with this, just imagine California Governator Ahnuld Shvahtsenaygah saying ``laser.'')

The word laser has been borrowed from English into German, and as is typical with such loans in German, one is simply supposed to recognize the word as foreign and pronounce it in an approximation of the original English pronunciation. That approximation is in fact the German pronunciation of the German word Leser. However, some ignorant persons know no better and pronounce laser according to the standard rules of German orthography, so it comes out roughly as ``lahz-ah.'' The Duden Deutsches Universalwörterbuch actually offers this as an alternate pronunciation. When Wolf left Austria 20 years ago, this alternate pronunciation was ignorant and decidedly incorrect, but who knows now?

laser diode
The prima donna diva of the diode world. Gets a heart attack if you look at her funny or exceed her rated forward current for a nanosecond.

Los Angeles Scientifiction Fans' Amateur Press Association. Started by H. J. N. Andruschak during one of his periods of disillusionment with the APA-L, so I've heard.

LASIK, lasik
Laser-ASsisted In-situ Keratomileusis. ``Flap and Zap.'' 15-minute out-patient procedure; ca. $2500 per eye; 70% of patients have vision corrected to 20/20, 10-15% need second operation, 1-5% have complications. Corrects astigmatism as well as near- and far-sightedness. Standard trade-off: vision is dimmer and contrast is weaker. This is still for those who care more about how they look than how they see.

The procedure consists of cutting a flap in the epithelium (protective outer covering of the cornea) with a fine knife called a microkeratome, then reshaping the interior of the cornea by ablating the exposed surface with an excimer laser. The released flap rebonds and heals quickly after the operation. (One of the failure modes of the procedure is if the flap doesn't flip back into the right position and heals off-center. A rarer failure mode is that it doesn't heal.)

Lasik is a development from photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), in which the epithelium was removed and healed, but painfully. That in turn was an improvement on radial keratotomy (RK), which used mechanical surgery. In principle, LASIK should be better than PRK. For a variety of practical reasons, it's still a tough call between PRK and LASIK.

Excimer lasers specialized for eye surgery were developed by Summit Technology. This company and VISX are the dominant suppliers of lasers for eye-surgery applications in the US.

Most websites on lasik are those of individual practitioners or ophthalmology practices. Visit PRK and LASIK Today instead.

Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics of NASA's GSFC.

Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, and Gallium Arsenide
Two movie stars and a dog. (I first heard this one in about 1986; it was used by a speaker at a compound semiconductors conference in Hawaii.) The Spring 1995 special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly was devoted to ``Mathematics, Science, and Postclassical Theory.''

Local Area Storage Transport. A DEC protocol.


Latin, Latinate. Newton wrote in Latin. Look at item ``11'' here. [His personal library was about equal parts Latin and English, and he spoke extemporaneously in Latin. Most of his scientific publication was in Latin; he did assist others who translated some of his works into English. Interestingly, writing late in the seventeenth century, he preferred the medieval style of Latin; during the Renaissance, there had been a general return to the Latin of Rome's golden age (``classical Latin'').] Kepler, for example, had an admirably classical style.

Even today, many papers are written in Latinate.

I can't seem to decide what entry to favor with information. Check out the L. and Latin entries.

There are a lot of Latin learning materials on the web. See, for example, ``Latin Teaching Materials at Saint Louis University.''

Latinteach is an email discussion group for Latin teachers. The website has a variety of resources for teachers and students. There's also a Latinteach WebRing.

I've noticed that girls named Virginia are at a substantially increased risk of growing up to become Latin teachers.


Local Area Transport. LAT is a protocol for connections to DEC hosts, just as TN3270 is a protocol for connections to IBM hosts, and TCP is a nonproprietary protocol used for most other hosts. Please ignore the use of the present tense in this and similar entries. This glossary is aging.

Los Angeles Times.

Local Access and Transport Area. A subdivision of the region served by an RBOC. Intra-LATA calls include those that may or may not pay an individual toll, depending on the calling plan chosen by a subscriber. Inter-LATA calls, though they may connect subscribers within the same RBOC, are serviced by the ``long-distance carrier'' (IXC) chosen by the calling party.

To become or make late.

La Tène
A district at the east end of Switzerland's Lake Neuchâtel. In excavations conducted there starting in the middle of the nineteenth century, archaeological remains were found of a culture that flourished around the third century B.C. The place name is used to refer to that culture, described as the second Iron Age of central and western Europe, which evolved somewhat independently of the growing Roman civilization in the south.

The words tène (`shallow') and ténevière (`submerged hillock') are colloquial terms used by the fishermen of Lake Neuchâtel. Eduoard Desor, in his Les Palafittes: ou, Constructions Lacustres du Lac de Neuchâtel (1865), p. 77, derives them (sans doute) from the Latin tenuis. This is plausible and even probable, but he triggers a thought by noting that the German word is dünn. The German word and its English cognate thin are generally regarded as independent derivations from Indo-European; it seems possible that tène has an old west Germanic derivation.

Contemporary Greek and Roman writers referred to La Tène culture as Celtic or (equivalently) Gaulish. We have no direct evidence for their language, and modern writers like to stress that language, culture, and descent may not be correlated.

The manifestation of La Tène influence.

A blend: LATENt-image iNTENSIFICATION. Latent images on photographic film (silver iodide technology -- remember that?) can be accomplished in the darkroom (a memory from the dark ages of, um, analogue photography) by chemical treatment or by exposure to low-level light.

Large-Angle Tilted Implant.

Large-Angle Tilt[ed] Implant Device.


There's an on-line Latin Grammar workbook, a ``Study Guide to Wheelock Latin'' by Dale A. Grote, UNC/Charlotte (based on the vastly superseded fourth edition of Wheelock).

George Mason University (GMU) is developing a hypertext library of Latin texts.

There are a number of ongoing on-line Latin study groups. One with a very good reputation is LatinStudy. The GROUP LATIN STUDY list keeps track of the activities of all the on-line Latin study groups. For subscription and other information, see the Group Latin Study List FAQ kept by Diane Cooper.

There seems to be a burgeoning interest in Latin in the schools, and a corresponding shortage of Latin teachers.

For beginners, we give a flavor of Latin declensions at the A.M. entry. For the more advanced, we serve a Latin crossword puzzle here.

You can read the news in Latin from Finland.

Of course, if you really know no Latin at all, the place where you want to start, and which will give you an idea of the power, imagination, and utility of the Roman tongue, is this limited sampling of Latin dirty words.

Latin American Speaks, A
I decided to create an entry for the book with this title because of its title. When it caught my eye in the stacks, my immediate thought was ``does he ever!'' The author is (or was -- the book was published in 1943) Luis Quintanilla, and some of the chapters have interesting titles. The library has two copies, and I was about to write that it looks like a prime candidate for deaccessioning, but it's actually mildly engaging, like naive art.

Here are the last two paragraphs (pp. 36-37) of chapter II, ``South of the Border'':

  However, it is in the field of music that we take the cake. Cuba's ``Peanut Vender'' [sic] precipitated the avalanche. The United States has been simply swept off its feet by the tempo and melody of our popular music. Rumbas, congas, and sambas have tended to displace the long popular American jazz. From tango through rumba to conga, Latin America has conquered the United States. The delicate Mexican songs have completed this subtle annexation of our powerful industrial neighbor. Mexican songs have been so warmly received that they are in danger [heaven forfend!] of becoming naturalized. [Talk radio will save us!] Not only sentimental old-timers like ``La Golondrina,'' ``La Paloma,'' ``Cielito Lindo,'' ``Borrachita,'' ``Estrellita,'' and ``Sobre las Olas'' (Over the Waves), but also the more spirited ``Cucaracha,'' ``Rancho Grande,'' ``Perfidia,'' ``Frenesí,'' ``Cuatro Vidas,'' and a dozen other popular ``hits'' can be heard at almost any hour in the U.S.A. at the turn of a radio dial.''
  Gringos knew they had hands and legs and brains. They were quite efficient at expressing their feelings with their feet--e.g., tap dancing--but there was one thing they ignored until the devilish maracas and sonajas started beating their jungle rhythm: and that was the flexibility of the hips and their magic power of expression. And all this fundamental change in the ``American way of moving'' has occurred only after dancing tangos, congas, and rumbas. Amigos gringos! Wait until you become acquainted with the pericón of Argentina and Uruguay, the Chilean cuecas, the marinera of Peru, the bambuco of Colombia.

I'm reminded that in 1963, when my mother started working as a research librarian at Allied Chemical, she was criticized by her library colleagues for the provocative, exaggerated way she swayed her hips when she walked. (We had just emigrated from Argentina, home of the tango -- which, if I may say so, does not really emphasize hip movement.)

In the block quote above, the only deviation from the italicization of the original is the emphasis I added to ``fundamental.'' Back around 1988, Carlo Jacoboni told me a story about a paper his group (in Modena, Italy) had submitted to an American or other English-language scientific journal. With the reviewer report came a suggestion that they look up the word fundament (which they had used) in a dictionary. It turns out that an important sense of the word -- the principal sense, to some people -- is, as the 1913 Webster's puts it, ``[t]he part of the body on which one sits; the buttocks; specifically (Anat.), the anus.''

latin characters
``West Side Story'' (a 1957 production of ``Romeo and Juliet'') used many.


Latin honors
A term for the special-recognition designations applied to some graduation degrees: summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude. These are generally explained or translated as `with highest honors,' `with high honors,' and `with honors,' resp. In the US, the awarding of Latin honors (or honors, I guess, if they're specified in English) is common only for undergraduate degrees. I imagine that this American collegiate use of Latin is less confusing than the American collegiate use of Greek.


Latin humor
One of the few disadvantages of scattering information almost at random in this glossary is that I can't always find it when I want to link to it. Hence, this particular entry is not so much under construction as waiting for construction material to be relocated. I'll be putting stuff in as it comes to me.

  1. But first, let's get this one over with:
    ``Semper ubi sub ubi'' is a timeworn Latin students' joke (the joke, not necessarily the student telling it, is timeworn).
  2. When the College of Cardinals met to elect a successor to Pope John Paul II, Father Reginald Foster got a lot of press coverage. ``Father Foster'' already sounds like a punch line, but I'm not planning to give him a nomen est omen subentry. Father Foster is a Latin teacher at ``the Greg'' or, as all those unhip reporters called it, ``Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.''
    Forty years earlier, in 1965, the Second Vatican Council had decided to switch the language of mass from the traditional Latin to the local vernacular. Latin is no longer the local vernacular anywhere, so that was mostly the end of Latin mass. [Actually, upon request a number of congregations have been authorized to use the old Tridentine mass, but not that many when you consider that it was once catholic, errr, universal. During the papacy of John Paul II, the rate at which such authorizations were granted ticked up a notch. In addition, a number of independent churches or groups of churches separated from the Roman Catholic mainstream because they opposed one or more of the Vatican II innovations. (The same thing happened after the first Vatican Council in 1870.) Probably most of these schismatic churches continue to use the Latin mass.]
    Despite the change, however, the age of all but the youngest cardinals meant that for years they had said Latin prayers at daily mass. Apparently that wasn't enough to develop conversational ability. Father Foster clucked to the press: ``I joke with cardinals in Latin ... and most don't laugh.'' (Maybe his jokes aren't really all that funny.) ``Some say they have no idea what I'm saying.'' (Maybe it's his accent?) Foster did mention that Cardinal Joe Ratzinger (yeah, yeah -- baptizatus Ioseph Aloisius Ratzinger) was one of the few who really knew his Latin. In the event, Joe got elected Pope, taking the name Benedictus XVI.
  3. Henry Beard (Henricus Barbatus) is the author of Latin for All Occasions: Lingua Latina Occasionibus Omnibus (1990) and its sequel X-treme Latin (2004). I particularly enjoyed ```Syntaxis Utilis,'' which illustrated some of the less straightforward verb conjugations, basing its paradigm on the reflexive of ``f***.'' (We are family-friendly here, but for a moment we will be family unfriendly in German and Serbo-Croatian. The reflexive form in those languages would be sich ficken and jegidse.) Of course, compared to Catullus, this is pretty mild stuff.
    Most of the humor in Beard's books is, so to speak, what is gained in translation. The gravitas of Latin lends an air of absurdity to statements that are not funny in English. A similar if milder effect can be achieved in English by using an inappropriate linguistic register. (E.g.:``I would be simply delighted to irrumate you brutally.'')
    Henry Beard was the invited speaker at a CAAS meeting I attended in April 2001. The reception was warm, but his jokes didn't draw big laughs. It occurred to me eventually that for Latin teachers, his mots lacked the entertaining alien-ness that Latin has for others.
  4. Rose Williams has written a number of little books in a spirit similar to those of Beard: The Labors of Aeneas: What a Pain It Was to Found the Roman Race (2003) is her faithful but light-hearted retelling of Virgil's Aeneid. It follows Once upon the Tiber: An Offbeat History of Rome (2002). Her Going to Hades Is Easy: Facilis Descensus Averno (2000) has the subsubtitle Witty Latin Sayings by Wise Romans. Williams's Latin Quips at Your Fingertips (2001) is a collection of 200 quotes of ancient Romans, with translations. In 1999 she and Lesley O'Mara co-edited Which Way to the Vomitorium: Vernacular Latin for All Occasions. (I wonder if it's a coincidence that the Facilis Descensus book is currently in paperback from a small press called Michael O'Mara Books.) Rose Williams has also written books in a more serious and sometimes inspirational tone, such as Cicero the Patriot (2005). Alright! Enough already! Write something long and don't come back for another six months at least!
  5. I think it was Eugene Ehrlich who kicked off the genre cultivated by Rose Williams and Henry Beard with a couple of books of common (well, once common) and useful Latin phrases called Amo, Amas, Amat and More (1990 or earlier, with an introduction by WFB) and Veni, Vidi, Vici: Conquer Your Enemies, Impress Your Friends with Everyday Latin.
  6. There's something at the G & R entry, but it's not really amusing enough to be worth following the link.
  7. See the NFFNSNC entry for dead-language jokes about the dead.
  8. Peccavi.
  9. ``Use pure, clear, simple, concise Anglo-Saxon; avoid Latin derivatives'' is also a joke. Well, it's funny, anyway. Okay, how about ``gently amusing''?


An old Latin mailing list, now defunct. There is another list (fairly active, as of 2007) called latinteach, mostly for teachers of Latin to discuss teaching methods.


Latin school texts
Latin has been around awhile, so there are quite a few of these. It's worth noting too, for a very long time Latin (and to a lesser degree Greek) were the only foreign languages widely taught to schoolchildren in a formal manner. (I mean widely taught in the western world, but that's the main place where any foreign languages were taught. By ``schoolchildren'' I mean schoolboys; that's how it was.) The idea was that modern languages could be picked up by travel or unstructured reading.

We've been putting information about Latin textbooks and readers into the glossary in a haphazard but generally alphabetical manner. Following are the ones I have tracked down. The symbols [G] and [R] refer to grammar-intensive and readings-based approaches, respectively.

  1. Cambridge [England] Latin Course [R]. See CLC.
  2. Ecce Romani [R].
  3. Latin For Americans [G]. See LFA.
  4. Lingua Latina by Hans Oerberg [R]. See LL.
  5. Oxford Latin Course [R]. See OLC.
  6. Wheelock [G]. No entry yet, but see LFA.

In addition to these, there are various textbooks in something close to the original sense of the word: books of texts to be read (for practice more than, or at least as much as, content). These are especially useful to supplement the textbooks that focus on grammar. They generally fall into two categories: books of texts all appropriate for some given level of (sub-fluent) proficiency in the language, and graded readers. Graded readers have texts or stories that are progressively more demanding, and they are often keyed to some teaching text.

In no particular order:


Latin texts online
Texts can be found in the original Latin at By a strange coincidence, Latin encoded in ASCII characters is recognizable.

Latin wrestling
I'm sure many students have believed they were wrestling with Latin, but I'd never seen this collocation written out before. Perhaps it's just me; many people seeing the phrase might think of Roberto Durán, Julio César Chávez, or Alexis Arguello, but they're all boxers. On the back it said ``PIN TO WIN,'' so this wrestling isn't as exotic as it might be. I asked the woman who was wearing the sweat shirt, ``which `Boys' Latin'?'' She said ``Baltimore.''

This reminds me of the Hebrew characters I saw stenciled on someone's laptop -- pn styyt. I figured it was Yiddish, particularly on account of the double yud. It turned out to be Hebrew for Penn State. (The guy told me it was Modern Hebrew, but that would seem to go without saying.)

La Tour de France
Are you illiterate or just blind? Tour is male, all male, 100% male. I don't see any skirt-friendly girly bikes there. Maybe you want...

In the French wine taxonomical system (known as appellation contrôlée), this is a ``suffix'' -- a kind of species of the Côtes du Roussillon-Villages genus. With few exceptions (another, with better cause, is Caramany), such species distinctions are not indicated on the label. According to Jancis Robinson, Latour-de-France ``may have been accorded this distinction less because of the superior quality of the wine than because the name had been successfully promoted to the French wine consumer by wine merchants Nicolas, who once bought the majority of the production.'' I'm not convinced yet; let's have another étape.

Long-Acting Thyroid Stimulating hormone. ``Long-acting'' -- I know it sounds like a marketer came up with the name, but it's standard medicalese.

Lambda Alpha Upsilon. Stands for Latino America Unida (`Latin America United').

Local-Area Underwater Navigation System. Rhymes with ``lawns.''

Laser-Assisted UvuloPlasty. A surgical treatment used for snoring that is occasionally effective for sleep apnea. Cf. UvuloPalatoPlasty (UPP).

Uvula? I'll look it up later.

Los Angeles Unified School District.

Light Armored Vehicle.

Laser-Assisted Vascular Anastomosis.

Light Anti-tank Weapon.

Local Area Wireless.

Low-Activity (radioactive) Waste.

This site publishes a representation that it is ``largest and only comprehensive legal site with over 12,000 original pages.'' You don't agree? Go ahead, sue 'em.

law enforcement
Remember, you can't spell law enforcement without cement. Notice that this works with out law too.

A light cotton or linen fabric of very fine weave, ultimately named after the city of Laon, in northern France. Given the high frequency of the other word lawn, meaning of grass plot (also from France, in this case from the Old French word launde), it would take a certain amount of effort to determine if this word is still really in use, if not for lawn sleeves.

Lawn Guyland
Long Island, NY.

lawn mowers
Interestingly, they are available in both two-stroke and four-stroke models, and all electric. Pretty amazing, huh? No solar-powered yet. The repair of lawn mowers is a part of American folklore.

lawn sleeves
No, not long sleeves (but see Lawn Guyland). Lawn sleeves are sleeves made of lawn (a fabric; follow the link for detail). In particular, they are the sleeves of lawn that form part of the dress of an Anglican bishop. Metonymically, ``lawn sleeves'' refers to the office of an Anglican (Episcopalian, in the US) bishop, or to the holder or holders of that office.

Thomas Firth Jones's A Pair of Lawn Sleeves: A biography of William Smith (1727-1803) was published by the Chilton Book Company in 1972. It begins with this excerpt from the diary of John Adams (August 29, 1774):

A gentleman who returned into town with Mr. Paine and me in our coach undertook to caution us against two gentlemen particularly: one was Dr. Smith, the provost of the College, who is looking up to government for an American episcopate, and a pair of lawn sleeves.

In this entry I must note the following: In Spanish, a flexible tube used to pipe water, like a garden hose or a fire hose, is named after a different article of clothing than in English. Such a hose is mangera, from manga, meaning `sleeve.'

Law of the Sea, Canada, and Fish

Wake up! Wake up!

You think you couldn't imagine a better natural alternative to Sominex, but in 1995 the Canadians took police action against a Spanish trawler to protect turbot stocks off their Atlantic coast.

It's scary: you think the dangers are downtown, and next moment your neighbors have a violent row.

And not just violence now, but sex too! According to research conducted in 1998 and released under Canada's Access to Information Act, the 10,000 employees at Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Ministère des Pêches et des Océans) paid an average of 70,000 visits per day to dating and pomography web sites. (Yes, that's an intentional typo, and sorry, I don't have more detailed statistics. Try this article in Salon.)

A friend of mine who worked at a major airline became just slightly concerned (so he put it) when he learned that the company's web fascist had surreptitiously compiled logs of the web sites visited by each employee. He needn't have worried (slightly) -- the general reaction was an overwhelming storm of slight concern, and the visit histories are reported to have been destroyed. Also, in 1999, the New York Times fired a number of employees at a northern Virginia facility, for exchanging non-PC and racy jokes and images. This was between consenting adults of various genders and a few races, you understand, but it was on company computers. The company kept a copy of every email that went through its system. I guess you're reading this glossary at home; now let's get back to the subject at hand, whatever it was.

Now, I recognize that some SBF Glossary users live in Canadian coastal fishing villages, and may even be or have been fishermen or fisherpersons, as the case may be. The following is for them; the rest of you go read something different.

Dear valued glossary user and former fishworker!
As you are aware, diminished Atlantic fish stocks have forced Fish Canada to impose certain restrictions, limits, moratoria -- all with the goal of replenishing stocks and ensuring the continued economic vitality of your village. Temporarily, you are forbidden to catch more than two (2) fish per month in season (January), but eventually, some of your descendants will be able to return to employment in the sea. Your government has a very sophisticated plan to preserve the economy of your village against that future day. In layman's terms, this is the plan: everyone will take in each other's washing. In order to implement this plan, many citizens who worked in the fishing industry must find new jobs. Employment Canada are diligently endeavouring to retrain you and your neighbours for satisfying work that utilises some of the skills you developed in your previous career.
Lobstermen: have you considered a career in hair styling?!

Some of you who have just started your new careers may have a little difficulty adjusting initially. A day at Davey Jones's Locks or Ahab's Persistent Wave ("Durn-near `Permanent' ") waiting for a customer may seem more tedious than waiting for fish to bite. Until you become better adjusted, you may find it hard to put aside frustration and get to sleep. ``Law of the Sea'' may not be a soothing thought. What you need is the gold standard of soporific prose. Here it is:

Planning and Implementing Assessment/Institutional Effectiveness Activities to Meet Regional Accrediting Association Requirements
Let that be your sleep mantra. Good night. (It's the title of a $395 workshop, but I'm too weary to type in the details.)

Unrigorous, nonstringent.

La-X, LaX

Los Angeles International Airport (IATA code). LAN is taken for Capital City Airport in LANsing, MI, and LAS is taken by McCarran International Airport in LAS Vegas, NV; LAI and the very appropriate LAG (if you've come in from Asia) are both available, but IATA in its wisdom chose LAX. They're probably saving the others for a big airport. Cf. ORD, YYZ.

I'm going to keep this short and simple. Please read and understand.

The word lay is a part of two closely related verbs that became confused in the last third of the twentieth century. Because decadent usage has become so common, even intelligent people like you use nontraditional conjugation and sound stupid and unlettered.

The two verbs have infinitive forms lie (as in ``lie down'') and lay. The relationship between the two is similar to that between rise and raise (with the same vowels and related meanings, so it's mnemonic). To lie and to rise describe what a subject does with his own body. They are intransitive (take no direct object) because they are implicitly reflexive. To lay and to raise describe what a subject does to some other object. They are transitive -- the direct object is what is moved by the subject.

Here are some examples of correct traditional usage:

  1. I lie on the couch.
  2. I lay the antimacasar on the couch.
  3. As I Lay Dying.
  4. He was laid to rest.
  5. We have lain on the foundations.
  6. We have laid the foundations.

Wait, wait, I'm working.

Landolt-Börnstein. A series of compendia of material (chemical thermodynamic, mechanical, electrical, magnetic) properties.

Langmuir-Blodgett (films).

Leaky Bucket.

(Domain code for) Lebanon.

[Football icon]

LineBacker. A linebacker may be an inside linebacker (ILB) or an outside linebacker (OLB).

Late Bronze Age.

Latino Business Association. They have an unoccupied sandwich-board sign parked outside the Davidson Library.

L band
Long wavelength BAND. ``Long'' compared to the conventional band (C band) of fiber-optic transmission frequencies. Specifically, the wavelength range 1570-1600 nm, also called the 1580 nm band.

LandesBank Berlin. `Berlin StateBank.' In English, it is an affectation to write State and Bank with no space in the compound noun. In German it is an affectation to write Landesbank with the b capitalized.

Leak-Before-Break. A ``concept'' in the reliability of pipes and (reactor) vessels.

Lawn Bowling Club. You may learn something from the archives of the lawnbowl mailing list.

Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.

Leo Baeck College. (It used to use a longer formal name.) LBC was founded in 1956 by Rabbi Dr. Werner Van der Zyl with the support of the two Progressive Jewish movements in the UK, and it was consciously conceived as the successor to the Hochshule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin. ``Today the College is a centre for the training of rabbis and teachers, an educational consultancy, development of community leaders, providing access to Jewish learning for all and working with those of other religions to advance understanding and respect.''

I would almost say that LBC is to British Judaism what the Hebrew Union College is to American Judaism: the rabbinical college of the Progressive movement. The relatively late creation of LBC probably reflects the small number of synagogues to be served in the UK. I suppose that until about 1933, British rabbinical students studied in Germany, much as a large fraction of serious American physics students would have done graduate study in Germany until then. One small difference between the US and UK situations is that there are two Progressive movements of comparable size in the UK, and only one (Reform) in the US. (The relatively small Reconstructionist movement in the US has its own rabbinical college.) Another interesting difference is that due to a certain degree of doctrinal tolerance in the UK, the Conservative movement got a very late start (1962) and remains small. LBC serves as the UK rabbinical college for that movement as well.

Leo Baeck College - Centre for Jewish Education. So far as I understand, this is not the Centre for Jewish Education within or constituting a part of a Leo Baeck College. It's just the full name of a London institution whose short name is ``Leo Baeck College.'' (See HUC-JIR for something similar.)

It can get particularly confusing if you create another entity and call it a centre too, like the Sternberg Centre, whatever that is. Apparently I was not the only one to find the hyphenated name slightly confusing. Sometime between 2000 and 2006, they apparently transitioned into using the shorter version exclusively, along with the correspondingly shortened domain name. As of 2006 you can still see vestiges of the old name links of related organizations. More substantive information about the college is at the LBC entry.

Little Black Dress. The phrase appears in a boilerplate disclaimer in personals ads placed by women: ``Yes, I am equally comfortable in jeans and the little black dress, dammit.''

(I felt sure I'd already mentioned this somewhere in the glossary, but at this moment I can't find it.)

Little Black Hole[s]. Even a black hole of earth mass apparently counts as little.

Long Beach Island. I'd seen the oval LBI stickers on bumpers as far west as Indiana, but I'd never heard it pronounced until yesterday at a Charlie Brown's restaurant, when a couple at a nearby table were having a first date. I could tell it was a first date because both participants had big signs hanging from their necks that read ``FIRST DATE.'' Okay, maybe the signs were a little more subtle, but it was about that obvious.

Chapter 9 of Debra Ginsberg's book Waiting is ``Food and Sex.'' She explains that it's ``almost too easy to identify the couples who will be headed to a beadroom [uh, I must have meant bedroom; I guess my mind wandered] as soon as dinner is over.... Waiters and waitresses train themselves to understand body language as carefully as the spoken word.'' The surefire sign is if she doesn't eat much of her dinner. ``There are also telling questions, like `Does it have a lot of bones?' Nobody wants to be seen picking apart a chicken if planning later to strip naked in front of a virtual stranger.'' I'm still thinking this one over, ruminating on it, chewing it over. For similar thoughts on salad, see NAVS.

A rock group called The Waitresses had their only hit with ``I Know What Boys Want.''

So back to this couple at Charlie Brown's on their first date. It was easy to see that they were going to go to bed... separately. He was talking about fishing gear and ``el bee eye,'' and she was making a superhuman effort to seem interested. This was not only their first date but their last date, though he apparently hadn't realized it yet.

Here, from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, is a similar situation.

Maria, with only Mr. Rushworth [her wealthy fiancé] to attend to her, and doomed to the repeated details of his day's sport, good or bad, his boast of his dogs, his jealousy of his neighbours, his doubts of their [hunting] qualifications, and his zeal after poachers, subjects which will not find their way to female feelings without some talent on one side, or some attachment on the other, had missed Mr. Crawford grievously...

Light-Beam-Induced Current.

LeBron James. An emotionally immature professional basketball player. But perhaps that is pleonastic.

Light-Bulb Joke. Riddle of the form ``How many ___________s does it take to screw in a light bulb?'' Cf. RLBJ.

Lyndon Baines Johnson. Lady Bird Johnson. Lynda Bird Johnson. Luci Baines Johnson.

There's an actress called Kim Kardashian who did a couple of movies in 2007, following some television work in 2006 and 2007. In 2003 she had appeared in an episode or two of ``The Simple Life,'' an unreality show starring Paris Hilton. Perhaps she was best known for being the girlfriend of football player Reggie Bush for a while and then in 2008 for her part in ``Dancing with the Stars.'' (I don't know if she played a star or ``I'm with him'' on that, but she made it to round 10 and seemed to be in the entertainment news a lot.) Most of her gigs have consisted of playing herself on TV. In 2008 she starred in that role, in a show called ``Keeping Up with the Kardashians.'' Her costars included her sisters Khloe Alexandra Kardashian and Kourtney Mary Kardashian. Kim is Kimberly Noel Kardashian. Not as ambitious for consistency as Lyndon Baines Johnson, but at least the Kardashian parents didn't name any of their daughters Kandy Kelly.


Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Also LBNL. They should really emphasize this in the interests of disingenuous ethnic comity or comedy or something. An Orlando I know says that in California, people have such a low IQ (Italian Quotient) that they think ``Orlando'' is a Hispanic surname. (He became aware of this when he moved there in 1980 or so. Since then, I think California's overall IQ has gone down further, along with the rest of the country's.)

Les Belles Lettres. Not just a pretty phrase. The acronym is more likely (than the phrase) to refer to the publisher of l'APh.

Lean Body Mass.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. (Also LBL.) ``The Hill'' overlooking the Berkeley campus of the University of California. A welcome page describes it as the US's ``first national laboratory,'' founded in 1931. This may be true in some restricted sense, but NRL was created in 1923.

Leveraged Buy-Out. Purchase of a company by a party that borrows most of the money for the purchase. The purchaser makes the argument to prospective lenders that the current assets of the company to be bought out are being mismanaged, and that the purchaser can do a better job, often by selling off the assets. A recently LBO'ed company is always deep in debt, not just from the buy-out but from golden parachutes for the old management team. This game was extremely popular in the 1980's -- over 2000 companies and about a quarter trillion dollars in assets.

LiB3O5. Lithium triborate, a nonlinear-optical crystal.

Line Build-Out.

Low Bit-Rate.

Listen Before Talk. A more transparent name for CSMA. Good general conversational advice as well.

LBW, l.b.w.
Leg Before (i.e. in front of) Wicket. Batsman has blocked the wicket with his body, and is out. Offense called by the umpire in something called cricket. It appears this game of fan endurance was invented in the Indian subcontinent, probably because, in the absence of a certain insight about diamonds, pitches were deemed easier to construct than to throw.

Low Birth Weight. Cf. ELBW.

LC, L.C.
Landing Craft. Military craft that land from the sea, not the air. The initials are productive; there are at least the following specifications:

Letter of Credit. The plural ``letters of credit'' is typically abbreviated LCs.

French, Lettres et Cartes, `Letters and Cards.' Includes letters, postcards, aerograms and letter packages.

International mail is divided into three general categories: LC, CP (parcel post), and AO (other things).

Um, um, there's this famous nineteenth-century novelist, um, ridiculously prolific, can't remember the name. Anthony Trollope! Anyway, in 1834 he began a distinguished career in the British Post Office. He quit in 1867, eight years before reaching the age of retirement, to devote himself to his writing career. His friend George Eliot feared at the time that it would lead him to ``excessive writing.'' She was right.

Trollope got his first position, as a minor clerk, through connections to the then-Secretary of the Post Office, Sir Francis Freeling. After a few years, Freeling was succeeded by an activist reformer, Rowland Hill. Trollope continued to be promoted within the post office, but as he rose he came to have an increasing number of conflicts with the Secretary. In 1861, he sought leave to visit North America -- the US Civil War would generate interest in a travel book and he could fulfill his ambition to follow in his mother's footsteps (she had written a famous and uncomplimentary North America book herself). Hill turned him down, but Trollope managed to get permission from the Postmaster General. Trollope found space in North America to praise Rowland Hill's ``wise audacity'' in campaigning (over twenty years before) for the ``penny post'' (uniform one-penny rate for all letters). (The penny-post scheme was accompanied by the introduction of gummed stamps for prepaying postage. In 1856, prepaid postage on letters was made mandatory. Prepaid postage stamps were adopted world wide, and since then stamp collectors have been keeping afloat the economies of small island nations that for all we know might be frauds upon the maps of oceans.) Incidentally, three of the 36 chapters in Trollope's North America were devoted to Canada, which is as close as one can come to the usual factor-of-ten rule, if you stick to a 36-chapter total. The two-volume work was a poorly organized, error-ridden success (on both sides of the pond), although Trollope didn't collect much in royalties from US distribution, since the US was something of an intellectual-property outlaw in those days. (And for a long time after. You could ask J.R.R. Tolkien about that, except that since he's dead, you might wait a long time for an answer.)

Trollope saw mail collection boxes of some sort in use in France in the 1830's. While working on special assignment in Jersey in the early 50's, he came up with the idea of cylindrical ``roadside letter boxes.'' The idea was adopted; Anthony Trollope is the father of the ``pillar box.''

Library of Congress. Also refers to its library materials classification system (LCC). Cf. DDC, UDC.

Liquid Chromatography. Here's an introduction from Virginia Tech.

Liquid Crystal. Here's some mild hype from Hughes on LC applications.

Logic Circuit. No, not circular reasoning. Don't be so clever.

Lois and Clark. Long form: ``Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.'' A TV series.

Low Cost.

Lower Case. Referring to letters that are minuscule without necessarily being miniscule.

(Domain code for) Saint Lucia.

Landing Craft -- Assault.

Last Chance for Animals. ``Giving Animals a Fighting Chance.'' Not a cockfighters' organization.

Lifetime Cost Analysis; Life-Cycle Assessment. The general idea is that the cost of a product does not end at manufacture or sale -- there are costs associated with its use and ultimate disposal, and many of these costs, environmental in nature, are not borne directly by the manufacturer or consumer or by any of those who charge for adding value (in the most general sense) along the way between them.

Here's an introduction to Life Cycle Assessment from PRé Product Ecology Consultants.

Line Circuit Address.

Linear Combination of Atomic Orbitals. A common way to generate molecular orbitals (MO's).

[See description at left]

Leadless Chip Carrier. Also Leaded Chip Carrier. A Landmark aChievement in Creative ambiguity, but usually leadLESS is meant. Since we're trying to be helpful here, please forgive my stressing some facts that may be obvious to some of our readers. I mean the word LEAD, PEOPLE! The word that RHYMES WITH ``READ,'' OKAY??!! (Sheess -- some people thought we meant Pb.)

The illustration at right is from NEC, which has a bit more information on-line.

Are you confused and at a loss? Good. Now remember: leadLESS.

Library of Congress Classification. A system for classifying books and other documents. The highest level of classification divides subjects into classes represented by twenty-one letters of the alphabet. Thus some letters are left over in case there was some major category of human knowledge that was overlooked. Wait a sec -- didn't there used to be just twenty classes?! Oops -- there are: it turns out that one primary class, ``History: America'' (i.e., Western Hemisphere), is assigned two letters: E and F.

The second level of subdivision (``subclasses'') is represented by a letter or by no letter. You know what I mean: QC for physics, QB for astronomy, QA for mathematics!?!?!, Q for ``Science (General).''

The next level of subdivision is a number greater than or equal to 1.

See also LCCS, DDC (Dewey), and UDC (not Dewey).

Life-Cycle Cost[ing]. The gerund is an approximate synonym of LCA, q.v..

London County Council.

Lost Calls Cleared.

Land Cover Classification System.

Library of Congress Classification {Schedules|System}. Used to assign catalog codes to documents. The codes consist of alternating strings of letters and numbers. These codes are typically called ``LC numbers''; they're too few for each document to have a unique one, but individual libraries usually extend the codes, typically on the basis of author name or publication year or both. This is useful even when the library uses a separate code for cataloguing purposes (typically an acquisition number). Then books with the same LC number can be catalogued consistently, but LC numbers usually determine shelf order in libraries that use them at all. First by alphabetical order, then in numerical order under a particular letter or letter pair, then by alphabetical order, etc.

LC numbers begin with a one- or two-letter prefix. The first letter defines the primary class, and the second letter, if present, a subclass. Hey -- I already explained this!

It's interesting that the word science occurs in the designation of seven of the primary classes:

  1. Auxiliary sciences of history
  2. Social Sciences
  3. Political Science
  4. Science
  5. Military Science
  6. Naval Science
  7. Bibliography, Library Science, Information Resources (General)

This correctly indicates that many things are called by names that use the word science but are not science and that, in particular, social science is not science. Psychology is in class B: ``Philosophy, Psychology, Religion.'' Specifically, Psychology is subclass BF, sandwiched between BD (``Speculative philosophy'') and BH (``Aesthetics'').

Liquid Crystal Display.

Lost Calls Delayed.

The letters used to represent 50, 100, 500, and 1000 in Roman numerals. They evolved from, or replaced, earlier numerals that were not alphabetic characters, so you might as well think of L, C, D, and M as representing the words in the mnemonic ``Lucy Can't Drink Milk.''

Lieutenant CommanDeR.

Life-Cycle Engineering. Engineering that takes account of the costs considered in LCA, q.v.. PRé, Product Ecology Consultants, wants to help.

Latent Cancer Fatality. This latent doesn't just mean hidden; it also suggests much later, because that's how the effects of low-dose radiation exposure come to be latent.

Low Cycle Fatigue. Fatigue occurring after relatively few cycles. ``Fatigue'' is usually metal fatigue -- plastic and creep strain from repeated, ordinary levels of stress, eventually leading to fatigue cracking and failure.

In photovoltaic systems, a cycle is a day: metal parts (heat sinks for the PV cells, concentrators for the solar radiation, and particularly solder joints) expand during the daylight hours and shrink during the night. [Do not carp that this expansion is a ``strain'' rather than a stress. They're tied together too intricately, and everyone understands what would be tedious to explain: The heat causes high stress under rigid (zero-strain) conditions. The metal strains (expands) to relieve the stress. An assembly of parts with different thermal expansivities, or different temperatures, or both, is liable to be constrained so as not to be able to release the stress entirely.] A PV system typically has a planned life of 20 or 30 years, or well over 10000 diurnal cycles. In this context, ``low cycle'' means fewer than 10000 cycles.

Lateral Center of Gravity. Trucking term. The horizontal position of the center of gravity (CG), measuring transverse to direction of motion of the truck. Usually described as a distance left or right of the center.

Logical Channel Group Number.

London Clearing House.

Landing Craft -- Infantry.

Life-Cycle Inventory. Approximate synonym of LCA, q.v..

Liquid Crystal InfraRed (IR) (detection).

Less than a full Container Load. A freight term, but also handy if you need an expression less impolitic than ``two slices short of a sandwich.''


Loeb Classical Library.

Liquid Crystal Light Valve.

Landing Craft -- Mechanized.

l.c.m., L.C.M.
Least Common Multiple.


Liverpool Classical Monthly. Journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Louise Chandler Moulton. Mrs. Moulton was a Boston socialite and poet of the later nineteenth century. She and her friend Katherine Sherwood Bonner McDowell both had unhappy marriages. This is a great tragedy and common. Each had one daughter. (As you probably guess, they were different daughters.) In January 1876 the two friends took off for eight months in Europe. In a dispatch to the Boston Times from on board The Baltic (she did it for the money; ten dollars per missive), Mrs. Sherwood Bonner wrote
The initials L. C. M. are familiar to most of your readers, appended as they have been to so many exquisite poems and stories, the revelation of a cultured mind and sympathetic heart...

L.C.M. appears in a widely circulated 1884 photograph of twelve ``Eminent Women'' of America (Louisa May Alcott, Julia Ward Howe, and Harriet Beecher Stowe are the women in the picture still well known today). Her poetry ``was considered among the finest in the second half of the century'' according to Susan Coultrap-McQuin, Doing Library Business: American Women Writers in the Nineteenth Century (Chapel Hill: Un. of N. Car. Pr., 1990). Note that that particular half century included much of the poetry of Walt Whitman (1819-1891).

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Most of the information in this entry comes from A Sherwood Bonner Sampler, 1869-1884: What a Bright, Educated, Witty, Lively, Snappy Young Woman Can Say on a Variety of Topics, ed. Anne Razey Gowdy (Knoxville: Un. of Tenn. Pr., 2000). Sherwood Bonner was always young; she died of cancer in 1883, age 34.

For those of you who were confused by the word missive above, it means `letter,' the kind normally comprising rather than composing a number of words. Here at SBF World Strategy Planning, we strive to eliminate all ambiguity. (Indeed, we're right on schedule to achieve perfect and permanent clarity on June 16, 2000.) If we had used the synonym missile instead of missive, some of you might have thought we meant the projectile sort of missile. If we had used the word letter, some of you might very reasonably have supposed that a newspaper correspondent might be paid ten dollars for each alphabetic character of prose in 1876. Confederate dollars, sure.

Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

La1-xCaxMnO3 .

Liquid Chromatography (LC) - Mass Spectroscopy. The folks at Perkin-Elmer maintain an LC/MS site, and would like to tell you about their instruments.

Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.

Logical Channel Number.

Low-Cost Network. So I've been led to believe.

Liquid Core Optical Ring Resonator.

Liquid Crystal (microdisplay) on Silicon.

Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospitals.

(NASA's) Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite.

Laser Cathode Ray Tube.

League Championship Series. A series to determine the National League or American League champion (team). The two league champions go on to meet in the World Series.

The LCS used to be a best-of-five, back when each league of Major League Baseball (MLB) consisted of two divisions (East and West). Then, it was played between the two division winners (the teams with the best regular-season records in their respective divisions).

In 1995 there was an expansion and reorganization into three divisions. Since then, each league champion has been determined in an playoff series that consists of two rounds. The first round, a best-of-five (the ``Division Series'' -- NLDS or ALDS) reduces a field of four to the two. The four teams are the division winners and a wild-card team -- the second-place team (in its division) with the best record (among all teams in its league). In this system, the second round is the LCS, now a best-of-seven series between the division series winners.

Littoral Combat Ship.

Library-of-Congress Subject Heading[s].

Liquid Crystal (LC) Spatial Light Modulator (SLM). Here's some stuff from Hughes.

Low-Cost Surface Mount.

Loop-Current Step Response.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Other credentials are member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW) and Board-Certified Diplomate (BCD) in Clinical Social Work (CSW).

See SW entry for related entries.

Landing Craft -- Tank.

Land Condition Trend Analysis.

Liquid-Crystal Tunable (light) Filter.

Less Commonly Taught Language[s]. The LCTL Project at the University of Minnesota ``focuses on the teaching and learning of all of the world's languages except English, French, German, and Spanish.'' The National Council of Organizations of Less Commonly Taught Languages, NCOLCTL, explains that ``[w]e are the teachers of Arabic [see AATA], Chinese, Hindi, Russian [see ACTR and AATSEEL], Swahili [see ALTA], Tagalog, and many other languages which are important in this world but which are relatively unfamiliar to most Americans.'' Notice the apparent preoccupation with languages being important (or perhaps, inferentially, the fear that they are not).

There is a related category called ``Critical Languages,'' which was invented during the Cold War to encompass languages that did not attract much attention for economic, literary, or whatever other reasons foreign languages might attract attention, but which were geopolitically important. In some schools, the imperative to teach ``critical languages,'' combined with the shortage of qualified instructors, has led to the use of unqualified instructors.

League of Conservation Voters. Not ``conservative.''

Laser Chemical Vapor Deposition.

Lethal Concentration to 50%. I.e., a concentration that is lethal to 50% of a standard sample of human or animal subjects. (The usual method is to estimate LC50 for the former from experiments on the latter.)

For example, LC50 for hydrofluoric acid is 456 ppm for mice inhaling the stuff for an hour. For rats inhaling for an hour, the LC50 is 1276 ppm. Three and four significant digits on numbers like these are completely fatuous. It's the kind of accuracy you might pretend to achieve if you massacred on the order of a million rats, to be sure the LC50 was 1276 and not 1277 ppm, even though you don't know two digits of accuracy on the HF (aq) molarity.

In the end, the thing you know best is the breed of rat you ordered to sacrifice on the altar of health science (Norway, or brown), and that HF is nasty stuff.

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