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Old Norse.

Postal abbreviation for the Canadian (.ca) province of Ontario. Capital: Toronto. (Ottawa, the national capital, is also in Ontario.)

Ontario is Canada's most populous province, with an estimated 12.28 million people in October 2003, or 38.7% of the population. Quebec is second.

A Japanese word meaning `debt, gratitude.' In appropriate context, it is sometimes used for on yomi.

Organización Nacional de Ciegos de España. `National Organization of the Blind of Spain.'

Their ``about'' text begins ``En la ONCE siempre hemos sido un grupo de personas muy transparente,'' which means `at ONCE we have always been a very transparent group of people.' This explains immediatamente why I had so much trouble seeing them, though detecting what is transparent is perhaps less of an incremental handicap for the very blind.

Anyway, the at-ONCE collocation doesn't correspond to a pun in Spanish. ONCE, read as the ordinary word meaning `eleven,' requires plural agreement, making puns on the singular acronym troublesome to construct. ``At eleven PM,'' for example, is ``a las once de la tarde.''

once, las
Las once, Spanish for `eleven o'clock.' Yeah, this entry might be superfluous, but I can afford the bandwidth.

onces, las
Las onces, Spanish for `(the) elevens' (though I really want to write `the elevenses') is a repast traditionally taken at 5PM, at the end of the siesta, which follows the traditional heavy midday meal. The ``eleven'' was originally a euphemism for aguardiente, which has eleven letters. Aguardiente is `rum' (also Sp. ron, Ger. Schnapps, Fr. eau de vie -- pronounced eau d'vie). The word aguardiente is a contraction of agua (`water,' see AWWA) and ardiente (`burning,' a cognate of Eng. ardent).

The technical destinction seems to be that while aguardiente originally meant rum, it now refers to any distilled liquor, while ron still refers exclusively to distilled liquor made from sugar cane.

White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

(Netscape) Open Network Environment.

This one?

one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer
This is the refrain of a song written by John Lee Hooker, and if it isn't also the title then the title is ``The House-man Blues.'' I don't know right now. Willya lemme slide? I'll have the answer for you in a month, next, I dunno. The song was popularized, at least for my generation, by George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers. (I dunno if they're s'posed t'be the destroyers from Delaware or of Delaware. Might be both.)

Anyway, it was never very clear to me what the beer was for, since the purpose was to get drunk. (Mixing different kinds of alcoholic drinks is also reputed to cause worse hangovers, but I can't say I've performed properly controlled studies of the phenomenon.) Then (April 17, 2008) I read the following (a column by Daniel Henninger, in the WSJ, entitled ``Hillary and Obama in Small Town [sic]''), which I think may explain it.

So it came to pass last Saturday night, in what is surely the most preposterous photo-op in campaign history [what, not tank-bobblehead Dukakis?], Hillary Rodham Clinton of Wellesley and Yale was pounding down Crown Royal whisky from a shot glass at Bronko's bar in Indiana. A friend emailed that if she really wanted to win Pennsylvania, she would have drunk some of the draft beer in her left hand, dropped the shot glass into the mug and slammed that back. But hey, her heart was in the right place.

Japanese: `big sister.' Cf. oniisan.

One man's...
meat is another man's poison. A proverb.

``One man's Mede in another man's Persian.'' A play on this proverb, alluding to the sloppy conflation of the two peoples by Herodotus.

Goes with ONE BED. ONE way or another, depending on hyphenation.

British, `one-time thing.' Cf. one-shot, nonce.

To get some idea of the floruit of this term, I did searches of all years (to 2006) in the LION database (350,000 works of English and American poetry, drama, and prose, and 175 full-text literature journals). Five poems turned up -- one in each of the years 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996 (posthumous), and 1997 -- that had ``the one?off'' (first three instances) or ``a one?off'' (last two), with ``?'' normally a hyphen, though a space or other punctuation would yield a hit. They were all by authors in Britain or some kind of British orbit. (In chronological order they were: Seamus Heaney, Irish; Iain Bamforth, say Scottish; Kamau Brathwaite, let's say Indonesian, since that might piss him off, although he was born in Barbados and slowly discovered his African spiritual roots, because he used a virgule instead of a hyphen, and anyway poets deserve no mercy, in fact, let's make Seamus Heaney an Englishman; Donald Davie, English; Edwin Morgan, Scottish.) There were no hits in the drama or prose categories. (There were various false positives like ``will cast such a one off'' in prose literature of the 16th and 17th cc.)

One of my two favorite ...
Diplomatic declension of ``my favorite.''

One of the only ...
Which one of the only?

An American expression that may correspond to the British term one-off, but which is not as fashionable in ordinary speech, whatever ordinary is. (I mean colloquial.) The meaning of one-shot seems to be a natural development of the phrase ``one shot'' with shot understood in the now common, originally metaphorical sense of attempt. I did some LION searches for one-shot like those described at the one-off entry, and found only one relevant instance, though it was clear from context that it meant one successful try. It was in poetry, of course, published in 1991 by Cornelius Eady. (Eady is currently -- 2006 -- a professor in the University of Notre Dame English Department).

I thought to add this entry only because I had happened across another instance in a July 15, 1948, letter from the American novelist John O'Hara (to James Thurber; see the Selected Letters of the latter, p. 95). O'Hara wrote: ``Fletcher Markle has been trying to get the radio rights for a one-shot of [O'Hara's novel Appointment in] Samarra.'' (He priced it much dearer than the show could afford, because they had made a botch of his novel Pal Joey a year or two previously.)

And then, of course, there's the circuit...

An electric circuit that outputs a single pulse signal in response to some trigger. The output signal is intended not to depend on the form of the triggering signal, but simply be output reproducibly a fixed time after the trigger condition is met (the toggle of a switch, an input voltage crossing a threshold with positive slope, that sort of thing). It's very useful for experimental apparatus, allowing one to focus data capture on those times when is data to be captured.

One size fits all
We don't have your size.

One Way
The tree-lined road that runs parallel to Two Way, or that's named for our illustrious Mr. One.

one week
The difference between a bad haircut and a good haircut. Cf. 8 days.

Organización No-Gobernamental. Spanish, `Non-governmental organization' (NGO). Hongo (the aitch is silent) means `fungus' and `mushroom.'

Japanese: `big brother.' Cf. oneesan.

online dating
Professional good ol' boy Joe Bob Briggs once (in the 1980's, I imagine) made this prediction:
The nineties are gonna be the decade when the woman starts nagging you before you even meet.

Pre-tax price is.

Oxide-Nitride-Oxide. Alternating layers of silicon oxide and silicon nitride, useful in microelectronic device fabrication because the different dielectrics are etched by different chemicals, allowing for clever masking tricks.

Ono, Yoko
Artist, and widow of John Lennon.

Octane Number Requirement. The minimum octane number that will allow engine operation without knocking.

Office of Naval Research. The OXR that inspired the term OXR.

(UK) Office for National Statistics.

on second thoughts
A phrase used in New Zealand to mean ``on second thought.''

on spec
ON SPECification. I.e., meeting specified design criteria. A common expression in engineering, although an even more common expression in engineering is not on spec.

on spec
ON SPECulation. A standard phrase in publishing, especially in magazine publishing. Say you have an unsolicited book or article proposal, or a manuscript, to submit to a publisher. If you send it in directly, ``over the transom,'' it goes in a slush pile, to be read by a lowly junior assistant editor. [No one is under any obligation to read past a loss of interest, of course. ``To read'' in this context means to begin to read, and possibly to spurn after paragraph one.] In order to avoid this anonymous fate, you write an author query to an editor that your mother's friend's sister knows, or who belongs to another chapter of your frat, or else your agent has lunch with his contact. If there is interest, your work is accepted ``on spec,'' which just means that the editor will read it (in the sense defined previously), no promises.

The Original New Testament. You'll have to read about it at the ANT entry; I feel bad now about how I'm wasting my time, so I'm not going to repeat my comments.

Organisation des Nations Unies. French name for the `United Nations.' Since the name ``United Nations'' was coined by US President FDR, it's fair to call this a translation.

Strictly and generally speaking, ONU is not the translation of ``Oh noooo!'' At least, it wasn't.

Organización de las Naciones Unidas. Spanish name for `United Nations.' Incidentally, the League of Nations was called ``La Sociedad de Naciones'' for no strong reason obvious to me. Spanish does have a perfectly serviceable cognate of league -- liga. The Hanseatic League, for example, is (or anyway was, and now is called) Liga hanseática.

The Security Council is called Consejo de Seguridad, and I suppose the General Assembly is Asemblea General, but I don't recall.

The six official languages of the UN are English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic (since 1974), and Chinese, in order of decreasing likelihood of the corresponding initialisms being included in this glossary.

Optical Network Unit.

onus probandi
Latin: `burden of proof.'

Nail-biting. Literally `nail-eating,' of course.

on yomi
Japanese for `loan reading.' (Cf. on.) That is, for a reading of kanji according to the original Chinese (subject, of course, to the vagaries of many centuries' parallel evolution in Japan and China). In English discussion of Japanese, the half-translation ``on reading'' is common.

Well, if you don't have an infinity sign (oo) in your character set, oo may have to do. A Stammtisch FDT.

FAQ: Is infinity odd or even?
Short answer: Infinity is not an integer, and does not obey the same mathematical rules as integers. For example, any finite number added to infinity yields infinity. In particular,
oo + 1 = oo .
It is therefore evident that the notion of ``odd or even'' could not be extended to infinity in any very natural or useful manner.

Long answer: Hmmm, hard to say. Some days it is and some days it isn't. It depends on the weather.


J. Wallis introduced the symbol in De sectionibus conicis [`Of conic sections'], Oxford 1655.

Object-Oriented. This compound adjective occurs as part of other expressions, the most common being object-oriented programming, objected-oriented design, and object-oriented analysis and design, in order of increasing pretentiousness. Not too surprisingly, ``object-orientated'' appears to be considerably less common than ``object-oriented'' even in the UK.

Ore/Oil. Ships with separate cargo hold(s) for ore, as well as tanks for oil. Cf. OBO.

SkyWest Airlines. If you wait too many decades to start your airline, all the sensible two-letter designations are taken.

Object-Oriented Analysis and Design. If it's a big project, maybe you want to use something like RUP.

Whenever I see this initialism (which is not often, but is too often), it reminds me of TomJoad. In Grapes of Wrath++, he executes destructor calls on a couple of Person instantiations, and declares a static method for ooppressed Ookies.

Out-Of-Body. An OOB experience is a footless walk on the wild side. Don't forget to come back.

Officer On Duty.

Object-Oriented Design. Looks ODD to me. In my circles, to use an expression like OOD would be pretentious and unserious, so I've never heard it and don't know whether it rhymes with wood or food.

Object-Oriented DataBase. Reminds me of Clarence Oddbody, Angel Second Class.

Object-Oriented DataBase Management System.

Object-Oriented DataBase System. Considering the record structure already built into any DB, object-orientation is not a steep hill to climb. It's a wrap...per.

Other Official (fund) Flows.

Out Of Frame. How evocative.

Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. You'll understand now when an Ethiopian trucker roars past, singing ``Roodoomès! Roodoomès! Roodoomès! Roodoomès!''

On-Off Keying.

Object-Oriented Literate Programming.

Order[s] Of Magnitude.

A race of knee-high aliens. (No, their legal status isn't specified. What are you, some kind of trouble-maker? I didn't say they were illegals, now did, I? I also didn't say my friends could use you in a one-way deep-sea diving experiment either. Let's be reasonable about this: making all those individual little candy pieces can be labor intensive. We wouldn't want to limit consumer choice by overzealous government intrusion in the private sector, now would we? I knoew you'd see it our way.) They labor in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. This is one of at least three references to that classic work (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) to occur in these webpages. This may be a sign of my rather attenuated exposure to literature, either as such or such as it is. I hope everyone understands that the factory makes chocolate, but that it is not itself made out of chocolate, mostly. That is important. Have you been to Hershey's Chocolate Town, virtually [like its nonvirtual (`real') mirror] in Pennsylvania Dutch country?

They spoke Oompa-Loompish in the old country, where they were preyed upon by hornswogglers, snozzwangers and whangdoodles, lived in tree-houses and subsisted on green caterpillars. Now they speak English and eat chocolate, but they still maintain their traditional costume. See chapter 16. No apparent connection with Oompa bands.

Object-Oriented Programming. Explained on this page.

Out Of Pocket (expense).

Out Of Print.

Robert Lynd (Y.Y.) published an essay called ``Out of Print.'' (It is chapter VIII in his 1923 collection The Blue Lion and Other Essays.) He begins with the following observation, which may at first puzzle the modern author.

There is a pleasure in seeing a book, if it is one of one's own books, going out of print. It encourages a faint hope that, even if one allows for the numerous people who have bought it by mistake, a man or woman here and there may have actually liked it.

In Lynd's day, a book went out of print when all the printed copies had finally sold out. It was a kind of sales milestone. No longer. Technology has made small printing runs and multiple printings cheaper. So books tend to go out of print more quickly, and when they do it just means that demand fell. In addition, the philosophy, the ``business model,'' of publishers has changed.

Until some time in the 1960's, successful publishers made most of their money (when they made money) off their backlists, so books tended to stay ``in print'' longer than they do now. The entire business was ``inefficient'' in economic terms. Printing houses ran as something approximating charities, and editors were poorly paid. (Like Ivy League professors in the old days, they might be presumed to be independently wealthy.) In the early 1960's some, uh, media companies began to think that ``properly'' run, the old houses might actually yield reasonable return on investment.

They started to buy up the old houses, and eventually the business was run by businessmen instead of book people. To their accountants, the costs of storage seemed to loom large. Also, changes in US tax law (particularly the way that depreciation is calculated on unsold books) effectively penalized the warehousing of slow and sporadic sellers, and fiction profits began to be dominated by a few big names. (It should be noted that the US book market has an unusual sales arrangement. Unsold books can be returned to the publisher for a refund. This concession-like arrangement was conceded by publishers during the Great Depression, and they were never able to roll it back.)

(The story at university presses was different but probably not better. There was a great expansion in the number of university presses to go with the increasing expectation of published research from professors. Then along about the 1980's or 1990's, universities began to expect their academic presses to sell some of this academic dust to the public and turn a profit.)

The enormous bookstores (Crown and Barnes & Noble, and Borders) put a large fraction of their small competitors out of business in the 1990's. Now as an oligopsony (and in B&N's case as a publisher -- hello, vertical integration) they have the leverage to reduce publishers' profit margins. I'm sure there's more to it, but these changes are often cited as contributing factors in the decline of the book industry in pre- and early internet days. Anyway, what happens to a title now is that as soon as sales flag it is remaindered to discounters or mulched. (Sometimes this can be handled very poorly. A friend of mine now retired from the book business told me about one book that was used for a large sociology course at some university. The course was only offered once every three years, and the company wouldn't store them that long, so after two years they'd mulch the unsold copies, and the next year they'd do a new print run. The three-years thing does sound a bit odd, but I can believe that a regular course rotated instructors, and every three years or so a guy would teach it who wanted that one book. Of course, if it had been a small-enrollment course, that guy would have been SOL, which is about what OOP often means to an instructor.)

An ad for Loome Theological Booksellers asserts that ``99.9% of the books ever published are now out-of-print,'' but immediately concedes that ``[o]f course, most books ought to be out-of-print. They weren't very good when they were first published; they haven't gotten any better with age.'' Then they go on to offer themselves as a solution to this nonproblem. Among the nonlamentable nonlosses that they can make nongood, one example they list is that ``not less than 241 different books on the life or thought of [Karl] Barth [1886-1968] have been published,'' yet only 16 remain in print. I'm flabbergasted. They buy and sell used books.

That reminds me -- you remember Bargain Books, the discount bookstore (you guessed this, right?) that I mentioned back at the adult education entry? The store sells remaindered titles, many of them from academic publishers. It's owned by a former college professor. Specifically, he was a theology professor. His chain has an unusually good selection of theology books.

The accusative of oops, a third-declension Latin noun. I'm sure oops is a Latin noun; it was just left out of all the dictionaries by mistake, and happened not to occur in any of the texts that have survived. I mean, it's not really possible for a language to have as few words as Latin is supposed to have had, so this must be one of them.

Object-Oriented Programming Language.

Object-Oriented Programming Software. How true that is!

Object-Oriented Programming Systems, Languages and Applications. A conference.

Object-Oriented Relational DataBase Management System.

Dutch, `place, point, corner.' Cognate of German Ort.

Oort Cloud
Name for a vast cloud of small bodies orbiting, if that's the word, about the sun at a distance of about one light-year. It is named after the Dutch astronomer Jan Henrik Oort (1900.04.28-1992.11.05), who proposed it in 1950 in order to explain the origin of comets. The existence of the cloud is now widely accepted among astronomers.


Out Of Service.

Operations Other Than War. Military term, pronounced ``ootwa,'' for thumb-twiddling exercises between wars, like peace-keeping and humanitarian relief.

Omega Rho.

OP, Op
Operation. Usually not operator, which due to pervasive telephonic influence is abbreviated ``Oper.''

Order Parameter. No, not price or quantity. A parameter characterizing the degree of order. Many order-disorder transitions are second-order (different sense of ``order'') transitions that can be studied by renormalization group methods. This analysis requires, principally, a Hamiltonian and an order parameter.


Ordo Praedicatorum. Latin: `Order of Preachers.' Better known as the Dominicans. Since 1216. Probably the best-known Dominican priest, though one not much celebrated by the order today, was Tomás de Torquemada.

Usage note: the initials O.P. after a name is used both by Dominican Roman Catholic priests and by women and non-priest men in the religious Order of Preachers. (A similar practice applies to S.J.)

I notice that the pseudonymous author of Promptorium parvulorum (1499), mentioned at this entry, is described as ``Galfredus Grammaticus dictus, frater Ordinis S. Dominici.'' Draw your own conclusions.

Organization & Procedures.

Original Poster. I.e., the person who emailed the original posting.

Overhead Projector. [Wasei eigo only.]

German, `grandpa.' Cf. Oma.

Office of Price Administration. A US government agency created to assure equitable distribution of items in short supply (i.e., to administer rationing) and to control prices during WWII. In April 1942, the OPA issued the ``General Maximum Price Regulation,'' which limited all retail prices to whatever was the highest price they had reached during March 1942.

One-Photon Absorption. Awkward conflict with the OPA instrument, next.

Optical Parametric Amplifier. Awkward conflict with the OPA phenomenon, previous.


Online (usually library) Public Access Catalog. Here're a bunch in Japan. That of the British Library is now available. Has been for a while. See also OLCC.

Tallulah Bankhead said
They used to photograph Shirley Temple through gauze. They should photograph me through linoleum.

For more on Shirley Temple, see YSO.

Optical Parallel Array Logic System. A parallel-processing optical computer proposed by J. Tanida and Y. Ichioka, Applied Optics, 25, pp. 15655-1570 (1986).

Organização Pan-Americana da Saúde. Name in Portuguese of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); cf. OPS.

Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications COmpanies.

``... a national trade association representing more than 500 small, independently owned local exchange carriers (LECs) and their affiliate telecommunications companies.

Primarily serving rural areas of the United States and Canada, these commercial telephone companies and cooperatives range in size from fewer than 100 to as many as 100,000 access lines and collectively serve more than 2.5 million customers.''


op. cit.
Notation in references (footnotes or endnotes): `in the work cited' [Latin opere citato.] This once-popular abbreviation was frequently a frustrating nuisance because it was often unclear which previously cited work was meant. Approximate synonym of ibid. and idem. Cf. loc. cit.

Oligomeric ProanthroCyanidins.

On-line Philosophy Conference. Inaugurated in 2006.

Optical Proximity Correction. Adjustment of photolithographic exposure (pattern and/or duration) to compensate for the proximity effect. Qualitatively, this entails underexposing on the inside of a curve or bend in the desired layout, and overexposing on the outside.

The usual approach in photolithography uses a binary pattern (i.e., mask opaque or clear), and OPC is done by adding or subtracting serifs of window area. This causes further unevenness away from a bend, that must be compensated by higher-order serifs, leading to a kind of diminishing ripple of correction moving away from any bend.

Original Program Clock Reference.

Optical Path Difference.

Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. ``An international Organization of eleven developing countries which are heavily reliant on oil revenues as their main source of income. Membership is open to any country which is a substantial net exporter of oil and which shares the ideals of the Organization. The current [2002] Members are Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.''

OPposite the EDitorials. A page of outside commentary, usually on the odd page (recto) facing the even-numbered page (verso) containing a newspaper's editorials.

Outdoor Power Equipment Institute. Every year around April they start airing public service announcements about the safe operation of snow-blowers. (Don't stick your hand into the snow-throwing chute -- that sort of thing.) At least that's when I've heard them in Indiana in 2008 and previous years. I was out of state a lot in April 2009, but I just heard the PSA again in mid-May. If they're going to keep this up I think they should move their operations to Australia.

open channel
An open channel, from the civil engineering standpoint, is not necessarily what one might intuitively suppose. A liquid conduit is considered open if it has a liquid-gas interface. It does not matter whether the liquid runs along the bottom of a pipe or in a channel open to the sky, or in a subterranean channel. What matters is that the liquid has a free surface. The hydraulics of the situation changes dramatically if there is no air space, because liquids in most cases (most cases being water or oil) are incompressible to a large degree. In an open channel, continuous flow can accommodate obstructions or variations of various sorts by changing height: lower water velocity leads to higher water level, hence greater cross-sectional area, and flow is maintained. Without a gas space to expand into (i.e. in a closed channel), this does not happen. Other things do; see water hammer.

As a practical matter, most open-channel flows of interest are macroscopic. More specifically, they are in channels wide and deep enough that the flow is turbulent. (The parameter that determines whether flow is turbulent or not is a `dimensionless group' called the Reynolds number, Re.) Ordinarily, the most important dimensionless group characterizing open channel flow is the Froude number (Fr, q.v.).

``Open conduit'' and ``open-conduit flow'' ought to be equivalent to ``open channel'' and ``open-channel flow,'' but the former terms are rare. Funny how the semantic field divides up. Channel became a dead metaphor for a broadcast frequency band and more recently for internet data streams that function similarly. Both channel and conduit are metaphors for paths by which information flows in human organizations (e.g., ``the proper channels,'' ``back channels,'' ``a conduit for information''). (See also back-channel.)

The words channel and canal both translate into Spanish and French as canal (which is also used both for TV channel and water channel). For a related confusion, see the Mars entry.

Open Graphics Language. The dominant environment for developing portable, interactive 2D and 3D graphics applications.

Opening of the American Mind
Rebuttals or rejoinders to Allan Bloom's Closing of the American Mind. There are two significant items by this title that I'm aware of: one is an Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. New York Times Book Review, July 23, 1989. Another is a book by Lawrence Levine published by Beacon Press, subtitled ``Canons, Culture, and History.''

Open on Sunday's!
Good for you. Sunday's what?

Organize and Promote Epidemiological Networks
Réseaux d'Observation des Maladies et des Epidémies
. The French part is roughly `disease and epidemic monitoring networks.'

OPER, Oper.

The copyright status and arrangements for opera are a bit different than those for other musical works. Whereas a radio station can simply play most music and send conventional royalties to ASCAP, broadcast of an opera recording requires prior approval, much like publication of a book excerpt.

Only recently, librettos for Puccini's operas became available in paperback.

The name opera is simply the Italian word for `work.' It is singular (the plural is opere, I guess). For more on this, see the opus entry.

Opera Buffa
Opera not intended to be taken seriously. This seems to imply that there is some other kind.

Oh, well, alright: buffa is supposed to be farcical, rather than merely amusing or unraucously comical. Enlightened now?

A number of years ago, my senior colleague G. Mahler composed a work that was largely classical (as opposed to quantum) mechanical and described this opus as opera buffa. This is all true.

I just noticed that thin horizontal line in my screen. It's distracting.

Opéra, French
I find it only slightly less amazing that someone would write opera in French than that someone would write opera in English. You probably don't care what I find amazing. Okay, I understand. Sniff. I'll go away now.

In French, opera buffa is called opéra bouffe. It's an interesting situation, since the original Italian essentially means `Frog Opera,' I think. Well, it means something related to frogs, anyway.

Early in his career, Clint Eastwood acted in a lot of spaghetti westerns. (For Sergio Leone? You could look it up. At IMDB.) Westerns are also known as horse opera. If they'd been made in France instead of Italy, they might have been called opéra boef.

Okay, now I'm really going away.

Soon. Possibly it bears mentioning that westerns are also called ``oaters.'' Not that I've ever heard anyone call them that, but it's one of those crossword-puzzle words -- nonexistent but plausible. You notice how movie horses never eat? I guess the forage in Hollywood is not tasty. Probably laced with too many recreational chemicals. (You say you have seen movie horses eat? Bullshit! If that's so, then where do they put it? Because movie horses certainly don't shit.)

All these years later, it occurs to me that the only reason I started to write this entry was to provide a cross-reference to the Berlioz entry, a link for which I ended up forgetting to include until now. In order not to have a one-sentence paragraph, I'll add that Russian opera is mentioned at the entry for the Judgment of Paris.

Oriented PolyEsTer. I guess ``OPEST,'' while more appropriate, had poor resonances.

Orbiter Processing Facility.

Optical Field-Effect Transistor. Here's a short bibliography.

OPFOR, opfor
OPposition FORce. Generic designation in combat training exercises.

Ophiuchus. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Open Prepress Interface.

Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, Inc. At 4:25 EST, on December 24 1995, they broadcast a public service announcement (PSA) about safety, children, and riding mowers, on AM radio station WBEN in Buffalo. Okay, it was a nationally syndicated program, but really, we're not the only people still expecting snow this season. Medialink admits they put this together. Maybe they should time their winter announcements to follow hysterical reports of global warming.

OPIE is now on web, so you don't need to snailmail or phone their offices at

341 South Patrick St.
Alexandria, VA 22314
+1 (703) 549-7600

They apparently don't deal in snow blowers.

OPerations & Information Management.

OutPatient Intravenous Infusion Therapy Association. Every time an organization with a cool acronym allows its domain name to lapse, the world is impoverished.

Optical Path Length.

Ottawa Public Library / Bibliothèque publique d'Ottawa. In answer to the obvious question: it's not abbreviated simply ``BPO'' to prevent confusion with the Buffalo Philharmonic. (Oh -- you wanted the correct answer? How borrring.)

Office of Personnel Management. The US government has at least one.

Organization & Procedures Manual.

Other People's Money. I suppose the popularity of this phrase is due to Margaret Thatcher. She famously said that ``[t]he problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.'' The form in quotes preceding is the received pronouncement -- the form popularized by bumper stickers and such. (See the Voltaire entry for a similar use of ``quotation'' marks.) The received form paraphrases a comment she did made in a 1976 interview: ``...Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money.''

German, öffentlicher Personennahverkehr. Literally `Public Local Passenger Traffic.' Local public transport.

In the US, there's no acronym for the general concept.

Optical Parametric Oscillator. Two lasers are heterodyned in a nonlinear material, producing sum and difference signals. Especially useful to achieve IR pulses (fs to ns), as there are few good IR laser sources [the best are the CO2 laser at 10µm and free electron laser (FEL)]. Temperature-modulation of the laser sources is now used to fine-tune OPO's.

Oriented PolyPropylene.

Florida State Legislature's) Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.

OPPOnent or OPPOsition. As in ``oppo research'' -- digging dirt on an opponent for when the campaign ``goes negative.''

Yes -- if you act now you can send us money!

See also the ABPT entry.

Office of Passenger RAil Franchising. The governmental body that decides which company (see list) gets to control which dismembered fragment of the murdered corpse of British Rail.

Note: the views expressed in this glossary do not necessarily reflect the opinions of OPRAF.

In 1992, William F. Buckley referred to the host of television's highest-rated talk show as
... the black lady who is alternately fat and thin, I forget her name.

In an act of sublime revenge, Oprah started a monthly book club. Okay, not quite monthly. According to a People magazine profile of various of the lottery winners, I mean authors of selected books, it's about nine books a year. Come think of it, that might be monthly if you don't count the TV off-season.

Okay, Oprah quit that; it was increasingly difficult to find books she felt ``absolutely compelled to share.'' A victim of her own unrealistically high standards, I guess. Others are rushing to fill the literary void. Kelly Ripa is starting something similar (``Reading With Ripa''), which will concentrate on commercial fiction. (Kelly Ripa is the woman who plays the TV role of Regis Philbin's wife or granddaughter on ``Live With Regis and Kelly.'') The Today Show and USA Today are starting book clubs, too.

Further update: according to the books page at Oprah.com, ``When the book club ended a year ago, I said I would bring it back when I found the [sic] book that was moving...and this is a great one. I read it for myself for the first time and then I had some friends read it. And we think [Steinbeck's East of Eden] might be the best novel we've ever read!''

I wasn't sure where to mention it, so this could be as good a place as any: Regis Philbin is an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame.

OPRI, Opri
Office de protection contre les rayonnements ionisants. `Office of protection against ionizing radiation.' An organ of the French health ministry. Has been known to conspire with SPR.


In Roman mythology, Ops was the wife of Saturn and the mother of Jupiter. In Greek mythology, Saturn was Kronos and Jupiter was Zeus. In stories about those two, Zeus's mother is usually Rhea, so she's probably the best Greek correspondence of Ops.

Ops was female, although it wasn't necessary specifically to point this out explicitly. I'm paid by the word; she was the goddess of abundance -- the personification of ops, Latin for `might, power,' in particular `power to aid.' The very antithesis of oops! (Oops! I meant antithesis oopis -- gotta use the genitive.)

On-base Plus Slugging (percentage). The sum of the on-base percentage (OBP) and the slugging percentage (SLG). The OBP has a value between zero and two. As is typical with baseball statistics called percentages, this value is stated or written as the first three digits in the decimal expansion. (When written, the decimal point is sometimes shown and sometimes not.)

Ontario Philosophical Society.

Organización Panamericana de la Salud. Name in Spanish of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO); cf. OPAS.

OEM Products and Services Division. Of Intel, for one.

OPerationS DEPuty. Explained at this page. Cf. DEPOPSDEP.

OPerations System/Intelligent Network Element. Sounds obscene, don' it?

Office of Private-Sector Relations.

Occupied Palestinian Territories.



Ovulation Predictor Test.

This reminds me of sheep. To determine if a sheep is pregnant, you (or perhaps someone more experienced) insert(s) a tube to listen for something called the `winds of pregnancy.' No joke. That's all I remember from a book about Basque folkways. That, and the look of helpless concern on the inverted ewe's face. Another contribution to research at the crucial nexus of language and pregnancy is the shacked up entry.

South of Basque country in Spain is Catalonia. Orwell's book based on his Spanish Civil War experiences there is called Homage to Catalonia, and marks a turning point in his politics. Catalan, by Alan Yates and Carter Brown, published by Teach Yourself Books, London, 1975, offers translations for phrases that you might find useful. Among them:

I am prepared to raffle the goat.

It is sobering to contemplate the improbable series of misadventures and diminishing fortunes that would take one to the brink of uttering this phrase. (On the other hand, if it were late November 2008 and you were Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, you could probably use a few different ways to say ``I am prepared to raffle the Senate seat that has been held by President-elect Barack Obama.'') Wikipedia has a meat raffle entry.

Catalan, by the way, is an international language. It's the local language in the Sardinian city of Alghero.

optical isolation
Transmission of voltage level through an optical link in order to isolate two circuits. A mandatory application is in medical electronics: sensors contacting the body must be optically isolated from any power equipment, as a stringent guarantee against accidental shock.

Sir Boss: "What do you know of the science of optics?"
Applicant: "I know of governors of places, and seneschals of
        castles, and sheriffs of counties, and many like small
        offices and titles of honor, but him you call the
        Science of Optics I have not heard of before;
        peradventure it is a new dignity."
Sir Boss: "Yes, in this country."
[ 29 ] Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889), ch. 25.

Latin, `work.' The (nominative) plural form is opera. There is rarely any good reason to use the stupid naturalized form opuses, except to condemn it.

Most related words that come from Latin contain the root oper-. The reason is that opus is a third declension noun, indicated ``opus, -eris'' in traditional dictionaries. Most of the related words and declined forms of the noun are based on the modified root represented by the genitive form operis. Romance languages use noun forms based on a collapsed case structure, and the standard form of a noun is usually based on an oblique case. Hence the derived form in Italian: opera. If you simply voice the stop consonant and lose the unstressed middle vowel, you get the Spanish cognate obra. (English uses, as a rule, whatever forms it pleases, usually from more than one language. Hence opus, operation, operetta, et ceterra.)

Since you asked... the particular oblique form that was the model for the later collapsed or simplified case structure was typically the ablative or accusative. These cases had more functions than the dative, and prepositions (real prepositions) in Latin only took accusative or ablative objects. Starting from the ablative turns out to work better for Spanish. I think starting from the accusative works better -- i.e., gives a better fit to the forms that actually occurred -- for French. The difference is slight, especially when you remember that final em's weren't being pronounced in post-Classical Latin, and that anyway a lot of final syllables died in the creation of Old French.

Optimising Public Understanding of Science and Technology. A project once funded by the European Commission, 2000-2002. On the surviving pages you can see the PUS acronym oozing everywhere.

Oral Polio Vaccine.

Organic PhotoVoltaic.

Orthogonalized Plane Wave.

Off-Premises eXtension.

Optical Quality.

Optical Quick Access Recorder.

Object Query Language. An OQL names the possible queries that can be made to an ODMG, defines the views that result in answer. I think. Cf. ODL.

Office québécois de la langue française. You need to know what that means in English? That's your problem.


Oedipus Rex. See O.T. (Oedipus Tyrrannus).

Office Regenerator.

Offner Relay.

Vide A. Offner, Optical Engineering, 14, p. 130 (1975).

Olympic Record.

Operating Room (in a hospital).

Operations Research.

A couple of sites are WORMS and Michael Trick's Operations Research Page.

Oregon. USPS abbreviation.

State named after the spice oregano. At least, that's a better theory than any offered by niggling etymologists.

The Villanova Center for Information Law and Policy serves a page of Oregon state government links. USACityLink.com has a page with mostly city and town links for the state.

Object Request Broker. CORBA terminology for its central concept, explained here by what?is.com

Office Repeater Bay.

Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies.

The word is used loosely today, though it once had a precise technical meaning. In the time of Copernicus, author of the revolutionary De revolutionibus orbium coelestium [`Regarding the Revolutions of the Celestial Orbs'], an orb was the three-dimensional analog of an annulus. That is, an orb was the region between an outer spherical surface and an inner sphere completely within the outer sphere. A sphere was a solid body: the region up to some distance from some center. For some purposes, of course, it was not necessary to maintain a distinction.

James A. Traficant, Jr., was once a colorful member of the US House of Representatives, representing a district in Ohio (Akron, Youngstown, and environs) as well as assorted, um, special constituencies, such as himself. (As an act of mercy, I'm going to warn those who are not regular readers of this glossary that they can expect very little information on orbits in this entry.) On April 11, 2002, Traficant was convicted by a federal court in Cleveland of a laundry list (I just had to use that evocative term; actually the list had ten charges) of crimes of corruption.

The charges included taking bribes (e.g., free labor and materials from construction businesses in exchange for intervening on their behalf with federal regulators) and kickbacks ($200,000 total; $2500 per month from his administrative assistant alone), illegally requiring his congressional staffers to pitch in on his boat and his farm (literally in the latter case, with pitchforks), ordering a staffer to destroy evidence, and cheating on his taxes (yawn).

Traficant served as his own attorney in the trial. It's a truism that a lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client, but Traficant is not a lawyer. Anyway, the same fool had beaten the rap in 1983. He convinced a jury that he took $163,000 in mob money as part of a one-man undercover operation he had been running as Mahoning County sheriff. He had earlier achieved folk-hero status by his refusal, as sheriff, to evict out-of-work steelworkers who couldn't pay their bills. The acquital apparently cemented his reputation, and he rode the ensuing wave of popularity into Congress the next year. (The IRS is not bound by the findings of a mere criminal court, however, and they garnisheed his wages for $108,000 that a tax court decided he owed on the $163,000 in bribes he didn't declare. And this can't be double jeopardy, since the US constitution says that mustn't happen.)

Upon conviction on all ten criminal charges in 2002, the 60-year-old Traficant faced up to 63 years in the slammer, plus various fines. Federal guidelines recommend something in the neighborhood of five to ten years in such cases, and prosecutors in the case recommended that he do at least 7 1/4 years. Such precision! The judge rounded that up to eight years when he sentenced Traficant on July 30.

Here is one of the less creative examples of Traficant's color. It involves the then House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. Democrats were in the minority from 1994 to 2006. By the time of Traficant's conviction, Gephardt (D-Mo.) had already pointedly stopped referring to Traficant as a Democrat when speaking with reporters. Perhaps that had something to do with Traficant having voted in 2001 for Republican J. Dennis Hastert (Ill.) rather than Gephardt to be House Speaker. (One factor may have been his fellow Democrats' beginning to distancing themselves as his prosecution grew imminent.) In the normally party-line vote, Traficant's break with his party had no effect. However, the Republicans' margin in the House was only five votes, and it was feared on the Democratic side that his symbolic vote signalled a readiness to vote with the G.O.P. and weaken Gephardt's bargaining power. The party refused to give the nine-term Trafficant a single committee assignment. On a related note, Traficant often called colleagues ``Mr. Chairman'' even when they didn't head a committee. I suppose it was easier than remembering who did.

Gephardt suggested privately to Traficant that he resign. (This was apparently before the conviction; after the conviction, Gephardt called publicly for his resignation.) According to Roll Call, Traficant's reaction was to call for Mr. Gephardt to perform a reproductive act upon himself. A potentially reproductive act, I suppose. In principle, perhaps. Okay, here's a tiny-bit more creative: late in the 2002 trial, he said of the prosecutors, ``They have the testicles of an ant.'' I suppose at least some of the prosecutors would have to have been all male, if this remark was supposed to have some exculpatory value in Traficant's defense. Perhaps he planned to reveal the prosecutors' plans for the formic gonads, but didn't get a chance. U.S. District Judge Lesley Wells ordered Traficant to sit down and gave him another of her scolding lectures.

Incidentally, if the ant-testicles comment tickled some brain cell off in a corner of your brain somewhere, it might have been because of Fred Allen's famous comment -- ``You can take all the sincerity in Hollywood and put it into a flea's navel and still have room left over for three caraway seeds and an agent's heart.'' (I've seen various versions of this, and perhaps more than one is correct, but I very much doubt the versions that involve eight caraway seeds -- that's an exageration.) Fred Allen broadcast his humorous remarks on his own radio show from 1934-1949. Traficant broadcast his best material from the House floor (1985-2002), making frequent reference to his anatomy and necessary bodily functions, and to ``Star Trek.'' His speeches usually ended with the line ``Beam me up.''

That reminds me, since this is the orbit entry, that I should circle back to the point. Under House rules in effect at the time, a felony conviction triggered an automatic investigation by the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (the ``Ethics Committee'' for short). [Under current rules, the House doesn't wait that long any more.] A subcommittee was named, a set of charges was drawn up (closely paralleling the criminal counts), Traficant was given a chance to respond on July 15, and on July 18 the committee unanimously recommended his expulsion. A report on The Hotline the next day collected Traficant quotes from other news sources, including this comment about members of the [news] media:

Many of them are so dumb they could throw themselves at the ground and miss.

That would be an eccentric orbit. This bit was harvested from <CNN.com> on July 18, and appeared elsewhere. (I first found it in Ted Reuter's 449 Stupid Things Democrats Have Said, p. 85.) Traficant was expelled by the House on July 24.

Like any comedian, Traficant recycled his material. (See the boobs entry for another example of material that may have been recycled.) In researching this here orbit entry I discovered that in June 2000, he made a floor speech about the US Supreme Court. Here are some excerpts, in the same order in which they were quoted, from the Washington Times of June 22, 2000.

The Supreme Court says pornography is OK and it is OK to burn the flag, that communists can work in our defense plants, that it is OK to teach witchcraft in our schools and that it is OK for our students to write papers about the devil.

But the Supreme Court says it is illegal to write papers about Jesus, it is illegal to pray in school, and now the Supreme Court says it is even illegal to pray before a football game. Beam me up.

I thought the Founders intended to create a Supreme Court, not the Supreme Being. Think about that statement. I yield back a Supreme Court that is so politically correct they are downright stupid, so stupid they could throw themselves at the ground and miss.

Oh, and, one last thing about the events of 2002. The ethics committee recommended expulsion rather than lesser penalties such as censure or reprimand because of ``the gravity of the offense from the gentleman from Ohio,'' in the words of Rep. Howard Berman of California. Gravity is the force that keeps moons and planets in orbit, of course, but never mind. This conventional Congressional use of ``gentleman'' reminds me of an amusing incident (it's amusing now, anyway) from the time shortly after my mom and her family emigrated to Bolivia. Her stepfather never mastered the Spanish language in its entire subtlety, and at that time he had already not mastered Spanish. (I recycle my material too.) So one day when somebody was trying to break into their house, he called the phone operator and reported, ``¡Un señor quiere entrar en nuestra casa!'' The operator responded, ``Entonces déjelo entrar.'' Except for the critical words, the quotations are approximate, and I'm sparing you the German accent. Anyway, the first sentence means: `A gentleman wants to enter our house!' To which the reasonable response was `So let him in.'

Actually, that reminds me of another true story, involving a restaurant owner and one of his most valued employees. I won't identify these persons any more precisely because, you know, someone might get in trouble. The employee didn't speak much English in those days, so the owner took the trouble to mine a Spanish dictionary for some useful words. One of the words is querer, `to want.' (This verb occurred above in the phrase ``quiere entrar,'' `wants to enter.') So when the owner wanted this employee to come help him, he would say ``[nombre del empleado], te quiero,'' meaning `[employee's name], I love you.'

That ought to remind anyone of Alexander Bell's famous telephone message [to his own assistant in another room] on March 10, 1876. (``Mr. Watson, come here; I want you.'') Here there was no language difficulty, but there had been some communication difficulty. The message is described as the first transmission of a complete (and comprehensible) sentence. However, that doesn't mean that the ability to send an intelligible message had been impossible before that date. Bell's attorney had filed a patent application on the previous St. Valentine's Day (so appropriate), and the patent had been granted three weeks later, on March 7 (those were the days). Apparently Bell had been working to improve his invention without actually being set up to transmit a message. (I suppose he mostly just talked to himself over the phone to see how well it was working, but I'll have to look into it.) The famous first message was sent ``accidentally.'' The first public demonstration of the telephone took place before a meeting of the AAAS in Boston the following May 10.

Office of Research and Development. They don't actually do the research or development. They handle the submissions, paperwork, negotiation, and compliance associated with (mostly government-funded) research contracts at a university. The ORD page at Jackson State (JSU) plays a catchy tune.

O'HaRe International Airport, out Dere near Chicago, IL. You are free to speculate why I gave up attempting acronymic explanations of IATA airport codes. Here's its status in real time from the ATCSCC.

Ah -- the mystery of the name is solved! Orchard Place Airport was built by the federal government in 1942 for use by the nearby Douglas Aircraft plant. It was declared surplus in 1946 and deeded a thousand acres to the city. As a civilian airport it was known as Chicago Orchard Airfield and Douglas Field (hence the O - R - D). In 1949, Chicago renamed its older airport Midway Airport, in honor of the Battle of Midway, and named the new airport O'Hare Field, in memory of Medal of Honor winner Edward ``Butch'' O'Hare, a navy pilot killed in action in the South Pacific.

Optical Rotary Dispersion.

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

orden de arresto
Spanish, `arrest warrant.' Sometimes I wonder why I put in some of these entries. I hope I'm not revealing too much.

Orders of Chivalry
Quick guide (from a friend of a friend) -- ignoring obsolescent orders, from highest to lowest:

  1. The Most Noble Order of the Garter
  2. The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle
  3. Order of Merit
  4. The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (three classes)
  5. The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (three classes)
  6. The Royal Victorian Order (five classes)
  7. The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (five classes)
  8. The Order of the Companions of Honour
  9. The Distinguished Service Order
  10. The Imperial Service Order

The surname of a guy who sells vacuum cleaners. His company is named after him. Even though it's in all-caps, it's not an acronym. The letters are very blockish, and the `O' could be mistaken for a `D.' To me it always looks like `DRECK.'

Open Reading Frame. A sequence of DNA base pairs (bp's) that is intelligible code for a peptide chain. Here's a tool for their interpretation.

Österreichischer Rundfunk. `Austrian Broadcasting.' A public broadcasting station with three radio and two television channels.

Orbiting Retrievable Far and Extreme Ultraviolet Spectrometer.

ORGanization. The top-level domain name for nonprofit organizations. Mostly. This includes many educational institutions (particularly now that the set of institutions permitted to have subdomains under .edu has been restricted) as well as religious organizations. For example, <http://www.fa.org/> is Friends Academy, a K-through-12 Quaker Day School.

Incidentally, ``Quakers'' is a name, initially somewhat pejorative, that was eventually adopted by a religious group called the Society of Friends. The Shakers came by their name in similar fashion. In Israel (.il), members of the ``secular'' majority (i.e., those with lax religious observance) call the ultra-religious haredim, which translates roughly as `tremblers.' I think that's still pejorative.

A number of apparently for-profit organizations now have .org URL's (I'll let you find them).

ORGanization. A second-level domain name under various ccTLD's. Japan (.jp) and many other countries with consistent two-letter second-level domains use <.or.>. France (.fr) uses .asso. to be different. The o represents a hole.

organic chemistry
The chemistry of carbon compounds. Really: the chemistry of any and all compounds that include one or more carbon atoms. This includes a few chemicals that it is sometimes more appropriate to study in the context of other groupings of compounds, but that's okay.

The idea of dividing compounds into organic and inorganic was introduced by Léméry in his Cours de Chemie (1675). There the compounds which are created by reactions in the mineral world were classed as inorganic, and those which were known to be created only in the animal and vegetable worlds were classed as organic. (This is not exactly how the distinction was originally formulated, but it is effectively what we now understand the distinction to have been.) It was eventually found that all organic compounds so defined happened to contain carbon, although some inorganic compounds (note: by the original definition) also contained carbon.

Organometallic compounds, or metalorganics. Compounds of metals with organic compounds. Many such compounds -- as for example TEG, TMG, TEA -- are used in the CVD growth of compound semiconductors.

Spanish, `pride.' Adjective orgulloso (`proud'). See empingorotado.

Orion. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

oriented times three
Hospitalese for knowing the date, one's name, and where one is. I never know the date without looking at my watch.

Oak Ridge Institute for Science Education.

Organización Regional Interamericana de Trabajadores,
Organização Regional Interamericana dos Trabalhadores,
Organisation régionale interaméricaine des travailleurs.

(Best guess expansions reconstructed from English.) Spanish, Portuguese, and French, resp., `Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers.'

Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers/International Confederation of Free Trade Unions. That's the usual English expansion; for more on ORIT see previous entry.

The language of the Indian state of Orissa. (An official provincial language listed in the Indian Constitution. About 10 million speakers.) The language is written in an alphabet that has only about two characters, maybe three in good light, which look roughly like Q, 4, and |. Children in school are indoctrinated in the idea that if you write | and scratch it out, or if you use different squiggles for the tail on the Q, then these represent different letters. (Cf. minim.)

Our colleague Nihar is from Orissa, giving us an opportunity to test the strength of the indoctrination on an otherwise intelligent victim. The hold that this fantasy has on him was strong. He insists that the Oriya alphabet is essentially the same as the Sanskrit (Devanagari) original, and that the horizontal line across the top was left out historically for practical reasons: back when the writing was on organic material, straight lines that ran along the underlying grain could destroy the wood or leaf being written on. [This is obviously false, because that story was made up to explain the absence of horizontal lines in runes (see thorn entry). Nihar probably borrowed it. For similar instances of borrowing, see the Shiva entry. If you get so far as to follow the Halaka link, note that in Orissa, Halka is pronounced more like Haluhka.]

Over the very same beer (Honey Brown, mostly) that discovered Nihar's hopeless indoctrination, we pondered the secret of gupta.

Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Spanish for `gold.' Also Italian. Okay: it's Italian, and also Spanish. Look, if we all remain calm and reasonable, there's enough word for everyone. Please, people! It's a small word, we all gotta share!

Cf. ouro.

Optical Read Only Memory (ROM). In other words, CD-ROM.

Arsenic trisulfide (As2S3). A yellow mineral often found in conjunction with realgar. Once used as a yellow pigment, whence its name: Middle English < Old French < Latin auripigmentum = aurum (`gold') + pigmentum (I'll let you guess what that meant). Now an ore of arsenic.

A mechanical model of the solar system. Usually not entirely to scale, because the Sun is so big and the Moon is so close. What is to scale is the ratio of orbital rates. We had one or two of these in my elementary school, but we didn't learn a name for it. It's named after Charles Boyle, Fourth Earl of Orrery (1676-1731), a grandson of the famous physicist Robert Boyle, First Earl of Orrery (1621-1679). In 1713, the fourth earl paid clockmaker George Graham to create the first mechanical solar system model. The device was named (by whom I am not sure) orrery in the Earl's honor. Awwww. At least it wasn't designed by Robert Hooke, instrument maker to the first earl. Hooke misses out on a lot of credit; in its early years, the Royal Society was practically Hooke's lecture-and-demonstration series.

The orrery caught people's imaginations because that was precisely what they lacked. For an allusion to orreries, see the Dickens excerpt at the v.a. entry.

Oral Roberts' Rules of Order. Well, okay, it's not real book and the acronym is -- unsurprisingly, I guess -- not much used. On the plus side, the acronym is a palindrome, it makes an appropriately allusive connection between the numinous and the numismatic, and the book title has a fine sort of surreality. Possibly depending on what you think of Oral, that might should be Roberts's.

Look, I don't make this stuff up, you know. I'm not that creative. Dan (a fellow who co-stars in the Berlioz entry) worked in a book store where someone actually came in and asked for ``Oral Roberts' Rules of Order'' by name. (You'd have known that if you'd followed the Oral-Roberts link.) I wish Dan had asked the customer to describe the book first.

Optical Remote Sensing.

Oral Rehydration Solution.

There used to be a song, surprisingly not popularized by Dean Martin, that began ``How dry I am.''

Crumb or table scrap.

German, `place, point, corner.' See a. a. O. and AOK for examples of use. The Dutch cognate is oort.

There is an older German word, cognate with Dutch oorete and the English word ort. For a crumb more on that, see the miga entry.

Ooty RadioTelescope. In India. The temptation to write OoRT must be resisted, because the name Oort is already taken (for Oort Cloud).

Organization For Rehabilitation and Training. Although I've also seen (`... through Training.') Originally called Obshestwo Propostranienia Truda, `Society for Handicrafts and Agricultural Work,' when founded as a Jewish-poor aid society in 1880 at St. Petersburg, Russia.

Oral Roberts University. A school founded by the person it was named after.

Off-Road Vehicle. A steady mount for the drug-store cowboy.

IATA code for Aéroport d'Orly, (south of and) serving Paris, France. Operated by ADP.

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