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G g



Latin, Gaius. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Much less common than C., q.v.

g., g, (g)
Gas[eous]. In chemical formulae, the fact that a substance is in the gaseous state may be indicated by a parenthesized gee (always lower case) following the chemical formula. Thus, for example, ice [H2O (s)] and liquid water [H2O (l)] can be distinquished from steam: H2O (g).

A symbol related to (g) is the upward-pointing arrow, which indicates that a gaseous reaction product is allowed to escape (typically from the solution in which other reactants are dissolved). Many elementary reactions are driven to completion by the escape of a gaseous product. Kinematically, one can regard this as a much-reduced rate for the reverse reaction: the product gas goes away and is no longer available to participate in a reverse reaction with the condensed products of the forward reaction. Thermodynamically, one can think of this as an entropy-driven reaction: the entropy of the gas, when ``confined'' in an infinite volume, is infinite. (In a finite volume, it grows logarithmically with the volume.)

General, Generalized. Productive prefix.

General Audiences. Designates movies that will not give young children or their parents nightmares.

Giga-. SI prefix for 109. Vide billions.

Glycine. An amino acid. Its three-letter code is GLY. Glycine is not the same as either of the amino acids glutamic acid (GLU) or glutamine (GLN) whose one-letter abbreviations are E and Q, respectively.

Why use confusing single-letter amino-acid codes? Look, a typical protein is thousands of monomers long.

Once when I volunteered at Recording for the Blind, I was monitor for the recording of a biochemistry textbook. The terms of RFB's standard agreement with publishers require that all content be faithfully recorded and all the pictures described in detail. (I guess publishers will only allow a ``copy'' rather than an abridged ``derivative work.'') One page of the biochemistry book illustrated schematically a polypeptide chain (a short protein) that had been sequenced, each monomer represented by a little box with a three-letter code. For a few minutes, all the reader did was rattle off ``...glutamine, valine, glutamic acid, alanine, arginine, serine, alanine, ....''

GNU C++ Compiler. Under Unix, filenames and commands can typically have nonalphanumeric characters, but they can be inconvenient. (In non-Unix operating systems, there are tighter restrictions.) If only to avoid problems, the filename and command for g++ is gpp. Cf. gcc.

Golf. Not an abbreviation here, just the FCC-recommended ``phonetic alphabet.'' I.e., a set of words chosen to represent alphabetic characters by their initials. You know, ``Alpha Bravo Charlie ... .'' The idea behind the choice is to have words that the listener will be able to guess at or reconstruct accurately even through noise (or narrow bandwidth, like a telephone).

I prefer ``Gravitation.''

Gospel. Used as a prefix in Historical-Jesus studies: GMark, GMatthew, GLuke, GJohn for Gospel of Mark, Gospel of Matthew, etc.

Traditionally, one ``John'' was regarded as the author of GJohn and of [the Book of] Revelations, but serious scholarship now regards this as highly improbable, since the Greek of one of the texts (Revelations) contains many ``Palestinian'' errors and the other does not. ``GJohn'' is occasionally used to designate the John who was the (presumed single) author of the text GJohn.

Gram. SI unit of mass. If you shear off its empty head and put a lead pillow under its tail, it makes a tolerable 9. Or perhaps an intolerably confusable ``nine.''

The gram may have some other uses.

<g>, <G>

<bg>, <BG> Big Grin
<eg> evil grin
<g,d&r> grinning, ducking & running
<g,d&rvvf> grinning, ducking & running very very fast...
<vbg> very big grin

Groschen. One hundredth of an Austrian Schilling from 1823 until the euro was introduced. Preceding that, the Groschen has a long if not always lustrous history; I don't plan to research when in the past it has and has not been abbreviated by a lower-case letter gee. The word Groschen continues in use in proverbial expressions in Germany as well as Austria.

In German, euro is spelled Euro; the pronounciation, written in English, would be something like ``OY-hroe.'' (As Twain remarked, foreigners spell better than they pronounce.) Also in German, one hundredth of a euro is a Cent. According to the usual German rules, this should be pronounced as ``tsent'' would be in English, unless it is regarded as a loan word from, say, American English, in which case it should be pronounced ``cent.'' In fact, German dictionaries generally favor the ts pronunciation, but the s pronunciation seems to prevail in practice.

Guanine. A purine base in DNA and RNA that pairs with the pyrimidine Cytosine (C). GMW of the isolated Guanine base is 151.1 grams per mole.

[Football icon]

Guard. An offensive position in American football. Really a mostly defensive offensive position. The left and right guards line up to either side of the center, and try to protect the pocket that holds the quarterback from the rushing defensive linemen (sort of offensive defensive players), or maybe block for a running back. Strength and to a lesser extent quickness are important at this position, not so much speed. Defensive linemen are big. If the term hadn't already been claimed by the plasma physicists, I'm sure that football theorists would have coined ``inertial confinement'' for protecting the pocket.

Disclaimer: I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm as bad as most of the other beer receivers at the sports bar.

(Domain name code for) Gabon.

The entry looks a little thin.

Gallium. One of two elements named in honor of France. [The other is Francium (Fr).] Atomic number 31.

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

Gamblers Anonymous. A twelve-step program for gamblers -- specifically, for those people who work too hard at honing their skill in games of chance.


General Admission. A kind of ticket that gets you into the stadium but you have to sit in the cheap bleachers. Actually, that's not exactly correct. It means that you don't have any particular seat reserved. If it's a poorly attended game you can probably sneak towards the better seats after a while and get a good view of a bad game.

For some events (e.g. minor-league baseball, many rock concerts), all the seating is general admission. Rock concert promoters are reported to favor ``festival seating,'' as GA seating is also called, on the theory that the most enthusiastic fans get near the stage and generate excitement for the rest of the crowd; some performers and bands insist on a festival seating area near the stage. Many of the professional classical music concerts, most of the plays, and all of the operas I can recall had assigned seating, or at least assigned sections. Sporting events have typically been a mix, with some GA sections.

All the classes I have ever taught were GA, but none of them has had a mosh pit. I think I had better liven up the presentations. Can I do laser lightshows with PowerPoint?

General Assembly. Usually refers to United Nations General Assembly, a constituent assembly in which every member nation has one vote. A separate body called the security council (SC) has five permanent members with veto power and a rotating membership with nonveto votes.

I've heard the story that when Roosevelt and Stalin negotiated over the form of the UN, Stalin wanted every Soviet Republic of the USSR (all 15) to have a vote in the GA. Roosevelt counterproposed that then every one of the united states (all 48) should have a vote. In a compromise, Stalin got separate membership and GA votes for Ukraine and Belarus. If this seems like an unbalanced compromise, maybe not the best negotiating on FDR's part, well, you're catching on.

General Availability.

General Aviation. Private, noncommercial aviation.

Genetic Algorithm.

Georgia. The peach state. The state capital, Atlanta, has about 200 streets with the words peach tree in the name. That's what the tour bus driver said, anyway. More, or less, at the next entry.

Georgia. USPS abbreviation. Named after an English King George (I or II, I forget).

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

Not the same as the former soviet republic and current Russian vassal state of Georgia (.ge).

Global Alliance of National Baton Twirling and Majorette Associations. It seems that major national baton twirling assocations line up either with the GA or the WBTF.

Graduate Assistant. Could mean RA or TA.

Gate-All-Around (electronic device). A rectangular IC package with leads along all four edges.

Gravure Association of America, Inc. A trade association founded in ``January 1987 as a result of the merger between the Gravure Technical Association (GTA) and the Gravure Research Institute (GRI),'' which had each been in existence since 1947.

If you want to learn about gravure, you probably want to know about the GEF.

There's another link from the GAA homepage entitled ``What's Gravure?'' Do you feel entitled, punk? The explanation begins ``Gravure is an intaglio printing process. The image carrier has the image cut or etched below the surface of the non-image area.'' Thank you. I think maybe I'll just go to Kinko's.

Gallerie Amrad African Art Publications.

Governmental Accounting, Auditing and Financial Reporting. According to the blurb for GAAFR 2005: ``A comprehensive, practice-oriented guide to accounting and auditing in the public sector. A GFOA classic for almost six decades, thoroughly revised and updated through GASB Statement No. 45. An indispensable textbook, reference source, and training tool.''

Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Accountants are paid conformists.

Turns out the ``generally accepted'' doesn't stretch across national borders; US and Canadian GAAP are different, requiring separate tallies in the annual report of a company traded on US and Canadian boards.

Grrr, but with a more open vowel. It's not often that you can find an etymology this sort of utterance...

General Anti-Avoidance Rule. Disposition Général Anti-Évitement in French. Sort of an infield-fly rule for Canadian federal income tax: if the tax man determines that some transaction you made had no real purpose or effect other than to reduce your taxes, they can deem it not to have happened. Gaar. The ``tax man'' is CCRA/ADRC (formerly RevCan)

A compound of an element named after France with the element whose oxide smells like garlic. Gallium Arsenide.

Room temperature band gap is 1.43 eV. It's a direct-gap III-V semiconductor. There are satellite valleys at the L points, with minima 0.3 eV above the minimum of the gamma valley. The effective mass is 0.67 times the free-electron mass in the central valley (although I've seen 0.65 used) and 0.55 in the L valley (even less certain).

Lattice constant of 5.653 Å is very close to that of the indirect-gap III-V AlAs, and the AlGaAs system has been the most productive for heterostructure research.

Generally Accepted Auditing Standards. Auditors are paid conformists too.

Gamma-AminoButyric Acid. Printed γ-aminobutyric acid, if possible. Structural formula NH2(CH2)3COOH. An amino acid with various neural functions.

Gamma-Amino-Beta-hydrOxyButyric acid. Printed γ-amino-β-hydroxybutyric acid, if possible. Actually, this is an old systematic name, and thus technically a trivial name. The modern name is 3-amino-2-hydroxybutanoic acid. Its structural formula is NH2CH2CH(OH)CH2COOH. It's an important GABA metabolite, to judge from the fact that it has an acronymic trivial name. There are plenty of other related compounds, but sadly, none of them seems to be abbreviated GABON.

It's almost surprising, really. An acronym like GABOB ought to clue you that neuropharmacologists are more fun than a barrel of monkeys on psychotropic drugs. Here are some representative bits of humor:

For example, suppose one were interested in elucidating the presumed biochemical aberration in schizophrenia. What would one measure? ATP? Glucose? Ascorbic acid? [ROFL.] Unfortunately, this problem early on had been zealously investigated by people who measured everything they could think of, generally in the blood, in their search for differences between normal individuals and schizophrenics. As could be predicted, the problem was not solved. (It may be assumed, however, that these studies produced a large population of anemic schizophrenics with all this bloodletting.)

Deciding where to measure something in neuroscience is complicated by the heterogeneity of nervous tissue: In general, unless one has a particular axon to grind, it is preferable to use peripheral nerve rather than the CNS. Suburban neurochemists have an easier time than their CNS counterparts....

In the next-to-final step before selecting the color of the tablets, the ideal candidate will then be synthesized....

The excerpts are from pp. 6, 7, and 503 of Jack R. Cooper, Floyd E. Bloom, and Robert H. Roth: The Biochemical Basis of Neuropharmacology (Oxford Un. Pr., 7/e 1996).

Georgia Association of Black Elected Officials. Either that, or it's the first-person singular present tense form of GABEARE.

Granular Activated Carbon.

Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators.

Georgia Association of Colleges and Employers. A state affiliate of SACE.

Global Aerosol Climatology Project.

Jargon for Gamma Crucis, the star at the ``top'' of the Southern Cross.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Worrying too much.

Grupo de Análisis y Desarrollo Institucional y Social. `Institutional and social analysis and development group,' an Argentine organization.

Guatemala Academy of Esthetic Dentistry.

GeorgiA Emergency Medical Services.

GeorgiA Emergency Nurses Association.

A true statement made at a politically inopportune moment. (This, or a similar definition, was promulgated by The New Republic some years ago.)

Grazing-Angle Fluorescence Yield. Tells how many goats you need to trim the flowers. You gotta admit, whatever it is it's got a great acronym. Much better than GIXS.

Gravity-Air natural Gas heating. See the HWO entry for nonusage information.

Gush Herut-Liberalim. (Never mind the vowels. Semitic languages like Hebrew are built on three- and a few two-consonant stems, with different related meanings created using loose patterns of vowels and affixes. This is somewhat similar to, though much more extensive than, the use of suffixes in English. It is thus more natural in Hebrew to just insert the a-a vowel pattern, as in Mapai and Mapam, or Rambam and Ramban, than to carry vowels from the source names and create something strange-sounding like Guhel.)

The name is Hebrew for `Freedom-Liberals Bloc' -- you can deduce the word-to-word correspondence yourself. It was an Israeli political coalition list created in 1965 from the combination of Liberal Party and Herut.

Proposed name for the Earth ecosystem, considered as a whole. [Treehuggerese.]

GUI Application Interoperability Architecture.

German Association for Infant Mental Health. That's the name in English of, and the expansion of the acronym used by, Gesellschaft zur Förderung der seelischen Gesundheit in der frühen Kindheit, which can be translated literally as `Society for the Promotion of Mental Health in early Childhood.' GAIMH is an affiliate of the World Association for Infant Mental Health.

`Loanword[s]' in Japanese. The Japanese lexicon comprises words from three main sources: (1) Yamato words dating back to the time before the vast infusion of (2) Chinese vocabulary, followed by (3) Occidental vocabulary. The last group should be understood as ``words entering Japanese via European languages,'' it being noted that (a) the largest group came from English and (b) some of the words (e.g. panda) are ultimately of recent non-Western origin. (Panda in particular seems to stem from some undetermined Nepalese language, and entered English via French.)

Only the non-Chinese loans -- that is, the third group of words -- count as gairaigo. The situation of Chinese loans in Japanese is similar to the situation of French and Latin words in English: so much of English vocabulary has been borrowed from French and Latin that the fact of a word coming from French is natural. The Japanese use gairaigo the way we would be using loanword if we decided that French and Latin words are not foreign enough to be regarded as loans.

The gai of gairaigo is the same as the gai of gaijin. The morpheme go in gairaigo means `language.' (The words eigo, keigo, supeingo, and tango mean `English language, honorific language, Spanish language,' and `word.' As I've heard it pronounced, the word supeingo sounds like ``Spain go''; the u in the first syllable is notional.)

A number of gairaigo are identified in entries of this glossary, and a list of them would serve as a good proxy test of how well you have studied this august resource. I suppose you could even use the list for fun, to see how well you can recognize them. I'll place a list here soon.

This is the romaji representation of a word that is used for `semester' in Japanese. It serves as a useful illustration of certain features of the language. The word can be written in three ways: with a single Chinese character (of a sort that linguists now like to call a logograph), with two kana characters (syllables) and in romaji (Roman characters).

A Chinese (Han) character (called hanzi in Chinese and kanji in Japanese) is the most precise way to represent the word, and the existence of different kanji makes it possible to say certainly that two words that sound the same are in fact two different words rather than two different senses of a single word. In fact, there is another word with the same pronunciation. The other gakki means `musical instrument,' and is written with a pair of kanji.

Japanese has a native phonetic writing system called the kana. I describe this elsewhere in the glossary and I'm not going to repeat myself here. Since the kana is phonetic, two words that sound alike are represented identically. (I should say that there are some exceptions. In particular, the kana that once represented a sound we would write ``wo'' continues to be used in the standard spelling of various words, even though its sound is now generally indistinguishable from that of the kana for ``o.'')

As is typical, the homophone pair of gakki words with different kanji has identical spelling in kana. The spelling consists of two kana, for ga and ki. As it happens, there is a third word that has that spelling, with the romaji spelling gaki. This is a pejorative slang term for young person, something like `young punk.'

As you will have noticed, the kana sequence ga-ki has two different romaji representations. The reason is that there are phonemic aspects of Japanese that the kana cannot represent. The word spelled gaki is quicker, with accentual stress on the first syllable. The words spelled gakki are pronounced almost like two single-syllable words, with stress on both syllables.

(Japanese does not inflect for number, so each of these nouns is used indifferently for one or for more semesters, instruments, or punks.)

GALlon. In England in the eighteenth century, two gallon standards were common: the wine gallon and the beer gallon. Eventually, the US settled on the wine gallon as its single standard, and the UK on something close to the beer gallon. Hence, before the Perfidious Period (i.e., until the beginning of Albionsian Metric Heresy) it was necessary to distinguish between Imperial and US gallons. (This is all from memory, so I can't give you the precise dates of the Albigensian Crusade or anything.)

If your units aren't working out and it's not a mere factor-of-1.20095 error, maybe you're reading ``gal'' wrong...

GALilei. A metric unit of acceleration equal to 1 cm/sec2. The unit is just gal as such, and not regarded as an abbreviation. It was derived from and meant to honor Galilei, the way torr does Torricelli. As cgs units went, it wasn't very widely used, and as cgs units go, it's more obsolete than erg, dyne, gauss, or oersted. I did, however, find it in the ten-volume Duden of 1999 (the most authoritative modern German dictionary). Afaik, there is no official SI (or other MKS) successor unit.

Generic Array Logic. Registered trademark (TM) of Lattice Semiconductors. Like PLD, but differing in two major respects.
  1. Instead of PROM-type burn-in, connections are written in EEPROM-type logic gates, so Gal's are reprogrammable (10,000 to 100,000 times).
  2. A ``macrocell'' controls the kind of outputs (direct, inverted, XOR, registered).

Term demonstrates what unrepentant sexists electrical engineers really are! It's just outrageous! Cf. PAL.

Grün-Alternative Liste. A party grouping for German electoral purposes, combining the Greens and other minor (``alternative'') parties.

Gay And Lesbian Alumni (of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College).

Galaxie and Galaxie 500 have been Ford automobile nameplates. The name manages to look both megalomaniacal and medieval (I think that's two things).

The word galaxy comes from the Greek word gala, meaning `milk.' The word was coined when the only known galaxy was the one we inhabit -- the Milky Way. So ``Milky Way galaxy'' is a bit of a pleonasm.

It's called a `way' because it looks like a whitened path running across the firmament. I'm not sure when it was finally realized that it's not just ``out there,'' but we're in it. In the 1980's when I would fly into LAX, I would usually notice a sort of yellowish line as we descended past the eastern mountain gaps defining an LA basin. (Something like the cloud on the New York side of the Verrazano bridge.)

The Greek root gala occurs in the simple sugar galactose. ``Milk sugar'' is the double sugar lactose, composed of one galactose and one glucose.

The gamma is articulated in the back of the mouth in Modern Greek -- really in the throat, a bit like the Spanish gee (when voiced; see the AWWA entry). However, it is rhoticized -- it sounds a bit gargled (to a degree that varies among speakers), so the word gala today (it's still the word for milk) sounds like rala pronounced in Spanish.

Galaxy is also one of the names of TradeWave or EINet, ``[t]he professional's guide to a world of information.''

Guggenheim Aeronautical Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology. During WWII, the laboratory developed solid propellants for the US military. They probably did other stuff, but this is (not surprisingly) the only work mentioned in Development of the Guided Missile (1954) by Kenneth W. Gatland, F.R.A.S.

GeorgiA LIbraries LEarning Online.

gallic acid
An antioxidant approved for use in foods. Its propyl ester has the same use.
          / ___ \
HOOC_____/ /   \ \_____OH
         \ \___/ /

Old word for leg, and by synecdoche, woman.

Gerakan Aceh Merdeka. Free Aceh guerrilla movement. Aceh is the next piece of Indonesia that wants independence. And you thought Russia was the ``prison-house of nations.''

The GAme Manufacturers Association. Even nonvideo games.

Japanese: `patience, forbearance.'

game of chance
A game of skill in which the main skill is hoping. The difficulty of these games is often disparaged, but even after years of concentrated study, an experienced player may still lose consistently at a game as deceptively simple-seeming as slot-machine.

A good strategy in any game of chance is to hope for more than one thing, to improve your chances of getting what you hope for. Ideally, you should hope to lose. Cf. lottery.

Also, keep your wishes up-to-date. Don't be caught wishing for something you no longer really want. A similar principle applies to your résumé.

Your hopes should not be modest: wish big. Since most wishes go unfulfilled, what you lose in pleasant surprise is more than compensated in pleasant dreams.

It's also prudent to have a fall-back wish. Don't wish for one thing to the exclusion of every other possibility. There is much greater variety in the improbable and impossible than there is in the probable and certain. Take advantage.

Focus. For example, say I need a black face card. Often what will happen is, I draw a two of clubs. This shows that the method is working, since I got a black card. Unfortunately, the notion of royalty has encountered some noise, converting ``royal'' to ``duke'' to ``deuce.'' People often claim they need silence to concentrate. They want to eliminate this kind of noise in the bettor-to-goddess channel.

Some people think it's illogical to hope for the impossible, but it's not. It's only illogical if you believe.

Did I mention that you shouldn't wish for just one thing? One way this can happen is, you wish for important things first, then get bogged down in details and wish for small potatoes. Don't forget the forest when you're looking at the tree! All this concentration is hard work. Indeed, it's not widely understood that because of this work, all games of chance are excellent aerobic exercise. Okay, so as a matter of pettifogging fact, it's not true, but people don't realize this untrue fact nevertheless. I mean, since when has the manifest falseness of a belief ever been a significant impediment to its being widely held? Obviously, there is a conspiracy of prejudice against games of chance. After all, how many games of pure chance do you know personally? Uh-huh. I thought so.

Do not dawdle. Hoping is subject to a window of opportunity. Hope while the outcome is still unknown, hope before it is too late, hope before all hope is lost. Hope while the hoping is good. Strike while the iron is at `cottons.'

And don't just wish for one thing.

Wish carefully. If you wish for the wrong thing and get it, not only do you have the wrong thing but you've also wasted one of the wishes that was going to be fulfilled.

Wish heartily. Don't wish half-heartedly -- don't leave any doubt as to what it is you want.

Subject your wishes to a ruthlessly rigorous examination. If you find that you've been wishing for a logical impossibility, consider quantum logic.

You know, it's important to recognize that what you want most may just not be in the cards for you. If you wish for just that thing, it's like the irresistible force running up against the immovable body ... you've just shot your wish! So for goodness sake and FCOL, wish for more than one thing!

One of the state lotteries, I forget which, has a slogan ``if you don't play, you can't win.'' (Maybe it's more than one of the lotteries, but I still forget which. And the converse of the slogan is true too.) This slogan is true for all games of chance, and in fact it demonstrates that hoping works. Look at it this way: if you don't have any wishes, then your wishes can't come true. Obviously, if you do have wishes, then sooner or later some of those wishes are bound to come true, it would be weird if they didn't. So basically, you're better off if you hope, because some of your hopes will come true. Skeptics will say this shows that hoping is not perfectly effective. Of course not! Nothing is perfect, not even the most fervent hoping. But hoping works a lot of the time -- even most of the time, if you play your cards right.

Some say, ``if wishes were horses, beggars would ride.'' Obviously, wishes are not horses. That is a category error. Wishes are tactical desires.

It's not as if hoping is some untried new idea. No, it's been studied scientifically, and people keep hoping. One interesting kind of study asks people to hope or pray on the outcome of some random event, and a computer keeps track of how well they do. In virtually every study, the same thing happens: the computer thinks that outcomes or winning percentages are consistent with chance unmodified by prayer, whereas the human participants recall afterwards that they did a lot better than one would expect by mere chance. The people who conduct these experiments claim this shows that people believe because their selective memory gives them a distorted idea of how effective wishing has been in the past. THiS KiND oF StUpIDITY is SO FRUSTRATING! All the studies really show is just that hoping doesn't work for computers, because computers lack the ability to hope. Social science is such a waste.

Some people say, ``wishing won't make it so.'' I think this clearly demonstrates that there are fools in the world.

Everyone plays at least one game of chance, because life is a gamble. Even looking up terms in this glossary is a bit of a gamble. Sometimes you get serious information, and sometimes you don't.

game quitter
Here is the term explained en passant:
This isn't to say that Tyson would quit entirely when confronted with obstacles... but he often stopped putting in the exhausting work of continuing to attack: ``Did [Tyson] show heart when he took an ass-beating from Holyfield? Yes. He was a `game quitter.' A guy who doesn't give up, doesn't fall down, he's game with those punches. But he stops trying to win.''

(The quote is from Mike Tyson's Ex-Trainer: Heavyweight Is Not `Even Close' to One of All-Time Greats.'' Sean Cunningham interviewed Teddy Atlas, and the article was published on the twentieth anniversary of the infamous bout in which Mike Tyson bit Evander Holyfield's ear.)

This is an interesting term because ``game'' could be misunderstood as an attributive noun, giving the term a meaning like ``quitter of games.'' In speech, the two phrases receive different stress and timing, although the difference is not reliable and is altered if the speaker wants to place special emphasis. In writing, all that a reader of the term has to go by is context. In fact, it seems the most common use of ``game quitter'' is in the context of video-game addiction, if only because of the <Game Quitters> website.

A parameter characterizing the nonlinear response of display and print devices.

Robert Berger has a tutorial on the subject of Gamma. Charles Poynton has made available his own articles and ftp-able FAQ's about something called ``colour.''

Short for gamma particle. It's also a variable commonly used for Lorentz factor, as described at the beta particle entry. The letter gamma is also used as a symbol for various 4×4 matrices that are the relativistic generalization of the Pauli matrices. (Visual confusion is unlikely, as these gammas carry a subscript and appear in very different-looking equations.)

gamma particle
The term gamma particle, or just ``gamma'' for short, always refers to a photon, but not all photons are likely to be called gammas. Usually, a gamma particle is a photon generated by a subatomic process. Typical gamma energies are above 100 keV. However, the letter gamma is the symbol for a photon, and is used in a much broader range of contexts. (A common alternative is to use -- formula for the photon energy -- as a metonymic symbol for the photon itself.)

gamma rays
Electromagnetic radiation (i.e., light) of high energy, covering a range from somewhat below X-ray energies and up. The one-character particle symbol is γ of course, but that is also used to represent a photon of any energy in symbolic representations of nuclear reactions and particle scattering.

The three main types of radiation emitted in nuclear decay are alpha, beta, and gamma rays. Each was eventually demonstrated to consist of particles, which consequently were called alpha, beta, and gamma particles). The first two terms (``alpha rays'' and ``beta rays'') were introduced by Ernest Rutherford in 1889, as described in the alpha rays entry. This was during the period (see the periodization entry if you have plenty of time for following tangents) that is not widely known at all as ``the Montreal Canuck exile'' or canard exile or something (see alpha rays entry if you care to understand that joke). Just to give you a small idea of the terrible hardships he endured, here are some lines from an article he coauthored with Miss H.T. Brooks [``Comparisons of the Radiations from Radioactive Substances,'' Phil. Mag. ser. 6, vol. 4, no. 19, pp. 1-24 (July 1902), on p. 9]:

As most of the experiments were carried out during the very dry Canadian winter, it was very essential [sic] to screen the electrometer and connexions with testing apparatus by wire gauze. Unless precautions of this kind were taken, every movement of the observer produced sufficient frictional electrification to disturb the electrometer. For the same reason and also for convenience the quadrants were separated by a cord connected to a suitable key and operated at a distance.
[Ernest Rutherford, spiritual daddy of the TV remote! Of course, he was wrong to call the electrification ``frictional.'' Let me take a moment to mention that in modern cleanrooms, it is usually necessary to dehumidify the air. However, at Arizona State University, near Phoenix, for part of the year the humidity of the ambient air is so low that it's necessary to humidify the cleanroom.]

Rutherford's original distinction was based on the observation that some rays, designated alpha rays, did not penetrate matter very deeply, while others, beta rays, were much more highly penetrating. The beta rays were also known to be deviable by a magnetic field [i.e., electrically charged].

P. Villard was apparently the first to distinguish gamma rays, although he didn't introduce the name. Using a sample of radium from the Curies, he found that when he covered the source with enough thickness of lead to stop all the beta rays, there was still some nondeviable radiation that could expose a photographic plate. This finding was published as ``Sur le rayonnement du radium,'' in Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l'Académie des sciences, vol. 130, pp. 1178-1179 (Jan-June 1900). Henri Becquerel later confirmed this, though I haven't nailed down the precise publication. It seems that Rutherford's first publication on the subject was an item (``Penetrating Rays from Radio-active Substances'') sent to Nature on July 6, 1902, and published as a letter to the editor there in the issue of July 31, 1902. [Those were the days! These days, all the journals are bureaucratized and ultracareful, and any important news circulates in electronic preprint for months before it appears in any journal.]

Rutherford found that thorium, and to a lesser extent uranium, also emitted the ``extraordinarily penetrating'' rays that Villard had found with radium, but he maintained the possibility that they were what we would call ultrarelativistic electrons -- electrons moving near the speed of light. This analysis was based partly on an electromagnetic theory developed by J.J. Thomson and Heaviside, according to which the apparent mass of the electron increases with speed, approaching infinity as the speed approaches the speed of light. (This is strikingly similar to some predictions of Einstein's theory of relativity, which was published in 1905. I don't know much about the Thomson-Heaviside theory.)

Rutherford's hypothesis that the new X-ray-like rays might simply be higher-energy beta radiation probably accounts for his not naming them gamma rays at the time. Otherwise it was a natural, since beta rays were originally distinguished as the component of atomic radiation that was more highly penetrating than alpha rays, and there turned out to be another kind of ray, not originally detected, that penetrated even further. This was really just dumb luck. You'd expect that if some kind of radiation occurred that had not yet been detected, it would be because it was even less penetrating than those already discovered. If Rutherford had been smart, he would originally have labeled the most penetrating rays (the electrons) by alpha and the less penetrating rays (the helium nuclei) by beta, and the whole trend would have been screwed up when the gammas were found, but this didn't happen because Rutherford wasn't as smart as I am. (The reason gamma rays weren't originally detected is that in going from alpha to beta to gamma, one not only increases penetration depth by roughly a factor of 100 at each step, one also decreases the degree of ionization caused, also by a factor of roughly 100 at each step. Despite being less ionizing, however, gamma radiation is regarded as the most dangerous of the three kinds because it penetrates.)

The earliest article I can find that uses the term ``γ ray'' is one published by Rutherford in the February 1903 Philosophical Magazine (see alpha rays for the full journal title then used), in an article entitled ``The Magnetic and Electric Deviation of the easily absorbed Rays from Radium.'' An article of his in the previous month's issue (``Excited Radioactivity and the Method of its Transmission,'' pp. 95-117) still only mentioned alpha and beta rays. The February article starts off describing alpha, beta, and gamma rays on the first page (p. 177) as if the existence of all three had already been equally established, and as if the terminology was already in place. He gives the respective thicknesses of ``aluminium,'' whatever that is, needed to reduce the intensities of these rays by a factor of two, as approximately 5 microns, 500 microns, and 8 cm. Either he introduced the gamma-ray term before then and didn't happen to think it was relevant for his article published in January, or he simply decided that it was time to introduce the new notation, and that it would be clear enough. It's clear that I'll have to investigate further. It's even possible that I may actually do so.

(As the title implies, the paper contains evidence demonstrating that alpha rays are positively charged. Perhaps this conclusion, which Rutherford had resisted, prompted him to accept that the γ rays were a distinct species. If the February article had the first instance of ``γ ray'' in print, then probably the German term ``γ Strahlung'' was earlier into print. The February Phil. Mag. paper was sent off by Rutherford from McGill on November 10, 1902, to both Phil. Mag. and Physikalische Zeitschrift. The latter was on a weekly publishing schedule. The paper was received on Dec. 5, translated by A. Gradenwitz (who apparently rendered McGill as ``Mc. Gill''), and published in Phys. ZS. on January 15, 1903.

You need a break from all this serious science. Why don't you read this ABC entry and enjoy the ``Alpher Bethe Gamow'' story?

`Cancer' in Japanese. This and the other two Japanese gan words (gan and gan) are just homonyms (dôon'igigo).

Gallium Nitride. A wide-gap III-V semiconductor. Michael Shur serves a useful GaN electronics page.

(The) Great American Novel.

Don't worry if you didn't have the time to read Tom Wolfe. When he's gone, his stock will plummet faster than Theodore Dreiser's.

`Gun' in Japanese. A loan of the English word gun. Interestingly, there's a kanji character meaning `military' with a reading gun (sounds like a clipped `goon').

I don't know when this (English gun) was borrowed, but words related to war are often among the first to cross language barriers. That's my impression from German, anyway. The German word Kampf meaning `battle, struggle,' was an early borrowing of the Latin campus, `field.' (Especially the Campus Martius at Rome, site of games and military drills.) Of course, the same Latin word was taken over into English as camp (originally in military senses) from the French. The original Latin campus was only borrowed much later. The earliest attestations are in the US, and the first seems to be from 1774 at Princeton. That's Princeton University. (Then the University of New Jersey.) Nowadays nearby ETS likes to call its grounds a ``campus'' as well. ETS has a mailing address in Princeton, but it's located in neither Princeton (borough or township).

`Wild goose' (also `wild geese') in Japanese. This is interesting because the postulated Indo-European root of goose is *ghans-, whence Modern German Gans and anser (< *hanser). It looks like a connection between IE and Altaic, but it probably isn't, so I won't try to look it up.

BTW, Spanish ganso (`goose') is not a direct restoration of the lost g in the Latin congener. Instead, it's just derived from Gothic (so Corominas y Pascual). The English gander presents some difficulties, and may only coincidentally resemble gans. English goose is derived from the common Germanic root (*gans-); loss of the n in English is pretty typical. (Cf. tithe, originally a form of tenth, and English-German pairs like other/ander, five/füf, mouth/Mund. Yeah, yeah, only before certain consonants.)

Gang Green
Local nickname of the New York Jets NFL team.

Local necrosis of body tissue, or the necrotic tissue itself, associated with a lack of oxygen.

Gas gangrene is infection of muscle tissue by clostridia bacteria (hence the clinical disease name clostridial myonecrosis), usually Clostridium perfringens. The common name of the disease comes from the fact that blisters with gas bubbles form near the infected area. Yuck.

Grand Accélérateur National d'Ions Lourdes. French `National Large Ion Accelerator at Lourdes.' The accelerator is large, not the ions especially. This is clear in the French. Oh-no-wait! It's Grand Accélérateur National D'Ions Lourds: `National Large Accelerator for Heavy Ions.' It's at Caen. Sorry about that. They have three cyclotrons, and they use them to accelerate ions of all elements from carbon to uranium, to energies between 4 and 6 GeV. They also have an ECR source.

Gantt diagram
A horizontal histogram for illustrating project scheduling. You'd figure they're horizontal because that'd be easier to print out on those old line printers, but you'd figure wrong, because Henry Gantt developed his diagrams during WWI.

Government Accountability Office. An agency of the US Congress that conducts investigations of how the executive branch spent the money the legislative branch budgeted. Until July 2004 it was called the ``General Accounting Office,'' which made the difference between its function and that of the CBO unclear. Much though I despise the pandering and fuzzy tone of the new name, I have to concede that in some respects it might be a slight improvement.

A British spelling of jail. Regardless of spelling, the word is pronounced uniformly with a j (i.e., soft g) sound, at least for the last couple of centuries.

English frequently reborrows different cognates of the same word from different languages, but Middle English borrowing from French in some cases represented distinct borrowings from what were essentially different dialects. The pair warranty/guarantee is an instance of this in which both dialectal variants survived without diverging very much in sense, yet preserving different spellings and different pronunciations to go with them. The case of gaol and jail is similar: Northern or Norman French had a version of the word that was pronounced with a hard g, and spellings that eventually became standardized as gaol. Central or Parisian French (which is to say, really, only-slightly-less-northern French) had a soft-g version spelled with j, and whose spelling now standardized as jail.

The word jail, or at least its pronunciation, eventually became dominant -- probably sometime in the 16th to 18th centuries. British legal tradition preserved the gaol variant in spelling, but not in pronunciation.

Gallium Phosphide. An indirect-gap III-V semiconductor (2.26 eV), lattice constant of 5.451 Å.

German, gemeinsame Agrarpolitik (von der EG). `Common Agricultural Policy (of the EU).'

Generic Address Parameter.

Good Agricultural Practice. An EU term, and something the EU wants to impose as a GAP.

Government Accountability Project. ``In 1977, the non-profit Government Accountability Project was created to help these [whistleblowing] employees, who, through their individual acts of conscience, protect each and everyone of us.''

Despite the name, the organization does not focus exclusively on government activity: ``The mission of the Government Accountability Project is to protect the public interest and promote government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers and empowering citizen activists. We also advise public agencies and legislative bodies about management policies and practices that help government deal more effectively with substantive information and concerns, while protecting the jobs and identities of those who provide this critical information.''

There's a page en<TITLE>d ``Government Acountability Project Project''</TITLE> and I thought ``Oh great! quis custodiet ipsos custodes and all that,'' but it was just a typo. It seems to be a ``Government Accountability Project'' unrelated to the one in the previous two paragraphs. This one has the goal of helping ``improve government's funding and policy decisions by making transparent the public benefits produced with citizens' resources. Full transparency brings praise and criticism of results - and, eventually, change - based upon maximizing outcomes and minimizing expenditures.''

The Great Ape Project.

GlycerAldehyde-3-Phosphate DeHydrogenase.

Gateway Application Programming Interface.

Guaranteeing Airport Physical Screening Standards. A US House bill referred to as GAPSS 2005 was proposed to eliminate various gaps in airport security. It was introduced by US Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), a member of the Homeland Security Committee. (In the 109th Congress, Lowey is in her ninth term in the House, representing New York's 18th district -- most of Westchester plus a chunk of Rockland County around New City.)

The focus is on screening of airport employees who have access to secure areas. This would include security screening of the sort that passengers and airplane crews already submit to, as well as more thorough employee background checks and a stop-gap of random physical screening until complete screening is implemented.

Elements of the bill have been introduced previously. In fact, the key provision is simply to amend a deadline in existing US Code from ``as soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this subsection'' to ``not later than 120 days after the date of enactment'' of GAPSS 2005. The text is in US Code Sec. 44903 (49 U.S.C. Chapt. 449). Apparently the TSA decided in 2002 that the earliest practicable implementation date was in the unforeseeable future. At the time GAPSS 2005 was introduced, an estimated one million airport workers could access secure airport areas without being physically screened. It is not hard to imagine objections on grounds of practicality to, say, screening of baggage handlers each time they cross the security perimeter. (One might then object on grounds of futility to screening workers once or twice per day, though random screening sounds good to me.)

Lowey introduced her bill (HR 2688) with six cosponsors, all Democrats, including ranking committee member Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS). Barring a legislative earthquake or an untimely news event, the bill will fail on a party-line vote. There is no Senate cosponsor and almost no media coverage.

The bill was introduced the same month that airport personnel screening was in the news in Australia, where a number of baggage handlers have been charged with drug smuggling. A practical suggestion made in reaction to that scandal and to other complaints about inappropriate baggage-handler ``interventions'' (theft and other mischief) has been to monitor baggage-handling areas with hidden or even with unhidden cameras.

Grand Army of the Republic.

garage sale
A sale held in a garage. Sometimes a yard sale will be called a garage sale even though the garage is not involved. Usually the items for sale are cheap garbage, but some items are expensive garbage. The name garbage sale would be more appropriate, but merchandising trumps accuracy. I don't have anything interesting left to say about garage sales in this entry; I put it all in the linked entries.

I just wanted an entry in which to mention Precious Rubbish, with the subtitle, if that's what it is, As Raked Out of Current Criticism and Commented on by Theodore L. Shaw. I probably bought it at a garage sale; it probably cost me more than the 35-cent cover price, but nostalgia can be precious. The little paperback was published by the Stuart Art Gallery, Inc., of Boston, Massachusetts, in a more innocent time (1956). I am reminded of Yossarian patching up Snowden's leg, with increasing confidence. This book corresponds to the moment before he notices that Snowden has taken major flak to the gut, and will die. In the 1960's, this book's target -- the pile of ``snobbery and humbug,'' the ``appalling barrage of ritzy twaddle'' and the ``pretention and priggery'' of ordinary working critics -- became a refuge from the tidal wave of academic litterature on literature.

garbage can
Garbage can what?

Another useful thought is at the I.A. Richards entry.

garbage in, garbage out
Conservation theorem for computer processing.

garbage sale
The private sale of selected garbage. This is also called a `garage sale' if the sale is occasionally held in a garage, but this term is misleading because the garage is rarely for sale. (See also rummage sale.)

Most garage sales fall fairly cleanly into one of two categories. In one kind, the object is to make money off the garbage, in the second kind the object is to get rid of the garbage. In the first kind, the garbage is overpriced. Since the attitude is the same for the whole lot, you can judge what kind of garage sale it is simply by asking the price of at most one item. If there's stuff on sale that no one could conceivably want, and it's not in a box labeled ``FREE,'' then you don't even have to ask.

gardening and comedy
The connection is obvious, isn't it?

The odor of arsenous oxide (or ``white arsenic'') As2O3, which is poisonous. If you can still smell then you're still alive, so get out of there and stay that way. Run! You can take the bunny suit off later. Leave the MOCVD far behind; let the hazmat people deal with it.

Also diallyl sulfate, which gives garlic its strong odor. Onions have diethyl sulfate. The unsaturation that the allyls have is reportedly a bad thing. On the other hand, the odor of garlic can help repel vampires, as is well known, and also germ-spewing people (possibly selectively: see below).

Part of the reason that a person who eats garlic smells so strongly of it afterward is that the odoriferous compounds are excreted by the sweat glands.

Morley Safer has stated:

You can never have enough garlic. With enough garlic you can eat the New York Times.
I guess technically one has to conclude that the question whether one can eat the New York Times remains open, though the strong implication (it suggests a syllogism) is that one cannot. It's a question of what you're willing to swallow. I suggest a Saturday edition in August. Safer's comment appeared in the food section of the New York Times on October 5, 1994.

In the summer of 1995, letters in response to a Consumer Reports article on garlic reported that rubbing stainless steel could get rid of the odor. Stammtisch speculation on possible mechanisms has been interesting and somewhat informed, but so far inconclusive.

garlic intolerance
This tragic affliction does not appear to be transmitted genetically, especially to stepchildren, according to testimony deposed at the Stammtisch. Frequently accompanied by onion intolerance, which is not fatal.

A benign related syndrome, which might occasionally manifest as a garlic cryptophobia, is described at the entry for ``Hold the onions.''

Getting over a cold, I noticed that in three different foods, the garlic smelled unpleasantly strong. Two of these I eat often enough to know have consistent levels of garlic. If a lowered threshold for garlic distaste is a common effect of colds, then the health benefits of garlic may be enhanced by specificity of quarantine: garlic may repel sick people more effectively than healthier company.

Here's some.

It's the official gem of New York State.

Government-imposed Administrative Rate Supplement. See, e.g., CFC.

This is an actual person, just like the llama-savvy banjo expert and others mentioned in this glossary. I didn't just make him up for the stories, y'know.

One pronunciation of ``GaAs.'' Something to check on seminar announcements with phoned-in titles.


A term coined by Jan Baptista van Helmont (1577-1644) from the word chaos. Specifically, he wrote ``halitum illum Gas vocavi, non longe a Chao veterum secretum,'' or `I have called that spirit gas, as it is not too far removed from the chaos of the ancients.' Van Helmont was a follower of Paracelsus, and Paracelsus had earlier used chaos to designate the `proper element of spirits such as gnomes' [ Ftnt. 23 ], so he has a claim. However, van Helmont apparently had something a little less (to a modern view) speculative in mind. His spirits were essentially vapors that would not condense.

Van Helmont's useful term came to be used first for vapors emitted in reactions and later for aeriform fluids, replacing the confusing or awkward term air. Gases in van Helmont's original sense were qualified as permanent, incondensible, or incoercible. (That's a serial a/k/a-type ``or.'') In fact, there are no truly permanent gases: at any fixed temperature, if you apply enough pressure you can condense any gas. (Above the critical temperature, there is no liquid/gas distinction, and you condense the fluid [call it gas or liquid] into a solid.)

It's worth noting that in the original Greek, chaos refers not to disorder but to `gap' or absence, and that too is altogether appropriate. In fact, while I've got your attention (Hello?) I'll mention the ``Kac problem,'' which might equally well be referred to as the ennui problem or the Maytag Monte Carlo repairman gas pains. It is simply this: when you simulate a gas (numerically), particularly one that is near ideality (low density), you spend most of your time simulating the simple motion of isolated, essentially non-interacting particles, and very little time simulating the interesting scattering or interaction events that determine the specifics of deviation from ideality. Incidentally, I believe that Kac is pronounced ``Katz.'' The ``c'' is supposed to have an acute accent on it, like the final cee on many South Slav names written in (augmented) Roman characters. Also, contrary to what one would suppose, the surname ``Katz'' does not really stand for the German word meaning cat.

General Adaptation to Stress. Hans Selye's term for the standard process by which an animal adapts to stress. Its three main stages are alarm response, resistance development, and exhaustion. My body double clutches early, and after a brief moment of alarm I'm exhausted. Seriously, rabbits are like that, and you can catch a rabbit by just running after it for a little while, it gets exhausted surprisingly quickly. However, this is not necessarily a good way to adopt a pet. For one thing, the rabbit can easily suffer a heart attack. So I'm told.

Gradient Accentuated (NMR) Spectroscopy. Also Gradient-Enhanced (GE).

Gallium Antimonide. A direct-gap III-V compound semiconductor. Bandgap is 0.72 eV, lattice constant 6.096 Å.

Governmental Accounting Standards Board.

Gallium Arsenide Model Analysis Program. Programs to compute model parameters for MESFET small- and large-signal models from s-parameters and other measurements.

Group of Anaesthetists in Training of the AAGBI.

General Aptitude Test Battery. A series of tests from USES.

`Gate' is used in two distinct senses in electronics.
  1. MOS transistors (the most prominent microelectronic circuit element today), SCR's (a common bipolar discrete component) and some other devices have one terminal called a gate. (A few oddball devices have more than one gate. See, in particular, the floating gate entry.) Typically, the gate is the high-impedance terminal, or at least the one that in normal operation does not draw much current, but instead controls current flow through other terminals. Any modifier that indicates a material or device-operation context (metal gate or control gate) implies that this is the kind of gate meant. One can also avoid confusion with the other kind (below) by using a term like ``transistor gate'' or ``diode gate.''
  2. A logic gate is an electronic circuit that performs a logic function (i.e. it has a recognizably distinct input stage and a much-lower-impedance output stage -- each output terminal that approaches one of at least two discrete logic levels).

University of Florida Gators. School athletic teams' name.

General Agreement on Trade in Services. A WTO agreement. Represents one of the major expansions from GATT.

General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade. GATT was an international code of tariff and trade rules that evolved out a multilateral trade treaty signed in 1947, and the name was used for the international organization that grew up to enforce it, if that's the proper term. Officially, this ``agreement'' was superseded by an ``organization,'' the WTO. The final act, resulting from the ``Uruguay Round'' of trade negotiations, is online. The earlier GATT agreement, as amended to 1966, is also online.

Gaullist party
Look, don't ask me what it stands for. It stands for France, and against those chauvinistic Anglo-Saxons who invaded France as the Nazis were fleeing the Resistance with their tails between their legs, just ahead of the victorious Free French forces led by General Charles de Gaulle.

There has been a sequence of Gaullist parties:

  1. Rassemblement du Peuple Français (RPF). Founded by the general in 1947 on a platform opposing the new post-war French constitution (of the Fourth Republic). It split in two around 1952. But there was good bad news on the southern horizon...
  2. In 1958, in the midst of a very bloody war in Algeria, France sought a savior in a military man, just as she had before (in 1940, as well as some previous occasions). De Gaulle agreed to serve as president on condition that a new constitution be adopted, with a much stronger presidency than in the Third and Fourth Republics. Wah-lah, as they say, it happened. De Gaulle ruled with the support of a Gaullist party (funny coincidence, eh?) that went by a variety of names (see UDR).
  3. To be continued...

Gross Annual Value.

Gross Axle Weight Rating. The maximum gross weight that can be carried by a vehicle axle. See more at GVWR.

For more, see the NTEA's glossary of Truck Equipment Terms.

gazebos on decays
That's what I thought I heard. Turned out to be ``the Z-boson decays.''

An unimaginably large number. Five or more. Not much less precise than most other illions.

GigaBit. Cf. GB -- Gigabyte. (Conformity to case distinction unreliable.)

Games Behind first place. Half the difference between the values of W-L of the first-place team and a given team. The first-place team is zero GB first place. If a team is n games behind first place and plays the first-place team, and n is 1.5 or more, then it is n-1 or n+1 games behind after winning or losing the game, resp. (unless, possibly, another team takes over or is tied for first place).

GigaByte. Cf. Gb -- Gigabit. (Conformity to case distinction unreliable.)

On the Johnny Mnemonic pinball machine, one GIGABYTE is worth only 100,000 points.

Gold Bond. Cures itch, they say. Or pain or something. I should pay closer attention to those ads. Seems to come in both green and yellow packages, but that could be my TV.

Grain Boundary.

(Domain name code for) Great Britain. I presume that this equals .uk minus Northern Ireland, since the code was not in use before 1707.

Here's the British page of an X.500 directory.

Great Britain. The term ``Great Britain'' was originally introduced to distinguish it from ``small Britain'' -- now just called Brittany -- the western peninsula of France. According to legend, Brittany was settled by Britons fleeing the Germanic (mostly Anglo-Saxon) conquest of Great Britain.

In (Modern) German, Great Britain is Großbritannien.

GuoBiao, the PRC-standard encoding of Chinese characters. The ROC standard is BIG-5.

Global Business and Technology Association. It's mostly about holding an annual conference and publishing a semi-annual house journal (JGBAT). (Journal information on the ``Conference Related Topics'' page, which is the ``home.html'' page of the GBATA website. Oftentimes, a website's structure and filenames tell you more than the pages themselves.

Poor English is apparently required, but not very poor English. (It's called ``Business English.'') It might be a difficult standard to maintain, but sloppy thinking helps. Here's some thinking from the 2006 registration form: ``Please Note: Registrations from Canada and outside the United States must be made in money order or cashiers check in $US drawn on an American bank.''

Ground Ball to Fly Ball ratio.

Grievous Bodily Harm. A criminal charge in the UK.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Glioblastoma multiforme. The most common (about 50%) and the most aggressive of all primary brain tumors diagnosed, with a poor prognosis (as of 2006).

[column] I don't entirely understand the inflections here. The term is medical Latin or neo-Latin. The Latin word forma is a straightforward first-declension female noun. There also exists an adjective formus of first-second declension. (That is, it takes the forms [sorry] formus, forma, and formum when modifying nominative nouns that are male, female, and neuter, resp.) However, this adjective means `warm' and is unrelated to the noun forma. I imagine that the term abbreviated by GBM was constructed using the genitive form formae, simplified to forme (as is common in English and very common in Romance languages such as Spanish). Thus multiforme is understood as `of multiple form.' I don't think this is an appropriate use of the genitive, and in any case I'd use formarum (`of multiple forms'), but that's the best explanation I can give for now.

Global Business Model[ing [Committee]].

Great Barrier Reef.

GB RailFreight.

Back in 2005, trying to impress Françesca (an impressive Londoner) with how Europeanistically au courant I was, I expressed sympathy with how disastrously the recent privatization (er... privatisation) of the railways had gone. She replied that yes, but they had been another kind of disaster before. Okay, she's not the kind of woman who has much to do with GB Railfreight, but where else will I unburden my heart and unload my troubles? And how more gracefully can I clarify that the eff in Railfreight is capitalized at the beginning of this entry only to indicate that it contributes to the acronym? Don't answer that.

George Bernard Shaw. (I make no representations as to the quality of the site linked to.) ``Bernard Shaw'' to his few friends and many admirers. His father, or at least the husband of his mother, was George Carr Shaw.

An admirer of GBS may be called a Shavian. GBS coined the adjective Shavian, with the meaning ``pertaining to Shaw'' (or his works, wit, etc.), based on the Latinized form Shavius of his name. I don't know if this was influenced by his joining in the Fabian Society in 1884. The Fabian Society took its name from the Roman general Quintus Fabius Maximus Cunctator. He earned the cognomen Cunctator himself as a nickname. It means `delayer,' and reflects his preference for attrition tactics against Hannibal Barca, rather than a direct confrontation. (The parallel is that the Fabian Society, like its offspring the Labour Party, favored gradual rather than revolutionary movement toward socialism. Lenin famously said of Shaw that he was ``a good man fallen among Fabians.'')

The gens Fabius is derived from the Latin for what we call `fava bean.' GBS eventually became a vegetarian, but that was just motivated by a hope of curing his migraines.

Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

Get Back To Work. Texting abbreviation.

Glide-Bomb Unit. The US's GBU-28 is a two-ton laser-guided smart bomb.

Gain BandWidth (product). Common subscripts D and CM:
GBWD is differential GBW in an op amp;
GBWCM is common-mode GBW in an op amp.

Greater Buffalo Youth String [sic] Orchestra. Auditions were June 9, 1996. You probably missed them. I bet they have auditions again next year, but by then your youth may be gone.

G & C
``A G an' C.'' Aegaean Sea. Also Aegean Sea. I've even seen Agean Sea, which makes less sense than the less common Egean Sea.

Gas Chromatography. Here's a link to Perkin-Elmer's instruments, with some tutorial information. See also material from Virginia Tech, and GC/ECD.

G.C., GC
George Cross. Awarded for gallantry, it is the civilian recognition corresponding to the highest British military honor, the Victoria Cross (VC).

Government of Canada. Also Gouvernement du Canada. Clever of them to avoid the need for two different second level domains. Usage: .gc.ca (the Government of Canada of Canada). See .gov and .gov. for more fascinating details about government URL's from around the world!

Graduate College. The residential college (local name for a dorm) at Princeton University. Consists of the New Graduate College (NGC) and the Old Graduate College (OGC).

Graphics Context. A resource in X that contains most of the details about graphics to be generated.

Guanine and Cytosine. Vide G+C ratio.

Graphic Communications Association. Mostly text site, loads fast.

``A volunteer non-profit membership association ... formed in 1966 to apply computer technology to printing, publishing, and related industries. GCA developed and fosters the Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML), from which the Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) are derived.''

``GCA is a national affiliate and special industry group of Printing Industries of America.''

Great Circle Associates. They do software consulting and developing; their site is the Majordomo home and hosts a mailing list for people who manage mailing lists (both sponsored by Covad).

Ground-Controlled Approach. Control tower talks pilot down to landing.

Global Climate Coalition. Nice, soothing, reassuringly tree-friendly name... ``... an organization of business trade associations and private companies, was established in 1989 to coordinate business participation in the scientific and policy debate on the global climate change issue. The GCC represents virtually every sector of U.S. industry, including electric utilities, railroads, transportation, manufacturing, mining, oil, and coal.''

Global Communications Committee. (Of the UCC, I think.)

GNU C Compiler. Available for any common Unix platforms, including Linux on Intel machines. DJ Delorie Software ported it (and g++, and emacs and some other development tools) to run under DOS (or in DOS mode under Windows) on Intel 32-bit machines (see DJGPP).

For other C compilers, see cc.

Grace Community Church, in Tyler, TX. ``Influencing the world for Christ.'' Not much though, if their counter gif is accurate.

The question is really: what does it mean for many to be called and few to be chosen, within the client-server paradigm? This must be why push and ``channels'' technologies were so hot for a while.

Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua. (`Cements Group of Chihuahua.')

Gulf Cooperation Council. Technically, the English translation of its name (or is it named in English?) is ``Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf.'' [Actually, if Arab is taken in its earliest sense, there are no other Arab states.] Saudi-controlled Arabia (.sa) and five small neighbor sheikdoms (Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and U.A.E.). All have medieval governments and criminal justice systems, petroleum production economies, enormous foreign workforces and welfare-state social policies for their subjects. They formed the GCC in 1981 as the Iran-Iraq war was getting under way. Their highly trained and well equipped unified defense force is called ``the Armed Forces of the United States'' (of America).

Oh wait, they do have their own regional force, called Peninsula Shield. MENL reported June 10, 2002, however, that they are having trouble meeting a mid-2003 deadline to expand it from the previous strength of 6,000 soldiers up to 20,000. Not only is there a shortage of locally-trained soldiers, but most member states regard Saudi Arabia as a rival, and so are reluctant to send their soldiers to GCC headquarters there. Is this for real? Fears of the belligerent and bellicose Saudi Empire?

``GCC secretary-general Abdul Rahman Al Attiyya said Gulf Arab commanders [at a ninth meeting on the problem] discussed whether foreigners could be recruited into the regional force. Gulf Arab states have a significant number of expatriates in their militaries. These include soldiers from Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan and mercenaries from Britain and the former Soviet Union.''

Hired help is the oil sheikdoms' answer to every problem.

In December 2013, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced in Manama that the US will sell weapons to the GCC as a block. (Manama is the capital and largest city of Bahrain.) Following Hagel's announcement, the GCC announced the formation of a joint military command that could have as many as 100,000 soldiers. So soon? Promises, promises.

On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, and Bahrain recalled their ambassadors from Qatar for the first time since the formation of the GCC, in reaction to what was described as Qatar's support for the Muslim Brotherhood and the gulf state's involvement in regional conflicts. The three countries said in a joint communique that Qatar had failed to implement a GCC security agreement (adopted in Riyadh the previous November) to refrain from involvement in other nations' politics and supporting organizations that threaten the gulf's stability.

The next day, the Qatari Cabinet of Ministers announced it would not reciprocate the move by the three countries describing its ``regret and surprise'' at the recall of ambassadors and said it remains committed to the values of the GCC. The GCC has ``values''! Who knew?

Global Change Data and Information System (of the US gov't).

Gas Chromatography using Electron-Capture Detection.

Greeley Center for Independence, Inc. ``[W]here people with disabilities can reach toward their maximum potential of personal independence.'' Physical therapy, rehabilitation, services for assisted independence. A nonprofit.

Gravure Catalog and Insert Council. Part of the GAA.

Global Call Identifier.

Global Call Identifier-Information Element.

Groupe Consultatif International de Recherche sur le Colza. Official English and German names: International Consultative Research Group on Rapeseed, and Internationale Forschungsgruppe für Raps. (But the initialism used exclusively is the one based on the French name -- the head term here.)

Globular-Cluster Luminosity Function. Used to determine distances of galaxies as far as 100 Mpc away.

General Circulation Model[s]. Initialism used for models of circulation in Earth's atmosphere.

National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. The initialism is to the point, and it could survive a future internationalization and name change. These people are obviously thinking about longevity.

General Chairman--Member Pickwick Club. That would be Samuel Pickwick, Esq. Cf. P.V.P.M.P.C.

Global Cardiology Network.

Gospel Communications Network.

Gas-Core Nuclear Rocket.

General Comprehensive Operating System. I'm sure this name reflects a thoughtful analysis of the salient, name-worthy features of the OS, but by sheer coincidence, it also happens that GCOS is pronounced much like GECOS, the name that GCOS had when Honeywell got it from GE. See also TSS.

Also expanded ``God's Chosen Operating System.'' He always seems to make choices He eventually seems to come to repent of.

Galactic Cosmic Ray[s].

Ghost Cancellation Reference (line). In the future, scan line 318 of all 625-line TV broadcasts in Europe will contain a chirp signal that will enable a timing measurement for ghost image cancellation. (Actually a more general measurement: the known chirp signal is subtracted, and shifted-and-scaled echoes of the chirp are fit to the remainder to determine the ghost pattern.) In the US, a similar system uses line 19. Cf. WSS.

Global Competitiveness Report. An annual report of the WEF.

G-protein-Coupled Receptor. Harvard serves a database.

Gray Component Replacement. Don't get your hopes up, this has nothing to do with cranial gray stuff; it's a printing/layout term.

Generic Cell Rate Algorithm.

G+C ratio
Fraction of nucleic acid base pairs that are guanine (G) and cytosine (C). The complement of this number would be A+T or A+U.

Greater Cleveland (OH) Regional Transit Authority.

General Certificate of Secondary Education. Given in England and Wales for passing exams given at the end of the fifth form (students who are 15 at the end of August enter the fifth form, so this is about the same as tenth grade). These used to be called the O-levels (O for Ordinary). Which set of GCSE courses a student will take, and which GCSE exams the student will take, is determined by the stage SAT exams (q.v.) which students take (or ``sit,'' since that's how they do it in Britain) at the end of the fourth form.

Performance on the GCSE exams (highest grade A*, like A-plus). The next two years students take AS-levels and A-levels. The A levels are the college entrance exams.

Georgia College and State University. They are just one institution: ``Georgia's Public Liberal Arts University.''

Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems. An IGBP project.

Gulf Coast Turtle & Tortoise Society.

Gross Combin{ed |ation } Weight. The gross weight of a tractor-trailer combination. See next item.

Gross Combination Weight Rating. The maximum gross weight that can be carried by a vehicle, including vehicle, fuel, cargo, and driver (I wonder how NAAFA feels about this).

For more, see the NTEA's glossary of Truck Equipment Terms.

Gulf Coast Wildlife Rescue.

Gadolinium. Atomic number 64. A rare earth (RE).

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

Gadolinium tends to concentrate in tumors and so is used as a contrast material in MRI.


Genitive {and|or} Dative. See NVA.

Graphics Database tool? Don't know, but looks good. Freeware graphics code library which ``allows your code to quickly draw images complete with lines, arcs, text, multiple colors, cut and paste from other images, and flood fills, and write out the result as a .GIF file. This is particularly useful in World Wide Web applications, where .GIF is the format used for inline images. Free here, from Thomas Boutell and his company.

(Domain name code for) Grenada.

Georgia Dental Association. Established in 1859. ``Georgia's Dental Voice.'' ``Aaaaaah. ... Ah! Ih hauwfs!''

gdb, GDB
Genome DataBase.

GNU DeBugger. The Afrikaner surrealist.

Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker, e.V. `German Chemical Society.' (That's the official or standard English translation; for what it's worth, a literal translation is `Society of German Chemists.')

Geographic Data File[s].

Glucose DeHydrogenase.

Government Distribution HUB.

Gender-related Development Index. One kind of HDI.

Gosh Darn Independent. Or something similar. A term used on some campuses, for students who don't belong to a fraternity/sorority/Greek-letter-society, or who do not have a communal meal plan.

Graphic{s|al} Display Interface.

The Windows GDI is the part of MFC that provides all the services needed to produce images on the screen. This is another one of those strokes of genius that bends our knee when we face Redmond, Washington. [Cue the high-pitched humming.] I don't know what we did before, when we only had Macintoshes, TRS-80's, and HP's with slightly different instruction sets.

Game Development Kit. For example, CDX -- a set of C++ wrapper classes for writing Windows games; it's built on top of Microsoft Windows and DirectX technology.

Glow Discharge Mass Spectrometry.

Graphics Device Operating System.

Galvanostatic Double-Pulse (method).

Ground Delay Program.

Gross Domestic Product. Many regard this name as a sly judgment. Cf. GNP.

Guanosine DiPhosphate. Functions like ADP, in a pair with GTP like ADP/ATP, but in a more limited set of processes having to do with the construction of cellular structures.

Gross Domestic Product by Region.

German Democratic Republic. East Germany, when that was a distinct country during the twentieth century (1946-Oct. 1990). DDR in German. A bit more at the FRG entry.

Giant Dipole Resonance. A nuclear giant resonance.

Global Defence Review, Ltd.

Grinning, Ducking and Running (for cover, after a comment at someone else's expense). Email abbreviation, what else?

Groupement de Recherches. French `research grouping.' If I had wanted to be funny, I would have translated it simply as `Zee reesairsh groopang' and let you figure out that it was French from context clues, but I don't have time for such silliness. So far as I can recall, THAT is the only GdR entry I have in this glossarie.

General Depreciation System.

Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing. GD&T is a set of symbols and conventions, used with engineering diagrams, to describe nominal or target dimensions and allowed variations from those dimensions (tolerances). People in the field like to call GD&T a ``language,'' and they occasionally venture to claim that one of the virtues of using it is that it encourages thinking in terms of the philosophy it embodies. [This begins to be true if you replace the word ``virtue'' with ``vice.''] They especially like to use the word ``concept.''

GD&T is what results when people with a bureaucratic rather than a mathematical turn of mind try to systematize the description of geometric information, but only if those results are redacted by editors with no grammatical or logical sense. For just a hint of the mayhem, see this FOS entry.

Ahhh, just think what might have been: GD&T could have been designed by mathematicians. It would have been based on only three undefined terms and yet have been completely general, logically well-defined, elegant, and utterly impractical.

Geophysical Diffraction Tomography.

Global Descriptor Table.

Gas and Electric (company). Productive acronym suffix.

(Domain name code for) Georgia, the country or countries and former soviet republic. Not to be confused with Georgia (GA), the American state (which shows up as .ga.us in TCP/IP addresses).

You can download a Georgian font at the MultiMedia Center. The capital of the country is Tbilisi.

Uncle Joe was from Georgia. He was an Osete (as Mandelshtam pointed out in the untitled 1933 poem that led to his arrest), but the Georgians are proud of their local boy just the same.

Germanium. An indirect-gap semiconductor with bandgap of 0.67eV, and m*/m of 0.55 and 0.37 for electrons and holes, resp. Original basis of semiconductor electronics revolution. Superseded in the early 1960's. Gordon Teal, leading a group at Texas Instruments, was the first to pull (vide CZ) silicon crystals in 1952. Once silicon crystals can be grown, Si wafers have a fantastic advantage over Ge: stable native oxide that is a pretty good doping mask and passivator. This is called ``the miracle.''

Element was named after Germany (L. germania). Atomic number 32. A group-four semiconductor. First predicted as eka-silicon by Mendeleev on the basis of a gap in his periodic table.

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

Lattice constant 5.646 Å.

It's a byproduct of coal production, so there was plenty of it around in time for the beginning of the transistor age, even though until then it hadn't been good for very much in particular.

General Education. Typically refers to a broad survey course, usually taught in a large lecture format, to undergraduate nonmajors fulfilling ``general education'' requirements (see (gen ed).

General Electric. An obstetrics conglomerate. As Dr. Frankenstein did, they bring good things to life, and they also make aircraft engines.

They have a homepage with an NII award-winning component on plastics.

Their Power Systems web pages contains a lot of history of turbines, but they gloss over all of the interesting history that would interest any normal person, like how Edison's gamble on DC power failed, and how he lost control of patent rights to his best inventions, and went broke and was supported in his later years by handouts from his former employee Henry Ford.

Gradient-Enhanced (NMR spectroscopy). Also Gradient Accentuated Spectroscopy (GAS).

Group on Educational Affairs. [Of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).]

Standard abbreviation for German geboren, `born.'

Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, a book by Douglas R. Hofstadter.

German masculine noun meaning `use.' The word has no plural form.

Infinitive of German verb meaning `use.'

Past participle of the regular German verbs with infinitives gebrauchen and brauchen. As an adjective, it primarily has the sense of `second-hand, used.'

General Electric COmpany. Back in the 1890's, the GECo logo was embossed on the switch paddles of the comany's light bulb sockets.

General Electric Computer Operating System. Later GCOS, q.v.

Graduate Equivalency Diploma. One of various alternate expansions of the GED that officially (it's a registered trademark of the developer, the American Council on Education) stands for General Educational Development.

General Educational Development. The name of a five-part test (or of the five tests individually) developed by the American Council on Education (ACE). People take the tests in order to earn a document more or less equivalent to a high school diploma. The tests were originally created to help recently demobilized WWII veterans. Today they are widely taken and they are available to just about anyone. (The only limitation I am aware of is that the test-taker not already have a high school diploma. Shucks.)

A belief in second chances is a part of the American credo. (That's right, F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong about there being ``no second acts in American lives.'') The GED is offered at over 3000 locations in the US and Canada, and can be taken on-line elsewhere.

One in every seven Americans with high school credentials received them via the GED, as well as one in 20 college students, but right now I can only think of two people who I know have taken the GED. One was thrown out of the house by his mother in the middle of his senior year, and the other started her senior year pregnant and had such severe morning sickness that she had to quit. (Most high schools in the US today try to help young mothers complete their education, but I think in this case she and her husband probably needed the money when she was able to go back to work.)

The tests are administered in cooperation with the local state or province, which awards a high-school equivalency diploma for successful completion. (Typically, the official name of this is something like ``Certificate of General Educational Development.'') All five component tests must be taken, and ACE sets a minimum standard for completion. (There's a minimum score for each test, and a slightly higher minimum for the average score on all five. This nicely mirrors the typical requirements for high school graduation.) The local jurisdictions may require a higher standard, but not a lower one. In practice this means that a GED certificate represents a higher standard than many high school diplomas.

For a fully detailed, in-depth investigation of the career advantages of a GED, see the K-8 entry. (You won't find much there, but if you're going for a fully detailed investigation, you should check out everything.)

A long definition is available online. Inferior to a nerd, because a geek has a life.

On the other hand, according to this page, geeks were a major influence on the Life of Paul of Tarsus.

Geek Code
``The Geek Code is a simple way to tell the entire world everything you want them to know about what is really important in your life. I.e., your computer abilities and assimilation level into net.culture.'' Check it out.

geeky addresses

The trouble with starting to calling yourself a geezer when it's still obviously ironic is that the joke ages as you do.

Global Environment Fund (of the World Bank -- WB).

Gravure Education Foundation. ``An educational foundation established in 1979 to raise funds to support gravure education. The foundation awards at least 16 scholarships each year in addition to giving direct grants to universities involved in gravure education.'' Supported by the GAA. If the GAA supported me, I would probably be able to tell you what gravure is myself. Oh look -- here's something:

``Gravure is an advanced, high-tech printing process operating the fastest and widest printing presses in the world. It uses a unique image carrier, a gapless cylinder that can be imaged directly from the digital data. Gravure was the first printing process to employ a totally digital environment. The Gravure Association of America, Inc. promotes the use of the gravure printing process for publication printing, package printing and product (specialty) printing. The resources of the associations are dedicated to the collection and dissemination of state-of-the-art, as well as historic, information pertaining to gravure technology, marketing, environmental issues, government regulations, education, and training.''

German: `given.' More precisely, one of the inflected forms of the adjective gegeben, which is the past participle of geben (`to give'). Obviously, I only mention it because it's -- well, I don't know what it is, but it repeats. A stutterer's nightmare, I suppose.

Government Employees' Insurance COrporation. Pronounced ``GUY Co.''

They sell to the general public (although they won't write car insurance in New Jersey and one other state), but they did ask me if I'd ever been a government employee.

Human sciences. That is, the behavioral and social sciences, or loosely speaking the social sciences. Pronounced "GUY stess VISSen shoften."

The German word Geisteswissenschaften is a calque coined in the nineteenth century by the translator of John Stuart Mill to render the English `moral sciences.' ``Moral'' in that instance had the older sense related to morale: conscious, mental. The word Geisteswissenschaften has now been borrowed back into English rhetorical ordnance in the War of the Words. The singular form (Geisteswissenschaft) is unusual, just as would be the singular of Humanities (in a related sense) in English. In fact, the semantic field of Geisteswissenschaften in German today shades strongly into what would be called the `Humanities' in English. This may be partly due to the fact that Wissenschaft in German has a meaning closer to the general sense of learning or knowledge expressed by the French word science than by its English cognate.

In the US today, sociology is the single most popular undergraduate major. In South Africa, the most popular field is Humanities, but there that term subsumes Sociology. Drawing disciplinary boundaries is a politically fraught and intellectually imprecise thing to do. In the US, one of the more common tricky decisions concerns whether History is to be included among the Social Sciences. (Please excuse the promiscuous capitalization -- we're talking Wissenschaft, after all.)

A Japanese noun meaning `last third of the month.' How cool is that?

Gemini. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation. Until we come back and bulk up the astronomical component of this glossary, you can entertain yourself at the twins entry.

Generic Equipment Model.

Graphics Environment Manager.

General Electric Medical Systems.

Global Environment Monitoring System.

genau genommen
German, `strictly speaking.'

A grammarians' word meaning category, or kind. In most linguists' definitions, gender is a noun category with consequences: most typically, an adjective must have the same gender as a noun it modifies, pronouns must have a gender consistent with their antecedents, etc.

The word gender is cognate with genre and genus. (The Latin word genus is a third-declension noun, as one can tell from the genitive singular form generis. Most of the words derived from it are based on the root gener- and have nothing in principle necessarily to do with sex. It is nevertheless useful to note the sense in which, grammatically, gender ``is'' sex. In most Indo-European and Semitic languages, nouns have two or three genders, and the nouns for adult humans have ``natural gender.'' That is, one of the two or three genders includes all or most nouns for adult males, and another includes all or most adult females. It is the existence of this condition that makes gender ``sexual.'' (I've also seen ``natural gender'' called ``biological gender.'' Nouns with natural gender are sometimes called ``gender nouns.'')

Reconstructions of Proto-Indo-European itself identify an early stage in which there was no grammatical gender, followed by a first stage of gender development in which the fundamental distinction was between animate and inanimate objects. There are indications that what eventually became the feminine gender first arose to distinguish abstract nouns.

The distinction between animate and inanimate is a widespread basis for categorizing nouns. It is the only general distinction among nouns in Basque. In that language, exceptions demonstrate that this is a lexical rather than a strictly conceptual distinction; parts of the body, for example, are in the ``inanimate'' class, while tables are ``animate.''

The common pattern in the languages of sub-Saharan Africa is to have five or more genders (usually called noun classes in this case). Animate and inanimate objects tend to segregate into different classes (with, of course, some exceptions).

The reconstruction of PIE is based on comparisons of and inferences from daughter languages, so conversely one may describe various features of the daughter languages as being reflexes of the original. It is awkward, however, for a noun not to have a gender, since its gender is needed to determine the appropriate form of adjectives agreeing with it. What one does see, however, are coincidences of form in different gender. For example, in Latin (as in the other classical languages), nouns and adjectives fall into different well-defined groups called declensions, and the rules according to which they are inflected to indicate number and case depend on the declension. They may also depend on the gender. However, nouns of the third declension have identical inflections for male and female, and the fourth-declension inflections are independent of gender. The interpretation given to these facts is that gender in the latter case, and male-female distinction in the former, were not reflected in the morphology because they did not exist when at least some of the paradigmatic words in those inflections assumed their established forms.

The Indo-European language families with the largest numbers of speakers in Europe and the Americas are the Slavic, Italic, and Germanic. The Slavic languages generally retain three genders. Extant members of the Italic group are all descendants of Latin. Although Latin had three genders, its daughter languages have generally collapsed the system down to masculine and feminine, with the old neuter nouns coalescing into the masculine group. (The principal exception, not surprisingly, is Romanian, which still has three genders.)

Languages of the Germanic group have gone various ways, with German at one extreme preserving three IE genders, and English at the other discarding the concept entirely. [Discarding grammatical gender as such, that is. English preserves semantic gender, which is explicit primarily in third-person personal pronouns. (Hence the alternative name ``pronominal gender.'')] Standard Danish and Swedish have two-gender systems consisting of ``common gender'' (combining former masculine and feminine genders) and neuter. (The word neuter is a Latin adjective meaning `neither,' so the grammatical gender options are effectively either and neither.)

Nevertheless, a very common kind of grammatical gender is sex, and many people conflate the two. This conflation, which I am not alone in regarding as a misuse of ``gender,'' is made by people who ought to know better (and do). It seems like Victorian avoidance of the word sex, and to some extent it probably is, but there are tortured arguments for this use of the word, having to do with the claim that much of what we might call sexual difference is really socially constructed (just like the linguistic distinction among genders). My counterclaim is that the distinction -- between natural sexual differences on the one hand and culturally determined differences correlated with sex on the other -- can never be completely sharp, and are not competently distinguished in practice. Anyway, back to grammar.

When there is a third gender in addition to two sexual genders, the third is usually called neuter (via French, ultimately from Latin neuter, which meant `neither').

It is often the case that diminutives are classed as neuter, even when they have a natural gender. In German, for example, diminutives can be constructed by appending the suffix -chen or -lein or (in Southern dialects, including the Silesia of my mother's childhood) -el (-le in Swabian). All these diminutives are neuter. Hence Mädchen (`young girl') is neuter. Neuter diminutives are a widespread and ancient phenomenon. In Ancient Greek, to paidion meant `the little child' of either sex (to is the neuter form of the singular nominative definite article). Just as well. This must occasionally have helped avoided some embarrassment. The nondiminutive forms are ho pais (`the boy') and hê pais (`the girl'). (The final sigma here occurs only in the nom. sing. The noun root paid- is used to construct the other inflected forms -- plurals and the singulars of the other three cases, sc. accusative, genitive, and dative. Likewise compound and other forms, as seen in the case of paidion.) You also note that this is one of those situations in which natural gender is not reflected in the noun form. This coincidence might occasionally be used to cover ignorance, since articles are not as crucial in Ancient Greek as in English. (For example, at a climactic moment in the last book of Xenophon's Anabasis, the usual English translation has the soldiers shouting ``The sea! The sea!'' The Greek reads Thalassa! Thalassa! No article .)

With pais we see that the noun has gender (natural gender, in this case) which is reflected in the article (when present), as well as in (some) adjectives. The extent to which nouns' gender can be deduced from their morphology varies from language to language.

This entry will grow a bit more, but to anticipate let me mention that two and three genders are only typical of European languages, but many African languages use five and more genders, and these then tend to be called noun classes.

gender correctness
I've seen postings by Latin teachers addressed to ``amici/ae.'' It's a modern anachronism.

Gender-inclusive language is wording that (a) does not implicitly exclude either males or females, or that (b) explicitly includes both males and females. In the future, perhaps, consideration of only two genders will not be regarded as adequate. (Paging Tim Curry!) So far as I can tell, when the achievement of gender inclusiveness is really, really impractical, it is permitted to exclude males. We have noted various instances of unnecessary, awkward, or otherwise egregious gender-inclusive language throughout this glossary. (We're fighting a losing battle to list every human association that is or has been known by its initials. See, for example, this one.) But we won't attempt to include all instances of gender-inclusiveness here. Too boring. Just read the entire glossary and you'll find them -- they're not hidden or anything. (Maybe you want to cut to the chase at CLC-CTC and VIAL.)

Here's an instance of gender-inclusive language that didn't fit in any acronym slot, finally forcing me to create this entry. It's from a progressive newspaper (an independent monthly distributed on the ND and SMC campuses), called and generally lacking Common Sense. The title and rustic font recall Thomas Paine's famous pamphlet of 1776. On December 23, 1776, Paine began publishing occasional essays under the common title of ``The American Crisis.'' The first number began with these words:

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.

(Capitalization and italics as in the original; no hyperlinks in the original.) The monthly mentioned above quotes these lines above its title, in what one might call abbreviated form:

These are the times that try men's souls. Women's too.

Okay, this wasn't inclusive enough. I noticed the March 2006 issue (vol. XX, #4); the font is no longer rustic, and the motto now reads thus:

These are the times that try women's souls, men's too.

I'm waiting for the times that try lesbian, bisexual, and transsexual souls. Since this is a Catholic school, there are probably people who fully expect those times. Hmm, April came and went with no issue. May brought #5/6, with the headline ``Worried About Vaginas.'' (It's got to be about the endless ``Vagina Monologues'' discussion.) This double issue isn't any larger than the usual, but it really is a double issue: first they filled the distribution boxes in time for graduation, then they refilled them for reunions. It's to épater le développement-comité, or something like that.

Oh, here's a good one. I'm not sure whether it's meant to be gender-inclusive or gender-specific or something else or nothing else, but here it is:

It was a speech defined by grace, feistiness, sly wit, generosity toward her former rival and by a powerful nod to the history her forewoman/bearers made --and which she carried forward with her unprecedented run for the presidency, winning more primaries and caucuses (23) than any woman in history.

It appeared in a blog posting by Katrina vanden Heuvel on the website of The Nation magazine. Obviously, it was about Hillary Clinton's speech to the Democratic Party convention on August 26, 2008.

I thought this might be an entry where I complained about all the ``/innen'' inclusiveness in my German-language email. It wasn't, but now it is. I get a lot of email addressed to Kollegen und Kolleginnen (academic `colleagues') that has a lot to say to and about ``Kollegen/innen.''

I wanted to add that I recently saw an article title uglified by gender-inclusiveness in a Spanish-language publication (Revista de Ciencias Sociales [Rcs]). From No. 6 (January 1999; but I only just saw it): ``Prácticas de aceptación y rechazo de estudiantes dominicanos(as) en una escuela elemental en Puerto Rico.'' [`Admissions Practices for Dominican [Republic] students at a Puerto Rican Elementary School.'] This is slightly interesting because the noun estudiantes is of common gender, so it can be modified by adjectives in masculine and feminine form. It raises an interesting question: when a noun has different forms for feminine and masculine gender, is it more or less likely that explicitly gendered modifiers will be used? This gets at the questions of whether gender-inclusivists care whether their locutions are awkward, and (if they do evince caring) whether they prefer awkwardness or grace. Probably no single answer applies generally, but it would be interesting to have some statistical data on trends. The contrast between common-gender nouns and explicit-gender nouns suggests a way to develop such statistics, but I haven't designed the appropriate study yet.

gender of fruit and trees
In the typical European languages that mark grammatical gender, the semantic content of gender is limited. There is thus little obstacle, usually, to creating a new noun from an old one by a change of gender. There are many instances of this, and maybe someday we'll collect a bunch of them in a single entry, but here I just want to give examples for the special case of gender used to distinguish trees from the fruits or products they yield.

It's surprising how many of these words have unrelated homonyms. The Greek mêlon could mean `goat, sheep' and oínê, written on a die, meant `ace' [from oînós -- note the accent -- meaning `one']. Malus is the male form of a general adjective for `bad' (`unpleasant, evil, etc.'), while malum, in addition to being the neuter form of the adjective, is the related noun (`evil, unpleasantness, etc.').

It's in line with modern practice, yet noteworthy, that the connection between wine and vine skips over unrelated ancient Greek and Latin words for grape (uva and rháx).

The trees and products listed above are not all independent, of course. Latin oliva was apparently adapted from the Greek elaía (the v reflects a digamma in the archaic form of the Greek word), and olea is either a native parallel form or an alternate Greek derivative. Similarly, malum was from the Greek mêlon (quite possibly in the Doric and Aeolic form mâlon).

The Spanish word manzana (earlier mazana) is derived from the Latin Matiana mala (i.e., Matiana apple). At some point, it must have become more confusing to give the full name than just the adjective, for Matiana mala could have been interpreted as `bad apple.' The Spanish word melón (like the English melon and French mélon) ultimately comes from the same Greek word for fruit.

Spanish Cereza is ultimately from a Latin pair cerasus, cerasum -- female and neuter second-declension nouns grammatically parallel to pirus, pirum -- and these words were used for `cherry tree, cherry bark, and cherry,' but it's not clear that Latin maintained a semantic distinction between the female and neuter forms.

gender of Spanish women's names
This is an entry about the grammatical gender of women's names in the Spanish language (viz, in Castilian, though I suspect that the other Spanish languages are similar). The women themselves need not be and sometimes are not Spanish-speaking, although in the course of things they usually are.

Some Spanish women's names are masculine common nouns. All of those I am aware of arise from the popularity of María as a girl's given name. Many girls are given names of the form María de <foo> (think of the names of some Catholic churches and schools, in the form ``Our Lady of <foo>'' or ``Notre Dame de <foo>''). These names are often shortened to <foo>, and sometimes such shortened forms have become formal given names themselves. Prominent examples include

  1. María de los Ángeles (`Mary of the Angels')
  2. María del Consuelo (`Mary the Consoler,' loosely)
  3. María de los Dolores (`Mary of the Pains')
  4. María del Pilar (`Mary of the Pillar')
  5. María del Rosario (`Mary of the Rosary')
The first name, or at least the concept, gave rise to the city name Los Angeles. In Bolivia, the parallel construction ``Nuestra Señora de La Paz'' (`Our Lady of Peace') is the official name of the country's administrative capital, normally referred to simply as ``La Paz.'' The largest city in California was originally saddled with the moniker ``El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula'' (`The Village of Our Lady, the Queen of the Angels of Porziuncola'). It might as well have been named ``Abbreviate me please!''

The other four names in the list above gave rise to the common girls' names Consuelo, Dolores, Pilar, and Rosario. In Spanish, as common nouns, all four are masculine. They don't just happen to be unobtrusively male, they are nouns whose morphology makes them hard to mistake for female. (Consuelo and rosario both end in o; pilar and the singular form dolor both end in r. When you get to the LONERS entry, you will see that this makes them, morphologically speaking, highly probably male nouns.) As proper nouns, these names are construed female: they agree with adjectives in female form, etc.

I'm not aware of any men's names that are female common nouns, but the popularity of the name María does bend gender a bit in the usual way. One has compound names with María as the second element. I believe that the most common is Juan-María (cf. the French Jean-Marie). However, I've also seen Jorge-María (corresponding to Georges-Marie, also comparatively rare).

gen ed
GENeral EDucation. Universities in North America, and to varying degrees elsewhere, recognize a responsibility to apply a thin patina of sophistication to their students. This involves forcing them to study (or at least register for courses in) subjects outside their area of specialization (``major''). I think that most students would end up taking elective courses outside their major department anyway, but most schools I am familiar with impose some kind of structure on nonmajor elective courses, with the intent of making sure that the selection is truly broad. There are various ways to arrange this, and the least restrictive common approach is to establish ``general education'' requirements.

Many schools call these ``distribution requirements,'' and inevitably people use the locution ``taking a distribution'' for taking a course in fulfillment of a distribution requirement. This is a Chinese-menu approach. Students must take, say, at least one course in each of four different domains of knowledge. Sometimes things will be qualitatively looser, with six areas defined, say, and students required to take a course in at least four or five. Sometimes there will be specific requirements, such as a foreign language.

Some schools have one or more ``depth'' requirements, in addition to the fundamental ``breadth'' requirement of courses distributed among knowledge domains. For example, students might be required to take at least one ``advanced'' (second-year or 200-level) course outside their field of concentration. Back in the 1960's, Yale had an infamous ``seventh distribution requirement'' that required every student to take either calculus or second-year Latin. If you felt you had to choose Latin then I guess that was a ``depth requirement.'' (Just between you and me: introductory calculus at the college level is a remedial course.)

The distribution areas are usually just collections of academic departments (or other units that offer courses), and sometimes any course will count towards fulfillment of gen-ed or distribution requirements. Of course, some departments may designate certain courses as ``majors only'' or impose other restrictions. The most common restriction relevant to gen-ed requirements is that only certain introductory courses may be allowed to count toward fulfillment of gen-ed requirements. Think of this as crowd control.

You're probably wondering how I could have written so much without more evidence of cynicism. I just want you to know that I'm not growing soft, just tired. An approach that is virtually opposite to gen-eds is Great Books. There are endless gradations and variations, but the following is certain: if you stop reading after you graduate, you are a peasant.

general chemistry
Gunnar Hägg (1903-1986) published a textbook for the first semester of chemistry in Swedish universities, Allmän och Oorganisk Kemi (Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell, 1/e 1963). The fourth edition (1966) was translated into English. The Preface of the English edition includes the following comment on the title:
  After consulting several English-speaking chemists I have thought it best to use a literal translation of the Swedish title [General and Inorganic Chemistry] although the expression `general chemistry' may have a slightly misleading meaning, at least to an American reader. In Europe, this or equivalent expressions usually imply an introduction to the laws of chemistry without any specialized, descriptive material, while in America it seems to mean an elementary presentation of the entire science. An American reader may, therefore, miss a treatment of organic chemistry and biochemistry.

Frankly, I have no problem with this. I just want to know what ``and'' means.

A sentence adverb with about the same sense as ``in general.'' Generally speaking, I use it to mean ``always'' or ``usually.''

Generation of Vipers
A book-length vituperation written by the novelist, screenwriter, and essayist Philip Wylie (1902-1971) over two months in 1942. For the twentieth printing, in 1955, he added some afterthoughts as footnotes. The tenth Pocket Cardinal edition was published in March 1968. That is the definitive edition, because it's definitely the one whose page numbers I refer to elsewhere in this glossary, and it's definitely the only copy I would ever want, because this isn't the sort of book worth replacing when it is accidentally lost into the garbage can.

Here's the front-cover blurb on the definitive edition:

The most explosive classic of our time, newly annotated by the author of Opus 21 [see 22], The Disappearance, The Innocent Ambassadors, brilliantly examines and exposes American morals, women, moms, schools, politicians, businessmen, doctors, religion, and a host of other explosive subjects from TV to sex mores. A powerful book that should be read by every thinking person!

Despite what you'd expect, it does have some virtues even a thinking person could appreciate. It is sometimes unexpectedly even-handed, in a plague-on-both-your-houses sort of way. Here, for example, is the beginning of a footnote from page 241:

  While the ``pink'' aspect of many professors was plainly to be noticed in 1941 (and not a Great New Finding of Congress made a decade later) it was seldom a true communism or even faith in Marxist theory; usually it was a vague trust in ``economics'' as the basis of human motivation, a belief also commonly held by capitalists.

It's a hat trick: he heaps scorn on businessmen (a little bit) as well as congressmen and professors (rather more in the following). One disadvantage, for anyone who cares what the author thinks, is that the complaints are often vague, or perhaps allude to events whose memory has become hazy in the mists of time. For example, page 38 has this:

  The people, beholding the real millennium of goods, rejoiced exceedingly (and smugly) upon being told that there was at hand a similar millennium of the soul. The cloacal welter of evidence to the contrary was shushed by a new set of fancy conventions variously called forbearance, tact, manners, purity, holiness, sanctity, tolerance, and so forth. Another batch of citizens walked out of the church when they were told they were whole. They knew it was a lie. Their archetypes made it plain that nobody could be whole save for a minute at a time. ...

I can believe that he had some more definite events and conditions in mind when he wrote this than I can conjure on reading. I also suspect that I might color the events differently, and in more different shades, if presented with the raw data rather than his pre-processed, post-consumer, uh,... -- cloacal, let's say -- conclusions.

It was a preposterously influential book. Some people like to read this stuff because they're the kind of people who enjoy hanging around the tavern when the town crank gets into a talking drunk. As you may have guessed, I value this book for its fresh language, occasional malapropisms, and neologisms. Some examples of the last: ``scumskulls,'' ``profundaments,'' ``prickamette,'' and most famously ``momism,'' for which see portiere. Also, I learned all I needed to know about baptism in utero (pp. 176-9).

generic name
A public-domain name for a drug. Details at the drug-names entry.

generic vote
Also called ``generic preference,'' ``generic congressional trial heat,'' etc. A poll, or the results of a poll, asking some variant of the following question:
``if the elections for Congress were being held today, which party's candidate would you vote for in your congressional district?''
The answer often contradicts the answers to questions asking whether respondents are happy with their own congressional representation, unless one supposes they would like their representatives to switch parties.

gen. et sp. nov.
Latin: genus (novum) et species nova, `new genus and new species.' Taxonomic term.

John Adams wrote [see Charles F. Adams's edition of The Works of [CFA's ancestor] John Adams (1851), Vol. 6, pp. 313-314]:
Let not Geneva be forgotten or despised.
He referred to sixteenth-century Geneva, known as ``the Protestant Rome.'' This civitas dei under John Calvin's control was a miniature Afghanistan under Taliban control.

Adams continued

Religious liberty owes it much respect, Servetus notwithstanding.
Michael Servetus was a Spanish physician who was condemned as a heretic by the Catholics, cheated death by escaping prison, then had the misfortune to be recognized in Geneva. Out of the frying pan into the fire. He was tried in the usual way and burned slowly at the stake. There are a lot of nasty details, but the detail forgotten is that he was only one among many who were merely less well-known.
From this city proceeded printed books and men distinguished for their wit and eloquence, who spreading themselves in the neighboring provinces, there sowed in secret seeds of their doctrine. Almost all the cities and provinces of France began to be enlightened by it. It began to introduce itself into the kingdom under Francis I, in opposition to all the vigorous resolutions which he took to suppress it. Henry II ordained, with inexorable severity, the punishment of death against all who should be convicted of Calvinism...
Early Calvinists were not more tolerant than Catholics, Zwinglians, Lutherans or any number of others. Calvin's contribution was to create a new heresy that was very successful but which was also a failure in other places. It was the failure as much as the success that led to religious liberty. After only a few centuries of inconclusive wars, ``tolerance'' broke out as a surly cease fire.

Calvinism as it actually evolved was hence considerably more tolerant than its creator, eventually. Calvinist religion was also, as many have observed, a good fit to capitalist economic philosophy. Actually, that observation is often made of Protestantism, but Calvinist ideas were widely influential, particularly though not exclusively among other Protestants. Adams wrote (in the paragraph preceding that quoted above) that Calvin's ``opinions were ... embraced with ardor, and maintained with obstinacy, by a great number of persons of all conditions.'' But not equally by persons of all different conditions. In France, Calvinism was more popular in the mercantile west. There as elsewhere it was especially well-received among shop-keepers, professionals, and others of the rising middle class (I swear I didn't crib this from a high school essay, but at least I inserted a sentence break before there). That's why persecution of the Huguenots (French Calvinists) was such an economic downer for the French kingdom.

Let me just mention here that Martin Luther was the son of a relatively prosperous peasant. John Calvin was the son of a relatively prosperous physician. If this were an encyclopedia entry, I would have integrated that information more gracefully into the capitalism/Calvinism/Protestantism discussion of the preceding paragraph.

Calvinism did not spread very effectively where capitalism did not, so it made negligible inroads in Russia. The only reason I wrote this and the previous two paragraphs was to build a digression that justified mentioning the entry for Spirit of Geneva, a Russian beverage.

At some point I should probably remind the reader that John Adams signed the Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. Done. Oh yeah -- and don't forget to visit the Reformed entry.

The new name of the company resulting from the merger of General Motors and Alitalia.

Also reportedly the pronunciation of Gen. Taylor Ave. in New Orleans. Let me just say ``palatalization.'' That way, when I have a palatalization entry, I'll remember to link to it from this entry.

GENerator LOCK. Phase synchronization of two video signals.

gen. nov.
Latin: genus novum, `new genus.' Taxonomic term.

One typically expects an adjective and its noun to have same ending in Latin. This is particularly the case with the nominative singular endings -us, -a, -um. These are the typical male, female, and neuter endings of first- and second-declension nouns and adjectives. And the adjective novum is indeed an adjective of the first and second declensions. (This is one of the two large classes of Latin adjectives; adjectives in this class take first-declension endings when agreeing with feminine nouns and second-declension endings when agreeing with masculine or neuter nouns.) As it happens, however, genus is not the masculine second-declension noun it appears to be. It's not even a fourth-declension noun. (Although there does happen to be a fourth-decl. neuter noun genu, reflected in the English word genuflect. The good old Germanic word knee in English is a cognate of genu going back to proto-Indo-European.)

Rather, the genus abbreviated in the head term is a third-declension neuter noun, indicated in dictionaries by giving the genitive singular form generis. Most derived forms within Latin, and most derived words in Romance, are based on the root gener-. Hence gender and genre.

For a discussion of how genre is redefined by its each new member, see E. Spolsky and E. Schauber: The Bounds of Interpretation: Linguistic Theory and Literary Text (Stanford UP, 1986).

Abbreviation for the given name George. George is a boy's or literary woman's (George Eliot, George Sand) name.

FWIW, George Sand was the pseudonym of Aurore Dupin Dudevant, but she also signed her personal letters ``George Sand.'' Born Mary Ann Evans, George Eliot signed her letters M.E. Lewes (although she was unable to become Mrs. George Henry Lewes legally on account of Mr. Lewes's first wife refusing to grant him a divorce). At the J. K. Rowling entry there's information which should make both their practices seem quite natural.

George-George couples are rare, or were. Evelyn-Evelyn couples have been less so.

GEOstationary orbit. Or maybe that's GEostationary Orbit. Or maybe the abbreviation was coined heedless of my capitalization issues. Also, I trust unofficially, Geostationary Earth Orbit -- probably inspired by the expansion of LEO.

A GEO is a geosynchronous circular orbit over the equator. In other words, it is an orbit (and the only kind of orbit) that places a satellite in a position that appears at a fixed point in the sky to observers on earth. Communication satellites in geostationary orbits can serve fixed antennas. In practice, the delivery vehicle does not originally place a satellite on a precisely geostationary orbit, and may not place it at its assigned longitude. The satellite's on-board rockets are used to nudge the satellite into its final orbit. However, GEO is itself an approximation: the Earth's deviation from a perfect sphere and tidal forces from Moon and Sun cause the satellite to drift, and the same on-board roackets used for initial positioning are afterwards used for station-keeping (correction for this drift). Rocket fuel left over from initial positioning typically suffices for 10-15 years of station-keeping, but a really good initial position can save enough to add 10 years to the life of a satellite.

Geostationary satellites orbit at an altitude (a height above sea level) of about 35,786 km. For comparison, you realize that the earth's circumference is about 40,000 km, since the meter was originally defined as one ten-millionth of the length of a quadrant arc passing through Paris. What this means, among other things, is that a GEO is kind of close. The average equatorial radius of the earth, rE, is 6378 km, and the center-to-center distance R between Earth and GEO satellite is 42164 km. The Earth therefore has an angular diameter 2θ, where sinθ = rE/R (θ ≅ 8.7°). Each satellite is visible in a spherical circular region representing a fraction [1-sinθ]/2 ≅ 42.4% of the earth's surface. In particular, geostationary satellites are below the horizon for all points on earth above a lattitude of 81.3°.

For something about powering GEO's, see the solar cell entry. More at the DBS entry.

The study of silicates. Wings has a list of links. Other good places to mount your net surfboard are the GSA and the (UK) Geological Society.

Once when we were living in Illinois, my pal Ken said ``I want to start a rock club!'' I said ``I have a geode!'' Ken had a guitar.

Vide Rare Earth.

Here, as item #23, is an excerpt of Euclid's Elements.

geophysics resources
Try here.

Georgetown, Go the way of
Follow the path of creeping secularization. Notre Dame (ND) expression.

General English Proficiency Test. A test developed and administered by the Language Training and Testing Center (LTTC) at National Taiwan University (NTU). They like to call it the LTTC GEPT:
The LTTC GEPT is divided into five levels with content appropriate to each level, and each level incorporates listening, reading, writing and speaking components. The Elementary, Intermediate, and High-intermediate Levels are administered twice a year, the Advanced Level once a year, and the Superior Level upon request.

The LTTC GEPT is used by various government institutions as well as private enterprises. The test is also used by hundreds of public and private schools as an admissions, placement, or graduation criterion. About 2.20 million people have taken the test since its inception in the year 2000. [This appears on a webpage with copyright 2002. Wow! Oh wait: ``Revised: 2006-11-27.'']

Gerald Ford
I noticed that we didn't have a Gerlad Ford, Ge-Gerald Frod, Gerald Ford! entry. So I put one in and now we've got one. Good. Therefore we don't need one anymore. I suppose that means I should take it out now.

Well, here's something interesting about sports. Ford was the star center for his high school (``South High'' -- imaginative name) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As a senior in 1931 he won a football scholarship to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where he played center on the undefeated national championship teams of 1932 and 1933. He graduated on time (1935) and had offers to play professional football with both the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers, but he passed that up to attend law school at Yale. He paid his way through Yale Law by working locally as an assistant football coach and as a freshman boxing coach.

Now, I knew that the whole scholar-athlete thing had changed a little bit over the years, but who today could ever imagine a football center as a ``star''? It's too strange.

(The second sentence in the preceding paragraph was put in because in school I learned that you can't have a one-sentence paragraph -- or is that ``halve''?)

According to True Confessions, a collection of unprovenanced quotes compiled and edited by Jon Winocur (London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1992), Gerald Ford said ``I've had a lifelong ambition to be a professional baseball player, but nobody would sign me.''

Gerald Ford's finest achievement was to become the first US president to be overshadowed by his wife in his retirement. Entries that are about other people or things, but which happen also to mention something about Gerald R. Ford, include those for 11Q5 (mentions the museum), MG autos (mentions his wife), the WWII channel (he served with distinction), and WIN (not a winner for him).

FWIW, Gerald Ford was born on Bastille Day, 1913. His name was Leslie Lynch King, Jr. His mother left his dad two weeks later -- and who could blame her? They lived in Omaha, Nebraska! She returned to live with her parents in GR, and literally before he knew it, Leslie Lynch King, Jr. was known as Gerald Rudolph Ford, Jr. Interestingly, Gerald Jr.'s mother's maiden name was Dorothy Gardner. In the Wizard of Oz, the role of Dorothy was played by Judy Garland, who had been born Frances Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Okay maybe not so interesting. Mnemonic, a little bit. I usually mention the American proclivity to name change in connection with Werner Erhardt, creator of est, but you can find another example at the MGM entry.


Einleitung in die Altertumswissenschaft [German, `Introduction to the Study of Antiquity'], edited by A. Gercke and E. Norden. It initially appeared in 1910 (publ. by Teubner) and in a series of revisions. Now replaced by Einleitung in die griechische Philologie (EGP) and Einleitung in die lateinische Philologie, also from Teubner.

GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease. Normally called acid reflux (disease). Let's not do the herdy-gerdy.

Spanish for `management' in the business sense of the word.

gerencia de inventario
Spanish for `inventory management.'

Spanish for `manager' in the business sense. In Portuguese it means both this and `managerial.' It's mildly intriguing that English has no common word derived from the Latin gerens, gerentis. There is the rare word gerent meaning `ruler.' Elizabeth Barrett Browning used it in her ``Prometheus Bound'' in 1833. It might be worth mentioning that Robert Browning's nickname for his wife was ``my little Portuguese,'' and this probably contributed to the choice of Sonnets from the Portuguese as the title for her famous colletion of sonnets.

A language and a nationality. Clicking on this link will generate a subglossary of all entries that contain any information in or about the German language or the German Sprachraum. (The subglossary will launch in a separate window.) But don't click now, I haven't written the script yet. My internal format is riven with exceptions.

A substantial online translation dictionary (German-English two-way) is offered by LEO (translations are also accessible directly via google.de). As of 2005, a parallel German-French resource is under development. A comparable German-English resource, <dict.cc>, has been constructed by user contributions, somewhat like Wikipedia. Another online two-way dictionary is ODGE. I haven't used any of these much, so I'm not making any recommendation.

I just (May 2007) had a surprise. On a German-language mailing list I subscribe to, there was an announcement for a junior research position (30-month contract) in economics, and the funding was from a grant whose title was in English (``Emergence and Evolution blah, blah, lasers, blah,'' approximately). The weird thing is, the title was accompanied by a translation into German. The implication seemed to be that there might be post-doctoral researchers working in Germany whose reading ability in English is less than excellent, and that one would consider hiring them.

English name for Germanistik.

German saltpeter
An old name for ammonium nitrate. See saltpeter.

German toast
Earlier name for French toast, q.v.

A Latin adjective related to the neuter noun germen (genitive form: germinis) meaning `sprout, offshoot.' Beyond the narrow senses used in horticulture, the word was used metaphorically to indicate the common parentage of siblings or a quality of true brotherhood (cf. blood brothers). A frater germanus was a brother (frater) having the same parents, or at least the same father (similarly soror germana for a sister). You recognize the word frater as the root of the related English words fraternity and fratricide. In fact, frater is a cognate of the English word brother and the German Bruder. The IE root is supposed to have had an initial eff sound, which was transformed into a bee sound by the First German Sound Shift (described by Grimm's Law).

In Classical Latin, the adjective became an abbreviation for the noun phrase, in about the same way that automatic stands for ``automatic transmission'' in English. So germanus came to mean `brother' and (to a lesser extent) germana `sister.'

The same word capitalized (Germanus) means `German.' In this sense, the earliest known use occurs in the second book of Caesar's Gallic War (written sometime between 52 and 50 BCE).

Quintilian (viii.3.29) quotes the second epigram in Virgil's Catalepton (`Trifles'; a collection of 14 now often obscure epigrams) and explains that it refers to T. Annius Cimber, who [was accused of having] killed his brother. In this connection he cites Cicero's ``Germanum Cimber occidit'' (Cimber killed [his] brother'). Germanum here is the accusative of germanus, so the brother is killed rather than killer (except that, oh never mind). Cicero's pun is a little better than that: ``nisi forte jure germanum Cimber occidit.'' Cimber was the name of a Germanic tribe, so the phrase can be interpreted to mean `unless perchance by law, a Cimber may kill his countryman.' [This might be a good place to mention again that the German nation has a remarkably large number of names in different languages. Part of the reason is that as different neighboring nations encountered them, they often knew Germans by the name of the local tribe and tended to apply the name in an unconscious antonomasia. Something like considering Cimbri as equivalent to Germani.]

Gertrude Stein
I didn't really want to have a Gertrude Stein entry I just needed a place to put something for reference yes reference for another entry its a limerick

There's a wonderful family named Stein,
There's Ep, there's Gert, and there's Ein.
    Ep's statues are junk,
    Gert's poems are bunk,
And nobody understands Ein.

Gertrude Stein is cited usually quoted at various entries in the glossary such as CSICOP and GRE but those are not really relevant and I shouldnt have mentioned them see? Not like 5-2 defense sure and ans. why not? Popular music too The Archies As Time Goes By thats not one song!

Okay, that's enough of that. Other entries with significant Gertrude Stein content:

A verb form used as a noun. In English, that's usually the infinitive or present participle form, but in many terms using a past participle as an adjective, the original noun may be elided, giving rise to what is effectively a past participle gerund. The truth is, in such a scantily inflected language as English, any form of any word can aspire to any syntactical rôle. It's the American Dream.

Abbreviation of gesamt and its inflected forms. German for `whole, total, entire, complete.'

Ground Engineering System.

Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection.

Graduate Employees and Students Organization. A group that has been trying to gain recognition as the union representing Yale graduate student teaching assistants. The University of Wisconsin became the first US university to recognize a graduate student labor union in 1969. Since then a score of other public universities have done the same, partly because they are often subject to state laws that treat the graduate assistants as state employees. Unionization in private institutions is governed principally by the NLRA, and the NLRB, has ruled that students who teach as part of their education are not protected under the act.

Geheime Staatspolizei. German: `secret state police.' A Nazi institution.

A Jewish legal document that a man owes to his ex-wife, declaring that they are divorced.

Get a life!
Overheard at a Star Trek convention. I don't know what you think, but to me that sounds like someone who's not getting cut in on the residuals.

Actually, the phrase was uttered by William Shatner (who played ``Captain James T. Kirk'' in TOS). In an SNL skit set at a Star Trek convention, he speaks it to some trekkies.

Groupe d'études inuit et circumpolaire.

Get real!
You needed that. You also need a slap in the face, but this page can't deliver it because you're using an obsolete browser.

Giga-Electron-Volt[s]. A convenient energy unit for anyone who accelerates elementary charged particles through potential drops that cumulatively amount to gigavolts. Convenient for elementary-particle physicists, in other words (also called high-energy physicists, because they're high-strung, of course). BeV (B for billion) is equivalent in US usage, but was discarded in the sixties in favor of GeV, partly on account of the billion ambiguity, and partly out of a preference for systematic nomenclature in numerical prefixes.

Because E = mc2, energy units can be used to state a mass (and vice versa, of course, though this is less common). For example, the proton and the neutron have masses equal to about one GeV/c2 (see amu). It is very common for physicists to elide the ``cee squared'' in informal conversation. There are three ways of looking at this. (1) Linguistically, one may regard GeV as an abbreviation for GeV/c2 where no confusion is possible. (2) Lexicographically, one may regard ``mass'' as having among its acceptions ``energy equivalent of the mass,'' so that ``the mass is 1 GeV'' is to be understood as ``the energy equivalent of the mass is 1 GeV.'' (3) Logically, one may observe that there is no way to measure time in length units, or length in time units, or perform any other experiment or theoretical calculation that establishes an equivalence between, say, microseconds and kilometers, or nanoseconds and feet. Looked at another way, this means that if one were to posit that, say, one nanosecond equals one foot, it could not contradict any bit of science otherwise known. Also (this is a bit harder to see), making such an assumption does not prevent one from performing any calculation one might otherwise perform. Hence, and because it is convenient, physicists often assume that c has precisely the value one. (Hence the constant can be replaced by the number in calculations, which means that as a factor it disappears entirely.) This is a very common move for elementary particle physicists, and common also for some electromagnetic calculations. Similarly, other universal constants such as the gravitational constant G have their values set to one for calculations. At the end of a calculation, if necessary, explicit constants are reinserted for the evaluation of quantities in ``practical'' units.

GeV is usually pronounced ``gee ee vee'' in my experience, but I have heard ``jevv,'' and for all I know usage has shifted in the twenty-five years since I was last regularly involved. Cf. MeV.

German: `weightlifting.' (The verb heben, in case there is any doubt, is cognate with the English verb heave.)

Greater EXpectations. ``AAC&U's multi-year initiative to articulate the aims of a 21st century liberal education and identify comprehensive, innovative models that improve learning for all undergraduate students.''

It is troubling to read, in the documentation of their National Panel, ``Information on many of these sites helped brief the Greater Expectations National Panel during its deliberations.''

Gey kak'n af'n yam!
`Go shit in the sea.' [Yiddish.] Like most technical terms, this phrase gains utility through obscurity. I've seen three conjugations of the verb, with the same translation, but this makes sense. Gey, geyt, and gey'n should be the familiar singular, familiar plural, and polite (no number distinction) forms, respectively. This really doesn't seem the place for the polite imperative, but it does lend a supercilious sarcasm. I write ``should'' above because I'm assuming the Yiddish forms parallel the standard German forms. This is usually right, but even if it isn't generally right, it's probably at least sometimes right, since Yiddish, like other nonstandard German languages, is subject to quite a bit of variation and can shade into more standard usage among speakers, like those few left in my family, whose native language is really German but who just happen to be familiar with Yiddish. (In this theater, Mark Twain would applaud that sentence.)

The 1984 movie Top Secret is an action comedy thriller, a parody of WWII spy movies from the 1950's and Elvis vehicles from the 1960's. Val Kilmer stars as Nick Rivers, the role I'd like to call the Elvis impersonation. While performing in East Germany (just so), he falls in love with a beautiful heroine and becomes involved with the French Resistance (if this makes sense, you're in trouble). The German dialogue in the original (English) release of this movie is generally inappropriate. Sometimes it's nonsense syllables, sometimes it's ordinary German but out of place (`I love you, honey' in reply to an officer's command), and sometimes it's Yiddish. At one point, a waiter seems to ask Nick if he's ready to order, but he actually says ``Gey kak'n af'n yam?''

Generating Function.

GF, gf
GirlFriend. Supposedly a personals-ad abbreviation.

In the Ring Lardner short story ``Zone of Quiet,'' a stupid chattering nurse goes on for a few minutes about a couple of her G.F.'s, and about the B.F. of one of her G.F.'s, and finally the patient says

``Maybe I'm a D.F. not to know, but would you tell me what a B.F. and G.F. are?''

She apparently understands what a D.F. is:

``Well, you are dumb, aren't you!'' said Miss Lyons. ``A G. F., that's a girl friend, and a B. F. is a boy friend. I thought everybody knew that.''

Ring Lardner grew up in Niles, Michigan, where there is now a Ring Lardner Junior High School, and since July 2007 the Niles District Library has sponsored the Lardner Writers Ring. Niles is just north of the state line from South Bend, Indiana. Lardner got his start as a sports writer with the South Bend Times in 1905. Them wuz the days. Today the only surviving local paper is the South Bend Tribune. (I mean, not counting the Irish Sports Report.)

``Zone of Quiet'' is the third story in The Love Nest and Other Stories (1926). Ring W. Lardner was one of the writers whose editor was the famous Maxwell Perkins.

Government-Furnished. Productive: GFE, GFI, GFP, GFD, and GFX. Terminology used in broad agency announcements (BAA's) of US funding agencies, appearing in the Commerce Business Daily (CBD).

Graphite Furnace.

Green's Function.

Ground Fault. A captious world diffuses blame.

ccTLD for French Guiana.

Glass-Forming Ability.

Gliding Federation of Australia. See Landings: Soaring-Related Links.

Global Freight Agreement. When I went around the world in about 30 days in 1989, I woke up early one morning in Rana'a, Israel, ate an early lunch in Rome, and by the time I reached Taibei I finally learned that yes, my luggage had made it. I'll probably replace this boring story as soon as I can think of virtually anything else.

Guitar Foundation of America. Other links at the guitar entry.

Graphite Furnace (GF) Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS). Do a Zeeman background correction, whatever that is. Search on STPF as well.

Generic Flow Control. Of routed packets. A field in an ATM cell header (q.v.).

Ground Fault Circuit Breaker. The same as a ground-fault circuit-interrupter. The specs are very loosely explained at the GCFI entry; here we'll very loosely explain how one kind of GFCI works.

The traditional GFCI for single-phase power supply is based on a current transformer (CT) -- a toroidal core surrounding the live and neutral wires. (That is, the wire pair passes through the hole in the doughnut.) A ground fault occurs if some of the current in the live wire doesn't return in the neutral (i.e., if a circuit closes through ground; a ground loop). Normally, without a ground fault, the net current in the wire pair through the hole in the CT is zero. When a ground fault occurs, a net current flows, generating an azimuthal magnetic field around the wires. This magnetic field is concentrated in the toroidal core of the CT because the core is made of high-permeability material (supermalloy or something similar; relative permeability typically 40,000 at a density of 4 mT). The current flowing in the wires is AC, so it induces an AC magnetic field.

If you consider a small sector of the magnetic core, something like a slice out of a Bundt cake, you realize that an alternating magnetic field through the slice yields an alternating electric field around the slice. The way this is detected is by wrapping a secondary wire poloidally around the torus. Poloidally means going around the ``small'' radius of the torus, as if you were wrapping ribbon around a hula hoop gift without covering the center. (The toroidal direction is the way the little noise-making marbles go inside the tube of the hula hoop. This is parallel to the azimuthal direction for a wire passing through the center of the hoop, perpendicular to the plane of the hoop.) The poloidal electric field integrates to a significant voltage across the ends of the sensing loop, and this voltage is amplified and drives the circuit that throws the circuit breaker.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt(er). Breaks the circuit if it detects any significant difference between current in the hot cable and in the neutral line. Typically, for 240- or 120-volt single phase current, it trips in 25 ms if the leakage current exceeds 5 mA.

There have been few accurate studies of the lethality current threshold for humans. (Red tape problems, you know. Legal technicalities.) Nevertheless, statistical fits of available data suggest that when a current I passes through the body, persisting for a time t, may be fatal if

I×t1/2 > 116 mA-sec1/2.

[Number from C.F. Daziel: ``Reevaluation of Lethal Electric Currents,'' IEEE Transactions on Industry and General Application, vol. IGA-4, #5, pp. 467-75 (1968).]

The resistance from one hand to the other, when the hands are clammy, can be as low as 500 ohms (this is very clammy; take a towel). With a line voltage of 120 V, the current through this resistance may approach 240 mA (if other resistances in circuit are small), so if the GFCI takes the full 25 ms to trip, it would only give a completely unacceptable safety factor (for death, never mind injury or pain) of about 3. In fact, the standards bodies specify (UL 943, CSA 22.2 No. 144, etc.) permissible trip time as a (decreasing) function of current (up to a maximum current rating). As a practical matter, the trip time is almost an el-shaped function of the current: the circuitry takes much less than 25 ms to break the circuit, and except for low currents close to threshold, the circuit breaks at its maximum rated speed.

Cf. GFEC. See GFCB for operation.

Government-Furnished Data.

Government-Furnished Equipment. Socialist!

Ground-Fault Equipment-Protector. A GFCI that trips to protect the equipment rather than a human. The trigger level is generally higher, at 30 mA trip sensitivity.

General Format Identifier.

Government-Furnished Information.

Ground Fault Indicator. It has detection innards that may be like those of a GCFB, but it displays a signal or keeps a record instead of throwing the switch. Makes a bit more sense for protecting equipment than humans. Often, a GFI is part of a grounding system that includes a GFCB (a GFEP, to be application-specific), and is useful for monitoring sub-threshold faults that indicate trouble but don't merit immediate shut-down.

Government Finance Officers Association.

Gas-Filled Panel.

Government-Furnished Property.

Green Fluorescent Protein.

Glomerular Filtration Rate.

Grand Funk Railroad.

``... I don't need -- a big fine car.''

The band had a hit with ``We're an American Band,'' mentioned at the Sweet Connie entry.

GFR may have been an American band, but their group name was an allusion to a Canadian railroad, the Grand Trunk Railway.

Glass-Fiber-Reinforced Plastic.

Gordon Food Service.

Geographical Full-Time. I think that means ``full-time when you count together the different local administrative units [a person works in].''

Government-Furnished Other.

Garet Garrett. Author of The American Story (Chicago: Henry Regnery Company, 1955). Well, it's readable. But don't go out of your way to get a copy.

Gadolinium Gallium Garnet. Laser substrate material.

Georgia Golf Hall of Fame.

Generalized Geometric Optics Approximation. Useful for analyzing the optical properties of twisted-nematic LCD's.

H. L. Ong, J. Appl. Phys. 64, 614 (1988).

Gateway-Gateway Protocol.

Golden Gate Transit. Buses, primarily serving Marin and Sonoma counties (CA). Cf. Muni, BART.

Gag And Heave. After Diane tattled to Chuck that Mary had taken me to Shirley's Gag and Heave, he asked Mary ``What are you trying to do -- get him killed?'' Shirley's G&H is a 24-hour greasy spoon on Mishawaka Avenue. (I don't think it has a real name on any sign. On the other hand, ``White House'' is printed in small white letters along the bottom of one of the windows, and the building is white. The building has the dimensions of a truck trailer flipped on its side.) Mary had a regular tab there when she lived across the street. She's still a regular; other patrons at the counter know her by name and remember her problems. The place has an atmosphere excess. When it gets busy, one or another of the customers -- sometimes one of the cops -- will go behind the counter and do things like refill coffees and sodas. You're probably just in awe that I was able to guess that you wanted to know all this.

There's no nonsmoking section. Then again, if you go there to eat, you're probably not overly concerned about living healthy. Shirley herself is deceased.

The tired old joke is that the waitress or whatever is supposed to ask: ``You want some heave to go with that gag?'' Basically, though, it's a hamburger-and-fries joint. Some other meats are also grilled.


``General Hospital.'' The longest-running daytime soap opera. On ABC.

GesamtHochschule. German, `comprehensive high school.'

(Domain name code for) Ghana. Commercial web presence at <http://www.africaonline.co.gh/>.

Good Housekeeping. The seal-of-approval magazine.

Growth Hormone.

A broad stairway leading down to a landing on the bank of a river. The word is of Indian origin (subcontinent, of course). It's a loan that could be more widely used.

Gamma HydroxyButyrate. Sort of a modern Mickey Finn, but used as a ``facilitator of date rape.''

Global Hydrology and Climate Center.

Greater Houston Dental Hygienists' Society.

Global Health Disaster Network. As of January 2005, a web search on this name turns up hits that mostly include the words ``need for.'' There used to be US and Japanese sites for one or two organizations by this name, but they're gone.

Greater Houston Dental Society.

GreenHouse Gas. For earth, that's mostly water vapor and carbon dioxide.

German Historical Institute. A research institute specialising in German and American history and international relations.

Google HITS. An accepted tool of research in linguistic usage. It is conventional to quote ghits without mentioning whether they are reported by Google as estimates (the usual case) or not. I have decided to follow this practice myself, because I can't decide whether to write ``About'' or ``[a]bout'' when I quote the ghit estimates. This topic (the estimation, not my personal quotation-style problems) is explored compulsively further below.

In July 2009, I was shocked to discover that ``Giordano Bruno'' is not universally known, is not a standard cultural reference point like Seinfeld. In order to get an idea of his relative celebrity, I did phrase searches on various names (i.e., I searched on the names as quoted strings). Here are some names and their ghits between around 10:30 and 11:45pm EDT, July 13, 2009:

Name:		   ghits:
God		 483,000,000
Obama		 224,000,000
Michael Jackson	 200,000,000
Jesus		 199,000,000
Paris Hilton	  65,500,000
Buddha		  28,500,000
Lindsay Lohan	  27,000,000
Sarah Palin	  24,700,000
Tom Cruise	  24,600,000
John McCain	  23,400,000
Oprah		  22,000,000
Jennifer Hudson	  18,000,000
Elvis Presley	  17,700,000
George Washington 15,900,000
Paul McCartney	  14,400,000
Albert Einstein	  13,900,000
John Lennon	  13,000,000
Santa Claus	  12,800,000
Sarah Jessica Parker 12,000,000
Abraham Lincoln	  11,600,000
Susan Boyle	  11,200,000
Descartes	  11,100,000
Mel Gibson	  10,600,000
Nicole Kidman	   9,940,000
Thomas Jefferson   9,750,000
Nicole Richie	   7,950,000
Joe Biden	   7,860,000
Fidel Castro	   7,630,000
Winston Churchill  6,850,000
Max Planck	   6,720,000
Jennifer Love Hewitt 6,000,000
Elizabeth Taylor   5,540,000
Dolly Parton	   5,020,000
Elvis Costello	   4,820,000
Lionel Richie	   4,590,000
Immanuel Kant	   4,570,000
Yoko Ono	   3,870,000
Isaac Newton	   3,250,000
Christopher Columbus 3,040,000
Ashley Olsen	   2,550,000
Groucho		   2,460,000
William Shatner	   2,180,000
Cookie Monster	   1,860,000	(tied with next)
Mary-Kate Olsen	   1,860,000	(tied with previous)
Mark Sanford	   1,650,000
Philip Glass	   1,580,000
Jackson Pollock	   1,360,000
Ronald McDonald	   1,570,000
Axl Rose	   1,440,000
Harpo		   1,420,000
Richard Burton	   1,370,000
Giordano Bruno	   1,350,000
Zeppo		   1,280,000
John Quincy Adams  1,250,000
Francis Drake	   1,230,000
Leonard Nimoy	   1,220,000
Mary-Kate and Ashley 1,100,000
Werner Heisenberg  1,090,000
Carrie Fisher	     997,000
George Thorogood     996,000
Henry Hudson	     941,000
Enrico Fermi	     850,000
Alfred Nobel	     753,000
Richard Feynman	     729,000
Debbie Reynolds	     704,000
Jan Hus		     661,000
Maura Tierney	     624,000
José Canseco	     601,000
Leon Panetta	     599,000
Robert Boyle	     467,000
Gummo		     370,000
James Polk	     286,000
Eddie Fisher	     231,000
Stedman Graham	     199,000
Steven Hawking	      92,600
Ashley and Mary-Kate  63,700
Of course, Harpo once protrayed Isaac Newton in a movie, so that might distort the numbers.

There are some other things that might distort the numbers. One is that Google at first returns only an estimate of the number of documents that satisfy the search criteria, and these estimates are sometimes off. For example, when I first drafted this part of the entry (Feb. 11, 2011), I did a search on "exciton polariton scattering" (sic: the search string was in quotes in the text box; I didn't want just any old page that happened to mention excitons, polaritons, and scattering). The results page came back with ``About 17,500 results (0.13 seconds)'' but there were only four more (ten-result) pages linked at the bottom of the first page. Clicking on the last link (page 5) brought up ``Page 4 of about 33 results (0.13 seconds),'' from which we can see that the 0.13 seconds is pretty consistent. I took up the offer at the bottom of that page. (``If you like, you can repeat the search with the omitted results included.'') In response, I got ``About 7,870 results (0.38 seconds).'' Clicking on the last linked page at the bottom (page 6), I reached ``Page 6 of 52 results (0.26 seconds).'' Notice the absence of the word ``about.'' When there are more than about 1000 hits, using Google's regular search will not get you to the point of no-``about.'' Maybe there's a way around that; I'll have to find my copy of Google Hacks and see.

Another search that (as of this writing) yields interesting rapidly diminishing ghits is "transmitted light lamp housing". Back in February, it first yielded ``About 2,530'' ghits, then 19, and finally, at the end of the second pass with ``omitted results included,'' 26. I guess that when the individual words in a search string are common, an estimate of total hits is computed based on their individual probabilities and some low-level correlations. However it is computed, it seems the estimate can be far off. [When I repeated the procedure on June 26, the numbers were 3200, 19, and 23. If correlations are used as suggested above, then the increase in the initial estimate is most simply explained by correlations that stayed about constant as the overall size of the database (i.e., higher page counts for the individual words).]

Estimation oddities do not require multi-word quoted strings, however. For example, back in February a simple search on the single word lateration yielded an initial estimate of ``About 7,780 results.'' Google often returns results that are close to, but not exactly what one searched for. One used to be able to get around this by prefixing a plus sign to strictly require a word or quoted string; normally and logically, this would yield a smaller number of ghits. The search on +lateration, however, yielded 10,400 results. When I ran the searches some time later, however, the results were more logical. However, the ghits were also much greater -- about 26,800. This is about the number of ghits I got back in February for the plural (no plus). But now there are fewer ghits for the plural than the singular form. I don't think that anything had happened to turn the world of webpages that mention lateration upside down. In fact, I don't hope to make any sense of this.

[Some time in 2011, the plus-sign syntax (to require a word to be contained in the hits) was changed without warning or noticeable notice. Now, so far as I know, single words or phrases in quotes are strictly required. Generally speaking, Google's attitude is that Google is bigger and smarter than you, so it will give you the results that you really want, rather than what you asked for. Hence, there's no point in maintaining consistent behavior while tweaking and optimizing the software.}

Given the variability described above, some other apparent illogicalities are less surprising or less puzzling. It is frequently the case, for example, that narrowing a search seems to increase the number of ghits. For example, nonspecularly yields 5460 ghits, and nonspecularly reflected yields 10,200 ghits. Using plus signs (later: quotation marks) to force a strict search yields logical results in this case, but not in all. For example, today a strict search on +"heavy Majorana" yields 23,100 ghits, while a manifestly narrower strict search on +"heavy Majorana neutrinos" yields 51,000 ghits. I suppose this is an artifact of correlation-based estimates: +"Majorana neutrinos" yields 58,800 ghits, and it might be that this number, along with the ghits for heavy, and with some further two-word correlation, yields the initial estimate for the full phrase. Whatever the explanation, it is certain that at least one of the numbers is off by at least 33%.

Remember, you can't spell ghoti without looking like an idiot. Don't tell me that spelling makes sense. Virtually none of the phonetic scripts used for writing natural languages are strictly one-to-one maps of sound to symbol. Indeed, they're rarely either injective or surjective maps from spelling to sound.

Maybe we ought to back up here. One day in my 7th-grade German class, our regular substitute teacher was out and we had a substitute substitute teacher. They were scraping the bottom of the barrel. I don't think the substitute substitute knew any German, and if he did but wasn't ``qualified'' they might not have allowed him to teach it anyway, but in any case they allowed him to bore us with non-course material. He wrote ``ghoti'' on the board and asked us to guess how it was pronounced. He claimed the gh was pronounced ``eff as in rough,'' with the o and ti as in ``women'' and (it may have been) ``action'' respectively. It was an old joke by then.

This entry was inspired by the you-can't-spell...without entries. Indeed, it's one of them, somewhat as proline is one of the ``amino acids'' even though it doesn't contain an amino group.

Group Health Plan.

General HeadQuarters. Often, as in the case of Eisenhower's GHQ in WWII, this is also the General's HQ.

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

Gastro-Intestinal. Hospital Abbreviation. See GI series. In connection with another GI entry, recall Napoleon's dictum: an army travels on its stomach.

Flying on Air Force One early in his first presidential term, Ronald Reagan tossed back a peanut and it went the wrong way. He turned blue and staggered from his seat, and the secret service scrambled all around him to get oxygen. Reagan made eye contact with his amanuensis Michael Deaver, whom he had taught the Heimlich maneuver not long before. Deaver pushed past the secret servicemen, administered the maneuver, and popped out the peanut. It was big news, and Dr. Heimlich himself called Deaver for the details. Later, Reagan also survived an assassination attempt. He became the first US president to win election in a year divisible by twenty since 1840 and not die in office (but during that first debate with Mondale in 1984, he looked like a zombie).

President George Herbert Walker Bush lost lunch and passed out in the lap of the Japanese prime minister. I prefer not to remember the details.

President George W. Bush nearly choked on a pretzel and passed out.

It seems to be a GOP presidential thing in recent years. Cf. ED.

General Instrument Corporation. They make, inter alia, the VC II decoders that dominate the North American market in encryption for transmission of programming via satellite. Their DigiCipher multiplexes up to ten channels by digitally compressing the signals.

General Issue. Military usage referring to equipment all soldiers are issued. Came to be a synonym for soldier. Similarly, GP for ``general purpose [vehicle]'' is widely supposed to have given rise to the word ``jeep'' (q.v.).

(Domain name code for) Gibraltar. Under .gb government.

giant resonance
A collective excitation of a nucleus. The widths of these excitations, as observed in scattering experiments are much wider than typical single-particle interactions, and are in fact comparable to the excitation energies themselves. (However, it is difficult to extract information from the width because most of the deexcitation -- say 95% -- is ``statistical'': via a variety of combined collective and single-particle mode excitations.)

Two categories of giant resonance are distinguished: ``electric'' and ``magnetic,'' corresponding respectively to excitations that do and do not involve the spin degree of freedom. The magnetic giant resonances (e.g. SDR) are naturally excited by a relatively restricted set of scattering processes, such as (p,n).

Among the ``electric'' resonances, four angular momentum levels have been observed -- L = 0, 1, 2, 3 [viz., monopole (GMR, q.v.), dipole (GDR), quadrupole (GQR), and octopole (LEOR, HEOR), respectively].

The first observation of giant resonances was in experiments by Bothe and Gentner, reported in Zeitschrift für Physik 106, 236 (1937). They used 7Li(p,gamma)8Be to generate 17 MeV photons. (I.e., they bombarded a 7Li target with protons. Those lithium nuclei that absorbed a proton became beryllium nuclei, and their deexcitation involved the conveniently monochromatic emission of 17 MeV gamma rays.) Bothe and Gentner observed that these photons induced neutron emission in 63Cu, but not in other nuclei they studied. They suggested that perhaps the large cross section for this process in copper was due to some sort of resonance effect. Later research has shown that there is indeed a resonance there. The isolated giant resonance in copper is near the energy they studied, and the cross section for their process is about 70 mb. Bothe and Gentner had estimated 50 mb.

Global Individual Asset Identifier. EDI term.

Giant Computers file
A page that is part of Mark Greenia's History of Computing website. That excellent site shows some tiny little signs of transience.

The relevant page seems to have a slightly independent existence. The page lists a hundred computers from the ``big iron'' age of computers. Most of the information is taken from a 1953 survey of automatic digital computers conducted for ONR. It lists machines already finished by that date as well as machines under development, with estimated completion dates as late as 1955.

Anyway, where I cite the Giant Computers file elsewhere in this glossary, it means either that I haven't checked elsewhere for confirmation of the information for which it is cited, or that I have checked but for one or another reason haven't updated the link. So in practice it means almost nothing at all (other than that it's a source of the information for which it is cited).

This other page lists 300 computers, with good coverage up to 1960, but contains a bit less detail.

Global Instructional Chemistry. Web site for distributed teaching of Chemistry.

Group IDentification.

Gender Identity Disorder of Adolescence or Adulthood, NonTranssexual type. One of the disorders identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 3rd. edn., rev.

Girl mIDGET. The blend was a nickname given to Kathy Klara Kohner when she started to hang out with surfers. Obviously, calling her by her initials would not have been nice. Kathy's father, a screenwriter, had taken the family to Berlin in 1954 to work on a movie there. When they returned to southern California, Kathy didn't feel like she fit in. Her mother suggested she go to the beach on Saturdays. On one of those outings, an acquaintance took her for her first ride on a surfboard.

``It was June 24, 1956 -- it's in my diary pages. They called me Gidget. And I felt like, ha! I got a name! I'm one of them!'' I dunno. Someone happy 'bout a name widdat kinda der'vayshun might be an idget.

She thought of writing about her experiences and mentioned the idea to dad, who did a fictionalized treatment himself in six weeks. The book eventually sold half a million copies, was made into a movie starring Sandra Dee in 1959, and a TV series (1965 to 1966) starring Sally Field.

Gate-Induced Brain Leakage. Look where yer goin! Oh, sorry. That's Gate-Induced Drain Leakage. Rust, I guess, somehow.

Oh look, we're talking about MOSFET's. The gate is a control gate, and its voltage controls the current through the drain and source terminals.

GIF, gif
Graphic Interchange Format. Developed by Compuserve. Here's a good site for gif animation information.

I read in one heretical book the terribly misguided belief that ``gif'' should be pronounced like the beginning of the word ``jiffy.'' This is wrong.

GIF89 allows one ``color value'' to be assigned to transparent. In HTML 3.2, perhaps the handiest way to insert a paragraph indent or other fixed-length text tab is to inline a small transparent graphic:

<IMG WIDTH="length of space in pixels" SRC="near0.gif">
with near0.gif a single-pixel transparent gif.

Animated gifs are explained here.

(In HTML 4, you can use CSS to adjust indents.)

A form of the conjunction if found in Scottish and northern English dialects.

Just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Pennsylvania Dutch country there's a tourist trap with a big sign on the roof that reads Gift Haus. Haus is German for `house,' reflecting the national origin of the Pennsylvania Dutch (Deutsch --> ``Dutch''). Gift is English for `gift,' reflecting the national origin of the potential customers, or marks. In German, Gift is `poison' (etymologically: a thing given, just like the English word gift), and a Mark was money in the bank. In Swedish, gift is bride, presumably given away by the father. These are examples of faux amis, q.v.

Thanks to the internet, I've learned this this bit of stupid cleverness is widespread. The one I was thinking of is probably the one at #93 Roadside Dr., Route 22, exit 23 off I-78 (Pa. TP), in Shartlesville, PA 19554, but they're all over the place -- Ohio, Minnesota, China, and the Philippines. Not all of these claim to be Pennsylvania Dutch or Amish.

Gamete IntraFallopian Transfer. Eggs surgically abducted from an ovary are reinserted in one or both fallopian tubes, there to be fertilized by sperm in the good old-fashioned natural way. Sort of. In reality, GIFT is ZIFT plus a little medical legerdemain: the eggs and sperm are mixed a test tube and injected into the fallopian tubes. You know, if you don't actually see the gametes combine under a microscope, then you can't say it didn't happen in the natural-material tubes, now can you? So. It turns out that success rates are slightly higher with GIFT than with IVF. In IVF, the fertilized egg is deposited directly on the uterus. This apparently irritates the uterine lining, so the implantation probability is not as high as with GIFT.

Gas-Insulated Flow Tube. Sounds like welding technology to me.

Grazing-Incidence x-ray Fluorescence Yield.

An improved version of Graphic Interchange Format (GIF, q.v.) promulgated in 1989. Includes transparency ``color.''

Garbage In, Garbage Out. Terminology especially popular in computing, to explain to users that information alchemy is just as chimerical as the traditional sort.

Goods In, Goods Out. A logistics term. It looks familiar. Where have I seen a similar term before?

Getty Information Institute. A project of the J. Paul Getty Trust, GII was originally founded in 1983 as the Art History Information Program, and closed operations at the end of June 1999. It was devoted to the application of computer technology to art access.

Global Information Infrastructure.

Global Information Infrastructure Commission. An NGO.

Gas Immersion Laser Doping.

The great ichthyologist W.C. Fields objected to the substitution of water for beverage-quality ethanol solutions in these (as well as many other) terms: ``fish piss in it!'' To be precise, what fish do is convert their nitrogen waste into uric acid, and excrete it through their gills. It would be as if, instead of converting our nitrogen waste to urea and excreting it in a water solution known as urine, we converted it to ammonia and excreted it through our lungs. I guess we don't do this because it would give us very bad breath; it's a case of sexual selection.

Gilligan's Island
There's a homepage from which you can reach most necessary net resources.

It is the unanimous opinion of the Stammtisch that I date myself by placing this entry in the Minutes. Stuck on a deserted island with some attractive alternatives, dating oneself doesn't seem like the best option.

Gilliganian Genetics is also illustrated on the net.

IMDb has an entry, of course. There are a couple of faq's from the tv.gilligans-isle newsgroup. (A kind of first degree of separation file -- other acting ``credits'' of those who appeared in GI, and an episode guide). Regarding the degrees-of-separation thing, see our relevant AF entry.

ESPN asked various surviving members of the GI cast to make a pick for Super Bowl XXXIV. Dawn Wells, the actress who played Mary Ann, replied ``I really don't want Tennessee to win, but I think they will. I think they are so jazzed. St. Louis was the old (Los Angeles) Rams, but I lived in Nashville for 19 years. It was a tough decision. I also have property in Florida, so I was rooting for Tampa! I'm real confused. But in my head rather than my heart, Tennessee is going to win.'' (Rams won.)

There was once an episode of GI where the female islanders went on a strike of sorts. Mrs. Howell mentioned the Lysistrata.

Government Information Locator Service (of the GPO).

GNU Image Manipulation Program ``It is a freely distributed piece of software suitable for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.''

We also have a GNU entry.

Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search. ``[F]ormed in January 1996 to discover new world-record-size Mersenne primes. GIMPS harnesses the power of thousands of small computers like yours....'' Just what are you implying here, exactly?

Mersenne primes are prime Mersenne numbers, and Mersenne numbers are numbers of the form Mn = 2n - 1.

The GIMPS group is organized by mathematicians at UCLA. On September 27, 2008, they announced that a new Mersenne prime had been discovered in August on a network of 75 computers running Windows XP. The newly discovered prime, M43,112,609, or about 3.1647×1012,978,188, was verified by a different computer system. It's the 46th known Mersenne prime, and the eighth discovered by GIMPS. Because the number has more than ten million digits, it is illegible -- sorry, that's eligible -- for a $100,000 prize being offered by the EFF for the first such discovery. The prize is expected to be awarded when the new prime is published, probably in 2009.

Short for enGINe. The most famous gin of this sort in the US is Eli Whitney's cotton gin. The story goes that this gin revolutionized cotton production in the American South, perpetuating and extending slavery by making economic the production of cotton by mass unskilled labor. The least speculative part of the preceding sentence, and the part that most people probably assume is correct, is the direct role of Eli Whitney's gin in improving cotton production. That part is largely wrong. Eli Whitney's cotton gin design was not very good, and it did not come into widespread use. Someone else designed an effective gin, but few people (I not among them) remember that fellow's name.

Gini coefficient, Gini index, Gini's ratio
A measure of dispersion. Introduced by Corrado Gini in 1910 as a measure of income inequality, and still used principally for that. For a general variable x, and representing average values by <.>, it is
          < | x - <x> | >
          --------------- .
               2 <x>
In words, it is the mean absolute deviation of the variable from its mean, divided by twice its mean. If x is sharply concentrated (incomes all about equal, say) then the Gini index is close to 0. It is obviously not true, as is sometimes asserted, that the maximum value of the Gini index is 100.

Yet another name for Gini's statistic is ``coefficient of concentration.''

Here are some values of the Gini ratio, and per capita selected countries.'' These appeared in an article in the Wilson Quarterly, Spring 2004 issue, and if the author of that article had given a source for his data, or even just avoided propagating the stupid 100-maximum myth, I would surely have given him credit.

Country            Gini index          Per capita GDP (USD)
-------            ----------          --------------------
Japan                 24.9                   25,130
Sweden                25.0                   24,180
Yemen                 33.4                      790
Egypt                 34.4                    3,520
Britain               36.0                   24,160
Jordan                36.4                    3,870
Morocco               39.5                    3,600
China                 40.3                    4,020
United States         40.8                   34,320
Russia                45.6                    7,100
Mexico                53.1                    8,430

One of the most certain conclusions that one can draw from the preceding table is that a lot of countries have names ending in the letter en. This appears to be correlated with low Gini index. Indeed, when Russia was part of the Soviet Union, its Gini index was lower. Generally speaking, however, Gini indices can be very deceptive. One reason is that income variations within a country may track to some degree the variations in cost of living.

This is as good a place as any to discuss measures of central tendency (because the mood just hit me; not for any objectively sound reason) and dispersion.

The Graduate Institute of Political and International Studies. Part of the University of Reading.

Global Investigation of Pollution in the Marine Environment.

GIPS, Gips
Giga-Instructions Per Second. See usage note at MIPS.

Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain. It sounds kind of cute, like a pet name for guppies or the Gipper. Not like PIGS.

girl-next-door looks

Geographic Information System[s].

The newsgroup comp.infosystems.gis has an FAQ.

See also AM/FM, GITA, A major software source is ESRI. A nice site for GIS, remote sensing, and various related stuff is served by Thomas Weiss at Universität des Saarlandes.

Ghost Investigators Society. ``A nationally-recognized, Utah-based organization dedicated to documenting, as well as educating and enlightening the public about the existence of ghosts.''

``No decisions are made by any one person that concern this Society. This website, any and all media appearances, any written publications, all personal appearances or presentations on behalf of the Society, and all or any equipment used in research has been and is collaborated and approved by the Society.''

I think it would be nice if some of their text were ghost-written. The organization and the website don't seem to be considered jokes by the members. I first learned of G.I.S. from Coast to Coast AM with Georg Noory. On October 28, 2006, he had Barbara McBeath (pronounced ``Macbeth'') on the show again ``with a new selection of actual recorded voices of ghosts, known as Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP).'' I guess if they'd just actually entered what the voices said into a file using a word-processing program, that would have been Digital Voice Phenomena. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to listen to the entire program, or even more than a few seconds of it, but all four hours of the show, including all of Barbara's interview with host Art Bell, are available at the C2C website.

GI series
Gastro-Intestinal (GI) series. A series of X-ray images of the GI tract made as an X-ray-opaque fluid passes through. The fluid is usually a barium compound, taken on an empty stomach (a barium milkshake for breakfast; it tastes a bit chalky). Useful in detecting obstructions or deformations (like tics).

In the days before MRI this was the only way to image the soft tissue of the GI tract. In contrast (I mean this both ways), from the earliest days it was possible to make out the substantial heart muscle (although not to image it sharply).

Goddard Institute for Space Studies. A ``subdivision of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Earth Sciences Directorate[,] which is primarily engaged in studies of global climate change. We are located near Columbia University in New York City.''

Gross Income Tax. One of three interlocking corporate income taxes in Indiana until 2003, when it and SNIT were repealed. A little bit about GIT is explained at the entry for AGIT (the one tax on general income of corporations that remains in place).

Short for Bhagavad Gita.

Geospatial Information & Technology Association. ``The technologies addressed by the association include Automated Mapping and Facilities Management (AM/FM), Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), Work Management Systems (WMS), Customer Information Systems (CIS), and Personal Digital Assistants (PDA's). GITA offers educational services to utilities, oil and gas companies, telecommunications companies, and government agencies.''

Grazing Incidence X-ray Fluorescence. Cf. GAFY.

Grazing Incidence X-ray Scattering. Cf. GAFY.

The Gospel of John. See G for general usage and special case of John. There was an apostle John who was the son of Zebedee. (Yes, I know who Zebedee was. He was the supposed father of an apostle named John.) Traditionally, John who wrote the gospel of John is believed to be the same fellow. I suppose it must matter, because if it's not true, then millions of books entitled ``The Gospel of Saint John'' will have to be recalled for reprinting. F.C. Grant, in his revision of the Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (edd. F.C. Grant and H.H. Rowley), p. 515, concluded that the two persons cannot be identified (i.e., determined to be the same person) ``without a full explanation of serious difficulties and discrepancies.'' That sounds like a typical critic. I have a simpler view. I think the two persons cannot be identified.

On the other hand, we can perform the less-accurate equivalent of DNA testing on the text. There's another book, called The Book of Revelation, that was written by someone who identifies himself in the text as John, written at exactly the same time (give or take a century or so). This John does not claim to be the same person as the apostle John who wrote GJohn. On the other hand, he doesn't disclaim it. The traditional view is that they were the same person. However, text criticism challenges that. GJohn is written in straightforward Greek (more specifically Koine, the common international version of Greek). The other book (now we'll call it Apocalypse, just to keep you off balance) was written in what anyone would call broken Greek. Robert H. Mounce, in The Book of Revelation, (this is a book about the book, published by Eerdmans in 1977) writes (p. 30) ``the Apocalypse seems to pay little attention to the basic laws of concord.'' This is a not-very-subtle way of saying that the author hardly knows the language. The Apocalypse also tends to use word order appropriate to Hebrew or Aramaic. In his classic two-volume commentary (1920, repub. 1985), Robert H. Charles includes a 42-page ``Short Grammar of the Apocalypse'' (pp. cxvii-clix of vol. I), whose main point seems to be that the way to make the book intelligible is to interpret it as Hebrew translated into Greek words by some simple-minded ignorant process like typing it into Babelfish. (Not Dr. Charles's exact words.) Even where the author of Apocalypse is grammatical and otherwise acceptable as Greek, he (okay, or she or they -- what the hell) uses different idioms and different style than the GJohn author.

Graduiertenkolleg. German, `graduate college.'


GreeK. When Shakespeare put ``it was Greek to me'' in the mouth of Casca (in his tragedy of Julius Caesar), the idea of Greek as a strange and difficult language was not new. Vide gringo.

Shakespeare himselfe was criticized (in a left-handed compliment of Ben Jonson) for hauing ``small Latine and lesse Greeke.'' See, however, some of the classics-list postings with ``Shakespeare'' in the subject, during the fourth and fifth weeks of April 1998, in particular this comment on S's Greek and this one on his Latin.

There's a Java applet, DisplayGreek, which properly displays polytonic Greek in web pages regardless of the fonts or system used by the person viewing the text. DisplayGreek does this by translating BetaCode-formatted text into a gif of the corresponding Greek text. It is not necessary to install the applet on one's web server.

There's a mailing list, Ancient Greek Study, posted to mostly by teachers. To subscribe, send email to <listproc@lists.colorado.edu> containing
subscribe greek Your Name Here

If you need to learn Ancient Greek right now, visit the UCB Classics Department's Ancient Greek Tutorials immediately.

Now that you've learned the language, you'll want to know about the excitingly, invitingly entitled ``Let's Review Greek!'' website, which provides the answer to students who ask ``what can I do to keep up my Greek skills over the summer??!?''

Alison Barker's ``Ancient Greek with Thrasymachus'' sounds friendly too.

Oh look, there's probably some more stuff at our Greek entry.

G. K. Chesterton
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, born May 29, 1874, died 1936.

Graphical Kernel System.



Grand Luxe. `Great Luxury.' Follows the name of a car model and indicates no particular distinction, other than that it is not the same as vehicles that have a different set of letters following the model name. Cf. GLE, GLI.

Graphics Language.

Graphics Library.

Gravitational Lens.

(Domain code for) Greenland. It's not just USAF bases, you know. I think the major export is ice cores.

``Guiding Light.'' A CBS daytime soap opera. Originally a radio soap, it made a successful transition to television, unlike most other radio soaps (such as ``Stella Dallas'' and ``Ma Perkins''). It premiered on TV in 1952 and ran every season until 2009. Okay, I'm not sure what happened the year of the scriptwriters' strike. Couldn't they ad lib it? Couldn't they go through the motions in their sleep? Maybe they could turn up the melodramatic organ noises and just mumble through a few episodes.

Gate Logic Array.

Goddard Laboratory for Atmospheres.

Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.

GLancing-Angle Deposition.

You mean ``Gladly the Cross-Eyed Bear,'' a beloved character in children's stories?

Stylish slang (what else?) for glamour, glamorous.

A large class of words ending in -our in Commonwealth spelling take an -or ending in the US spelling. This occurs only when the o[u] is an unaccented shwa. Examples include the words with American spellings arbor, ardor, candor, color, dolor, endeavor, favor, flavor, honor, humor, labor, neighbor, rigor, savior, valor, vigor. In both orthographic regimes, the -ous adjective form ends in -orous. American thus avoids a stem change. [The same principle, of minimizing stem lengthenings upon the addition of suffixes, can be seen in the more conservative American usage respecting the duplication of final consonants when a suffix begins in a vowel.]

Words ending in an -our that is not an unaccented shwa are spelled identically in American and British. Some examples, all with the same vowel, are contour, detour, velour.

Another pattern that yields an identical spelling is the double r. The words error, horror, mirror, and terror are now written without a u in British English, although some -rrour spellings have been common in the past. One -or spelling that used to be fairly universal is furor, but the Italian spelling furore seems to have become very popular in Britain.

The singular spelling, in American, of the word glamour, may be due to its meaning: France and French are historically associated with glamour. To suggest, often mockingly, a greater sophistication or stylishness, a French pronunciation will be affected. (And then, of course, the not-a-shwa rule mentioned above kicks in.) [Another of instances of such an affectation, also playing on the prestige of French, is the use in Spanish of the pronunciation of bien as ``bian'' (q.v.).]

Moreover, the -our ending is recognized as characteristic of words borrowed from French, whereas words borrowed (directly) from Latin more typically end -or. Awareness of this is supported by the presence of words and phrases in English, such as amour [not completely incidentally, there's a site for Dorothy Lamour], tour de force and foubarre du jour. Consequently, any word ending in -our may be identified (or misidentified) as of French extraction and pronounced homestyle for effect, as occasionally occurs with colour, honour, and sometimes imperceptibly with velour (the Modern French cognate is velours). On our next broadcast: ``Lexical Profiling: Is it Right?''

The irony is that this happens more often with glamour, whose -our does not reflect a French etymology. A further irony is that the word evolved from the now quite unglamorous word grammar (used to suggest sophistication).

In the song ``You're in My Heart,'' Rod Stewart sings

You're essay, in glamour -- Please, pardon the grammar --


Greek, Latin and Ancient History. Name of a department at the University of Calgary. Host of the 1999 Conference of the CACW

GNU/Linux Audio MEchanics. The version current on May 5, 2001 is 0.4.1, so perhaps it's premature to call it, as many do, ``the gimp of audio processing.'' It's really more like the toddler. Oh wait -- that's ``the GIMP of audio processing.''

G. L. Arnold
Pseudonym used for a time by George Lichtheim.

glass ceiling
Shrill feminist leaders like bisexual lawyer Patricia Ireland (former airline stewardess; nice gams!) petulantly accuse America's corporate leadership of erecting a ``glass ceiling'' -- an invisible barrier that prevents women from advancing to the highest levels of management.

Nothing could be further from the truth! Far from constructing a glass ceiling, the fact is that today's corporate leadership found this ceiling already in place when they arrived! It's been there all along! Today's corporate leaders are completely innocent, see?

In reality, today's corporate leaders are the victims of their own virtue: solicitous of the interests of their female employees, they recognized that as long the glass ceiling was in place, no women could be promoted into higher management, because then subordinates could look up their skirts from below the glass ceiling!

As you can imagine, solving this problem has been assigned a very high priority. At this very moment, memoranda are being drafted to request the commitment of resources for drawing up guidelines for the selection of committees that will look into making recommendations on possible ways to address the many, many difficulties foreseen, such as reflection (the generalized `black patents' problem), protocol during ethernet cable installation, and how to deploy carpeting in common areas without inadvertently elevating the status of corporate serfs and industrial sharecroppers. These are challenging problems, but there is a patient confidence that they will soon, or eventually, be overcome. Remember, it took ten years to put two men on the moon, and the moon was already opaque.

This site is studying the glass ceiling building code as well. They're pretty rash, talking about shattering barriers without considering the danger of laceration.

glaze over
What the eyes of random strangers do after they hear a 'tischer's honest response to ``What's your field?''

Not just any strangers. Only random strangers.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual.

The rock group Ten Years After had a hit with ``I'd Love to Change the World'' in 1971. It begins with these lines:

Everywhere is freaks and hairies,
Dykes and fairies, tell me where is sanity?

(Maybe that ``hairies'' is ``Hares,'' short for Hare Krishnas.) I'd love to change the glossary and include this, but I don't want people to think I'm a homophobe or some other kind of social pervert. I've considered presenting this strictly as a historical or musical datum, but still I fear the PC police. I guess I'll just have to leave it out. Again as so often, it is you the glossary patron who loses out.

Georgia Legislative Black Caucus.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trans{gender[ed]|sexual}. Unity in schism.

The ``Federal GLOBE's chartered purpose is to eliminate prejudice and discrimination in the federal government based on sexual orientation...''

GLOBE is systematically capitalized: ``www.FedGLOBE.org: Serving the U.S. Federal Government GLBT community since December 1997.'' If it's an acronym, I don't know where the big O comes in. That's why I put it here instead of in its own GLOBE entry.

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender[ed], Queer. The Q is also less often expanded as ``Questioning.'' I've also seen ``Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, and Queer.'' That's much rarer, which is just as well: it ought to be written GLBTTQ but can't, because that's taken.

Here's what AHD4 (2000) has to say about the noun queer:

  1. Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a homosexual person.
  2. Usage Problem A lesbian, gay male, bisexual, or transgendered person.

Queer is a ``reclaimed word.'' You're only allowed to use it if you are the kind of person who can take direct personal offense when it is used by someone else who could not take direct personal offense when it was used.

I'm sure there are some clever theories to explain why GLBTQ is not equivalent to Q and hence not redundant. But perhaps one may be forgiven (No! You may be forgiven nothing!) for suspecting the author of ``GLBTQ'' of wanting to pad the initialism to suggest that this group is diverse and large. An alternate possibility, which nothing in my experience supports, is that the Q group is giddily captious, and that not having one's particular sexuality honored by inclusion in the initialism is an opportunity to take offense.

Just for the record, this entry came as soon as I happened to notice the initialism, on December 13, 2005. Stay tuned for the next extension. Update: as of February 24, 2007, it's still GLBTQ! Danger! If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward!

Oh -- I was just out of it. I was contemptibly ignorant of GLBTI, GLBTIH, and their various, um, permutations. I'll be sure to add entries for those very soon. But why does G so often come first? Isn't that sexist?

From a defunct webpage, courtesy of Google.com:
The non-heterosexual community is not one community but many, and individuals identify themselves in a variety of ways. We have used the names 'gay,' 'lesbian,'  'bisexual,'  'Two Spirited,'  'transgendered' and 'queer' to compose the acronmy glbttq (which could be pronounced glub-tok), but we recognize that this list is not complete, and that there are many other terms people use.

Greater London Council.

Great Lakes Colleges Association.

Ground-Launched Cruise Missile.

Grand Luxe Executive. `Great Luxury' Executive. Follows the name of a car model. Cf. GL, GLI.

Grand Luxe (fuel-)Injection. Follows the name of a car model. Cf. GL, GLE.

GLobal IMPlicit SEarch. A ``very powerful indexing and query system that allows you to search through all your files very quickly. It can be used by individuals for their personal file systems as well as by organizations for large data collections. Glimpse is also the basis of GlimpseHTTP, which provides search for web sites, and it is the default search engine in Harvest...'' which ``is an integrated set of tools to gather, extract, organize, search, cache, and replicate relevant information across the Internet.''

Glimpse is based on agrep, which you might (as I did) suppose stands for (University of) Arizona grep. In fact, it stands for Approximate grep -- it's fault tolerant.

UB's Wings makes available a glimpse search tool. It's one among many hundreds.

Global Legal Information Network. Are you sure this information is legal?

The g line of the mercury spectrum, with a wavelength of 436 nm, was used for semiconductor (silicon) photolithography starting in the 1980's. Not the same as g-string, which was used for seminude (silicone) photography starting in the 1960's. Cf. i-line.

Geographic and Land Information Society. Name of a member organization of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM). Around the turn of this century, it merged with another ACSM society, the American Cartographic Association to form the Cartography and Geographic Information Society (CaGIS). Anyway, I can't have made that up -- I probably read it or possibly misunderstood it at the ACSM website. But GLIS seems still or again to be in business.

GaLiLeo. NASA probe.

Global Location Number. EDI term.

GLN, Gln
GLutamiNe. An amino acid. Also ``Q.'' To deepen your confusion, see Glutamic acid (GLU) below.

Gays and Lesbians of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College (NDSMC). An organization not affiliated with these Roman Catholic institutions in the same way that other student organizations are. This is not a surprise.

Glinda was the Good Witch of the North.

global warming
Brrrrrrrrrrrr!!! Bring it on! Do the window defrosters too!

GLObal CHange and the ANTarctic. An SCAR program.

GLObal MObile information systems program of DARPA.

GLObal NAvigation Satellite System[s].

The sound of a gas breaking through a liquid surface or barrier.

GLObal Research in International Affairs (center). See PRISM.

A disorder characterized by inability to control the addition of new entries to an already bloated glossary.


Gold Latin Poet[ry]. The ``A'' team. Vergil and Horace, and maybe Ovid (vide SLP).

Global Lawyers and Physicians for Human Rights. What a skin-crawly combination.

An academic periodical with four numbered issues per volume, and one volume per year. Here are a couple of excerpts of an inaugural note ``From The Editors'' (Carolyn Dinshaw and David M. Halperin), pp. iii-iv of vol. 1, no. 1, November 1993:
Time for a new journal.
    Not that there's exactly a shortage of journals--or even journals that publish work in lesbian and gay studies. For two decades the Journal of Homosexuality has provided a home for research--especially in the social sciences--by and about lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, and transgendered people. Lately a spate of journals has featured articles and special issues on topics in lesbian and gay studies. But there hasn't been a journal dedicated solely to this interdisciplinary field, a field that is at once rapidly expanding and delimiting itself. We need a journal that can keep up with all this new work, can pause to look at what's becoming lesbian and gay studies even as it happens, and crucially, can provide opportunities for critique of the field-in-progress. This is GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies.

(You've convinced me! And I just happen to have a contribution available, recently reje--umm, I uh, that I recently withdrew from consideration for Journal of Homosexuality. I think it would be perfect for your journal!) Three paragraphs later:

    So much for G and L. What about that Q? It takes us in two directions at once. Towards the academic legitimacy of quarterly, with all the genteel associations that centuries of critical quarterlies guarantee. [Excellent! I'm coming up for tenure next year!] And in the opposite direction, towards the fractious, the disruptive, the irritable, the impatient, the unapologetic, the bitchy, the camp, the queer. [They've got my department chair's secretary down to a tee.]

Georgia Legislative Review. A publication of the Southern Center for Studies in Public Policy (SCSPP) at Clark Atlanta University (CAU). Begun in 1973, revived in 1991 as an annual report.

Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network. Pronounced ``glisten.''

Great Lakes Symposium on VLSI. Sponsored by ACM and its SIGDA. Since 1991.

General Logic Unit. Doesn't seem to have anything to do with military intelligence (MI). Too bad.

President Eisenhower's stock has gone up dramatically over the last few decades, as we've had the unhappy opportunity to compare him to his successors. Something similar has been remarked of Algol.

GLU, Glu, glu
Glutamic Acid. An amino acid. Also ``E''! Not to be confused with Glutamine (GLN or Q) or with Glycine (GLY or G). In case you're wondering how they came up with some of these one-letter codes, the answer is, in part, by elimination. There are twenty amino acids and only twenty-six alphabetic characters, and some serious alliteration. There are four amino acids whose names start in A.

White glue is polyvinyl acetate (PVA) resin. Yellow glue is an aliphatic compound resin, but Bob Villa didn't give precise details of the chemistry. He said you can sand it. I think it's white glue with yellow dye. Hide glue is hydrolyzed collagen.

Normally spelled gloog.

Mulled wine, glogg. The name gluhwein refers to a German concoction that is spiced, usually sweetened wine, usually served warm. Happy New Year! The German word, Glühwein, literally means `glow wine.' I think this refers not to how the wine looks, but how you feel and your face looks after you drink enough of it.

The Gospel of Luke. One of the synoptic gospels. Use of G in this way is systematic, if not productive. The entry for GMatt is longer.

Traditional name for what is now ``gycerol'': 1,2,3-propan-tri-ol, or something like that. Good lubricant for a room-temperature application: unjamming locks and jar lids. Mixed with hide glue as a plasticizer, to increase flexibility and resiliency of final bond. Attractive because it's non-toxic in small quantities (in contrast, say, with glycol.) Tremendous quantities are produced as a byproduct of the saponification process. Even so, it's more expensive than sorbitol, which is also used as a glue plasticizer (and which is less volatile, so leads to longer-term plasticity). I guess we just don't wash enough.

GLY, Gly, gly
Glycine. An amino acid. Also ``G,'' unsurprisingly. If you want surprises, see Glutamic acid (GLU).

1,2-ethan-di-ol, or something like that. Very popular automobile engine antifreeze. Not at all a good thing to ingest. Observe that it is absent in the meth-drinker classics Tears of a Komsomol Girl and Spirit of Geneva.

A linear polymer of glucose molecules. Glucose in your bloodstream (I assume you are a human; if you are a robot just archive the page and don't ask silly questions) is absorbed in small quantities by all muscle cells, and when not used it is hydrolyzed into glycogen for storage. When your muscle cells need a sudden burst of energy, like when your girlfriend's husband appears (`fight-or-flight,' it's called), enzymes in your muscles anaerobically convert the component glucose molecules into pyruvic acid. (Actually something that's almost pyruvic acid.) You quickly use up this energy source and lose strength. Also, the acid build-up makes your muscles hurt. (The acid is lactic acid.) If you keep exercising at a lower pace, the acid burn goes away faster, because the lactic acid diffuses from your fast-twitch muscles to your slow twitch muscles, which can use lactic acid almost as if it were glucose.

For longer-term effort, you need to get some oxygen in there, both for final aerobic conversion of pyruvic acid (via the Krebs cycle), and for the (completely aerobic) conversion of fatty acids.

Under normal conditions -- i.e., when you're not exercising -- something like a third of the energy used by your muscles may come from glycogen.

(Domain code for) Gambia.

My suggestion for an advertising campaign theme, whenever the country gets serious about tourism, is ``Gambolling in Gambia.'' They can use it royalty-free until they build the casino, but I want a cut from ``Gambling in Gambia.''

General Manager.

General Motors. The largest employer in Buffalo, even after spinning off a third of its work force into independent parts suppliers in the 1990's.

Genetically Modified. The introduction of genetically modified food products is stirring up a lot of controversy and resistance in Europe, but the issue sleeps in the US. (On the other hand, foods and drinks sterilized by irradiation were introduced long ago in Europe, but met resistance in the US.)

GM-related AAP pleonasms are beginning to occur, as for example in these minutes from the British House of Commons.

Government Motors. A jocular, or rueful, re-expansion of the GM initialism. It was motivated by the arrangments surrounding GM's bankruptcy in 2009, leaving GM about 70% US-government owned (temporarily -- i.e., for the foreseeable future -- i.e., with no end in sight).

gm., gm
GraM. Older-style and less mystifying abbreviation of the metric mass unit (normally g). It also had the neat quasipalindromic property (to a decent order of approximation) that .316227766 gm = 316.227766 mg.

Grand Master. A computed chess ranking.

Glycol MethAcrylate.

Good Morning America. A morning TV program from ABC. Something vaguely to do with news.

Grocery Manufacturers of America. Unappetizing name.

Gulf of Maine Aquarium.

Give Me A Break.

General Motors Acceptance Corporation. An achievement in the annals of euphemism, standing for an auto loan division. Pronounced as an initialism (``gee em ay cee'').

Graduate Management Admission Council. They explain that they're ``the people behind the GMAT® -- the test used by nearly 2000 business schools.''

GMAC explains that it ``has worked with business schools around the world for nearly 50 years, so [they] know the MBA and its possibilities better than anyone [else].''

In resources intended to ``help you decide whether an MBA is right for you,'' they explain that ``[j]ust wanting the degree is not enough. ... Business school admissions counselors want to see evidence ... the typical MBA candidate ... can clearly articulate his or her motivations for wanting to earn an MBA. You are not ready if: ... Your career goals are no more specific than `I want to command a higher salary.' ...''

This is overly wordy despite drastic editing, so you can guess that there is a simple truth being hidden here. There is. The simple truth is that B-schools want applicants (supplicants, in the case of the bigger-name schools) to flatter the schools' conceit that they are imparting wisdom rather than a credential. So don't just sit there staring at the blank essay portion of your application form. Do something! Specifically: Get Up! Turn Around! Pull Down Your Pants and Give 'Em What They Want!

Just don't say you want to live a quality lifestyle and that that takes a lot of do-re-mi, which an MBA can help you earn or at least make. Those who deal in money prefer to think that they deal in something else -- service, knowledge, facilitation, education. The MBA is actually a pretty straightforward transaction: you give them money, and they give you a receipt called a diploma. The receipt proves that you were good enough to be admitted to whatever school you paid for. If you do very well as an undergraduate, then your college professors will recommend that you go for your MBA directly. In most cases, they recommend that you learn about the business world by doing business in the business world. In either case, your educational achievement is recognized in the fact of admission.

Once admitted, for appearances' sake, you should take some courses. There are both two-year and one-year programs, tailored to fit different circumstances. It's possible to compress a two-year program down to as little as 11 months because, again, the MBA is not about what you learned in order to graduate, but what you learned in order to be admitted. They could compress it down to nothing: you could be admitted in April, attend orientation in June, have your yearbook picture taken in October and attend December commencement, but this kind of program is still unusual among the better-name schools. On the other hand, if you've got a lot of time, then you can start an MBA part-time. The solid business case for taking MBA courses on evenings and weekends rests on the fact that you're a masochist.

Government MAN. More information at the G-men. If you just came here following the link at that entry, well, like, what did you expect?

The Gospel of Mark. One of the synoptic gospels. Use of G in this way is systematic, if not productive.

Mark is widely regarded as the oldest of the four gospels, although according to Irenaeus, Matthew wrote a gospel in Hebrew while Peter and Paul were still alive, and Mark wrote his after Peter and Paul had died.

Albert Schweitzer's view of GMark was highly influential throughout the twentieth century. He argued that Mark's intention was to portray Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet. Mark uses the book of Daniel (the most apocalyptic OT book, and perhaps the vaguest as well) and borrows the ``Son of Man'' epithet (unexplained in Daniel, as various others are unexplained). However, Mark also uses Isaiah, Psalms, and Exodus. And of course, over the century or so before the gospel was canonized, it may well have been re-edited...

(A Hermeneutical Law: to the analysis of every canonical document there is a can of worms that includes ``manuscript tradition.'')

(A sociological fact: Bible hermeneutics is done only by those who can bear spending their lives on invisible tissues of uncertainty layered on uncertainty.)

The MK mentioned at the 419 entry has explained many times that, while missionaries are happy to give free Bibles to those who ask, they prefer to start potential marks out on (sorry, I mean, to begin the salvation of souls with) the Gospel of, uh, Mark. Then they move on to some other N.T. books. The O.T. is a bit unsavory in places, maybe not so edifying. Ol' Mr. Tetragrammaton, you know, He was a bit hot-headed in His younger days.

Hark! Our Nigeria-raised MK has repented her earlier words:

> Silly me.  The main reason, of course, for holding off on the Old
> Testament was all that polygamy & animal sacrifice.  Plus disemboweling
> enemies.

Well, now, not so fast, there! You've got to take the good with the bad. Don't throw out the baby with the bath water. (And don't toss the plastic food-item baskets in the trash containers.)

[column] Some believe they see influences of Homer in GMark, either as allusions or as a narrative model. Hey, why not? FWIW, it has also been claimed that the narrative part of the Old Testament was redacted in Hellenistic times on the basis of Homer as a narrative model. A version of the Homeric Mark thesis was published by Dennis McDonald The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000). (He argues mostly for the Odyssey, a little for Iliad). This is reviewed by Douglas Geyer in ``Homer or Not Homer? Mark 4:35-41 in Recent Study.''

Graduate Management (School) Admission Test. A half-day standardized test run by ETS, designed in consultation with the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

GMatt, GMatthew
The Gospel of Matthew. One of the synoptic gospels. Use of G in this way is systematic, if not productive.

The question at the center of NT text criticism is why the Gospels of Matthew and of Luke partially agree and partially disagree. Other scriptures adopted part of what is found in Matthew (the gospel of the Ebionites borrows much of it but excludes GMatt's genealogy and infancy accounts; the Diatessaron, which cribs in sequence from Mark, Luke, and Matthew, also omits Matthew's genealogy). Luke, however, does not merely omit material found in GMatt; he has a number of differences, both substantive and minor, particularly in the birth narrative (BN, q.v.), passion narrative (PN, q.v.), and resurrection story. If one doesn't want to accept that Luke simply rejected sections of GMatt (or that Matthew rejected portions of GLuke, if one takes the less common view that Luke wrote first) then the simplest solution is to suppose that there was another source, now lost (and never attested, FWIW), from which they both worked, called Q.

In the simplest, ``two-source'' hypothesis (2SH), the agreements of Matthew and Luke arise simply from their common use of Q, and the disagreements arise from their independent use of their imaginations or different additional sources or both. (Both appear to have borrowed extensively from Mark, although in places they also agree against Mark. For Luke, close textual analysis seems to have convinced many that his work is indebted to a number of sources, possibly including the gospel of John or some proto-John document.)

Alternative hypotheses suggest themselves if one is willing to accept that Luke rejected portions of GMatt or that Matthew rejected portions of GLuke. (Don't try this at home! You could burn yourself forever!) The three-source theory (3ST, q.v.) and the Farrer Hypothesis (FH, q.v.) are just such hypotheses, assuming respectively that a Q did or did not exist.

An interesting feature of GMatt is the occurrence of a dozen or so ``fulfillment quotations,'' as they are known. These are passages where the gospel says (using Greek that is quite formulaic) ``...in order that what was said by the prophet would be fulfilled, when he said [insert O.T. quote here].'' Most other O.T. quotations in the N.T., whether in GMatt or other books, have wording that closely resembles the Septuagint (LXX). The fulfillment quotes (in Greek, of course) are expressed differently than in the LXX, and tend to resemble more closely the sense of the Hebrew that we have available to us, suggesting that Matthew or a Matthew redactor read the O.T. in the original Hebrew and made his own translations. [You may ask why the evangelist Matthew or a redactor of his writings would have done a better translation job than the LXX translators, but it's not assumed that he did. The Hebrew text (and, apparently to a lesser degree, the Greek text) continued to evolve after the LXX translation, and so diverged. Any later Greeking of the Hebrew would be closer to that later Hebrew, and probably closer to the Hebrew that eventually came down to us.]

You got all that? Good, now here's a further complication: outside of the fulfillment quotes, when Matthew quotes the O.T. his Greek is closer to the LXX than Mark's or Luke's. Oy gevalt! Also of interest (well, of equal interest): Matthean priority. Saint Mark says ``grrr.''

Back there when we introduced ``a Matthew redactor,'' you may have started to think that early copyists may have introduced changes to the gospels that make it impossible to sort out from apparent similarities and differences now, what the original dependences may have been. (For example, the couple of non-Matthian fulfillment quotes may be not Markan but redactorial.) In a word: yup.

GMA welding, GMAW
Gas Metal Arc Welding. Also called MIG. Implicitly, the metal is not tungsten (GTAW, TIG) or some other high-melting metal, but instead is a ``filler metal'' that in addition to conducting current to the arc at the weld point, also becomes integrated in the bond. The gas -- helium (He), argon (Ar), or a mix -- serves as a coolant; it flows axially along the electrode, which guides it to the bond. GMAW tends to heat a substantially larger area than GTAW.

Gesellschaft mit beschränkter Haftung. German for (commercial) organization with limited liability. Like the popular British ``Ltd.'' (partnerships).

Good Medicine in Bad Places. A distance medical consulting initiative of sorts.

Gmc, Gmc.
GerManiC. I suppose you could analyze that as ``crazy about spears.'' The root ger or gar originally meant spear (so a german was a spearman -- spear carrier or spear thrower, I assume both). Cf. SN. The same root is the basis of such words as guerre in French, guerra and guerrilla in Spanish.

In words that English gets from Norman French, the initial gee is often softened into the double-u glide (thus we have guarantee from French and warranty from Norman French). French guerre's Norman cognate is our word war.

Actually, I'll have to look into this a little further. It seems the Germanic root is reconstructed as beginning in w.

Outside of the English-speaking world, one of the places where Shakespeare has traditionally been very popular is Germany. Of course, they have always used translations into modern German. In the movie MASH, the guys bring in a ringer, Capt. Oliver Harmon Jones (played by Fred Williamson), whose nickname is ``Spearchucker.''

General Motors Corporation. Marque used by GM for its trucks. (Except for those marketed as Chevies or Hummers.)

Giant Molecular Cloud. An interstellar gas cloud with a mass in the range of 104 to 106 solar masses.

Global Marketing Committee.

Gesellschaft für Mathematik und Datenverarbeitung mbH (Society for Mathematics and Data Processing) in St. Augustin. They changed the name by accretion. Now they're GMD -- Forschungszentrum Informationstechnik GmbH (Eng.: GMD -- German National Research Center for Information Technology.

General Merchandise Distributors Council. ``Since 1970, the voice of the supermarket general merchandise and health and beauty care industry.''

Bad lawyer infestation at that site: ``I assume full responsibility and hold GMDC harmless for all information I obtain from or provide to the system. GMDC does not endorse, affirm or in any other manner warrant the content, accuracy or completeness of such information or assume any liability for same.''

Graduate Medical Education.

Government MEN -- informal name for FBI agents. The obvious singular form is also used. The term went mercifully out of circulation just in time to avoid having to be improved or neutered into something like ``G-persons.'' Cf. T-men.

Graduate Medical Education National Advisory Committee.

Georgia Mental Health Network. I've got Georgia on my mind.

Global Message Handling Service.

Giant MagnetoImpedance. See GMZ.

Genetically { Manipulated | Modified } Organism. Pull the Switch, Igor!

Gesellschaft für Mathematik, Ökonomie und Operations Research. `German Society for Mathematics, Economics, and Operations Research.' Merged with DGOR in 1998 to form GOR.

Good Manufacturing Protocols.

Guanosine MonoPhosphate. Cyclic GMP is released by mast cells and mediates bronchoconstriction. Cf. GDP.

Giant MagnetoResistance. A phenomenon found in layered or superlattice materials, in which ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic layers alternate. The effect apparently arises from large magnetic-field dependence in the interface scattering. First discovered in Fe/Cr superlattices [M. N. Babich, J. M. Broto, A. Fert, F. Nguyen Van Dau, F. Petroff, P. Etienne, G. Creuzet, A. Friederich and J. Chazelas, PRL 61, 2472 (1988)] and in single sandwiches of Cr between Fe layers [G. Binash, P. Grünberg, F. Saurenbach and W. Zinn, PRB 39, 95 (1991)].

Here's something.

Giant Monopole Resonance. A nuclear giant resonance. Typical energy, ignoring isospin (i.e. electrostatics), about <aitch-bar> omega = 41 MeV A1/3.

Global Manufacturing System.

Gaussian-filtered Minimum-Shift Keying.

Good Morning Silicon Valley. A tech feature of the San Jose Mercury.

Greenwich Mean Time. Greenwich is pronounced `GREN-itch.' Time kept by the Greenwich observatory, which defined the zero meridian. GMT has been replaced by UTC. The observatory was relocated and eventually closed.

Great Minds Think Alike.

I agree.

Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope. In India.

George Mason University.

Gram Molecular Weight. The mass of a molecule in units of 931 MeV/c², labelled with the units grams per mole (g/mol).

Giant Magnetoimpedance. The letter Z represents impedance.

Good Night. Chatese.

Gastroenterology Nursing. The Official Journal of the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, Inc


Latin, Gnaeus. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Much less common than Cn., q.v.

(Domain code for) Guinea.

Guidance, Navigation, and Control. NASAnese.

GND, gnd.
GrouND. Electronically, this is called ``earth'' in the UK and tierra in Spanish. More about the latter can be found at this SICS entry.

Great North Eastern (England) Railway.

Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.

Geographic Names Information System. Looks like they put a lot of work into it. It helps to know that they call a city or building a ``feature.''

(US) Government (US) National Mortgage Association. It's usually called ``Ginnie Mae.'' (Perhaps ``Gran Ma'' might be a better alias for this acronym, but Fidel Castro nationalized that in 1960.) Ginnie Mae is a wholly government-owned corporation within the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Ginnie Mae was created in 1968, out of portions of the FNMA (``Fannie Mae'') that were not sold off when Fannie Mae (until then a government entity) was launched as a GSE.

GNN, gnn
Global Network Navigator. Lame.

Grand National Party. One of South Korea's major political parties. Ahead of elections in April 2004, it holds 147 seats in the 273-member National Assembly. That looks like a majority to me, but GDP is called the ``opposition'' because the president is of a different party. If parliamentary elections go in April the way opinion polling has gone in March, that won't be a problem any more. (Actually, President Roh is of no particular party, and he's not acting president. It's complicated. See the MDP entry.)

Gross National Product. Differs from GDP in including nationally-owned but off-shore product, excluding foreign-owned product. In other words, GNP goes by ownership, GDP by location.

Graphene NanoRibbon.

GoNadotropin-Releasing Hormone. (See hMG.)

Global Navigation System.

Generic Names Supporting Organization (of ICANN). Successor of DNSO.

Folks extremely unhappy with ICANN got a hold of the domain gnso.org first. It's an ugly joke. Their http://www.dnso.com is funnier.

Global Navigation Satellite System[s].

Greek New Testament. At the college level in the US, the GNT is typically third- or fourth-semester reading for Ancient Greek course sequences.

GNU's Not Unix.

Reclaimer: In the words of Dave Barry, ``I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.'' A recursive name; I don't know why they didn't call it UNUNU and make it palindromically recursive.

The long-range goal is to provide a complete alternative to Unix that looks like it but is free in every sense of the word (vide FSF). As John Maynard Keynes said, ``In the long run, we are all dead.'' At least, Keynes is dead, and GNU is far from complete. However, various useful pieces are available: The very popular editor emacs, some PostScript-related products (Ghostscript, Ghostview, GSview), a command shell with a good name (bash), a debugger (gdb), an assembler (gas), and C/C++ compilers (gcc/g++, originally written by Richard Stallman, later modified by Michael Tiemann and others). The compilers were an issue in the mid-nineties -- at a certain point, Sun released an operating system (Solaris 2 = SunOS 5) that did not come bundled with C compilers. Because of the intimate relation of Unix and C (the former was written in the latter, for instance), this bundling was once traditional, but lately the trend has been to leave it off. It's hard not to feel cheated. The main advantage of new operating systems is that they force customers to spend money on new software that is in no noticeable way better than the earlier software. (Although that's not as bad as the retrogression represented by successive versions of MS Word.)

Gentil Organisateur. Has the meaning at Club Med that ``associate'' has at Wal-Mart: lowly on-site employee who may be required to perform any sufficiently demeaning task.

Government of Ontario [Canada (.ca)] trains and buses, connecting Toronto to its suburbs. This was a misnomer for a period of precisely four years (1998-2001, incl.), when the province dumped it onto the municipalities involved. Cf. TTC.

On the model of federalize, you'd think provincialise in the sense appropriate here might be useful. Googling up some ersatz usage research, and even discounting the French hits, provincialise (in the governmental sense) appears vastly to outnumber deprovincialise and de-provincialise. Partly, this is because in many cases the latter idea is more gracefully rendered as nationalise or federalise.

The ugliness of the term provincialize is reflected in the fact that the first 5% or so of hits are dictionary entries, and that it appears on pages of fashionably post-modern literary criticism and at kinky pornography sites. In an interesting contrast with the -ise spelling, there are almost 50% more hits for the (I estimate) 60% uglier term deprovincialize. (This is probably because provincialism is regarded as a naturally occurring backward condition, rather than the result of some nongovernmental provincialization process. The next time I handle this entry I'm going to have to use the scoop.)

Fascinating, the things you learn when you study ground transportation.

Grandes ondes. French for `long wave[s]' (LW).

Grant Opportunities for Academic Liaison with Industry. NSF initiative.

Greek Orthodox American LeaderS, Inc. They have a mailing address at Voithia, their ``independent educational publication.''

Expectorate saliva on a mostly downwardly directed trajectory.

gob, g.o.b.
Good Ordinary Brand. Brands wye or zed, probably.

German Open Championship. A dance tournament (Tanzturnier), apparently. You know, unpleasant things can happen if you allow demmid furriners into yer contests. For example, the American Guild of Town Criers ``was founded on July 5th 1997 at historic Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.'' In 1999, Ontario swept the trifecta of this ancient tradition. And the America's Cup, oh man, don't get me started!

Gravity-Field and Steady-State Ocean-Circulation Explorer. Why not ``GraFSSOCE''? As I write this in 2004 there's still time to change the name! Launch is set for 2005; it will be the first of the Earth Explorer Core Missions planned as part of ESA's Earth Observation Programme. I observe the earth all the time, sometimes from pretty close up, but the ESA has something else in mind: to ``provide global and regional models of the Earth's gravity field ... with high spatial resolution and accuracy.''

Government-Owned/Contractor-Operated. Is this a good idea?

A number of things have been said and written about the subject. Following is one, uncertainly attributed to Roger Weddis:

There was an old man with a beard,
Who said, ``I demand to be feared!
So address me as God,
And love me, you sod!''
And Man did just that. Which was weird.

Glucose OxiDase. The way sugar intended it.

Guaranteed Overnight Delivery. A truck freight company.

In an interview once, Samuel Beckett was asked whether ``Godot'' (in his famous play ``Waiting For Godot'') represented God. What could he say? He suggested that this wasn't the only possible interpretation. That Godot reminded him of the French word godasse, slang for shoe or slipper. He didn't suggest that it reminded him of godet, which would probably have been equally false but less absurd. To this day, I frequently write ``godess'' instead of ``goddess.''

God helps those who help themselves
This makes it difficult to apportion credit accurately. It's like those tricky macroeconomic multiplier effects. The analogy isn't perfect: with MPS as usual representing the marginal propensity to save, the factor would be 1/(1 - MPS) rather than 1/MPS = 1/(1 - MPC). (I suppose MPC is the marginal propensity to consume in eternal damnation, and MPC+MPS=1 if purgatory is but a temporary correction. As Keynes said: ``In the long run, we are all dead.'')

(New York State) Governor's Office of Employee Relations. In January 1997, after eighteen months of negotiation with the Graduate Student Employees Union (GSEU), agreement was announced on a four-year contract. This required ten months of mediation, after the GSEU in March 1996 declared negotiations to be deadlocked.

Geosynchronous Operational Environmental Satellite. More here. Also Geostationary G, also Orbiting for O. Whatever.

Gemeinschaft Ostdeutscher Grundeigentümer. (Germany.)

Gerichtsorganisationsgesetz. (Germany.)

Gift Of God. Sorry, no MAGOG entry yet, but...

Government Of Greece. GOT Magog?

Gynecologic Oncology Group. ``[A] non-profit organization with the purpose of promoting excellence in the quality and integrity of clinical and basic scientific research in the field of Gynecologic malignancies.''

Government-Owned/Government-Operated. Oh, yeah, ``go-go.'' Reflects the energy and committed enthusiasm of hired help, selected on the basis of standardized yawn.

Gate-Oxide Integrity.

Government Of Israel.

Gulf Organization for Industrial Consulting. This entry is probably not very important for an Electronics Glossary, and it really didn't come up in Stammtisch discussions, but I like the sound of the acronym. Seems to consist of the same membership as the GCC, with the addition of Iraq. Founded in 1976. Hmm.

God Only Knows. Email usage.

gol, GOL, ¡¡GOL!!!!!!
Spanish, `[soccer] goal.' The longest word in the Spanish language, typically requiring a minimum of twenty seconds for complete articulation.

Used for metal contacts and interconnects in higher-priced versions of chips (aluminum is the low-cost default). Better than aluminum for its corrosion resistance and ductility; it's also slightly more conducting [but silver (Ag) is better, see the metal resistivity entry]. Also, gold serves as a recombination center, so BJT bases were once gold-doped to reduce storage-time delays. Ditto rectifiers and thyristors, to this day. Platinum can do it too. Probably any sixth period transition metal can. That practice has been superseded by the use of Schottky clamps to prevent BJT's from going into saturation and accumulating storage charge in the first place.

``Gold records'' (500,000 units) are recognized by the Record Industry Association of America (RIAA).

More general information on gold at the Au entry. For a bit on the geology of gold mines, see the pluton entry.

Giordano Bruno, describing his own times (born ca. 1564, burn 1616), wrote

Cut-purses, miles of cheats, enterprises of scoundrels, delicious disgusts, foolish decisions, crippled hopes, virile women, effeminate men, and everywhere the love of gold.

Here's a random datum: on March 17, 1968, a new two-tier system of gold prices was instituted.

Gold Dust Woman
A song written by Stevie Nicks, which she sang (sings?) with Fleetwood Mac. I don't care if you got up at 4 AM, it still shouldn't be on the playlist for as early as 10 AM. Demmid insensitive deejays.


Golden Age
The golden age of Rome is generally taken as spanning the first century BCE to about the middle of the first century CE. It was followed by the Silver Age, which lasted through about the second century.

golden birthday
The nth birthday of a person who was born on the nth day of the month.

golden horseshoe
The metropolitan area near London. Okay, I guess it would be a little clearer if I pointed out that I obviously mean the metropolitan area about 100 miles east of London, Ontario, or called it the Toronto or Toronto-Hamilton metropolitan area. But that would spoil the fun, now wouldn't it?

golden mean, golden ratio, golden section
The positive number equal to its own inverse plus one. It also equals its own square minus one. It's the limit of the ratio of successive terms in the Fibonacci sequence. Either way, it's
  1    +     /  5

or about 1.618 033 988 749 894 848 204 586 834 365 64 .

An interesting article is Roger Fischler: ``How to find the "golden number" without really trying,'' Fibonacci Quarterly vol. 19, pp. 406-410 (1981). On the other hand, without even trying to get out of your seat, you can visit the related pentagram entry. The golden ratio is twice the cosine of 36 degrees.

In German, the number is called ``der Goldene Schnitt'' (equivalent to `the golden section').

golden spike
A slightly undersized 5.5" × 0.5" rail spike of 18-karat gold-copper alloy, the last spike driven in the construction of the first railroad across the North American continent. Hammered home (with a silver hammer) on May 10, 1869, at Promontory Summit, Utah. Read all about it at the Central Pacific Railroad Photographic History Museum. I imagine they must have replaced it eventually with one that was not such a strong temptation to theft.

If your concept of North America stretches as far south as the South American nation of Colombia (it shouldn't), then the preceding statement is not true. In January 1855 the Panama Railroad was completed, connecting the port city of Colón (q.v.) at Limón Bay, on the Atlantic, to Boca del Monte, a bay on the Pacific near Panama City (called simply Panamá in Spanish).

Domesticated carp.

Television parlance for people shown speaking while their voices are not heard. It's like Pink Floyd's ``Comfortably Numb'':
Your lips move, but I can't hear what you're sayin'.

Just don't think of gill slits.

gold standard
There are at least three kinds of gold standard. Let's get one out of the way immediately: a physical standard of length can be made of gold. If I ever have anything interesting to say about this, maybe I'll put it at the ab- entry.

Gold has been a standard of value since prehistoric times, and a monetary standard since there was coin. (For something about the transition between bartering with gold and paying with gold coin, see Hackgold.) Hence, ``gold standard'' can be understood as the fixing of the value of a currency against the value of gold. (I should probably add that in ancient times it was usually not the only monetary standard. There was silver, of course, and Herodotus reports that at one time the Spartans used iron money. This may or may not have been an example of monetized metal tools, called utensil money.)

It has had that meaning in English for centuries. For example, in 1696, one Thomas Neale published A PROPOSAL For Amending the Silver Coins OF ENGLAND, And the Possibility of it, without any Great Charge to the NATION. Demonstrated In Two Different Ways. It contains ``A Table to Reduce gradually the Price of the Ounce Troy of Gold Standard to 4 l. an Ounce. being esteemed Sixteen times the value of Silver Weight for Weight) the same having first been raised to 5 l. 6 s. 8 d. which is the proportion of Silver to 6 s. 8 d. an Ounce, the Gold Standard Coined or not Coined esteemed a like, by reason that Gold esteemed 16 times the value of Silver Weight for Weights, is the highest Rate that ever was.''

According to page 16 of A Short History of Technology, a heroically bad work described at the self-published entry, ``Darius the Great was the first to establish the gold standard.'' (Of course, there is not a single gold standard, although for many years following WWII, there was a single gold standard for the US dollar. It became unsustainable during the Nixon administration.)

Finally, gold has long been understood as a metaphor for the best. As Chaucer wrote, ``if gold ruste, what shal iren do?'' Hence, ``gold standard'' can be understood as the highest standard -- the best, to be regarded as a standard of comparison. I have to say, though, that the monetary standard was the only kind of gold standard I can recall ever having heard until my old college roommate Dennis, by then a radiologist, started talking to me about ``gold-standard'' diagnostic technologies and treatments and what-not. It doesn't seem to be exclusively medical jargon, however. News of the Weird describes itself as ``the gold standard of weird-news reporting.''

German: `Gulf.'

Global Oscillations at Low Frequency.

How the Scottish sabotaged the pastime of walking. The epidemic is worldwide. See also PGA. In detail, the game consists of hitting a small ball from the grass into the woods, and then crawling around looking for the ball in the wrong copse.

The only sport involving a ball that has thus far been played on the moon by a human. Moreover, the first experiments in untethered balloon flight were conducted by the Montgolfier brothers [Joseph-Michel (1740-1810) and Jacques Étienne (1745-1799)]. Another technical tie-in: a duffer is also called a ``hacker.''

The main importance of golf, however, is neither as sport nor anything technological, but as a business lubricant. I'm not talking about elbow grease here. The need to grease the gears of business (to say nothing of the palms of officialdom) is nothing new. For a sixteenth-century view, here is part of Guicciardini's ricordo C179 (in the translation of Domandi):

When I was young, I used to scoff at knowing how to play, dance, and sing, and at other frivolities. ... But later, I wished that I had not done so. ... [S]kill in this sort of entertainment opens the way to the favor of princes, and sometimes becomes the beginning or the reason for great profit and high honors. For the world and princes are no longer made as they should be, but as they are.

Gate-Oxide Monitor.

Government-Organized Non-Governmental Organization. An NGO organized by one or more G's.

Misspelling of gonorrhea.

Good Girl
Saboteur against the sexual revolution. The rallying cry of this particular counterrevolutionary movement is evidently The Return of Doris Day.

There's probably a female declension of saboteur, and if I knew French I'd certainly use it so that you would feel ignorant and inferior. If someone lets me know by email what the female form (of the word) is, I'll happily insert it and return to pretending that I know French, just like all us sóphístícátés.

Good Grief!
The Charlie Brown oxymoron. Not explained at the Peanuts entry.

Without the exclamation mark, the title of a Foo Fighters song (vide s.v. fu).

Good HumorTM
A brand of ice cream.

good humor
Nicholas Lemann's TNR review of David Brooks's On Paradise Drive: How We Live Now (And Always Have) In the Future Tense begins thus:
A funny man is an angry man.

What is this, some kind of proverb? No. High-school English teachers promote the doctrine that essays should begin with generalizations. I wish they'd amend that to the doctrine that essays should begin with generalizations that are not obviously stupid. The review (August 2, 2004 issue, pp. 27ff) does not satirize the book's title, so it's an easy syllogism that Lemann need not be an angry man, if the claim were true. What we have here is fairly typical: humor sometimes masks anger, so Lemann just strips away all qualification, tears down any useful distinction, and states a nice, gnomic, barefaced lie. I HATE NICHOLAS LEMANN!!!!!

But seriously folks, it seems to me that humor and humorists come in for a lot of generalizations that happen not to be true. (The BUR seems to be something of a rehash. Why not visit our bobo entry again? Or just keep reading.)

good humour
Here's something from Walter Allen's The English Novel (1954). On page 119 of my Dutton paperback edition, he makes the following assertion:
Comedy deals with the conflict between illusion and reality: ``Know thyself!'' is the imperative of every comic writer.

Allen is discussing the novels of Jane Austen. I do apologize for mentioning her almost in the same entry with an amateur ``comic sociologist'' like Brooks, but there are some circumstantial similarities. Later (p. 120), Allen continues:

... those most attached to Miss Austen's novels have usually preferred the later ones, Mansfield Park, Emma, and Persuasion, which were written after an interval of more than ten years. During that long silence, the reason for which we do not know, Miss Austen's mind grew graver; it is as though she could find folly, self-deception, irresponsibility, silliness, the individual's lack of knowledge of himself, no longer merely funny; more and more as she realized their consequences they became contemptible, even hateful, to her.

Good luck!
This is something the radio announcer says after announcing a call-in contest (``the ninth caller who can correctly...'' or some such). When you think about it, you can actually imagine some senses in which it is not utterly meaningless.

good money after bad
Frederick Douglass observed:
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

If I think of something better, I'll move the current content of this entry to an entry for triage or planned obsolescence or something.

Goodness rewarded.
  1. By accident (74%)
  2. Grudgingly (22%)

(Percentages may not total 100% due to rounding.)

Good things come to those who wait.
A lie told to children.

Good Times
Not a virus but a hoax. There are FAQ's available as web documents and via ftp. (For more on viruses, try F-PROT's virus information resource.)

goose crossing
A crossing for pedestrians that goose-step! Also, the pedestrians are geese.

Grand Old Party. The younger of the two major political parties in the US. Republican party. I wrote a lot more under the D entry for Democrat.

Gulf of Papua.

Gingrich's (federal election law-) Overstepping Political Action Committee. Apparently. I'll be sure to correct it if I learn different.

Alludes both to University of Minnesota emblem/mascot and to the jocular noun `go-fer.' See also <gopher://gopher.tc.umn.edu>.

Usual port, assigned by IANA, is 70. For technical details that will allow you to write your own client or server, see RFC 1436. Note also that there is a Gopher+ (that's by gopher, by http it's at http://ftp.sunet.se/ftp/pub/gopher/gopher_protocol/Gopher+/Gopher+.txt), incorporating extensions to the original protocol.

Veronica was once a common gopherspace search engine.

Go Postal
A chain of retail outlets where you can buy stamps and bullets. The drive-thru is open all night. There's a bulk discount for government employees.

This is a prophylactical entry; if a chain of such stores by this name should suddenly happen to come into being, the entry will already be in place. I put the entry in around 1996 or so. There's a company founded in 1991 that sells tee shirts illustrated with politically conservative humor, and it occurs to me that I should mention one of their ``hot'' shirts (in 2008, and since at least 2006). It's emblazoned with the words ``Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms'' in large letters, followed in smaller letters by ``should be a convenience store, not a government agency.'' (Sure, it's a different idea, but there are some common elements.)

Gesellschaft für Operations Research, e.V.. German `Society for Operations Research.' Founded on January 1, 1998, from the merger of DGOR and GMÖOR.

A boys' given name in English, occasionally shortened to Gordy and even Gordo. Many Anglophone Gordons eventually learn that gordo is a Spanish adjective meaning `fat' [in the sense of obese]. In the usual way, it can also function as a noun (the term substantive is particularly apt here).

What you won't find in most dictionaries, because it is simply a regular inflection of the basic term, is gordón, a noun meaning `very fat one.' I figured you'd want to know.

Gordon Rule
A basic requirement for graduation from bachelor's programs in the state of Florida, State Rule 6A-10.30. The rule applies to students who first enrolled in any college or university after October 1982. I wonder if you have to have been continuously enrolled since September 1982 to get out of the requirement. The requirement has two parts: completion of 24,000 words of composition in four courses (12 semester hours), and completion of two courses (6 semester hours) of mathematics at the level of college algebra or higher.

Do you have to pass those completed courses? (Always looking for the loophole.) Hmmm. Seems there's more to it.

See UCF's explanation.

A triangular piece of land.

Godart et Olivier: Recueil des Inscriptions en Linéaire A. (Louis Godart et Jean-Pierre Olivier).

A synonym of foobar. Tentative etymology suggested by FOLDOC: CMU [dialect of Hackish], acronym of `Good Old Raisins and Peanuts.' SBF suggests a philological survey of the back issues (parchment) of MAD magazine.

Global Observing System. A network of over three dozen manned land-based weather observation stations, and a larger number of automated stations. Part of the World Weather Watch (WWW).

Great Ormond Street Hospital. A London hospital for kids. No kidding.

(US) Government OSI Protocols (also `Profile'). A more tightly specified set of protocols required by the US gov't.

Government Of South Sudan.

Government Of Turkey. This isn't official or anything, but the abbreviation is apparently used (with GOG) internally by the US State Department.

Get Out The Vote. Used attributively, as in ``GOTV effort'' (also known as ``the ground game'' of political campaigning).


Gouni iraba gouni shitagae.
Japanese: `When in Rome, do as the Romans do.' (The word gouni doesn't refer to a particular place; here it effectively means `a place.')

The French government's subdomain. Cf. .gov.

Geschäftsordnung des VIAL. VIAL? It's a slow day, I admit it.

(Name code for top-level domain of US) GOVernment. However, the US Department of Defense has its own top-level domain: <.mil> (not to mention .arpa). For a while, it seems the .gov domain was used only for the federal government, but now state governments have .gov addresses also. For more on state government website addresses, see the .us entry (or the state's entry under its USPS code).

The same name (gov) is widely used as a government subdomain within a ccTLD (see next entry).

A common second-level domain name for government sites within a country's national domain (ccTLD). For example: e.g., *.gov.uk. Countries that use only two-letter second-level domain names often use .go. for their government sites. The Canadian government uses .gc. under its ccTLD. Then there's <gouv.fr>. That's the longest variant I've seen, but the letter yoo is essential to demonstrate to the world that France is stalwart in its independence, and valiant in protecting the good countries from Anglophone imperialism, while remaining Windows-compatible.

government ``initiative''
Underfunded project pecking along on ``seed money'' that is supposed to find a rainmaker and germinate.

Gaseous OXygen.

Group Of 8. The first universities established in Australia.

GP, gp
Galley Proof[s].

I wrote my first published paper using Volkswriter on an IBM PC (I mean an original PC, son, the kind with an 8088 processor and outboard abacus); hardcopy was on a nine-pin dot matrix printer. It looked okay, but when I got the galleys back, nicely laid out in double columns of elegantly typeset text and shapely equations, I suddenly realized -- Hey, this is an excellent piece of research! I'm a really smart guy!

[I felt even greater after I got the offprints and before I found the first error.]

Gas Plasma.

General audiences, Parental guidance suggested. A movie rating of the MPAA (q.v.) originally labelled M (mature) and now PG.

General Practitioner. A ``family physician'' or primary health-care provider. In the US, because so many medical school graduates choose to specialize (i.e., not to specialize in family practice), there is something of a shortage. In their stead, many have an internist (internal medicine specialist) as their primary care physician.

General Purpose. This is one possible origin of the name ``jeep.''

Genetic Programming. Don't worry yet. This still usually just means programming using the genetic algorithm.

Geometric Progression.


Grand Prix.

Group. A set and an operation mapping any ordered pair of elements into an element within the set, the operation being associative, all elements having an inverse.

(Domain code for) Guadeloupe.

Gas Processors Association. ``...an organization of operating and producing companies engaged in the processing of natural gas.''

Grade-Point Average. An average of course grades, each grade weighted by the number of credit hours of the course in which it was received.

Gallons Per Acre per Day.

Gas-Phase Chromatography. Prefer GC, vide supra, confer infra.

Gel-Permeation Chromatography. Hmmm. This and the previous could lead to confusion... I've got it! To avoid confusion, we'll only use one of the acronyms! (Actually, for this one you can use SEC, at the entry for which there's a bit more information.)

General-Purpose Computer. A general term, in use in the 1950's, for a reprogrammable computer, or what we today call a ``computer.''


Gallons Per Day. Individual consumption of water for immediate personal use in the US is about 90 gpd. The main components:
  • About 32 gpd for washing ourselves and cleaning our stuff -- clothing, dishes, homes. Most of that is showering and bathing. A shower is usually more efficient, but typically uses about 3-5 gallons per minute.
  • Flushing toilets -- 25-30 gpd (see GPF below)
  • Pools and gardens -- 25-30 gpd (averaged over a year)
  • About two gallons for drinking and cooking.

This adds up to about 24 billion gallons per day for the country as a whole, but it's nothing compared to the indirect water consumption represented by products consumed that required water to produce. E.g., 3-4000 gallons per pound of steak, when you count in growing the feed. Total US water consumption is about 500 billion gallons per day.

Glucose-6-PhosphateDehydrogenase. A phosphotransferase.


GPF, gpf
Gallons Per Flush. One reason for the use of urinals in public rest rooms: typical water consumption of 1 gpf. US water consumption for flushing toilets is about 25-30 gallons per capita per deim, or a shade under a third of the estimated 90 gpd total direct water consumption. Cf. LPF.

General Protection Fault.

GNU Privacy Guard. A PGP clone. This is a coincidence, but it is probably not a coincidence.

General-Purpose Heat Source. NASA designation for standardized packages that hold 238PuO2 used for RTG's.


Graphics Programming Interface.

General-Purpose Interface Bus. Eight bits in parallel. IEEE-488 (essentially the standard established by HP with their HPIB).

Gentleman's Pocket Knife. This acronym, with expansion, is used in a print advertisement I just saw. The ad includes the following sentence:
The GPK is fashioned after the officers [sic] knife of a renowned European army.
I can only conclude that ``Swiss Army Knife'' is a trademark (vide TM). Either that, or the ``renowned ... Army'' is a misdirection. Incidentally, it was only in 1994 or 5 that the Swiss (.ch) Army retired its carrier-pigeon corps, which had for a long time been maintained strictly as a back-up communication system.

Generalized Phrase Marker.

Graduated Payment Mortgage. A mortgage with gradually increasing payments. Typically the payments are initially low and rise gradually to a higher value that remains fixed after three or five years.

Gas-Phase Molecular Absorption Spectroscopy.

Green Paper on Mobile Communications. Green paper is easier on the eyes.

Gee Plus Plus. The GNU C++ Compiler, g++. Cf. gcc.

General Post Office.

Government Printing Office. Also searchable as a database in FirstSearch. Cf. corresponding British HMSO, which provides similar materials in English.

Group Purchasing Organization.

Spanish, grupo, `group.'

Global Defense Posture Review. The old GDR dissolved at the end of the Cold War, in 1990. Over a decade later, with a new long-term war on, is not too early to consider ``modernizing and readjusting the footprint of American military forces'' around the world.

A protein whose activity is regulated by GTP. G-proteins are found on the undersides of many different kinds of receptors. G-proteins are not the same thing as glycoproteins (gp)

General Packet Radio Service[s]. A nonvoice value-added service that allows information to be sent and received across a mobile telephone network. Also ``General Packet Radio System.'' Even, incorrectly, ``General Public Radio Services.'' Plans to achieve 100kbits/s before 2003.

Global Positioning System. Uses very long rope, called L-band. The L-band frequencies used are in an absorption window of water.

The ropes apparently hang from two dozen satellites. Amazing, huh?

Originally a military system, it's now in widespread civilian application. Some airlines are trying it out, but commercial aviation needs very high reliability, and GPS may be subject to jamming.


General Purpose (discrete) Systems Simulator. See what FOLDOC has on it.

Generalized Perturbation Theory. See F. Ducastelle and F. Gautier, J. Phys. F (Metals) 6, 2039 (1976); B.L. Gyorffy and G. M. Stocks, Phys. Rev. Lett. 50, 374 (1983).

Transliteration of Russian initialism for (in transliteration) Gosudarstvennoye Politicheskoye Upravlenie, `State Political Directorate.' The GPU was a secret police organization. It was formed in February 1922 from the Cheka and its first chief was inherited from the Cheka as well: Felix Dzerzhinsky. For most of 1922 it was an organ of the Russian soviet. With the formation of the USSR at the end of 1922 its ambit became the entire Soviet Union (it only technically became an organ of the USSR government in November 1923). It was dissolved in 1934, its personnel and successor entities eventually flowing into the KGB.

Graphics Processing Unit.

Ground-Proximity Warning System. ``Pull UP! Pull UP!''

(Domain code for) Equatorial Guinea.

Gentlemen's Quarterly. A magazine for men with disposable income.

Giant Quadrupole Resonance. A nuclear giant resonance.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. It was ``Greenberg Research'' for the 2000 election cycle. I don't know how much work they do in corporate PR research, but their heart is in the political work. Their election polling is exclusively for what they call ``progressive'' party candidates, in the US (Democratic Party -- not really ``progressive,'' but the Greens don't really want to win, so what good is polling for them?) and abroad (SPD in Germany, Labour in Britain, Labor Alignment in Israel, ANC in South Africa). They also poll for a number of high-profile NGO's (``progressive organizations'').

General Release. Stage that under normal circumstances should follow BT (beta test).

General (Theory of) Relativity.

GRain. Specifically: a grain of barley -- a barleycorn. It's the smallest weight or mass unit in the glorious traditional system, roughly 64.8 mg in unnatural SI units.

Grand Rapids. It was the rapid rise to power of Gerald R. Ford that really put GR on the map. Before that, I guess there was just sort of a gray smudge there on the map of Kent County, Michigan.

People there like to say that GR (the city) is ``centrally isolated.''


G & R
  1. Greek and Roman; Greece and Rome.
  2. Greece and Rome, a classical journal published by the august (British) Classical Association but targeted at you blokes. Published for the CA until 2005 by Oxford U.P., by Cambridge University Press after.
        All the Greek and Latin stuff is translated into English so you can understand it, but they show you the original words so you can feel like they respect your ability to read it and merely provide the translation as a convenience. The joke's on you: knowing that you'll skip over it even if you could pick out a word or two, they substitute dirty jokes for the real Greek and Latin. This saves on copyright permissions too. Cf. Polish. G&R is catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Generation-Recombination. As in `G-R noise.'


Graeco-Roman or Greco-Roman.

(Domain name code for) Greece. Check out (*): Site problems on 2000.08.05 visit.


Here's the Greek page of an X.500 directory.

All computer games are illegal in Greece today. I suppose this requires some explanation.


Gurkha Rifles (company or brigade or whatever).

Groupe de recherche anglo-américain de Tours. ``A peer-reviewed journal of Anglophone Studies.'' Parenthetically, these studies include ``Literature, Civilization, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, Linguistics.'' According to the homepage, GRAAT is to be pronounced so as to rhyme with ``great.'' You have to go off-site to find any page that expands the acronym.

Galactic Radiation And Background (satellite).

GRADuate. Someone who has (possibly just (recently)) graduated. It used to mean someone who had ``(possibly just (recently)) been graduated,'' back when that was the way to say it. What I'm trying to say is, please visit the graduate entry.


gradcurr, GRADCURR
`` Graduate Education in CLASSICS
a continuing conversation....'' The name gradcurr, used as a filename and mailing-list name, refers to GRADuate education and to the effort to keep it CURRent in some way. A gradcur would be a dog of an education. Hey wait a sec....

Forms compounds in the form [application]-grade [material], meaning material of purity sufficient for the given application. For example, welding-grade argon, about 99.996%, is used for shielding the arc, as well as other parts of the apparatus that might arc.

grade inflation
This is too depressing. Let's talk about sports instead.

Minor-league baseball (that's not MLB, exactly) is organized into AAA, AA, and A leagues. I guess that makes the bigs AAAA, like those pissy little batteries inside of 9V batteries. Huh -- those same minor-league levels used to be called B, C, and D.

Grading is the least pleasant task a teacher has to face. For some of us, particularly in engineering and science disciplines, the thing that makes it hard is that many students, sometimes most, do very poorly. One tends under these circumstances to try to give partial credit where no credit is due. This is not a good solution. What you should do is to compute an honest ``raw score,'' and then apply a simple linear scale of the form
scaled score = A*(raw score) + B.
The scale factor A and minimum grade B should be chosen shamelessly. Normally no one will get exactly zero for a raw score, but you should accept the possibility in advance, and recognize that B may have to be quite high. This is bound to look pretty bad, so don't return the exams. Email or hand out individual score sheets, each giving the student's grade and class information (the average and standard deviation, maybe the entire distribution), and offer to discuss the exam with any student. No one will ask. You think I'm joking, don't you? I learned this from another professor.

Dr. Hoffman, one of my high school chemistry teachers, used a no-parameter correction for AP chemistry: she gave course grades based on the square root of our averages (so an average of 81% got us the A that required a 90% in regular courses). Notice that the square root of the mean of a set of positive numbers is greater than the mean of the square root (or equal if all values are equal). (This is an immediate corollary of the reverse fact about squares.) So a side-effect of her grading algorithm was to reward consistency.

    Other advice:
  1. Get drunk first. It won't improve your grading, but it will make it go faster.
  2. Don't use a magnifying glass. If the student doesn't understand that writing legibly matters, then that is the error you are taking points off for. (If the student knows it and is using poor writing as a way to hide something, then you're giving benefit of the doubt by not deeming it outright academic dishonesty.)
  3. Quit. Teaching doesn't pay enough.

There's been an interesting change in the way the verb graduate is used, a kind of ergative switch.

To graduate has traditionally meant to mark grades or degrees. Thus, a graduated cylinder is a tube with level markings (to indicate volume). In the context of education (and not just chemical education), ``to graduate'' had something like the same meaning. A school would graduate students, in the sense of marking them (in an abstract way) as having reached some level or grade of achievement. If you had a high school diploma, you would say that you were ``graduated from high school.''

Gradually, people have gone from saying things like ``I was graduated from Yale'' to ``I graduated from the University of Phoenix.'' That is (setting aside any other difference), the action of graduating has come to be understood as something a student does, the action of earning (or anyway being awarded) a degree. This is a nice practical instance demonstrating that the subject-object distinction is a conventional one-- a fact about a verb and the way we use it, rather than a fact about the world that is encoded faithfully into language. A slight anecdotal indication of the stately pace of language change is that I have heard the word graduate used in the new way (students the subjects of the verb) since the 1970's at least, but in the Summer of 2004 I heard a woman who looked to be in her thirties clearly use the old style (students the objects of the verb).

For information on the 1967 movie The Graduate, see Door Slam Method, Car.

Graduate Programs
A good general site for the graduate programs at UB is maintained by the Graduate School.

German title of nobility corresponding to English `Count.' The Zeppelins were named after Graf Zeppelin, who bought the original patents and made substantial further improvements, including streamlining it instead of having it look like a stubby pencil, the way a timber merchant might shape it (more at the LZ entry).

Journalists' slang abbreviation and newspaper copy editors' jargon for paraGRAPH. Also spelled graph. See Bil for an example of use.

Strikes me as an ill-advised name for any municipality, unless it has a famous burn unit.

Graf-Wellhausen Hypothesis
``The Documentary Hypothesis.''

General. Spanish abbreviation for the military rank.

GRid Algorithms (software) Library.

Gravitational Random-Access Memory (RAM). This technology doesn't exist and hasn't even been proposed yet, afaik, unless you count the Roman abacus. But GRAM (pronounced ``GEE-ram'') sounds like a cool acronym, so I figured I'd reserve it here. (It's cheaper than paying Star Registry to name a star after it, and just about as official.)

Grammar was one of the original ``liberal arts'' of the traditional medieval school system. The high esteem in which grammar was held is suggested by the fact that it is the origin of the word glamour (see the glam entry).

Educated people once generally understood that poor grammar is offensive, just as well-educated people still do today. The precise degree of offense usually falls somewhere in that twilight where the merely distasteful or aesthetically repulsive shades into the morally reprehensible. For calibration, here is a paragraph from the Introduction to Trial of George Joseph Smith (Edinburgh and London: William Hodge & Company, Ltd., 1922), written by the book's editor, Eric R. Watson, LL.B.

      Some time in 1908, in the name of George Love, he got some very subordinate employment in a West-End club; he seems to have been dismissed for inefficiency, so far as can be judged from a letter written when awaiting his trial for murder in Brixton Prison in 1915. This letter, characteristic for its vile grammar and spelling, its incoherence, and its braggart assumption of ``my marked love of poetry and the fine arts,'' begged a favourable statement from the steward.

In passing sentence, the learned judge commented that ``[a]n exhortation to repentance would be wasted on you.'' George was hanged for his crimes on August 13, 1915.

grammar school
In the US, grammar school is synonymous with primary school. In the UK, the term grammar school has, or had, a specialized sense. In the twenty years following the 1944 Education Act, secondary schools were divided into grammar and secondary modern schools. The grammar schools were academically oriented, with most graduates going on to university. (This was significant in that day, when university attendance was still not the norm.) The modern schools were more vo-tech, with some graduates going on to attend technical college but few going to university. Labour politicians came to regard the grammar/modern school distinction as socially divisive, and during the Labour government that began in 1964 (PM Harold Wilson), a new system of comprehensive schools was introduced. The new system was phased in over the next decades, by both Labour and Conservative governments, and now (almost?) all state-run secondary schools in the UK are of the comprehensive kind.

grammatical number
Grammatical number is not precisely the thing ordinarily meant by ``number.'' (Unless perhaps you're a linguist or grammarian.) It is a number-related grammatical category. Indo-European and Semitic languages generally have grammatical number, while classifying languages do not (Chinese, Japanese, and Mayan, for example). This distinction does not imply that it is impossible or even particularly difficult to give quantitative information in the latter languages. It does mean that in the former languages, it is usually difficult to avoid giving some quantitative information.

Early on in J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, Holden Caulfield is having an exit interview of sorts with his history teacher at Pencey Prep, decrepit old Mr. Spencer. Old Spencer picks his nose.
      Then he said, ``I had the privilege of meeting your mother and dad when they had their little chat with Dr. Thurmer some weeks ago. They're grand people.
      ``Yes, they are. They're very nice.''
      Grand. There's a word I really hate. It's a phony. I could puke every time I hear it.

Over the course of the novel's four-day action, Holden begins to learn to not find quite so much in life ``phony,'' and he also slides into a nervous breakdown. At least he doesn't kill himself, like Seymour Glass in ``A Perfect Day for Bananafish.''

Catcher is an irritating novel about an irritating person with problems that would strike anyone with real problems as insignificant. But it's a good read and all that, because Salinger has such a good ear, as they say, for banal dialogue.

grand coalition
In parliamentary democracies, a party that wins a majority of seats in the parliament selects the prime minister and forms a new government. Very often, no single party controls an outright majority. In this case, the usual procedure is for the largest party, or one of the larger parties, to form a coalition with one or more smaller like-minded parties (junior partners). Typically, smaller parties find it attractive to participate in a coalition in return for policy or power concessions from the leading coalition partner. Indeed, this is usually the only way a small party can have any substantial direct power. Stable political alignments occur in this way. A good example is the Federal Republic of Germany. Since the 1970's, and even through the reunification, all governments have been formed by the either the major party on the right (the Christian Union parties, CDU/CSU, identified as ``black'') or the left (the Social Democrats, SPD, ``red''). They have usually had to form a coalition with the centrist FDP (``yellow''), (red-yellow government 1969-1982; black-yellow 1982-1998). Governments formed in 1998 and 2002 were red-green. The Greens are an environmental party.

In exceptional circumstances, two (or the two) large parties will form a coalition, with or without their traditional junior partners. This is called a grand coalition or a unity government. The exceptional circumstance may be a war or other crisis, although sometimes it is the intransigence of a third party (one large enough to be required for an ordinary coalition, say, but which pushes its advantage with demands unpalatable to the larger partners). The UK had grand coalition governments during WWI and WWII. In Germany, a black-yellow coalition ruptured at the end of 1966, in a dispute over taxes, and a große Koalition (black-red) governed from 1966 to 1969.

Grandparents' Day
August 13, 1996 was Grandparents' Day at the fair, causing one member to leave Stammtisch early. Next day, as he recounted the experience, his grandson appeared, parents in tow. Thinking quickly, our banjo specialist asked to hear stories about winning lottery tickets.

They were founded in 1867, you read about them for US History class, and OMG -- they're still around!


Construction debris intended for human ingestion. (We have an entry for a similar concept based specifically on bricks.)

One of my happiest moments camping on the John Muir Trail occurred when it was discovered that blessed field mice had gotten into the ``dirt granola'' (a special recipe). We were forced to eat food for the rest of the trip.

A vaguely similar misadventure was described by W.C. Fields in ``My Little Chickadee'':

Once ... in the wilds of Afghanistan, I lost my corkscrew, and we were forced to live on nothing but food and water for days.

By the way, for those of you who just came here from reading about George Washington Carver: it turns out that arachibutyrophobia is fear of peanut butter. I believe that peanut butter is sometimes used as the cement in granola. (Proceed now to the that's peanuts entry.) I guess that fear of spiders getting into your larder would be something like arachnibutyrophobia.

[Granola for human consumption is a California (CA) thing. An obscure ballot proposition passed during the flake era (Zen master Jerry Brown's first term as governor) requires everyone to eat granola. There is no other plausible explanation.]

The precise status of granola among mouth-fill materials has always been controversial. For example, Snack Food Technology (p.242; bibliographic details at the snack food entry) begins its treatment with the following observation:

     Granola bars, as presently formulated and marketed, come very close to being just another type of candy bar [albeit indigestible], and one of the stated limitations of this book is the avoidance of the general line of confections.

Grant's Tomb
A national landmark that was allowed to fall into serious neglect and disrepair, but which was brought back from the dead, so to speak, in large part through the efforts of Frank Scaturro.

The answer to the old trick question -- ``who is buried in Grant's tomb?'' -- is Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia Dent Grant. It's a trick question because their remains are not below the immediate ground level, but rather just entombed. The answer given first in this entry is regarded by many as a ``distractor.''

Often the gotcha answer is phrased ``Ulysses S. Grant and his wife are interred there.'' This can be confusing, since from the Latin roots, the apparent meaning of interred is ``placed in the ground.'' Nevertheless, the term has clearly had a broad sense for much of its history in English. The OED2 gives examples of the verb inter in English dating back to 1303. One example refers to interrment in a chapel -- Malory's Le morte Darthur, written in English prose around 1470. Milton's epitaph for Marchioness Winchester (1631) is cited: ``This rich marble doth inter / The honoured wife of Winchester.'' (Rather masculine rhyme.)

Cognates of the word cannot be traced back in any language any earlier than the 11th century; the classical Latin term was inhumare. This was a distinction with a difference: one sense enterer had in Old French was ``protéger avec de la terre, bloquer par des terres'' [`to protect or block with earth']. This is the first sense given by Frédéric Godefroy's dictionary of Old French, Dictionnaire de l'ancienne langue française et tous ses dialectes du IXe au XVe siecle. It's also the sense with the greatest number of examples given in the original dictionary, but the Complément has more examples in senses similar to those of Modern English inter. In none of the (nonfigurative) examples given is it clear from the context shown that the interrment cannot be underground, and the distinction does not appear to have concerned Godefroy very much. One example given (in the form anterrer) is from a Mort Artus; perhaps that'd be a place to look. That might begin to hammer down when a broadening of meaning, if one was needed, actually took place. The Modern French verb enterrer has a range of meanings similar to English inter (likewise Spanish enterrar; see discussion at cemetery).

It seems that the Medieval Latin interrare originally had a separate sense (protecting with earth mounds), but that it soon or also was taken as a synonym of inhumare. Eventually, the latter sense became predominant. (Perhaps the obsolescence of packed-earth fortification played a rôle here.) This yielded two common Romance lemmata corresponding to English inter and inhumate, both of which implied burial underground. The death-obsessed Middle Ages bequeathed European languages a variety of more specialized terms (e.g. Spanish sepultar; also French ensevelir, derived from a word that in the first half of the 12th century meant pretty much the same thing). My guess is that the convenience of a single word that didn't distinguish between above-ground and below-ground destinations exceeded any felt need for a term referring only to the common below-ground interrment. It is typical that the most common special case and the general case should be described by the same word.

The salience of protection by earth or earthworks is interesting. The English word mound is related to a Germanic root connected with defense. Hence Siegesmund, Sigmund, originally meaning `defender of victory.' (This story is complicated by interactions with the Latin root of mountain. I'll look into this again later.) A similar relation exists in German among the nouns Burg (`castle') and Berg (`hill, mountain'), and the verb bergen (`save, rescue'). An interesting expression is den Kopf in den Händen bergen. A somewhat literal translation might go `protect one's head in one's hands,' but the meaning is rendered in English by ``bury one's head in one's hands.'' Coincidentally, the English word bury is derived from the same Germanic stems meaning `protect' and, more relevantly, `shelter, cover.'

And what of bury in its modern sense? If inter and its French and Spanish cognates have been used indifferently for interrments in earth and above it, why hasn't bury? The answer is that it has. That's why no one is bothered by expressions like ``urn burial,'' never mind ``burial at sea.'' (Are they?) That's why in New Orleans, the dead are generally said to be buried even though most are placed in vaults. Many dictionaries, like the OED's, Funk and Wagnalls (Funk and Wagnallses?), MW's, and the New Penguin English Dictionary (2000), give principal definitions of bury along the lines of ``deposit (a corpse) in the ground or in a tomb; inter.'' Some others, such as AHD3 and AHD4 (1992, 2000) and RHD (1995), give burial under ground as a first definition, and in a more general sort of grave, possibly a vault, possibly watery, as a second. Now, burial at sea is not a less legitimate sense of the word bury than burial in a churchyard, so I don't think these dictionaries are implying that any interrments are not really burials. What they are implying is that burial other than under ground is less common. As the disconcertingly chatty Collins Cobuild Dictionary of the English Language (1987) puts it: ``When you bury someone who is dead, you put their body into a grave and cover it, usually with earth.'' (My italics.) This lower frequency has apparently given rise to a feeling that bury really does only mean under ground, and given traction to the Grant's-Tomb gotcha. Don't buy it.

Journalists' slang abbreviation and newspaper copy editors' jargon for paraGRAPH. Also spelled graf.

Generally Recognized As Safe. An FDA designation, and a common term in the chemical toxicity literature. A more usable term than just plain ``safe,'' since you never know.

Generic Retrieve/Archive Services Protocol. A vendor-independent interface definition developed by OGIP.

Gradient-Accelerated (NMR) SPectroscopy.

Grateful Dead Smiley
Hey, devastating news today (1995.08.09): Jerry Garcia died. He was fifty-three. They found him at a drug rehab center.

Magical Blend serves a tribute of sorts.

The Don Henley song ``Boys of Summer'' (released in the 1985 album ``Building The Perfect Beast'') includes the following lines as an epiphany, before the singer lapses back into a chorus of nostalgia:

Out on the road today, I saw a Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac.
A little voice inside my head said ``Don't look back, you can never look back.''

New York Sun columnist John Avalon, had a piece (2005.08.10, cf. supra) at RealClearPolitics entitled ``Jerry Garcia's Conservative Children.'' He observed that ``no less than three of Generation X's most high-profile young conservatives remain dedicated Deadheads: Deroy Murdock, Tucker Carlson, and Ann Coulter.''

Grattis på födelsedagen
Swedish: `happy birthday.'

keeps dust off the ceiling. See also the philatelo-gravitational field set up by Emily Dickinson.

A fine beverage. And how did your bypass surgery go?

According to the riddling wrapper of a food entertainment (joint marketing) product that I ate some time ago, Sam's favorite color is brown because it's the color of gravy. Sam is apparently a character in iCarly or BFF, if either of those is the name of a show.

Once upon a time, my girlfriend cooked something that she called ``curry,'' and I explained to her that it was really just gravy. The next day, it was my turn to cook. Be careful what you explain.

The Gray Lady
That's no lady -- that's my New York Times! The nickname is a reference to the appearance of the front page, which traditionally was short on pictures. (By rights, the name should apply to the Wall Street Journal; by tradition, it doesn't.)

Generally recognized as a town in Austria. This joke was funnier when there weren't so many entries between it and GRAS. Well, at least it had a chance.

Gamma Ray Burst.


Greek, Roman and Byzantine Scholarly Aids. Sterling Dow published Conventions in Editing as a supplement to vol. 2, in 1969. This gives a complete set of guidelines for the use of epigraphical symbols in Classics based upon the Leiden system that has become nearly universal since its promulgation in 1914. So I've heard.


Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies. A ``scholarly journal devoted to the culture and history of Greece from Antiquity to the Renaissance.'' But mostly, it's a journal of Byzantine studies. I guess they had to have a title of byzantine obscurity. Catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Generic Reference Configuration.

Glass-fiber-Reinforced Concrete.

John H. Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field. As if we're supposed to know where on earth (?) that is. Ah -- near Cleveland; it's explained here. John Glenn was a senator from Ohio after he retired from astronauting (not counting his geriatric shuttle junket). Another short form of the facility name is ``NASA Glenn.''

Grains Research and Development Corporation. An Australian industry organization.

Graduate Record Examination. A set of half-day exams administered by ETS to students seeking admission to graduate school in the US.

The GRE was originally conceived by its creator, W.S. Learned, as a way of assuring the quality of university education, since the products of graduate school at the time (early twentieth century) were destined to be college and university professors. There have been periods in the nation's history when the numbers have worked out that way. The last such time was the period from the panic after the Sputnik launches until about 1971 or 1972. At other times, disappointment was statistically guaranteed for a large fraction of those who sought masters and later doctoral degrees in hopes of becoming professors. So now the GRE is just an instrument used by most graduate schools to determine how smart their suckers are. Yeah, yeah, there are many other careers for which a nonprofessional graduate degree is useful. (Professional schools for medicine, dentistry, law, and business have their own distinct standardized admissions exams.)

The GRE exams are nowadays of two kinds. The GRE® General Test corresponds roughly to the SAT I exam administered by ETS to high school students. The GRE® Subject Tests correspond in the same way to the II exams. (Long ago, the SAT II tests were called Achievement tests, and the SAT I was just the SAT.) It is a little bit harder, sometimes, to establish what the graduate of an undergraduate program in some specific field should be expected to know, than it is to make a comparable specification for a course of study in high school. The preceding sentence is probably not true, but it's hard to disprove and it provides a useful excuse. An excuse has occasionally been needed when the year's GRE tests in some subject seemed a bit too closely tailored to the material covered in undergraduate courses recently offered by the department of persons closely involved in creating that year's test. FWIW, however, I haven't heard rumors of such scandals in recent years. In the sciences, at least, the material tested is generally from the more elementary general courses. So much for the GRE Subject Tests.

The GRE General Test is graded in three sections: verbal, quantitative, and analytic. The verbal and quantitative sections are graded in a range of hundreds. The analytic section (precisely, the ``Analytic Writing'' section) was too, until the October 2002. Since then, the analytic section has received a single-digit score:

For the Analytical Writing section, each essay receives a score from two trained readers, using a 6-point holistic scale. In holistic scoring, readers are trained to assign scores on the basis of the overall quality of an essay in response to the assigned task. If the two assigned scores differ by more than one point on the 6-point scale, the discrepancy is adjudicated by a third, very experienced reader. Otherwise, the scores from the two readings of each essay are averaged. The scores on the two tasks are then averaged and a single score (rounded up to -point intervals) is reported for the Analytical Writing measure.

This writing section seems to resemble the new writing test on the SAT, also graded on a ``6-point scale'' (a scale of 6, anyway). I haven't finished updating the SAT entry, so I'll mention here that the new SAT writing test was lampooned in an article in the March 2004 Atlantic Monthly (pp. 97-99): ``Would Shakespeare Get into Swarthmore?'' More precisely, the authors (muckety-mucks at the Princeton Review: John Katzman, Andy Lutz, and Erik Olson) consider what holistic grade would be earned by selected passages of various well-known writers. Gertrude Stein gets a 1, Hemingway a 3, and Shakespeare a 2, Ted Kaczinski, the Unabomber (and a Ph.D.) gets 6 out of 6.

So much for the writing section. The coaching for the GRE in China (PRC) and India (.in) is apparently pretty good. In order to make a fair comparison of the actual abilities of students, many EE professors usually subtract one or two hundred points from the GRE scores of Chinese and Indian graduate students. On the other hand, university course grades in the US are considered inflated and only loosely indicative of mastery, whereas course grades from China and India are regarded as reasonably meaningful.

Of course, compared to the TOEFL and other standardized language competence tests, the GRE is a model of accuracy.

In the 2002-2003 round of tests (October 2002 to February 2003), 68% of GRE test-takers were US citizens whose primary language is English. In 2001-2002, the corresponding number had been 58%. This is about consistent with the initial trend and magnitude of foreign graduate student enrollments following 9/11.

The quality of education offered by a school is limited by the quality of its students, because (a) students learn from each other and (b) professors adjust the courses they teach to the students they teach. There are other more subtle reasons why one may want to go to a school with better students, or at least to know in advance something about the quality of the condisciples one can expect to have at a grad school, but those two reasons are enough. Statistics based on GRE scores (average scores, or ranges, say) would provide that information, and virtually no other statistics can provide comparable information. Consequently, such data are generally closely held. Typically one may find average total (verbal plus quantitative) GRE scores for an entire graduate school, but rarely for individual departments. Such aggregated data are of little use in distinguishing, say, economics departments at different universities.

Great Books
An education fad with lasting impact. See the Center for the Study of the Great Ideas. The Notre Dame Program in Liberal Studies is a Great Books program.

Greatest Hits of Rock'n'Roll
Well, gee, it depends a lot on what you mean by ``Great.'' I mean, there's Elvis and there's Chubby Checker, and then there's Grace Slick and Aretha. Even Sammy Davis, Jr., kinda borderline on genre. But what about Mama Cass? See, it really depends-- Oh! You said ``Hits''! I thought you said ``Hips.''

Great Pumpkin
A personage mythically associated with Halloween, somewhat as Santa Claus is generally associated with Christmas in North America. The Great Pumpkin was introduced by Charles M. Schulz into the comic-strip world of his Peanuts, as the individual obsession of Linus.

There is a short work dating from just after the death of the Roman Emperor Claudius, who like some of his predecessors on the throne was declared a god by the Roman Senate. The work is generally but not certainly attributed to Seneca, who can be imaged to have wanted to get his back. The title is variously reported, but usually with some reference or allusion to apotheosis, which the work describes a parody of. (Apotheosis is elevation to divine status.) Probably the most widely accepted title is Apokolokyntôsis divi Claudii. The latter words, in Latin, mean `of the god Claudius.' The first word, in Greek, can be rendered as `elevation to pumpkin status.' (SPOILER: Claudius doesn't actually become a literal pumpkin.) See also this p.c. entry.

Great Red Spot
An anticyclone on Jupiter, about 20 degrees south latitude and big.


Oxford nickname for Literae Humaniores, the local name for classics (as a major or curriculum). The First and the Second Public Examinations in Greats are called, respectively, Mods (for Moderations) and Schools (or, confusingly, Greats). They are taken at the end of two and four years. Each examination consists of about a fortnight of twice-daily written exams, three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. Then there's an oral exam a couple of weeks later, where they check your teeth and how shiny your coat is. Actually, it's a viva voce exam.

The Mods test proficiency in Latin and Greek. Students sitting for this exam have read Homer and Virgil and stuff. The Schools test knowledge of ancient history, logic, moral philosophy, and political philosophy, and include papers on Plato, Aristotle, Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, Plutarch, Cicero, Sallust, and Tacitus. If you pass, you are certified insane. Okay, not quite; I have some more information on this now. You can pass with first-, second-, or third-class honours. (I mean ``you can'' in the sense that you might, or, well, you can dream anyway.) Or you can get a fourth, which is passing but just barely. Or you can fail. Failing doesn't require you to write nearly as much, but you don't get the same benefits.

The instructions on the sight translations used to say just ``Translate.'' In the late 1960's, Leofranc Holford-Strevens took this at its ambiguous face value and translated into Serbo-Croatian. The story goes that when the examiners realized what they had before them, they called the Foreign Office to ask if anyone there was fluent in the language. The F.O. said no, but that there was a bright young fellow at Oxford.... Since that incident, the instructions read ``Translate into English.'' It seems to me that Anglo-Saxon is the other hyphenated shoe that's waiting to drop. Holford-Strevens is best known today for his book on Aulus Gellius.

Great Scot!
See below: Great Scott!


Great Scott
Jocular for the Liddell-Scott-Jones Greek-English Lexicon. See explanation at LSJ.

Great Scott!
An expression of surprise, amazement or outrage. Origin uncertain, but apparently in the US, from the 1860's, possibly referring to General Winfield-Scott, a hero of the Mexican-American War. (A hero only on the American side, one may note.)


For stuff on Greece, see the country entry .gr. If you want to learn the language(s), try the Gk. entry. (That makes sense, doesn't it?) The entry you're reading now is more about the closely related languages that constitute an odd branch of the IndoEuropean language family. Classical Greek is a lot closer to Modern (demotic) Greek than the more recent Old English is to Modern English. There was a big uproar a few years ago when the Greek government finally legislated away the polytonic accent system (acute, grave and circumflex in form, though they originally represented tones in the sense that Chinese has tones).

A syntactically simpler version of Greek that developed in Hellenistic times was called Koine. For more on this, see the classics-list archives for a discussion of Umberto Eco's use of the term.

Those learning Greek to read the New Testament in its original language (or to read the Septuagint) often study Koine first. Most others, however, begin with Attic dialect (i.e. the dialect of the area around Athens). [The one prominent exception is the approach long taken in the intensive summer course at the University of Texas at Austin. This used Lexis, a Greek primer by Gareth Morgan, which starts out with the Ionic dialect. This has the advantage that, since contiguous vowels were not systematically contracted and Attic long alphas are etas, the basic morphology is less complicated by irregularity.] Those interested in studying Ancient Greek will probably find useful a site dedicated to Greek Grammar (and related material).

Classical Greek had a variety of dialects. The major division was between Eastern and Western Greek. Western Greek preserved for a longer time the letter digamma, which in the glyphs used for some dialects looks like a lunate sigma, and in others like an eff, which letter -- through Etruscan (Etr.) -- it became in the Latin alphabet. [The survival of digamma varied. It is more precise to say that it disappeared early from the dominant Attic dialect.]

According to Buck, the Latin form Ulysses of Homer's Odysseus reflects derivation from Olysseus, a dialectal variation. Good early attestation of forms with lambda is found in Attic vases of the first quarter of the sixth century BCE (see Bromner's Odysseus 18, and compare Threatte's Grammar of Attic Inscriptions 484 (#40.04). I'm cribbing here from a Classics-list postings by Steven Lowenstam and David Meadows; I haven't checked this myself.] At least one art historian has supposed that the Olysseus reading was due to painters confusing delta and lambda (they look especially similar in upper case, to say nothing of the Cyrillic forms), but somehow Corinthian vase painters, who spoke a different dialect, avoided this visual error.

A few widely recognized dialects became, in stylized form, standard registers for different genres: Ionian for epic, Doric for odes Pindar, Aeolic for lyric or love poetry, Attic for drama. This sometimes resulted from the prestige of an early artist (Homer's epics, maybe Pindar's odes, the Aeolic dialect of Lesbos for the poetry of Sappho and Alcaeus). On the other hand, Herodotus was from a Doric city but wrote in Ionic. It's not certain why, but presumably it reflected his expectation that reportage written in that dialect would have a better reception among his educated readers.

[For much more, see Carl Darling Buck: The Greek dialects; grammar, selected inscriptions, glossary (U. of Chicago Pr., 1955) and Gregory Nagy: Greek dialects and the transformation of an Indo-European process (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard U.P., 1970).]

Of course, different dialects are reflected in the speech of characters in Greek drama, and interesting stuff happens when translators try to English the distinction. Many British translators (e.g., Alan Sommerstein and Jack Lindsay, to a lesser extent Kenneth McLeish) use Scottish dialects to render the Spartans' Doric dialect in translations of Aristophanes's Lysistrata. B. B. Rogers uses a sort of Scots for the speeches of the Megarian in Aristophanes' Akharnians. Lattimore's Lysistrata has the Spartans speaking in hillbilly dialect, while Sutherland's uses a thick Southern accent (a fine distinction, to some).

The first time I worked in New Mexico, I was taught the following wisdom:

``In the West, men are men and sheep are scared.''

Some years later, in a pub behind Victoria Station, I overheard the same story, but with Scots instead of Westerners. I guess if there were a sufficiently distinctive Western accent, that would be used for Spartans as well.

Henderson's English translation gives Spartans a Russian accent.

When Aristophanic comedy is staged in Sweden the Spartans speak with a touch of Norwegian. See also the chapter ``9-5 as an Aristophanic Comedy,'' by James Baron, in Martin Winkler's Classics and Cinema (Bucknell Review, 1991).

The following sidelight is from a classics-list posting by Daniel Tompkins. Tony Harrison was a working-class youth in Leeds who had an English teacher who forbade him to read Keats aloud in class because of his accent. In an autobiographical essay, Harrison writes

Much of my writing has been a long slow-burning revenge [on that teacher] ... I think that to these feelings are due my reclamation of the Mystery Plays for Northern speech and actors and why there's a strong Northern character to the language I used for the National Theatre Oresteia, which proved too much for some people. One critic wrote that the chorus sounded like 15 Arthur Scargills! I make no apologies. There's no earthly reason why a Greek chorus should sound like well-bred ladies from Cheltenham in white nighties.
For a full discussion, search on "Harrison" in that month's postings. (Another Leeds Harrison is mentioned elsewhere in this glossary. When you pack a reference work with enough information, that kind of coincidence begins to occur.)

In modern Greek productions of Aristophanes, Scythian slaves speak with the Greek accent of Eastern European soccer coaches of Greek teams. I didn't make this up myself.


Greek gods
Greek gods are the gods of the ancient Greeks. It is in this sense that they are Greek. They were not necessarily actual Greek nationals. Hades, for example, rules the underworld. Velikovsky argued that Athena was born on Jupiter. If this stuff intrigues you, see Classical Mythology.

A mixture of Greek and English. This term is rather less common than, and I suspect is patterned on, Spanglish.

They have a technically proficient Java-based homepage.

Among the Eskimo of coastal Alaska and nearby Siberia, it seems Greenpeace is used countably (``a greenpeace'') for individual members of the group (disliked and distrusted for opposing whaling and other economic activity). (Datum surmised from an article on Arctic warming in the April 2002 issue of Discover magazine.)

``The Greg'' is short for the Pontificia Università Gregoriana (a Roma). In English, `Pontifical Gregorian University (in Rome).' Noteworthy for having the most austere university homepage you have ever seen.

Global Regular Expression Print. A Unix command abstracted from ed. (It is perhaps more appropriately regarded as an abbreviated sed command, since sed functions from the Unix command line.) More practical information at B4 entry.

French: `strike.' ``On strike'' is ``en grève.'' For an example of use, see rosbif.

A portmanteau of ``Greek'' and ``exit'' that gained currency (ooh -- painful term) after Greek parliamentary elections in 2012 created increasing expectation that Greece would have to exit the Eurozone sooner rather than later. I don't know whether it's pronounced with the vowels of ``Greg zit'' or of ``Greek sit.'' Either way, the word seems to have an appropriately unpleasant sound.

The agreements underpinning the euro (beginning with the first -- the Maastricht Treaty) make no provision for a member of the Eurozone to withdraw from it. The same agreements underpin the European Union in its current form. Many EU member states are not part of the Eurozone, but it seems that the ratchet mechanism in accession to the Eurozone is regarded somehow as a rigidly non-severable part of EU agreements.

On the other hand, the Lisbon Treaty, which came into effect on December 1, 2009, introduced a provision for a member state to secede from the EU. (There is still no provision for expulsion, but the European Council can vote to suspend any rights of membership and impose sanctions.) EU law should always be taken with a grain of salt, since any inconvenieant law is liable to be ignored. Nevertheless, informed commentators willing to address the question seriously seem to see a Greek exit from the Eurozone as necessarily entailing exit from the European Union. (The Schengen Area, which was originally a separate arrangement, is now incorporated in the EU agreements, but neither the Schengen Area countries nor the EU countries constitute a subset of the other, so...) Presumably, arrangements for Greece to be remain part of the Schengen Area would be possible, although there is some question of willingness.

Generalized Reduced Gradient (method). A method of searching for the or a supremum of a smooth function by moving along the gradient in the space of the independent variables.

Gas Research Institute.

Until they come up with the expected breakthrough, I recommend going easy on the bean porridge.

Government Research Institute.

Graduate, Realtors Institute. Specifically, a graduate of the educational program of the (US) National Board of Realtors.

Gravure Research Institute. Merged with the GTA to form the GAA in 1987.

Global Resource Information Database.

To file a formal grievance. Here's an example of the use, in an opinion column by Michelle Rhee in the June 13, 2010, NY Daily News entitled ``D.C. school [sic] chancellor Michelle Rhee says New York must learn from her groundbreaking union deal'':
If a teacher is rated as "ineffective," she is immediately terminated from the system. If rated "minimally effective," he has a freeze on his pay raise and after two years is terminated. Further, teachers cannot grieve their ratings, they can only grieve procedural errors.

I know little about Rhee's new instrument for teacher performance evaluations, but I think I know this: where some teachers could once have grieved, now they could just grieve.

Well, I once knew it, anyway. Later that year the mayor who had Rhee's back was defeated for the nomination of his (Democratic) party (D.C. is essentially a one-party town), replaced by a rather less reformist fellow, and Rhee resigned. I'll try to track down how the implementation of that contract went.

(If you followed a link for ``the Grimm'' to this entry, you can safely skip to the third paragraph immediately.)

Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm are best known to English-speakers as the authors of popular fairy tales. They did write some original fairy tales, but mostly they committed fairy tales to paper that had been in the oral tradition. Different storytellers told the stories they knew in their own ways, and the Grimms created their own versions after interviewing a number of storytellers. This was a combination of ethnological and editorial work that was not uncommon in that time. Béla Bartók did a similar service for folk music (both in his native Hungary and further afield -- he was working in Algeria in 1913). The Grimms weren't even the first collectors of folk tales in Germany, although they preached and to a large extent practiced a greater faithfulness to the oral sources than had been deemed necessary until that time. Why am writing about this!? This wasn't even what I created the entry for in the first place.

I created this entry primarily for ``the Grimm'' -- a lexicographic monument that is the closest thing for German (and it's close enough) to the OED for English. Its official title is Deutsches Wörterbuch, but it is uniquely identified as Das Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jakob und Wilhelm Grimm (`The German Dictionary of Jacob und William Grimm,' to English it as much as possible). The Grimms collected materials for it and published the first volumes, but it ultimately represents the work of generations of philologists.

The Grimms began their work in 1838 and saw the publication of the first volume (A - Biermolcke) in 1854. Wilhelm, who was often sick, died in December 1859, having completed the letter D. Jakob, who completed the letters A, B, C, and E, saw the publication of volumes 2 (Biermörder - Dwatsch) and 3 (E - Forsche) in 1860 and 1862, resp. He was working on Frucht (`fruit') when he collapsed at his desk in 1863. The work was continued for another century, even through three major wars (two volumes were published during WWII). Volume 32 (Zobel - Zypressenzweig) was published in 1960, completing the series. (Volume 33, a source index, was published in 1971.)

GRaded INdex. Might refer to a lens (index of refraction) or to an alloy (mole fraction is written as a subscript index in a chemical formula; see GRINSCH below).

An individual in the well-loved Dr. Seuss children's story How the Grinch Stole Christmas (New York: Random House, 1957).

To preserve the pronunciation in German, grinch would have to be spelled Grintsch. Why do I mention this? See grinsch.


A number of conjectured etymologies of this word are extant. The two most popular folk etymologies are
  1. Mexicans protested the American occupation of Mexico during and after the Mexican-American war with the phrase "Green Go!" (The U.S. military uniforms are supposed to have been green. I don't know.)
  2. A song popular with the U.S. occupying troops was ``Green Grow the Rushes, Oh!''

The etymology favored by Spanish-language dictionaries seems less colorful. The entry in Breve Diccionario Etimológico de la Lengua Castellana (Madrid: Editorial Gredos, 1987, 3ª edición) is

GRINGO, 1765-83. Se aplicó primeramente a la lengua y luego al que la hablaba. Es alteración de griego en el sentido de 'lenguaje incomprensible', 1615, valor que en España se dio por antonomasia al nombre de la lengua de Grecia, como resultado indirecto de la costumbre de mencionarla junto con el de latín, y de la doctrina observada por la Iglesia de que el griego no era necesario para la erudición católica.
[Eng.: from a book entitled Concise Etymological Dictionary of Spanish:

GRINGO, 1765-83. Was first used for the language, and then for its speakers. It is a modification of griego [Greek] in the sense of ``incomprehensible speech'' (1615). It took this meaning in Spain by antonomasia from the name of the language of Greece, as an indirect result of the custom observed by the [Roman Catholic] Church of mentioning it together with Latin, and of the doctrine of the Church that Greek was not necessary for Catholic erudition.]

The conversion of an ee to an en (going from griego to gringo) may seem surprising to an English-speaker. It seems a natural enough assimilation in Spanish, where the i forces the e to be articulated as a sort of palatalization, a y-glide that is perceptibly more work to pronounce. Another example of an en unexpected from etymology is in cementerio. (For an en that disappeared, see mesa.) Whatever the etymology, use of the word griego is attested in the eighteenth century, ruling out an origin in the U.S.-Mexico war.

In the middle ages, monks would comment on Greek passages scattered in Latin text, ``Graecum non legitur est.''

In Bellum Gallicum (bk. 5, 48, 4) Caesar describes writing a letter (in Latin) using Greek alphabetic characters, to prevent its being understood by Gauls if it is intecepted. (Elsewhere he describes using a simple letter-substitution code of the sort still sometimes called Caesar cipher today.)

In Act I, Sc. ii of his ``Tragedy of Julius Caesar,'' Shakespeare includes this timeless dialogue:

Did Cicero say any thing? 

Ay, he spoke Greek. 

To what effect? 

Nay, an I tell you that, I'll ne'er look you i' the face again: but those that
understood him smiled at one another and shook their heads; but, for mine own
part, it was Greek to me.  ...

GRINSCH, grinsch
GRaded-INdex Separate-Confinement Heterostructure. Also (later): ``GRaded-Index SemiConductor Heterostructure.'' Good way to make heterojunctions with nonabrupt (finite slope) conduction-band discontinuities. (``Index'' refers to mole fraction: in AlxGa1-xAs, the ``index'' is x.) Note that in contrast with QWI, the grading of the interface is here achieved by adjusting the alloy during the growth process (typically MBE or MOCVD).

Stammtisch Beau Fleuve In The News:
On the Word Fugitives discussion forum, a search for a German word that might be ``the reverse'' of Schadenfreude came to discuss the word grinch. Michael Fischer looked up grinsch at OneLook and was led to (the May 1999 version of) our entry. His reaction was

I take no joy in learning this.

I first encountered this word at a microelectronics conference in 1988 or so, where a speaker was presenting work from his group in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), which probably coined the word. I thought I caught some fugitive smiles in the audience, American listeners realizing that the speaker was unaware of the word grinch, introduced in the famous Dr. Seuss story The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.

In principle, grinsch ought to be pronounced with a final esh sound after the en, like mensch or revanche, but in practice, anglophones tend to pronounce it grinch. (As the examples suggest, the nsh sound combination is unusual in word-final position in English. Small consolation to people who risk their tongues to pronounce dths.) Blanche is similar: some pronounce it with a final esh and some pronounce it like blanch, which makes some other people do so.

I was introduced to a woman named Renée once at a loud C&W bar in Albuquerque. She corrected my pronunciation of her name. All I remember is her shouting that it was pronounced ``in English, with the accent on the first syllable.'' I still can't guess any vowels that make sense with that stress pattern. She probably spells it ``Renee.'' I wish her well, though as you may have guessed, we didn't hit it off.

Okay, someone has written in with a suggested ``American'' pronunciation. We have a winner! You can stop sending in your suggestions! Please!

You know how single women say, ``the good ones are taken, the single ones all turn out to have some problem.'' That's me, I'm a category-two guy. Single women's married friends might have a better idea of what real guys are like, or lower standards. They're constantly having harebrainstorms like ``gee, we should try to get Renee together with [any of husband's category-two friends]. Oh wait -- we tried that and it didn't work out so well, did it?''

I got on much better with a woman named Noel or Noël who sat next to me on a flight to Oklahoma City. She complained about people who pronounce her name to rhyme with Joel (like Noel Coward). It just goës to show, you can't please everybody.

In German, süß or suess (not seuss) means `sweet.'

I'm just not into C&W -- that was the problem.

GReenland Ice-core Project.

I dunno. It was just a lit ref; they dint een give a title. You check out W. Dansgård, S. J. Johnsen [sic], H. B. Clausen, D. Dahl-Jensen, N. S. Gundestrup, C. U. Hammer, C. S. Hvidberg, J. P. Steffensen, A. E. Sveinbjöfnsdottir, J. Jouzel, G. Bond: Science (London) vol. 364, pp. 218-220 (1993).

griping tale
A maundering story, a mewling narrative.

Influenza (flu). From French gripper (`to seize'), hence also la grippe.

This was also adopted in Spanish (which has no cognate of gripper), as la gripe. Although the grammatical gender has been preserved from the French, Spanish nouns ending in the letter ee are usually male (see LONERS), so this grates slightly on the hispanophone ear, and la gripa has also come to be used.

WHO serves some pages on current influenza activity.

Greater (NY) Regional Industrial Technology (program). SBA program begun on a trial/demonstration-program basis in 1995. Here's a followup article.

A member of the Liberal Party (LP) of Canada. A capitalized informal adjective and noun, like Tory (PC member).

Since 1964, the Quebec Liberals have been separate from the rest of the party. And since 1968 and Trudeau, they've been in significant political opposition to the federal Grits. Grits is breakfast, a bit further south.

Sand or something like it in texture.

Spanish noun meaning `yell' and verb meaning `I yell' (infinitive form gritar). The English word yell in the preceding translations should be understood to stand for a broader semantic range, certainly including shout and sometimes including scream or shriek.

Just to be clear about the English, all of the terms offered refer to loud vocalizations, but they cover a spectrum from human to animal:

  1. Shouting is usually loud speech, though the speech may not be especially complex (Interjections, dammit!).
  2. Yelling may be loud speech or just loud sounds. It carries a slightly stronger suggestion of anger or fear than shouting does, though there is substantial overlap in meanings. As a rule of thumb, one may say that people shout in confusion, agitation, irritation, and anger, and yell in mounting anger and fear for themselves. A shouted warning is less likely to be angry; a yelled warning is more likely to be a threat. Shouting is more likely to be sustained over the course of a heated argument. Yelling is a bit more ominous and not expected to last so long. ``Shouting and screaming'' is a much less common expression than ``yelling and screaming.''
  3. Screaming is higher-pitched utterance of loud sounds. It can usually be assumed not to be the utterance of any particular words, unless there is some indication otherwise. (`` `No!' she screamed,'' for example. `` `Piteously!' he screamed'' is probably mispunctuated.) But a scream is still a human sound. Screaming is normally associated with extreme fear or pain, but people may be said to ``scream with laughter'' (which suggests high-pitched, scream-like laughter).
  4. Shrieking is more certainly not speech, probably consists of unmodulated segments of vocalization, and may be produced by animals (other primates and birds). Shriek is evidently cognate with German Schrei.
  5. Screeching is the cat version of shrieking, a little more in anger than in fear, a little more premeditated and a little more modulated in volume (sharp initial rise, slow fall-off). Tires can also screech, just as car horns can honk. Humans can screech, I suppose, just as they can moo and do duck and pig calls, but when a person is said to screech it is more evaluative or subjective than descriptive; the speaker is saying that the effect on him of the human ``screecher'' is like to that of a cat screeching.
  6. Crying (see cri de coeur) and howling will be discussed after the intermission. OKAY!!!???

Hulled, ground white corn meal, cooked up as breakfast. Construed as a mass noun (hence ``grits is good'').

Global Recycling Network.

grn, GRN

Gamma Ray (orbiting) Observatory. Launched 1991. Renamed CGRO.

GlyceROl. Glycerine. Productive abbreviation.

Greenwich Royal Observatory. The Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO) was transferred to Herstmonceux in 1960, and later to Cambridge. Flamsteed House and the rest of the old digs of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich were transferred over the next seven years to the UK's National Maritime Museum (NMM) and restored. When the Royal Greenwich Observatory (RGO) at Cambridge was closed in October 1998, the original site again came to be known as the Royal Observatory, Greenwich (ROG).

GNU tROFF document formatting system.

Groupes Régionaux d'Observation de la Grippe. French, `regional influenza monitoring groups.' See also the grippe entry.

A structure extending into the sea from a shore, intended to retain and collect sand. Other things that collect sand at the beach are also called groins. The US Army is all about projecting structures, and the US Army Corps of Engineers always has a plan to protect some lighthouse with a groin. Sounds backwards to me.

The German name of various small-value coins used by most German states since the Middle Ages. The name is ultimately from Latin grossus, `large' (short for large penny). From the fourteenth century until the introduction of decimal coinage in the twentieth, it was usually a 12-Pfennig silver coin. (In principle that made it a solidus and therefore a Schilling, but that kind of reasoning only works if you make the silly assumption that a Pfennig is a Pfennig.)

When the Guldengroschen was introduced in 1484, it was worth 21 Groschen. The Guldengroschen was a silver coin intended to be equal in value to the existing Goldgulden, so -groschen here in effect suggested silver. Just as a point of comparison, England introduced a gold coin called the guinea in 1663. (Three years before the Great Fire of London.) Its value relative to the shilling fluctuated (between 20 and 30 s. per guinea) until 1717, when its value was fixed at 21 shillings. After the coin was withdrawn in 1817, the term continued in informal use with the sense of 21 shillings. A sort of popular unit of account. It could still mean 1.05 GBP today, but it doesn't.

The 21-Groschen Guldengroschen, on the other hand, did not last. By the mid-16th century the Guldengroschen was worth 24 Groschen, and that ratio stuck for three centuries, with occasional local variations. (Remember that ``Germany'' until 1860 was a collection of independent, occasionally loosely confederated kingdoms, principalities, and duchies -- lots of duchies -- and a few otheries.) Also, the Guldengroschen became the Thaler. Specifically, starting in 1519, a particularly high-quality Guldengroschen began to be minted in Joachimsthal, Bohemia (the Joachimsthaler Guldengroschen). This coin (name eventually shortened to Guldenthaler and Thaler) became dominant. (The name became dolar in Spanish and dollar in English; see the 2 bits entry.) Yes, this is a counterexample to Gresham's ``Law.'' Such counterexamples abound.

In 1821, Prussia -- by then the dominant German kingdom -- revalued the Groschen (as the Silbergroschen) to be 1/30 of a Thaler, and over the next 15 years that ratio was adopted by most other German states. This looks like a good deal for whoever minted Thaler. Conversely, it became expensive to continue minting Groschen that were really worth 12 Pfennig instead of 10. Over time, the physical coin itself shrank. (Not naturally! It was minted smaller!) Finally, in 1873, the last Groschen was minted, and the name continued in informal use for a 10-Pfennig nickel coin of the Prussian Empire. It was still used in that sense during the Weimar period (i.e. after the end of WWI, the abdication of the Kaiser, and the creation of the first German republic).

You probably don't care, but the only reason I started out to write this entry was so I could record the information in the previous sentence, learned from my mom, who lived in Breslau during that period. The other stuff I'm not sure about -- I just rustled up that possibly accurate information on the internet, so who knows?

Grosch's Law
The cost of a computer grows only as the square root of its speed.

Named by Herbert R. J. Grosch after himself, this was based on IBM machines up to 1953. Given that computer costs depend on many dimensions besides speed, and given that speed itself can be measured in a variety of ways (various dhrystones, Winstones, MHz), with nonproportional results, it becomes clear that this law is not as precise as it sounds.

However, Grosch's Law did encapsulate a qualitative fact that held true until about the eighties: computing cost used to rise sublinearly with the size of the machine. That is, if you had a big computational task, it was cheaper to do it with one big machine than to split it into two pieces and have two smaller machines do it. Equivalently, the slower the machine, the higher the cost per cycle.

There were always exceptions to this rule, of course, frequently having to do with accessibility of input and output. However, the general rule implied that it was worthwhile to make the fastest machine possible. Following this logic, Sidney Cray made a celebrated career out of using the latest technology to make the fastest supercomputers.

Begin opinion -->
In the 1980's, this rule broke down. Increasingly, `minisupercomputers' and soon thereafter workstations became cost-effective. Although there has been a great deal of research on parallel computing, the transition has so far involved minimal change in the underlying software. Parallelism has been incorporated at the hardware level, particularly in pipelining and vector processors, but massively parallel computer architectures like connection machines and hypercubes remain mostly a research idea. The most radically parallel computing is based in software -- message-passing schemes like PVM that allow independent machines to cooperate by distributing parts of a task that are, preferably, as independent as possible. There continues to be interest in non-von Neumann-like approaches, but the relative high power of current processors, and the tasks to which they are put, mean that for the overwhelming majority of users the heroic tricks are not worth the trouble.
<-- End opinion.

German: `capitalization.' I must mention that I have before me a two-volume Die Entwicklung der Großschriebung im Deutschen von 1500 bis 1700 [`The Development of Capitalization in German from 1500 to 1700'] (Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag C. Winter, 1997). Near equivalent word: Majuskelgebrauch, `capital use.'

Old Polish monetary unit: 1/30 of a zloty. Cf. Groschen. Stanislaw Lem mentions that a ten-grosz coin was called a ``sixer'' (so goes the translation, in the book mentioned at inanimate) back in the days of his youth. I don't know what that was six or a sixth of. I guess it was roughly a sixth of a grzywna, but closer to a fifth. Maybe it was a sixth after taxes. And to think I once believed that pounds, shillings, and pence were complicated.

Okay, here's an idea. The grosz was intended to be (and was for a little while, before inflation took effect) equivalent to the German Groschen. That was usually worth 3 Kreuzer (a South-German coin) at times when both of those coins (or notions) existed, and the Kreuzer was worth 2 Albus after the fifteenth century. So, stretching across to the region of the Rhine (where the Albus was minted and used until the mid-18th century), we have something that the grosz was worth six of. FWIW, the Albus was originally meant to be worth one Groschen, but it shrank. This isn't amusing, this is just confusing! Okay, okay, it's just names.

In 1923, the recently reinstituted country of Poland reinstituted the grosz as 1/100 of a zloty. The same year, Austria reinstituted the Groschen (abbreviated g) as 1/100 of its Schilling.

Old Polish monetary unit: 48 grosz. In other words, 1.6 zloty. By the eighteenth century, this was not a denomination but a unit of account only, typically and traditionally used in expressing the amounts of fines.

An electric node that conventionally is assigned the voltage zero. An electric node is an idealization, an equipotential region. (If you want to get beyond the idealization, see the ground-loop entry.) One thinks of the ground node as near-by, convenient, like the ground.

In the UK, electrical ground is traditionally called ``earth.'' In Spanish, the term is tierra, which conveniently translates both `ground' and `earth.'

It's interesting that the noun ground coincides with the past and past participle forms of the verb grind. One might suppose that the usual noun ground is in fact grind's gerund, but the OED, at least, seems to think it's just a coincidence. The noun groun, which has cognates only in Germanic languages, has an original sense of `bottom,' and doesn't seem to have been connected with the idea of grinding. There is a cognate of ground with a high vowel, Middle English grynden (ninth-century attestation) or grend (14c.) which meant (for the sun) `to set.' Even the grounds of ``coffee grounds'' has a ``bottom'' sense: examples with related senses, from 1340, 1450, 1601, and 1745, show that it was originally used in the sense of dregs or lees in cases (wine, rosewater, oil, beer) that involved no grinding.

Still, in a wider sense, I think the OED may have this wrong. There is in some words a marginal element of onomatopeia, and words that do not share a formal connection nevertheless can share a sort of communion of sound sense due to the element of meaning they derive from a shared phoneme. A very good example is a set of words that begin in gl, like glade, glimmer, glisten, glow. (Cf. blimp. Also, I can't resist noting that an obsolete sense of glade was the setting of the sun.) The evocative power of the gr- sound is suggested by the name Gradgrind, invented by Dickens and mentioned at our Septimus entry.

ground game
In football, a balanced offense has both passing and running components -- i.e., the offense tries to gain yards in the air and on the ground. An effective running attack is a good ground game. I've encountered the term ``air game,'' but it's less common.

Some political commentators and campaign workers have referred to GOTV efforts as ``the ground game'' since at least 1992. This specialized use of the term seems to have been jargon through the 2002 election cycle, but in 2004 it came into widespread use. (Judgments based on Lexis-Nexis searches.) The ``air game'' in this context would be the more visible part of the campaign, including pitches that go out over the air waves, but the air term is also rare, at best, in this context.

ground loop
A circuit completed through ground, in which two or more contacts to ground do not function as a single node. Typical source of isolation fault. For example: current flowing within ground causes two nodes, regarded as equivalent in a second circuit, to have actually different voltages.

The liability of ground connections not to be true fixed-voltage nodes leads to the most dramatic logic gate design consequences in ECL/CML: because of the high slew rate of the output transitions, the emitter followers that are the last stages of the logic gates (i.e., which drive the output) use a different ground than the differential amplifier input stages. [Typically, although positive logic is used, the logic swing is in a negative range of voltages. This is done so that npn transistors can use ground as the common collector voltage, so different grounds rather than supply voltages are used.]

In home and industrial wiring, the most evident consequence of non-ideal ground is the use of two grounds in power cables. In the standard American plug configuration, the broader of the two parallel flat connectors is a live ground, used to sink ordinary circuit current. The third connector, the largest, is a dead ground, intended not to carry current in normal conditions. The face, panel, case, or cabinet surfaces of electrical equipment can be grounded through this to provide greater shock protection, since high normal currents in one device will not affect voltages on the surface of any device. The mere presence of an extra ground, however, is not great protection if there is an internal short to an exterior surface. In this connection, vide GF and GFI.

More electrifying than a nose ring.

ground plane
An electrically grounded, approximately flat surface. In the context of printed circuit-board assemblies, it's a grounded metal (normally copper) layer. I saw the words ``ground plane'' in some text quoted at the HTO entry and asked Walter, who's just finishing up his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, what he thought of when I said the words, and he said, ``well, it depends on the context.'' Sure. He obviously figured it was a trick question and hedged his bets. All he could come up with as an alternative was a plane in an airport context. (But please note: ground is that past participle of and verbal adjective based on grind, as in ground pepper. A ground plane is one that has been through a giant grater; I don't think pilots refer to planes on the ground as ground planes, any more than hunters refer to geese on foot as ground geese. For more on the last topic, see the entry.) Look, this may be a Catholic university (I'm not going to commit to anything definite on that), but it is possible to be too catholic.

Grove giveth and Gates taketh away.
The hardware [Grove was Intel's CEO through 1999] gets faster, and the software gets slower [Bill Gates is Microsoft's chairman].

A more precisely pessimistic version of this is known as Wirth's Law.

Grove's Law
Telecommunications bandwidth doubles every century.

A precise statement of the computer industry's frustration with the sluggishness of an older electronic technology that existed in a government-regulated competition vacuum for half a century. Attributed by Gordon Moore, chairman of Intel, to Andrew S. Grove, ex-CEO of Intel. Alludes to Moore's Law.

You don't hear much about Grove's Law anymore, since cable and DSL have become widely available. Some people even have reliable broadband.

German Resources On the Web. Raised up on the web by AATG.

growing bananas
You'd go bananas too, if you were surrounded by people who wouldn't put on their hearing aids.

The capital of Chechnya. It is not widely appreciated among non-speakers of Slavic languages that grozny is Russian (and Ukrainian) for `formidable.' Then again, perhaps the Russians did not sufficiently appreciate this either. (The z seems just barely a sibilant in native pronunciation, incidentally. It could pass for d in English.) The word grozny also occurs in Polish, where its meaning is a bit different. Of course, in Polish the word has no pronunciation.

Gamma Ray Spectrometer.

Gesellschaft für Anlagen- und Reactorsicherheit mbH. (`Association for [nuclear] plant and Reactor safety.')


Greek and Roman Studies.

Gross Register Ton[nage].

The Russian initialism (in English transliteration) for Glavnoe Razvedyvatel'noe Upravlenie, or `Main Intelligence Directorate.' Created by Lenin in 1918, it has typically been glossed as ``Soviet [and now Russian] military intelligence.''

Grus. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

GReen-blUE. This is not a word for a specific greenish blue or bluish green color. Instead, it refers to a broader color category that includes both blue and green -- that is, all colors that are clearly green or clearly blue according to the usual sense of those terms in English. The term grue is convenient for cross-cultural studies and discussions of color terms. Languages with few color terms often divide up the space of colors in a way that isolates grue.

The Japanese word midori might marginally qualify as a grue word. It's normally translated as `green,' but the color of the sky is often described as midori.

According to Berlin and Kay (in revised versions of their original research on color-term evolution and universals), basic color-term vocabularies start with black and white (i.e., terms corresponding to these English words), first add red, then add a yellow or grue term, then the other (grue or yellow), and afterwards distinguish green and blue. (The next step is to add a brown term, and after this, in quick succession, terms for purple, pink, orange, and gray. The main intrinsic problem with most of this research is that the criteria for determining what qualifies as a ``basic color term'' are elastic. Extrinsically, there is anthropological and neurological evidence against this and similar hypotheses of human semantic universals.)

Spanish noun meaning `clot.' If you add powder to a fluid (e.g., add milk powder to water) and it fails to homogenize into a smooth paste or fluid, you can say it formó grumos. You'd translate that as `formed lumps,' but in most cases you'd translate lump by some other word.

Swiss cheese normally has a built-in ventilation network. This Swiss cheese could use something like that.

The Gaza Strip. Come on down, the place is hopping!

The (UK) Geological Society.

(Domain code for) South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands.

Gradual Student. Sometimes erroneously expanded (next entry).

Graduate Student. A student who has already been graduated and found wanting (more punishment). Thus ``postgraduate student'' in the UK.

Ground Start.

GS, g.s.
Ground State. The lowest-energy eigenstate of a quantum system.

Group Separator. The function originally conceived for the ASCII (and EBCDIC) nonprinting character corresponding to an integer value 0x1D (decimal 29). It is supposed to be equivalent to ^] (control-right-square-bracket), but don't count on it.

General Services Administration. One of its principal rôles is purchasing department for the US government. Therefore, they are rather important.

Sometimes incorrectly (for the US agency) expanded as ``Government Services Administration.''

Geological Society of America.

Georgia Speakers Association. Whut, fer piple huh wanna lerna speak Georgian?

German Studies Association.

Girl Scouts of America. Actually, it appears from their website that they are now known as the ``Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.,'' so the letters in the acronym GSA are a less representative sampling of the initials in the name, if not completely inappropriate. They don't explain it, so I suppose they changed it to avoid offending someone. It seems to me that people who worry about giving offense have limited imaginations. If they had adequate imaginations they'd be frozen in terror at the realization that their every action and inaction is offensive to many.

For instance, I'm offended at the stupid programming of the website, including such inanities as that their front page needs a download from the server on every onMouseOver event. Also, the association of girls with cookies or other ``sweets'' is sexist. To counteract this, they should sell beef jerky as well.

Of course, this would not be effective if some enterprising scouts emphasized the cookies and only sold jerky as an ``unadvertised special,'' or if customers bought more cookies than jerky. There is a simple solution to this problem: the girl scouts should only offer beef jerky cookies.

Stammtisch researchers have conducted preliminary taste research using strips of peppered beef jerky sandwiched between peanut butter sandies. Already without any further development, this tastebud-challenging protein treat should be rolled out immediately in the health-food sector. It will sell well to that demographic cherished by marketers, known as the ``early adopters'' or ``suckers.''

Finally, however, the biggest problem is the inclusion in the organization name of girl, a word that is a hated tool of patriarchal oppression. I've given some thought to alternative names, and decided that ``scoutettes,'' ``scoutesses,'' ``female boy scouts'' and ``That's Ms. Scout to you, you got a problem with that?,'' though each has its merits, would in no case be a sufficient improvement to justify the cost of replacing all the old patches. This is going to require a lot more deep thought.

As it happens, the Boy Scouts of America has been accepting girrr--- female memberrrr--- females since about 1970, so chances are they'll be the first to adopt a simplified name like Scouting America. Then scouting will be just like college: coed or all-coed.

Actually, females are only accepted into ``the Explorers,'' which I think has now become ``Venturing.'' When we were peurile, we used to say that we had graduated from Boy Scouting to girl scouting. With names like ``Exploring'' and ``Venturing,'' double entendre is no longer a challenge, so we return you to your regularly scheduled glossary entry.

``Girl Scouts of America'' has twice as many search-engine hits as ``Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.,'' and sampling suggests that many of the latter are just officially dutiful, so I'm leaving GSA, the demotic favorite, as the main entry. The organization is a member of, I'm very sorry about this, WAGGGS.

(Looks like some of my cookie concerns were anticipated. George Carlin wondered during the previous century, ``If peanut butter cookies are made from peanut butter, then what are Girl Scout cookies made out of?'' We actually have a lot of information about cookies in this glossary: a cookies entry, and one for CACO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies.)

The Graduate Student Association. Vide NAGPS.

Global Symbology Committee.

Government(-run) SCHOOL. Some homeschoolers' lingo for public school.

German Shepherd Dog.

Greater San Diego Academy. ``Where Every Moment is a Learning Opportunity for the Homeschool Family.''

Genome Sequence DataBase.

Ground Self-Defense Force. Official euphemism for the Japanese Army. See SDF.

Government-Sponsored Enterprise. Such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Ground State Energy. The energy of the ground state of a quantum mechanical system. A tiny bit more information is at the ZPE entry.

Graduate Student Employees Union.

Goddard Space Flight Center. In Greenbelt, MD.

Graduate Student Foreign Language Test.

Global Strategy Group. A public-opinion polling organization that works for Democratic clients. It's listed here in a list of polling organizaitions I threw together during an episode of political news addiction (the US elections in 2000).

Gadolinium Scandium Gallium Garnet. Laser material.

General Standard Israeli. I.e., Modern Hebrew.

Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung. German, `Society For Heavy-Ion Research.' I don't know exactly why it has a name like this, but GSI refers to Germany's national center for heavy ion physics, a large-scale research facility in Darmstadt.

``The Geological Society of London (GSL) was founded in 1807. It is the oldest national geological society in the world and the largest in Europe. It was incorporated under Royal Charter in 1825 and is Registered Charity 210161.''

Sometimes I get tired of making stuff up and feel like quoting instead. This quote is from the copyright page of the book cited at the ichnology entry.

Global System for Mobile [tele]communications. English-language expansion eventually adopted for commercialization. Acronym originally stood for Groupe Spéciale Mobile, created in 1982 by the CEPT to develop a pan-European public land mobile system. [In 1989 it became a special subgroup in the ETSI).] Two major implementations are DCS-1800 and PCS-1900.

This will point you to some information.

Gas-Source MBE.

Grocery Shopping Network. Food shopping from the convenience of your ergonomic chair.

Goethe Society of North America.


GeoSynchronous Orbit. Earth orbit with an orbital period of one day.

Grassroots Support Organization. The translation of ``grass roots'' into Spanish, raízes de pasto, does not preserve its metaphorical sense. The acronym corresponding to GSO in Spanish is OAB.

Good Sense Of Humour. Chiefly British. Also: Good Sense Of Humor.

The British playwright Nick Wood wrote a one-act entitled ``Female 29, G.S.O.H.'' Dramatis Personae: Tom, 30, and Kate, 32. (Cf. recent photograph.)

Geek Site Of The Day.

Generalized System of Preference. A system approved by GATT in 1971 that authorizes developed countries to give preferential tariff treatment to developing countries (DC's). This tariff regime was nonreciprocal, although if it had been perfectly reciprocal it wouldn't have made much of a difference: the DC's tend to have primary-sector exports, with trade in particular commodities all one way or the other.

Global Service Provider.

(Dr. Ernest) Grafenberg spot. An especially sensitive part of the vagina, on the anterior wall a few cm behind the pubic bone, first identified by Dr. and Mrs. G, or so we are given to understand. Controversy: is this completely bogus? For noncommital answers and forthright evasions and to get your jollies just talking to a machine about it, follow the instructions at the TIPS entry.

Garden State ParkWay. Exits are labeled according to their distance from the southern end of the parkway at Cape May, and it is widely believed that NJ residents identify their home by exit number. This is a good story. More at NJTP.

Galvanic Skin Response. Sweating increases the electrical conductivity of the skin. (Sweat is an electrolyte. Visit the Pocari Sweat entry, just for the enlightenment.)

Gerstmann-Straussler-Scheinker syndrome. A disease of humans, suspected of being caused or transmitted by prions, q.v.

Gruppo di Studio della Scoliosi e delle patologie vertebrali. Italian `Group for the Study of Scoliosis and vertebral pathologies.' It doesn't translate very elegantly, and the English pages of the website don't offer a translation. The original short name can be rendered accurately as `Scoliosis Study Group.' Founded in 1978.

Global Stratotype Section and Point. Defines a geological stratum somewhat as a species type defines a species, I think.

Goods and Services Tax. A Canadian excise tax on just about everything, which accounted for tour buses that came directly to Buffalo-area shopping malls. They still come, but not so much at current exchange rates. (This entry was written around 1995 or 1996, so you might want to call ahead.)

GreTai Securities Market. Official name of the Taiwan OTC Exchange.

Girl Scouts of the USA. See the GSA entry. Hmmm -- what am I going to do with this entry now that I've got it? Okay, the Canadian sister organization, Girl Guides of Canada -- Guides du Canada, doesn't seem to use an acronym, so this is as good a place as any from which to link to it.

GunShot Wound.


Gran Tour / Grand Tour / Gran Turismo. Désignation sans signification / Meaningless designation / Indicazione insignificante on many cars. The 1964 Studebaker Hawk actually had the meaningless designation spelled out in chrome letters along the passenger side of the car (Italian version).

Gross Ton.

Grupo de Tareas. Spanish for `Task Force (TF).'

(Domain name code for) Guatemala.

Graduate Teaching Assistant. The usual kind of TA.

An interesting GTA experience was reported on the classics list.

Grand Theft Auto. A video game. See this bit for an excuse to play.

Gravure Technical Association. Merged with the GRI to form the GAA in 1987.

Greater Toronto Area. If you exclude Toronto itself, the GTA is somewhat of a moving target. Atlanta used to be like that.

I've seen the expression regional Ontario used by statisticians to refer to Ontario minus the GTA and the National Capital Region (the Ottawa area).

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding. Distinguished from ordinary gas-metal-arc welding by the fact that the refractory metal tungsten (W) is not consumed in the welding process. (Actually, the nonconsumable electrode is not usually pure tungsten, but an alloy that is about 98% tungsten. Quibbles.) See GMA welding entry for further description. GTAW is also called TIG welding (tungsten inert-gas) or WIG.

Great Texas Birding Classic. An event held on the coast at Corpus Christi in late April every year since 1995. I've seen claims that it's the longest-running competitive birding tournament. It might be the only one.

Glad To Be Of Assistance.

Glad To Be Of Service.

General Teaching Council for England. See GTCE.

GTC, g.t.c.
Good Till { Cancelled | Countermanded }. I thought I already mentioned here somewhere the opening scene of the movie Twelve Chairs. Remember?

Gas-Temperature-Controlled Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD, q.v.).

General Teaching Council for England. ``[T]he professional body for teachers.'' Internal literature tends to call it ``GTC'' or ``GTC for England.'' Cf. NUT.

Geometrical Theory of Diffraction.

Getting Things Done. A reference to Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (2001), by management consultant David Allen.

General Telephone and Electric.

G-T effect
Gibbs-Thompson Effect. Nucleation that starts in freezing of a microscopic volume with a curved surface occurs at a temperature that depends on the curvature. Smaller (higher-curvature) microdroplets have a lower freezing temperature. Similar phenomena in other phase transitions are also called G-T effect. (E.g., supersaturation of a solute; similar description with ``microdroplets'' --> ``microcrystals,'' mutatis mutandis). This is also described as a ``higher solubility'' of small droplets.)

Gas Turbine-Electric Locomotive. A locomotive in which a gas turbine is used to generate electric power that feeds electric motors that actually perform the locomotion.

Glucose Tolerance Factor.

In the 1950's, Klaus Schwartz and Walter Mertz were doing some experiments on selenium (Se) in rat diets. For protein, their rats were getting Torula yeast supplements, and they found that their rats had high blood sugar (glucose). This is called glucose intolerance (i.e., the muscle and fat cells that would absorb glucose don't, as much), and suggested inefficient insulin activity.

Following up on some earlier indications that brewer's yeast improves the efficiency of insulin (see insulin), they switched their rats to brewer's yeast and solved the glucose intolerance problem. They coined the term GTF to designate the as-yet unknown agent, present in brewer's yeast but absent in Torula yeast, that improved insulin efficiency. They later found that pork liver extract was also effective. They found that chromium (Cr) was present in brewer's yeast and pork liver extract, and absent from Torula yeast, so they guessed that GTF included chromium.

Multiple studies have since demonstrated that chromium ion alone is not effective, and have suggested that the chromium (III) ion is effective when it is chelated with picolinate proteins. Many researchers believe that chromium picolinate is in fact GTF, and that possibly it works by deforming or reshaping insulin so that it couples more precisely to the insulin receptors on cell membranes. Although there is circumstantial evidence for this, there is no direct biochemical evidence of combined insulin/chromium-picolinate action at the cell membrane.

Get Out. Emphatic.

Game-Tying Goals. (Soccer statistic.)

Gesellschaft für Technikgeschichte. German `Society for the History of Technology.'

Got to go now.

The Gospel of THOMas. This work was mentioned in the fourth century by Origen, along with a Gospel of Matthias and unnamed others, as necessary reading for someone not to be considered ignorant, in addition to the canonical four gospels exclusively recognized and approved by the Church of Rome.

This noncanonical text (GThom) was largely lost for centuries, until 1945, when it was rediscovered among over fifty texts at Nag Hammadi in Egypt. There they had been hidden in the late fourth century, buried in a jar. These messages in a bottle, this time capsule, protected them from a crusading church that had been hunting down heresy since it gained ascendancy in the early part of that century. Considering how long that continued, they were rediscovered almost too soon.

GThomas is closer to the three synoptics than GJohn is, and played a large role in the silly deliberations of the Jesus Seminar (see TFG).

Gold TiN. TiN with relatively high density, obtained by sputter deposition under significant bias (-75V in work reported by N. Kumar, J. T. McGinn, K. Pourrezaei, B. Lee, and E. C. Douglas, Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A, vol. 6, p. 1602 (1988).

See TiN entry.

Get[ting] To Know. As in ``GTK party.''

Gunning Transceiver Logic. This page from TI.

Generic Top-Level (Internet) Domain.

Name of a Pontiac muscle car popular in the 1960's. Maybe the name stands for ``Gran Turismo Omologato.'' Maybe not. The Beach Boys recorded a popular song celebrating it. Song is in the time signature of five speeds.

Also a designation on racing Ferraris, but that probably has nothing to do.

Gate-Triggered Oscillator. Here's almost a tutorial from Westcode.

Gate Turn-Off. As in ``GTO thyristor.'' Two flavors: anode short (SG) and reverse-conducting (SGR).

Gaussian-Type Orbitals. Basis states (for chemical calculations) which decay as Gaussians with radius from an atomic center, unlike hydrogen-atom levels. Their advantage over more-accurate Slater-type orbitals (STO) is speed of computation.

Geostationary Transfer Orbit.

Gran Turismo Omologato. Italian, `Grand Tour Homologous.'

Graph-To-Occam. An experimental language for representing dataflow diagrams. The compiler translates GTO programs into Occam2 for execution on a transputer system.

Guanosine 5'-TriPhosphate. Functions like ATP, in a pair with GDP like ATP/ADP, but involved in a more limited set of processes having to do with the construction of cellular structures.

Guanosine TriPhosphate (GTP) Binding Protein (BP).

Gifted {and|or} Talented Student[s]. Why have I never heard this abbreviated ``gee-tee stud''?

Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome. Studied (as a ``convulsive tic syndrome'') by Georges Gilles de la Tourette and named for him by his mentor Jean-Martin Charcot. GTS is now understood to be an autosomal dominant trait (and sexually influenced -- of those with the abnormal gene, virtually all males and only about 70% of females exhibit the trait). It is most frequently found among Ashkenazi Jews. Its most notorious symptom is coprolalia (trash-mouth), but that occurs in a small minority of sufferers (8% in one study). In addition the extensive OMIM article linked above, see Jumping Frenchmen of Maine Syndrome

Global Telecommunications System.

Global Telephone eXchange Carrier.

Genito-Urinary (system).

Geographically Undesirable.

Sure. A dating cop-out. A nice brush-off. Cf. ASL.

Griffith University, somewhere down under.

(Domain code for) Guam.

Guam. USPS abbreviation.

The Villanova Center for Information Law and Policy serves a page of Guam territorial government links.

Guarantee degrees from Prestigious non-accredited Universitys

Graphical User Interface. [Pron. ``gooey.''] Cf. CLI, WYSIWYG.

This here page is my favorite page about a ``GUI Interface'' (a/k/a acronym-AAP).

Francesco Guicciardini, a diplomat and public official for Florence and for the Vatican in the early sixteenth century, left behind collections of Ricordi. Ricordo might be best translated, in this instance, as `thing to remember.' The typical ricordo consists of a general maxim accompanied by a paragraph, or rarely two, of explanation and analysis. Over the course of his career, as time was available, he polished, reconsidered, reorganized, and added to the hoard, which was intended as a sort of legacy to his descendants. (He published some books as well, but the Ricordi were preserved only in the family archives.) The largest and last autograph manuscript contains 221 ricordi that are called series C.

When I quote Guicciardini in Domandi's version, I refer to Maxims and Reflections (Ricordi) (New York: Harper and Rowe Publishers, 1965) [Translation and Preface copyright Mario Domandi, Introduction copyright Nicolai Rubinstein]. It was republished as Pennsylvania Paperback 37 by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 1972.

Global Unique IDentifier.

A quotation mark that looks like a pair of short angle brackets in parallel orientation: («) or (»). Guillemets are the regular form of quotation mark in French and Russian, and are occasionally used in other languages such as English and German. The name of the symbols is the diminutive of the French name Guillaume (`William'), their supposed inventor.

In German, they may be used in what looks like an interchanged form: »quoted text«. The only reason I can think of for this is that the shape of » (``concave left,'' as my high school math teachers might have described it) resembles that of the low-9 double-quote („) that traditionally begins a German quotation („usual German style“). [And conversely on the opposite end, of course.

An old British gold coin worth twenty-one shillings -- so charmingly odd, traditional British eccentricity -- 252 (old) pence. One guinea was the retainer John Adams received to defend the British soldiers accused in the Boston massacre. (He won his case, pretty much, on testimony that the soldiers were attacked by a large crowd bent on murder and fired in self-defense. Later, Adams became the second president of the US. See the dynasty entry.)

Here are links with guitaristic information. Better follow them now, because soon I'll find some totally irresponsible and inappropriate places to hide them in the glossary, and you'll never seem them again.

guitar nebula
This looks like a glossary entry for guitar nebulae, but it's just a bit of prepositioned dross, filler material, so that when I find out what a guitar nebula is, as I promised in the DBAli entry, I can slip the information in quickly. Also, this way no other entry will steal this space. It's reserved, like a Stammtisch.

For now, I think I can say with some confidence that a guitar nebula is a nebula that in some way (like maybe the shape) resembles a guitar.

Glavnoe Upravlenie ispravitel'-no-trudovykh LAGerei. Russian, `chief administration of corrective labor camps.'

Gulliver's Travels
A travelogue by Jonathan Swift. The man was a real jinx. If you wanted to collect on your insurance with Lloyd's, or get rid of a captain, sign Gulliver on as ship's physician.

[Football icon]

One of the players on the team punting or kicking off who runs down inside the sidelines to hem in and intercept the kick-returner.

You're obviously thinking of Dr. Gunni.

Hindi for `secret.' Nihar was so impressed by the fact that I knew of Oriya, that afterwards when we were speculating on the etymology of Ashish's family name and he translated gupta, Nihar opined that I would remember that translation for ten years.

I pondered this remark in detail. I allowed myself to wonder whether Nihar thought that until February 2007, if someone leaned toward me and whispered conspiratorially ``I've got a gupta,'' I would `get it,' but that after that time I would just push the guy away and say ``American social distance is 24 inches plus-or-minus four; please respect my physical space, especially if agupta is a communicable disease.'' This scenario didn't seem realistic, except for the American-social-distance part, so I concluded that Nihar didn't mean ten years exactly. Instead, he was using `ten years' to mean `long time.' Could this be regarded as a kind of synecdoche? Not really, but I figured I'd put in a plug for my poetry. Nihar is young, so he thinks that ten years can be regarded as a ``long time.'' My friends Dennis and Jamie have two toddlers now, and I haven't seen them since the wedding (seen the parents!). I hope to visit them before the kids go off to college.

(Yes, it's the same Dennis as the one who takes a glossary bow at the RLC entry.)

[column] The common family name Gupta, incidentally, seems to have a different etymology. Now here is an irony: Adly was trying all during this conversation to derive large chunks of the Hindi vocabulary from Arabic, but he didn't claim gupta. As it happens, the ancient religious name for Memphis (the one in Egypt, not the enduring Elvis-worship center in Tennessee) was Ha ka  ptah. In the seventh century, the conquering Arabs corrupted this to Agupta, and eventually the initial a was elided as well. The g was devoiced again on entering English and some other European languages, becoming our Copt[ic].

Generic Universal RolePlaying System. GURPS is intended for every RPG genre, and the distributor, Steve Jackson Games, announces that ``[o]ver 250 different worldbooks, sourcebooks and adventure books have been created for GURPS. About 100 of these are currently in print, and we create at least a half-dozen more every year.''


Grand Unified Theory. A unified description of all (four) interactions (gravitational, electromagnetic, nuclear-weak, nuclear-strong).

Following the pattern of languages with more thoroughly gendered nouns, English construes the singular form as male but leaves the plural form sex non-specific. Unless you want to make a federal case about it.

Guyana. ISO's TLA.

Georgia Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

Gas-Vesicle Protein.

Grand Valley State University at Allendale, Michigan.

Gross Vehicle Weight.

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. The maximum gross (vehicle plus cargo) weight that can be carried by a vehicle (we're talkin' truck here).

Gross weight is easy to measure without unloading the truck.

A vehicle's GVWR obviously cannot be greater than the sum of its axles' GAWR's. It may be less, however: If the total GAWR is reached by placing all the load halfway between tho distant axles, the frame may buckle.

For more, see the NTEA's glossary of Truck Equipment Terms.

George Washington.

Gross Weight.

(Domain name code for) Guinea-Bissau.

Garden Writers Association. As of 2007, according to the homepage, it's ``an organization of over 1800 professional communicators in the lawn and garden industry. No other organization in the industry has as much direct contact with the buying public as GWA.'' By the time I clicked on the link for GWAF. As recently as when its membership was at 1500 (a couple of hours ago?), it was called the GWAA.

Garden Writers Association of America. Why plant? New full-texture printers produce bright green professional-landscaper-quality turf at less than half the cost of traditional methods. Perfect for a drought!

The GWAA was founded in 1948 and mowed off its own final A (ouch!) before fall 2007. It's now the GWA.

Garden Writers Association Foundation. A charity launched in 2002 to administer and expand the Plant a Row for the Hungry (PAR) program that had been initiated in 1995 by the GWA (or maybe then the GWAA).

Gee-Whiz BASIC.

Geoctroyeerde West-Indische Compagnie. The Dutch `Chartered West Indies Company' of old. It's more commonly referred to as the WIC. Octrooieren is the modern spelling of a word meaning `to patent, charter.' The past participle (appropriately inflected as an adjective here) is spelled geoctrooieerde.

It may not look it, but octrooieren (and German oktroyieren) are cognate with the English authorize. The former words were borrowed from the French (octroyer, Old French octroier, medieval Latin auctorizare). The Latin roots lie in auctor, an agent from augere, `to make grow, originate, increase.' In Spanish, at least, aumentar is `to increase.' The cognate English augment means the same thing in general, but everyone recognizes that it is not exactly the same thing. The word augment emphasizes the secondary nature of the increase, or the fact that the increase is the result of external addition rather than organic or internal growth. The sense of auctorizare taken by octroier was `to grant,' which is not too big a jump from `increase.' One archaic sense of French augmenter is `to extend [s.o.'s lands],' something that might often be the result of a grant. The English word author is also derived from auctorizare, but via a different French word derived from it: autoriser (still generally auctoriser in the 14th c.).

Another Latin noun was actor, derived from agere (`to do, act, drive') as auctor was from augere. The words auctor and actor were already confused in medieval Latin, and the similarity of the words and their derivatives continued to have effects in English as well as in various (probably most) Romance languages.

Gesellschaft für wissenschaftliche Datenverarbeitung mbH Göttingen. German: `Goettingen Society for Scientific Torturing of Data.' This might also be translated `... Processing of Data,' but what fun would that be?

Game-Winning Goals. (Soccer statistic.)

Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, e.V. The homepage offers the alternative names ``Société d'Histoire des Sciences - Society for History of Science.''

Great White North. Currently an ironic reference to Canada. The phrase was popularized in the early 1980's as the name of an SCTV parody featuring the stupid stereotypes Bob and Doug McKenzie.

The earliest instance I can find of this phrase, without looking too hard, is as the title of a book about Arctic exploration by Helen S. Wright (Macmillans, October 1910). It's not specifically about Canada; however, the first notice of it in the New York Times appears in an article that also mentions a novel of life in western Canada, Janey Canuck in the West (Cassells, October 1910).

In 1916, Harry Bowling's poem ``Mexico'' was published in the Los Angeles Times. There, the ``great white north'' appears to refer to the US. (The poem makes references to race, so that is how ``white'' may be understood.) The LA Times is also the source of most of the movie information in the next few paragraphs.

In 1928, H.A. and Sidney Snow made a documentary about the 1913 expedition to the Arctic to rescue the lost Steffansson Expedition. (Vilhjalmur Stefansson, born in 1879 in Manitoba, provides a short prologue.) It was originally released by Fox in August as ``Lost in the Arctic.'' Later that fall, Fox was assembling a cast for a project called ``The Great White North,'' to be directed by Charles Klein. Over the course of a week, the studio leaked out bits of information -- that Nancy Carroll would play the lead and that Fox would ``likely ... go on location to Canada for exteriors'' (October 27); that John Boles would play the male lead (``Peter Van Dykeman'') opposite Carroll's ``Pearl'' (October 30); that Josephine Dunn was to play the third featured lead (``Ethelyn'') and that the title had been changed to ``White Silence'' (Nov. 3; I think that's the title: the photoreproduction is creased along the line that gives it). The following February, Fox-Movietone rereleased the Snow movie -- I mean the movie by the Snows. (``Lost in the Arctic,'' remember? Pay attention or you'll get lost.) They used the title ``The Great White North,'' which was of course made available by the name change in the Nancy Carroll vehicle. According to IMDb, the title ``Stella Polaris'' was also used for the Snow movie.

Now ``White Silence,'' the second announced title for the original ``Great White North'' movie, happens also to be the title of a Jack London short story. It seems to be a title that studios later think better (i.e., worse) of. For example, on May 20, 1923, it had been reported that the Alaska Moving-Pictures Corporation had changed the name of its current project, filming in Anchorage, from ``The Great White Silence'' to ``The Cheechakos.'' That was also the spelling on July 29, but it was eventually released as ``The Chechahcos'' (1924). It's a classic. By 1929, as the Fox studio name modification indicates, Hollywood was in the midst of the talkie revolution, and ``silence'' was a dirty word. So as you'd expect, the name was changed again, this time to ``Sin Sister.''

Speaking of dirty words, an article published on September 29, 1929, ``Censors Worry Talkie Makers,'' reported that Fox was puzzled by the censors' demand that they cut a segment showing a man perfuming himself in reel 6 of ``Sin Sister.'' According to a Washington Post article at the time of the March 1929 release, it's described as ``a gripping drama of the frozen North which deals with six ill-assorted companions who are marooned in a deserted trading post, and their reaction to terrible conditions of hardship.'' Nancy Carroll, in the title role, is ``a poor, untutored, small-time vaudeville dancer.'' Lawrence Gray (who replaced Boles) is ``scion of an aristocratic old family.'' They emerge from all the adversity as ``a real woman and a real man.'' Excuse me while I wipe my eyes.

In 1935, the Clarke Steamship Co., Ltd., based in New York, was running ``Great White North Cruises,'' 10½ to 13½ days, to the ``Land of the Eskimos.''

Global War On Terror.

Gross World Product. Can be computed as the sum of either GDP or GNP, and it should come out the same.

The Great Western Railway. Also expanded by Great Western enthusiasts as ``God's Wonderful Railway.'' For the other mainline railway companies of Britain's Grouping era, see Big Four.

Girls and Women in Sport. See NAGWS.

Ground Water Supply.

Ground Water Supply Survey.

``Gone With The Wind.'' Don't you know anything? A popular novel and blockbuster movie.

George Washington University. Located in the District of Columbia. Named after a US president. The school teams' nickname is ``Colonials.'' I find this faintly ironic.

Go to this page to learn about ``NCAA regulations relating to a Division I Collegiate Institution.''

Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht. A German journal that might have been named `History in Scholarship and Instruction' in English. Maybe. Wissenschaft could mean a lot of things, and I never read the journal. See if Stuart Jenks's page of Tables of Contents of Historical Journals and Monographic Series in German has a link for this yet (deutsche Seite: Zeitschriftenfreihandmagazin Inhaltsverzeichnisse geschichtswissenschaftlicher Zeitschriften in deutscher Sprache).

Global eXchange. For related (similar and dissimilar) organizations, see the WTO entry.

Gas-eXpanded Liquid.

GraY. The gray is the SI unit of absorbed radiation dose, defined as one joule per kilogram. ``Radiation dose'' refers to ``ionizing radiation'' (gamma rays and X-rays, and also high-energy alpha and beta rays, etc.). Ordinary radiant heat doesn't count.

(Domain name code for) Guyana. Makes me think of Lo-lo-lo-lo-lola.

Self-serve dungeon. See gymnasium.

In English, a gymnasium is an open indoor space or a building in which physical sports are played and exercises performed. In German, this is called a Turnhalle (but gymnastics is Gymnastik).

In German, Gymnasium is what is called a `secondary school' in the Anglophone parts of North America (and escuela secundaria in Hispanophone America). In the UK, that used to be called grammar school, q.v.

In the US, grammar school is synonymous with primary school. The correspondences are all approximate: primary education extends to about age 11-12, varying slightly among and within countries. There was a time when the word infant in the UK referred to older kids than it does in the US now, and the early years of primary school were for ``infants.'' I'm too lazy to check what the current situation is. One advantage of this terminology is that the teachers can claim that every schoolday they face the infantry.

Also in English, the short form gym refers to a space filled with instruments of self-torture; it's usually air-conditioned and well-lit, but otherwise it's a dungeon. Also, in schools, ``gym'' (an uncountable noun) or ``gym class'' is held in ``the gym'' or ``the gymnasium'' (or outside). Corrections please! I'm trying to get this sorted out myself. Write to me and I will creatively misinterpret your comments.

The word gymnasium is the Latin adaptation of the Greek word gymnásion (a place to train), from gymnázein `to train, to exercise, to feel pain' (okay, really only the first two, but obviously the third is implied), from gymnós, `naked.'

Hydrated calcium sulfate.

Green fiberglass used for many PC boards.

The ``Group of Twenty-Four.'' The 24 countries -- eight each from Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia -- which coordinate the positions of developing nations on monetary and finance issues and to ensure that those positions are adequately represented to the IMF and World Bank.

Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase. An enzyme whose deficiency is a risk factor for hemolytic crisis. The deficiency is an inherited trait.

The ``Group of Seven'' leading industrialized nations (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, US). Evidently, mere size of economy has not been quite the only criterion for membership. It's more like disposable income that matters. FWIW, Brazil and a couple of other non-leading-industrialized nations have economies larger than Canada's. We'll pass over in silence the matter of China. Since 1975, the seven have held a major photo opportunity annually, featuring one head of state or government from each country. For a while there was talk of a G-8. Gorby and then Yeltsin would come around to the party, insisting on being treated as equals. It was embarrassing to watch, but apparently every litter has to have a runt.

Back around 1990, there was a big to-do because Italy's official economy had come to exceed that of the UK. In fact, with estimates of the underground economy running in the ballpark of 20% of the legal one, Italy's GDP may already have overtaken France's.

A standard locution of journalistspeak is ``France and Germany, the two largest economies in Europe.'' Yeah, well.

The Group of Seventy-Seven. I've seen this described as a ``group of developing countries and China.'' I guess this means that China is acting as some sort of disinterested uncle.

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