(Click here for bottom)

Task Group. A productive affix. E.g., ASC X12 has a DLTG (Delegate Liaison Task Group) and an O & P TG.

Tax Guide.

ThermoGravimetry. This is like DLTS, except that one measures mass (rather than capacitance as in DLTS) as a function of changing temperature. You might object that mass is conserved, but so is charge. The idea is Zen: you gotta let go. In this case, you gotta let go gases that escape from the decomposition of carbonates, the evaporation of water, and the evaporation or sublimation or combustion of other impurities (like organics, because critters get into ever'thang).

(Domain name extension for) Togo.

Tongue and Groove.

Transformational Grammar.


Thermal Gas Analysis or Thermal Gravimetric Analysis. Not, as far as I know, the same thing. I suggest using ``TG'' for the latter.

Twisted Grain Boundary. Nematic liquid crystals (maybe with some cholesteric mixed in) forced into a cholesteric phase by boundary conditions (patterned ITO, for example). The basis of TN, STN, DSTN, MSTN, etc. displays.

Traffic Guidance Computer.

That's Good Enough. Sometimes used disparagingly, but better is the worst enemy of good.

Thank God It's Friday. For all I know, this may have influenced some people to become Seventh-Day Adventists.

Thermally Grown Oxide.

[Phone icon]

Tinfoil Gaucho Pants. Mnemonic for a new (in 1996) area code (847) in suburban Chicago. In the old days, area codes were three-digit sequences distinguished by the fact that their second digits were zero or one. Since these numbers are not associated with mnemonic letters on the dialing disc or button pad, there were no area code mnemonics. With the inexorable increase in phone lines, heavily abetted by the unexpectedly rapid proliferation of cellular phones, as well as fax machines and pagers, there has been a need for more US area codes (45 new ones since 1994). As a result, area codes are now distinguished by the fact that they are preceded by an access code. From within the US, the access code is ``1.'' From outside the US, that's the country code, which happens to be ``1'' for the US (and Canada).

In many other countries, the area codes (or ``city codes'') are distinguished by the fact that they begin in zero (wait long enough after the zero without entering another digit and you get an operator). You omit the zero if you're dialing in from out-of-country.

TRU is one company mentioned here with the TGP area code.

TriGlyceride Sulfate.

Train[s] à grande vitesse. French, `high speed train[s].'

This page has some pictures and speed records. The Washington University of Saint Louis electronic picture archive has a number of jpegs of French high speed trains:

Train[s] à grande vitesse (TGV) Atlantique. A particular model of TGV, named after LGV (Ligne pour trains à Grande Vitesse Atlantique), the line on which it first appeared.

Train[s] à grande vitesse (TGV) Paris-Sud-Est. A particular model of TGV. The first model on LGV-PSE (Ligne pour trains à Grande Vitesse Paris-Sud-Est), the first line of the LGV. They're painted orange. On dedicated high-speed track, they move at 270 kph (that's km/h), although there may have been an upgrade to the 300 kph standard for the other trains.

Train[s] à grande vitesse (TGV) Réseau. A particular French line. A part of LGV (Ligne pour trains à Grande Vitesse).

Transport and General Workers Union. British.

Technische Hochschule.

T. H.
Terence Hanbury (White) (1906-1964).

(Domain name extension for) Thailand (Siam).

Thorium. Atomic number 90.

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

Postal code for Thuringia (Thüringen in German), one of the sixteen states (Länder) of the German Federal Republic (FRG). [Like most of the country information in this glossary, Germany's is at the domain code .de.]

Its area is 16,171 sq. km. The population in 1997 was about 2.5 million. The capital is Weimar. Thuringia is in the part of Germany that used to be East Germany, but it went out of existence as a separate state in 1934 and was only reconstituted following reunification in 1990.


Tyrosine Hydroxylase.

Theater High-Altitude Area Defense. Designation of a particular Army interceptor-missile program.

Trajectory prediction Handling Airspace and Aircraft models Linked to Evaluation Software. Presumably the extinguishing system on this highly flammable system is called Anaaximander.

Thanks for the free lecture.

Three garbage-bin covers at McDonald's.

At Eats 'n' Sweets, an ice-cream-and-pizza place on PA-611 in Scotrun, the garbage bins say

           _________  ________ 
          |  TRASH  ||  FEED  |
          | MONSTER ||   ME   |

               THANK  YOU

That's how it is: with the big chains you get consistency. With the independents you get personality.

Thank you, we'll take care of it.
We'll begin ignoring it immediately.

Textes pour l'histoire de l'Antiquité tardive. `Texts for the history of late antiquity.' A GdR within the SHS department of CNRS.

That sort of performance issue is really a matter of judgement.
We just run the software installation packages. We can't fix stuff that doesn't work. If you want things to work as well as they used to, you'll have to wait for the patches to the upgrade.

That's weird!
That's pretty ordinary, but I have all the sophistication of a medium-size houseplant.

Tasmanian Home Brewing Supplies.

Tetra-Hydro Cannabinol. Psychoactive element in pot.

The History Channel. Widely known as the WWII channel. Broadcasting only programs on historical events (like a program on the making of ``Band of Brothers,'' a WWII miniseries) isn't much of a constraint, since pretty much all nonfiction will count as history, while fiction is part of the atmosphere relevant to a proper contextualization of history, or at least ``illustrative.'' It's hard to think of anything THC couldn't find some excuse to broadcast, given the proper framing-narrative fig leaf.

I suppose that there's a lot more material, particularly moving-image material, available for WWII than for earlier historical events, but the prevalence of WWII programs must reflect some editorial decision-making as well. THC could probably put together a pretty substantial retrospective on how the war went in Vietnam -- wouldn't that be fun?

As you can tell from the wussy punches I'm landing, my heart isn't really in the task of lampoo--er, I mean writing a glossary entry for THC. The truth is that THC is my favorite TV channel, and in recent years I probably haven't gone more than a semester without watching at least a half hour of it. It's a shame I didn't watch any TV during the week that Nielsen had me fill out a diary; I'd've been happy to contribute to their statistics.

As long as I'm here and I'm not contributing anything useful, I might as well unload my burden of opinions about the popular presentation of nonfiction in general. I'm not going to discuss news, since I'm still getting over a cold and I don't think my stomach could handle that.

(This bit is under construction, see?)

Let's take a moment here to recall Lyndon Johnson's alleged comment about Gerald Ford -- that he was so stupid he couldn't walk and chew gum at the same time. This was widely reported when Gerald Ford was appointed US Veep, replacing ``disgraced former Vice President'' Spiro Agnew, and again when he assumed the presidency, replacing disgraced former president Richard Nixon (and again any time news cameras caught the athletic president stumbling). You could claim that Ford advanced because of his personal virtues, but that wouldn't be the complete story. Later it was revealed that the chew-gum version was a bowdlerization, and what LBJ had really said was that Ford couldn't fart at the same time. (Later yet it turned out that the retailer of the revised version was unable to provide a source for his claim. But what does evidence matter? Details at the Veep entry.) People seemed to think that the earthier version was more demeaning to one or both of the former presidents, but they're wrong. Was it walk-and-fart or chew-gum-and-fart? I forget. Either way, it may require careful sphincter control with simultaneous control of nearby (walking) or other GI-tract-related (gum) muscles. Now look, if you're not interested in the larger point I'm trying to make, you could read something else about reporter language competence or something else about the accidental president.

(To be continued.)

Total HydroCarbon[s]. When semiconductor people use this phrase, they're including proteins and fats and oils -- really any unwanted organic contamination from the filthy humans in their inadequate clean-room bunny suits. If only they wouldn't breathe, that would help too. ``Carbohydrates'' in this case are only part of ``hydrocarbons.''

Tetra-Hydro CannabiVarin. Psychoactive element in pot.

Doctor of THinkology. The degree which the Wizard of Oz, by the power vested in him by common Latin proverbs, conferred upon the scarecrow, honoris causa.

The sum of the square roots of the sides equals the square root of the hypotenuse, according to the scarecrow's acceptance address.

Total Harmonic Distortion. Sounds like a great heavy metal concept.

Square root of the ratio of power in all harmonics (or very commonly for audio, all harmonics up to 20 kHz) to power in signal.

Trastorno de Hiperactivad con Déficit de Atención. Spanish, `Hyperactivity Disorder with Attention Deficit,' used as a translation of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The US NIMH uses a similar-seeming term, Trastorno Hiperactivo de Déficit de Atención. There are two indications here that the good folks at NIMH are thinking in English: (1) the expression they use means `Hyperactive Disorder of Attention Deficit,' as if the disorder rather than the person exhibited hyperactivity, and (2) they abbreviate it ADHD.

More at the TDA entry.

Texas Higher Education Assessment.

the Academy
You're doubtless curious why this is alphabetized under the article. Is it to stress that the article, even though uncapitalized, functions as a part of the name, making ``the Academy'' a kind of compound noun and allowing everyone to understand exactly which Academy is meant? No. It's alphabetized this way for other people, people less intelligent than you, who are apt to look here for their ``Academy.'' Those people very reasonably use ``the Academy'' in-house as a short version of their Academy's name. Less reasonably, they suppose that out of the thousands of academies in existence, theirs is the one that will leap to the mind of a stranger when they say ``the Academy.'' Particularly despicable are those human ruminants who refuse to recognize an alternative acronym form of their organization's name. (Check out CUS also.)

Thirty centuries ago, as history emerged from the mists of ancient legend, an Athenian hero named Hekademos owned some land about a mile northwest of Athens. He donated the land to the city for a park, and over the years it was developed into a center for religion, sports, and education. In 388 or 387 BCE, a former playwright and politician named Aristocles established his own school in that park. Aristocles was better known by a nickname meaning `broad' or `wide,' which may have referred to his being broad-shouldered or to his having a wide forehead. The Greek root for `flat' and `broad' is related to the English word ``flat'': plat-. Aristocles was called Plato.

The park where Plato taught was named Hekademeia, and eventually Akademeia (these names seem more similar in Greek than English). Plato's school became so famous that eventually, Akademeia (our word Academy) came to refer to his school and his followers.

the acronyms
That is, acronyms that include an initial T representing the word the. Here is a list of those I could find in this glossary -- mostly ones that begin with the T of the. Apart from the phrases compressed for email, major sources of such acronyms are Christian liturgy and television channels, and SBF.

  1. AOTBTY (All Of The Best To You)
  2. ATB (All The Best)
  3. ATG (Albert The Great -- no, not Einstein)
  4. ATG (Alexander The Great)
  5. ATM (At The Moment)
  6. ATWT (As The World Turns)
  7. BTW (By The Way)
  8. COTF (Classroom Of The Future)
  9. DSOTM (``Dark Side Of The Moon'')
  10. DtB (Down The Back)
  11. DtF (Down The Front)
  12. DWTC (Down With The Clown)
  13. FITL (Fiber In The Loop)
  14. FLOTUS (First Lady Of The United States)
  15. FOTA (Future Of The Alliance)
  16. FTAOD (For The Avoidance Of Doubt)
  17. FTHOI (For The Hell Of It)
  18. FTL (Fruit of The Loom)
  19. FTN (Face The Nation)
  20. GOTV (Get Out The Vote)
  21. GWTW (Gone With The Wind)
  22. HotS (Harvard Of The South)
  23. ITC (In The City -- the inclusion of this initialism probably proves that I have no shame)
  24. JTS (Jump The Shark)
  25. LotR (Lord Of The Rings)
  26. LOTS (Logistics Over The Shore)
  27. MOTAS (Member Of The Appropriate Sex)
  28. MOTOS (Member Of The Opposite Sex)
  29. MOTSS (Member Of The Same Sex)
  30. MTP (Meet The Press)
  31. nitle (Not In The Latest Explorator)
  32. OTH (Over The Horizon)
  33. OTOH (On The Other Hand)
  34. OTR (Over The Road)
  35. OTT (Over The Top)
  36. OTTOMH (Off The Top Of My Head)
  37. PLUTO (PipeLine[s] Under The Ocean)
  38. POTM (Phase Of The Moon)
  39. POTM (Programmer Of The Month)
  40. POTPOTUS (Part, nudge-nudge, Of The POTUS)
  41. POTUS (President Of The United States)
  42. PTL (Praise The Lord)
  43. RITL (Radio In The Loop)
  44. ROTFL (Rolling On The Floor Laughing)
  45. ROTFLMAO (Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Ass Off)
  46. ROTFLMFO (Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Face Off)
  47. ROTFLMGO (Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Guts Out)
  48. ROTFLMHO (Rolling On The Floor Laughing My Head Off)
  49. ROTFLYAO (Rolling On The Floor Laughing Your Ass Off)
  50. ROTK (Return Of The King)
  51. ROTM (Run Of The Mill)
  52. ROTTI (Rights Of The Terminally Ill)
  53. RTFM (Read The Manual)
  54. SCOTUS (Supreme Court Of The United States)
  55. SftP (Science For The People)
  56. SOTM (Satellite communications On-The-Move)
  57. SotRT (Society Of The Rusting TARDIS)
  58. SOTU (State Of The Union)
  59. STB (Shit The Bed)
  60. ST:TAS (Star Trek: The Animated Series)
  61. ST:TNG (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
  62. ST:TOS (Star Trek: The Original Series)
  63. STTSP (Save The Trafalgar Square Pigeons)
  64. TAE (American Enterprise)
  65. TAF (Africanist Foundation)
  66. TAFKAC (Archive Formerly Known As Cathouse)
  67. TAFKAP (Artist Formerly Known As Prince)
  68. TAIC (A______s In Charge)
  69. TAJ (Acts of Jesus)
  70. TAP (Airline of Portugal -- false etymology)
  71. TAP (American Prospect)
  72. TAP (American Psychoanalyst)
  73. TAS (American Spectator)
  74. TAS (Animated [Star Trek] Series)
  75. TBTB (Bastards That Be)
  76. TCF (Century Fund)
  77. TCIE (Center for Industrial Effectiveness)
  78. TDN (Detroit News)
  79. TDWI (Data Warehousing Institute)
  80. TELA (Electronically Linked Academy)
  81. TELOS (Electronic Library Of Science)
  82. TERI (Education Resources Institute)
  83. TFG (Five Gospels)
  84. TFWNSNBU (Film Whose Name Shall Not Be Uttered)
  85. THC (History Channel)
  86. THOG (House of God [title of a novel])
  87. THOMAS (House of Representatives Open Multimedia Access System)
  88. TIA (Internet Adaptor)
  89. TIAC (Internet Access Company)
  90. TIACA (International Air Cargo Association)
  91. TIFKAD (Instrument Formerly Known As Dobro)
  92. TIGHAR (International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery)
  93. TIGR (Institute for Genomic Research)
  94. TIIC (Idiots In Charge)
  95. TINCAN (Inland Northwest Community Access Network)
  96. TIP (Industrial Physicist [magazine])
  97. TIPTOP (Internet Pilot To Physics)
  98. TITWB (Trapped In The Wrong Body)
  99. TIWTGLGG (This Is Where The Goofy Little Grin Goes)
  100. TJB (Jerusalem Bible)
  101. TLC (Learning Channel)
  102. tLotF&tHotB (Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave)
  103. TLSC (Llama Steering Committee)
  104. TMC (Movie Channel)
  105. TMMW (Man-Made World)
  106. TMN (Movie Network)
  107. TMR (Medieval Review)
  108. TMS (Metallurgical Society)
  109. TMV (Mars Volta)
  110. TNC (Nature Conservancy)
  111. TNC (New Criterion)
  112. TNG (Next Generation)
  113. TNN (Nashville Network)
  114. TNO (Network Observer)
  115. TNR (New Republic)
  116. TOBY (Office Building of the Year)
  117. TOS (Operating System)
  118. TOS (Original [Star Trek] Series)
  119. TPI (PANSS Institute)
  120. TPM (Philosophy Magazine)
  121. TPTB (Powers That Be)
  122. TRIP (Road Information Program)
  123. TSCG (Surrealist Compliment Generator)
  124. TSL (Svedberg Laboratory)
  125. TSN (Sporting News)
  126. TSN (Sports Network)
  127. TSR (Software Resource)
  128. TSSAA [a missed opportunity]
  129. TST (Shakespeare Theatre)
  130. TTBOMKAB (To The Best Of My Knowledge And Belief)
  131. TTBOMKAU (To The Best Of My Knowledge And Understanding)
  132. TTBOMM (To The Best Of My Memory)
  133. TTG (Tarrance Group)
  134. TTP (TTP Project)
  135. TUC (Utility Connection)
  136. TUCOWS (Ultimate Collection Of Winsock Software)
  137. TWC (Weather Channel)
  138. TWIAVBP (World Is A Very Big Place)
  139. TWUC (Writers' Union of Canada)
  140. TW3 (That Was The Week That Was)
  141. T.Y.W.L.S. (With Punctuation, Even)
  142. T5G (Five Gospels)
  143. WOTD (Word Of The Day)
  144. WTF (What?)
  145. WTH (What The Hell)
  146. wwftd (Worthless Word For The Day)

The phenomenon occurs in other languages, of course, but the only one that occurs to me is DKW, which received an alternate expansion of ``das kleine Wunder.'' One English acronym based on transliterated Arabic words is AQI, in which the A stands for al, the Arabic definite article. The same word is usually el when transliterated from the Egyptian variety of Arabic, and ul when transliterated from Punjabi, but mostly it has entered European languages as al or the syncopated form a-.

Spanish has a number of nouns borrowed from Arabic which still have the definite article al attached. For example, cotton is algodón. It's such a common phenomenon that it gives rise to overcorrection, as in almirante (`admiral'). [As explained at the VADM entry, the word was borrowed with an al on the end. The final l was lost, but the initial a was converted to an al.]

Sometimes, typically through French, this overcorrection enters English. For example, almond, immediately from French, is ultimately from the ancient Greek amygdálê (whence also amygdala, of course), by way of Spanish almendra. See also aceite.

In Commonwealth English spelling, there are a number of words of French origin that end in -re, such as centre, fibre, litre, and nitre. [Few or none of these are instances of the agentive ending -er, which is typically -eur in the French (male) form.] In French, the order of the letters reflects the order of pronunciation. In Received Pronunciation and similar ``non-rhotic'' British accents, the arr in this normally unstressed syllable is hard to detect. In American pronunciations, which are mostly rhotic, the ee is pronounced (as a shwa) before the arr. One of the spelling reforms promulgated by Noah Webster and generally adopted by the new republic was rationalized order of this ending. Theatre was among the words reordered (to theater). Since the advent of movies, however, there has been a tendency, now almost completely dominant, to use theatre for traditional live drama on a stage. No doubt this was partly influenced by the prestige of French culture in general and the English stage in particular.

Interestingly, where German has borrowed French words ending in -re, it has also inverted the final order. The German pronunciation of the final -er is similiar to the British, so the final consonant arr is present practically only in the imagination. The difference (from British) in German spelling reflects the fact that German is substantially phonetic. French borrowings in English normally preserve their original spelling, but that does not normally conflict with their pronunciation. Maintaining the final -re in Theatre would conflict with the German pronunciation, which uses the sound conventionally written -er (and pronounced virtually identically with -e) in native German words.

The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, uses the -er spelling in its name, of course (rather than centre). The KC is one of the few organizations involved in theatre in the US that persists in the theater spelling. They sponsor an ``American College Theater Festival'' that everyone else spells ``American College Theatre Festival.''

In our discussion of Fred Stone, there's a review from the first decade of the 20th century which uses the -re spelling. However, the origin of the quote is uncertain, and it's been through a couple of secondary sourcings (and possible spelling modifications).

The English proper noun Thebes looks like a plural. This is sort of appropriate, since there were two cities named Thebes, and the Greek name they bore is formally plural and is construed plural (viz. Thêbai; it was also sometimes referred to in the singular, as Thêbês).

One Thebes was an ancient Greek city, and now is ancient Greek ruin. It was one of the major settlements of Greece at least as far back as the early bronze age. One day back when I worked at ASU, I gave a ride home to a French colleague. As we were southbound on Rural Road, approaching her apartment, she asked me where I lived, and I said, ``two miles south'' or something close to that. She remarked that that was a very American way to answer. I suppose it's also very American to think that there wasn't any more sensible way to answer, and anyway the local landmarks were unknown to her. It's not like Tempe has named ``neighborhoods.'' (There are also studies that suggest that men find their way more by distances and directions, and women tend to go more by landmarks.) Anyway, it might explain my frustration with descriptions like ``on the south edge of the eastern plain of Boetia.'' Greek Thebes is about 50 km NNW of Athens.

Thebes is also the name of an ancient Egyptian city, about 200 km downriver from Swenet (modern Aswan), or 400 km north of the Sudan border. The ancient Egyptian name of the city was Waset.

the drip
A signature gesture of Bob Fosse (1927-1987): hands limp at the wrist and fingers pointed down, as in ``Cool Hand Luke.'' See also tea-cup fingers.

The House of God
A novel nominally by Samuel Shem, M.D., first published in 1978 and subtitled (in at least some editions) ``The Classic Novel of Life and Death in an American Hospital.'' I think ``Solomon'' would have worked better than ``Samuel.'' Samuel was the last judge before the era of Kings, but Solomon built the first Jewish temple in Jerusalem -- a more literal house of God. Shem is a Hebrew word meaning `name.' Then again, Samuel makes a more precise aliteration in Hebrew: Shmuel vs. Solomon.) Samuel Shem is, of course, a pen name. It is used by the psychiatrist Stephen Joseph Bergman, currently a professor at Harvard, best known for this book and Mount Misery. Both of these are fictionalized accounts of medical training in the US. Despite its satiric tone, THOG is widely attested to be realistic by people who've been through the mill. (Realistic, that is, except for certain burlesques like the orgy in the resuscitation room.)

Bergman received some of his early medical training at Oxford, but his internship was at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Beth Israel is a popular name for synagogues and for hospitals that were originally or are Jewish-affiliated. Beth is the common Hebrew word meaning `house.' The th in this word is generally pronounced like the th in Elizabeth (no, not a coincidence). The th transliterates a tav without a dot inside. Oh no! Not another phonology tangent! Let's just leave it as is.

Tactical High Energy Laser. Not just a general term, but also a particular testbed system built by Northrop Grumman Corp., first successfully tested in 2000. More at the MTHEL entry.

THermal EMission Imaging System. An infrared camera.

Now this is a bit tricky, so pay close attention:
  1. The Odyssey: An ancient Greek epic by Homer. Involves gods and bad things happening to good people. (Well, as good as they come, anyway.)
  2. theodicy: Why bad things happen to good people.
  3. the idiocy: Why bad things happen to stupid people and those who must depend on them. idiot is derived from the ancient Greek word for `layman.'

theory of the campaign
An election or nomination campaign's scenario for how things must go for the campaign to triumph. Distinct from strategy (which ought to be based on the theory of the campaign), and tactics.

There's no ``I'' in ``team''
  1. But there's an ``m'' and an ``e.''
  2. And there's no ``we'' either.
  3. There's one in the IPA spelling: /ti:m/.

There are
The beginning of a flat-footed sentence that will not convey information about the exalted educational attainments of the speaker. Never say ``there are <quantifier> <adjective> <plural noun>.'' Say ``in terms of the <adjective> <plural noun>, our research shows that there are <quantifier> <adjective>.


There is no ham in the pea soup.
Waiterese for ``There's ham in the pea soup and I don't know it.''

There is no ham in the pea soup, I'm sure.
Waiterese for ``I asked the cook, and he also believes incorrectly that the pea soup has no jamón in it.''

There's ham in the pea soup.
Waiterese for ``You know, someone came in earlier wanting to know if there was ham in the pea soup.''

thermic rays
Mostly a nineteenth-century term for infrared rays. Called calorific rays by Sir William Herschel, who discovered them in 1800. The initial discoveries consisted in the observation that when sunlight was refracted through a prism, a surface in the dark region near the red part of the spectrum was warmed. It was similarly discovered that some chemical reactions were promoted in the dark region beyond violet. For a while, it was generally assumed that these other rays were in some essential qualitative way different from visible light. It took a while to understand that the differences were essentially quantitative only (wavelength or frequency or some equivalent), and that the fact that some kinds of light-like radiation were visible and some not was better regarded as a feature of individuals' eyes than of the light.

THERMal INvestigations of ICs and microstructures. An annual summer workshop sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society.

Having to do with thermionic emission. I know that sounds circular, but it's accurate and compact. Look, don't give me a hard time. Just keep your hot electrons to yourself and follow the link.

A note about the pronunciation: four syllables, mostly obvious. Despite the etymology, and despite models like anionic and cationic (which have the same accentual stress pattern), the first letter i is pronounced like a long e rather than a long i. When I write ``is pronounced'' I mean that since I first heard the term in school in the 1970's, in the half-a-dozen years I did research in hot-electron systems, and in all the other years that I have regularly heard the term from other physicists and electrical engineers across the US (and probably from time to time at international conferences elsewhere), I never heard it pronounced any other way until I clicked on the hear-it link at the Merriam-Webster entry for thermionic and heard some nasal North American voice model mispronounce it with the long i that M-W claims is in the pronunciation. The American Heritage Dictionary makes the same error. These dictionaries claim to give the American pronunciation. I suppose the long i might be in a British pronunciation, or not be phonemically distinguished from the vowel in an Australian pronunciation.

A similar bit of dictionary pronunciation nescience concerns the word gigawatt. In the movie Back to the Future, Doc pronounces this word with a soft initial gee. That pronunciation is sanctioned by the same two dictionaries cited above for botching the thermionic pronunciation. The ignorant use of dictionaries' fanciful pronunciations of technical vocabulary is a reliable indication that no technically competent person had any influence in the concoction of the story. I remember a bunch of years ago when a local news team visited the Engineering Research Center (ERC) at ASU to report on an expensive piece of prestigious equipment that I have sound reason to suspect they understood not at all. It was fun to watch the handsome newsface repeat ``mo-LE-cyoo-ler beam EP-i-TAX-ee,'' rolling the phrase around in his mouth so it would come out real smart-like. I'm glad he took the effort; he was doing his job conscientiously. (It reminds me of learning the German word ausgezeichnet in seventh grade, when that seemed like a long word to us.)

The anonymous content provider of bigwaste.com (gives the game away, huh?) writes:

In fact, many individuals who have worked with computers and electronics for the last several decades will confirm that they used to pronounce gigabyte as "jigabyte."
Setting aside the question of how practical a unit the gigabyte was even as recently as 1990, and refraining from claiming that these are probably the same many individuals who thought that the vi editor was called ``six,'' I note only that parallels, as in the case of anionic and thermionic, do not rule usage.

thermionic emission
When you heat metal, it emits electrons. This is the effect called thermionic emission or ``the Edison effect.''

If the metal is at a negative voltage relative to some nearby electrode (or more generally if there is an electric field in the direction of the metal), some of those electrons will fail to be reabsorbed, and will instead flow toward a more positive electrode, giving rise to a current. This current flow or discharge was the effect reported by Guthrie in 1873. Edison rediscovered the effect independently in 1880, and patented it, while perfecting incandescent light bulbs. This current effect, as opposed to the emission effect, also has fair claim to be called ``the Edison effect.''

thermoosmosis, thermo-osmosis, thermoösmosis
What -- I've already given three different spellings, now you want to know what it means too? There's no satisfying you! Alright, I'll do another definition, but you shouldn't expect me always to be there for you.

Thermoosmosis is osmosis under conditions of a temperature differential. To review: osmosis is material transport across (i.e. through) a membrane in response to a concentration difference between the two sides. The situation as normally envisioned involves a solid, permeable membrane separating regions filled with fluid (gas or liquid). Osmosis is a general transport phenomenon, and as such may occur near to or far from equilibrium conditions. Umm, more words coming here. Basically, in thermoosmosis, the concentration difference is balanced not only by transport and osmotic pressure difference, but also by temperature difference across the membrane.

    Some papers:
  1. H. J. M. Hanley and W. A. Steele, Trans. Faraday Soc., vol. 61, pp. 2661ff (1965).
  2. R. J. Bearman and M. Y. Bearman, J. Phys. Chem., vol. 70, pp. 3010ff (1966).
  3. R. Rastogi and K. Singh, Trans. Faraday Soc., vol. 62, pp. 1754ff (1966).
  4. R. Rastogi, K. Singh, and H. P. Singh, J. Phys. Chem., vol. 73, pp. 2798ff (1969).

(London) Times Higher Education Supplement.

Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum. Produced by the J. Paul Getty Museum and available from Eisenbrauns (described at the AASOR entry), which describes this as ``a major multi-volume reference on all known aspects of Greek, Etruscan, and Roman cults and rituals. Providing both a sweeping overview and in-depth investigation, ThesCRA covers the period from Homeric times (1000 B.C.) to late Roman times (A.D. 400). A definitive work on the topic, ThesCRA is the culmination of many years of research by scholars from across the United States and Europe and throughout the Mediterranean world. Each of their texts-either in English, French, German, or Italian-is followed by a catalogue entry listing the epigraphical and literary sources cited and referencing ancient iconographical documents related to the topic. Many of these iconographical items are depicted either in line drawings in the texts or in the plate sections of each volume. On completion, ThesCRA will comprise five volumes, a book of abbreviations, and an index volume. The volumes are arranged thematically. The first three deal with dynamic elements of ancient cults, such as cultic ritual and practice, while the last two are devoted to static elements, such as cult places and their personnel.'' The abbreviations volume lists for $15, the rest are (vols. 1 and 2, as of 2005) or will be available for $250.

This word originally referred to a proposition, a claim in argument. The sense stretched to include the formal arguments in support of the thesis, and thus eventually thesis had a sense similar to dissertation, even when referring to academic work that was not primarily in the form of an argument. Some students in engineering and science try to extend the sense of the term beyond what is acceptable English usage: it is not correct to write ``in the present thesis I fabricate test structures...'' or a similar expression. One should say ``the present thesis describes the fabrication....''

Notice also the shift to a less personal voice. The conventional and preferred style of scientific and technical writing minimizes reference to the author and to personal agents. It is understood that the author or authors performed the necessary work, and that otherwise assistance will be explicitly acknowledged and credited. It is considered a bit unprofessional to draw attention to oneself, even though this may require extensive use of the passive voice and too much reliance on mushy abstract nouns instead of punchy verbs. With the exception of slumming, baby-talking introductory texts, the textbooks for college courses generally conform to this dry pattern. That may be contrasted with the better class of computer language books, which are bought voluntarily rather than for classes. The personal voice (and more extensive use of the second person) is more frequently found in textbooks for some of the social sciences.

The impersonality and affectlessness of scientific discourse is a pose, to some extent, but it is also an earnest of scientists' commitment to disinterestedness and thus to scrupulous honesty. To a great degree, science succeeds not just because it is intellectually serious -- as philosophy with its formal ``theses'' has been for 25 centuries -- but because it recognizes human limitations. The practice of testing, experiment, and confirmation of various sorts recognizes the limits of human reason in the face of natural variety: understanding is always approximate and imperfect, and logic applied to approximate concepts is not reliable. Similarly, scientific detachment is a recognition of the limits of human reason in the face of human emotion. When a researcher has a strong preference for a particular research conclusion, confirmation bias and simple obtuseness can overwhelm the researcher's sincere desire to be truthful and furnish the heart's desire, no matter the reality. As a defense against this weakness, one introduces a focus on process, on playing the game well rather than ``winning.''

In the nineteenth century, the success of science led people like Auguste Comte to consider how that success could be reproduced in other fields. There were some admirable efforts, like those of Émile Durkheim, to put the study of society on some kind of objective, quantitative, almost experimental basis, and thus arose the ``human sciences'' as distinguished from the older disciplines (the ``humanities,'' originally humaniora) examining the same general subject using a different scholarly approach. The work of early sociologists like Durkheim and Weber has been combed over, thoroughly criticized, and superseded. But a fair assessment must recognize, on the one hand, the muddled, detail- and exception-rich nature of human society. This continues to limit the generality and accuracy of ``facts'' and ``results'' in sociology to such an extent that I use scare quotes around the words. Notice the shift to an informal register? One little pronoun can do all that. Anyway, that recognition is necessary to compare early sociology fairly with its contemporary science. On the other hand, to compare that sociological research with recent work, it is worth remembering that statistical methods only began to be developed starting in the eighteenth century (to understand games of chance, and later to make best use of limited astronomical data). The most elementary statistical measures and tools now taken for granted in sociology are indeed mostly trivial in mathematical terms (though they don't seem that way to the sort of person who typically goes into sociology), but their development nevertheless represented a conceptual challenge.

You know, I've really veered away here from what I wanted to say. All this in-fairness-to-Durkheim stuff was incidental to the observation that scientific method, as such, has tended to be misunderstood. As described by high-school teachers, it seems like a recipe or formula that magically turns out fact, and that is somehow disconnected from human nature. One can understand that the how-you-play-the-game party line of scientists might engender this subtly flawed view. Students should be made to understand that there is not a single scientific method, and that scientific method is not an arbitrarily constructed well into the aquifers of knowledge, but instead is intimately related to human reality. In every science, the general form of scientific method is adapted to the particularities of the subject matter. (Astronomy was a successful science when all that could be called ``experiments'' were alternative measurement methods. Behavioral science leans on ``control groups'' which hard sciences can safely eschew.) What is constant, or should be, is humility: the understanding that scientific method is the best we can do given the failure of unassisted reason. Science aggressively seeks to discover its own failures. Logically, excluding whatever we can demonstrate to be false does not guarantee that we will discover what is true. We only discover what is contingently not-known-to-be-false. Such are the limitations of inductive reasoning. Yet it works.

Hmm. We keep going off course. What I had intended to do, getting back to the initial tangent to the thesis definition, was not to define or describe scientific method, or to preface that by an apology for the limitations of science in sticky disciplines, but to observe something about language use and the personal voice. Just as schoolteachers give a rigid, somewhat unfaithful rendering of scientific method, it was probably inevitable that social scientists would fetishize, make a cargo cult of method. Today, much of social science research (particularly ed research and criminology) is garbage, and this cannot be taken out by improved scientific method. Rather, it requires a renewed commitment to the scientific attitude that is parallel to scientific method. Simply put, a researcher who cannot accept a possible research result is not qualified to perform the research. If you are confident that your cherished views won't be a problem because your views will be borne out by your research, you are probably right on the latter point; however, your research is not science but theology. And your language will betray you, if you cannot bear to allow undesired results their place in the gallery of the possible. So too, to that extent, your thesis presents not your results but your preconceptions: you. Suppressing the personal voice in scientific writing is not necessary or sufficient for scientific detachment. It is rather an expression of intent, a deference to hard fact, a reverence for the sacred that's-just-how-it-is. Amen.

(Of course, a skilled glossarist can use the personal voice. Don't try this at home.)

Thesis has nothing to do with tmesis, you can take my word. Honest, you don't have to check!

The situation in this case is such that...
This deeply insightful expression is nevertheless (and notwithstanding) not unequivocal. It may mean:
  1. ``Ummm...''
  2. ``Well, ...''

Tunneling Hot Electron Transfer Amplifier. See M. Heiblum, M. I. Nathan, D. C. Thomas, and C. M. Knoedler, PRL, vol. 55 (1985), pp. 2200ff.

The Ugly Euclidean
``How much is that in radians?''

The Woman In
At the beginning of February 1983, Donna Summer's ``The Woman In Me'' broke into the Top 40 (that is, one of the top 40 positions of the Billboard Hot 100, based on sales and radio airplay of pop singles). It stayed in the Top 40 for 6 weeks, peaking at #33. Towards the end of May the same year, the Bee-Gees' ``The Woman In You'' (from the movie Staying Alive, starring John Travolta) broke into the Top 40 and also stayed for 6 weeks, peaking at #24. Oooooooooooooooooooh. Oooooooooooooooooh. Ooooo-ooooooooh.

There is no ``They.'' And if you keep insisting there is, They will make you very sorry you did.


Third-Harmonic Generation.

Transverse-Heated Graphite Atomizer. Used in Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS).

A THICK layer of silicon diOXide. Thick compared to thinox. Thickox is used as field oxide (q.v.), and the names are interchangeable in practice.

You know -- it sorta goes like that? More commonly spelled thingy.

This is described as completely as possible at the thingie entry, but what I can tell you briefly right here is that the word is a noun, or, in an older terminology, a ``noun substantive,'' though it may not be very substantive at that.

think piece
A thumbsucker, a white paper.

Ethernet on a thinner-than-normal coax cable. Also called cheapernet.

A THIN layer of silicon diOXide. The thinness is relative to field oxide. Thinox is principally used for vertical insulation: to separate an active (doped semiconductor) layer from conductor (metal) above it. Frequently, the overlying conductor is intended to interact controllably with the semiconductor -- as one plate of a capacitor, as the gate of MOSFET, or as one conductor of a T-line. In these situations, the oxide thickness must be controlled carefully. Hence, a thinox fabrication step usually is grown by dry oxidation or by physical vapor deposition (PVD). (In contrast, wet oxidation -- oxidation with steam instead of dry air -- has the advantage of speed.)

third way
Generally speaking, a political ``third way'' is a repackaging of one of two large established minorities, in order to broaden its appeal, forming a governing majority with enough of the skeptical center. The third way of the 1990's was conservative policies implemented, promoted, or at least used as protective coloration by liberal politicians. The first very successful example was Bill Clinton in the US. Sometimes the selling point was ``conservatism with a human face.'' (I swear I came up with this expression before I ever heard of George W. Bush's ``compassionate conservatism''!) Tony Blair painfully repositioned the UK Labour Party for victory shortly afterwards. Until then, US President Clinton and the Tory UK PM made cooing noises about how well they got on. The French call it cohabitation.

The ``third way'' is usually intellectually incoherent, and that is its greatest virtue. Reality is messy, and a complaisant ideological attitude is usefully flexible. To see just how incoherent, see ``Writers Try To Describe the Radical Middle, a page served with a pretty straight face by Radical Middle Political Newsletter: Thoughtful Idealism, Informed Hope.

In the aftermath of John Kerry's defeat in the 2004 US presidential election, one of the groups trying to direct how the Democratic party regroups has called itself ``Third Way.''

This game isn't over yet.
We've still got at least a couple of TV timeouts left to go.

This is gonna hurt me more than it hurts you.
Here's something from the famous diary of Pepys, February 28, 1662 (really the end of 1661, O.S.):
The boy failing to call us up as I commanded, I was angry, and resolved to whip him for that and many other faults, to-day. Early with Sir W. Pen by coach to Whitehall, to the Duke of York's chamber, and staid a great while with the Duke. Home, and to be as good as my word, I bade Will get me a rod, and he and I called the boy up to one of the upper rooms of the Comptroller's house towards the garden, and there I reckoned all his faults, and whipped him soundly, but the rods were so small that I fear they did not much hurt to him, but only to my arm, which I am already, within a quarter of an hour, not able to stir almost. After supper to bed.

(Incidentally, the Duke of York was the future King James II, even more than his father Charles II a good friend to Pepys. Sir W. Pen, as Pepys mostly or always wrote the name, was the father of the Quaker William Penn, and it is in fact Sir William who is the eponym of Pennsylvania.)

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``Optimization''? Are you kidding?

Describes a material that gels when stationary and liquifies when agitated. Note: any gel will break up under sufficiently vigorous shaking, but it will break up into chunks, not liquid. Thixotropic gels are physical gels. That is, their gelation represents a phase transition (H. Eugene Stanley at Boston, and others, studied this extensively starting in the 70's and 80's) rather than a chemical bonding transformation.

Trans-Hybrid Loss.

Thm.: His jokes are funny.
Pf.: He's your boyfriend.

This theorem can be understood in two very different ways, depending on whether his jokes really are funny or not.

It is very common for personals ads to claim that she's looking for someone with a sense of humor, someone who can make her laugh [she means this in a nice way], etc. Back in the 1990's, someone ran a reality check on this and found cognitive dissonance: when personals ads were divided into three categories -- straightforward, hard-to-get, and funny -- the funny ads were found to be the least effective at generating replies (even playing hard-to-get worked better).

Dang -- now I find out!

Somewhat common acronym (probably oftentimes an independent or nonce construction) for The House of God (a novel).

The (U.S.) House (of Representatives) Open Multimedia Access System. Served by the Library of Congress. Although the Library of Congress was created in George Washington's first term, it was burned along with much of Washington, D.C., by British troops in the War of 1812. Jefferson (THOMAS Jefferson) donated his personal library as the nucleus of a reconstructed library, and was the major influence in the subsequent development of the library. They recommend inserting html text like
<a href="http://thomas.loc.gov">
<img src="http://thomas.loc.gov/images/link.gif" 
alt="[Link to THOMAS Home Page]"></a">
to produce a flush-looking button like

[Link to THOMAS Home Page]

Thorndike and Lorge, Thorndike-Lorge
Edward L. Thorndike and Irving Lorge, professional word counters and co-authors of The Teacher's Word Book of 30,000 Words (New York: Bureau of Publications of Teachers College, Columbia University, 1944). The book is a wholly updated edition of Thorndike's original Teacher's Word Book, published in 1921 and extended to include 20,000 words in the 1931 edition. The latter was based on a corpus of about ten million words, and three other studies (the Lorge magazine count, the Thorndike count of 120 juvenile books, and the Lorge-Thorndike semantic count).

The 1931 Thorndike count was based on a corpus of about 10 million words The other three studies each used a corpus of at least, but apparently not much more than, 4.5 million words. Frequencies, stated as number of occurrences per 4.5 million words, are given for each of the four base studies. (Frequencies are listed precisely only up to 1000 per 4.5 million.)

In order to come up with an overall estimate of frequency, the frequencies of the four studies are averaged. This is a bit tricky (``exercises of judgment have been necessary,'' p. v), because lemmatization and the treatment of contractions, abbreviations, proper nouns, and the most common words differed among the studies. Some of these average frequencies are marked by an asterisk (indicating an estimate) or a question mark (when frequency determination depends in large part on the extremely frequent use of a word in one of the counts). [Question marks in data from base studies indicate other problems.] The averaged frequencies are given in occurences per million up to 49, and then as either ``A'' (50-99 per million) or ``AA'' (100 or more per million). The Thorndike-Lorge data I mention in this glossary are the averaged frequencies.

Material towards a future co-author entry:
On the title page, ``By Edward L. Thorndike and Irving Lorge'' appears below the title, and the copyright is held by Teachers College. The 1944 word book was apparently compiled by Thorndike. The preface, however, was written by Thorndike in the first person singular. He thanked Dr. Irving Lorge for his work on their ``Lorge-Thorndike semantic count and the Lorge magazine count, and for his generosity in permitting me to use the results.'' Below the preface, an unsigned ``[w]e acknowledge'' help from the Rockefeller Foundation and the W.P.A. for help on the same two word counts. The date on that page is February 1943.

``Thorndike'' -- what a wonderful old-fashioned surname. Whatever happened to the Thorndikes? Did they stop having sons? (As it happens, R.L. Thorndike, Edward Lee's son, was the father's student and followed him into the field of educational psychology.)


Teaching for Higher-Order Thinking. This is basically a ploy. The way that scholarship and research are supported tends to result in colleges and universities having large numbers of faculty qualified to teach material that is not obviously of direct use to students. That's perfectly okay, because large numbers of students are not qualified to learn material that might obviously be of direct use to them. It is still felt to be necessary, however, for some kind of argument to be made for why students should learn about Hittite history say, or Joyce's allusions. One class of arguments is content-based: that, say, knowing why the Hittite culture fell (or went away or whatever it did) is helpful analogically in understanding why, say, the Yankees dynasty ain't what it used to be. The second common kind of argument is sort of form-based -- that questioning the evidence and thinking about how or if the Hittite Empire fell is a kind of weight training for the brain muscle, and that even though the life cycle of Hittite civilization is not a very useful analogy to the product marketing cycle for toaster ovens west of the Mississippi, nevertheless the brain wrinkles crinkle in similar ways whether one wants to understand ancient Anatolians or Ashtabulans. Anyway, the second kind of argument is all about THOT. ``Critical thinking'' is scattered across the same bloody semantic field.

I suppose this deserves credit for homonymy.

This used to be the familiar second-person singular personal pronoun in nominative case in Middle English and Early Modern English, but it was replaced by you, which was originally the formal pronoun. Also, the th in this word was once voiced (like them).

thoughtless remark
Inadvertent candor.

Tennessee Highway Patrol.

Total Hip Replacement.

I remember when Cher's nose used to sing

Charleston was once the rage, uh huh...
History has turned the page! Uh-hu-uh.

Well the beat goes on.

Don't know a thing. But you could visit FMRC.

three-finger salute
CTRL-ALT-DELETE buttons held down simultaneously to reboot PC. (Or, under MS Windows, to brink up a dialog box to kill an unresponsive process.)

ERROR: Ctrl and Alt keys stuck: Press Delete to Continue

three on the tree
Manual (three-speed) gear shift mounted on the steering column.

Thrifts are banks (in a loose sense) that issue home mortgages. In other words, they are mortgagees. Traditionally, they raise capital by accepting personal savings deposits. They also generally make smaller personal loans. The kinds of financial institution that historically have constituted thrifts are those called savings and loans (i.e. savings-and-loan institutions) and savings banks. Credit unions are sometimes included in the definition and sometimes not. In historical discussions, credit unions may be omitted because they were far fewer in number than the savings banks and S&L's. More recently, they may be excluded out of ignorance, forgetfulness, or to maintain a useful distinction, although the kind of business credit unions do is essentially the same as that of the other thrifts.

Credit unions are distinguished from other thrifts in being ``cooperative organizations'' owned by their depositors, who are ``members.'' Typically, membership is restricted in some way -- to workers in a particular company or profession, say, or people living in a particular region. (I have the impression that the criteria have tended to become looser over time.) Once you're a member, however, you can stay a member even if you cease to satisfy the criteria for joining. When the term ``bank'' is used strictly, credit unions are the most likely of thrifts to be excluded.

The difference between a ``savings and loan'' and a ``savings bank'' is mostly historical. I've encountered two or three different kinds of explanations of the difference, and they're probably consistent. One is that they originally developed in different parts of the US, and another that they functioned somewhat differently, in one case focusing on home mortgages and in the other doing a fair amount of business in commercial real-estate mortgages, but without becoming commercial banks. When I get it sorted out I'll fix the entry.

The federal deposit-insurance organization for credit unions is NCUA. The corresponding entity for savings banks and S&L's was the FSLIC until 1989...

Until about the 1970's, thrifts could not have checking accounts (or ``share draft'' accounts, as the credit unions call them), and in return for this and for limiting their loan business (as described above), they were allowed to pay a slightly higher interest rate on deposits. These and various other fetters were removed for very good reasons, but a consequence was a meltdown of the thrifts in the 1980's.

In 1989, the Financial Institutions Reform Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) was passed into law. It dissolved the FSLIC, putting the accounts previously insured by the FSLIC under the FDIC, which had previously insured deposits only in commercial banks. FIRREA also created the Resolution Trust Corporation, a US-government-owned company set up to liquidate the assets, manage the bankruptcy, or steward the sale of the large number of insolvent thrifts. More about that at the RTC entry.

See toss.

Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity. The bad guys' organization in ``The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'' Every week they gave the men from UNCLE something improbable to do for an hour.

A TV show that was primarily a send-up of ``The Man from U.N.C.L.E.'' was Get Smart. Its bad guys' organization was KAOS.

Through-Hole Technology. Electronic components mounted on a circuit board by passing their leads through holes in the board and usually soldering them in place.



Wrote a history of the Peloponnesian War, something that happened before you were born. There's a short bibliography online, compiled by Lowell Edmunds at Rutgers.

A verb, meaning do what thurbers do. Well, that would make sense, anyway. The question came up in philology.

The closest I've come to finding an etymology or meaning of the surname Thurber is in Reaney and Wilson, which lists Thurban, Thurbon, Thurburn, Thorborn, Thoubboron, Thoburn, Turbin, Tarbun, and various less common forms, though not Thurber.

Like most ``English'' names, it is of Norman origin. In particular, it stems from Old Danish and Old Swedish Thorbiorn, and similar Old Norse, meaning `Thor-bear.' That doesn't make a lot of sense to me, and apparently it didn't make much more sense to the English, who Anglicized it to Þurbeorn, `Thor-warrior.' We'll call it an improvement.


Texas Instruments. See Germanium (Ge) entry for some early history.


Latin, Tiberius. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Tib. was also used.

Titanium. A popular sort of flypaper or sponge for ultrahigh vacuum systems. TiN, titanium nitride, is a popular sleeve for semiconductor interconnects. Ti is also added to iron to make steels strong or something or expensive.

Atomic number 22. In the first period of transition metals.

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

Translation and Interpretation. Like libel and slander. Don't care what they say, so long as they spell the name right.

Transparency International. ``[A] non-governmental organisation dedicated to increasing government accountability and curbing both international and national corruption.''

Travel Industry.

Tribuna Israelita. `Jewish Tribune.' According to the American Jewish Committee, which established formal ties with it in 1997, TI was ``[f]ounded in 1944,'' and ``is the analysis and opinion agency of the Jewish community of Mexico. It promotes an ongoing dialogue with influential leaders in Mexico and cooperates with diverse national organizations. In combating intolerance, and anti-Semitism in particular, TI generates a series of publications on the religious, ethical and philosophical facets of Judaism, and the Jewish presence in Mexico, as well as on racism.''

Telecommunications Industry Association. Affiliated with the EIA.

Thanks In Advance. Also written ``AdvThanksance'' by those who don't know any better or simply can't help themselves. Professional help is available. MTIA (Many TIA) is also used. TYIA and YWIA have been seen too.

The Internet Adaptor.

Total Information Awareness. What's that?!

A project for data-mining that combines government and commercial records of people in the US, proposed and beginning (2005) to be implemented as a component of the war on terror. It's not immediately clear whether this is constitutional or legal. Cf. TIPS.

Transient Ischemic Attack. A kind of stroke. We're not talking putts here. Cf. CVA.

The Internet Access Company, Inc.

Tourism Industry Association of Canada. See also Tourism entry below.

The International Air Cargo Association. Both this organization and TIAC above seem to be running away from yack-yak homophony. All honor to IACAC!


Latin, Tiberius. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Ti was also used.

TriIsoButylAluminum. Most common aluminum alkyl (AlR3) precursor for MOCVD.

Colorless. Pyrophoric, of course.

DiverTICulum. As Nietzsche wrote in his autobiography of a sick man [Ecce Homo (1888)]: All prejudices may be traced back to the intestines. A sedentary life is the real sin against the Holy Spirit.

Tenant In Common.


TID, t.i.d.
Medical prescription Latin: Ter In Die -- `thrice in a day.' According to an experienced nurse at one US hospital, TID there typically means at 9AM, 1PM, and 5PM. Disappointingly for sadistic nurses (not all), this minimizes the opportunity of waking patients at least once. On the other hand, in one hospital stay my father was woken up each night and asked if he wanted sleeping pills.

Note that in this abbreviation, the letter dee does not stand for dose, as in the next TID entry.

Total Ionizing Dose.

Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment. A US government list of suspected potential suspected potential terrorists. A list so long (550,000 names or so) as of December 2009 that it's almost worthless. The failed Christmas Day underpants bomber in 2009, Umar Farouk Mutallab, was on the list. I suppose ``TIDE'' suggests ocean; adding a name to TIDE is like adding a drop of water into the ocean.

A style of clothing characterized by cottons that have been immersed in dye after being tied in knots, so the fabric is dyed in a cheap pattern that spells out ``sixties atavism'' for those who can read the writing on the subway walls, and tenement halls, and whispered in the sounds ... of silence.

No. No punchline.

Walking through ASU campus one day, I saw a couple ambling along in faded jeans, tie-dyes, loose hair, little pink wire-frame glasses and love beads. It was early afternoon, 1989. I asked: ``What are you doing in this decade?'' I got an unloving stare for an answer. That, or they were still coming down from a bad high. Guys, if you're reading this now, I apologize.

An alternative expansion of SBF is Scenes From a life. The B is silent.

Tax Increment Financing. Not, as you might guess, financing by an increase in tax rates. Instead, TIF is mostly a bookkeeping procedure for a municipality, become popular in the 1990's in the US. The idea is that one or more districts will be designated as blighted and targeted for redevelopment, with increased municipal expenditures in the area being viewed as investments. The return on investment for the municipality comes from increased tax revenues (the ``increment'') if and when redevelopment succeeds.

In detail, the city computes a base rate of tax revenues from the TIF district, essentially the pre-TIF rates plus expected changes without TIF investment. The various taxation districts are at least partly funded by property taxes. [Which ones and how much varies by state, but school districts, townships or boroughs (in the sense of parts of cities), cities and counties are typically included.] Under a TIF plan, those districts continue to receive their respective shares of the base revenue. Any increment above that is diverted to a special fund to pay for improvements. Typically, these repay development bonds, but some increment monies may be used for further pay-as-you-go improvements. (Obviously, if it is possible to fund pay-as-you-go improvements from the beginning of the program, before any improvements have been made to increase revenue, then either there's an error in the base-revenue calculation, or else there's something more complicated going on, like a major private-public partnership.)

TIF is typically used to fund clearing of abandoned and derelict properties, land acquisition and infrastructure development. The scheme seems to be very popular with Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley. As of mid-August 1999, there were 72 (up three from July 1), covering 13,000 acres and 8% of assessed real-estate valuation. (Update April 8, 2002: 117 in Chicago, out of 600 for Illinois as a whole.) More than half of the TIF districts are within the southlands. Chicago Southland Development, Inc. (CSDI) has a good page.

The prediction of revenues spanning a range of years is a tricky computation that can lead to creative disagreements about how and even whether the system is working. NCBG believes they're over-used and out of control.

Tagged Image File Format.

Toronto International Film Festival. Held annually in September.

The Instrument Formerly Known As Dobro.

Terahertz Imaging Focal Plane Array Technology. A DARPA-funded research program.

TIG, Tig, tig
Tungsten Inert-Gas (welding). Another name for GTAW, q.v. TIG is pronounced to rhyme with ``pig.'' The inert gases are usually argon or helium, though the addition of nitrogen and hydrogen is helpful in some situations.

Texas Instruments Graphics Architecture.

Trench-isolated IGBT.

Topologically Integrated Geographic Encoding and Referencing file. A digital format for maps, developed by the U.S. Census Bureau to support the 1990 population census. (Succeeded the earlier DIME format.)

TIGER files are available for every county in the United States and for the millions of census blocks in urban areas. (In Louisiana, counties are called parishes.)

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery.

Offspring of a TIGer and a LiONess. Term is less common than...

Offspring of a TIGer and a liONess. Cf. liger.

This is a good place to mention that the Spanish g and b sounds are similar. The b is a soft bilabial represented by a beta in the IPA, and the g is a soft glottal represented by a gamma in the IPA. A similar pair of sounds were represented by w and g in northern Europe a millenium ago, and gave rise to pairs of words entering English separately from Norman and non-Norman French (guarantee and warranty, guard and ward, etc.). Typically, these words had Germanic roots, part of the Frankish heritage of Vulgar Latin and its descendants. For example, the words war and guerrilla, with etymons that entered English via Norman French and from Spanish, are ultimately related to the same Germanic root that gives us the word worse -- part of the English language in some form since Old English was spoken.

[As you realize, the w never caught on in Romance orthography, and g ruled. Hence the Germanic name William is rendered Guillermo in Spanish, Guillem in Catalan, Guilherme in Portuguese, and Guillaume in French. All have something of the palatalization of the lli in English William.]

The g was presumably used in the Spanish cognates because most of the Germanic words entered via French. I'm not sure if Spanish b had its current soft sound in those days (I know there's scholarly work on the question; I just haven't checked it yet). In any case, some words evolved in a direction that indicate a softening of b. In particular, if you read Cervantes in the original spelling you'll notice that grandmother is aguela -- now it's abuela. The reason I'm boring you silly with all this amateur linguist stuff is that as I was growing up, hearing and speaking Spanish but not reading it much, I thought that the word for shark was tigurón, a sort of augmentative form of tigre (`tiger'). But it turns out that the word is tiburón, with no known relation to tigers.

There were sharks in the waters off Spain long before the tiburón entered the language. In fact, in one of the earliest attestations, Fz. de Oviedo in 1535 commented that they were more common in the Caribbean than around Spain. Since the word appeared in Spanish only shortly after the discovery of America, and the cognates in Portuguese (tubarão) and Catalan (tauró) are not clearly much earlier, an American origin seems likely. One hypothesis is that it comes via Portuguese from the Tupí word uperú (or iperú), with a t- that functions as an article in the Tupí language. (At the time of the Portuguese took possession of Brazil, Tupí tribes occupied most of the coastal territory from the Rio de la Plata to Amazon. The two main tribes were the Tupí properly speaking, who lived at the mouth of the Amazon, and the Guaraní, who lived in the eastern part of present-day Paraguay, between the Paraguay and Paraná rivers. The Guaraní language has something of a semi-official status in Paraguay. Although most of my South American family lives in Chile, everyone who lives for very long in Paraguay learns Guaraní.) Well, okay, enough about tigon and all.

The Institute for Genomic Research. In Rockville, Maryland.

Telecommunications and Information Infrastructure Assistance Program. [Of the US Department of Commerce (DoC).]

The Idiots In Charge. A variant of TPTB with attitude.

Truth-In-Lending Act.

Telecom Italia Learning Services.

Technical Information Management.

Technical, Interactional and Managerial.

Two Intensity Measurements. A technique for the reconstruction of complicated amplitude distributions. Proposed by U. Mahlab, J. Rosen, and J. Shamir, ``Iterative generation of holograms on spatial light modulators,'' Optics Letters 15, pp. 556-558 (1990).

A very short burka worn by Malian ballerinas?

time banking
``For every hour you spend doing something for someone in your community, you earn one Time Dollar. Then you have a Time Dollar to spend on having someone do something for you.'' If Gresham's Law can be confirmed in any sort of moentary system, this is probably it. The accounting is done by TimeBanks.

Common alternative name for TimesSelect, a collection of New York Times content of a sort that used to be available free online and that is now available by paid subscription online.

Thermal Ionization Mass Spectrometry (MS).

Third International Mathematics and Science Study. Results released in 1995, tending to demonstrate that Sweden will bury us. Cf. NAEP.

Tim Toady
Sounds like TMTOWTDI, acronym for the Perl slogan ``There's More Than One Way To Do It.'' That's usually pronounced ``Tim Toady,'' but TMTOWTDI.

Taxpayer Identification Number. The IRS requires a TIN for every person filing an income tax form, as well as for those claimed as dependents. For anyone who has one, it is the SSN. See also ATIN and ITIN.

The IRS did not always require a TIN for dependents (mostly children). The requirement was instituted in 1987 (for tax-return filings on FY 1986 income). Tax forms that year showed seven million fewer dependents than the previous year.

Titanium Nitride. Typically pronounced ``tie nitride.'' [The ``tie'' spelling is just eye dialect. No one writes it that way in the technical literature.]

TiN is an excellent barrier to diffusion, widely used in microelectronic device fabrication. Sputter-deposited material has very variable properties; resistivities in the range 20 to 2000 microohm cm, densities 3.2 to 5.0 g/cc. For more, see references cited in Ki-Chul Park and Ki-Bum Kim: ``The effect of density and microstructure on the performance of TiN barrier films in Cu metallization,'' Journal of Applied Physics, vol 80, #10, pp. 5674-5681 (15 Nov. 1996).

More and less dense TiN has different appearance: gold (G-TiN) and brown (B-TiN).

The Inland Northwest Community Access Network. As near as I can tell, ``the inland northwest'' here means Spokane, Washington.

Very thin shiny or glittery material, typically used in strips and bad taste, though sheets and threads are also used. Cheaply decorative. Gaudy.

I should stress that the negative associations are conventional connotation, not my own prejudice.

Tin is not very shiny. The Modern English word tinsel < Middle English tineseile <  Old French estincelle, `spangle, spark.' It's cognate with the word stencil.

Clive James has written (in one of the essays in As of This Writing)

Flaubert liked tinsel better than silver because tinsel possessed all silver's attributes plus one in addition -- pathos. For whatever reason, [Raymond] Chandler was fascinated by the cheapness of L.A. When he said that it had as much personality as a paper cup, he was saying what he liked about it. When he said that he could leave it without a pang, he was saying why he felt at home there.

Tiny Tim
Nickname for a 10-foot-long air-to-ground missile carrying a 500-pound bomb, used by the US military in the 1960's.

Tiny Tim
Pet name of the youngest child of Bob Cratchit. Don't ask me who the Dickens is Bob Cratchit.

Tiny Tim
Stage name of Herbert Khaury. As Tiny Tim, the six-foot-one actor performed in a ridiculous falsetto with a ukelele. His big break came on Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, where he became a regular. He also was a frequent guest on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, where he married his first wife, Miss Vickie, on December 17, 1969. Do you realize that this glossary started out as a resource for students studying microelectronics? How embarrassing!

Anyway, Tiny Tim used other stage names (among them Larry Love and Darry Dover) and gave variable answers for his year of birth (usually between 1922 and 1933). At least his first and last names are reasonably certain. At some point he gave himself the middle name Buckingham for the royal associations. His Lebanese father was named Butros Khaury. The son's full name is given on a number of webpages as Herbert Butros Khaury, and for all I know that might be accurate.

The Industrial Physicist. Volume 1, number one appeared as a supplement to the July 1995 issue of Physics Today. Subsequent issues appeared separately. (Another trial issue was sent with the December 1995 PT.) The magazine ceased publication with the December 2004/January 2005 issue (vol. 10, no. 6). According to the description meta tag of the website, ``[t]he Industrial Physicist is a magazine about leading-edge physical science that has commercial potential; the magazine for applied research and product development, serving scientists, engineers, and their managers in industry.''

Temporary International Presence in the City of Hebron. A civilian observer mission in the West Bank city of Hebron, staffed by personnel from Denmark, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.

tipout, tip-out
An amount turned over by waiters and waitresses to restaurant support staff (cooks, etc.) as ``motivation.'' It's typically computed as 3.5 to 4.5% of server sales. Paying over the tipout is also called ``tipping out'' -- i.e., tipout is verbed.

Technometrica Institute of Policy and Politics. The (not necessarily political) polling arm of TechnoMetrica. We have a list of firms that do political polling at the pollsters entry (oddly enow).

On a scale of one to ten, with one being not at all and ten being completely, how confused were you by the use of the archaic form ``enow'' of enough?


One the same scale, how confused were you by the phrase ``one to ten,'' which might have been 9:59? How about the sparse punctuation, was that a problem? We really want to know, but we can't be bothered to write the cgi polling interface. You know, TechnoMetrica -- or TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, Inc., as it is also known -- has an internet polling arm called Netpollster. But HotOrNot gathers more important information.

Recent studies (``recent'' in March 2002) indicate that TIPP is teaming with IBD.

Texas Independent PROducers and Royalty Association.

Tax Information (automated) Phone Service (of the CCRA). If you're not going to check out the CCRA entry, you at least want to know that the first C stands for Canada. (The same service in French is SERT.) There's another Canadian-Content TIPS entry below. Tax tips by telephone, sex tips by telnet.

Terrorism Information and Prevention System. An early post-9/11 proposal by the Bush Jr. administration to trample civil rights in order to protect them. The Justice Department would ask mail carriers, meter-readers, and others who have privileged access to ordinary peoples' homes to act as spies. Oh, it wouldn't be spying really -- they'd just be encouraged to notice things, you know? An official spokesman speaking on condition of anonymity said ``No wait, that's not what we had in mind at all!'' This leak is not being investigated. Cf. TIA.

Thermally Induced Phase Separation. A method for PDLC fabrication.

Transjugular Intrahepatic Portosystemic Shunt. A therapy for variceal bleeding. Cf. EST. Excuse me, I need to sit down now.

(US) Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.

Maybe: Technical Information Processing System. In any case: a natural-language query language that you can check out via telnet to this machine [in response to the prompt ``Select an Information File or Quit:'' type ``Sex''], where there is TIPS information on SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX. SEX. Sex. Sexsexsexsex. XXX Sex. Beast with two backs! Humping even with front-wheel drive!

The nasty.
French postcards.
Knowing in the Biblical sense.

Please excuse the outburst. This was purely for the benefit of the Yahoo and Lycos search engines. I just felt like making this my most-visited file next month. [It didn't work. Others had similar ideas.]

Back on-topic. Here is a typical exchange with the TIPS ``Ask the Sexpert'' (by T. E. Whalen, Ph.D., ©1994, Gov't of Canada), which won the 1994 Loebner Prize for ``the most human-like natural language program.'' [In the following, prompts and output printed by the program are in italics; typical human reponses and commentary are not italicized, or at least within square brackets.]

You say: What is my name?
I can not answer that.

You say: Good. What does `TIPS' stand for?
I can not answer that.

You say: What is sex?
"Sex" is a noun, adjective, and verb. Generally it refers to the differences between male and female and the activities arising from those differences. Thus we can talk about having sex, sex acts, and even sexing chicks.

You say: This is not exactly what I wanted to know.
The single most common complaint that sex therapists treat is a claim that one or both partners are uninterested in sex. Low sexual desire may vary from a simple discrepancy [... blah, blah, blah ...] negotiations do not look like demands for sex, that you [... blah, blah, blah ...] needs and feelings are given equal consideration with your own, even if they are very different than yours.

You say: We're not getting anywhere here, are we?
I can not answer that.

You say: What's your sign?
I can not answer that.

You say: Are you a virgin?
How do I appear to you?

You say: I'm asking the questions.
As Popeye says, "I yam what I yam."

You say: Aren't you programmed with Asimov's three laws of robotics?
Surely you don't find that as interesting as human sexuality. What would you like to know about sex?

You say: Are yoou a virgin?
You should have sex when you are ready. You should have sex when you have found a suitable partner and when you both feel comfortable being intimate with each other. [Tell me about logorrhea, really.] You should not have sex with someone if you [... mercy excision ...] have any doubts about the sincerity of their consent. [ ! ] ... It is normal to be nervous the first time you have sex because ...

You say: What would you know from normal?
I think sex is one of the most interesting things people do. What would you like to know about sex? How to do it? What can go wrong? Who is doing what? How much they do?

You say: Length
Penises of all sizes and shapes are equally able to satisfy most women and to impregnate them. It is true that some women like men with large penises, but it is equally true that some do not. A woman's
%cat political.correctness >/dev/null

You say: Width
I can not answer that. (I am doing the best I can with your keywords, but I can often give you better information if you ask a question that is a complete sentence.)

You say: How wide?
If you have never tried sexual intercourse before, but only know about it from books and movies, it can sound rather intimidating. Fiction pretends that ...
[Man this sure ain't Playboy.]

You say: Are you a Virginian?
How do I appear to you?

You say: Virginia is for lovers.
There are few intellectual persuits [sic] as unrewarding as trying to determine the maximum sexual experience that a person can have and still claim to be a virgin. The true issue is ...
[Scholasticist evasion >/dev/null.]

You say: What about this Whalen guy?
I can not answer that.

You say: Pretty tight-lipped, huh.
I can not answer that.

You say: Use your imagination.
People think about sex a lot. Especially, they think about sex during sexual activity, though more than two out of three people may not be thinking about [... telnet yourself for the scintillating lowdown ...] For example, many women fantasize about being raped, but no woman actually wants to be raped.

You say: My name is Attila the Hun.
I can not answer that.

You say: Pretty intimidating, I know. Okay, now I am Casanova.
I can not answer that.

You say: You know: Casanova -- the famous librarian.
I can not answer that.

You say: I like you.
I can not answer that.

You say: Your place or mine?
A bedroom is undoubtedly the most comfortable place to ...

You say: Exit

End of Conversation

(US) Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.

The Internet Pilot TO Physics.

Total Internal Reflection. What happens when you try to violate Snell's Law, by trying to transmit light from a higher-index into a lower-index medium, in a beam too far from normal to the surface.

In fact, you can violate Snell's Law, and transmit under conditions that nominally correspond to total internal reflection, by having the light transmitted into the low-refractive-index medium immediately (a few wavelengths distant at most) reenter a higher-index medium. This is the classical analogue of quantum tunneling, and can be easily understood: whereas in ray optics, the reflected beam does not penetrate the low-index medium, in a wave theory one finds a spatially evanescent wave (a wave with imaginary wave vector in the direction normal to the interface), magnitude decreasing exponentially into the `forbidden' medium. Placing a high-index material nearby changes the electromagnetic wave problem in a way similar to that of transforming a semi-infinite quantum barrier into a finite one.

tired of the bar scene
Personalsese expression meaning `not getting any on the bar scene.'

tired vehicle
Like mine. I'm not a train conductor.

Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Correlation Spectroscopy.

Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence Microscope. A fluorescence microscope that uses evanescent waves of TIR to selectively illuminate and excite fluorophores near a glass-water interface.

TIRF microscopy
Use of a TIRFM.

Trunk Integrated Record-Keeping System.

Spanish, `throws,' `pulls,' and [gun] `shots.'

Television InfraRed Observation Satellite.

Total Induced Shift.

Total Integrated Scattering. Obeys a sum rule called the optical theorem.

Treponema-pallidum Immobilisation Test. One test for syphilis.

Title IX
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. US law forbidding sex-based descrimination by educational institutions that receive federal funds. Mostly mentioned in connection with post-secondary school spending on athletics. Has been interpreted as imposing a requirement on such institutions to prevent sexual harrassment of employees.

titles of books
Various entries in this glossary contain some information about the titles of books (besides the titles themselves). The interesting ones that I can find now are linked below.

  1. Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme
    (Yeah, it's a play, but the script has been published as a book. See the 40 entry.)
  2. Catch-22
    (See the 22 and TV entries, as well as the book Now all we need is a Title.)
  3. Everything You Always Wanted to Know... titles
    (See the TTBOMKAB entry.)
  4. Hundert Autoren gegen Einstein
    (See the 100 entry.)
  5. Nineteen Eighty-four
    (See 1984 and entries linked there.)
  6. Now all we need is a Title: Famous Book Titles and How They Got That Way
    [It's by André Bernard (New York and London: W.W. Norton and Co., 1994).] On the title page (bearing the entire title) and on the cover, the only words of the short title (the part before the colon) that are capitalized are now and title. Normally I wouldn't mention it, but in this entry (titles of books) I figured you'd want to know.]

An insectivorous bird, of course. The thing I want to call attention to is the etymology. The first syllable, tit, is believed to come from the Old Norse word tittr, meaning `titmouse.' The second syllable is from Middle English mose, which meant `titmouse' also. (Something like this happens frequently in spoken Chinese: people will often give synonyms, or words with related meanings, to disambiguate among the large number of homophones that occur in the Chinese language(s).)

The spelling has evidently been influenced by mouse, and the plural in Modern English is titmice. Time to renew efforts to make mongeese the official plural of mongoose. After that, meese as plural of moose will be as easy as tipping a cow.

Just for the record, titmice (love to write that) are passerine birds of the family Paridae, especially species of the genus Parus, such as the chickadee. Titmice (yeah!) are found in woodland areas around the world.

Okay, okay -- it's possible the first syllable meant `small.' That would imply that titmouse means small titmouse. ``Small'' compared to what -- a titmouse? If we apply this recursively, pretty soon the insects are going to be eating the titmice.

Trapped In The Wrong Body. Transsexual.

Trusted Interface Unit. But don't forget what happened to Miles Standish!

This Is Where The Goofy Little Grin Goes. I did a search at dejanews.com, and it turned out that someone used this only one month ago in a newsgroup. Also, over the past year, the acronym has appeared three times in lists of abbreviations. For comparison, the word usufruct appeared in 581 postings in the same database. I would conclude, therefore, that TIWTGLGG is a rare acronym, though not as rare as PMYMHMMFSWGAD.

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