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Me., ME
Maine. USPS abbreviation uses no punctuation and both letters capitalized.

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

Mapping Entity.

Materials Engineering. The WWWVL has a shelf for it.

Mechanical Engineer[ing].

Medical Examiner.

Meines Erachtens. German, `in my opinion.' Slip this in. Your reader will be too insecure to ask what it means, so you won't have to admit that it's ``JMO'' (just your personal opinion).

Me, ME
Messerschmitt. German, `knife smith.' Aircraft manufacturer; see Bf entry.

Metaphysics and Epistemology.

MEthyl. E.g., `MeOH' for methyl alcohol (methanol in more and wood alcohol in less modern terminology).

Millennium Edition. In ``Windows Me.'' Sounds a bit solipsistic. At least to me it does. Or is that egotism?

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis. Better known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS, q.v.).

Minnesota Education Association.

Mishawaka Education Association.

Mississippi Education Association. Founded in 1885, and for most of its existence the strongest teacher's union in the state, it merged with the Mississippi Teachers Association in 1975. It was a rough transition. Its founding occurred during the period of official anti-black oppression that followed Reconstruction, so it was the segregated ``white'' union during most of its existence. The MTA was the ``colored'' union. The MEA was the NEA affiliate; the MTA was an affiliate of the parallel black organization (ATA).

In 1965 and 1966, in the second decade of the civil rights struggles, the NEA passed resolutions requiring that its member state associations remove discriminatory language from their constitutions and eliminate racial guidelines for membership, thereby forcing states with dual associations to move toward merger. At a meeting in Miami, Florida in 1966, the national organizations -- the NEA and the ATA -- merged. You can read a summary of the events at this page describing a critical document collection. Basically, the MEA and MTA leaderships met and managed (initially with some help from an NEA ``fact finder'') to hammer out merger agreements. However, while MTA members approved, MEA members repeatedly refused (through their delegate assemblies, apparently; I'm not clear on whether there was ever a vote by the full membership).

In 1969 the NEA suspended the MEA's affiliation, and in 1970 the NEA named the MTA as its sole affiliate organization. Contacts between the MEA and MTA continued, however, and a merger was approved by delegate assemblies in March 1975. The merged organization was called the Mississippi Association of Educators.

Montana Education Association. The NEA affiliate until the year 2000, when it merged with the MFT to become the MEA-MFT.

Medium Extended Air Defense System.

Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures. Not really the most attractive acronym, but it can be pronounced. For more substantial comment, see the COI entry.

Montana Education Association-Montana Federation of Teachers. A merged AFT and NEA affiliate. The merger occured in 2000.

mean field theory
See the MFT.

mean sigma
Six Sigma snake oil to grease the skids of a ``downsizing.'' More accurate name for Lean Sigma.

Michiana Employee Assistance Program. An organization that contracts with Michiana-area employers to provide professional and confidential services, including ``assessment, referral, short-term counseling, and follow-up'' to address ``personal problems including but not limited to depression, alcoholism and other drug dependence, marital and family problems, financial, legal and health issues. These assessment/referral services are free of charge [to employees].''

Offices in St. Joseph County (Indiana) and Marshall Co. (Michigan).

Michigan Educators Apprenticeship & Training Association.

Medium-Energy Booster (particle accelerator ring). See the SSC entry for an obsolete instance.

Manufacturing Electron-Beam Exposure System. ETEC Corporation's EBES.

Maryland Electronic Capital. Government and other information about the state of Maryland (MD) served by the Maryland State Archives.

The Middle East Council of Churches.

Middle English Compendium.

Member of the Executive Council. The South African government term for a minister of the provincial government. (The provincial parliaments are called ``legislatures.'') Cf. MPL.

Movimiento Estudiantil CHicano de Aztlán. `The Chicano Student Movement of Aztlan.'

Mechanical Engineering. As a department name, its use may or may not indicate that there is a separate Aeronautical or Aerospace Engineering department.

LookSmart has a short page of MechE info. Stanford serves the WWW Virtual Library for the discipline.

Families of ECL logic (yes, it's redundant; so sue me) originally from Motorola. MECL I needed an external bias supply in addition to the two voltage rails.

Main Engine Cut-Off. NASAnese.

Multi-Element Coding Sysytem. Often referred to as an encoding scheme, and consequently the expansion ``Multi-Element enCoding Scheme'' also appears.

Million ECU. (But a DECU is not an ECU tenner.)

{Masters in | Master of} EDucation. (Magister Educationis.)

Manhattan Engineer District. Official name of the now-famous effort, now generally called the Manhattan Project, to make the first atomic bombs. The overall director from September 1942 until the end of 1946 was General Leslie R. Groves. The first full-time director of the project, assigned to it in June 1942, had been Col. James Marshall. During Marshall's dilatory leadership of the project, Groves, working in the Construction Branch of the Army Services of Supply, had handled funding of the project. At the time, the project was called Designated Substitute Materials. Groves felt that this name would arouse curiosity, and changed the name to the presumably more dull-sounding Manhattan Engineer District. (Groves was also a colonel at the time; when he was assigned to run MED, he sought a promotion. Apparently his argument was that with just a colonel's rank, he wouldn't be able to command the respect of the scientists he'd be working with. He was promoted to brigadier general.)

My source for the preceding information and opinion is William Lawren's The General and the Bomb: A Biography of General Leslie R. Groves, Director of the Manhattan Project (New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1988).

``Manhattan Engineer District'' rings slightly odd -- one might have expected ``Engineering.'' It might be that military dialects have a greater preference for uninflected modifiers. Te only evidence I can adduce offhand is that a designation like ``X Corps,'' which a civilian like me would read ``tenth corps,'' is actually pronounced ``ten-corps.''

The original ``substitute materials'' name is reminiscent of the name the British had for their project -- ``Tube Alloys.'' That project, faster off the blocks than its American counterpart, was run by the MAUD committee. The MAUD name had its origin in a misunderstood personal name, in a telegram sent by Niels Bohr. (In 1940, after Germany occupied Denmark, he wired that he was still okay at his institute in Copenhagen. The message said to tell COCKROFT and MAUD RAY KENT. Cockroft was obviously Sir John Cockroft, the physicist, but no one knew any Maud Ray Kent. It turned out to be Maud Ray, of Kent, who had once been Bohr's children's English tutor.)



MEDicina ANTiqua [List]. A mailing list sponsored by Medicina Antiqua. MEDANT isn't archived, but that's no great loss since it consists entirely of misdirected unsubscription requests, plus occasional posted requests for information that go unanswered. (For the latter, cf. BookSleuth, discussed at the Book Stores entry.) It's an extremely low-traffic list.

Dr. Lee T. Pearcy (at the Episcopal Academy, in Devon and Merion, PA) for many years maintained the Ancient Medicine / Medicina Antiqua (AM/MA) site and the MEDANT-L mailing list. In mid-April 2004, with slight name shortenings, the site (name now in Latin only) and list (minus hyphen-L, or should I say minus minus el?) moved. They are now hosted by the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL. If you want to continue potentially receiving postings, you have to resubscribe.

``Medicina Antiqua'' -- hmmm, that looks like Latin... I guess it's what they call ``Medical Latin.'' It seems to mean `old medicine.' Be sure to throw out your old medicines when they're past their expiration dates.

Medef, MEDEF
Mouvement des Entreprises de France. Whew, man! I spent hours before I figured out how they got exactly those letters in that order. Medef is the employers' organization of France. It excludes the government, in some sense, but some of the members are hybrids of private and public organizations.

La Tribune reported April 16, 2003, that a ``recent'' survey indicated that 64% of Americans were less favorable to French businesses or products since the events in advance of the war in Iraq; 29% described themselves as inclined to boycott or avoid (``boycotter ou eviter,'' but I guess that wasn't the wording in the survey) French products.

At a regular news conference April 15, 2003, Ernest-Antoine Seillière, President of Medef, had some interesting instructions for Americans. I'm going to get the ipsissima verba, just wait. Well, it seems he had a lot to say. Here's an excerpt:

Il y a une incoherence à mêler les reproches à la diplomatie française et la distance vis-à-vis des produits et services français. On a donc envie de dire aux entreprises américaines: Ne vous attaquez pas à nos parfums, nos yaourts ou nos avions.

[A rather inexpert construal: `It makes no sense to mix the anger over differences with France and its diplomacy with French products and services. One wants to say to American businesses: do not attack our perfumes, our yogurts, or our planes.']

This reminds me of a conversation I had at the Student Union building (called La Fortune) with Gary in 2001 or 2002, discussing the pros and cons of bombing some country (a particular one, but I can't remember which). After he described one of the arguments, I commented that by a parallel reasoning, we should probably bomb France. He told me that I wasn't the first person to suggest that to him, so far that week.

Gosh, it's amazing. Forty years ago, this version of medieval was dominant in Commonwealth spelling and not unusual in US spelling. No longer. Googling on medieval today (2002.08.20) yields about 2,640,000 pages; mediaeval yields 140,000, a ratio of almost 19. In contrast, the encyclopedia/encyclopaedia ratio is about 9, pediatric/paediatric about 6.5, fetus/foetus about 4, and the archeology/archaeology ratio 1/7 (the ae spelling dominates). I suppose mediaeval lends itself to false analysis (media + evil > eval). Is this bad? The ae in archaeology does serve to suggest the hardness of the preceding ch.

medical we
Use of first-person plural pronouns with the meaning of second-person singular. How are we feeling today?

We should not confuse the medical we with the obstetrical or pregnant we.


This word entered Middle English from Anglo-French medlee, past participle of medler, meaning `to meddle.' It's cognate with mix; both words are ultimately derived from Latin miscere, `to mix.'

Some information on musical medleys, dubiously so called by me, is at the silent movie entry; some medleys dubiously so called by the music industry are discussed at the seamless entry. Some information on swimming medleys is at this IM entry. It may be inferred from the aberemurder entry that those do not exhaust the uses of the word.

``Make Early Diagnoses--Prevent Early Deaths'' Program to track down those at risk for the genetic disorder FH that often kills men in their forties and women in their fifties. For information, send SASE to

MED-PED Coordinating Center
410 Chipeta Way, Room 161
Salt Lake City, UT 84108

Program is run by Internal Medicine Prof. Roger R. Williams of Un. of Utah in Salt Lake City. (Same address as MED-PED.)

MEDical-PEDiatrics. ``A new specialty,'' according to the flyer in my smailbox. Doesn't rhyme: second e is long, as in pediatrics.

Slang term for MEDicineS. Like hubby this seems to be a British import. They should have been quarantined. In standard English (i.e., my or high American dialect), medicine is generally uncountable; if you need a countable term use drug.

MEDieval TEXt (mailing list).

Migration-Enhanced Epitaxy. Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE) performed while alternately closing all anion or all cation sources. Under appropriate conditions, the purely anionic atoms and cationic atoms do not form stable solids, so only a surface layer accumulates. The surface layer is not immediately incorporated in the bulk, so its atoms have time to diffuse into a more defect-free configuration. Layer thickness can be controlled very precisely.

Meech Lake
A toponym that evolved into Meach Lake. Then in the early 1980's, officials of Gatineau Park reaffirmed the original spelling. I saw this explained a few years ago in a page I can no longer find at the Natural Resources Canada website. However, as it's in P.Q., its official name is actually Lac Meech -- to spooner with ``mock leash,'' for all I know.

Meech Lake was the site of a meeting in late April and early May of 1987 that gave the place a few years of drab fame. At that meeting, the provincial premiers and various noisy interested parties reached final agreement on a set of constitutional reforms that were called the the Meech Lake Accord. The Accord was a real compromise: most parties agreed to it with reluctance.

Some were more reluctant than others. There was a deadline for approval of midnight at the end of June 23, 1990, and the Accord is usually said to have died on Friday, June 22, 1990, when Manitoba and Newfoundland ``failed to approve it.'' In Newfoundland the premier reneged on an earlier commitment and refused to allow the Accord to be put to a vote of the provincial parliament (``House of Assembly''). In Manitoba, an earlier parliamentary maneuver by native Indian legislator Elijah Harper also prevented passage before the deadline. (Under Canada's constitution, amendments require, in addition to approval by the federal parliament, either a bare majority or perfect agreement. That is, approval of seven provinces representing 50% of the population, or approval of all (ten, in 1990) provinces. The full Accord could only have been passed according to the stricter standard. It would have been possible in a revote to pass some parts with seven provinces. These parts could have included the clause recognising Quebec as a ``distinct society'' (largely symbolic when standing alone, I would think). In the event, there was no enthusiasm for that approach.

[There might be some interesting metalegal issues, since Quebec had rejected the constitution which specified how it and the other provinces might approve the constitutional amendments. But maybe the authority of the BNA Act takes care of that detail. Maybe they should have tried the American way. Under the Articles of Confederation, amendments to the Articles required approval by all the states. The Continental Congress (the national government under the Articles) called a convention to consider amendments, and that convention in the Summer of 1787 reported out an entirely new constitution. An interesting aspect of that document was that it defined the conditions under which it would come into force, and those conditions were weaker (approval of nine states only) than those defined by the pre-existing Articles. The fun part was in 1790, when the Senate of the new government (approved by 12 states) passed an embargo on Rhode Island to encourage it to reconsider its earlier rejection of the US Constitution. The threat of embargo worked so well that it wasn't necessary for the House to pass the legislation.]

The Accord was one of various efforts, this one by Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (Progressive Conservative), to get Quebec to accept the Canada Act (a/k/a the Constitution Act of 1982). The failure of the Accord stoked Quebec separatist feeling; Lucien Bouchard, until then an ally of Mulroney, left the PC and formed the separatist Bloc Québécois.

Middle East Economic Digest. A journal whose main editorial offices are in London.

MEEKathara, Australia. The code used by IMS (the International Monitoring System) for the seismic station there.

There's a parked meetus.com domain, and I can't wait to find out what it's all about. I'm so anxious to find out that I'm alterrnately hopping around and rocking side-to-side on the balls of my feet. My feet are starting to hurt. I'm glad the name is spelled with ee instead of ea -- that might really hurt.

The Middle East Forum. ``[A] think tank [which] works to define and promote American interests in the Middle East.'' Founded in 1990; became an independent organization in 1994. No, I don't know what it was part of from 1990 to 1994. It has published a Quarterly since March 1994.

Mouse Embryonic Fibroblast.

Karl Marx / Friedrich Engels Gesamtausgabe. `Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels Collected Production.' I don't know why this series was named with the noun Ausgabe, which normally means `output.' It includes at least some manuscripts that may have been for personal use and not intended directly for publication (i.e., they did not look like drafts of works intended for publication). The usual term Gesamtwerke (`collected works') would certainly have covered drafts of unpublished work, and I think the rest as well.

(Kilo or kilo) × (Kilo or kilo). In other words, 1 000 000 or 1 048 576 (or possibly even 1 024 000), determinable (or not) from context.

A Hebrew word meaning `scroll.' All Hebrew books (all books in any language, afaik) were in the form of scrolls before the invention of the codex, and today the torah used for ritual purposes (i.e., which is read from during Jewish services) is in the form of a scroll.

Every synagogue has a cabinet at the center of the front wall. The cabinet holds Torah scrolls in an upright position, normally around chest height, and is called the aharon hakodesh in Hebrew or by the generic but now nicely archaic term ark in English. Each of the scrolls individually contains a complete copy of the pentateuch. The scrolls have to be very carefully hand-written on parchment, so they're kind of expensive, but they look pretty and make a great donation to the synagogue. Also, they eventually wear out and have to be buried, and after many centuries they make great archaeological discoveries.

Even though each scroll is complete, each synagogue needs two for a festival called Simchat Torah. (There's no English ch sound in Hebrew; the ch represents a hard aitch. The spelling Simhat Torah also occurs. Another traditional spelling is Simchas Torah. The final s represents the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew letter sav -- tav in Sephardi pronunciation.) The name Simchat Torah is typically translated `rejoicing in the Torah.' (Simha, `joy,' is also a common boy's given name.)

The practice of reading the Pentateuch completely over the course of each year became established in the Gaonic period, and the festival of Simchat Torah was created to celebrate completion of the reading on the 22nd or 23rd of the month of Tishri. At least as early as the tenth century C.E., it became common to start reading again on the same day ``to refute the devil.'' That is, to avoid negative inferences from the fact that one is celebrating the end and not the beginning of the reading. Hence, on this festival, the reading of the Pentateuch ends and begins again immediately. Having a scroll that is turned to the beginning saves having to spend time rolling back the scroll that has just been finished.

But I didn't write this entry to tell you any of that. It's just, you know, background. Like noise.

So anyway... back in the day, the separate books of the Bible were in multiple scrolls. However, there are other words one can use for Bible books, such as sefer (which means `book'). Nevertheless, five books of the Torah are referred to by the term megillah (`scroll,' remember?). These are the five shortest books of the Ketuvim: Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, collectively hamesh megillot (`five scrolls').

Of the five scrolls, only the book of Esther has megillah as a traditional part of its name: Megillat Ester. (The final t in the first word is a standard inflection in compounds. You saw the same thing above with simha and simhat. The th in the standard English spelling of Esther just reflects an attempt to indicate aspiration in the original Hebrew, but aspiration is no longer phonemic in Hebrew.) The Scroll of Esther is also distinguished from the other megillot in its prominent association with a holiday. (It is read during Purim, a late-Winter/early-Spring holiday. Less salient is the reading of the Song of Songs during Passover.)

For these reasons, the word megillah, used without qualification or prior specification, refers to the Scroll of Esther. It is not unusually long, but it is longer than a typical Torah reading in a traditional service (to say nothing of the one-third-length readings in a Reform service). This is the reason usually given for the fact that the word megillah in Yiddish, when used in a nonritual context, means `long story.' Now you see why it was appropriate for me to give you ``the whole megillah'' in this entry.

Let me just add that the Talmud records arguments regarding whether Esther should be a canonical book. There was substantial resistance to its inclusion in the canon, an important reason being the absence of any mention of God.

My Eyes Glaze Over.

Poly(2-Methoxy-5-(2'-Ethyl-Hexyloxy)-p-PhenyleneVinylene) (PPV).

Middle East Institute.

A Japanese word usually translated `enlightened rule' or somesuch, and the name assigned to the new Japanese emperor's era on October 23, 1868.

Meissner effect
A type-I superconductor expels all magnetic flux lines--the magnetic induction B more than a few times the penetration depth within it is zero. This is not diamagnetism: rather than being weak, the magnetization M completely cancels magnetic field H.

Methyl Ethyl Ketone, traditional name for butanone. Often known familiarly as ``ketone.'' Methyl methyl ketone (propanone) is traditionally called acetone.

One French word for email. It was originally created as an acronym for message électronique, but was widely supposed to be a phonetic transcription (i.e., a transliteration) of the English word mail. Particularly under that assumption, it is deemed a rather ugly néologisme.

I've read someone's recollection that the Canadian term courriel was already in widespread use in .fr (along with l'anglicisme email et le mot franglais émail) before mél was coined, and that this was created at France Telecom. Whatever its origin, the em-word was promoted by the French Academy, and in 1997 the French Ministère de la culture et de la communication accepted the Academy's recommendation. (A governmental ``Ministry of Culture'' -- what a concept!)

It didn't take. In 2003, the government issued new instructions in its Journal officiel, promoting the use of courriel and demoting mél to the very limited use described in the next entry.

A written abbreviation of the French term message électronique. According to French government recommendation (link in previous entry), it is to be used only to introduce or indicate an email address (as one may write Tél. before a telephone number), and not as a noun.

Mitochondrial Encephalomyopathy; Lactic Acidosis; Stroke. Symptoms that define (and whose acronym names) a very serious mitochondrial syndrome.

Metal ELectrode Face. Also expanded ``Metal Electrode Leadless Face'' and ``Metal Electrode Face Bonded.'' It designates a cylinder with metal end-cap contacts.

Melvin Calvin
See Calvin, Melvin.

Maximum Entropy Method.



Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

membership requirements
One is not required to become a member of the SBF.

membership requirements
In order to become a member, it is not necessary to have read the Odyssey in its original Greek version, particularly if a first edition is not available in codex.

Miller Electric Manufacturing COmpany.

MEMorandum of CONversation. US governmentese. Possibly used only by the military and spooks.


Short for MEMOrandum. Ultimately from the Latin verb memorare, `to remember.' It originally appeared in 13th-century English documents as part of phrases like memorandum est, `it is to be remembered.' Initially, the single word memorandum was used as a shortened form of the phrase, as we might nowadays write ``IITBR that.'' Somewhat disconnected from this etymology is the earliest recorded noun use (as short for ``Exchequer Memoranda Rolls'') dating to the twelfth century. The general noun use, in various senses referring to written records or notes, began to be common only late in the 13th c. and took some time to become the more common sense than IITBR.

  1. Memorial University College (abbreviated MUC). Founded in St. John's, Newfoundland, in 1925; named in honor of ``those who served'' in the Great War. Technically, given the normal sense of the word memorial, I suppose the name only honored those who had served and died. The way trench warfare went, however, that wasn't a big distinction. By now it is quite probably a completely moot one. In point of fact, what was memorialized, or at least the event that motivated the movement for a memorial, was a day of typically horrific WWI loss of life, July 1, 1916. In under a half hour on the morning of that day, seven of every eight members of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment became a casualty (233 dead, 91 missing, 386 wounded, from an initial strength of 801). That day has been observed in Newfoundland and Labrador as Memorial Day since then. For a pre-confederation history of the university, see M. MacLeod's A Bridge Built Halfway: A History of Memorial University College, 1925-50 (Montréal and Kingston, 1990). Images here.
  2. Memorial University of Newfoundland. The name adopted in 1949, the year Newfoundland became a part of Canada. Since 1949 also, ``Memorial Day'' has been the official name of Canada Day in the province.
    [column] In 2001 the university's press published In Altum: Seventy-Five Years of Classical Studies in Newfoundland, commemorating the 75th birthday of the university's classics department. James T. Chlup of the University of Manitoba, reviewing the volume for BMCR, remarked that ``[t]o honour a department may seem unusual, but to a Canadian Classicist it makes perfect sense. It is a celebration that a vibrant department has been able to endure the extreme difficulties felt by most Canadian Classics departments in the 1980s and 1990s.'' Mark Joyal, who edited the volume, provided an introductory essay outlining the history of the department, with an essay on the teaching of ancient Greek in Newfoundland schools up to 1924. [Chlup: ``... fascinating reading as it charts the birth and growth of Classics at MUN (and the college in general, for it was an axial part of the institution in its early years).''] A very lightly modified version of Joyal's essay is on the Classics department website at MUN.
  3. Memorial University. The name preferred by the Board of Regents now that the name of the province is Newfoundland and Labrador. That decision was announced in March 2002, but over a year later, it seemed there'd been no change. It was beginning to look like a victory for leaving well enough alone, but checking back in 2007, I saw that the change had finally gone through.

memoriaru sekusuresu
A bit of wasei-eigo (`Japanese-made English'): a compound of the English words `memorial sexless.' It was one of many terms (and the only wasei eigo) mentioned in an article in the Mainichi Daily News in 2005. An English translation, entitled ``From `past beauty' to `buddy pregnancy,' changes transform Japanese ladies' lexicons'' is still available on the web. The term was defined thus: ``a term used for normally sexless couples who decide to go in for a little bit of slap and tickle on momentous occasions, such as anniversaries or to mark such occasions as their team winning a sports championship.'' I asked a Japanese lady friend about this in April 2007, and it's not part of her lexicon. The construction of the term doesn't even make any more sense to her than it does to me, but then she might be handicapped by knowing English.

The referenced article, dated October 31, begins ``Times are tough for Japanese women, according to Sunday Mainichi (11/13) [I guess they got a preview], which notes that a whole new vocabulary has sprung up to cope with all the different sorts of changes they're facing in their lives.'' The rest of the article is a glossary of terms, including a couple that I think could be generally useful or at least transferable to a different cultural context. They will be listed below after I add them.

People from Memphis, Tennessee are called ``Memphians.''

What, you want more? Okay, the Userkare and gupta entries have some information (mostly about the Egyptian Memphis). Memphis is also mentioned at the MOMA entry.

Middle East Media Research Institute. ``Bridging the language gap between the Middle East and the West.'' (Translations available in English, French, German, Hebrew, Spanish, and Japanese. The German site was down when I visited in March 2007.)

Middle East Media Research Institute TV Monitor Project.

MicroElectroMechanical System[s]. (See IEEE Spectrum May 1994 pages 20-31.) Here's a short course in MEMS from UCLA. Basically, the big deal, the excitement, is the ems: electric motors, actuators, pumps and valves on the microscopic length scale previously encountered only in microelectronics.

Another technology? Sure! There's room for everyone: MOEMS. Now (2001) it has become necessary to coin the term NEMS.

Mensa. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia (syndrome). One type of this syndrome (``2B'' or ``3'') is related to Marfan syndrome, which has been suggested, though not at all conclusively demonstrated, as an explanation of the physical characteristics of our twelfth president.

Middle-East and North Africa[n Conference].

Music Educators National Conference. Held in April of even-numbered years.

Dishonest, untruthful. From the Latin mendax, ultimately from mendum, `blemish.'

Came up with a periodic organization of the elements. Here's an up-to-date, hyperlinked table set.

An obsolete verb that mostly meant ``to beg for.'' Hence ``mendicant orders'' -- religious orders whose members live on charity. (As opposed, say, to parish priests, who are paid for a service.) From the Latin, mendicare `to beg.' This could obviously have no connection with mendacious. I mean, why would a beggar lie?

What a lovely word! It basically means mendicancy: the condition or practice of beggary. But it sounds like mendacity, and in some accents it's probably indistinguishable. Therefore, I'm going to take the position that the word is not obsolete, as widely supposed. It continued in use but no one realized it.

Mendoza's Guitars
Mendoza isn't there anymore, hasn't been any time since I moved here (no connection). The proprietor is Richard Wisner. It's at 241 US-33, mailing address South Bend, IN 46637. Anyway, it's really in Roseland, a little village of restaurants serving the University of Notre Dame. Mendoza's is just north of the Taco Bell, on the southbound side of the street less than a mile before the Denny's and the Perkin's. (Hey -- I recognize that zip code! That's my zip code! Just to give you an idea how big Roseland is: I'm not in Roseland. There's a larger place called Rosemont, Illinois, around O'Hare Airport. They went dry around 1999 or so -- not by passing any law against alcohol sales, but by taking back all the restaurants' liquor licenses.)

Mendoza's telephone number is (574) 272-7510. I only put this entry in the glossary at all because I lose the phone book more easily than the laptop. It's making this one of the most frequently edited areas of the glossary.

They also sell harmonicas.

You know, when Mendoza did own the store, he sold photographic equipment. Mr. Wisner changed the merchandise and the product-word part of the store name when he took over.

Master of ENGineering (graduate program). Has a more practical/project orientation than MS, and is more likely not to require completion of a thesis. Pronounced ``em-enj'' (stress pattern varies). Cf. Ed.D.

The outer covering of the brain.

Middle East NewsLine.

The organization of pointy-heads? It's not an acronym. The amazing truth is revealed at the ASICS entry.

An Italian brand of breath-freshening mints. No joke. Cf. Dropsy.

This is a bad word. Don't use it. Take a dim view of people who do use it. Contemn them silently, at least; if it's safe to do so, laugh in their faces.

Mentor was the older man Ulysses left to raise his son Telemachus when he went off to fight the Trojans. Used ``mentored'' or ``advisee'' or something.

Spanish, `I piss.'

Medium (altitude) Earth Orbit. Earth orbit intermediate between typical LEO and GEO (geostationary). It's cheaper to loft a satellite into MEO than GEO, and it's easier than LEO to use for communication because it doesn't drift eastward so fast. A compromise.

Maximally Exposed Offsite Individual.

Medical Engineering & Physics. A journal of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine, published ten times per year by Elsevier.

Member of the European Parliament. Writing in a letter to the editor published in the Jan. 9, 1997 issue of the New York Review of Books (NYRB), Glyn Ford, a Labour MEP for Greater Manchester East, defends the European Parliament in these terms:
Yes, it's weak, but not entirely without influence[,] as the hordes of Lobbyists that infest its corridors demonstrate.

Minority Engineering Program. Here's a link to the one at Notre Dame University (ND).

Model Editions Partnership.

Montessori Educational Programs International. Based in Kansas City, MO.

Middle East Quarterly. Published by the Middle East Forum.

MilliEQuivalent. One one-thousandth of an equivalent. A chemical unit. Yes, I could have written just "One thousandth," but I didn't. I'm not going to waste time thinking about it. Let the half-dozen or half-a-dozen or so daily visitors to this page worry about it.

What the pros say is ``10-3 equivalents.'' That's right: plural form. Okay, some say equivalent. You could analyze grammatical number thus: instead of the traditional singular/dual/plural and singular/plural distinctions that many languages have developed, what the modern world may need is a fractional/singular/plural analysis. The traditional fractional form of foobar is the periphrastic construction of a foobar. For some people, maybe the declined form is identical with the plural.

Mars Exploration Rover[s]. A NASA mission consisting of two rovers launched separately in Summer 2003. After the failure of previous NASA Mars landers, and the loss in December 2003 of an ESA landing mission that used braking and landing strategies generally similar to those of NASA's MER (ESA's mission was called Mars Express), it was a relief verging on surprise when both rovers landed successfully in January 2004.

Monthly Energy Review. Don't go through back issues of this; look in the AER.

As the proprietary tyrannies of the Middle East rock our economic boat, it might be worth noting that seasickness is mal de mer.

`Sea' in French.


From Latin [corpus] mercurium captans, `mercury-seizing [substance].' The term was introduced by William Christopher Zeise (that's the name in his native Danish, so help me) in an article in Annalen der Physik und Chemie, vol. 31, p. 378 (1834), for a class of chemicals that since then have also been called sulfur alcohols, thioalcohols and later thiols.

The term mercaptan has also been used specifically for the ethyl mercaptan, or ethanethiol. This is identical with ethanol, except that the oxygen atom in ethanol (older name: ethyl alcohol) is replaced with a sulfur atom in ethanethiol:

                H      O--H
                 \    /
ethanol:       H--C--C--H
                 /    \
                H      H

                H      S--H
                 \    /
ethanethiol:   H--C--C--H
                 /    \
                H      H

Looked at in terms of functional groups, ethanethiol is identical with ethanol except that the hydroxyl group (-OH) is replaced by a sulfhydryl group (-SH). In addition to the organic nomenclature, a few generations of which have been described to this point, there are distinct inorganic nomenclatures, according to which something bonded to SH is a hydrosulfide (or a foobar hydrogen sulfide).

The thiol group is more strongly acidic than a hydroxyl group, and thiols react not with other metals besides mercury to form salts. The mercury salts are highly insoluble.

Cysteine is the only thiol among the twenty standard amino acids. (Methionine is the only other one that contains sulfur. It's a thioether.)

Mercosul, MERCOSUL
Portuguese: Mercado Comum do Sul. See Mercosur entry next.

Mercosur, MERCOSUR
Mercado Común del Sur. I've seen this translated as `Southern Common Market.' That probably conveys the connotation of the Spanish name better does a literal translation like `Common Market of the South,' even though a `southern' is most directly a trranlation of sureño.

Mercosur was originally a freeish trade zone in the southern cone, encompassing South America's two largest economies (Brazil and Argentina) as well as the interstitial countries Uruguay and Paraguay. Chile and Bolivia had become associate members by 2002, when Brazil was having some monetary problems and Argentina was in economic meltdown. Argentina all-but defaulted on its debts, and has been recovering under leftist president Kirshner. (In the wake of the worldwide financial meltdown -- shall we say anneal? -- of 2008, Argentina is recovering, perhaps, under Kirshner's successor and wife.)

When Mercosur met late in 2002, the agenda was mapping strategy for its eventual integration into FTAA. FTAA talks broke down. On July 4, 2006, agreements were signed in Caracas to make Venezuela (third-largest South American economy) a member of Mercosur. Its membership became official at ceremonies in Cordoba, Argentina, on July 22, with Fidel Castro, then totalitarian dictator of Cuba, as honored guest. Happily, the trip and festivities seem to have critically stressed the old man, who was hospitalized after he got home.

Mercury Project
Telerobotics excavation on the net. Now ended, but a history and new project may be accessed.

mercy of the ionosphere, at the
You're the last person left on your block who still won't pony up for cable (CATV), and this is what your neighbors say about you behind your back. They don't really resent you much for not doing your part to amortize the cost of tearing up the sidewalk to install the cable. Mostly, they just contemn you for being penny wise and pound foolish. You think you're saving money, but really you're missing out on secret specials advertised only on cable. What a chump!

More important, though, is what you're missing out in the shared experience of the community. Standing in line at the supermarket checkout, everyone around you is talking about last night's HBO made-for-TV movie special. You stare at your footwear; you can't relate any more. You don't even recognize the faces on the covers of the tabloids. Without a cable to tie you to the community, you are unmoored, a rootless stranger.

People are beginning to use the word `rebel' when they talk about you, and they don't mean it in a nice way, like James Dean, or Robert E. Lee, or the Unabomber. People say ``It's a free country, but....''

Every day when the cable guy comes to check that you don't have an illegal hookup, he talks with the neighbor kids. Halloween is coming.

Remember what the song says:

Conform or be cast out!

One of these Sundays the preacher is going to deliver a coruscating sermon on the sin of pride, and he won't be looking at anyone but you. All around, your fellow parishoners will sidle uneasily away, and on the near end of the pew, an old woman will fall off and fracture her pelvis.

Then what will you do?

``The song'' mentioned in this entry is Rush's ``Subdivisions.''

More on fitting in at the Bellwether entry.

Maybe I should have mentioned Alice Cooper's ``No More Mr. Nice Guy.''

Middle East Resource Exchange Database.

An old Scottish coin which, in relative terms, is increasingly not much older than the mark, q.v.

`American' in Goodolboyese (eye dialect). (Ref.: Opera Omnia Ioe Bobus Briggsi.)

I blush to give its true meaning. If you're over age eighteen, you could look it up. If anyone peeks over your shoulder, pretend you're studying the merl entry. Make sure to actually read and remember that too, so your story checks out. As you leave the library, shout back at the circ desk, ``I always wondered what merl meant!''

More on Joe Bob Briggs at the fu entry.

Multi-Element Radio Linked Interferometer Network.

Merlot, MERLOT
Multimedia Education Resource for Learning and Online Teaching.

Overview here.

An ancient city on the left (east) bank of the Nile, between the fifth and sixth cataracts. The site is located near current village of Begrawiya.

One who claims partial knowledge. From the Greek root mero (`part') and you know the rest. Huxley claimed to have coined the word agnostic, but that was overly modest.

Having to do with Meroë or with Nubia during the period (300 BCE-320 CE) when its capital was located there.

Myoclonic Epilepsy; Ragged Red Fiber. Symptoms that define (and whose acronym names) a mitochondrial syndrome.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. An often-fatal respiratory illness first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012, and found to be caused by a corona virus designated MERS-CoV. As of April 2014, Saudi Arabia was still the country with by far the largest number of cases. (According to the WHO as of April 21, of 243 confirmed cases across the planet, 231 have been in Saudi Arabia. The total number of cases rose above 300 that month.

It is extremely dangerous. To wit: according to the MERS page of the US CDC, ``[m]ost people who have been confirmed to have MERS-CoV infection developed severe acute respiratory illness. They had fever, cough, and shortness of breath. About half of these people died.'' (Emphasis added.) The text of that page, visited April 2014, had last been updated the previous February. Things have taken alarming turn. Cutting to the chase:

``It took more than two years to reach the first 100 cases of MERS,'' said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. ``Now, in just the past two weeks, we've had 100 cases. There's a major change occurring that cannot just be attributed to better case detection,'' he said. ``When humans readily transmit to humans, that's what will cause a worldwide outbreak. We are very concerned that ... with what we've seen over the past two weeks ... we may be at that point now.'' [Quoted in the Saudi Gazette, April 26.]

[Let's enjoy a little technical interlude on this. Suppose an is the number of new cases found in the nth fortnight, where n is loosely defined by a0 = 1. If an increases perfectly geometrically (a/k/a exponentially) with n, by a factor r per fortnight, then there will have been
SN := a0 ( rN - 1 ) / (r - 1)
total cases in N fortnights (i.e., in the 0 through N-1st intervals). iOne hundred cases in the first two years implies that the expression above equals 100 for N=52 (S52 = 100), for r value between 1.023 and 1.024, which is more than precise enough for our purposes. (More precision is available on request. Use PayPal!) The important take-away is that this is a slow rate of increase. The real process is noisy (and the experimental data are reported as integer values of an, which cannot exactly fit the formula except for integral -- and very alarming -- values of r). However, even if we take N as low 26, the increase per fortnight is still only 9%.
Under reasonable assumptions, then, by the time that there are 100 new cases in a fortnight, there will have been more than about 90 the previous fortnight. Under the precise assumption of (S52 = 100, etc.), the first fortnightly interval with 100 new cases would have been after the 197th fortnight and about 4200 previous cases.]

The Saudi Health Ministry announced on April 25, 2014, that the total number of cases reported (in the kingdom) since the first case in September 2012 was 313, with 92 deaths in that time. (That makes it seem as if the mortality rate was below 30%, but this ignores the fact that many (at least a third) of cases are recent. There had been a jump in the rate of new infections in the preceding weeks, with health care workers forming a large proportion of the people newly infected. I don't understand how that might have come about. It's hard to believe that health care workers throughout KSA simultaneously started getting careless; perhaps there's a new strain.

``Approximately 75 percent of the recently reported cases ... have acquired the infection from another case through human-to-human transmission,'' according to Ala Alwan, regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean of the World Health Organization. ``The majority of these secondary cases have been infected within the health care setting and are mainly health care workers, although several patients are also considered to have been infected with MERS-CoV while in hospital for other reasons.'' MERS is very dangerous, and news in April 2014 suggests it has suddenly become a much greater danger (see ``It took...'' below).

The Saudi Health Ministry announced on April 25, 2014, that the total number of cases reported since the September 2012 was 313, with 92 deaths in that time. So it would appear that the mortality is below 30%, except that many (at least a third) of cases are recent. There had been a jump in the rate of new infections in the preceding weeks, with health care workers forming a large proportion of the people newly infected. ``Approximately 75 percent of the recently reported cases ... have acquired the infection from another case through human-to-human transmission,'' according to Ala Alwan, regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean of the World Health Organization. ``The majority of these secondary cases have been infected within the health care setting and are mainly health care workers, although several patients are also considered to have been infected with MERS-CoV while in hospital for other reasons.'' (A recent study found that the virus has been ``extraordinarily common'' in camels for at least 20 years, and may have been passed directly from the animals to humans.)

According to an AFP reports on April 28, scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA, identified natural human antibodies that act against MERS-CoV. In laboratory studies reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), researchers found that these neutralizing antibodies prevented a key part of the virus from attaching to protein receptors that allow the virus to infect human cells. A neutralizing antibody is one that not only recognizes a specific virus but also prevents it from infecting host cells, so eventually the infection is "cleared" from the individual. Wayne Marasco, who led the research, added that an antibody-based treatment for MERS would be administered by injection and could provide protection for about three weeks.

MERS is considered a deadlier cousin of the SARS virus that erupted in Asia in 2003 and infected 8,273 people, nine percent of whom died. It has also been considered less transmissible than the SARS virus, but as of this writing (May 1, 2014), I think it remains to be seen whether that is still so.

Mersenne numbers
Mersenne numbers are the numbers
Mn = 2n - 1.

Mn is called the nth Mersenne number. If n is composite (i.e., not prime), then Mn is also composite. This is obvious from the formula for the sum of a finite geometric series, which we can rearrange slightly as

 k                      k-1    k-2
r  - 1 = ( r - 1 ) × ( r    + r    + ... + r + 1 ) .
Taking n =jk (by the assumption that n is composite) and r = 2j yields the result q.e.d. As it happens, the first few Mersenne numbers Mn for n prime are prime: n = 2, 3, 5, and 7 yield the Mersenne primes 3, 7, 31, and 127. However, the next Mersenne number, M11 = 2047 = ×89.

One might think to define numbers

Ln = sn - 1,
say, with s a natural number greater than 2. Since the geometric sum formula works for other numbers, one can easily make the parallel argument to shown that in using Ln to search for primes, one can again focus only on values of n that are also prime. However, it is immediately clear that all such numbers Ln are composite: if s is greater than 2, then setting r = s and k = n above immediately factorizes Ln. Only s = 2 yields possible primes, because then r - 1 = 1 and the formula doesn't yield a proper factorization.

Mersenne primes
Mersenne primes are primes that are the Mersenne numbers.

The Mersey is the main river that desagua into Liverpool Bay on the Irish Sea. I can't remember the English word for desaguar, if there is one. This isn't just irritating; it's troubling. In my experience, as multilingual people age, they begin to remember certain words in only one or some of the languages they use regularly. Really, though, neither `empty' nor `drain' is as appropriate as desaguar.

A pejorative term for certain kinds of successful rock music, from commercial, reflecting the anti-market pose of mass-market pop. (No, that was not a facetious remark, really.)

In a letter to an aspiring young writer, Raymond Chandler once explained that authentic slang ages very quickly, and that one way he made his dialogue fresh and vibrant was by inventing his own slang [which would not age because it was not current and so not hackneyed]. I have not taken this advice here.

Instead, in selfless devotion to the information of those who have recurred to the wisdom of the Stammtisch, I have included this actual, and thus ephemeral, slang term, harvested from a New Republic article (issue of 3 June 1996), on MTV's meretricious get-out-the-youth-vote campaign, soon to rot in this very section of the em's. There's hope, however, because the author was decidedly and by his own admission unhip.

Merchandise. Formed after the pattern of mersh, I suppose, and attested (used, even! -- apparently without irony) at the homesite of The Tragically Hip.

Who's unhip now?

(Yes, I do know how to alphabetize. This is close enough.)

Manufacturing Execution System[s].

Minor in European Studies.

... requires ``two semesters'' of a European language?! That's not minor, that's bush. Can I satisfy the requirement with English or Algol?

Middle East Studies Association.

(US) Mining Enforcement and Safety Administration.

I said mine!

Spanish for `table.' A transferred sense is used for a geological formation similar to a butte and has been borrowed into English. The Spanish word is derived from the Latin mensa.

Modular Equipment Standards Committee. A committee of the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), charged with defining standards for cluster tool interfacing for interoperability. A new fab costs half a billion bucks, yet most equipment is not MESC-compliant.

Malaysian Exchange of Securities Dealing and Automated Quotations

MEtal-Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor (FET). A JFET made in compound semiconductor. MOSFET's are not made in these materials because compound semiconductors tend not to have stable, useful oxides. The closest thing to a compound semiconductor IGFET is a HIGFET. [Cf. MODFET.]

I've encountered this in contexts where I thought it meant methanthiol, but it turns out to stand for MEdical Subject Heading, a controlled vocabulary defined by the (US) National Library of Medicine (NLM).

MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging (NASA spacecraft). Launched in August 2004, it is the first spacecraft to visit the planet Mercury since NASA's Mariner 10 mission in the mid-1970's. MESSENGER's first fly-by took place on January 14, 2008, its second on October 6, 2008. A third fly-by is scheduled for 2009, and the plan is for the spacecraft to become a satellite of Mercury on March 18, 2011.

The planet Mercury takes its name from, and is associated in mythology with, the Roman god Mercury (Mercurius in Latin, Hermes in Greek). Mercury was characteristically represented with what we call ``winged feet'' (feet with small wings above each heel) and credited with great speed (don't ask me ``compared to what?''). This led to the name's attachment to the only element that is liquid at room temperature (a/k/a quicksilver, Hg). [If gallium is liquid at your room's temperature, open a window.] The speed thing is associated with Mercury's traditional godly bailiwick, as god of thieves and messengers.

But even if Mercury hadn't been the god of messengers, NASA might still have created an acronym using ``geochemistry.'' There doesn't seem to be an alternative term that doesn't involve a ``geo-'' prefix.

messing with the merchandise
For some reason, I didn't believe one should date students, though that certainly didn't impede many of my colleagues.
[P. 53 of William O'Rourke's On Having a Heart Attack: A Medical Memoir (2006). O'Rourke is a professor in the English Department at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, a Catholic school that has strict rules about the subject of the quote. O'Rourke also writes fiction.]


Mitteleuropäische Sommerzeit. German: `Central European Summer Time [DST].'

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fifth Avenue at 82nd Street, New York City.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy. They haven't told me what this means yet, but I haff vays aff makink dem tock.

National MetaCenter for Computational Science and Engineering. (q.v.).

``A coalescence of intellectual and physical resources unlimited by geographical constraint, a synthesis of individual centers that will create a new resource greater than the sum of its parts. ... The goals of the MetaCenter are to give scientists and engineers the ability to move their problems directly to appropriate computer architectures without regard for where the computers are located; to develop a national file system that gives researchers direct access to their files regardless of where they are located; and to design a common user interface that allows researchers to use the same commands on all systems at all centers.'' (This is an example, but not the worst, of proposalese.)

To perform the action, if that's what it is, of metadeciding.

Deciding whether to decide. I was inspired to create this entry by some news, if that's what it is, on March 5, 2008. The previous day a cluster of presidential primaries had assured Senator John Wayne McCain of Arizona a majority of delegates at the Republican convention. This triggered the usual spate of speculations and questions regarding the VP preference of the candidate apparent. The New York Times reported that ``Mr. McCain and several senior campaign advisers insist that there is no short list of names, and no process to help him make his choice -- merely a process to find a process. He directed his campaign to study past methods.''

This reminded me of Walter ``Fritz'' Mondale's similar rhetorical dance in 1984. Mondale, who had been Vice President in the administration of Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) was leading in the race for the Democratic nomination; Gary Hart, a US Senator from Colorado, was in second place. Rev. Jesse Jackson was a distant but respectable third place in the delegate race, and the question had been raised whether Hart or Mondale would consider him as a running mate.

Here is a relevant excerpt from the Democratic Presidential debate on June 3 of that year, as quoted in the New York Times the next day. (The debate was held at the NBC studios in Burbank, California, and moderated by Tom Brokaw. All three candidates for the nomination were asked related questions, but only Mondale's answer is relevant to this entry.)

Mr. Brokaw: Mr. Mondale, would you pick Jesse Jackson as your running mate?

Mr. Mondale: I think that the important point here is to put in place a process. I'm not including, or excluding, anybody. I know something about the Vice Presidency; I think it's the most important decision that a candidate for President ever makes, because it's fateful in many, many respects. And I'm going to wait until the nominating process is over, and then I'm going to put in place a search. I promise to look for women candidates, I promise to look at minority candidates, I promise to look across the board and pick the best possible person I can find.

Mr. Brokaw: Why shouldn't the voters know now whom you are considering? After all, you tell us what you think about just about everything else in the world, and in the last 25 years we've had four Vice Presidents go on to become President, we've had one resign because of scandal, a choice in the Democratic Party could not get to the fall campaign because he'd not been checked out thoroughly enough. Don't the voters deserve to know who you have in mind?

Mr. Mondale: Yes, if I had someone in mind, but I do not now. In other words, I think that we've learned the hard way over the years that this choice has to be made with great care. We have to look into the backgrounds of each candidate, we have to look at compatibility with issues, we have to look at their ability to share part of the burden of a President both internationally and domestically. I've been Vice President, and I think one of the things that people credit President Carter with is, once he was the putative nominee, he looked all over the country, he checked all possibilities. In all humility, I thought he came up with a wonderful choice!

I can't decide whether to end this entry without mentioning a certain lyric from a Rush song written by Neal Peart. The song was first released on the Permanent Waves album (1980), and its title was ``Freewill.'' (If you will write it as two words, I think you are free to do so.)

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

The decision regarding whether to decide. The result of metadeciding.

In astronomy, the definition is simplest: any element other than hydrogen or helium. I may get around to other definitions.

metal conductivity
Vide metal resistivity

metal-cutting tools
Taylor developed one of the earliest tool classification schemes, a mnemonic scheme for metal-cutting tools.

metal fatigue
A major cause of catastrophic collapse in steel structures -- the slow degradation of mechanical strength in metal by repeated deformation. Just like what happens when you bend a paper clip back and forth a few times. Thermal cycling can sometimes have the same effect on solder joints, but mostly, solder joints fail because they were poorly made in the first place.

Characteristic of a metal. Duh.

When Miss Prism instructed Cecily Cardew to read her Political Economy, she instructed her charge to omit the chapter on the Fall of the Rupee.

It is somewhat too sensational. Even these metallic problems have their melodramatic side.

metallurgical coal
Coal used in steel production.

Same as organometallics: compounds of metals with organic compounds. Alkali metals hardly count and mere salts of organic acids are sort of technically in, but not what one had in mind.

metal resistivity
silver (Ag)
1.59 µohm-cm

copper (Cu)
1.67 µohm-cm

gold (Au)
2.35 µohm-cm

aluminum (Al)
2.65 µohm-cm

Deciding whether to metadecide. You know, I'm not sure if I really want to include this entry. It's a slippery slope. We'd have to develop a notation like those for really big numbers. At least we'd have to consider it.

A term coined by the linguist Otto Jespersen, meaning analysis of a word or phrase into parts different from those it was originally compounded from.

I won't pretend to give a comprehensive analysis of the various types of metanalysis (that might be a meta-analysis of metanalysis). But we do have a number of examples in the glossary, and you should read all of those first before you return to Google and look for a resource that is more to-the-point.

One kind of metanalysis (which some linguists prefer not to class as such) is the discerning of a possible analysis where there isn't one. That is, detecting two morphemes within one. These can arise from inflectional analysis or folk etymology (history as ``his story,'' thence herstory). An older example of folk etymology is lone, which arose from the analysis of alone as a + lone. (It's really the compound all + one. Cf. German allein.)

Given the limited inflectional morphology of English in recent (i.e., the last thousand) years, many of the obvious examples of inflectional metanalysis are back-formations from plurals or apparent plurals. My favorite example of such a metanalysis is the derivation of pea from pease. The entry for pea describes this as well as clearer-cut instances of similar derivations of new singular terms from misconstrued plurals (e.g., base from bases). Another example is aphid (from the Latin aphides, plural of aphis). The same thing happened to Latin antipodes (whence English antipode), and antipodes wasn't even a plural. I couldn't neglect to mention kudos, and sure enough I mention it at the chaim.

In English, metanalysis of phrases often occurs where a word ends or begins in n. Examples include adder (``a nadder'' misunderstood as ``an adder''). Also described at that entry is the more complicated case of orange. Napron lost its initial n sometime around the fifteenth century. The word auger was still commonly nauger in the seventeenth century (the cognate word in Dutch also lost its initial n.)

Metanalysis in the opposite direction (adding n from the end of a preceding word) gave rise to nonce (see entry), but many such metanalyses of this sort failed to take, or at least were ultimately superseded by the original forms or their more direct descendants: nawl (flourishing in the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries), nuncle (from old-style ``mine uncle'' misunderstood as ``my nuncle,'' and similar expressions) and naunt. The latter probably also count as baby-talk. In similar fashion, some French dialects have nante (ma nante metanalysis of mon ante). It is speculated that the modern French tante arose from Old French t'ante (`thine aunt').

Mondegreens are often wilder than mere metanalyses, but metanalysis is frequently a part of them. So have a look.

Coming attractions at this entry: assets, riding, cyber-, German -keit.

There's a moment of Laurel and Hardy I recall when Stan spells not as ``en oh ott.'' I seem to recall it more than once; I mention this again at this NO entry, but you can use the reminder.

A mode of writing that comments on itself. This SBF glossary is an example of metanonfiction. This particular entry is probably an instance of metametanonfiction, but we (postmodern glossarist) are not going to examine this idea very closely, or our cerebral cortex might implode.

Transposition of organs within a flower. From the Greek roots meta (`beyond, across, over') and pherein (to carry, bear'). Ancient Greek texts attest both the verb metapherein and the noun metaphora (`metaphor,' duh, into English via French).

[Football icon]

George Vecsey's column for Feb. 1, 1997 (in the New York Times ``Sports Saturday'' section) focuses on erstwhile New England Patriots coach Bill Parcells, who resigned because he felt his freedom restricted by the Patriots owner. He particularly resented not having any input in recruitment. Parcells quoted a friend's comment, that ``if they're asking you to cook, they should at least let you shop for some of the groceries.'' George Vecsey devoted the column to interviews with restauranteurs, who were more sympathetic than NFL team owners. (Another sportswriter who is fun to read is Jason Whitlock, who writes for the Kansas City Star and FOX Sports.)

The May 24, 2000, Critic's Notebook feature, by William Grimes, was entitled ``Fill It Up, and Check the Olive Oil.'' It's about all the new New York City restaurants having names that fit cars better than restaurants. He tested his theory in interviews with marketing people in the automobile industry. Beacon, ``the Midtown restaurant that specializes in wood-grilled dishes,'' would probably by ``a more economical car.'' Avra (Greek seafood) ``would probably be picked up by Hyundai or Daewoo.'' Lex 303 (new in the Murray Hill neighborhood) should be a high-performance European import, base price $38,995.

Okay, so we're drifting away from metaphor here. I'm just waiting to close the circle, that's all. Just be glad I didn't explain how Victor's Pizzeria (on Nassau Street in Princeton, NJ) got its name, the way I wasted your time at the Mendoza's Guitars entry earlier.

For the etymology of metaphor, see metaphery. I mean, carry on to the other entry.

metaphor, reincarnated
That ought to be the term for dead metaphors brought back to life by wordplay. I've seen a good one attributed to Lowell Weicker, Jr., to the effect that the Republican party's moderate wing had become just a feather. I haven't been able to track down a solid citation, however. The closest I've found is by David Gergen, in a December 2003 review of Lewis L. Gould's One Nation Divisible: Grand Old Party. Gergen wrote ``By 1980, the GOP was moving more sharply to the right and was bringing the country with it. For six presidential elections in a row from Reagan through George W. Bush conservatives have now headed the Republican ticket. And the moderate wing of the party looks more like a feather.'' (I want to mention that Tony Feather is a Republican activist. There, I did it.)

Weicker so irked conservative columnist William F. Buckley that in his 1988 re-election bid, Buckley endorsed Democrat Joseph Lieberman and formed a committee to fight Weicker's re-election bid. Lieberman won and Weicker left the GOP, later running for and winning the office of Governor on an independent ticket. That is probably relevant context to the wing-feather wordplay, if Weicker really uttered it. There might be some more detail on this at the CT entry.

What went around in 1988 came around in 2006. Lieberman became too moderate -- particularly on the issue of the war in Iraq -- for a large and energized portion of the Democratic party. He faced a strong primary challenge from Ted Lamont, yet polls suggested that as an independent running in the general election, he would win handily. It was claimed that such an independent run would put at least some Democratic candidates in a politically uncomfortable position. Joe Courtney, the Democratic challenger for Connecticut's second US Congressional district, when asked in mid-June whom he would endorse if it came to that, expressed it thus: ``I'll jump off that bridge when I get to it.'' (Lieberman announced that he would pursue an independent candidacy if he lost the August primary, and Lamont -- in his maiden attempt at statewide office, beat Lieberman in the primary. In the event, Courtney and most other Democratic candidates and office-holders supported Lamont in the general.)

Oh, political discourse brings us yet another nice one, in an unsigned editorial from the DLC, back on March 3, 2004:

We suspect the more voters learn about John Kerry's actual views, the more they will be inclined to say: ``If this is a waffle, bring on the syrup.''

(Regarding these and other suspicions, one is reminded of Eisenhower's observation that most of the worst things in politics don't happen. Unfortunately, I can't seem to track this quote down.)

Altered spelling, usually understood as intentional -- respelling rather than misspelling. Normally also the alterations are limited in scope to substitution (e.g., ``Gawd'' for ``God'') and transpositions within one or two adjacent syllables (for examples see the metathesis entry), or by adding or subtracting a syllable or letter. In other words, the metaplasmically modified word must be recognizable, and not some anagram.

The term metaplasm came into Old English from post-classical Latin, as metaplasmus, from the Hellenistic Greek (no Hellenic attestation, apparently) noun metaplasmós, `reshaping.' A parallel but not very specific term from Latin is transformation, but transformatio does not seem to be (or have been) used systematically to describe a figure of speech. Given the vague etymological sense, it's not surprising that metaplasm has been used to mean transposition of words from their usual order. Since the word hyperbaton is already available to describe that figure, there is little excuse for even the limited continuing use of metaplasm in such a broad sense, and more than a hint of ignorance.

The term metaplasm has traditionally been used in learned discussions of the classical languages. (Possibly in unlearned ones too, I suppose. Hey Pete, when can you take my Chevy Lumina into the shop for a metaplasm? I want it pimped it out with a- and -um fenders.) In the classical context it often refers to changes associated with morphological features absent in Modern English. In a typical example, a second-declension noun can be made grammatically female with obvious changes in the endings (to turn it into a first-declension noun). Not counted as metaplasmic, in this or any other context, are the standard inflections of a word (plural, past tense, etc.), or word formation by standard affixes.

In English, metaplasms are usually figures of speech. (That is, English doesn't have any very regular morphological transformations, so the changes are made free-style for some rhetorical or literary effect.) Dog gone, for example, is a metaplasm of god damn. As a euphemism it is technically a figure of speech. You could claim that it is now so well established that many people use it without any consciousness of avoiding the harsher or more offensive term, and that hence it is not a euphemism and not a figure of speech. But I could then reply that fine -- then it's no longer an alternate spelling but an alternate word, and hence not a metaplasm either. I've got all the bases covered.

Gawd might be considered a euphemism in writing, but from my experience of the English language as she is spoken (and I happen to hear her every day), it is eye dialect.

In some cases -- particularly Middle English and Early Modern English, it can be difficult to decide whether a variant spelling is really a metaplasm. A relatively clear instance occurs (or possibly doesn't) in ``Two Noble Kinsmen,'' act 5, sc. 1, ll. 45-7:

                                      ... our intercession then
Must be to him that makes the Campe a Cestron
Brymd with the blood of men ...

(Bold emphasis added. ``Cestron'' here obviously means cistern. Shakespeare elsewhere used the spelling cestern (in ``Macbeth,'' ``Othello,'' ``Antony and Cleopatra,'' as well as cesterns in ``The Rape of Lucrece''). He never spelled it cistern or cistorn. It seems clear that cestron was not an ordinary spelling variant. In principle, it might just be a misspelling, but that would require postulating two discrete errors (ro for er) where a single one does not occur elsewhere. It seems probably intentional, although the effect achieved, beyond a kind of emphasis or vividness, is hard to describe. [I'm only basing myself on the Spevack concordance (details below). There's probably additional evidence to be gleaned from scholarly editions -- such as whether Folio and Quarto editions agree.]

For another, less convincing instance from Shakespeare, see the metathesis entry.

The Spevack concordance is six bound volumes of yellowing paper with the common title A Complete and Systematic Concordance to the Works of Shakespeare, edited or overseen or something by Marvin Spevack, output by an IBM 7094, and published by Georg Olms Verlagsbuchhandlung in Hildesheim in 1969.

The interchange of sounds within a word. As in ``cumfterble,'' ``eye-urn,'' and ``enviornment'' pernunciations of comfortable, iron, and environment. Sort of a word-internal Spoonerism. See also nookyuler.

If I think of any metatheses that don't involve an arr sound, I'll be sure to add them. There's almug and algum, but leafing through the Scrabble dictionary, even if you've been challenged, looks a lot like cheating. Okay, then, there's the English surname Apps, which arose by metathesis from æspe, the original Old English word for aspen. Of course, I would have preferred a pair of modern words -- something not involving a surname -- and I know you would too, so I'll keep looking.

Oh yeah -- ask pronounced as ``ax'' and asterisk as ``Asterix.'' There seems to be a slightly broader pattern here: most English metatheses involve an ess or arr sound. There's probably a good reason for this, and the next time I see my spichiartist, I'll be sure to ask. For insensitive jokes about dyslexics, based on preposterous metatheses, start reading (or stop reading, if that's how you do it) at the Dyslexic Occultist entry. (Metatheses involving a sibilant like s and a velar or alveolar stop -- k and t, resp. -- are relatively common. Different ancient Greek dialects sometimes differed in the order of these sounds in various words.)

The rock musician Sly Stone (famous as leader of Sly and the Family Stone, which had a great run at the end of the 1960's) was born Sylvester Stewart in 1947. He got the Sly nickname in school. Reportedly, a fellow fifth-grade student made an error spelling it in a spelling bee (they asked for name spellings in a spelling bee?) and afterwards other students teased him with it. Frankly, it's not such an unusual nickname as to need a special derivation. [According to this page, ``[t]he `Family Stone' came from the fact that Sly, his sister Rosie and brother Freddie all adopted the stage name `Stone' when they formed their new band.'' It is probably also worth noting that stone is a general intensifier in Black English Vernaculars (not just ``stone cold'' but ``stone drunk,'' ``stone in love,'' etc.), so the choice was not arbitrary.]

Metathesis is sometimes intentional, as in the case of Sly Stone, perhaps. In other words, metathesis can be a figure of speech. (This metathesis is a special case of the more general deliberate misspelling figure: metaplasm, q.v.) It's a little tricky tracing this back in time in English, because English spelling has never been entirely regular.

One instance occasionally adduced as a metathesis is from ``The Merry Wives of Windsor,'' act 2, sc. 1. Pistol speaks these lines in a conversation with Ford, warning him not to be the cuckold (ll. 117-9 or 122-4):

With liver burning hot. Frevent, or go thou,
Like Sir Acteon he, with Ringwood at thy heels:
O, odious is the name!

Some people seem to regard frevent as a metathesis of fervent, perhaps related to the burning-hot liver. (That would make the location of the word an instance of hyperbaton, but that is so common in Shakespeare as hardly to merit mention.) It seems that most, however, take ``Frevent'' as a typesetting error for ``Prevent,'' and this happens to make sense.

In ancient myth, Acteon was out hunting with his hounds and accidentally encountered the goddess Diana while she was bathing naked. She turned him into a stag and he was eventually devoured by his own dogs. That would make Acteon the prototype of the voyeur punished. However, there was a legend that in some villages in Europe (just never this one, apparently), a man was collectively humiliated when his wife gave birth to a child recognizably not his own. This must have been quite a burden on couples who shared a lot of recessive genes. According to the tradition, there would be a parade in which the supposed cuckold would be forced to wear antlers. There doesn't seem to be any more evidence for this practice than for the Acteon-Diana story, but it did give rise to expressions like ``wearing the horns of a cuckold.'' Since Acteon wore antlers and suffered ignominiously, he came to be the representative cuckold.

The main source for the myth of Acteon and Diana is Ovid's Metamorphoses, book III. There the names of 31 hounds are given (there are others too numerous to name). No, I don't have this entry mixed up with the Baskin-Robbins entry. The last named hound is a shrill-voiced one named Hylactor. Golding's 1567 translation (the first) into English of Ovid's Metamorphoses, and Golding translated Hylactor as `Ringwood.' (The name Hylactor is also used in the Fabellae of C. Julius Hyginus in his version of the Acteon story.)

Whether that's an approprate translation is an involved question. I haven't the time for a full investigation, but here are a few disconnected facts. The well-known Greek word hylê means `wood,' though it was used in extended senses, particularly for `matter' in general (see the HYLE entry). There is a dog named Hyleús in Xenophon's Cynegeticus 7.5. That name is traditionally translated as `Ringwood.' Well, that's the single translation offered by the LSJ. I'm not sure how far the translation is justified. The proper noun Ringwood in English is a place name that apparently originally meant `the woods of the Regni,' the last being an ancient tribe. There is no common noun ringwood (at least not one mentioned by the OED), but on the pattern of other words, like ring-tail, one would expect ringwood to be wood with rings. Hyleús doesn't really have enough morpheme in it after `wood,' so one could hardly squeeze out a `ring.' Maybe the translation is intended to suggest that the dog goes around the woods.

So much for the dog name Hyleús, and for one traditional ``Ringwood.'' The name Hylactor (so written in the Latin of Ovid and Hyginus) evidently recalls the Greek verb hylaktéô, `I howl' (or bay, bark, or growl, but it is applied only to dogs, or metaphorically to humans). Funny how Greek and English have words that seem to connect barking and trees. (The English word, of course, is bark, but perhaps I'm barking up the wrong tree here.) I would have guessed that as a name, Hylactor would just mean `howler.' That would also jibe with the mention of his shrill voice. (Similar scattered comments for some other dogs indicate that the names tend to be appropriate.) But I'm no expert. Frank Justus Miller, Ph.D., LL.D., Professor in the University of Chicago, wrote (in a footnote) in his Loeb of the Metamorphoses (1916) that the English name of Hylactor is `Mountaineer.' My only insight into this is that mountaineers carry wooden staffs, and that maybe dogs howling are associated with mountains. Beats me. Ah -- I have a better insight: His footnote, which gives the ``English names of these hounds in their order,'' has the order actually scrambled. Another dog's name, also evidently mistranslated, is given as ``Barker.'' Sheesh!

A real-time entry -- can't beat it. (What, you think after doing all that research and typing up a bare summary, and finally realizing that it was all just an ordering confusion in a footnote, I should erase all that and only give the translation? Go to hell!) So the answer to the ``involved question'' posed above is finally ``no'': Golding's translation of Hylactor as `Ringwood' was a howler.

Morgantown Energy Technology Center. Also known as Federal Energy Technology Center (FETC) - Morgantown (MGN).

Metcalfe's Law
The value of a network can be measured by the square of the number of users.

Conclusion of an argument made by Bob Metcalfe, promoting computer networking standards in 1980. Name conferred by George Gilder in his book Telecosm.

Market power is also deemed to vary as the square (of market share); see HHI.

METal matrix Composite (MMC) ANalyzer.

For the benefit of Morse code tappers who are seeking new careers in an ancient language, we present a conversion chart between Morse Code and metrical feet. Just remember that dits (dots) are like short syllables in quantitative verse and like unstressed syllables in accentual verse, and dahs (dashes) aren't.

Letter Keying Pattern Metrical Foot Name Comments
A .- iamb Most common foot in English verse, and German and Russian verse as well.
B -... paeon primus Paeon with the long syllable in the first position. This and paeon quartus (V) are the two most common paeons in Greek meter.
C -.-. ditrochee or dichoreus A foot composed of two trochees (N). Not a common foot in any ancient meter, and it's also the accentual pattern of the word Macarena.
D -.. dactyl Common in English verse. D is for dactyl.
E . (thesis) Thesis is not the name of a foot as such, but just designates the unstressed or short-syllable part of a metrical foot.
F ..-. paeon tertius Paeon with the long syllable in the third position.
G --. antibacchius
H .... proceleusmatic foot or tetrabrach The less common name simply means `four short.' There's something very fourish about the eighth letter of the English alphabet.
I .. pyrrhic foot or dibrach Better than a Pyrrhic victory.
J .--- first epitrite Epitrite with the short syllable first.
K -.- cretic foot or amphimacer Complement of an amphibrach.
L .-.. paeon secundus Paeon with the long syllable in the second position.
M -- spondee Common in English verse.
N -. trochee or choreus Common in English verse. Very common in children's verse in English.
O --- molossus
P .--. antispast I guess it precedes the maisn curse. Complement of a choriamb (X).
Q --.- third epitrite Epitrite with the short syllable third.
R .-. amphibrach Amphibrach means `both [ends] short.'
S ... tribrach The name simply means `three short.'
T - (arsis) Well dah. It's not a usual foot, though you might regard it as a contracted dibrach (I). Arsis is not the name of a foot as such, but just designates the stressed or long-syllable part of a metrical foot.
U ..- anapest Common in English verse.
V ...- paeon quartus Paeon with the long syllable in the last position. This and paeon primus (B) are the two most common paeons in Greek meter.
W .-- bacchius Since it's named after the god of the fermented fruit of the vine, you might remember di-dah-dah as a grape hanging off a length of vine.
X -..- choriamb Composed of a choreus (N) followed by a iamb (A). Cf. antispast (P).
Y -.-- second epitrite Epitrite with the short syllable second. The Y is sort of a second way to represent consonantal J, and Morse code for J corresponds to a first epitrite foot.
Z --.. greater Ionic Cf. lesser Ionic (Ü).
À, Å [non-English extension to Morse code] .--.- dochmius One or more of the long syllables (especially the second syllable) may be resolved (i.e., replaced by two short syllables). Either or both of the short syllables may be replaced by a long syllable.
Ä, Æ [non-English extension to Morse code] .-.- diiamb Two iambs combined into one foot.
ch [non-English extension to Morse code] ---- dispondee Two spondees combined into one foot.
Ö, Ø [non-English extension to Morse code];
! in old North American landline telegraphy.
---. fourth epitrite Epitrite with the short syllable last.
Ü [non-English extension to Morse code] ..-- lesser Ionic It's also called the smaller Ionic, but it's the same length as the greater Ionic (Z). The only difference is that the long syllables come first in the greater Ionic. It just goes to show that first impressions matter.

The fundamental SI unit of length, or at least the unprefixed one. Since this is, or, well, started out to be, a museum, er, glossary, of acronyms and abbreviations, you should have should have gone to the m entry first. (You are forgiven. Now go forth and multiply or something.)


Revista Argentina de Filosofía Antigua/Argentine Journal for Ancient Philosophy. As I add this entry in January 2002, the Argentine economy is in a free-fall that is scary even to those of us who remember the 1970's. The ancient philosophy of greatest immediate utility would appear to be stoicism.

Mission-Essential Task List. Okay, enough with the testing-your-mettle puns, already!

METRA, Metra
METropolitan RAil. Operates most trains between Chicago (IL) and its suburbs. Cf. NICTD. Officially the Northeastern Illinois Railroad Corp., or maybe Northeastern Illinois Regional Commuter Rail Corp.


metrical foot
Okay, look: you've caught us at a bad moment (2006, to be precise), when we're rearranging some of our informational furnishings. Right now, the information that should be here eventually temporarily has been copied over to the meter entry, where it is better-organized and more complete. When we've cleaned up a little around here, we'll let some of that information sort of slosh back in here, maybe.

metric foot
Thirty centimetres, or 11.811024 inches. (That's 11 in., 9 ll., and about 61 mils left over, for those of you keeping track of the score at home.) A standard length unit for lumber in the UK.

During the 57th Congress of the United States (1901-1903), the House Committee on Coinage, Weights and Measures held hearings on the adoption of the metric system. A pamphlet was published containing the testimony heard by that committee. In 1904, Frederick A. Halsey published The Metric Fallacy (New York: D. Van Nostrand Co.), which excerpted some of that testimony. To those who say that Halsey may have excerpted tendentiously, I say, ``go study the Congressional Record (or the pamphlet if you can find it) and email me a detailed summary of your findings.''

Here, from pp. 13-14 of Halsey's book, are some estimates of how long the transition to metric units might take:

City transit operator in METROpolitan Seattle, Washington (AC).

Here's a little reminder of what we've been missing since Dave Barry retired.

In lifestyle news [for January 2004], the hot trend is ``metrosexuals'' -- young males who are not gay but are seriously into grooming and dressing well. There are only eight documented cases of males like this, all living in two Manhattan blocks, but they are featured in an estimated 17,000 newspaper and magazine articles over the course of about a week, after which this trend, like a minor character vaporized by aliens in a ``Star Trek'' episode, disappears and is never heard from again.

Etymologically, metrosexual is akin to Oedipean (vide metropolis, infra). Incidentally, I heard of an English girl born in the 70's who was named ``Jocasta''! Her high school friends called her ``Joker.'' Ha-ha, I'm sure. And I used to wonder how parents could bring themselves to name their daughters ``Cassandra.'' (I think now that ``Cassy'' became popular, and that ignorant sorts in the nineteenth century started supposing it was short for Cassandra. One name it had been short for was Alexandra.)

You know what a metropolis is, so I'm not going to define it. I do want to point out that the word is etymologically (and in a rarer, older acception) ``mother city.'' It is ultimately derived from the Greek words mêtêr (`mother') and polis (`city'). (Yes, yes, the Greeks used e's there. Hence a name taken from the mother is a metronymic, as one from the father is a patronymic.)

The preceding information is of no use to you. My practical reason for including this entry is to alert you that the correct (well, etymologically Greek, anyway) plural form is metropoleis. It sounds a lot better than ``metropolises,'' too.

Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Mega-Electron-Volt[s]. A convenient energy unit for anyone who accelerates ions through potential drops that cumulatively amount to megavolts. Convenient for nuclear physicists and nuclear chemists, in other words.

The mass of an electron is 0.511 MeV/c2. The next-lighter known particle is the muon, with a mass of about 107 MeV/c2. The electron and muon are leptons (q.v.), the name assigned to express the fact that they are in fact light. There are also massless particles -- the photon and the as-yet-unobserved graviton. Then there are the neutrinos, ghostly uncharged leptons, one per charged lepton. Neutrinos were originally supposed to be massless, but evidence piling up since the 1980's indicates that they have mass. That mass is difficult to measure, but is on the order of a few eV/c2.

If I were speaking instead of writing, I would just have said ``on the order of a few electron volts.'' Five syllables might mark some kind of transition point. While ``electron volt'' and ``ee vee'' are at least comparably common in speech, ``mega-electron volt'' or ``million electron volt'' is rare compared to ``em ee vee'' among physicists. (I've never heard ``mevv,'' but I suppose there must be some weirdo out there who says it. For more about this kind of usage, see the GeV entry.)

Multiple-Employer Welfare Arrangement. A kind of health insurance policy that pools the employees in a number of small businesses so they can obtain less expensive ``group'' rates. In the US, every MEWA must be licensed by the insurance department of the local (usually state) jurisdiction in which the policy is sold.

A common form of health insurance scam is a MEWA that operates as a Ponzi scheme. (See IRC entry for explanation and some history.) Since the pricing of insurance policies is a matter of uncertain calculation, it is difficult to prove criminal intent when these schemes fail. So long as the scam artist skims off the top in a formally legitimate manner (e.g., by taking a high salary), other criminal sanctions (such as those for embezzlement or fraudulent accounting) are inapplicable. Sometimes civil penalties (fines for restitution and possibly further damages) may be assessed under contract law.

Mexican Hat
  1. A Utah town on the northern end of the Navajo Nation reservation.
  2. A mathematical function. The Mexican hat function is the Laplacian of a (usually two-dimensional) Gaussian. It's used in edge detection.

A list of Mexican WWW servers (servidores) by state is available.

Mitteleuropäische Zeit. German: `Central European Time' (CET). For much more than you care to know, see the entry for standard time zone A, which is the same zone.

Me-109, ME-109
MEsserschmitt-109. A WWII-era fighter plane built for the German Luftwaffe by Messerschmitt, A.G. It was a single-engine, low-wing monoplane with a crew of one. Maximum speed at altitude: about 350 MPH at its introduction in 1939, raised to about 420 MPH by 1944.

FWIW, the family name of the company founder, Messerschmitt, means `knife smith' in German.

Me-110, ME-110
MEsserschmitt-110. A WWII Luftwaffe fighter. It was a twin-engine, low-wing monoplane with a crew of two. Maximum speed at altitude: about 360 MPH in 1940.

Me-163, ME-163
MEsserschmitt-163. A WWII Luftwaffe interceptor-fighter. It was a mid-wing monoplane with a single liquid-rocket engine with a one-man crew. Maximum speed at altitude: about 550 MPH in 1945. Sometimes also referred to as the JU-163.

Me-262, ME-262
MEsserschmitt-262. A WWII Luftwaffe fighter. A twin-jet, low-wing monoplane; one-man crew. Maximum speed at altitude: about 525 MPH in 1944. Service ceiling: 40,000 feet.

Mean Field. The average field used as an approximation in a mean field theory. A sort of best-constant approximation to a quantity that depends in a possibly hopelessly complicated way on (possibly infinitely) many variables.

Medium Frequency. In radio transmission and other electromagnetic radiation contexts, this means frequencies between 300 kHz and 3 MHz.

Membrane Filter. Hey -- pay attention! We're talkin' BEER. Millipore's membrane filters are the technology that made draft-quality beer-in-a-can a reality in the 1950's! How's that for a military-technology spin-off?

Uh, uM, a person who engages in incest oF a certain sort.



Master of Fine Arts.

Materials and Failure Analysis.

Montserrat (association) Football Association. A member of CONCACAF.

In the year MFA was founded and became affiliated with FIFA, 1996, Montserrat was the world's fastest-growing nation in proportional terms, and occasionally even in absolute terms -- 600,000 tons of ash, pumice, and rock on the night of September 17-18 alone.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Mass Flow Controller.

Microsoft Foundation Class. A class hierarchy that ``encapsulates the user interface portion of the [MS] Windows API, and makes it significantly easier to create Windows applications in an object oriented way. This hierarchy is available for and compatible with all versions of Windows. [3.1, NT, 95; not my idea of ``versions''] The code you create in MFC is extremely portable.'' But not as portable as Java AWT code.

Millard Fillmore College of UB for continuing education and summer sessions.

m/f/d/v, M/F/D/V
Minority, Female, Disabled, Veteran. My guess, anyway. I don't think it stands for Male, Female, DiVerse. It's very fashionable now (2004) to include something like ``EEO employer. M/F/D/V'' at the ends of job announcements. Whatever happened to ``race, creed, or national origin''? Out of fashion, I guess.

On Friday after election day in 1992, president-elect Bill Clinton named Vernon E. Jordan, Jr., and Warren Christopher to head his transition team. Their main business was personnel. ``A diverse government'' was one stated goal of the process.

Appearing that Sunday November 8 on ABC's ''This week with David Brinkley,'' Jordan was asked whether the country was ready for its first black attorney general. Jordan, who is black (and a lawyer who was rumored to be in line for that post), replied levelly, ``I believe that America is ready for an able, competent attorney general regardless of race, sex, or previous condition of servitude.'' That was a joke, son. Jordan's anachronistic formula echoed the words of section 1 of the fifteenth amendment to the US Constitution:

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

And that amendment was not ancient history to Jordan. Interviewed by Ebony magazine for the January issue, he recalled ``my friend, Primus King, an itinerant Black preacher, unlettered but learned, who brought with great courage, conviction, fortitude, and fearlessness the case, King v. Chapman, that gave Blacks in Georgia the right to vote in the Democratic primary. While this is an exalted position and a great honor, every day in this office I remind myself that I stand on Primus King's shoulders and so do President-elect Bill Clinton and Vice President-elect Al Gore.''

Meant For Each Other.

meine freundlich[st]e Grüsse. German, `my [most] friendly greetings.' Typical sign-off at end of a letter. When it is a sentence or the beginning of a sentence, the em is capitalized: MfG.

Master of the Fox Hounds. An honored occupation in Victorian English life. Also called ``Master of the Hounds'' or just ``Master.''

MF In Charge. Acronym is reported to have engaged in pleonasm: ``MFIC in charge.''

MFKP signaling
Multifrequency Key Pulse signaling.

Modern Foreign Languages.

Magnetic Force Microscop{e|y}. Similar to an AFM, but with a ferromagnetic tip, and the force not due to current tunneling but to magnetic forces. Useful for mapping magnetic fields. Cf. other types of scanning-probe microscopy (SPM).

Modified Frequency Modulation.

Malaysian Footwear Manufacturers Association.

Most Favored Nation. Normal import-tariff status of US trading partners. Anything less than MFN really amounts to a US protest against the international trade behavior of a country.

Psst! Listen, but keep this under your hat: a bill to change the name from `most favored nation' (a terminological oddity from the eighteenth century) to `normal trade relations' is making its way quietly through Congress. It passed the Senate by unanimous consent on Sept. 11, 1996. The House will be a bigger hurdle, but the odds for the bill look good nevertheless.

Market-Facing Organization. I don't know what -- if anything -- this means, but Scott Adams, in a promo for his book, The Dilbert Principle, specifically identifies this as having appeared in an ``actual company memo.''

Multinational Force and Observers. Usually more observers than force.

Mean Free Path. The mean distance traversed between collisions. Note that one also distinguishes elastic mfp and inelastic mfp. Cf. mft.


Multilink Frame Relay.

Magnetic-Field Sensor.

Marriage and Family Therapy. Sounds like just the cure for anyone afflicted with an excess of disposable income, but the term is used (perhaps I should say also used) for counseling of family groups as opposed to individuals.

Can we say ``co - de - pen - dent''? Sssuuuuurrre we can!

Massachusetts Federation of Teachers. Teachers' union affiliated with the AFT. The state also has a competing NEA affiliate, MTA.

Mean Field Theory. An approximation for systems described by fields. Basically, the approach is to treat the field as if it had the same value everywhere, a mean field value, so that in effect the field is reduced to a simple variable. MFT attempts to find the best value of that mean field. This is a pretty radical simplification, but it is often effective. In a nonlinear system, even the mean-field version of a problem can be pretty difficult to solve. A standard application is in Landau-Ginzburg models of statistical systems, and often the terms L-G and MFT are used interchangeably.

At the board, on writing paper, or wherever one is not restricted by predetermined character sets, it is not uncommon to write MFT with a theta instead of a tee.

Mean Free Time. Like mfp, also available in elastic and inelastic flavors.

Montana Federation of Teachers. A state teachers' union affiliated with the AFT, which merged in 2000 with the NEA-affiliated MEA to form the MEA-MFT.

Metal-Free TOLED (q.v.).

Something about anger, I guess, and cable television.

Minimum Fluidization Velocity.

Male/Female/Veteran/Disabled. That's the etymology. Naturally, the correct expansion of d is ``challenged.'' Soon m will be expanded ``alternatively-gendered.'' As brilliant new research is conclusively and scientifically proving, however, male and female are socially constructed frauds. The terms have no objective meaning except when they are used to demonstrate that males oppress females. In reality, there is a rich multidimensional continuum of sexual identities. Lemme outta here.

(Domain name code for) Madagascar.

Chemical symbol for MaGnesium. Atomic number 12. The second-lightest alkaline earth, or the lightest alkaline earth, or the heaviest element in its periodic-table group not to be an alkaline earth. (Seek clarification at the alkaline earth entry.) Not to be confused with Manganese (Mn), fool!

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

Matt Groening's ``single-theory-to-explain-everything maniac'' points out that

The nation that controls magnesium controls the Universe!

Magnesium burns hot and bright when ignited in an ordinary atmosphere. This added to the excitement of car races when magnesium wheels were first introduced for their light weight. This is one reason why alloy wheels were subsequently introduced.

Major General. A rank.

Metallurgical Grade. [A starting point in the process of purifying silicon (MGS, q.v.).]

MilliGram. Should be uncapitalized (``milligram'') when written out. One one-thousandth of a gram (g).

MG, M.G.
A small car made by British Leyland. Earlier an independent make of car. Now, M.G. has an expansion, but it is extremely subtle, so pay attention: The M in M.G. refers to Morris, as in William (``Billy'') Morris. He owned Morris Garages, where M.G.'s were made, and the G in M.G. indeed refers to Garages. Moreover, the Garages that the G honors are none other than the Morris Garages owned by Billy Morris. However, M.G. does not stand for ``Morris Garages.'' Instead, it is simply a two-letter name that honors both Morris and his garages. You will have noticed that, in addition to the two letters, the name is written with two dots, or periods, which normally suggest abbreviation. Make no mistake: in this case they do not indicate abbreviation. They are there simply for decorative purposes. They do not occur in the car names MGA and MGB.

Know what? As long as I'm here, why don't I talk about MG cars? Sure!

The place to begin is with Morris cars. William Morris, who operated a cycle shop in Oxford from the 1890's, briefly entered the motorcycle business, and then went into the car business in 1910. This web page claims that the Morris Oxford was introduced in 1913, and the Morris Cowley in 1915, and that ``[e]fficient production methods allowed large numbers of these cars to built before the Great War started.'' That must have been efficient indeed, since the Great War started in August 1914 (Britain was in it from the first month). Anyway, after the usual conversion to and from war production, Morris Motors Ltd. continued manufacturing improved versions of the Oxford and the Cowley. I'm not going to sort out the early history because Morris is not an acronym.

Now, TTBOMKAU, by 1922 Morris had moved his manufacturing activities (Morris Motors, Ltd.) to Cowley (the town, not the car). He continued to maintain a retail and service operation in Oxford (originally the Morris garage; ``Morris Garages'' after other Oxford properties had been acquired in 1913). In 1921, Cecil Kimber (1888-1945) became sales manager at Morris Garages, Ltd., and in 1922 succeeded to general manager. In 1923 he began selling a sporty modified version of the Morris Cowley ``Bullnose'' in 1923. This model, known as the Morris Garages Chummy, had an alternate body built onto an unmodified Cowley chassis. In the next few years, Morris Garages Specials were sold that departed increasingly from the Cowleys they were based on, with modified (lowered) chassis and outsourced bodies (originally from a shop called Carbodies) and engines. The first pure MG design came out in 1928. In 1929, the special-car business had outgrown the Morris Garages at Oxford and was moved to Abingdon, where Cecil Kimber founded the M.G. Car Company Ltd. The rest is history. So's the part that went before, but they say this anyway. You can read an overview history or a less picture-intensive but slightly saltier history, or you can go off and do your own web search -- I'm not stopping you. On page two of this newsletter, you can see that Cecil Kimber was insistent on the point made above, that ``M.G. does not stand for Morris Garages.'' He also looked askance at the writing of the company name using ``MG'' (i.e., without the dots). Hey! Old man! Did you notice that your famous octagonal logo, which made its first appearance in 1924, never had the dots? Gimme a break, really.

William Morris eventually got into the philanthropy business and was made Lord Nuffield. This William Morris is no relation to the New York vaudeville agent who in 1898 started the business that eventually (1918) was incorporated as the William Morris Agency. (Nor, either of these, to the William Morris (1834-1896) famous in Britain as the founder of the Arts and Crafts Movement.)

While we're on name coincidences involving modeling agencies and automobile manufacturers, I must mention the Ford Modeling Agency, cofounded in 1946 by the famous Eileen Ford and her husband Jerry. These Fords are apparently no particular relation of the Henry Ford who founded the Ford Motor Company. Comparisons are probably inevitable. Here are some from a New York Times article on the occasion of the modeling agency's twentieth anniversary,

[The Ford Model Agency] is to fashion and advertising what the other Ford organization is to the automtive industry -- one of the biggest and most successful. ... Among Stewart, Plaza Five, Gillis McGill and Ford -- the top four agencies in the country -- most fashion editors and advertising casting directors place Ford first.
  Ask the Fords how they got there and they say that they, like the auto company's founder, had a better idea.
  Jerry (for Gerod) Ford, president of the agency, which handles both male and female models, said: ``In the old days half the models did their own billing -- when they remembered their appointments and to ask to be paid. But even then they often didn't get their money, which meant the agency didn't get its fees.
  ``It was a way of doing business that was partly responsible for the demise of John Robert Powers, Bob Taft and Harry Conover, agencies that once led the field. Eileen modeled for Conover before we were married.''   To avoid confusion, Mr. Ford helped develop a system (since adopted by other agencies) for recording telephone orders and cancellations for models, a voucher system by which the agency pays the models in advance and then collects from the clients and a sophisticated cross index of their models with their available times so that this information can be supplied to clients in seconds.

They got 10% of each model's earnings, and collected an additional 10% from each client. At the time of the article (Dec. 21, 1966, p. 57; byline Bernadette Carey), the Ford Agency was just starting to move from index cards to a computer database.

Another Ford who is no particular relation of the famous Henry is former US president Gerald R. Ford, who represented a Michigan congressional district that was near Detroit, in some sense of the word near. Gerald Ford's wife Betty (maiden name Elizabeth Bloomer) had been a model in New York, but before the Ford Agency existed. (Gerald Ford, a football player at U of M and a football coach on the side when he attended Yale Law, also did some modeling work.)

If it had anything to do with Morris Garages, I'd be sure to mention that the model Christie Brinkley is not known to be related to the late TV news anchor Huntley Brinkley, er, I mean David Brinkley. Christie was a supermodel, one of the dozens of models who is incorrectly claimed to have been the first to be called a supermodel. In August 2000, she was a superdelegate from New York at the Democratic Party convention in LA. Super!

Motor-Generator. An MG set is a paired motor and generator. The two main applications are in electric power generation and conversion. The power generation application is obvious. It's probably more common to encounter the term in off-grid situations, describing power generation for on-site or in-vehicle (sub, ship, plane) consumption, but the term is also used in cental power plants. Until fuel-cell technology is much improved, MG sets will be the only practical way to convert, say, diesel fuel into amperage. The power conversion application is mostly for use when the available and required power frequencies are not the same (values of frequency here understood to often include zero -- DC power). In these cases the motor is electric. In many cases it's more efficient to use an AC-driven MG with DC output rather than a rectifier.

In typical configurations, the motor and generator of an MG set run synchronously and are directly coupled -- via belt, gears, or a common shaft. The exception I know of is the MG sets used for tokomaks. Tokomaks require a lot of power to build the magnetic confinement fields, but this power is needed only for periods of a few seconds. The power is provided by a bank of MG sets with flywheels. The motors rev up the flywheels over a period of minutes, and then the flywheels turn the generators, slowing down in a few seconds. I remember reading about a bus system in Scandinavia someplace years ago, that used flywheels to store power either from braking or from continuously running motors.

Multi-Grid. Describes discrete-grid-based simulation codes in which grid spacing is not uniform or multiple (possibly hierarchically related) grids are used. (Of course, it is common in finite-difference integration of partial differential equations to have different orders of derivative defined at alternating nodes of the same grid. This is not called multi-grid simulation.)

Meteorological & Geoastrophysical Abstracts. [Thank God for cut-and-paste. Or thank XEROX PARC. Whoever has the patent.] A subscription service of the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

A model introduced by MG in September 1955, supposedly based on an experimental LeMans car used earlier that year (based on the Austin B-Series engine). The MGA is remembered today primarily as the precursor of the MGB.

Probably the most popular car model ever sold by MG. Introduced in 1962 as the successor of the MGA.

The MGB was one of those cars that inspired affectionate loyalty in its owners. One of the Stammtisch Beau Fleuve members (alpha chapter) had an MGA and has more interesting memories. I'll have to interview her for the glossary.

Mutual Group Centre. The nice thing about this name is that it consists of common nouns which suggest almost nothing about the thing named. (For a time, it belonged to the Mutual Life Assurance Company of Canada.) The complex (office towers and a ground-level shopping concourse) was originally known as the Shipp Centre, and is now (2003) known as the Clarica Centre. The popularity that the MGC name achieved in its time may be seen from the fact that addresses are often given in something like the following form ``3300 Bloor Street West (at Islington), Clarica Centre (formerly the Shipp Center), Toronto, Ontario.'' In point of fact, it has probably never been known as the MGC, elsewhere than in this glossary. Indeed, there appear to be no glossaries that expand this particular MGC. Therefore, we have inserted this entry to fill the unmet need.

Media Gateway Control Protocol. See MAC entry regarding ``Media.''

Miller Genuine Draft. Beer has diuretic effect.

Gee, they're advertising. I should drink more.

Million Gallons per Day. For something a bit more informative, see the gallons-per-day entry gpd.

Beer consumption in the US is roughly 25 gallons per annum per capita, so for some of the more popular brands, MGD is about the scale of consumption.

Magnesium Fluoride. Used for optical antireflection coatings (ARC, q.v.), inter alia.

Monumenta Germaniae Historica. That's Latin for (the catalog of) `German Historical Monuments.'

Mortgage Guarantee Insurance Corporation.

`National Council of Security' of Turkey. An unelected monitoring body created in the 1982 constitution (still in effect as of 2007) following the 1980 coup. It has supremacy over the parliament and the government, and has almost exclusive control over the armed forces and the internal security apparatus.

Metro Goldwyn Mayer. Marcus Loew (1870-1927), a cinema owner, bought Metro Pictures in 1920, and a controlling interest in Goldwyn Pictures and Louis B. Mayer Pictures in 1924. Loew made Mayer vice president and general manager of MGM.

Frances Gumm was born in Grand Rapids, Minn., on June 10, 1922. (I don't know if people in Minnesota commonly abbreviate their Grand Rapids by GR, but we've got a GR entry waiting for them if they do.) Judy Garland stopped singing permanently in 1969. Before that, she said

I was born at the age of twelve on the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer lot.

Goldwyn Pictures was a partnership formed in 1916 by the two brothers-in-law Samuel Goldfish and Edgar Selwyn. Goldfish had been born Shmuel Gelbfisz in 1884, which is the Polish spelling of the Yiddish name translated to Samuel Goldfish when he came to America. In requesting a name change in 1918, he told the judge that everybody assumed his name was Goldwyn. In 1923 he began his own company, called Samuel Goldwyn Productions.

O. V. Michaelsen reports in Words At Play: Quips, Quirks & Oddities (1998) that Goldwyn never said ``Include me out.''

MGM now uses the slogan ``MGM Means Great Movies,'' which is almost a XARA.

Medical Group Management Association.

MGreek, MGrk.
Usually refers to monotonic (only one kind of accent) demotic (popular) language spoken in Greece in the last couple of centuries.

Malaysian Government Securities.

Mars Global Surveyor. A spacecraft launched by NASA on November 7, 1996, with a target lifetime of about three years. It had a very successful run, operating longer at Mars than any other spacecraft in history.

In November 2006, it was inadvertently killed. According to an internal review board summary, on ``Nov. 2, after the spacecraft was ordered to perform a routine adjustment of its solar panels, the spacecraft reported a series of alarms, but indicated that it had stabilized. That was its final transmission. Subsequently, the spacecraft reoriented to an angle that exposed one of two batteries carried on the spacecraft to direct sunlight. This caused the battery to overheat and ultimately led to the depletion of both batteries. Incorrect antenna pointing prevented the orbiter from telling controllers its status, and its programmed safety response did not include making sure the spacecraft orientation was thermally safe.'' Apparently the incorrect antenna pointing was ultimately due to ``a computer error [sic] made five months before the likely battery failure.''

Metallurgical-Grade Silicon. Refined by reduction from quartzite ore or good clean sand. (The quartzite is the oxidant in the high-temperature burning of some carbon fuel.) About 98% pure, it's the start of the refinement process that leads to EGS.

Mason Gross School of the Arts. (the name is normally written all lower case, because lower-case initials are more artistic.)

Mathematics Graduate Students Association. There's one at Berkeley. There's one at Toronto. There are probably others.
Mid-Georgia Soaring Association.

Minority Graduate Student Association. There's one at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), born out of the AMP. And here's a link to the one at Middle Tennessee State University. What is it with these middles of Southern states?

Modern Greek Studies Association.

Multicultural Graduate Students' Association. Way back in 1999, one was founded at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).

Music Graduate Students Association. There's one at the University of Toronto.

Mahatma Gandhi University. A/k/a ``M G University.'' This seems to be the only one. There isn't even one in the state of Gujarat (his place of birth, retrospectively). By contrast, there are at least three universities currently named for Rajiv Gandhi.

Mahatma Gandhi University was first established as Gandhiji University. ``Gandhiji'' is a polite or respectful inflection of the name ``Gandhi,'' whereas ``Mahatma'' means `great soul.' (This was used, by others, in place of his actual given name, which was Mohandas.) The majority view seems to be that ``Mahatma Gandhiji'' is slightly over the top. (Speakers of European languages ought to recognize the roots of ``Mahatma,'' which are cognate with the English words like major, mayor and atmosphere (or German atmen, to breathe.')

The university was officially established by Act 12 of 1985 of the Kerala State Legislature, and approved by the governor on April 17, 1985. However, that 1985 act includes (ch. I, sec. 1, subsection (2)) the statement that ``[the act] shall be deemed to have come into force on the 2nd day of October, 1983.'' I don't know when the university actually came into operation; many online resources state baldly that the university was ``established on 2 October 1983.''

The university name was changed by the legislature's Act II (it does not appear to be Act 11) of 1988, which had the so-called short title of ``The Gandhiji University (Amendment and Special Provisions) Act, 1988.'' That act doesn't say precisely that the University's name is changed. Rather, it makes a number of amendments to the 1985 act (the one that was deemed to have established a university in 1983). Most of these amendments consist of changing ``Gandhiji University'' to ``Mahatma Gandhi University'' separately in various sections and subsections of the original act. Most of the 1988 act ``shall be deemed to have come into force on the 28th of January, 1988.''

The structure of the 1988 act is puzzling without being confusing. Sections 3, 4, and 5 amend three specific parts of the 1985 act. The amendment in each case is the substitution of the words ``Mahatma Gandhi University'' for the original words ``Gandhiji University.'' Section 6 provides for the same substitution throughout the 1985 act, with the explicit exception of the three places where the substitution is made by the aforementioned sections 3, 4, and 5 of the 1988 act. The specific places mentioned are subsection (1) of section 1 of the 1985 act, clause (31) of section 2 of the 1985 act, and subsection (1) of section 3 of the 1985 act. These are amended in sections 3-5, respectively, of the 1988 act. (These subsections and clause are the only places where ``Gandhiji University'' occurred in the first three sections of the 1985 act, so the stipulation of subsection and clause numbers is nugatory.)

Sections 3-6 together seem to have the same effect that section 6 alone would have had if the explicit exceptions had been removed. I can think of three possible explanations for the separate treatments: (a) The version of the 1988 law that I am reading originally treated the three named sections of the 1985 act differently, but the 1988 act has itself been modified by some later act, making the original distinction invisible. (b) There is some magical distinction between making an ``amendment'' in which ``the expression'' (or ``the words'') <foo> is substituted for <bar>, on the one hand (secs. 3-5), and simply making a ``substitution'' of ``the expression'' <foo> for ``the expression'' <bar>, on the other hand (section 6). (c) Kerala legislators are paid by the word.

If computer programmers wrote this way, you'd see C code like

if ( (x == 3) || (x == 4) || (x == 5) )
  x = 0;
  x = 0;
This is bloated. Better:
if (x != 0)
  x = 0;
/* And most compactly... */

Incidentally, section 2 of the 1988 act amends the long title of the 1985 act. Go check out the pdf yourself. The 1988 act begins at page 75.

Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance.

Million Gallons per Year. Of water, probably. See the gallons-per-day entry gpd.

Malignant Hyperthermia.

(Domain name code for) Marshall Islands.

Message Handling.

Metal-Halide (lamp).

Mueller-Hinton Agar.

Mueller-Hinton Broth.

Major Histocompatibility Complex. A segment of DNA that codes for a part of the immune system that distinguishes self and non-self.

Mount Holyoke College. Founded as the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary by Mary Lyon in 1837, it was the first post-secondary school in the US exclusively for women. (Oberlin, founded in 1833, was co-ed from the start, and the first women matriculated for the baccalaureate degree course in 1837.)

MHC's brief history summary includes this: ``Mount Holyoke's early history is one of struggle and triumph over tremendous odds. The country was in the grip of economic depression when Lyon set about gathering the means with which to establish her institution.'' This is mild understatement. The years-long depression that began with the [bank] Panic of 1837 was the worst economic contraction in US history, exceeding even the Great Depression in misery if not duration. It was the last period in US history when large numbers of city-dwellers died of starvation and exposure.

MHC is, or was when they were seven, one of the Seven Sisters.


Material-Handling Device. An articulated arm or hoist, for example.

Abbreviation of German mittelhochdeutsch, `Middle High German.'' For further information on the concept, see the OHG entry. (For some comments on the capitalization convention, see ahd.)

Multimedia and Hypermedia Expert Group. (This site apparently defunct.)

Magnetic Hyperfine Field.

Middle High German. Cf. mhd.

Minnesota Hospital and Healthcare Partnership.

Mean Higher High Water Line.

Material Handling Institute of America.

Millstone Hill Observatory. Part of MIT's Haystack Observatory.

Ohm spelled backwards. An obsolete and egregious unit of conductance equal to one siemens or one inverse ohm. Still occurs in bawdy EE drinking songs like the one about cap and coil out by Wheatstone's Bridge. (Coil cries out. She wants ``Mho! Mho!'')

Speaking of coils, it seems the electrical engineers are a very twisted bunch, at least linguistically speaking. (I like to say ``linguistically speaking'' and ``literally spelled'' and stuff like that.) They also came up with ``imref.''

Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi. `Nationalist Movement Party' of Turkey. A chauvinistic ultranationalist party.

3-Methoxy-4-HydroxyPhenylGlycol. Psychoactive hormone.

Military History Quarterly. That's what MHQ stands for, but the periodical that uses MHQ as its short title is styled in full MHQ: The Quarterly Journal of Military History.

Massachusetts Historical Review. An annual publication of the Massachusetts Historical Society. You know, the Red Sox didn't let just the Bambino slip through their fingers to New York. In April 1945, they passed up Jackie Robinson, just as the Brooklyn Dodgers were preparing to sign him to their farm system. (See the article in MHR vol. 6. In 1959, the Red Sox became the last MLB team to integrate.)

Material History Review / Revue d'histoire de la culture matérielle. [The corresponding French acronym, RHCM, is less used even in the French text (la Revue is preferred).]

Maximum Heart Rate. The red line on your heart tachometer. You needn't worry that you'll exceed it by pushing too hard. It is the maximum possible rate, determined by how long it takes your heart to do what it needs to do to pump. In the course of a single cycle, for every part of the heart muscle, it is the time needed to tighten and to relax. As we age, the time to tighten stays about constant, but the time to relax, like an old sponge trying to expand back into shape, gets longer. To a decent approximation for a majority of people, MHR in beats per minute is 220 minus age in years.

Message Handling { System | Service }. The system is defined by X.400.

Miniature High Voltage. A kind of coax connector, must withstand pulses with peak voltages of 5000V. About the size of BNC's; they're even called ``high-voltage BNC'' from the resemblance, but they don't mate (this is definitely not a design flaw).

MHV's have ``exposed'' center pins, so if you're going to be mucking around nearby, you might just prefer Safe High Voltage (SHV) coax connectors. Both MHV and SHV are intended to operate up to 50 MHz, but they have non-constant impedance structure.

The expansion of coax connectors' acronyms is notoriously uncertain. MHV is sometimes expanded ``Maximum'' or ``Modular'' High Voltage.

Mean High Water Line.

MegaHertZ. (When spelled out, SI rules call for named units to be written in lower case. Hence: megahertz.) A million Hz.

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