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Direct-object marker in Japanese. Suffix on final word of the direct object, even if that already ends in o sound.

Offense. Abbreviation used in team sports. See extended discussion at D.

Spanish word meaning `or.' When included in a list of numbers, it gets an acute accent (ó) so as not to be confused with the numeral 0 for zero. E.g., 3 ó 4, equiv. tres o cuatro.

When you scan a Spanish document using OCR software that's expecting English, ó is sometimes interpreted as 6, but to the human eye, ó is usually more different from 6 than o is from 0 -- particularly in some of the older fonts that had short numbers.

In many countries of Europe and Latin America, it is standard to write 7 with a small dash through the slanted line. On the other hand, it is also common to write a 1 that looks like a lambda, with the initial upstroke almost as long as the downstroke. In the US, where 1 is usually a simple stroke, the extra dash through the 7 doesn't distintinguish anything except the foreign origin of the writer.

In the early days of automated address recognition, the USPS sponsored an OCR software competition. In an attempt to assure that it was the algorithms and not the training sets that were being compared, the developers were required to use a specified collection of training sets. The results of the competition were significantly affected by the fact that the training sets did not contain crossed sevens, and the test sets did.

A lot of people, like me, also cross their zees (or zeds) when hand printing. I have no idea why. An archaic cross on the ess led to confusion and orthographic change in French.

Oscar. Not an abbreviation here, just the FCC-recommended ``phonetic alphabet.'' I.e., a set of words chosen to represent alphabetic characters by their initials. You know, ``Alpha Bravo Charlie ... .'' The idea behind the choice is to have words that the listener will be able to guess at or reconstruct accurately even through noise (or narrow bandwidth, like a telephone). I can't think of any other words that start with the letter O; those FCC guys are pretty inventive.

Oxygen. A pretty important chemical element, if you like to breathe. Learn stuff you didn't already know at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

For a long time, the atomic mass unit was defined as 1/16 of the atomic weight of an O-16 atom. This has been superseded by the C-12 definition, under which the natural isotope distribution of oxygen yields an average mass of 15.9994 or so.

See a bit of cautionary history at the Priestley and Scheele entries.

Just ``O.'' Not ``oh.'' A particle introducing the vocative -- the case used in direct address, as in ``O Romeo.'' Example of correct use:
Associate: Did you find everything you were looking for?
Customer: Well, actually no. I couldn't find ``Brother Where Art Thou.''
A.: It's under O -- ``O Brother, Where Art Thou?''
C.: Oh.

Attempts to map the syntax of English onto the grammatical categories of Latin led to a number of peculiar nineteenth-century distortions. One was the idea that English infinitives could not be split, because Latin infinitives could not be split. Another was the identification of a conceptually fugitive vocative case, identified by this particle.

In most SAE languages, nominative and vocative cases are now indistinguishable. In Modern Greek, though, most men's names ending in sigma drop it in the vocative. Hence, a fellow whose name is Athos is addressed Gia sou, Atho! (`Hello, Athos!')

In Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Alice at one point slips and falls into a pool of tears she cried when she was nine feet tall (chapter two, ``The Pool of Tears''). She has shrunk from holding the White Rabbit's fan, dropping it just in time to avoid oblivion by reductio ad absurdum or something like that. Looking about desperately for help, she sees a relatively large animal...

"Would it be of any use, now," thought Alice, "to speak to this mouse? Everything is so out-of-the-way down here, that I should think very likely it can talk: at any rate there's no harm in trying." So she began: "O Mouse, do you know the way out of this pool? I am very tired of swimming about here, O Mouse!" (Alice thought this must be the right way of speaking to a mouse: she had never done such a thing before, but she remembered having seen in her brother's Latin Grammar, "A mouse--- of a mouse---to a mouse---a mouse---O mouse!")
[Glossarist's aside: that would be nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, and vocative; she forgot ablative.]
The Mouse looked at her rather inquisitively, and seemed to her to wink with one of its little eyes, but it said nothing.

"Perhaps it doesn't understand English," thought Alice; "I daresay it's a French mouse, come over with William the Conqueror." (For, with all her knowledge of history, Alice had no very clear notion how long ago anything had happened.)
[Glossarist's aside: the Norman invasion, and the Battle of Hastings, took place in 1066. It is one of the best remembered dates, if not the best remembered date, in English history. First the ablative, now this. Listen, smarty-pants, I've had just about enough of your carping. Alice is all of seven years and six months old and in a spot of trouble, so cut her some slack, already!]
So she began again: "Où est ma chatte?" which was the first sentence in her French lesson-book. The Mouse gave a sudden leap out of the water, and seemed to quiver all over with fright. "Oh, I beg your pardon!" cried Alice hastily, afraid that she had hurt the poor animal's feelings. "I quite forgot you didn't like cats."

There's a form of spongiform encephalopathy that afflicts mice (see prions entry). One of the symptoms is the loss of their instinctive fear of cat urine.

One of the hits in Jefferson Airplane's second album, ``Surrealistic Pillow'' (1967), is the song ``White Rabbit,'' which includes the line

Go ask Alice, when she's ten feet tall.
Grace Slick did the vocals. She originally sang that song for another San Francisco band called The Great Society. That band, formed in 1965, was a foursome with her husband Jerry Slick, his brother Darby, and David Miner. The band managed to release a single with ``(Don't you want) Somebody To Love'' on the A side and ``Free Advice'' on the B side. (A single was a vinyl disc with one song recorded and replayed on each side by an analog mechanical process, young feller. The B side was usually, um, well, it didn't matter if it got scratched, though there were exceptions. Today it is thought that MP3 technology and customer-customized selections will finally end the travesty of music packages containing wheat and chaff together. I can almost believe this will happen.)

Great Society recorded a studio album, produced by of all people Sly Stone before his more famous days as a soul singer, but it wasn't released commercially. Not then. In 1990 (about twenty-five years after the songs were recorded), ``Grace Slick/The Great Society'' was released by the never more aptly named Legacy Records.

Around the time Great Society's recording efforts were faltering, the original Jefferson Airplane album was disappointing as well. Vocalist Signe Toly Anderson became pregnant and (according to this interview) wanted to get her husband away and out of the drug scene, and Jefferson Airplane asked Grace to join them. The rest is history, as they say.

``The Great Society'' was the name of LBJ's activist-government vision. (See, for example, the Head Start entry. Back in those days, it was possible to believe that a little, or maybe more than a little, benevolent government intervention could make a great society. F. Hayek, in the preface to a later American edition of The Road to Serfdom, comments on the very different reaction to his book when it was first published in the US than when it was originally published in Britain (shortly after WWII). He judged that in Europe, the longer experience with activist government made readers, including his opponents, more receptive to the skepticism about socialism that his book represented. In contrast, the US had less of this experience, and the problems were not yet so apparent, so his opponents were more outraged by the suggestion that there would be problems. I'm not sure Hayek's analysis of this reception difference is correct, but there you are.

For more on war, the Anglo-American relationship, and Alice, see the LSJ entry. Nothing on mice, though. It adds a certain poignancy to the classical-language reference above.

oder ähnlich. German, `or similar.' Translate as vel sim.


Typical materials: TeO2 (Tellurium Oxide), PbMoO4, LiNbO3.

Orthogonal Array.

OsteoArthritis. The most common form of arthritis. You get old, your joint cartilage wears away, your bones rub together and you hurt. The most effective way to prevent it is to die young.

Overeaters Anonymous. A twelve-course program, I think it is.

Organización de Apoyo de Base. Literally, in Spanish, `Base Support Organization.' More idiomatically rendered as `Grassroots Support Organization' (GSO).

On Approved Credit.

Example of usage:

``With this exciting offer, you can purchase now and not make any payments for 200 years OAC!''
We'll give you these terms if you're a nephew of the boss or an impecunious third-world country.
Since the debts of some third-world nations will never be paid, banks prefer to lend to them on such a long-term basis that by the time the loans have to be declared nonperforming, the approving loan officer has collected all of his pension.
National government budget balancing works on similar principles.

Ontario Association for Community Living. ``Our goal is that all persons live in a state of dignity, share in all elements of living in the community, and have the opportunity to participate effectively.'' Well, that's very nice, but, like, what is this organization about? Ah, in small letters in the image: ``in support of people with an intellectual disability.''

L'AICO in French.

Office of Advanced Concepts and Technology.

OtoAcoustic Emission[s]. Noises made by the ear. Specifically, they're made by the cochlea. It seems the cilia like to dance even in the silence. Discovered by David Kemp in 1978. Very useful as a measure of cochlear health. Especially useful because it provides a quantitative mechanism for testing the hearing of neonates.

Official Airline Guide.

Constituents of the AGD.

Organization of American Historians. Founded 1907. A constituent society of the ACLS since 1971. ACLS has an overview.


Österreichisches Archäologisches Institut. `Austrian Archaeological Institute.'

Open Application Interface.

Open Archives Initiative. ``The Open Archives Initiative develops and promotes interoperability standards that aim to facilitate the efficient dissemination of content. [I think content here refers primarily to text, the content of books.] OAI has its roots in the open access and institutional repository movements. Continued support of this work remains a cornerstone of the Open Archives program. Over time, however, the work of OAI has expanded to promote broad access to digital resources for eScholarship, eLearning, and eScience.''

Or-And-Invert (gate). Implements product-of-sums computation of a logic function. Cf. AOI.

Office of Administrative Law.

Office of Aerospace Medicine. Part of the FAA. (Earlier the ``Office of Aviation Medicine.'')

Operations, Administration, [and] Maintenance.

Operations, Administration, Maintenance, [and] Provisioning.

Orbiting Astronomical Observatory.

Old Age Pensioner. Used loosely (in the UK) for any retiree, on the reasonable (in the UK) assumption that the person receives a pension.

Orbit-Average Power. Artificial Earth satellites on long missions have power consumption may be usefully characterized as varying on three time scales. On a very short time scale (minutes or less) power consumption varies as various devices perform specific actions, the same way your computer's power consumption spikes when it reads sequential media, say, or thrashes in a poorly programmed swamp of page swaps. On a very long time scale, power use changes as the mission changes or as the satellite reaches its end of life (when gas for stabilization runs out, say). The activities of many satellites also depend on what is below them, or more generally whether they are on the day or night side of the earth. (For satellites in low orbits, whether they are on the night or day side affects not just their Earth-related activities but the power available from solar panels.) Thus, if one wants a ``useful'' measure of power consumption -- i.e., a measure that is reasonably stable over all but the very longest time scales -- one often needs to average over one or a whole number of orbital periods. For some satellites, of course, that is not necessary, but then the corresponding power averages are still equal to the OAP's.

Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. Oh! Acronym Righteously felicitous! Part of the NOAA.

OptoAcoustic Spectroscopy.

Organization of American States.

(New York State) Office of Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Services.

Office of the (US) Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs).

Old Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance.

Online Access to Student Information and Services. Link is to the one at WCC in Washington State.

Online Access to Student Information Services. Link is to the one at WWU in Washington State.

Online Access to Student Information Systems. Link is to the one at UGA. If I find one in any Washington, you can be sure I'll switch the link.

Online Archival Search Information System. ``OASIS provides centralized access to a small but growing percentage of finding aids for archival and manuscript collections at Harvard. These finding aids are detailed descriptions of collections that contain a wide variety of materials, including letters, diaries, photographs, drawings, printed material, and objects. For each collection described in OASIS there is a summary description in HOLLIS.''

Office of Aeronautics and Space Technology. NASA acronym.

Optical Analyzer Technique. One such was proposed by McQueen et al. to determine material strength under shock compression.

Outside Air Temperature. Aviation acronym.

Disruptive passengers are an increasing problem. Before you become one, remember: It's cold out there!

Orbit and Attitude Tracking. [NASAnese.]

Organization of African Unity. Created in 1962. Hugely successful, as the prosperity, popular sovereignty, public health, and peace of Africa today demonstrate. In 1999, that visionary Libyan leader and best-selling author Moammar Gadhafi had a wonderful idea for the future of the OAU. ("Moammar Gadhafi" is a correct spelling. There are now over 50 spellings in the G-D-F correct spellings registry. This is one of them. This knowledge and a hefty bribe will keep you out of jail in Tripoli.)

Gadhafi's original idea was to change the name to ``African Union.'' Of course, it's not just a name change. More later, after the antiemetic.

Original Animation Video. Japanese equivalent of American made-for-video movie.

Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. `Austrian Academy of Sciences.'

German, Oberbürgermeister. `Lord Mayor.'

Obligatory .... Productive prefix. E.g.: In the newsgroup alt.quotations, postings that do not otherwise contain a quotation accompanied by an attribution (questions, for example) should be accompanied, as a matter of courtesy, by an `Obquote.'

Ob, OB

o. B.
German, ohne Befund. Literally `without result,' used in medicine to indicate that a test returned negative.

It's an Anglicized Irish name. The Obama you've heard most about was o'riginally named Barraugh O'Bamaugh. That's how he comes by his silver tongue and his blarney. (Since people have asked: the tan is natural, but the sun bleaches his red hair blond; he dyes it black so as not to have to deal with people's ugly prejudices about hair color.)

Disparaging plural for Obama enthusiasts. Latin lives! The singular form Obamus seems to be less common.

Österreichische Bundesbahnen. `Austrian Federal Railways.'

On-Board Controller. Aye-Aye, Captain, Sir!

A microprocessor or three.

Other Backward Classes. An acronym used in India, which has an extensive, constitutionally-mandated affirmative-action system with explicit quotas (``reservations'') of government jobs. The three categories of people eligible for benefits are the ``scheduled castes,'' ``scheduled tribes,'' and OBC.

Outside Back Cover.

Oregon Board of Chiropractic Examiners.

On-Board Diagnostic[s]. Originally used to maintain compliance with anti-pollution systems, eventually expanded to cover a broadening variety of systems. Since nowadays a car is a computer with gas-guzzling peripheral devices, OBD is really just one I/O component.

The earliest systems were proprietary, with different plugs and codes for different manufacturers or models. In 1988, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) set a standard connector plug and set of diagnostic test signals. The EPA adapted most of their standards from the SAE on-board diagnostic programs and recommendations. OBD-II (next entry) is an expanded set of standards and practices developed by SAE and adopted by the EPA and CARB (California Air Resources Board) for implementation by January 1, 1996.

Retronym for the original, basic OBD requirements.

On-Board Diagnostic (system) II. The current OBD standard (as of 2012, since 1996) required by law to be met by new cars and light trucks sold in the US.

Officer of the Order of the British Empire.

Outcomes-Based {Education | Evaluation}.

Out-of-Body Experience. The term usually excludes death.

Object-Based Equipment Model.

A somewhat object-oriented programming language designed in 1988 (It's also the name of an associated IDE.) Pascal (born ca. 1970) begat Modula (1977), and Modula begat Modula-2 (1978) and Modula-2 quickly begat Oberon, roughly speaking. Pascal was an offspring of Algol 60, conceived in reaction to, or revulsion from, Algol 68. You ought to have a look at Niklaus Wirth's article ``From modula to Oberon,'' vol. 18, iss. 7 of Software--Practice & Experience (July 1988), pp. 661-670, because I haven't. There's evidently more direct information in his article immediately following that (pp. 671-690): ``The programming language Oberon.''

Pascal was named after Blaise Pascal. Oberon was not named after Waugh. Instead, it was named after the moon of Uranus named Oberon. The Voyager 2 space probe was passing by Oberon at the time in 1986 that Wirth conceived his new project. (Modula was created for something called modular programming.)

For a smidgen of useful Oberon information, see its FOLDOC entry. As of this writing, Software--Practice & Experience is only online back to 1997 (that I have access to). The Wikipedia article on Oberon links to gzipped PostScript versions of the articles mentioned above, and some more. In fact there's an Oberon site, served by ETH, which is loaded with Oberon resources. Geometry.net has a good collection of links to documents on Oberon.

[Football icon]

The general-admission tickets for Notre Dame (ND) football games are called GA's. A home game against Rutgers was coming up. In the campus newspaper I saw the following sad classified advertisement:

(xxx) xxx-xxxx.

[Telephone number left out because, why should I provide free advertising?]

The throw-away line is that obese should be defined as excessively short for one's mass. Garfield the fat cat has described himself as not overweight but undertall. See also body weight entry for new ideas on how to lose weight; less interesting related entry: BMI.

OBstetrics and GYNecology.

A Japanese sash.

Optical-Beam-Induced. Productive acronym segment, as in OBIC and OBIRCH.

Optical-Beam-Induced Current.

Optical-Beam-Induced Resistance CHange.

OBITuary. As you get older you start recognizing more of the names.

Original Brand Manufacturer.

Or Best Offer. [Usage: ``The Andy Warhol Joke Book, mint condition, first edition; $5 O.B.O.'']

No wait -- I changed my mind: I'll take the second-best offer. Wouldn't want to appear greedy.

If you don't set a time limit on when you will stop accepting offers and select one, OBO only effectively means that you'll consider lower offers.

Common usage: ``or OBO.'' Don't believe me?

Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis.

Ore/Bulk/Oil. Ships whose holds can accommodate oil or ore. Cf. O/O.

Output Back-Off.

Open Burning/Open Detonation.

On-Base Percentage. Normally expressed as a decimal, like the batting average. If you regard the percent sign (%) as exactly equivalent (i.e., not just mathematically but in linguistical convention) to ``times 0.01,'' then it's all the same. However, calling it a percentage also leads to this error: a .001 difference is frequently described as a difference of ``one percentage point.'' If ``one thousandth'' is a tongue-twister, say ``one per-mil'' difference.

Spanish word meaning `work' in the senses that the English noun has only when it is countable. So ``a master work'' is ``una obra maestra,'' but ``I found a job'' or ``I found work'' is ``encontré un trabajo,'' and una obra cannot be substituted in the Spanish. For the etymology of obra, see opus.

The transitive verb obrar in Spanish has some of the same senses as the English word work (to work metal or miracles), but the transitive and especially the intransitive verb seem to have a broader range of acepciones. E.g. obrar el bien, `to do good'; obrar libremente, `to act [or operate] freely'; la carta obra en sus manos, `the letter is in his hands.'

Obrero translates almost perfectly to `worker,' as in a factory or a hive, (female form obrera). It's also used appositively: sindicato obrero is `labor union.'

Or Best Reasonable Offer. What people usually mean when they write or say OBO.

Optical-Burst Switching.

Something I don't know. Things that are not obscure but that you don't know are ``common knowledge.''

obscure allusions
I may have more to say under this head later, and I hope you'll ``get it,'' but for now I just want to park a quote here. It's from an essay by Edmund Wilson, following some material quoted in the vitamin entry, q.v. Wilson is criticizing Van Wyck Brooks's later work.
What is the value of all the as one might call it's scattered through the pages of Brooks? If it is Brooks who is calling it this or that, the interpolation is totally unnecessary; if, on the other hand, it is someone else, the author ought to tell us who. What is the explanation of the statement, in connection with Charles Eliot Norton, that ``his field was of imagination all compact''? If the sentence is Brooks's sentence, he ought not to load it down with this antique cliché; if the opinion is that of some previous critic, the cliché was not worth preserving. Who is it who exclaims of Francis Parkman, ``Eccovi, this child has been in hell''? Mr. Brooks pointing up his picture with a familiar literary allusion or some Bostonian1 addicted to Dante? ...

1. We have a footnote entry.

With apologies to Justice Potter Stewart: I might have difficulty defining obscurity, but I know it when I don't see it.

obstetrical we, obstetric we
Another name for the pregnant we (q.v.). None of these terms is at all common yet. We're just bringing them into being. So let's go with pregnant we, and use obstetric we as a euphemism for it.

Off-shore Banking Unit.

Oklahoma Baptist University.

The meaning of the word obvious is obvious, as you might expect. I mean, let's be real here: if you don't know the basic meaning of the word obvious, then your mastery of the English language is not such that you would be looking up its meaning in this advanced glossary. That is the vision that informs our project: you have come here for deeper insight, of course.

Leon Trotsky had a nonobvious insight into the nature of obviousness. It is recorded by Joseph Hansen in the introduction to the English version of My Life (discussed at the Faux-Pas-Bidet subentry):

     He [Trotsky] was excellent at dictation, pacing himself according to the speed of the stenographer, whose strokes, hooks and curves he occasionally paused to admire; but dictation offered only some relief since he proceeded by successive approximations, going over his manuscripts repeatedly. "Sometimes," he told me once, "the most obvious thought comes only after the last draft is finished." The "last draft" was then reworked.

The usual joke about what is obvious has a math professor interrupted in mid-lecture by a student asking for the explanation of some assumption. The professor pauses to consider in silence, and after scratching his beard for twenty minutes, says ``it's obvious.''

In another version of this story, the professor interrupts himself. For a further nontrivial insight, see the trivial entry.

One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about human beings was their habit of continually stating and repeating the obvious, as in It's a nice day, or You're very tall, or Oh dear you seem to have fallen down a thirty-foot well, are you alright? At first Ford had formed a theory to account for this strange behaviour. If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, he thought, their mouths probably seize up. After a few months' consideration and observation he abandoned this theory in favour of a new one. If they don't keep on exercising their lips, he thought, their brains start working. After a while he abandoned this one as well as being obstructively cynical and decided he quite liked human beings after all, but he always remained desperately worried about the terrible number of things they didn't know about.

Outer BanKS, North Carolina. You might say it's a tourist ATM for the state.

OBX is a chain of barrier islands along the Atlantic coast, screening the northeast quarter or so of the North Carolina coast. It includes Kitty Hawk, so basically it's hallowed ground.

[Football icon]

Offensive Coordinator. An assistant coach. This was not meant as a disparagement of Orange County.

OC, O.C.
Officer of the Order of Canada. The intermediate one of three levels of membership in the Order of Canada. Philological analysis and comparative linguistic study of the abbreviations of the other two levels (CM and CC (meatier link)) suggest that the O. in O.C. stands for Officer rather than Order.

OC, O/C, O.C.
Open Collector. An output stage consisting of a BJT with a disconnected collector. This output must be connected to the high-voltage rail through an external resistor. The value of resistance chosen affects the output impedance, thus controlling time delay and fan-out. Most commonly, however, open-collector outputs used to wire-AND a number of similar outputs.

Optical Carrier. Vide s.v. OC-1, OC-3,... infra.

Optical Coupler. For one sense of this word, see HR.

Oral Contraceptive. ``The Pill.'' Old version used to be mostly estrogen, alternating with a shorter sequence of placebo pills each month. Now estrogen/progesterone pills are used. A double dose of certain contraceptive pills, taken within a couple of days of intercourse, can function as an effective ``morning-after pill.'' It causes a hormone storm that either prevents implantation or causes miscarriage. Long before the RU486 controversy, rape victims were routinely given this treatment. OC is also used to regularize a woman's menstrual period as part of infertility therapies.

Disclaimer: none of this information is very recent, or based on direct personal experience. If you want reliable information, visit your local family planning clinic. Take a mace when you go.

Orange County. I'd seen it used by someone from Orange County, California. Then came the TV show.

OrganoChlorine. Chlorine in organic compounds.

OC, oc
Over-Clock. To operate at digital electronics higher than rated speed. A standard danger with overclocking CPU's is that they fry. Pentiums (pentia?) slow down if they heat up, so they're harder to fry (and harder to oc without adequate cooling).


Ontario Classical Association. See also the Classical Association of Canada (CAC). Better yet, don't.

Obligatory Classical Content.


Officer Candidate Class. I looked in all my C++ manuals, couldn't find a thing on Officer_Candidate::foobar. Oh, here's something: an unofficial Marine OCC program page served on AOL.


Ontario Classics Conference. Usually held in May.

Options Clearing Corporation. Based in Chicago.

Orange Coast College in California (CA).

Owens Community College in Ohio (OH).

occasional poetry
Not intermittent poetry, but poetry for a particular occasion. Poetry written to order. Crap.

Ohio Consultive Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences. ``Under construction'' for most of 1997. In 2001 I noticed that this entry here is kind of stale. We're still under construction.

occupational therapy
The Medicare glossary defines this as ``[s]ervices given to help you return to usual activities (such as bathing, preparing meals, housekeeping) after illness either on an inpatient or outpatient basis.''

This is correct to the extent of omitting any mention of occupation in the sense of paid employment. In fact, an interesting division of semantic field has occurred. Occupational therapy is essentially rehabilitation of the hands and arms, and physical therapy is rehabilitation of legs, feet, and back.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. See the latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual DSM for latest definition. See the next DSM for a different vision of truth.

What? You say can't pull yourself away from the terminal? Okay, look at this site. Also this item at OMIM.

My friend Lou, an administrator of mental-health services, explained to me recently that most of the soft mental-health syndromes (not schizophrenia or bipolar disorder or clinical depression or stuff like that, you understand) are simply pathologizations of behaviors that in other circumstances are regarded as virtues. The example I remember best is that OCD is just a pejorative way to say ``detail-oriented.''

So one may object to the term OCD as being an unfair pathologization of mildly atypical behavior. Another objection might be that the word disorder (expanding D) is almost precisely the least appropriate of terms, since the syndrome, or behavior, or complex, or disease (if you insist) is frequently characterized by an obsessive compulsion for order.

Off-Chip Driver. Since the late 1950's, device scaling has increased gate density and speed, and reduced power consumption per gate, mostly by shrinking device sizes and reducing currents. Voltages have also decreased, although this has been more gradual. Thus, the scales of currents and voltages of modern digital circuits is much smaller than the corresponding scales for off-chip applications. OCD's deal with this.


Oxford Classical Dictionary. The third edition represented an enormous improvement in nonclassicist-user-friendliness.

Organisation de Coopération et Développement Économiques. OECD in French. Why no diaeresis on the second o in cooperation? The mysteries of international finance.

Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.

OCEAN Information Center.

Obsessive Compulsive Foundation. I just had to put this entry in. And this one too!

Organizational Conflict of Interest / Non-Disclosure Agreements.

Oxford Centre for Late Antiquity.

`Late Antiquity', the period between approximately 250 and 750 CE, witnessed massive cultural and political changes: the emergence of the world's great monotheistic religions, rabbinic Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; the development, and eventual destruction, of the Sasanian empire, the last Persian empire of Antiquity; the Germanic conquest and settlement of the western Roman empire; the transformation of Byzantium into a militarised and christianised society. The world of 750 was radically different from the world of 250, and the legacy of the changes that had occurred is very much with us today -- from European states tracing their origins to Germanic invaders, to the cultural divide brought about by the rise of Islam.

Oxford University has over 60 senior scholars, and a very large number of graduate students, researching within the field of Late Antiquity, with specialisms that embrace all the disciplines, from Archaeology to Theology, and that cover the entire geographical spectrum of the late antique world, from Coptic Egypt and Sasanian Iran, to the Celtic North. Recently these scholars have been united in the Oxford Centre for Late Antiquity (OCLA), hosted by the Oxford History Faculty. The aim of OCLA is to foster dialogue between the scholarly disciplines, and between the many institutions of the world that study Late Antiquity.

Judging from the images on the homepage, they specialize in the study of people with big hair. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

Online Computer Library Center, a nonprofit computer library service and research organization. Their services include EJO and FirstSearch.

Oxidative Coupling of Methane. A fuel-cell technology.

On-Chip test and Maintenance System.

Outside the CONtinental United States (US). Military usage. There's also CONUS. You can probably guess its meaning.

Ontario Council of Teaching Hospitals.

One-Component Plasma.

Open-Circuit Potential.

Oral Contraceptive Pill. See OC.

Oxford Concordance Program.

The Orange County (California) Performing Arts Center.

Office of Civil Rights. Part of the US Department of Education.

Optical Character Recognition. When done by a machine that converts scanned intensities or densities into a text approximation.

Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations. A UK college entrance exam board. In 2002, this exam board was at the heart of a grade-fixing scandal. Chief executive at the time, Dr. Ron McLone. More at the QCA entry.

Onondaga County (NY) Resource Recovery Agency.

Old Church Slavonic. Not a whole lot different from Old Bulgarian.

Operator Communications Software.

Office of Commercial Space Transportation.

Octans. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Ontario College of Teachers. The French name is L'Ordre des enseignantes et des enseignants de l'Ontario. Gee, that looks quite a bit longer. I have an opinion about that, right here in the glossary.

Although I have seen the OCT acronym used elsewhere, the OCT's own website refers consistently to ``the College'' and ``l'Ordre.''

An Ontario teacher recently explained the organization for me in four words, and the word evil appeared twice in his definition. I got to wondering how a representative professional organization could generate such feelings, and I discovered that

``[m]embers of the College elect 17 of the 31 members [of its Council]. The remaining 14 members of Council are public representatives appointed by the provincial government. Council meetings are open to the public.''
The problem is obvious: the Council meetings should be closed to the public.

Optimized Compensation Transactions.


Oxford Classical Text[s].

octane number
The term octane number is based on the idea that a high content of eight-carbon alkane (i.e., octane) indicates a high grade of fuel. (``High grade'' here should be understood narrowly as a high degree of resistance to knock.) In the sixties, the US government wanted to require gas companies to list the octane number at the pump. The method originally proposed by regulators apparently gave unflattering measures of octane content, and the gas companies petitioned for a different measure. In a compromise, pumps were required to list or display a pump octane number (PON) that was a simple average of the numbers found by the two measures [PON = (RON+MON)/2], Motor Octane Number (MON) and Research Octane Number (RON).

Gas stations and pumps in Canada display the same number (PON) as in the US. In Europe the RON is typically shown. The RON value of a fuel is usually higher than the MON value by about 8-10 for gasoline, so the same fuel sold in Europe has a nominal octane rating higher by 4-5.

Perkin-Elmer offers to help you determine both.

I'm not sure which name it has, but the original method (probably RON) approved by the ASTM in 1934 defines octane number as the octane percentage by volume of a heptane-octane blend with anti-knock characteristics equivalent to the gasoline under test. The particular alkanes in the blend are specified to be n-heptane and iso-octane (2,2,4-trimethylpentane). Of course, different tests give different meanings to the word ``equivalent.'' The devil is in that detail. To complicate matters further, in 1956 the ASTM extended the scale to octane numbers above 100 by the use of iso-octane fortified with tetraethyl lead [the use of which has been illegal for decades now, with verified decreases in human lead (Pb) levels]. I think that RON and MON are currently defined by ASTM D 2699 and ASTM D 2700, resp.

At Dan and Ilana's wedding, another friend of Dan's told me he worked in gasoline testing, but he couldn't explain RON or MON. He just reads the numbers off the machine (that'd be the ASTM 2885 method). It turns out that both numbers are obtained by running a specified test engine with the fuel under test, but that for RON the engine is run at lower speed, resulting in a higher octane number.

When John Fogerty sang CCR's cover of ``Proud Mary,'' (for the album ``Bayou Country'') he didn't understand the original song lyrics and sang ``pumped a lot of pain down in New Orleans.'' When Ike and Tina Turner did their half-nicccce...an'easy, half-rough version, Tina restored the original lyric:

pumped a lotta 'tane down in New Orleans
(Don't listen for it in the single, it's abridged.)

Anyway, that's the story I heard on the radio. The only problem with that theory, as has been pointed out to me, is that John Fogerty wrote ``Proud Mary.'' Well then, he misheard the 'tane expression, used it in the song, but then Tina sang true to the colloquialism: a case of reverse mondegreen.

Don't like that? Okay, here's another theory: John Fogerty meant pain, because he was talking about pumping iron. You know -- ``No pain, no gain.''

Wait, wait! Here's a reasonable theory: he used the homophone 'pane, meaning propane. People really use this contraction (testimony here).

What does John Fogerty think about all these theories? The net has an answer. According to radio personality Ken Hoffman,

I've been having an ongoing debate with a friend about the words to Proud Mary. He thinks the lyrics go, "Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis, pumped a lot of `tane down in New Orleans." He says 'tane is short for octane, meaning the writer was pumping gas. One night I heard Jay Leno say the same thing.

Here's the correct lyric, straight from the writer John Fogerty:

"Sometimes I write words to songs because they sound cool to sing. Sometimes the listener doesn't understand what I'm singing because I'm dedicated to singing the vowel, having fun with the word sounds coming out of my mouth. `Cleaned a lot of plates in Memphis, pumped a lot of pain down in New Orleans,' is a good example. I think Tina Turner sang `tane' instead of `pain,' as in a contracted form of octane. But I knew what she meant," Fogerty said.

A likely story.

This entry is a bit rough right now, but it may be a while before I have a chance to come back and sand it down, and in the meantime it's holding up publication of the rest of the file. Sorry.

Quoting from Edward Frederic Obert's Internal Combustion Engine, (International Textbook Co., Scranton, Pa., 1968 3/e), p. 304:

The unknown octane rating of a test fuel is determined in the following manner: The engine [a standard one-cylinder model especially for testing] is operated with the test fuel, and the air-fuel ratio adjusted for maximum knock. The compression ratio is then varied until the knock intensity is standard (55 units). With the compression ratio locked at this setting, known blends of reference fuels are placed in the two auxiliary carburetor bowls. Each fuel is tested in turn, and the knockmeter readings are recorded. Eventually the original knockmeter reading (of 55) will be bracketed by two readings from two known reference fuels. One blend will have a higher octane number than the unknown sample, and the second blend will have a lower number (but the difference is restricted to about two octane numbers, since the knockmeter is nonlinear). Linear interpolation of the knockmeter readings for the three fuels is then made to find the octane rating of the sample of unknown fuel.

RON and MON are both measured with the same standard engine. The principal difference is that RON is measured with the test engine running at 600 RPM, and MON with the test engine running at 900 RPM. Also, the inlet temperature is 325K for RON and 422K for MON.

Octane ratings above 100 are obtained from comparisons with leaded isooctane.) I suppose linear extrapolation is stretched a bit to determine the octane numbers of n-octane (RON=-20, MON=-17).

    Rules of thumb regarding how octane numbers (RON and MON) vary with molecular structure:
  1. For unbranched, noncyclic alkanes (n-alkanes), octane number decreases with increasing chain length.
  2. Increasing the mass of an alkane by lengthening any of its existing chains (as opposed to replacing one of its hydrogens with a methyl group, say), also decreases octane number.
  3. For any fixed number of carbon atoms, increasing the number of side chains increases the octane number.
  4. Ring structures (cycloalkanes and aromatics) have higher octane numbers.
  5. Double bonds (alkenes) increase octane number.
Loosely speaking, one may say that the floppier the molecule, the lower the octane number. The highest-rated heptane is triptane, the structural isomer with the greatest possible number of branches. It's interesting that cycloheptane has unusually low octane ratings, breaking a pattern. Here are the RON's for cyclopentane through cyclooctane: 101, 83, 39, 71.

Eight bits. This term amounts to a machine-independent way of describing what is a byte on most machines. As such, it is useful in networking.

As it happens, eight bits is also a dollar.

[dive flag]

Diver slang for octopus -- the scuba gear, not the animal.

Office Channel Unit.

Oklahoma City University.

Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations. I got the feeling they didn't like Ontario Premier Mike Harris (1995-2002).

c-axis parallel to one edge.

Open Circuit Decay Voltage.

Onondaga County Water Authority. Notable for the similar (in some cases identical) pronunciation of the acronym and aqua (Latin for `water'). Onondaga County is in upstate New York. OCWA claims to be ``one of the largest public water suppliers in the U.S.,'' and bills itself as ``Central New York's Water Authority.'' (It actually serves a third of a million people -- doesn't seem like a lot to me -- in Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, and Oneida counties. That's the greater Syracuse area.)

Oven-Controlled Crystal Oscillator.

OC-1, OC-3, ...
Optical Carrier (OC signal rate at a multiple (1, 3, etc.) of 51.85 Mbps.


Oculus Dexter. Latin: `right eye.' Roman baseball players used to yell this as encouragement whenever the batter for their side let a pitch go through for a ball. Slightly more believable infotainment at the o.s. entry.

The abbreviation also stands for oculi dextri, because the Romans inflected noun phrases so you could tell an attributive noun even when the noun it modified was distant or entirely out of sight.

Spanish doesn't have a good translation for the English noun pet. (Patience -- it gets relevant!) The dictionaries give animal favorito, and I just encountered animal de compañia (`companion animal') in an email from Spain. A teacher's pet is not, however, ``un animal favorito del profesor'' or ``animal que le hace compañia a la profesora'' or anything like that. It's ``ojo derecho del profesor,'' which literally means `teacher's right [as opposed to left] eye.' In general, ``el ojo derecho'' of someone (also in the diminutive form, expressing affection: ``el ojito derecho'') is someone's `pet' in the metaphorical sense of a (usually subordinate or inferior) favorite. Don't think this is silly until you've considered the expression ``apple of my eye.'' Needless to say, the gender of the metaphor is determined by the metaphor's ``vehicle'' -- the eye, which is male. Hence, the forms given above apply whether the person referred to is male or female. The word oja (diminutive form ojita) means `leaf' (also `sheet [of paper]' and `[razor] blade'). For what it's worth, ojalá means something like `let's hope so.'

Old Dutch. A deceased member of the Indo-European Family. So go ahead and use it as a cool-sounding nickname -- confusion with the language name is unlikely to arise.

``Dutch'' was a common nickname in the US well into the twentieth century. It was typically applied to anyone of German descent. The practice is dated, disused,and largely forgotten, so I suppose anyone still called ``Dutch'' might well be called ``Old Dutch.''

Olive Drab (military abbreviation for the color that was for a long time the standard camouflage shade of American soldiers and arms. In the 1970's, the (West) German Military developed a pattern of green, brown and black (``NATO Green'') that is now used by the U.S. military.

Optical Density.

Organizational Development. I have no idea what that is, but I once chatted with someone who teaches it. I think the reason I avoided asking for an explanation was to prevent either of us from sounding stupid.


OD, O.D., o.d.
Outer Diameter.

Anaximander had a theory that the Earth was shaped like a cylinder, with height three times the diameter. The rest of the entry was written under the assumption that people live on the sides of the cylinder. This is pretty stupid, because (a) even the Greeks eventually realized that the Earth is round, and (b) if people lived on the sides, they'd slide down. In Anaximander's model, people live on the flat top surface of the Earth, but I can't be bothered to rewrite the rest of this entry. Here's how it stood before I discovered my stupid error.

You're bound to wonder about the North Star: is it a disc, or how does one see it if one isn't at the top of the cylinder? It's not such a problem: the 3-by-1 dimensions were standard for column drums, so I guess he had in mind something like a cylinder tapered towards the top, like a column. After all, he obviously couldn't have thought it was perfectly smooth either (could he?). I know, I know: now you want to know about the night sky: how is it possible that such a large region of the sky around the North Star could have been visible (in Winter) at times half a day apart? Look, Anaximander lived in the sixth century BCE -- this wasn't half bad for the time. I'm so glad that you've had an opportunity to ask all your questions.

In Anaximander's theory, the Sun was set in a wheel with dimensions 27 and 28. It's not entirely clear what those numbers meant: Anaximander's book or books are lost, and we have these numbers from third parties. That's as bad as getting your news from the MSM, but before the Internet there were no real alternatives. In chapter 4 of his Anaximander and the Architects: The Contributions of Egyptian and Greek Architectural Technologies on the Origins of Greek Philosophy (Albany: SUNY Press, 2001), Robert Hahn argues that these are radius rather than (as usually assumed) diameter dimensions, so Anaximander's Sun wheel has an o.d. of 56 Earth diameters and i.d. of 54.

Sources pass along a ``19'' for the Moon wheel, so at least he guessed it was closer. It's usually assumed that this 19 corresponds to the Sun's 28, so if you suppose that these are diameters, the Moon wheel has an i.d. of 36 Earth diameters. The stars are set in a cylinder inside the Moon wheel. (You weren't going to ask why we don't see stars against the dark side of the Moon were you? Good, because the answer is obvious: the reflected light of the Earth makes the dark crescent of the Moon so bright that it outshines the stars, just as the daytime atmosphere does. See, everything is easy if you have faith.) The standard conjecture is that the cylinder of stars, and the wheels carrying the Moon and Sun, formed a nice arithmetic progression; according to Hahn's view, that gives the star cylinder an o.d. and i.d. of 19 and 18, respectively.


Oxford Dictionary. Productive prefix for acronyms of book titles published by Oxford University Press, as in ODE. Come to think of it, the ones I refer to most often used an infix modifier initial: OCD, OED, and OLD.

Office Document Architecture. Also, because it is specified by OSI, sometimes expanded Open Document Architecture. Standard for electronic document transmission.

Official Development Assistance.

A Turkish word meaning room or chamber, and once used with the specialized sense of Janissary barracks, probably from the Old Turkish od, meaning fire. With the suffix -lik expressing function, it formed the word odalik, meaning a concubine in a harem or a female slave in general. (When you think about how slavery works, you realize there's not much difference in principle between these job descriptions.) The word was borrowed into French as odalique and (the form that became standard in French and English) odalisque.

Open Database Application Programming Interface from Borland.

Open DataBase Connectivity. (Refers to industry-standard framework.)

American Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors. Founded in 1940. ``Oilwell'' was always one word in the organization name. I'm not sure when ``American Association of'' became part of the name (I think it always was part of the name), but in 1959 the AA appeared in the initialism of the association's new (and second) official logo (the logos are illustrated on this page). In 1972, the name changed to International Association of Drilling Contractors (IADC).

According to a presentation at the 1941 ODC Annual Meeting, more than 2,000 drilling contractors were operating in the US. There were about 4,000 rotary and 2,800 cable rigs available, and contractors owned about three-quarters of them. There's been tremendous consolidation, with far fewer independent contractors today.

Wells have also been getting progressively deeper. In 1859, in the face of some ridicule, Col. Edwin Drake drilled for oil near Titusville, Pennsylvania, and hit it at a depth of 59 feet, 8 inches. That was the first commercial oil well in the world, producing 35 barrels a day. (Pennsylvania was the first major oil-producing state. That's why a major brand of motor oil is called Quaker State.) Most early wells were shallower than 400 feet. The average well depth was about 3000 feet by 1941 and, according to the IPAA, 5572 feet in 2001. But average doesn't tell the whole story -- many modern wells are deeper than 25,000 feet. (You want metric units? Very well, a foot equals exactly 30.48 cm. ``Do the math,'' as they say.)

Generally speaking, increasing depth has meant a shift in basic drilling technology. Col. Drake used a cable rig: basically, this was an iron bit at the end of a cable. The bit functions as a ram: it is repeatedly raised by the cable and dropped. Drake's cable was pulled by a steam engine, and over time that was replaced by different motors. In principle, cable rigs can reach great depths -- a record of 11,145 feet was set by New York drillers in 1953 -- but efficiency decreases with depth. The alternative, and by far the most common kind of rig today, is the rotary rig.

The 1901 discovery of ``Spindletop'' oil field, on a salt dome near Beaumont, Texas, was taken as proof of the value of rotary drilling rigs, and popularized the use of drilling mud. As the numbers from the 1941 ODC meeting show, the gradual supplanting of cable rigs by rotary rigs was well along by 1940. Rotary rigs are basically drills: a long cylindrical tube (gradually lowered through the derrick and periodically extended by the addition of sections) transmits torque to a bit at the end. The bit can be a pretty ornery-looking device, decorated with toothed gears. The tube or ``drill string'' also serves to carry drilling mud down to the bit. The drilling mud (a mix of clay, water, and chemical additives) cools and lubricates the bit, and is recirculated by being forced up the borehole on the outside of the drill string. As it rises, it carries up rock cuttings. The cuttings are sieved out and the mud recirculated. (Sometimes the opposite circulation direction is used.) Rotary rigs have better hole-cleaning properties than cable rigs, and can transmit greater power to the bit.

Organización Demócrata Cristiana de América. `Christian Democrat Organization of America.' Based in Caracas, Venezuela. Oh, great.

Oppositional Developmental Disorder.

[Football icon]

odd front
In football, an odd front is a defensive formation with a defender over center (i.e., one in front of the offensive lineman who hikes the ball). An even front is a defensive formation in which no one lines up directly over center.

In basketball, most defenses are some variation of either man-to-man or zone (there are also ``junk defenses''). The zones are normally two, three, or four areas of the court surrounding the defended basket, and the zones deform a bit as the ball moves around. In an odd-front zone [defense], the outermost zone has one defender or three. In an even-front zone, the outermost zone has two (or four, who knows?) defenders. I wouldn't know a basketball from a large grapefruit, but according to the Internet, most teams attack an odd front zone with an even number front.

``Be My Baby,'' by Ronnie Spector, was a hit for the Ronnettes (oh-- is that where the name came from?). It included the lyric, ``For every kiss you give me / I'll give you three.'' I always found that theoretically challenging. Let's experiment!

Ordinary Differential Equation. The `ordinary' refers to the fact that there is only one independent variable. If there are two or more, it's a PDE.

Oxford Dictionary of the English Language.

Oilseeds Development Fund. A pot of money from Australian oilseed companies to fund initiatives of the Australian Oilseed Foundation (AOF).

Optical Distribution Frame[s].

Optoelectronic Data Filter.

Orientation Distribution Function.

Online Dictionary German-English. See the German entry for others.

One-Day International. A/k/a limited-overs internationals. A competition run by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The term ODI is used both attributively, for the form of cricket, and as a noun for the individual game or event played by ODI rules.

Open Data-link Interface.

Operational Display and Input Development. ODID III, ODID IV, ... represent studies of Human-Computer Interfaces (HCI) for air-traffic control (ATC), developed by the EEC, as well as software based on that research. ( E.g., these.)

Office Document Interchange Format in ODA (q.v.).

Object {Definition|Description|Design} Language. ODL (or an ODL) is used to declare a schema which defines the valid application types in an ODMG. Cf. OQL.

Open and Distance Learning.

Here's a project in History ODL. Here's a tendentiously acronymed ODL project from Finland. The Institute of [for] Educational Technology at an Open University in the UK is big on this stuff. Also visit the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA).

Object Database Manager.

Object Database Management Group.

Optically-Detected Magnetic Resonance.

Ohio Department Of Development. Cf. WTN.

O'Donnell, Chris
You don't think it's demeaning enough to play yes-boy, perpetually impressed side-kick to a man in purple tights? Then read how the actor who plays Robin was doubly humiliated by a girl who has non-singing parts in MTV videos. [Update: he ended up marrying his reported college sweetheart, a person outside the business. The Aerosmith girl became Batgirl in the sequel.]

Why do these things happen to a guy with such a good chin and never a bad hair day? The answer was revealed in a special four-cleavages-on-the-cover issue of the weekly newsmagazine People. Chris O'Donnell, the prep school boy, is named one of the ten best dressed of 1995, along with Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey, Cindy Crawford, Serena Linley, Marcia Clark (``best-dressed on a budget''), Jodie Foster and Elizabeth Hurley. Professional transvestite RuPaul gushes ``[h]e's so adorable.'' ``His mother must be very proud,'' Linda Dano declares. Cruel praise. One member of the best-dressed advisory panel costumed him for Batman Forever, but appears not to have recused himself from the decision, despite the evident motive for mischief.

Clearly, we have no Mickey Rourke here. And as Mickey Rourke once told an interviewer for Smart magazine:

``Every once in a while you've gotta roll the potato.''
No one knows what this means. (Dice.) However, Dorothy Parker once observed that
``You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.''

Food for thought, probably.

A casting atrocity: O'Donnell as Hemingway!

[The purple-tights image link is to a locally mirrored copy of <http://wuarchive.wustl.edu/multimedia/images/gif/b/batman-a.gif>.]

Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Part of the DHHS.

Optical Double Resonance.

Optically-Detected Resonance.

Office of Disability Services at UB.


Ozone-Depleting Substances.

Old Dominion University. In Norfolk, Virginia.

Optical Detector Unit.

Vorsicht: O-umlaut is alphabetized like O; the umlaut is ignored.

A FarOEan wind. Hey, it's in the Official Scrabble Players' Dictionary, that's good enough for me.

Old English. Precursor of Middle English.


Original Equipment. Term probably used most by motor-vehicle repair industry.

Outlook Express, Outhouse Excess. Two names, one official. A mail user agent (MUA, which see, please) from Microsoft. Outlook Express has been described as the ``(much better) free stepchild'' of Outlook. People who like it like the fact that it is a ``user-friendly and well-integrated client'' for users who are not themslves very well integrated. Also abbreviated OLE.

oe, Oe
This is a conventional way of writing the German letter ö (umlaut o in German) when the font or type or display hardware or whatever does not offer a mechanism to write the o with a dieresis on top.

The two-letter form is also used for traditional reasons in the spelling of some names. For example, the surname of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe is never spelled Göthe, except perhaps in jest or profound ignorance, though there are individuals who spell their own surname that way. Similarly, the common surname Schröder is written Schroeder when necessary, and most German immigrants to the US with that name seem to have adopted the oe spelling. In addition, however, there are Germans in Germany who regularly spell their surname Schroeder, and their numbers perhaps ammount to as much as 5% of the Schröder population.

Not entirely relevant, but worth knowing, is that in Goethe's own pronunciation, the oe sounded little like the ö/oe of standard modern German. It's not due to the two centuries of language evolution so much as to the fact that he used his own local dialect.

The association of oe with ö is apparently not arbitrary. My mother was taught in school in Germany, some time ago, that originally only oe was used, and that the ö is an abbreviated representation of this: the dieresis over the o represents the two vertical slashes made in writing an e (in the traditional Gothic script).

There are compound words in which oe represents two vowels. The typical example is a compound like soeben [so + eben].

The oe is also used to represent the ø. I don't know whether the ø replaced or arose as another short form of oe. It's also possible that ø is associated with oe indirectly through ö. See the Oerberg entry for why that might be.

One last thing: if you can't make an ö, it's a favor to no one if you write o with a double quote in any form or position. It's painful ugly. Please, just use the oe and have done.

(Georgia State) Office of the Education Accountability.

(Australian government) Office of the Employment Advocate. Sort of an antipodean OSHA. Not that I care, but I'm on a desultory mission to collect OEA expansions.

Oklahoma Education Association. Affiliated with the NEA.

Omaha Education Association. Affiliated with the NEA.

Oregon Education Association. Affiliated with the NEA.

You know, I should group these last three entries together, using {Oklahoma | Omaha | Oregon} in the definition. But if I did that, my leisure-time work product would decrease by two units, and my nominal relaxation efficiency would decrease even as I increased hobby effort. But I need a better excuse than that. A better excuse is that there are probably other OEA's with expansions beginning in OL or ON that aren't education associations, and we should be prepared.

Ontario {Energy | Expropriation} Association.

You're probably wondering why these organizations don't have an entry between the Omaha and Oregon Education Associations (OEA and OEA, respectively). The reason is, if I did that, the comment in the OEA entry above wouldn't make any sense.

The Ontario Expropriation Association ``is a non-profit, voluntary association of professionals having an interest in the field of expropriation law and practice.'' Emphasis on the word voluntary, I guess. ``Membership in the OEA includes lawyers, appraisers, planners, accountants, and others from both the private and public sectors. The association also includes members of the Ontario Municipal Board, and the Judiciary.''

As for the Energy Association, they are ``where energy idea and actions converge.'' The idea I get from their homepage image is that they want to extract energy from lightning to make lighting.

Organización de Estados Americanos. Organisation des états américains. Organização dos Estados Americanos. Spanish, French, and Portuguese names of the OAS.



Open E-Book standard. The coding structure that underlies most ebooks. Developed jointly by the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and Andersen Consulting Group Project.

Output Edge Control.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Established in 1961 with headquarters in Paris, the capital of France (a country in Europe) where it is l'OCDE. (We thought you'd want to know.)

Twenty-nine members currently: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece (this country needs a better name -- something dignified to go with its great history, not a homophone of grease), Hungary, Iceland (cool!), Ireland (calm down!), Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico (Mexico?), Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States.

Optics of Excitons in Confined Systems. An international conference series; the fifth was held in Germany in 1997. Eleventh: September 7-11, 2009 in Madrid, Spain.

Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. Just a fat-finger away from OECD. So close, yet so far.

Oxford English Dictionary.

Oxidation-Enhanced Diffusion. Hey, it could go either way: there's also ORD.

Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form. Not particularly related to the OED or OED2, but they have many words in common.

Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd edition (1989).

Overall Equipment Effectiveness.

Opto-Electronic Integrated Circuit[s]. Integrated circuits with both electronic and optical signal-passing components. Here're a couple of pictures from Hughes Electronics.

Original Equipment Manufacturer.

OptoElectronic (OE) Modulator.

Office of Economic Opportunity. The joint chiefs of staff for the War on Poverty, back when that war was fought with a hope of victory, rather than as a holding action, during the Johnson administration.

Old Executive Office Building. Part of the White House complex. I'm not sure how I mean the word `complex.'

Old English Online Editions. Four vowels without the relief of a consonant? Is that allowed? How many syllables are in there?

The (OE)2 is a project of the MI at WMU. As of July 2002, the plural ``Editions'' is still prospective.

Office of Economic Policy.

When Latin teachers (I mean teachers of Latin, okay?) (don't get smart with me) refer to ``Oerberg,'' they are usually referring to H.H. Ørberg's Lingua Latina books, which we talk around at this LL entry.

A common practice in Germanic languages is to print or type oe for ö or ø when either of the latter is not available. (For a bit more on that, see the this oe entry.) When the relevant extension of the Roman alphabet is available, and in handwriting, the use of the two-letter equivalent is generally regarded as incorrect; the principal exceptions are surnames. Many people prefer to have their names written in a traditional form. (A similar thing occurs in Japanese, and it is the main source of the demand for printable kanji characters eliminated from standard use by the government.) Anyway, although the earliest editions of the Lingua Latina books used in the US bore his surname in the form Oerberg, later editions give the name as Ørberg, so that presumably is the form he prefers. Since the books make a strong effort to avoid showing any language other than Latin, I'm surprised I haven't seen a more Latinized version of his name anywhere (though writing oe for ø is a start).

German and Swedish use ö (called ``umlaut o'' in German and called by its pronunciation in Swedish) but not ø. Danish and Norwegian use ø but not ö. When Danish or Norwegian words written with an ø have close cognates in Swedish (and they often do) the cognates are written with ö. The converse (ö in Swedish typically mapping to ø in Danish and Norwegian cognates) is also true. Consequently, the two graphemes are often regarded as functionally equivalent (we won't talk about pronunciation), and one is sometimes substituted for the other when that is all that is available. At least, in English texts, one often finds ö substituted for ø. For example, in a typescript Introduction to Lingua Latina (it's mentioned toward the end of that LL entry), the author's surname is written Örberg.

Office of Educational Research and Improvement. Within the US Department of Education, so you're assured it will be intelligently run.

Old English Sheepdog. I didn't make it up; you can see it in the Dog Fanciers' Acronym List.

Optical Emission Spectroscopy. Equivalently, Atomic same.

Here's some instructional material from Virginia Tech.

Occupied Enemy Territory Administration. British government of Palestine between its conquest from the Ottoman empire in 1917 and the implementation of civilian government following the San Remo conference in 1920.

oeuvres de vulgarisation
French. There is no adequate translation into English, apparently.

German, Osteuropäische Zeit. `East European Time (zone).'

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