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L l

L, 'L'
eLevated train. Chicago usage. The oblong circuit of L trains in downtown Chicago is ``The Loop.'' More at the entry for the el spelling, which is also used in Chicago. The `L' usage is not entirely foreign to New York City...

Eleven Blue Men and Other Narratives of Medical Detection, by Berton Roueché (published in Boston, of all places: Little, Brown and Co., 1947) is stories mostly describing 1940's cases dealt with by the New York City Health Department. Sort of an epidemiological Dragnet. The contents of the book originally appeared in The New Yorker. The title story is about eleven old winos who live in flop-houses or in the street, and who all come down one day with something that turns them blue. (Technically, they are diagnosed with cyanosis.) The action quickly focuses on the somewhat aptly named Eclipse Cafeteria. The Health Department's Dr. Ottavio Pellitteri described this as ``[s]trictly a horse market, and dirtier than most. The sort of place where you can get a full meal for fifteen cents. There was a grind house on one side, a cigar store on the other, and the `L' overhead. Incidentally, the Eclipse went out of business a year or so after I was there, but that had nothing to do with us.''

You probably don't care, but that's on page 93 of my edition (11th printing, and looking to be about the seventh edition, 1953).

Lake. Also Lac (Fr.), Lago (Sp.) or Lacus (on all your Latin maps). You would suppose that the modern English word lake is derived from Middle English and Old French lac. That is probably the greater part of it, but the story may not be straightforward. Old English had a word lacu, apparently of Germanic origin, that meant `stream.' (The root apparently had something to do with moisture, giving rise to leak and leach [through].) The earlier English word was already being spelled with k by the tenth century; the spelling and perhaps also the pronunciation may have influenced the French loan.


Latin (q.v.). Sort of like Italian without the hand gestures. The difficulty of representing hand gestures on big government construction projects led to the development of an elaborate system of declensions (originally a calque of the Greek term meaning to fall), conjugations, and consequent accusations.

There was an old rec.humor.funny file of stupid behaviors that should be avoided by characters in horror movies that included the following advice:

``If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they do not know, or if they speak to you using a voice which is other than their own, shoot them immediately. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. NOTE: It will probably take several rounds to kill them, so be prepared.''

(You can easily find variously corrupted versions of this on the web, though I can't find any variant at <www.netfunny.com/rhf>. However, you can actually learn a bit of Latin from the first of the rhf oracularities archived at this page.)

Why don't you visit William Harris's The Intelligent Person's Guide to the Latin Language? It's part of a larger site with Latin and Latin-related information.

Other people (?) might be interested in the old favorite Allen and Greenough Latin grammar, available on-line.

The online Weather Underground (discussed at weather) is available in Latin.

A woman I know teaches Latin at a real university that I will not name. (I don't have to, it's already got a name.) A survey she conducts at the first class meeting of the first semester (what, you haven't done your homework?) includes the question ``Why Did You Choose to Take Latin?'' (It's fill-in-the-blank.) One answer: ``I am a big T.S. Eliot fan and thought it would be cool to actually understand what he meant when he makes Latin references.'' Whatever turns you on.

For more Latin-study resources, see the Latin entry.

Left. More interesting entry at LHS.

Leucine. The amino acid whose name sounds most like Lucille. Please come back where you belong!

Ligand. Used in generic and abbreviated chemical formulas in the same way as are M (metal), N (for nonmetal rather than nitrogen), and R (for oRganic group).

Lima. Not an abbreviation for the city. At least, not one very likely to be guessed in Peru (.pe) or Ohio (OH). 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). This is a bad choice, because the first vowel is pronounced in two different ways in English: long-i (as in the personal pronoun I) for US cities named Lima and for the beans, long-e (as in the personal pronoun me) for the capital of Peru.

Obviously, an alternative is needed. The unanimous recommendation of the Stammtisch, which I will reveal to spontaneous cheers in a surprise announcement to the Stammtisch tomorrow at noon, is Limbo-stick.

Line. [Plural: ll.] Note that this is usually used in the sense of lines of text. I have never seen this abbreviation used for lines of powder cocaine, and probably never will. There's a great scene in some Woody Allen movie where Woody's character sneezes and disperses kilobucks' worth of coke. A line is also a much more precise unit; it is one twelfth of an inch, or equivalently one fourth of a barleycorn.

l., (l)
Liquid. In chemical formulae, the fact that a substance is in the liquid state may be indicated by a parenthesized el following the chemical formula. That el is always lower-case, sorry. No one should object if you make it a script lower-case el, so it's clear it isn't a parenthesized numeral one, for some odd reason.

It is important to keep in mind the distinction between a chemical in its liquid state and a chemical in aqueous solution, indicated by (aq) instead of (l). For example, H2SO4 (l) is liquid hydrogen sulphate, a strong oxidizing agent, while H2SO4 (aq) is sulfuric acid.

The liquid state, it should be noted, is not always distinguished from the gaseous state: for a single-component system above the critical temperature, there is just one fluid phase which increases continuously in density as pressure increases. The (l) and (g) notation wasn't designed to deal with those complications.

Lira. Italian, `pound.' The plural is lire, and after years of inflation, a single lira wasn't worth much. Italy got in on the ground floor with the euro.

L, l.
Liter. A metric volume unit with some uneasy relationship to the current SI regime. Over the course of its history, it has sometimes been defined to be the volume of a kilogram of water, and sometimes (as currently) to be a cubic decimeter (which is the same thing if you chose the temperature of the water carefully, but isn't if you or someone didn't). The flip-flop left some popular uncertainty about the precise volume. SI has various opinions about which units should and should exist or be used and how. You could look it up.



Latin, Lucius. One of the most common praenomina, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Also ``Lu.''

Language Arts. The school subject formerly known as English. Here's hoping they don't change the name to some ineffable symbol.

Lanthanum. Gives its name to the rare earth (RE) series (``lanthanides''; now, if IUPAC has its fickle way, ``lanthanoids'').

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

(Domain code for) Laos.

Listing Agent. The Realtor who lists a property with the multiple listing service; the seller's agent.

In trucking, the distance from the center of gravity (CG) to the center line of the rear axle(s). In a truck with two axles, the LA/WB is the fraction of weight carried by the front axle. I suppose you could expand the L of LA as Load, and the A possibly as Axle, but LA doesn't stand for Load Axle.

Longitudinal Acoustic. Refers to longitudinally polarized acoustic phonons. LA phonons interact with charge carriers primarily by DA interaction. Cf. LO, TA; vide phonons.

Los Angeles. Pejoratively (I think) referred to as La-la land. This is still what right-thinking people mean by LA, unless they are so benighted as to mean ... Low Alcohol. (Cross yourself if you spoke the words aloud.)

Most people in LA also speak English, so you're not terribly handicapped if you don't speak Spanish or one of the other local languages.

Los Angeles is a city and a county. Unlike San Francisco, however, the city is a proper subset of the county. An oddly-shaped, multiply-connected subset. Have a look at a map.

Since Los Angeles is often called ``the city of Angels,'' and you just know that can't refer to the movie stars, I imagine it is well known that Los Angeles is Spanish for `the angels.' A longer form of the toponym is El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora, La Reina de Los Angeles. This is often translated as `The City of Our Lady, Queen of the Angels.' This is close enough, but pueblo is `town.' (Metropolis has the same meaning in Spanish as in English; ciudad is `city'; aldea, the slightly pejorative/affectionate pueblucho, and the slightly informal and totally unnecessary pueblito could all be translated `village.' You can claim that semantic fields needn't overlap between languages, and there may be some small cities that are called pueblos rather than ciudades, but to most bilinguals, `city' here is a mistranslation obviously based on an anachronism.)

The original name of the settlement is actually a bit longer: El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora, La Reina de Los Angeles de la Porciúncula. In order to parse this, it might be best to proceed in chronological order. Early in the thirteenth century, one Francisco Bernardone, son of a wealthy cloth merchant of Assisi, went god-crazy and founded a religious order. (A number of the legends about his life involve his losing all his clothes. Details? You need more details? See the article in the Catholic Encyclopedia. His mom's name was Pica!) He was eventually canonized, and anyway he renounced his family, so he is generally referred to as St. Francis of Assisi (San Francesco d'Assisi in Italian). BTW, this is the same San Francisco that the settlement in northern California was named after. Even people who don't believe in sainthood call him Saint Francis, the same way a lot of people use expressions like A.D. Now look, stop distracting me.

This stuff didn't happen all at once. The trouble started one day when St. Francis heard a voice which told him (in Italian, I think) ``Go, Francis, and repair my house, which as you see is falling into ruin.'' Being a somewhat literal-minded chap, he thought this was an order to physically repair some church buildings. To do this, he alienated his rich father and ended up collecting stones and doing the work with his own hands. Smart going. So he rebuilt some derelict old chapels in the area, including one called Santa Maria degli Angeli (Italian for `Saint Mary of the Angels'). One day while he was praying there, the voice tried again, giving him rather more detailed instructions. Nobody really knows what day this happened, so let's just say that it almost certainly happened on February 24, 1208. So he went off and started to collect disciples. By some miracle, he eventually gained approval for his new religious order from Pope Innocent III, who seems otherwise to have been preoccupied mostly with excommunicating people. He was able to leverage this spiritual venture capital: the Benedictines let him have Santa Maria degli Angeli. It reminds me of The Jackie Robinson Story (1950).

Jackie Robinson was the first black baseball player to (fill in the blank; among other things, the first to enter the Hall of Fame at Cooperstown). He grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended the University of California at Los Angeles, but that's not what I had in mind. In the movie about his life, as a little nappy-headed boy, he is given a baseball glove by a white man. But it is, you must excuse the word, a niggardly gift: the leather is broken and the man who gives it to him first pokes the padding back into the opening, so his parsimony won't be immediately obvious.

Well okay, maybe it's not such a great analogy, but the chapel the Benedictines gave Francis was no generous gift. It was on a little bit of land called porziuncula or porziuncola, meaning `little portion.' That term might as easily have described the little chapel. In fact, it did. (Also, as the place was built up over the years into a basilica and a monastery, a village grew up nearby. That place is generally known as Portiuncula, although its official name is Santa Maria degli Angeli.)

Francis eventually spent the greatest part of his life hanging out at this place. For this and reasons one may deduce from the preceding story, the place is very important to the order he founded. One of the most important dates associated with the place is August 2. I'm not going to try to explain why. It's technical, and it has something to do with canceling all your sins. No wait -- only the guilt from all your sins. Whatever, there's always a catch. Anyway, it's kind of like ethical bankruptcy: all your old moral debts are liquidated and you get a fresh start, or something like that.

In 1769, Father Juan Crespi, a Franciscan priest, was tagging along on the first European land expedition through California (led by Captain Fernando Rivera y Moncado). On August 2 that year, they came across what Crespi described in his journal as a beautiful river from the northwest. On account of the date, the river was named Nuestra Señora de Los Angeles de la Porciúncula. The settlement made on that river in 1781 was named after the river. I have read that it ``came to be known as'' El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora, Reina de los Angeles de la Porciúncula. I guess they had time to burn in those days (and heretics to spare), and could play out their toponyms to the linguistic horizon. I don't know how the queen business snuck in there, either. Anyway, the ``official'' name is supposed to have been merely El Pueblo de la Reina de los Angeles.

LA, La.
LouisianA. All-caps is the USPS abbreviation. Conventional abbreviation is La.

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

Low Alcohol. LA beer is a euphemism for what Shakespeare called ``small beer.'' An example of grammatically, lexically, and in all other respects correct usage: Henry VI, Pt. II, in Act IV, Scene ii, l. 76:
``I will make it a felony to drink small beer.''

In one election year some years back, columnist Dave Barry's presidential platform included search and destroy operations on the light-beer manufacturing infrastructure. Okay, light beer isn't LA beer. Light beer is beer with reduced carbohydrates-other-than-alcohol. Yick, as the bard would no doubt have said.

There is an aura or aroma or something about-- You know, I'm reminded of the time the gang was over at the brew pub on Main, and Adly thought his beer smelled odd. I had to ask him to remove his hand (from the mug! don't be so bloody-minded) so I could smell the beer instead of it.

Anyway, there's an atmosphere or aura of ridiculousness about small beer, a notion that it's beneath notice. In Othello, by way of expressing the ultimate in profitless activity, Iago gives ``to suckle fools and chronicle small beer.''

Lab-Animal Allergy. Normally, this refers to human allergy to lab animals, not lab animals' allergies to, say, shampoo under test.

Lanthanum Aluminate. Laser substrate material.

Labrador Retriever.

The Observer is the ``independent [student] newspaper serving Notre Dame [ND] and [adjacent] Saint Mary's [SMC]'' universities. In the issue of September 4, 1996, the first after Labor Day, it ran a feature story captioned
Saint Mary's Women in Labor

This word is not listed as a lemma among the 1048 dictionaries indexed by Onelook (as of 2008.5.18) and is not in the OED either. I think it would be a useful addition, because it has a meaning (in Spanish, which won't mind lending it) besides `workable.' It occurs in the phrase ``día laborable,'' which means `business day' or `work day.' So if we adopted the head term, the English phrase ``laborable day'' would be understood as a day on which one can work. This term replaces the ambiguity of the attributive noun work with the deceptive specificity of an adjective (you can't work on the weekend?). However, the best thing about the word laborable is that, just like a large fraction of loan words, it is essentially superfluous.

Actually, the phrase I heard growing up was usually día hábil, which has the same meaning. There are some indications that the phrase with laborable might be a bit more common in Spain, but I'm too lazy to research this important question. Judging from ghits, the hábil phrase is about 27% more common than the laborable phrase. Interestingly, the plural form días hábiles occurs on 3.25 times as many pages as its singular, while días laborables occurs on only 2.62 times as many pages as its corresponding singular. This suggests that there might be some semantic difference, but it isn't one that people seem to be conscious of. The phrase día útil (literally `useful day') and its plural each have ghits roughly equal to about 1% of those for the common phrases. It seems to have become the common term in Peru. If you don't filter for language, you get a lot of hits for dia útil, which is the standard Portuguese phrase. (Google is not fastidious about accents, which would make a sharp language distinction. Sometimes this is an inconvenience. In determining general usage, however, it's probably best to ignore accents, since a lot of writers are unfastidious as well.) In Spanish, día[s] de semana corresponds to `weekday[s].'

LaB6 -- Lanthanum hexaboride. Popular material for electron beam cathodes. Read as words, to rhyme with cab fix.

Alternate spelling of lakh, q.v.

Lacerta. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Latin America and the Caribbean. It is possible to construct a Spanish expression that aligns with this acronym -- Latinoamérica y el Caribe -- but América Latina sounds better than Latinoamérica. (It sounds better generally, but especially in this collocation.) In the adjective forms, however, Latinoaméricana and Latinoaméricano, and the corresponding plurals, are much, much preferred to constructions like Americano Latino. (Something like the latter syntax seems to work in Portuguese. Cf. OPAS and OPS.)

Liberal Arts College.

Los Angeles Community Development Bank.

Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies. A magnet school.

Los Angeles Council of Engineers and Scientists.

``The Los Angeles Council of Engineers and Scientists (LACES) and/or its antecedents was founded in 1930.'' They couldn't be more specific? ``It is a coordinating organization of technical societies and associations in the greater Los Angeles area.''

``The specific and primary purpose for which the Council is formed is to operate for educational and charitable purposes by promoting the advancement of engineering and science.''

Los Angeles County Evaluation System: An Outcomes Reporting Program. They track the ineffectiveness of rehab efforts.

Specifically, ``an evaluation program designed to examine the process and outcomes of the alcohol and other drug (AOD) programs in Los Angeles.''

Land-Attack Cruise Missile. A cruise missile for attacking a target on land from a launch platform at sea (submarine or ship). Examples include the US TLAM, PRC's DH-10 (Dong Hai-10 or East China Sea-10), and the 3000-km-range Russian SS-N-21 (submarine-launched).

Los Angeles County Museum. Formally, it's called the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. Founded in 1913, it is now one of the largest natural and cultural museums in the Western United States, it currently comprises the Natural History Museum-Exposition Park, the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits, the Petersen Automotive Museum (all on museum row) and the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall.

Los Angeles (CA) County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The main city bus operator there. Cf. LADOT.

L'Association canadienne de soccer. `Canadian Soccer Association' (CSA). A member of CONCACAF.

Locatable-Address Conversion System.


London Association of Classical Teachers. By now they could probably hold their meeting in a phone booth, if phone booths weren't ancient history.

LAser Detection And Ranging.

You want a definition? Right now? Relax already! All in good time.

Relax, two, three, four,
Relax, two, three, four,
Relax, two, three, four...

Also called Judeo-Spanish. This was the traditional language of Sephardi Jews -- Jews originating from the Sepharad (Hebrew for `Spain') after the expulsions from Spain (1492) and Portugal (1497). It served the function (secular community language) for Sephardi Jews that Yiddish served for Ashkenazi Jews.

The Ladino tradition seems to have been particularly strong in Turkey. Between 1910 and 1948, nineteen Ladino-language newspapers were published in the US by the Turkish-Jewish immigrant community. My source for this is (indirectly) an essay by Aviva Ben-Ur in Part I of Multilingual America: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Languages of American Literature, ed. Werner Sollors (NYU Pr., 1998).

In the 19th and early 20th centuries, there were nearly 400 Ladino newspapers in Turkey. I'm not sure how many were simultaneous, or how name changes are taken into account. My source for this is (indirectly) the essay of Stanford professor Aron Rodrigue, ``The Ottoman Diaspora,'' in Cultures of the Jews, ed. David Biale.)

Ladino newspapers are treated as some sort of distant historical phenomenon, but I know that in Israel you could still buy a Ladino newspaper off the newsstand in the late 1970's. My source for this is my parents, who brought back a copy. Traditionally, Ladino was written in Hebrew characters, but this paper was printed in Roman characters. I suspect that this was a side-effect of Kemal Ataturk's reforms. The main systematic difference between the orthography of that Roman-character Ladino and that of ordinary Spanish was the use of the letter k where Spanish normally uses qu or c. There was serialized romance novel on the inside pages, and I don't remember much else. The language isn't much harder to understand than that of Cervantes. In Jerusalem in 1989 I chatted in Spanish with a Ladino-speaking bus driver. In 1987, when I attended the Hot Electrons Conference in Boston, a woman outside the conference hotel asked me for directions (people always ask disoriented visitors for directions). At first I didn't realize she was speaking Spanish, and even after I realized it her speech was a challenge. When I went back into the hotel I told Bob ``man, that woman's Spanish was strange!'' He replied that maybe my Spanish sounded just as strange to her. Bob obviously didn't speak Spanish, but perhaps this expressed a certain sympathetic perspective. A couple of years later he married a Hispanic woman. Anyway, Ladino isn't as strange as some Mexican dialects.

Los Angeles (CA) Department Of Transportation. Operates suburban and some other buses there. Cf. LACMTA.

Lady Bird
``Ladybird'' is a synonym of ``ladybug.'' In my experience, the ``bug'' version is much more common in the US, though evidence in the next paragraph suggests that the ``bird'' version has been used in southeastern Texas. I understand that this zoologically odd version is common in the UK, but it's not a topic I feel compelled to research, because this article is about the given name ``Lady Bird.''

Lyndon Baines Johnson, one of the most effective majority leaders in the history of the US Senate, married a woman known as Lady Bird. She was actually born Claudia Alta Taylor, but her nurse's comment that she was as ``purty as a ladybird'' led to her being called ``Lady Bird,'' ``Lady'' and ``Bird.'' She used ``Bird'' on her marriage license, but eventually she, her husband, and their children (daughters Lynda and Lucy) all had the initials LBJ. Lyndon was presidential candidate John Kennedy's running mate in the 1960 elections, the ticket won, and now I'm finally done writing the well-known and due-diligence stuff.

The only reason I put this entry here was so that I could draw attention to some relevant comments of Jessica Mitford. She was born in England on September 11, 1917, and emigrated to the US in 1939 with her first husband. The comments are in an article that by now is surely obscure. [Details about the article (``You-All and Non-You-All'') can be found in the U and non-U entry.] The most relevant information is that the article was written for and published in the American magazine Esquire in May 1962.

The prejudice Northerners feel towards Southerners is roughly parallel to that felt by English people towards Americans, and is compounded of many of the same ingredients--a thoroughgoing dislike of their public policies, contempt for their level of education and culture, and a sort of instinctive recoil at the sound of the accent--larded in both cases, it must be said, with a thick layer of that particular form of snobbishness that sneers at the provincial. It is distasteful to the Northerner that a human being should have the given name of Lady Bird; it grates on the Northern ear to hear an educated person say ``sumpn'' and ``prolly,'' or speak of a ``mess of fried chicken'' pronounced ``maiss of [sic] frad chickn.''

For more about names associated with Jessica Mitford, see the Jessica Mitford entry.

The Yiddish word for ladybug was once, in New York City's garment district, the common jargon for a polka-dot dress. So I read, long ago, but the Yiddish for ladybug is not compact; it's the Hebrew phrase meaning something like ``our rabbi Moses's little cow [or horse].'' This sounds even more absurd than the English ``ladybird.'' I'll try to investigate it further.

Lithuanian Academy of Esthetic Dentistry.

Lebanese Armed Forces. It's not just funny; it's a joke.

Latin American Free Trade Association. What's so funny?

Landscape Archaeology Group. In Athens. The Athens in Greece (.gr).

Lanthanum Gallate. Laser substrate material.

Linguistics Association of Great Britain.

Louisiana Academy of General Dentistry. A constituent of the AGD.

LAser GEOdynamic Satellite.

Lagrange point
A solution to the restricted 3-body problem where all the bodies are greatly different in size (e.g. Sun, planet, space probe or asteroid). If the planet is in a circular orbit around the sun, defining a rotating frame of reference, then there are exactly 5 points where the probe can be located so that it will stay in a fixed position in that frame. These are known as L1 through L5.

L1 through L3 are in the same straight line with the Sun and the planet, the order being L2 - planet - L1 - sun - L3. L3 through L5 are in the same circular orbit as the planet; they form an equilateral triangle with each other, and L4 and L5 each form an equilateral triangle with Sun and planet. Only L4 and L5 are stable against perturbations by other bodies; several asteroids, called the Trojan asteroids, orbit near the Sun-Jupiter L4 and L5 points, and Saturn has small satellites at its L4 and L5 points with some of its larger satellites.

L1: The Sun-Earth L1 point is about 1,000,000 miles from the Earth in the direction toward the Sun. A halo orbit around this point is useful for space probes.

L2: The Sun-Earth L2 point is about 1,000,000 miles from the Earth in the direction away from the Sun.

L3: The Sun-Earth L3 point is in the Earth's orbit exactly halfway around. A useful place if you have a spaceship that you want to keep hidden a mere 185 million miles from Earth. A few science fiction movies have been based on the idea of a Doppelgänger of the earth being hidden at the L3 point. Such a body would not satisfy the requirement of being much less massive than the earth, but it is evident by symmetry that there would be a stable orbit there. Alternatively, one can reason that the requirement is only that the third body exert a negligible force on the second, and in the case of L3 this is satisfied by the distance. Currently, of course, we can compute the celestial mechanics of the solar system to sufficient accuracy that any body approaching the mass of the earth would have been detected from its effect on the orbits of Venus (or Mars) as it passed (or was passed) by it.

L4: The Sun-Earth L4 point is in the Earth's orbit, moving ahead of the Earth, one-sixth of the way around.

L5: The Sun-Earth L5 point is in the Earth's orbit, moving behind the Earth, one-sixth of the way around. The Earth-Moon L5 point has been proposed as a location for a colony in space.

Large Aircraft InfraRed CounterMeasures. A program of the US Air Force. Examples of use: ``LAIRCM utilizes small laser transmitter assemblies to help protect Boeing [BA] C-17 and Lockheed Martin C-130 transport aircraft.'' ``The US Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $13 million contract to install LAIRCM aboard seven C-130 transports.''

Hindi word for 100,000 commonly used in Indian English. One standard use is in expressing quantities of rupees, and this is reflected in comma placement: five million rupees is written ``Rs. 50,00,000.''

Library Administration and Management Association. A division of the ALA.

[Phone icon]

Local Automatic (telephone) Message Accounting.

(Project for the determination of) Large-scale Atmospheric Moisture Balance of Amazonia using Data Assimilation (GEWEX-GCIP).

All I want to know is, was this dreamed up before the dance?

Laser-Assisted Molecular Beam Deposition.


LAMBDA Classical Caucus. A SIG (not what they'd call it) of the APA concerned with ``gender minorities.'' Formerly known as the LGBCC. You know, with the new improved meaning of ``gender,'' males are a gender minority.

The mailing list classicslgb was superseded in fall 2000 by a mailing list also called lambdacc. ``[L]ambdacc is an e-mail discussion group for those interested in the interaction between queer studies/theory, gender studies/theory, and Classics. Only subscribers can post, and the list of subscribers is kept confidential.'' You can browse its hypertext archives or subscribe by writing to majordomo@runner.utsa.edu with the message "subscribe lambdacc" in the body (no quotation marks). To contribute, send a message to <lambdacc@runner.utsa.edu>. Subscribers who wish to remain anonymous should write to: <lambanon@lonestar.utsa.edu>.

Language Infelicity Awareness Month. October.

October is also National Disability Employment Awareness Month and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the US. One almost has the flattering sense that one's attention is being competed for. To celebrate (if that's the term) these months (or is it month?), many local organizations organize ``awareness luncheons'' -- usually early in the month(s?), sometimes coinciding with Columbus Days. It's been going on for years, although I'd never been awa-- I mean, I hadn't noticed. But I noticed this year. This morning a radio host interviewed a couple of organizers for the local annual Disability Awareness Luncheon. I wanted to call in and advise, ``Don't wear your Sunday best!'' Later this morning, I saw a bumper sticker that said ``Children Are A Gift From God.'' I happen to know some parents of teenagers and of two-year-olds who would disagree. (I mean the parents would disagree. The others would be disagreeable as a matter of course.) But that wasn't what I thought when I saw the bumper sticker. I thought: ``If children are a gift from God, why does He give these gifts to so many people who violate His sacred laws against fornication, eh? What's the logic here, some kind of reverse psychology? I'm not sure I `get' the parable of the workers in the field either.'' Alas, the bumper sticker didn't bear further analysis. (I mean, there wasn't any further analysis included on it. Okay, maybe I mean it the other way too.)

And this year (2006), Columbus Day is observed on Monday, October 9. In the US. In Canada, that day is Thanksgiving. You know, I could be doing something useful with my time. Not this.

BTW, I just googled ``Language Infelicity Awareness Month,'' and it seems to be something I invented myself. I figured you'd want to know.

LAser Microprobe Mass Analysis.

Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP.

Light Airborne MultiPurpose (military) System. This might mean `helicopter.'

IATA code for Capital City Airport in LANsing, MI.

Local Area Network. A data transmission network connecting machines in a single building or work installation, typically -- say net covers to 1 km radius, Mbps data rates, single owner. Visit the FAQ.

A propos of nothing, the editor writes

If you aspire to greater LAN's, you can become an MCNE.

Sure, I'll do that tomorrow afternoon.

Laboratoire d'Analyse Cognitive de L'Information. I don't think I want to translate that, but the following should make things clear enough: ``Le LANCI est un laboratoire de recherches en sciences cognitives.'' It's at UQÀM, which has too many philosophers.

Local Area Network (LAN) Emulation. (Also ``LE.'')

lane splitting
Riding a bike between parallel lanes of four-or-more-wheeled traffic moving in the same direction (i.e., straddling a white line). It's legal in some US states.

Having, communicating in, or using the same language. The terms language-concordant and language-discordant are common terms in the study of language contact. The terms are not meant to imply that discord in the ordinary sense is present or absent.

Not having, communicating in, or using the same language. See language-concordant.

Los Alamos National Laboratory. Near Santa Fe, NM. Their e-print archive is at http://xxx.lanl.gov/.

LANd SATellite. I'd like to tell you that a LANSAT is a special kind of satellite that goes whizzing around the earth in a sea-level orbit, bumping along the land where there is any, and skipping over the oceans like a smooth flat pebble. Indeed, I just did. Unfortunately, the truth is less interesting. A LANSAT is a satellite in a somewhat higher, extra-atmospheric orbit, that collects data on terrestrial weather, crop density and the like.

  1. (v. tr.) When the course of a race is a number of traversals (``laps'') of a closed circuit (``track''), one racer is said to lap another when he, she, or it passes the other by completing a whole number of extra laps more than the other.
  2. (v.) To wash over in waves. Ocean waves and kelp lap the shore. Similarly, in semiconductor fabrication, lapping is the very gentle polishing that consists of washing in a mildly abrasive solution or suspension. Lapping compounds are described on this page.
  3. (v.) To lick the liquid from a wet surface.

Link Access {Protocol|Procedure}--Balanced.

Link Access {Procedure|Protocol} D.

Los Angeles Police Department. The City of Los Angeles is in the County of Los Angeles in the state of California. LAPD typically refers to the county police.

LAN Adapter and Protocol Support (program).

You can make your laptop smell like a cup of hot chocolate by the simple expedient of placing it on top of a chocolate bar for a few minutes. Be sure to unwrap the bar first.

Okay, if you've read this far, you've got too much time, so I'll just blather on. My old laptop died and needs to be replaced. Technically, perhaps, maybe it only failed to resurrect. I had developed a number of increasingly bizarre resuscitation tricks to keep it going for 7 or 8 months after the computer repair place charged me $40 to report that they couldn't even get it started. When these tricks finally stopped working I opened it up and didn't find the mechanical or heat-sink problem I hoped was the trouble, and I never reassembled it. It's kind of weird, like doing an autopsy to make certain the patient is dead. If a patient dies on the operating table, do they always sew him (or her, or perhaps it's ``the operand'') up? Do they stuff the organs back in haphazardly? I suppose if I'd closed up the laptop it might have worked again. Machinery often exhibits that kind of magic: open it, look inside, poke around, give it a good scare, close it, and it works. But it was such a tricky hassle to open it that I had to balance the possibility of a miraculous recovery after a tedious and exacting reassembly against the prospect of having to open it up again to retrieve the hard drive. Gary had a similar experience. You wonder if making the laptop cases unnecessarily intricate to open isn't part of the marketing strategy, something like programmed obsolescence. Considering that the profit in printers is in the ink-cartridge refills, or that Kodak used to sell its cameras at a loss to profit on film development (so I've heard), the idea doesn't seem impossibly devious.)

Linearized Augmented Plane Wave (APW) (Method).

Low-Angle Ribbon growth.

large green men
The Jolly Green Giant, and his cousins Melancholy Emerald, Morose Navy, Maudlin Midori, and Olive Drab -- the Meganthropus brothers.

LARP, larp
Live-Action Role-Playing. Describes games that are like D&D, with the small difference that instead of sitting around a table describing things, players run around and do them. Fighting is sometimes the exception: it's still done with dice-based rules. By wimps. Real fighting may be done with rubber props. Sounds like lasertron for the thoughtful.

Reportedly a ``huge logistical hassle'' for the dungeon master.

You know, this idea could be extended to many activities that are now experienced virtually. For example, addictive computer solitaire games could be played in nonvirtual space (a whole universe parallel to the internet; quaintly and incorrectly known as ``the real world''). This is a bit impractical, but it could be done with perseverance and playing pieces made of card. Some of the computer interactivity could be simulated by changing the rules and installing analog devices known as other people. Just a thought.

IATA code for McCarran International Airport, which serves LAS Vegas, NV.

Libraries Automation Service. This would probably be in Britain, given the plural-form attributive noun. Sure enow, there's one at Oxford.

Light-Activated SCR.

Laboratory Animal Science Association.

Latin American Student Association.

Latin American Studies Association. ``[T]he largest professional Association in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America.''

Read Don Quixote first; it explains everything.

Large Aperture Seismic Array.

Latin American Studies Association, founded 1966. A constituent society of the ACLS since 1990. ACLS has an overview.

``The Latin American Studies Association (LASA) is the largest professional Association in the world for individuals and institutions engaged in the study of Latin America. With over 4,800 members, twenty-five percent of whom reside outside the United States, LASA is the one Association that brings together experts on Latin America from all disciplines and diverse occupational endeavors, across the globe.''

Here's something unusual: a LASA International Congress is held every eighteen months. It's not so they can hold it in the same season in alternating hemispheres, though. Recent meetings:

  1. Washington, DC -- Spring 1991 (April 4-6)
  2. Los Angeles, CA -- fall 1992
  3. Atlanta, GA -- Spring 1994 (March 10-12)
  4. Washington, DC -- fall 1995 (September 29-October 1)
  5. Guadalajara, Mexico -- Spring 1997 (April 17-19)
  6. Chicago, IL -- fall 1998 (September 24-26)
  7. Miami, FL -- Spring 2000 (March 16-18)

In the keynote address to OutWrite '95, the playwright Tony Kushner said
It is something between a pie and a mélange; there are membranes but they are permeable, the layers must maintain their integrity and yet they exist in an exciting dialectic tension to the molten oozy cheesy oily juices which they separate, the goo must almost but not completely successfully threaten the always-discernible-yet-imperiled imposed order.

The speech was published as the essay on pretentiousness, in Taking Liberties: Gay Men's Essays on Politics, Culture and Sex, ed. Michael Bronski (NYC: Richard Kasak Bks., 1996).

I bought Heavenly Bodies: Remembering Hollywood and Fashion's Favorite AIDS Benefit off the dollar table, figuring it would at least have some revealing décolletage, some sexy cleavage. But no, the entire book was one big bust. A decade of shows; ten chapters for ten featured designers, more or less. Chapter 7 was ``Calvin Klein -- Beige, Booze, Babes, and Boys in the Bowl.'' The facing page shows models looking more unattractive than you could have imagined it possible for beautiful women to look in transparent fashions. A kind of negative achievement. They also look appropriately somber, which I guess is one of the things you have to get down pat before you can graduate with a Bachelorette of Modeling (that's what you earn at beauty college, right?). The picture bears the following CK quote:

It's important that we use only arugula lettuce in the salad and no tomatoes! The salad has to match the chicken, the pasta, and the table linens!

I don't know about you, but I think I see the outlines of an aesthetic philosophy emerging here, and it's not to my taste. Chapter 8 is ``Isaac Mizrahi -- Le Miz at the Chinese Theater.'' If the author's French wasn't any better than mine, then perhaps ``Le Miz'' was supposed to be pronounced like ``lay me'' in English. If so the pun was doubtless inadvertent, since it is tasteless. Instead, the pun is on Les Mis, popular abbreviation for Les Misérables, a hit musical based on Victor Hugo's novel of the same name. Anyway, the designer quotes in that chapter of the miserable Heavenly Bodies book begin with this:

Fashion is about women not wanting to look like cows -- although cows are kind of charming, aren't they?

Why buy the cow when you can get the mozarella at a reasonable price?

Alternate form of Latin laser, q.v.

Laser Applications in Science Education. It's the modern way of penetrating thick skulls that doesn't cause as much unsightly scarring as traditional methods?

This was a link to related instructional material from Virginia Tech, but now it's gone 404 and we'll never know. (Virginia Tech's Chemistry Department developed some nice introductory materials for optics and spectroscopy, which it made available on-line in the 1990's. These were eventually removed from the VT site, with forwarding links to SciMedia (now autoforwarding to SciMedia, Ltd.), which has scaled back on positive externalities. They now feature links to things they sell, with English pages badly or very incompletely translated.)

Limited-Area Search Engine.

Argos, a resource for the ancient and medieval worlds which went online on October 3, 1996, billed itself as ``the first peer-reviewed, limited area search engine (LASE) on the World-Wide Web.'' Effective February 6th, 2003, Argos was taken offline. Insufficient funding for regular upkeep and maintenance was cited as the cause. Some of the people who contributed reviews were mighty nonplussed not to have been informed of the service suspension.

Latin for the juice of the laserpitium, a plant now better known as silphium, a Latin transliteration (genitive singular silphii) from the Greek sílphion. Laser was prized in antiquity for its healing and abortifacient properties. The word laser (gen. sing. laseris) was also used metonymically for the plant itself. The OED reports an English pronunciation for this word that is identical with that of the modern laser, except that the sibilant is unvoiced. A single ess in a Latin word is normally voiced in English, but off hand I can't find any other dictionaries that even list the old word, let alone contradict the OED pronunciation.

LASER, laser
Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. [Verb to lase by back-formation.] Alternatively: Looking At Source Erases Retina.

Here's some instructional material from Virginia Tech. Here's Laser Focus World.

One spelling of the word leisure in Middle English and Scottish. Here's an example at line 36 of a pleasant little romance called The Siege of Ierusalem:
For in a liter he lay, laser at Rome

This describes Vespasian, who lay in a litter at Rome, suffering from an infestation of wasps (wasp is vespa in Latin) in his nose. The word laser, though it clearly means `leisure,' seems like a bit of a semantic stretch in this particular instance, but this is one of the classics of alliterative poetry, and the unknown author wanted a word beginning in el. The poem dates from the late fourteenth century and has been argued to be of ``extreme West Yorkshire provenance.'' (I'm not sure whether extreme here modifies West, but FWIW, West Yorkshire is the area of Leeds in northern England, a few counties south of Scotland.) Because this is Middle English, it is well likely that some manuscripts used different spellings of the word in question. I haven't looked at a scholarly edition, so I don't know what other spellings were used.

The OED2 lists laser as 14-16th century Scottish spelling, and examples John Barbour's The Bruce, dating from 1375 or a little bit later. It's another romance, a nonchalant fraud in simple masculine rhyme (The Archedene off Abbyrdene / In Brwyss his Buk has gert be sene), and it could suffer no better-deserved fate than to be butchered for television. At xx. 234 it reads

Gif God will me gif Laser and space so lange till liff.

(No, I don't know what was to be done or by whom, if God gave him time and space. Do yer ain reseerch.)

The German word Leser means `reader' (from the verb lesen, `to read'). A letter to the editor is a Leserbrief (lit. `reader letter'). Leser is pronounced like the English word laser, except that the final arr is audible more to the mind than the ear (roughly: ``layz-ah,'' but that ``ah'' is between English ah and eh). Also, the first vowel is a lengthened (I mean extended-duration) short e (/e:/) rather than the ``long a'' diphthong of English. (Look, if you have any trouble with this, just imagine California Governator Ahnuld Shvahtsenaygah saying ``laser.'')

The word laser has been borrowed from English into German, and as is typical with such loans in German, one is simply supposed to recognize the word as foreign and pronounce it in an approximation of the original English pronunciation. That approximation is in fact the German pronunciation of the German word Leser. However, some ignorant persons know no better and pronounce laser according to the standard rules of German orthography, so it comes out roughly as ``lahz-ah.'' The Duden Deutsches Universalwörterbuch actually offers this as an alternate pronunciation. When Wolf left Austria 20 years ago, this alternate pronunciation was ignorant and decidedly incorrect, but who knows now?

laser diode
The prima donna diva of the diode world. Gets a heart attack if you look at her funny or exceed her rated forward current for a nanosecond.

Los Angeles Scientifiction Fans' Amateur Press Association. Started by H. J. N. Andruschak during one of his periods of disillusionment with the APA-L, so I've heard.

LASIK, lasik
Laser-ASsisted In-situ Keratomileusis. ``Flap and Zap.'' 15-minute out-patient procedure; ca. $2500 per eye; 70% of patients have vision corrected to 20/20, 10-15% need second operation, 1-5% have complications. Corrects astigmatism as well as near- and far-sightedness. Standard trade-off: vision is dimmer and contrast is weaker. This is still for those who care more about how they look than how they see.

The procedure consists of cutting a flap in the epithelium (protective outer covering of the cornea) with a fine knife called a microkeratome, then reshaping the interior of the cornea by ablating the exposed surface with an excimer laser. The released flap rebonds and heals quickly after the operation. (One of the failure modes of the procedure is if the flap doesn't flip back into the right position and heals off-center. A rarer failure mode is that it doesn't heal.)

Lasik is a development from photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), in which the epithelium was removed and healed, but painfully. That in turn was an improvement on radial keratotomy (RK), which used mechanical surgery. In principle, LASIK should be better than PRK. For a variety of practical reasons, it's still a tough call between PRK and LASIK.

Excimer lasers specialized for eye surgery were developed by Summit Technology. This company and VISX are the dominant suppliers of lasers for eye-surgery applications in the US.

Most websites on lasik are those of individual practitioners or ophthalmology practices. Visit PRK and LASIK Today instead.

Laboratory for Astronomy and Solar Physics of NASA's GSFC.

Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, and Gallium Arsenide
Two movie stars and a dog. (I first heard this one in about 1986; it was used by a speaker at a compound semiconductors conference in Hawaii.) The Spring 1995 special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly was devoted to ``Mathematics, Science, and Postclassical Theory.''

Local Area Storage Transport. A DEC protocol.


Latin, Latinate. Newton wrote in Latin. Look at item ``11'' here. [His personal library was about equal parts Latin and English, and he spoke extemporaneously in Latin. Most of his scientific publication was in Latin; he did assist others who translated some of his works into English. Interestingly, writing late in the seventeenth century, he preferred the medieval style of Latin; during the Renaissance, there had been a general return to the Latin of Rome's golden age (``classical Latin'').] Kepler, for example, had an admirably classical style.

Even today, many papers are written in Latinate.

I can't seem to decide what entry to favor with information. Check out the L. and Latin entries.

There are a lot of Latin learning materials on the web. See, for example, ``Latin Teaching Materials at Saint Louis University.''

Latinteach is an email discussion group for Latin teachers. The website has a variety of resources for teachers and students. There's also a Latinteach WebRing.

I've noticed that girls named Virginia are at a substantially increased risk of growing up to become Latin teachers.


Local Area Transport. LAT is a protocol for connections to DEC hosts, just as TN3270 is a protocol for connections to IBM hosts, and TCP is a nonproprietary protocol used for most other hosts. Please ignore the use of the present tense in this and similar entries. This glossary is aging.

Los Angeles Times.

Local Access and Transport Area. A subdivision of the region served by an RBOC. Intra-LATA calls include those that may or may not pay an individual toll, depending on the calling plan chosen by a subscriber. Inter-LATA calls, though they may connect subscribers within the same RBOC, are serviced by the ``long-distance carrier'' (IXC) chosen by the calling party.

To become or make late.

La Tène
A district at the east end of Switzerland's Lake Neuchâtel. In excavations conducted there starting in the middle of the nineteenth century, archaeological remains were found of a culture that flourished around the third century B.C. The place name is used to refer to that culture, described as the second Iron Age of central and western Europe, which evolved somewhat independently of the growing Roman civilization in the south.

The words tène (`shallow') and ténevière (`submerged hillock') are colloquial terms used by the fishermen of Lake Neuchâtel. Eduoard Desor, in his Les Palafittes: ou, Constructions Lacustres du Lac de Neuchâtel (1865), p. 77, derives them (sans doute) from the Latin tenuis. This is plausible and even probable, but he triggers a thought by noting that the German word is dünn. The German word and its English cognate thin are generally regarded as independent derivations from Indo-European; it seems possible that tène has an old west Germanic derivation.

Contemporary Greek and Roman writers referred to La Tène culture as Celtic or (equivalently) Gaulish. We have no direct evidence for their language, and modern writers like to stress that language, culture, and descent may not be correlated.

The manifestation of La Tène influence.

A blend: LATENt-image iNTENSIFICATION. Latent images on photographic film (silver iodide technology -- remember that?) can be accomplished in the darkroom (a memory from the dark ages of, um, analogue photography) by chemical treatment or by exposure to low-level light.

Large-Angle Tilted Implant.

Large-Angle Tilt[ed] Implant Device.


There's an on-line Latin Grammar workbook, a ``Study Guide to Wheelock Latin'' by Dale A. Grote, UNC/Charlotte (based on the vastly superseded fourth edition of Wheelock).

George Mason University (GMU) is developing a hypertext library of Latin texts.

There are a number of ongoing on-line Latin study groups. One with a very good reputation is LatinStudy. The GROUP LATIN STUDY list keeps track of the activities of all the on-line Latin study groups. For subscription and other information, see the Group Latin Study List FAQ kept by Diane Cooper.

There seems to be a burgeoning interest in Latin in the schools, and a corresponding shortage of Latin teachers.

For beginners, we give a flavor of Latin declensions at the A.M. entry. For the more advanced, we serve a Latin crossword puzzle here.

You can read the news in Latin from Finland.

Of course, if you really know no Latin at all, the place where you want to start, and which will give you an idea of the power, imagination, and utility of the Roman tongue, is this limited sampling of Latin dirty words.

Latin American Speaks, A
I decided to create an entry for the book with this title because of its title. When it caught my eye in the stacks, my immediate thought was ``does he ever!'' The author is (or was -- the book was published in 1943) Luis Quintanilla, and some of the chapters have interesting titles. The library has two copies, and I was about to write that it looks like a prime candidate for deaccessioning, but it's actually mildly engaging, like naive art.

Here are the last two paragraphs (pp. 36-37) of chapter II, ``South of the Border'':

  However, it is in the field of music that we take the cake. Cuba's ``Peanut Vender'' [sic] precipitated the avalanche. The United States has been simply swept off its feet by the tempo and melody of our popular music. Rumbas, congas, and sambas have tended to displace the long popular American jazz. From tango through rumba to conga, Latin America has conquered the United States. The delicate Mexican songs have completed this subtle annexation of our powerful industrial neighbor. Mexican songs have been so warmly received that they are in danger [heaven forfend!] of becoming naturalized. [Talk radio will save us!] Not only sentimental old-timers like ``La Golondrina,'' ``La Paloma,'' ``Cielito Lindo,'' ``Borrachita,'' ``Estrellita,'' and ``Sobre las Olas'' (Over the Waves), but also the more spirited ``Cucaracha,'' ``Rancho Grande,'' ``Perfidia,'' ``Frenesí,'' ``Cuatro Vidas,'' and a dozen other popular ``hits'' can be heard at almost any hour in the U.S.A. at the turn of a radio dial.''
  Gringos knew they had hands and legs and brains. They were quite efficient at expressing their feelings with their feet--e.g., tap dancing--but there was one thing they ignored until the devilish maracas and sonajas started beating their jungle rhythm: and that was the flexibility of the hips and their magic power of expression. And all this fundamental change in the ``American way of moving'' has occurred only after dancing tangos, congas, and rumbas. Amigos gringos! Wait until you become acquainted with the pericón of Argentina and Uruguay, the Chilean cuecas, the marinera of Peru, the bambuco of Colombia.

I'm reminded that in 1963, when my mother started working as a research librarian at Allied Chemical, she was criticized by her library colleagues for the provocative, exaggerated way she swayed her hips when she walked. (We had just emigrated from Argentina, home of the tango -- which, if I may say so, does not really emphasize hip movement.)

In the block quote above, the only deviation from the italicization of the original is the emphasis I added to ``fundamental.'' Back around 1988, Carlo Jacoboni told me a story about a paper his group (in Modena, Italy) had submitted to an American or other English-language scientific journal. With the reviewer report came a suggestion that they look up the word fundament (which they had used) in a dictionary. It turns out that an important sense of the word -- the principal sense, to some people -- is, as the 1913 Webster's puts it, ``[t]he part of the body on which one sits; the buttocks; specifically (Anat.), the anus.''

latin characters
``West Side Story'' (a 1957 production of ``Romeo and Juliet'') used many.


Latin honors
A term for the special-recognition designations applied to some graduation degrees: summa cum laude, magna cum laude, or cum laude. These are generally explained or translated as `with highest honors,' `with high honors,' and `with honors,' resp. In the US, the awarding of Latin honors (or honors, I guess, if they're specified in English) is common only for undergraduate degrees. I imagine that this American collegiate use of Latin is less confusing than the American collegiate use of Greek.


Latin humor
One of the few disadvantages of scattering information almost at random in this glossary is that I can't always find it when I want to link to it. Hence, this particular entry is not so much under construction as waiting for construction material to be relocated. I'll be putting stuff in as it comes to me.

  1. But first, let's get this one over with:
    ``Semper ubi sub ubi'' is a timeworn Latin students' joke (the joke, not necessarily the student telling it, is timeworn).
  2. When the College of Cardinals met to elect a successor to Pope John Paul II, Father Reginald Foster got a lot of press coverage. ``Father Foster'' already sounds like a punch line, but I'm not planning to give him a nomen est omen subentry. Father Foster is a Latin teacher at ``the Greg'' or, as all those unhip reporters called it, ``Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.''
    Forty years earlier, in 1965, the Second Vatican Council had decided to switch the language of mass from the traditional Latin to the local vernacular. Latin is no longer the local vernacular anywhere, so that was mostly the end of Latin mass. [Actually, upon request a number of congregations have been authorized to use the old Tridentine mass, but not that many when you consider that it was once catholic, errr, universal. During the papacy of John Paul II, the rate at which such authorizations were granted ticked up a notch. In addition, a number of independent churches or groups of churches separated from the Roman Catholic mainstream because they opposed one or more of the Vatican II innovations. (The same thing happened after the first Vatican Council in 1870.) Probably most of these schismatic churches continue to use the Latin mass.]
    Despite the change, however, the age of all but the youngest cardinals meant that for years they had said Latin prayers at daily mass. Apparently that wasn't enough to develop conversational ability. Father Foster clucked to the press: ``I joke with cardinals in Latin ... and most don't laugh.'' (Maybe his jokes aren't really all that funny.) ``Some say they have no idea what I'm saying.'' (Maybe it's his accent?) Foster did mention that Cardinal Joe Ratzinger (yeah, yeah -- baptizatus Ioseph Aloisius Ratzinger) was one of the few who really knew his Latin. In the event, Joe got elected Pope, taking the name Benedictus XVI.
  3. Henry Beard (Henricus Barbatus) is the author of Latin for All Occasions: Lingua Latina Occasionibus Omnibus (1990) and its sequel X-treme Latin (2004). I particularly enjoyed ```Syntaxis Utilis,'' which illustrated some of the less straightforward verb conjugations, basing its paradigm on the reflexive of ``f***.'' (We are family-friendly here, but for a moment we will be family unfriendly in German and Serbo-Croatian. The reflexive form in those languages would be sich ficken and jegidse.) Of course, compared to Catullus, this is pretty mild stuff.
    Most of the humor in Beard's books is, so to speak, what is gained in translation. The gravitas of Latin lends an air of absurdity to statements that are not funny in English. A similar if milder effect can be achieved in English by using an inappropriate linguistic register. (E.g.:``I would be simply delighted to irrumate you brutally.'')
    Henry Beard was the invited speaker at a CAAS meeting I attended in April 2001. The reception was warm, but his jokes didn't draw big laughs. It occurred to me eventually that for Latin teachers, his mots lacked the entertaining alien-ness that Latin has for others.
  4. Rose Williams has written a number of little books in a spirit similar to those of Beard: The Labors of Aeneas: What a Pain It Was to Found the Roman Race (2003) is her faithful but light-hearted retelling of Virgil's Aeneid. It follows Once upon the Tiber: An Offbeat History of Rome (2002). Her Going to Hades Is Easy: Facilis Descensus Averno (2000) has the subsubtitle Witty Latin Sayings by Wise Romans. Williams's Latin Quips at Your Fingertips (2001) is a collection of 200 quotes of ancient Romans, with translations. In 1999 she and Lesley O'Mara co-edited Which Way to the Vomitorium: Vernacular Latin for All Occasions. (I wonder if it's a coincidence that the Facilis Descensus book is currently in paperback from a small press called Michael O'Mara Books.) Rose Williams has also written books in a more serious and sometimes inspirational tone, such as Cicero the Patriot (2005). Alright! Enough already! Write something long and don't come back for another six months at least!
  5. I think it was Eugene Ehrlich who kicked off the genre cultivated by Rose Williams and Henry Beard with a couple of books of common (well, once common) and useful Latin phrases called Amo, Amas, Amat and More (1990 or earlier, with an introduction by WFB) and Veni, Vidi, Vici: Conquer Your Enemies, Impress Your Friends with Everyday Latin.
  6. There's something at the G & R entry, but it's not really amusing enough to be worth following the link.
  7. See the NFFNSNC entry for dead-language jokes about the dead.
  8. Peccavi.
  9. ``Use pure, clear, simple, concise Anglo-Saxon; avoid Latin derivatives'' is also a joke. Well, it's funny, anyway. Okay, how about ``gently amusing''?


An old Latin mailing list, now defunct. There is another list (fairly active, as of 2007) called latinteach, mostly for teachers of Latin to discuss teaching methods.


Latin school texts
Latin has been around awhile, so there are quite a few of these. It's worth noting too, for a very long time Latin (and to a lesser degree Greek) were the only foreign languages widely taught to schoolchildren in a formal manner. (I mean widely taught in the western world, but that's the main place where any foreign languages were taught. By ``schoolchildren'' I mean schoolboys; that's how it was.) The idea was that modern languages could be picked up by travel or unstructured reading.

We've been putting information about Latin textbooks and readers into the glossary in a haphazard but generally alphabetical manner. Following are the ones I have tracked down. The symbols [G] and [R] refer to grammar-intensive and readings-based approaches, respectively.

  1. Cambridge [England] Latin Course [R]. See CLC.
  2. Ecce Romani [R].
  3. Latin For Americans [G]. See LFA.
  4. Lingua Latina by Hans Oerberg [R]. See LL.
  5. Oxford Latin Course [R]. See OLC.
  6. Wheelock [G]. No entry yet, but see LFA.

In addition to these, there are various textbooks in something close to the original sense of the word: books of texts to be read (for practice more than, or at least as much as, content). These are especially useful to supplement the textbooks that focus on grammar. They generally fall into two categories: books of texts all appropriate for some given level of (sub-fluent) proficiency in the language, and graded readers. Graded readers have texts or stories that are progressively more demanding, and they are often keyed to some teaching text.

In no particular order:


Latin texts online
Texts can be found in the original Latin at By a strange coincidence, Latin encoded in ASCII characters is recognizable.

Latin wrestling
I'm sure many students have believed they were wrestling with Latin, but I'd never seen this collocation written out before. Perhaps it's just me; many people seeing the phrase might think of Roberto Durán, Julio César Chávez, or Alexis Arguello, but they're all boxers. On the back it said ``PIN TO WIN,'' so this wrestling isn't as exotic as it might be. I asked the woman who was wearing the sweat shirt, ``which `Boys' Latin'?'' She said ``Baltimore.''

This reminds me of the Hebrew characters I saw stenciled on someone's laptop -- pn styyt. I figured it was Yiddish, particularly on account of the double yud. It turned out to be Hebrew for Penn State. (The guy told me it was Modern Hebrew, but that would seem to go without saying.)

La Tour de France
Are you illiterate or just blind? Tour is male, all male, 100% male. I don't see any skirt-friendly girly bikes there. Maybe you want...

In the French wine taxonomical system (known as appellation contrôlée), this is a ``suffix'' -- a kind of species of the Côtes du Roussillon-Villages genus. With few exceptions (another, with better cause, is Caramany), such species distinctions are not indicated on the label. According to Jancis Robinson, Latour-de-France ``may have been accorded this distinction less because of the superior quality of the wine than because the name had been successfully promoted to the French wine consumer by wine merchants Nicolas, who once bought the majority of the production.'' I'm not convinced yet; let's have another étape.

Long-Acting Thyroid Stimulating hormone. ``Long-acting'' -- I know it sounds like a marketer came up with the name, but it's standard medicalese.

Lambda Alpha Upsilon. Stands for Latino America Unida (`Latin America United').

Local-Area Underwater Navigation System. Rhymes with ``lawns.''

Laser-Assisted UvuloPlasty. A surgical treatment used for snoring that is occasionally effective for sleep apnea. Cf. UvuloPalatoPlasty (UPP).

Uvula? I'll look it up later.

Los Angeles Unified School District.

Light Armored Vehicle.

Laser-Assisted Vascular Anastomosis.

Light Anti-tank Weapon.

Local Area Wireless.

Low-Activity (radioactive) Waste.

This site publishes a representation that it is ``largest and only comprehensive legal site with over 12,000 original pages.'' You don't agree? Go ahead, sue 'em.

law enforcement
Remember, you can't spell law enforcement without cement. Notice that this works with out law too.

A light cotton or linen fabric of very fine weave, ultimately named after the city of Laon, in northern France. Given the high frequency of the other word lawn, meaning of grass plot (also from France, in this case from the Old French word launde), it would take a certain amount of effort to determine if this word is still really in use, if not for lawn sleeves.

Lawn Guyland
Long Island, NY.

lawn mowers
Interestingly, they are available in both two-stroke and four-stroke models, and all electric. Pretty amazing, huh? No solar-powered yet. The repair of lawn mowers is a part of American folklore.

lawn sleeves
No, not long sleeves (but see Lawn Guyland). Lawn sleeves are sleeves made of lawn (a fabric; follow the link for detail). In particular, they are the sleeves of lawn that form part of the dress of an Anglican bishop. Metonymically, ``lawn sleeves'' refers to the office of an Anglican (Episcopalian, in the US) bishop, or to the holder or holders of that office.

Thomas Firth Jones's A Pair of Lawn Sleeves: A biography of William Smith (1727-1803) was published by the Chilton Book Company in 1972. It begins with this excerpt from the diary of John Adams (August 29, 1774):

A gentleman who returned into town with Mr. Paine and me in our coach undertook to caution us against two gentlemen particularly: one was Dr. Smith, the provost of the College, who is looking up to government for an American episcopate, and a pair of lawn sleeves.

In this entry I must note the following: In Spanish, a flexible tube used to pipe water, like a garden hose or a fire hose, is named after a different article of clothing than in English. Such a hose is mangera, from manga, meaning `sleeve.'

Law of the Sea, Canada, and Fish

Wake up! Wake up!

You think you couldn't imagine a better natural alternative to Sominex, but in 1995 the Canadians took police action against a Spanish trawler to protect turbot stocks off their Atlantic coast.

It's scary: you think the dangers are downtown, and next moment your neighbors have a violent row.

And not just violence now, but sex too! According to research conducted in 1998 and released under Canada's Access to Information Act, the 10,000 employees at Department of Fisheries and Oceans (Ministère des Pêches et des Océans) paid an average of 70,000 visits per day to dating and pomography web sites. (Yes, that's an intentional typo, and sorry, I don't have more detailed statistics. Try this article in Salon.)

A friend of mine who worked at a major airline became just slightly concerned (so he put it) when he learned that the company's web fascist had surreptitiously compiled logs of the web sites visited by each employee. He needn't have worried (slightly) -- the general reaction was an overwhelming storm of slight concern, and the visit histories are reported to have been destroyed. Also, in 1999, the New York Times fired a number of employees at a northern Virginia facility, for exchanging non-PC and racy jokes and images. This was between consenting adults of various genders and a few races, you understand, but it was on company computers. The company kept a copy of every email that went through its system. I guess you're reading this glossary at home; now let's get back to the subject at hand, whatever it was.

Now, I recognize that some SBF Glossary users live in Canadian coastal fishing villages, and may even be or have been fishermen or fisherpersons, as the case may be. The following is for them; the rest of you go read something different.

Dear valued glossary user and former fishworker!
As you are aware, diminished Atlantic fish stocks have forced Fish Canada to impose certain restrictions, limits, moratoria -- all with the goal of replenishing stocks and ensuring the continued economic vitality of your village. Temporarily, you are forbidden to catch more than two (2) fish per month in season (January), but eventually, some of your descendants will be able to return to employment in the sea. Your government has a very sophisticated plan to preserve the economy of your village against that future day. In layman's terms, this is the plan: everyone will take in each other's washing. In order to implement this plan, many citizens who worked in the fishing industry must find new jobs. Employment Canada are diligently endeavouring to retrain you and your neighbours for satisfying work that utilises some of the skills you developed in your previous career.
Lobstermen: have you considered a career in hair styling?!

Some of you who have just started your new careers may have a little difficulty adjusting initially. A day at Davey Jones's Locks or Ahab's Persistent Wave ("Durn-near `Permanent' ") waiting for a customer may seem more tedious than waiting for fish to bite. Until you become better adjusted, you may find it hard to put aside frustration and get to sleep. ``Law of the Sea'' may not be a soothing thought. What you need is the gold standard of soporific prose. Here it is:

Planning and Implementing Assessment/Institutional Effectiveness Activities to Meet Regional Accrediting Association Requirements
Let that be your sleep mantra. Good night. (It's the title of a $395 workshop, but I'm too weary to type in the details.)

Unrigorous, nonstringent.

La-X, LaX

Los Angeles International Airport (IATA code). LAN is taken for Capital City Airport in LANsing, MI, and LAS is taken by McCarran International Airport in LAS Vegas, NV; LAI and the very appropriate LAG (if you've come in from Asia) are both available, but IATA in its wisdom chose LAX. They're probably saving the others for a big airport. Cf. ORD, YYZ.

I'm going to keep this short and simple. Please read and understand.

The word lay is a part of two closely related verbs that became confused in the last third of the twentieth century. Because decadent usage has become so common, even intelligent people like you use nontraditional conjugation and sound stupid and unlettered.

The two verbs have infinitive forms lie (as in ``lie down'') and lay. The relationship between the two is similar to that between rise and raise (with the same vowels and related meanings, so it's mnemonic). To lie and to rise describe what a subject does with his own body. They are intransitive (take no direct object) because they are implicitly reflexive. To lay and to raise describe what a subject does to some other object. They are transitive -- the direct object is what is moved by the subject.

Here are some examples of correct traditional usage:

  1. I lie on the couch.
  2. I lay the antimacasar on the couch.
  3. As I Lay Dying.
  4. He was laid to rest.
  5. We have lain on the foundations.
  6. We have laid the foundations.

Wait, wait, I'm working.

Landolt-Börnstein. A series of compendia of material (chemical thermodynamic, mechanical, electrical, magnetic) properties.

Langmuir-Blodgett (films).

Leaky Bucket.

(Domain code for) Lebanon.

[Football icon]

LineBacker. A linebacker may be an inside linebacker (ILB) or an outside linebacker (OLB).

Late Bronze Age.

Latino Business Association. They have an unoccupied sandwich-board sign parked outside the Davidson Library.

L band
Long wavelength BAND. ``Long'' compared to the conventional band (C band) of fiber-optic transmission frequencies. Specifically, the wavelength range 1570-1600 nm, also called the 1580 nm band.

LandesBank Berlin. `Berlin StateBank.' In English, it is an affectation to write State and Bank with no space in the compound noun. In German it is an affectation to write Landesbank with the b capitalized.

Leak-Before-Break. A ``concept'' in the reliability of pipes and (reactor) vessels.

Lawn Bowling Club. You may learn something from the archives of the lawnbowl mailing list.

Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation.

Leo Baeck College. (It used to use a longer formal name.) LBC was founded in 1956 by Rabbi Dr. Werner Van der Zyl with the support of the two Progressive Jewish movements in the UK, and it was consciously conceived as the successor to the Hochshule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin. ``Today the College is a centre for the training of rabbis and teachers, an educational consultancy, development of community leaders, providing access to Jewish learning for all and working with those of other religions to advance understanding and respect.''

I would almost say that LBC is to British Judaism what the Hebrew Union College is to American Judaism: the rabbinical college of the Progressive movement. The relatively late creation of LBC probably reflects the small number of synagogues to be served in the UK. I suppose that until about 1933, British rabbinical students studied in Germany, much as a large fraction of serious American physics students would have done graduate study in Germany until then. One small difference between the US and UK situations is that there are two Progressive movements of comparable size in the UK, and only one (Reform) in the US. (The relatively small Reconstructionist movement in the US has its own rabbinical college.) Another interesting difference is that due to a certain degree of doctrinal tolerance in the UK, the Conservative movement got a very late start (1962) and remains small. LBC serves as the UK rabbinical college for that movement as well.

Leo Baeck College - Centre for Jewish Education. So far as I understand, this is not the Centre for Jewish Education within or constituting a part of a Leo Baeck College. It's just the full name of a London institution whose short name is ``Leo Baeck College.'' (See HUC-JIR for something similar.)

It can get particularly confusing if you create another entity and call it a centre too, like the Sternberg Centre, whatever that is. Apparently I was not the only one to find the hyphenated name slightly confusing. Sometime between 2000 and 2006, they apparently transitioned into using the shorter version exclusively, along with the correspondingly shortened domain name. As of 2006 you can still see vestiges of the old name links of related organizations. More substantive information about the college is at the LBC entry.

Little Black Dress. The phrase appears in a boilerplate disclaimer in personals ads placed by women: ``Yes, I am equally comfortable in jeans and the little black dress, dammit.''

(I felt sure I'd already mentioned this somewhere in the glossary, but at this moment I can't find it.)

Little Black Hole[s]. Even a black hole of earth mass apparently counts as little.

Long Beach Island. I'd seen the oval LBI stickers on bumpers as far west as Indiana, but I'd never heard it pronounced until yesterday at a Charlie Brown's restaurant, when a couple at a nearby table were having a first date. I could tell it was a first date because both participants had big signs hanging from their necks that read ``FIRST DATE.'' Okay, maybe the signs were a little more subtle, but it was about that obvious.

Chapter 9 of Debra Ginsberg's book Waiting is ``Food and Sex.'' She explains that it's ``almost too easy to identify the couples who will be headed to a beadroom [uh, I must have meant bedroom; I guess my mind wandered] as soon as dinner is over.... Waiters and waitresses train themselves to understand body language as carefully as the spoken word.'' The surefire sign is if she doesn't eat much of her dinner. ``There are also telling questions, like `Does it have a lot of bones?' Nobody wants to be seen picking apart a chicken if planning later to strip naked in front of a virtual stranger.'' I'm still thinking this one over, ruminating on it, chewing it over. For similar thoughts on salad, see NAVS.

A rock group called The Waitresses had their only hit with ``I Know What Boys Want.''

So back to this couple at Charlie Brown's on their first date. It was easy to see that they were going to go to bed... separately. He was talking about fishing gear and ``el bee eye,'' and she was making a superhuman effort to seem interested. This was not only their first date but their last date, though he apparently hadn't realized it yet.

Here, from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, is a similar situation.

Maria, with only Mr. Rushworth [her wealthy fiancé] to attend to her, and doomed to the repeated details of his day's sport, good or bad, his boast of his dogs, his jealousy of his neighbours, his doubts of their [hunting] qualifications, and his zeal after poachers, subjects which will not find their way to female feelings without some talent on one side, or some attachment on the other, had missed Mr. Crawford grievously...

Light-Beam-Induced Current.

LeBron James. An emotionally immature professional basketball player. But perhaps that is pleonastic.

Light-Bulb Joke. Riddle of the form ``How many ___________s does it take to screw in a light bulb?'' Cf. RLBJ.

Lyndon Baines Johnson. Lady Bird Johnson. Lynda Bird Johnson. Luci Baines Johnson.

There's an actress called Kim Kardashian who did a couple of movies in 2007, following some television work in 2006 and 2007. In 2003 she had appeared in an episode or two of ``The Simple Life,'' an unreality show starring Paris Hilton. Perhaps she was best known for being the girlfriend of football player Reggie Bush for a while and then in 2008 for her part in ``Dancing with the Stars.'' (I don't know if she played a star or ``I'm with him'' on that, but she made it to round 10 and seemed to be in the entertainment news a lot.) Most of her gigs have consisted of playing herself on TV. In 2008 she starred in that role, in a show called ``Keeping Up with the Kardashians.'' Her costars included her sisters Khloe Alexandra Kardashian and Kourtney Mary Kardashian. Kim is Kimberly Noel Kardashian. Not as ambitious for consistency as Lyndon Baines Johnson, but at least the Kardashian parents didn't name any of their daughters Kandy Kelly.


Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory. Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Also LBNL. They should really emphasize this in the interests of disingenuous ethnic comity or comedy or something. An Orlando I know says that in California, people have such a low IQ (Italian Quotient) that they think ``Orlando'' is a Hispanic surname. (He became aware of this when he moved there in 1980 or so. Since then, I think California's overall IQ has gone down further, along with the rest of the country's.)

Les Belles Lettres. Not just a pretty phrase. The acronym is more likely (than the phrase) to refer to the publisher of l'APh.

Lean Body Mass.

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. (Also LBL.) ``The Hill'' overlooking the Berkeley campus of the University of California. A welcome page describes it as the US's ``first national laboratory,'' founded in 1931. This may be true in some restricted sense, but NRL was created in 1923.

Leveraged Buy-Out. Purchase of a company by a party that borrows most of the money for the purchase. The purchaser makes the argument to prospective lenders that the current assets of the company to be bought out are being mismanaged, and that the purchaser can do a better job, often by selling off the assets. A recently LBO'ed company is always deep in debt, not just from the buy-out but from golden parachutes for the old management team. This game was extremely popular in the 1980's -- over 2000 companies and about a quarter trillion dollars in assets.

LiB3O5. Lithium triborate, a nonlinear-optical crystal.

Line Build-Out.

Low Bit-Rate.

Listen Before Talk. A more transparent name for CSMA. Good general conversational advice as well.

LBW, l.b.w.
Leg Before (i.e. in front of) Wicket. Batsman has blocked the wicket with his body, and is out. Offense called by the umpire in something called cricket. It appears this game of fan endurance was invented in the Indian subcontinent, probably because, in the absence of a certain insight about diamonds, pitches were deemed easier to construct than to throw.

Low Birth Weight. Cf. ELBW.

LC, L.C.
Landing Craft. Military craft that land from the sea, not the air. The initials are productive; there are at least the following specifications:

Letter of Credit. The plural ``letters of credit'' is typically abbreviated LCs.

French, Lettres et Cartes, `Letters and Cards.' Includes letters, postcards, aerograms and letter packages.

International mail is divided into three general categories: LC, CP (parcel post), and AO (other things).

Um, um, there's this famous nineteenth-century novelist, um, ridiculously prolific, can't remember the name. Anthony Trollope! Anyway, in 1834 he began a distinguished career in the British Post Office. He quit in 1867, eight years before reaching the age of retirement, to devote himself to his writing career. His friend George Eliot feared at the time that it would lead him to ``excessive writing.'' She was right.

Trollope got his first position, as a minor clerk, through connections to the then-Secretary of the Post Office, Sir Francis Freeling. After a few years, Freeling was succeeded by an activist reformer, Rowland Hill. Trollope continued to be promoted within the post office, but as he rose he came to have an increasing number of conflicts with the Secretary. In 1861, he sought leave to visit North America -- the US Civil War would generate interest in a travel book and he could fulfill his ambition to follow in his mother's footsteps (she had written a famous and uncomplimentary North America book herself). Hill turned him down, but Trollope managed to get permission from the Postmaster General. Trollope found space in North America to praise Rowland Hill's ``wise audacity'' in campaigning (over twenty years before) for the ``penny post'' (uniform one-penny rate for all letters). (The penny-post scheme was accompanied by the introduction of gummed stamps for prepaying postage. In 1856, prepaid postage on letters was made mandatory. Prepaid postage stamps were adopted world wide, and since then stamp collectors have been keeping afloat the economies of small island nations that for all we know might be frauds upon the maps of oceans.) Incidentally, three of the 36 chapters in Trollope's North America were devoted to Canada, which is as close as one can come to the usual factor-of-ten rule, if you stick to a 36-chapter total. The two-volume work was a poorly organized, error-ridden success (on both sides of the pond), although Trollope didn't collect much in royalties from US distribution, since the US was something of an intellectual-property outlaw in those days. (And for a long time after. You could ask J.R.R. Tolkien about that, except that since he's dead, you might wait a long time for an answer.)

Trollope saw mail collection boxes of some sort in use in France in the 1830's. While working on special assignment in Jersey in the early 50's, he came up with the idea of cylindrical ``roadside letter boxes.'' The idea was adopted; Anthony Trollope is the father of the ``pillar box.''

Library of Congress. Also refers to its library materials classification system (LCC). Cf. DDC, UDC.

Liquid Chromatography. Here's an introduction from Virginia Tech.

Liquid Crystal. Here's some mild hype from Hughes on LC applications.

Logic Circuit. No, not circular reasoning. Don't be so clever.

Lois and Clark. Long form: ``Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.'' A TV series.

Low Cost.

Lower Case. Referring to letters that are minuscule without necessarily being miniscule.

(Domain code for) Saint Lucia.

Landing Craft -- Assault.

Last Chance for Animals. ``Giving Animals a Fighting Chance.'' Not a cockfighters' organization.

Lifetime Cost Analysis; Life-Cycle Assessment. The general idea is that the cost of a product does not end at manufacture or sale -- there are costs associated with its use and ultimate disposal, and many of these costs, environmental in nature, are not borne directly by the manufacturer or consumer or by any of those who charge for adding value (in the most general sense) along the way between them.

Here's an introduction to Life Cycle Assessment from PRé Product Ecology Consultants.

Line Circuit Address.

Linear Combination of Atomic Orbitals. A common way to generate molecular orbitals (MO's).

[See description at left]

Leadless Chip Carrier. Also Leaded Chip Carrier. A Landmark aChievement in Creative ambiguity, but usually leadLESS is meant. Since we're trying to be helpful here, please forgive my stressing some facts that may be obvious to some of our readers. I mean the word LEAD, PEOPLE! The word that RHYMES WITH ``READ,'' OKAY??!! (Sheess -- some people thought we meant Pb.)

The illustration at right is from NEC, which has a bit more information on-line.

Are you confused and at a loss? Good. Now remember: leadLESS.

Library of Congress Classification. A system for classifying books and other documents. The highest level of classification divides subjects into classes represented by twenty-one letters of the alphabet. Thus some letters are left over in case there was some major category of human knowledge that was overlooked. Wait a sec -- didn't there used to be just twenty classes?! Oops -- there are: it turns out that one primary class, ``History: America'' (i.e., Western Hemisphere), is assigned two letters: E and F.

The second level of subdivision (``subclasses'') is represented by a letter or by no letter. You know what I mean: QC for physics, QB for astronomy, QA for mathematics!?!?!, Q for ``Science (General).''

The next level of subdivision is a number greater than or equal to 1.

See also LCCS, DDC (Dewey), and UDC (not Dewey).

Life-Cycle Cost[ing]. The gerund is an approximate synonym of LCA, q.v..

London County Council.

Lost Calls Cleared.

Land Cover Classification System.

Library of Congress Classification {Schedules|System}. Used to assign catalog codes to documents. The codes consist of alternating strings of letters and numbers. These codes are typically called ``LC numbers''; they're too few for each document to have a unique one, but individual libraries usually extend the codes, typically on the basis of author name or publication year or both. This is useful even when the library uses a separate code for cataloguing purposes (typically an acquisition number). Then books with the same LC number can be catalogued consistently, but LC numbers usually determine shelf order in libraries that use them at all. First by alphabetical order, then in numerical order under a particular letter or letter pair, then by alphabetical order, etc.

LC numbers begin with a one- or two-letter prefix. The first letter defines the primary class, and the second letter, if present, a subclass. Hey -- I already explained this!

It's interesting that the word science occurs in the designation of seven of the primary classes:

  1. Auxiliary sciences of history
  2. Social Sciences
  3. Political Science
  4. Science
  5. Military Science
  6. Naval Science
  7. Bibliography, Library Science, Information Resources (General)

This correctly indicates that many things are called by names that use the word science but are not science and that, in particular, social science is not science. Psychology is in class B: ``Philosophy, Psychology, Religion.'' Specifically, Psychology is subclass BF, sandwiched between BD (``Speculative philosophy'') and BH (``Aesthetics'').

Liquid Crystal Display.

Lost Calls Delayed.

The letters used to represent 50, 100, 500, and 1000 in Roman numerals. They evolved from, or replaced, earlier numerals that were not alphabetic characters, so you might as well think of L, C, D, and M as representing the words in the mnemonic ``Lucy Can't Drink Milk.''

Lieutenant CommanDeR.

Life-Cycle Engineering. Engineering that takes account of the costs considered in LCA, q.v.. PRé, Product Ecology Consultants, wants to help.

Latent Cancer Fatality. This latent doesn't just mean hidden; it also suggests much later, because that's how the effects of low-dose radiation exposure come to be latent.

Low Cycle Fatigue. Fatigue occurring after relatively few cycles. ``Fatigue'' is usually metal fatigue -- plastic and creep strain from repeated, ordinary levels of stress, eventually leading to fatigue cracking and failure.

In photovoltaic systems, a cycle is a day: metal parts (heat sinks for the PV cells, concentrators for the solar radiation, and particularly solder joints) expand during the daylight hours and shrink during the night. [Do not carp that this expansion is a ``strain'' rather than a stress. They're tied together too intricately, and everyone understands what would be tedious to explain: The heat causes high stress under rigid (zero-strain) conditions. The metal strains (expands) to relieve the stress. An assembly of parts with different thermal expansivities, or different temperatures, or both, is liable to be constrained so as not to be able to release the stress entirely.] A PV system typically has a planned life of 20 or 30 years, or well over 10000 diurnal cycles. In this context, ``low cycle'' means fewer than 10000 cycles.

Lateral Center of Gravity. Trucking term. The horizontal position of the center of gravity (CG), measuring transverse to direction of motion of the truck. Usually described as a distance left or right of the center.

Logical Channel Group Number.

London Clearing House.

Landing Craft -- Infantry.

Life-Cycle Inventory. Approximate synonym of LCA, q.v..

Liquid Crystal InfraRed (IR) (detection).

Less than a full Container Load. A freight term, but also handy if you need an expression less impolitic than ``two slices short of a sandwich.''


Loeb Classical Library.

Liquid Crystal Light Valve.

Landing Craft -- Mechanized.

l.c.m., L.C.M.
Least Common Multiple.


Liverpool Classical Monthly. Journal catalogued by TOCS-IN.

Louise Chandler Moulton. Mrs. Moulton was a Boston socialite and poet of the later nineteenth century. She and her friend Katherine Sherwood Bonner McDowell both had unhappy marriages. This is a great tragedy and common. Each had one daughter. (As you probably guess, they were different daughters.) In January 1876 the two friends took off for eight months in Europe. In a dispatch to the Boston Times from on board The Baltic (she did it for the money; ten dollars per missive), Mrs. Sherwood Bonner wrote
The initials L. C. M. are familiar to most of your readers, appended as they have been to so many exquisite poems and stories, the revelation of a cultured mind and sympathetic heart...

L.C.M. appears in a widely circulated 1884 photograph of twelve ``Eminent Women'' of America (Louisa May Alcott, Julia Ward Howe, and Harriet Beecher Stowe are the women in the picture still well known today). Her poetry ``was considered among the finest in the second half of the century'' according to Susan Coultrap-McQuin, Doing Library Business: American Women Writers in the Nineteenth Century (Chapel Hill: Un. of N. Car. Pr., 1990). Note that that particular half century included much of the poetry of Walt Whitman (1819-1891).

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Most of the information in this entry comes from A Sherwood Bonner Sampler, 1869-1884: What a Bright, Educated, Witty, Lively, Snappy Young Woman Can Say on a Variety of Topics, ed. Anne Razey Gowdy (Knoxville: Un. of Tenn. Pr., 2000). Sherwood Bonner was always young; she died of cancer in 1883, age 34.

For those of you who were confused by the word missive above, it means `letter,' the kind normally comprising rather than composing a number of words. Here at SBF World Strategy Planning, we strive to eliminate all ambiguity. (Indeed, we're right on schedule to achieve perfect and permanent clarity on June 16, 2000.) If we had used the synonym missile instead of missive, some of you might have thought we meant the projectile sort of missile. If we had used the word letter, some of you might very reasonably have supposed that a newspaper correspondent might be paid ten dollars for each alphabetic character of prose in 1876. Confederate dollars, sure.

Liaison Committee on Medical Education.

La1-xCaxMnO3 .

Liquid Chromatography (LC) - Mass Spectroscopy. The folks at Perkin-Elmer maintain an LC/MS site, and would like to tell you about their instruments.

Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod.

Logical Channel Number.

Low-Cost Network. So I've been led to believe.

Liquid Core Optical Ring Resonator.

Liquid Crystal (microdisplay) on Silicon.

Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospitals.

(NASA's) Lunar CRater Observation and Sensing Satellite.

Laser Cathode Ray Tube.

League Championship Series. A series to determine the National League or American League champion (team). The two league champions go on to meet in the World Series.

The LCS used to be a best-of-five, back when each league of Major League Baseball (MLB) consisted of two divisions (East and West). Then, it was played between the two division winners (the teams with the best regular-season records in their respective divisions).

In 1995 there was an expansion and reorganization into three divisions. Since then, each league champion has been determined in an playoff series that consists of two rounds. The first round, a best-of-five (the ``Division Series'' -- NLDS or ALDS) reduces a field of four to the two. The four teams are the division winners and a wild-card team -- the second-place team (in its division) with the best record (among all teams in its league). In this system, the second round is the LCS, now a best-of-seven series between the division series winners.

Littoral Combat Ship.

Library-of-Congress Subject Heading[s].

Liquid Crystal (LC) Spatial Light Modulator (SLM). Here's some stuff from Hughes.

Low-Cost Surface Mount.

Loop-Current Step Response.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Other credentials are member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW) and Board-Certified Diplomate (BCD) in Clinical Social Work (CSW).

See SW entry for related entries.

Landing Craft -- Tank.

Land Condition Trend Analysis.

Liquid-Crystal Tunable (light) Filter.

Less Commonly Taught Language[s]. The LCTL Project at the University of Minnesota ``focuses on the teaching and learning of all of the world's languages except English, French, German, and Spanish.'' The National Council of Organizations of Less Commonly Taught Languages, NCOLCTL, explains that ``[w]e are the teachers of Arabic [see AATA], Chinese, Hindi, Russian [see ACTR and AATSEEL], Swahili [see ALTA], Tagalog, and many other languages which are important in this world but which are relatively unfamiliar to most Americans.'' Notice the apparent preoccupation with languages being important (or perhaps, inferentially, the fear that they are not).

There is a related category called ``Critical Languages,'' which was invented during the Cold War to encompass languages that did not attract much attention for economic, literary, or whatever other reasons foreign languages might attract attention, but which were geopolitically important. In some schools, the imperative to teach ``critical languages,'' combined with the shortage of qualified instructors, has led to the use of unqualified instructors.

League of Conservation Voters. Not ``conservative.''

Laser Chemical Vapor Deposition.

Lethal Concentration to 50%. I.e., a concentration that is lethal to 50% of a standard sample of human or animal subjects. (The usual method is to estimate LC50 for the former from experiments on the latter.)

For example, LC50 for hydrofluoric acid is 456 ppm for mice inhaling the stuff for an hour. For rats inhaling for an hour, the LC50 is 1276 ppm. Three and four significant digits on numbers like these are completely fatuous. It's the kind of accuracy you might pretend to achieve if you massacred on the order of a million rats, to be sure the LC50 was 1276 and not 1277 ppm, even though you don't know two digits of accuracy on the HF (aq) molarity.

In the end, the thing you know best is the breed of rat you ordered to sacrifice on the altar of health science (Norway, or brown), and that HF is nasty stuff.

Lactase Deficiency.

LAN Destination.

Large (satellite) Dish (antenna).

Laser Desorption. Vide LIMS.

Laser Diode. Here's a link to NEC's.

Learning Disability, Learning-disabled.

Legibility Distance.

Lethal Dose.

Lev Davidovitch. Given name and patronymic of Leon Trotsky, born Lev Davidovitch Bronstein, son of David Leontiyevich Bronstein, on November 7 of the Gregorian calendar, so the anniversary of the October revolution was his brithdday. He was born in 1879, a few months after Albert Einstein. Trotsky's wife Natalia used the abbreviation L.D. in her journal, and friends also used it in writing.

Others born on November 7 are singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, the evangelist Billy Graham, scientist Marie Curie, singers Joan Sutherland and Johnny Rivers, and ethologist Konrad Lorenz, but not in that order. The science of astrology allows us to see that all these people (as well as those born that day who did not achieve fame) were essentially the same, with some minor differences occasioned by the phase of the moon.

Laser Doppler Anemomet{ er | ry }.

Late-Deafened Adult. An adult who became deaf after learning to speak. More restrictive definitions (e.g., deafened after age 13) are also used. ALDA's homepage discusses the implications of being ``late-deafened.''

Local Density Approximation.

Long Drivers of America. Not long-haul drivers; long golfball drivers. That is: long drivers of golfballs, not drivers of long golfballs, particularly. And the long drivers are people, not clubs. LDA is apparently the leading world authority in power golf. RE/MAX sponsors an annual World Long Drive Championship (WLDC) that is staged and overseen by the LDA.


Leuven Database of Ancient Books. A CD-ROM, 7K papyrological entries. Principal editor Willy Clarysse.

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol. `Lightweight' compared with the full DAP associated with X.500. UB maintains an faq for the local implementation.

The regular DAP is not, TTBOMKAU, called ``Heavyweight Directory Access Protocol.''

[Phone icon]

Less Developed Countr{y | ies}. Even this euphemism is considered too harsh, and `Developing Country' is preferred. Unfortunately, this has the same acronym (DC) as its complement -- `Developed Country.'

Another problem is, some less developed countries got that way by not being developing countries in the first place.

[Phone icon]

Long Distance (telephone communication) Carrier.

{ Low- | Lightly } Doped Drain.

{ Low- | Lightly } Doped Emitter. An LDE layer between the base and standard emitter of a BJT increases the width (electrical length) of the depletion region and thus decreases the emitter-base parasitic capacitance, increasing speed.

Light-Duty Gasoline Vehicles.

Lactate DeHydrogenase. An enzyme.

La Ligue des droits de l'Homme. French for the (French) `League of the Rights of Man.'

During the autumn rioting in 2005, they took a courageous stand against police violence and the nasty language of the Interior Minister.

Low-density lipoprotein. ``The bad `cholesterol'.'' Physicians like to see this above about 130 mg/dL, because then they have God's blessing to tyrannize your diet and your lifestyle, in a generally fruitless [without fruit, get it? Ha-ha! I'm a riot!] torture putatively aimed at reducing your chances of suffering atherosclerosis and heart disease. This practice is known as ``saving the body for cancer.'' You thought that it was dentists who had the sadistic streak, but no: when medics had to give up cupping, leeches, and surgery without anaesthesia, they found that they could induce general suffering by controlling lipid intake.

This makes me sick. Go visit the HDL-C entry.

Liquid Drop Model. A model for the energies of nuclei based on macroscopic quantites associated with the free energy of a liquid drop: bulk cohesive energy, surface tension energy, electrostatic energy of smoothly distributed proton charge. A correction is usually included to distinguish odd and even nuclei.

This overview page of nucleus models has a link to an extended technical description (dvi).

Limited-Distance Modem. A few miles. Also called short-haul modems and bit drivers. They use a dedicated line and thus are not (as) restricted in bandwidth (as general service lines).

Local Data Manager. Works with WXP from Unidata.

Logistics Decision Model.

Low-Density Microsome[s].

Lateral Double-Diffused Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (MOS) (Transistor).

Longman Dictionary Of Contemporary English.

Liberal Democratic Party. Founded in 1955, it has been the dominant party of Japan since 1958. It's not known for being particularly liberal or even democratic.

In upper-house elections on July 29, 2007, the LDP coalition (LDP and New Komeito) lost its majority for only the second time in history. There are 242 seats in the upper house, and half are contested in each election. The coalition entered the campaign defending 76 of its 132 seats, and as of the next morning appeared to have retained 46 -- LDP 37 and New Komeito 9. (In 1998 it won only 44 seats and the late Ryutaro Hashimoto, PM at the time, resigned.) The DPJ is projected to win 60 seats, well over the 55 it needed to gain an outright majority in the upper house. However, the LDP has a two-thirds majority in the lower house; in principle, that means it can override the constitutionally weak upper house.

At first, PM Shinzo Abe chose not to fall on his sword. (Okay, the traditional practice is slightly different in Japan. You get the idea.) And his party was okay with that, to the extent of there not being a public challenge to his leadership. He duly reshuffled his cabinet, but that was it. Then about a month later, on September 12, Abe, age 53 (the statement of his age is mildly disturbing at this point, isn't it?), announced that he would quit. The next day, he entered a hospital (see?) for unspecified stress-related abdominal complaints. (Sharp pains?) The LDP chose a new PM, Yasuo Fukuda, age 71 (it's okay this time), on September 25, and on the same day Abe emerged from the hospital to dissolve his Cabinet and formally resign.

The most important reason for the 2007 defeat was widespread anger over poor record-keeping in the national social security system: fifty million records lost. I don't understand how a problem can build to that scale before breaking. Claims (by the opposition) that many pension records had been lost only the news in late 2006, and were only confirmed in Spring 2007. (In summary reports in English, it is often reported that two ministers resigned and one committed suicide ``in the scandals.'' This gives the impression that the big pension scandal led to resignations and suicide, but so far it has not. A bit ironically, administrative reform minister Genichiro Sata resigned in December 2006 over charges of misusing of political funds. Agriculture minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka committed suicide in May following allegations that he misused public funds; his successor in that ministry, Norihiko Akagi, got into similar scandals by early July. In June, defense minister Fumio Kyuma suggested the 1945 U.S. nuclear bombings of Japan were justified, and he resigned in the ensuing, uh, firestorm I think is what you'd call it.)

To say nothing of the millions who have received smaller pensions than they'd earned, the pension screw-up has required practically all Japanese adults to visit government offices to check that the records of their employment histories are complete and correct. The lines have been rock-concert-ticket-window bad, though not Notre-Dame-football-ticket-window bad. (This was before ND's historically bad 2007 season.)

Low-Density PolyEthylene. Less resistant to organic solvents than HDPE, whether or not fluorinated (FLPE) or cross-linked (XLPE). Recycle code 4 (in PCS).

Land Disposal Restrictions.

Long-Distance Relationship. May interfere with an LTR. This might be one of its hidden advantages.

A lot of men you meet on internet dating sites will reply to your note by saying that gee, you're a swell gal, it's too bad you live so far away. This means that your beauty lives too deep below your skin.

Latter-Day Saints. The LDS Church is better known as the Mormons.

Liechtenstein Development Service Foundation. See LED. LSD, which may light up your brain like an LED, was first synthesized in neighboring Switzerland.

Oh wow, man! That pun was like, mind-blowing! Intense! I better sit down. What do you know -- I am sitting down! How cool is that?

Lightning Detection System. That's the technical term used by the National Weather Service. In common parlance, there is another term.

Linear Data Set.

Local Digital Switch.

Low-Dimensional System.

Low-dimensional semiconductor system.

Laser Doppler Velocimet{ er | ry }.

Lethal Dose to 50%. I.e., a dose that is lethal to 50% of a standard sample of human or animal subjects. Typically given in units of milligrams per kilogram of animal body mass. (This suggests a reasonable scaling rule -- that lethal dose in different animals scales with body mass. This rule is only very approximately true.) Cf. LC50.

Common abbreviation for the Egyptian pound, at least in English-language reports I've seen.

LAN Emulation. (Also, ``LANE.'')

[Football icon]

Left End. A defensive position in American football. Ahh, read all about it at the RE entry. Mutatis mutandis, as coach says.

Lower Extremities. Medical term that sort of translates Hebrew raglayim: legs-and-feet. (Actually, the singular regel, `foot, leg,' also has the slang sense of, um, another lower appendage vaguely suggestive of a foot. It reminds me of the comment of a colleague complaining about her spam -- ``they promise to enhance what I haven't got.'') A lot of cardiac and vascular problems leave them (the LE, that is) cold and vulnerable. See the SCIA entry for more about the Hebrew.

Laboratoire Européen Associé.

Left Ear Advantage.

Local Education Agency. In the language of the US government's ESEA. Also expanded ``Local Educational Authority,'' but see next entry.

Local Education Authority. Under a UK law of 1902, 120 L.E.A.'s were instituted as school boards for primary and secondary education for all of England (or England and Wales, it was long ago, I don't recall). Cf. preceding entry.

Law Enforcement Assistance Administration.


A dense metal. Pron. /led/ (rhyming with the past tense form led of the verb lead). Atomic number 82; atomic weight about 207. Chemical symbol Pb (q.v.) from Latin name plumbum. Little chemically to do with pencil lead, q.v..

A wire used to establish electrical contact. Pron. /li:d/ (rhyming with the present tense form lead of the verb lead; leed would be a rational spelling).

lead-acid battery
Car battery. According to a slightly more specialized glossary, a fully-charged lead-acid battery has an electrolyte density of 1.28 g/ml, and is discharged at a density of 1.1 g/ml.

You're not supposed to just throw it away when it deceases. Learn here what to do.

Huddie Ledbetter. Twelve-string blues guitarist. Not that there's any such thing as twelve-string blues.

A noun used in typography, referring to the thin continuous or dotted lines in a table of contents that one can follow from titles justified against one side of the page to the numbers justified along the opposite side. They ``lead'' the eye across the page. Leaders are very useful, though sometimes they'd be more useful if they were used only for one per two or three lines. The increasing failure to use leaders is just another of many signs that The End Times Are Upon Us. And the shame of it is that it's so easy to be saved! I wrote my Ph.D. dissertation on a Northstar computer, when PC's didn't have hard drives -- when PC's weren't called PC's! -- and even the limited word processor that I loaded on a 5½-inch floppy drive A: (Wordstar) had the ability to insert leadering. So just do it. There's no excuse not to.

Here's an interesting collocation of the word, though quoted by an anonymous and very probably unsympathetic source. It was posted to the American Spectator blog on October 31, 2005, following the nomination of Samuel Alito to be a justice on the Supreme Court:
``We're waiting on some polling data,'' says one Senate Democratic leadership staffer, when approached about where her boss thought he might go the Alito front.

My Aunt Edith contributed a lot of money to the Democratic Party. She had a card to add to her wall with the president's autograph and a picture of the White House every Christmas season during Democratic administrations, although she took down Clinton after the Lewinsky affair (and she didn't remember the Democrats in her will). She also had certificates attesting to her status as a member of a Democratic ``Leadership Circle.'' It reminds me of a New Yorker cartoon. The sexy young thing sitting at a table in the glitzy restaurant is saying ``Oh, I don't think of you as an old man at all! I think of you as a very, very rich old man!'' Something like that.

A cop I know, a fellow regular at a restaurant where I know all the table numbers, was holding forth at 23 the other day. He said that before he met his wife, he was looking for a rich woman, preferably a rich old woman.

Anyway, these leadershipish things have become pretty common, along with appeals for money that are thinly disguised as polls. At the time, though, it was new to me. I asked Aunt Edith about it and she replied modestly that ``oh, everybody sends those things.'' As a joke, I decided to take her somewhat literally and ask whether the Republicans sent her such certificates too. She gazed at me in horror (it wasn't mock horror; mock horror doesn't usually include tremors of fear) and asked ``You're not a Republican, are you?'' I reassured her (without explaining that I don't have much respect for people who can be wholeheartedly enthusiastic about any political person or party), and I wasn't cut out of the will, but for all I know it may have been the most expensive joke I ever told.

Interference in the work of people who know what they're doing and haven't spared the time to explain it to fools.

Lean Sigma
Six Sigma combined with rightsizing. Officialese that surely has spawned ``mean sigma.''

Lowest Empty Acceptor Orbital. LEAO and HODO, LEAO and HODO, go together like a horse and carriage! Well, it's been awhile since I saw Oklahoma! I may have the lyrics garbled a bit. See the HODO, entry, because it's got a more mouthfriendly pronunciation and because I explain things there.

Labor Education Action Program. Run by CSEA.

Lightweight ExoAtmospheric Projectile. For ballistic missile defense.

Loaned Executive Assistance Program. Part of the Regional Alliance of Small Contractors run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Louisiana Educational Assessment Program. See LEAP 21.

Long-term Equity AnticiPation Securities.

Louisiana Educational Assessment Program for the 21st Century. A criterion-referenced test. New improved LEAP. The Louisiana state legislature noticed that students did well on the old LEAP and poorly on the NAEP, and somehow concluded that the LEAP was too easy. In addition to mandating the new LEAP, they replaced the CAT with the ITBS. Now students are evaluated on some sort of standardized test evey year from grade 3 to grade 11 (there is also a school-leaving exam required for a diploma). They take ITBS in grades 3, 5-7, and 9, LEAP 21 in the remaining years.

Teachers are encouraged to teach to the test, but they don't call it that. They want teachers to ``align'' the curriculum the test.

Low-Energy Antiproton Ring. At CERN.

Learn how to get rich quick by selling a scheme to learn how to get rich quick!
Hey -- it works for me!

LAN Emulation (LANE) Address Resolution Protocol (ARP).

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

Low-Energy Beam and Ion Trap (facility). Pronounced ``LEE-bit.'' A facility operating at the NSCL at MSU since about 2005. It's designed to facilitate a variety of experiments at low energies with rare isotopes.

LAMPS Element Coordinator.

LAN Emulation Client.


Les Études Classiques. A classics journal catalogued in TOCS-IN.

Liquid-Encapsulated Czochralsky. A crystal growth method. Czochralsky method (``crystal pulling'') in which the growth front is completely surrounded by melt.

[phone icon]

Local Exchange Carrier. A local provider of phone service. See CLEC for details.

Loss of Earning Capacity. A pseudocalculation done in determining workers comp.

LAN Emulation Client Identifier.

LAN Emulation Configuration Server.


lectio brevior
Latin, `the shorter reading.' Short for lectio brevior lectio potior -- `the shorter reading is the likelier reading.' A maxim of textual criticism, that where two manuscripts differ, the shorter version is more often correct (all other things being about as equal as all other things are likely to get). The idea is that when scribes can't make sense of the original, they insert a letter or a word or a phrase that changes the meaning to something they expect. Of course, this principle is only useful if the editor (the textual critic, the philologist) is able to understand the shorter reading that the scribe did not.

Here's a nice page on textual criticism.

The principle seems to work in many instances where the philological reasoning does not, as in the phrase ``play it again, Sam'' that does not occur in Casablanca (discussed at the As Time Goes By entry).


lectio difficilior
Latin, `the harder reading.' Short for lectio difficilior lectio potior -- `the harder reading is the likelier reading.' A maxim of textual criticism, that where two manuscripts differ, the less usual expression (if sensible) is more likely correct. The idea is that a scribe is likely to substitute a trite or common word or expression for an original that had some bite, rather than vice versa. It's a maxim, but not a rigid principle. Things happen. There isn't always agreement on which exactly constitutes the more difficult reading. Try to make sense of your own pee-chem notes if you don't believe me.

An equivalent expression is proclivi lectioni praestat ardua. According to L. D. Reynolds and N. G. Wilson: Scribes and Scholars (Oxford, 2/e 1974), p. 248n, the ``principle of difficilior lectio seems to have been first expressly formulated as a criterion by Jean Le Clerc (Clericus) in his Ars Critica, vol. 2, Amsterdam, 1697, p. 389...''

Leading-Edge Detector.

Light-Emitting Diode. The initialism (pronounced ``ell ee dee'') refers to diodes designed to emit light in a controlled way. An SED may also emit light once.

[Stiftung] Liechtensteinischer Entwicklungsdienst. English: `Liechtenstein Development Service [Foundation].'

The word Entwicklung, incidentally, is used in mathematics for what is usually called a series (or ``series expansion'') in English. I half-remember some German-speaking mathematician talking about ``developing'' an expansion in powers of some parameter or other.

The past-tense and past-participle form of the verb whose infinitive is `to lead.'' The word is widely misspelled. A google search today (2006.03.22) found 24.1 million pages with the word sequence ``have led to,'' and 1.12 million with the usually incorrect sequence ``have lead to.'' (I checked over 40 instances of ``have lead to,'' and all were errors.) More about this in the lede entry below.

Variant spelling of lead, used in newspaper editing jargon for lead in the sense of leading paragraph (graf or graph). I also saw it used once in a newsletter from the editor of the New Republic, in the phrase ``lede editorial.'' Non-arts writing for TNR was by then (2007) only marginally literate, so this use may not be normative. See Bil for another example of use.

Nowadays, with spell-checkers built into many kinds of text-processing software, the most common misspellings in commercial publications are homophone errors -- principle for principal or vice versa, likewise complementary for complimentary, etc. (Incidentally, I don't use an automatic spell-checker, so here you get to enjoy the traditional full panoply of orthographic absurdities and atrocities.) Ware won've uh pear of homophoans iz rellatively rer, it seems probable that the spelling of the more common word will be overused for that of the less common. For example, in a FOXNews.com story (``Sixth Human Foot Washes Ashore on Canada's Coast'') credited to the AP and dated Wednesday, June 18, 2008, ``the Straight of Georgia'' was mentioned (as well as the Strait of Georgia). A version from early the next morning managed to avoid that error, but quoted an RCMP spokeswoman as saying ``Too my knowledge, we have not encountered anything like this.'' This particular version contained a comment about spelling at the bottom:

(This version CORRECTS Corrects spelling of British Columbia in lede)
[Repetition and punctuation sic. The misspelling had been an instance of Colombia, a homophone of Columbia in most accents. More to the point, though, it was the sort of error that can slip past typical spell-checking, as the error is a correct spelling, just not the correct word. The reporter seems to have achieved dynamic equilibrium at one (different) misspelling in each iteration.]

By the end of the day Thursday, it turned out that the sixth foot was a hoax. Incidentally, I think the reason four out of the five genuine finds have been right feet is that most people are right-handed, and that right-handed people tend to be right-legged and right-footed as well. That probably makes the right foot slightly meatier and bigger, whereas the shoes are more closely equal in size. Hence, the right foot fits more snugly in the right shoe and is less likely to slip out. (This explanation depends on the hypothesis, which has been put forward repeatedly, that the reason only feet have appeared, and no other body parts, is that they were carried along by the buoyant athletic shoes they were found in.)

For over a century, newspapers were typeset with a ``hot lead'' process, in which a ``line-o'-type'' (hence the trademarked name Linotype for the first successful American invention of this kind) was created by pouring a molten lead alloy into a line of type molds. (There was at least one significant competitor, Monotype, but the Linotype brand was dominant in the English-speaking world and the word linotype is now in practice a generic term.) A linotype operator could create the line of molds directly from a keyboard -- the process was dramatically more efficient than setting type manually from a case of movable type. (For more on the keyboard, see etaoin shrdlu.) Since the typesetting was in ``lead,'' the same written word lead was used for extra lead inserted as spacing. Hence, the word lede had the advantages of distinguishing between what would otherwise have been a common pair of homographs in copy-editing, and of doing so with a word whose pronunciation (with a long e) was clear.

One irritating common error that I have seen even in the writing of otherwise observant highly intelligent people like me is the spelling ``lead'' for the past-tense verb form led. It's a sort of multiple homonym error: The uncountable noun lead is a homophone of the verb form led, but it happens to be a homograph of the verb form lead, making it look like a conjugation error instead. It produces a kind of egalitarianism: we have difficulty determining the tense of leading as well as of reading. See also leaders.

Linotype printing is called ``hot-lead'' or ``hot-metal'' printing, but the latter term is almost 20% more accurate (or say 20% more inclusive). The hot metal poured to make a line of type is normally an alloy of lead (84%), antimony (12%), and tin (4%). The particular composition chosen corresponds to a eutectic point. There's a reason for this, explained in the next two paragraphs.

Most alloys do not freeze at a single sharp temperature. Starting from a high-temperature melt and slowly cooling, one reaches a temperature where a solid phase begins to precipitate out. This solid has a composition different from the initial liquid, and as the solid phase grows, the composition of the remaining liquid shifts in a complementary fashion. (That is, whatever the solid has a relatively high concentration of is progressively depleted in the liquid.) The situation is further complicated because there may be as many coexisting phases as there are distinct elements in the alloy, and the composition of a phase in equilibrium changes as temperature decreases. (The newly-formed solid at any time is in equilibrium. Since the older solid does not remelt, its composition is essentially fixed and out of equilibrium.) The result once the last of the melt has solidified is a highly inhomogeneous solid.

On the other hand, if one starts with a eutectic composition, then like a pure element it remains entirely liquid until it reaches a freezing point, where it solidifies homogeneously. A eutectic alloy thus makes possible sharply controlled mechanical properties. Also, cooling requires the conduction only of the latent heat of fusion and only an infinitisimal heat flow to cool the melt through a range of melting temperatures, so a eutectic alloy can be cooled rapidly. (In fact, the only way to make bulk amorphous metal from liquid metal is to cool a eutectic alloy.) Also, for any given set of elemental components, the eutectic composition (if there is one) yields the lowest melting point. (That is, its single melting point is at or below the temperature at which any other composition begins to melt. For the standard linotype alloy, the melting point is an almost chilly 475°F. This alloy is also considerably harder than lead, though also more brittle.

In his little book Le Degré Zéro de L'écriture (1953), in the chapter ``Écriture et Révolution,'' Roland Barthes critiques and criticizes the French social-realist style. I quote here from the 1968 translation Writing Degree Four Seventy-Five (actually, that might be Writing Degree Zero; I'll let you know after I check) by Annette Lavers and Colin Smith (p. 71):

Here are for instance a few lines of a novel by Garaudy: `... with torso bent, he launched himself at full speed on the keyboard of the linotype ... joy sang in his muscles, his fingers danced, light and powerful ... the poisoned vapor of antimony ... made his temples pulsate and his arteries hammer, fanning his strength, his anger and his mental exaltation.'

(Note that this scrap of translation is offered here without warranty or representation of accuracy. Then again, the translation is not much worse than the original. If you choose to bend your torso (rather than crouch or lean) and launch your body at full speed at a six-by-six square of linotype keys to achieve mental exaltation, well, all I want to know is if there's an advance-purchase ticket discount. Barthes's original reads thus:
Voici par exemple quelques lignes d'un roman de Garaudy: « ... le buste penché, lancé à corps perdu sur le clavier de la linotype... la joie chantait dans ses muscles, ses doigts dansaient, légers et puissants... la vapeur empoisonnée d'antimoine... faisait battre ses tempes et cogner ses artères, rendant plus ardentes sa force, sa colère et son exaltation. »)

[FWIW, in a search of medical literature databases I found no report associating antimony with any health effect in linotype operators. The characteristic occupational disability of linotype operators was deafness, because the machines were loud.]

Barthes does not identify the novel or give a full name for Garaudy, but evidently the person referred to is Roger Garaudy, a philosophy professor by profession. He is known to have published some novels and plays. If the sample above is any indication, then it's ``no coincidence,'' as a favored communist locution went, that I have been able to find no novel published by Garaudy in or out of print.

Garaudy was born in 1913 and has been a serial fanatical convert since shortly thereafter. At age 14 he converted to Protestantism. In 1933 he joined the Communist Party, eventually serving 28 years in leading positions as a member of the Executive Central Committee. Krushchev's famous ``secret speech'' denouncing Stalin (February 24, 1956, at the 20th Party Congress) shook Garaudy's faith, and he became increasingly critical of the USSR. He broke with the party after the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia and was expelled in 1970, following his publication of an article claiming that USSR was not a socialist state. (``Expelled'' from the party, not Czechoslovakia. I think that's right, but I'm not sure whether they tossed him out or slammed the door behind him.) As part of this pinball pilgrimage of his, he had begun to seek a reconciliation between the Catholic and communist faiths, in De l'anathème au dialogue (1966) and in A Christian-Communist Dialogue (1968), the latter co-written with Quentin Lauer, S.J. Then in 1982 he converted to Sunni Islam, taking the name Ragaa (i.e., ``Ragaa Garudi,'' so I understand, though his books seem to be published under the old name). In the 1990's he started writing antisemitic books, including one which earned him a conviction for holocaust denial in a French court.

Led Zeppelin
Led Zeppelin reputedly got its name from The Who's John Entwistle (1944-2002, bassist) or Keith Moon (drummer). He (whoever he was) suggested that Jimmy Page's new project would go over like a lead balloon.

I suppose speakers of Commonwealth English could call this group ``Led Zed'' for short. I don't recall ever having heard or seen that abbreviation, nor LZ (q.v.), but it did go by the name ``New Yardbirds.'' What happened was that the Yardbirds broke up in 1967, and still had some concert commitments in Scandinavia for 1968. Jimmy Page had joined the Yardbirds in June 1966 as bassist, and took over lead guitar in November when Jeff Beck left. Page put together a new band with John Paul Jones as bassist, Robert Plant lead vocals, and John Bonham, drummer from the original Yardbirds, and the ``New Yardbirds'' played out the remaining Yardbirds gigs. They performed as Led Zeppelin for the first time in their first show after returning to England, at Surrey University in October 1968.

The Who's drummer Keith Moon died of an accidental drug overdose in 1978. Led Zeppelin's drummer John Bonham (``Bonzo'') choked to death on his own vomit at Jimmy Page's house in 1980, after an all-day drunk. There was a lot of this stuff going around; overdoses were not a drummer specialty.

Low-Energy Electron Diffraction. Electrons with energies in the range 5 eV to 500 eV have deBroglie (i.e. quantum mechanical) wavelengths h/|p| in the range 0.55 Å to 5.5 Å, comparable to crystalline lattice spacings. Low-energy electrons are a surface-sensitive probe because typical inelastic mean free paths for electrons in this energy range are on the order of 5-10 Å. Moreover, the typical energy lost in these inelastic scattering events -- of order 5 eV -- is large compared to the energy resolution of electron detectors. As a result, it is possible to resolve an elastically scattered signal with surface structural information (elastic LEED or ELEED). It is also possible to filter for only those electrons that have undergone a single inelastic event (ILEED).

A city in northern England. A town in Alabama.

Linear Elastic Fracture Mechanics.

left bank
The opposite bank from the right bank. The way rivers work, you pretty much need two and only two banks. In fact, if you take away one bank, the other bank goes away too -- it becomes a shore. If you wanted useful information, you came to the wrong bank entry; you want the right bank.

legacy computer system
A way obsolete system that continues in use because the boss won't admit that the earlier purchase decision was ignorant and short-sighted or ``a judgement call'' (relied on brother-in-law, a Wang salesman). Penny-wise and pound-foolish, the company continues to bear the costs of this system both hidden (legacy software with low functionality and less interoperability; poor productivity; good personnel leave for well-run company) and not-so-hidden (hire brother-in-law as consultant to crisis-manage Y2K conversion). Since the company's party line is that the original purchase was savvy, continued use of crappy legacy system is called ``mining the gold'' (on the level; used without ironic intent by United Airlines management as recently as 1998, referring to host-centric IBM boat anchors).

FOLDOC has a kinder, gentler explanation, but here we don't pull our punches. Except for our friends. Or for money. We got standards!

legal fiction
A falsehood that a court requires be assumed true, for the court's convenience. An important foundation of the legal system. You think this is a joke. Ha-ha.

The name of a Danish toy company that originally made other toys, but now specializes in this, their most successful product (the patents on which happen already to have expired). The company name is supposed to be a contraction of Leg godt, meaning `play well.' There's an official company site, and there are many unofficial sites, including David A. Karr's, at Cornell, one with subject-appropriate horizontal rules from David Koblas, and a site in Buffalo. Pictures would have been nice.

The rec.toys.lego newsgroup has extensive faq documentation compiled by Tom Pfeifer. (All together in one file here.)

LEGO blocks have plug-and-socket structures on top (squat plugs) and bottom (sockets) arranged in regular patterns (as dots on dominoes). A similar relief pattern can be seen on the bottoms of the metopes of ancient Greek temples -- they look like upside-down LEGO blocks. The characteristic was copied in neo-classical architecture and can be seen on many old public buildings in the US. I learned about this from Dr. J in Philadelphia. Have a look at Prof. Siegel's Illustrated Parthenon Lecture.

LEGally Oriented (computer programming) Language. Name on the pattern of COBOL and SNOBOL.

See R. K. Stamper: ``LEGOL: Modelling Legal Rules by Computer,'' Computer Science and Law, Bryan Niblett (ed.), (Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge U.P., 1980).

A plant that yields pulse (loosely, edible seed), or the pulse itself, or the pulse and its edible envelope, or just the edible envelope, if there would be a pulse inside. So string beans are a legume but not a pulse. (String beans contain pulse, but not much to speak of; snow peas in the pod aren't string beans.) One can get into philosophical difficulties here, however. An argument or criterion used to exclude grapes as a legume might cause string beans to be excluded as well. Use your judgment.

The adjective leguminous generally has the meaning one would infer from the legume definition above. Legume is also used in the more general sense of edible vegetables. The noun vegetable could once refer to any plant or non-animal life. This is evident from the attributive (i.e., functionally adjectival) use in terms like vegetable matter (equivalent to plant matter). Vegetables were not necessarily edible. (Children still feel that way.) If one excludes figurative uses (primarily to describe people), however, the (adult) meaning of the word vegetable functioning as a noun has now become restricted to the sense of edible plant. With vegetable thus serving the semantic function that was once served by the compound edible vegetable, we now have the opportunity to sharpen up the meaning of legume to include only its pulse-related senses. Let's do it! (Recommendation subject to change once I think through grains and cereals.)

Laser Entrance Hole.

A garland traditionally made of flowers, shells, feathers, etc. Aloha and welcome to Hawai'i!

Laser-Enhanced Ionization. Virginia Tech serves a brief description.

Actually, it's ``Leibniz'' -- no t. Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716). He died some years before even daguerrotype was invented, so there is no photograph.

This is the correct spelling of his name, you pedant. For more information, see ``Leibnitz.''

Leidenfrost's Phenomenon
The formation of a thin vapor layer between a liquid or a wet surface, and a hot surface beneath it, suspending the condensed portion out of contact with the hot surface. The vapor layer slows heating of the liquid because its thermal conductivity is much lower than condensed material, and substantially eliminates friction with the surface. The skittery motion of liquid nitrogen on a floor at room temperature is due to this effect, and fools hold liquid helium on their tongues by the same principle. (Do not try this experiment at home! This trick should be performed only by trained low-temperature physicists with generous health plans! A hiccup or other error can be dangerous. For example, the teeth are extremely vulnerable.) Walking over hot coals depends on the same principle.

Lower Explosive Limit.

Lunar Excursion Module. Sounds jaunty, doesn't it? It was a bit of a LEMon, though: the rear right fender fell off, and if the astronauts hadn't been able to fashion a replacement from cardboard, C-clamp and tape, the excursion would have had to have been called off, on account of the danger from moondust. The middle name must have offended: it became the LM before landing. Oops, wait a second: it turns out most of that is wrong.

The LEM or LM was the lander -- the vehicle with two rocket engines that took the astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface of the moon and back. The thing with fenders was the LRV or Rover. I'll try to fix the rest of the preceding later.

Frank Zappa's daughter was named Moon Unit; she was born almost two years before the first LEM landed on the moon. More on that Moon Unit at this CCSU entry.

Lemniscate of Bernoulli
Curve defined by (x² + y²)² - a² (x² - y²) = 0.

Line Equipment Number.

Low Entry Networking [node]. IBM term.

Low-Energy Neutral Atom imager. An instrument on NASA's IMAGE spacecraft. LENA detects ENA's with energies between 10 and 500 eV.

lending value
The value of a property (on which a mortgage loan is to be extended) that is the appraised value adjusted for the cost of unloading it in reasonable time. In other words, the real value of a property as security on its own mortgage. Of course, the actual price a buyer pays and a seller accepts always depends on factors like credit availability and other needs and considerations of the negotiating parties, so the appraised value itself may not approximate the price.


Lens is Latin for `lentil.'

In Modern Greek, the word for lentil, phakos, also means `lens,' and lentils as food are usually referred to in the plural (phakê). Indeed, the singular English form lentil is used mostly as an attributive noun (i.e., adjective). Lentils are (and lentil is a) pulse.

In Spanish, the pulse is called lenteja and the optical element is called lente.


Leo. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation named Leo. I guess this one was never in much doubt. Leo means `lion' in Latin. This one can only be captured using mathematical methods.

Link Everything Online. Well, everything Münchner, anyway, but I like the acronym, and some of the resources are quite valuable.

Low Earth Orbit. E.g.: Michael Jordan trajectory, as noted by the presumed earthling Spike Lee.

In the satellite industry, LEO basically is anything closer than geostationary. They pronounce it both ``Leo'' and ``el ee oh.''

Complimentary lapel pins are a popular item in that industry. I guess free samples are just not an option.

Lasers and Electro-Optics Society of IEEE.

Low Earth Orbit Satellite.

Laboratory for Extraterrestrial Physics. It's at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), in Greenbelt, Md., USA.

Large Electron-Positron (cooling rings and collider CERN). Sometimes pronounced to rhyme with ``let.''

Lepus. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Limited English-Proficiency (student).

Low-Emissions Technology R&D Partnership.

Name of an ancient Greek bronze coin. In modern times, it was a fraction of the national currency: 100 lepta to the drachma (cf. dram). Since 2002, lepton has been the Greek designation for one cent of a euro.

A class of fundamental particles. The electron is the best-known lepton. The late Bram Pais invented the name lepton during a brief period after WWII when, having come out of hiding in Holland, he was able to accept the invitation of Niels Bohr five years earlier to do postdoctoral work in Denmark. The name comes from the Greek root lept- for small (meaning low-mass, in this instance) and the Greek male noun ending -on widely used for elementary particle names.

However light a particle may be, you might suppose it would make some qualitative difference whether its mass is zero or not. It does, but it's not the most important of differences. In some respects, it is more significant whether its mass is large or not. The leptons are ``light'' (i.e., not very massive) particles. As recently as the early 1990's, the electrically neutral leptons (the ``zero-charge leptons''), called neutrinos, were believed to be massless. Measurements of the solar neutrino flux now indicate that at least one kind of neutrino (and its antiparticle) must have nonzero mass, and it seems likely they all have mass.

(All references to nonzero particle mass in this entry are to rest mass: the mass as it would be measured by an observer in the rest frame of the particle. Not to put too fine a point on it, matter consists of massive particles -- particles with nonzero rest mass. Note, however, that the mass of matter is not just the sum of the rest masses of the constituent particles; one must also consider the kinetic and interaction energies. Zero-mass particles are exceptional, because zero-mass particles move at light speed, and time stands still for an observer boosted into such a particle's frame. There'll be more about this at the massless entry, when that is rolled out.)

At the current energy scale of the universe, there are four fundamental interactions, or ``forces,'' in nature: gravitation, electromagnetism, the weak force, and the strong force. (In earlier, hotter epochs, these interactions were integrated into more symmetric interactions with equal coupling constants: electromagnetic with weak -- electroweak interaction, electroweak with strong -- GUT, and all forces together -- what superstring theory attempts to achieve. There are very slight experimental suggestions, and no theoretical ones, for other forces.)

(The weak and strong interactions were originally known only from nuclear phenomena, and so were called the weak and strong nuclear forces. In fact, the range of effects is more general, and the ``nuclear'' modifier is no longer used.)

The gravitational force affects and is affected by all particles, including ``massless'' ones (i.e., those with zero rest mass). The situation is actually pretty easy to describe: the distance between nearby events (the length of an infinitesimal separation in spacetime) is described by the metric tensor. The Ricci tensor, representing certain combinations of the metric tensor and its derivatives, describes the curvature of spacetime. [Aside: this is an intrinsic curvature, in the nontechnical sense. For a two-dimensional analogy, imagine you lived on the surface of a sphere (not a bad approximation) and light traveled in ``straight lines'' (great-circle trajectories) on that sphere. You would know that your space was curved because any macroscopic triangle (a spherical triangle) would have a sum of inside angles greater than 180 degrees. The same thing happens with spacetime. You should not imagine that the curvature of spacetime by thinking of it as embedded in a larger-dimensional flat space. Instead, you should think of the curvature as something detectable completely within the spacetime. When the Ricci tensor is nonzero, you can tell that spacetime isn't flat because Minkowski geometry doesn't work, just as Euclidean geometry doesn't work for curved space.] Anyway, getting back to particles: in the classical form of Einstein's General Relativity, the Ricci tensor is proportional to the stress-energy tensor (through an overall factor of eight pi times the gravitational constant, and various factors of c). The stress-energy tensor is a symmetric second-order tensor that generalizes to four-dimensional spacetime the stress tensor of three-dimensional space. The stress-energy tensor includes components for stress, energy density, and momentum density. Therefore, not just rest mass but all mass (i.e. energy), as well as momentum and forces, generate curvature in spacetime. The trajectories followed by particles are determined by the metric tensor (whose curvature is described by the Ricci tensor, remember?), so energy, momentum, and forces all affect motion gravitationally.

The electromagnetic interaction couples all particles with electric charge or a magnetic moment, which means in effect it couples all massive particles.

The electromagnetic and gravitational forces are the only long-range forces -- they are mediated by zero-mass bosons and in static situations the force between fundamental charges (masses in one case, electric monopoles -- conventional ``charges'' -- in the other). Electromagnetic forces and quantum mechanics essentially explain, in principle, all chemical reactions. The gravitational interaction, in dimensionless terms, is by far the weakest of the four interactions. However, there is no ``static negative charge'' for gravitation, no negative rest mass. Consequently, this long-range interaction cannot be screened like electromagnetism and is the dominant interaction observable on planetary and larger length scales.

The weak and strong forces are short-ranged: they cause interactions that fall off exponentially on a length scale corresponding to the deBroglie wavelengths of their mediating bosons. While all massive particles participate in the long-range interactions and the weak short-range interaction, not all particles participate in the strong interaction. The massive particles that do not participate in strong interactions are leptons. (Remember leptons?)

Note that the preceding discussion was essentially about the bare particles, which are really just idealizations of real particles. It's hard to ``turn off'' interactions in this situation. For example: an electron, as a lepton, does not participate in the strong interaction. However, the real electron is a bare electron ``dressed'' by a cloud of virtual particles. Through the weak interaction, it has a probability amplitude for transforming temporarily to a neutron, antiproton, and electron-neutrino (this is a rather less likely, high-order process, but it saves me introducing quarks). The virtual neutron and antiproton can interact strongly, so the real electron does. It's a tiny effect, but an effect of that general sort -- strong-interaction corrections to the electron gyromagnetic ratio -- began to be measured in 2001.

Lewis Research Center. A NASA facility in Cleveland, Ohio.

Low-Excitation Radio Galaxy. See RG.

As the saying goes: be one.

LAN Emulation Server.

Lesbian Rule
A post facto law. Making an act the precedent for a rule of conduct, instead of squaring conduct according to law.

I dunno. I read it in a quote at the beginning of a chapter of Megalith Science, and the term appears to refer to a physical instrument of some sort. At least no one claims it describes a feminist separatist's fantasy.

LeistungsElektronik, Systemtechnik, InformationsTechnologie.

Light-induced Electron Spin Resonance (ESR).

Lateral Epitaxy Seeded Solidification.

lessons learned
When container of lactic fluid open on the top is tilted away from the vertical, it may lose gravitational stability and the fluid may decontainerize and become unconfined. Diluting the fluid with drops of saline solution serves no purpose.

Lessons of History
Predetermined yet ad hoc conclusions drawn from a tendentious selection of sometimes possibly true beliefs.

A very handy English word, and often a difficult one to translate simply into other languages.

Linear Energy Transfer.

Line Equipment Transfer. Don't forget your LEN!

Low-Energy Telescope.

let him...
Look here.

let know
A phrasal verb that fills the semantic slot in English that avisar and avisare fill in Spanish and Italian, respectively. ``Let me know'' in English is ``avisame'' in Spanish and ``avisami'' in Italian.

Le Tour de France
A tiny French ``delicatessen'' in London. If you're looking for the bike race, that's Tour de France (TdF). I guess that as a proper noun, it doesn't need an article. See also La Tour de France.

Let's come together
and do what I say.

Lets go!
Lets go of what?

Let's think this over.
Let's put this off.

JugaLETTE. A female ICP fan. See the Juggalo entry.

LEU, Leu
LEUcine. An amino acid. One-letter abbreviation is its first letter (that would be L). Not every amino acid has that privilege, you know.

Low-Emissions Vehicle. (Without the hyphen, this would be an emissions vehicle that could fit under low bridges.)

A Russian name corresponding to Leo.

leverage the synergy
Achieve enhanced tendentiousness.

The winner: ``A common need was felt to leverage the synergy of the expertise Information technology expertise and domain specific knowledge amongst the founders to deliver relevant, cost-effective IT.'' [Notice the giveaway British spelling amongst. (In a British document, of course, British spelling wouldn't give anything away.)]

Nomenclature-is-destiny recognition: ``Regarding the merger, Vague said, `With the merger, a top priority will be to leverage the synergy's realized by the merger to drive growth and earnings.'' [No special bonus for run-of-the-mill (ROTM) apostrophe error.]

In a March 1999 web survey posted to the classics list, I reported that "leveraging the synergy" was significantly more common than "leverage the synergy" (44 versus 32 hits) while "leveraged the synergy" was unattested. It's a happening thing.

Boy was it ever. In a December 2009 survey, I found

"leveraging the synergy": 134,000 ghits)
	("leveraging the synergy of": 127,000 ghits)
"leverages the synergy":  105,000
"leverage synergies":      50,000
"leveraged the synergy":   36,800
"leverage synergy":        14,000
"leverage a synergy":      10,600
"leveraging synergy":       3,880
"leverages synergy":        1,100
"leveraged synergy":          870
"leverage the synergy":       556
"leveraging a synergy":         8
"leverages a synergy":          1 (I didn't ``repeat the search with
                                             the omitted results included.'')
There are two ghits for "trying to leverage some synergy", but "leveraged a synergy" was unattested.

A GE-registered trademark name used for a range of highly scratch-resistant polycarbonate glasses.

A language that is a source (usually the main source) of the vocabulary of another is called a or the lexifier of that language. The term is currently used primarily for the sources of pidgins and creoles, but there's nothing preventing this grotesque neologism from being used to describe, say, the role of Anglo-French in Middle English.

LE 1755
A conference: ``The Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 and its historical impact.'' At the University of Lisbon, 4-5 November 2005.

``The purpose of the conference, on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of Lisbon Earthquake, is to discuss the variety of historical implications of this event: social, political, economic, cultural, urban and architectural.''

LF, lf
Left Field[er]. (Baseball term.)

Line Feed. EBCDIC 37! ASCII 10! CTRL-J! Hike! Typically represented in strings by an escape sequence like \n or \012 or \x0A or something. See the B programming language entry for \n etymology.

The bare term line feed refers to related things that context distinguishes. As a button on a line printer, it means jerk the paper up. In various programming contexts, it may be an instruction to perform that action. (In some contexts, the abbreviation or code or token NL has also been used.) Within a character string, line feed simply refers to the value of a byte (or seven bits of a byte, ``lower ASCII''). (Don't ask me how things work with wchar_t.) Not every ASCII code has to represent a printable character, you know. But LF is kinda borderline. In practical programming languages that allow multiline character strings, it makes sense that the presence of the line-feed character within a string is interpreted as an end-of-line.

Within electronic text files, things may be a bit more complicated. See the discussion at the CR entry.

Low Frequency. In radio transmission and other electromagnetic radiation contexts, this means frequencies between 30 kHz and 300 kHz.


Latin For Americans. Textbooks and associated materials. A mailing list for teachers using LFA was created on February 18, 2007: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/latinforamericans/>. For a general orientation to Latin textbooks, see our Latin school texts entry.

LFA traces its lineage to one of various competing Latin schoolbooks of the 1920's that were called Elementary Latin. (Another one was by M. L. Smith, 1920.) The Elementary Latin that became LFA was first published in 1923 (and hence is in the public domain). The original version is available in a one-pound, 391-page paperback reprint from Simon Publications. That 1923 book was originally written by B. L. Ullman, Charles Henderson, and Norman E. Henry.

LFA is later editions of the same work -- rewritten, expanded by the inclusion of readings and split into two volumes. At least by 1945, the publishers (Macmillan Company) were advertising LFA as by ``Ullman and Henry'' ($1.84 for the first year book, $2.40 for the second). Henderson was only mentioned in in the second book. (For all I know, this may have reflected his contributions.) I just noticed that I own a copy of the second book (© 1942, 1950; fifth printing 1953). This one lists B.L. Ullman as editor and also as author, along with ``the late Norman E. Henry.'' At this point Henderson gets no mention in the second book either.

The readings in LFA, particularly the simple early ones, are regarded by students and teachers alike as boring. (There are scattered exceptions like ``Anna et Rana.'') Nevertheless, it has been popular over the years among high-school teachers who favor an approach that emphasizes grammar, and teachers frequently supplement it with readings from some other sources. These readings are typically taken from other texts (and materials developed for and keyed to other texts) or stand-alone pedagogical materials: graded readers, and story collections that are not graded but at least simple. (A list of Latin texts discussed in this glossary can be found at the Latin school texts entry.)

Over the years, there have been various revisions and additions to LFA, including a third book, for which there are few dedicated ancillary materials published. Among the most important ancillary materials is a workbook (for the first two books) first created by Marcia Stille. Or maybe by Marcia Stille et al. It's hard to know now, because giving due credit is not a priority. The eighth edition of LFA, infamously error-ridden, was the last to list all three original authors (somewhere). The ninth edition credits only Ullman, dissing not only Henderson and Henry but various people who have revised subsequent editions for better and worse. The workbook no longer mentions Stille, to say nothing of the three or more others who did substantial work on it. ``Company policy,'' you understand. It's a similar story with other old Latin textbooks. You'd figure they might at least get a foreword (not forward) mention.

Works about proper language use are perennials. Just think of Strunk and White. Wheelock's Latin, which first appeared in 1956, is still in print, now in its sixth revised edition. (For this work, copyright is in the control of the original author's family. Prof. Richard A. LaFleur, at UGA, is current keeper of the flame.) Even when subsequent works are substantially or completely new, there is a marketing advantage in publishing a book as the latest version of a respected or beloved classic. The New ``Fowler's'' comes immediately and bitterly to mind.

The phenomenon is not restricted to books for English-speakers only. Here's an example sampled randomly using a convenient selection procedure I developed just before my trip to Poland: Polnische Grammatik (a compact German manual of Polish grammar) is volume ``942/942a'' of the collection Sammlung Gröschen. The 1967 version (specifically 942a, apparently) lists Dr. Norbert Damerau as author, but the copyright page acknowledges (precise degree of indebtedness unclear) the 1926 Polish grammar published by Dr. Meckelein.

Dictionaries have similarly long histories. Ordinary (one-language) dictionaries tend to flaunt their bloodlines, preserving a respected name in the title (think Webster). The same thing occurs to a lesser degree with bilingual dictionaries (read the LSJ entry up the Pakistan link), but there is also a great deal of indebtedness acknowledged only in the prefatory material that no one reads (follow that Pakistan link).

I infer, from queries and requests from revision authors of Latin primers, that scattered earlier versions of some such works may be hard to come by even when the work has been popular over time. With dictionaries, the earliest works are often forgotten and sometimes lost (see v.a.).

Letter From America. A regular BBC feature in which Alistair Cooke explained America to people who didn't know enough to call his bluff.

German: laufend, meaning `running, in progress.' Just a fat-finger and a couple 'hundred kilometers away from lfs. Be careful.

The -d added to just about any infinitive yields the present participle, but usually this doesn't function adjectivally nearly as prolifically as the English present participle (in -ing), to say nothing of functioning as a gerund (it doesn't).

Lexical-Functional Grammar. Here's an introduction, evidently endorsed by the international association for LFG (ILFGA).

Linear Focusing Grating Coupler.

Lutherans For Life. An anti-abortion ministry. (Remember that you can turn of the irritating flashing graphics by pressing the escape key or making the appropriate selection from the right mouse button (on your Netscape browser).

Linear Frequency Modulation.

Low-Frequency Noise.

Labor Force Participation Ratio.

LFS, lfs
Lófasz a seggedbe.

stands for horse; be is a postfix particle. That's about all I have to say about the semantics.

It's difficult to have a language that is agglutinative and that also maintains complete vowel harmony.

There are worse profanities in that language! Can you imagine?

Linear Feedback Shift Register.

Ligand Field Theory. An elaboration of Crystal Field Theory (CFT) that discards the assumption of point ions.

Least Frequently Used. A cache management algorithm.

Leader of the Free World.

In 2004, the British food company Warburtons commissioned the BBC to conduct a survey marking the launch of its new Cheese Flavour Crumpets. (The new Cheese Flavour Crumpets were introduced by Warburtons, not the BBC. The BBC doesn't do advertising.) The survey, which polled 2,000 British moviegoers, asked what were the cheesiest lines ever uttered in a movie. The winner, or anyway the top vote-getter, was a line uttered by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Titanic. In a romantic scene with co-star Kate Winslet, he stands with arms outstretched at the bow of the sinking ship and shouts ``I'm the king of the world!'' Not long after, in a scene we don't get to enjoy, he dies. Cf. planetarch.

London Fashion Week.


Late Geometric. A long period of Greek art. LGIIb dates to the last quarter 8 c. BCE.

Left (L) Guard (G).

Large Grain. Crystallographic grain, say.

IATA's code for LaGuardia Airport, which went into service in 1939 and is named after popular mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. It covers 680 acres and has two runways. Its best feature is that it is very convenient to New York City. Its worst feature is that it is very convenient to NYC, so people are willing to risk and endure delays in order to use it. It is one of four airports for which a national authority, ARO, allocates arrival slots. It should have had the code LAG; in all important measures of on-time performance, it is the worst airport in the US. Check out its status in real time from the ATCSCC.

Land Grid Array. Like BGA.

Led Glean Blue? That's what I think of.

Last week I ate twice at ``Thailand Restaurant,'' a wonderful place on Central Avenue in Clark, New Jersey, occupying a location that used to be a 50's-style diner. The prices are reasonable and the food is tasty. I can't say from personal knowledge, but according to what I've read the food is quite authentic.

On the other hand, I've also read (again on various online restaurant-review sites) that the portions are modest and that ``mild, moderate'' and ``hot'' should be understood as `hot, spicy hot unbearable for an American palate,' and `guaranteed martyrdom.' In fact, the portions are generous and when I asked for something between ``moderate'' and ``hot,'' making clear that I had been adequately warned, my food was not noticeably spicy-hot at all. On the second visit, when I recounted my previous experience and asked for ``hot,'' I got something that was noticeably but not especially hot.

Perhaps it was a communication problem. Probably the most authentic aspect of the restaurant is the personnel. The restaurant has been in business for a decade or so, but the front-of-the-house staff all sound like they just came off the boat. They can understand a little English, but be sure to order by number. If you're trying to guess what has been said to you, definitely try replacing l's with r's and inserting r's at the end of long-duration vowels.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual. ``Ladies'' first!

It reminds me of a famous putative exchange between the famous wit Mrs. Dorothy Parker (b. 1893) and the famous beauty Mrs. Clare Boothe Luce (b. 1903). The story goes that, as they approached a door somewhere, Mrs. Luce yielded with ``age before beauty,'' and Mrs. Parker went ahead while retorting ``pearls before swine.''

Mrs. Luce apparently denied that the incident occurred. I haven't tracked this down, though, and in principle she might have been presented with a particular version of the story and simply denied that that occurred. Celebrity gossip columnist Sheilah Graham, who published the anecdote on October 14, 1938, in the Hartford Courant, claimed there that she heard it directly from Parker, but perhaps ``Dorothy Parker tells me'' is just a figure of gossip-column speech that could mean ``I read something like that in The Spectator.'' There doesn't seem to be any other direct comment or claimed comment on the story from Parker.

Graham's is the second publication of the anecdote that anyone seems to have found, and the first that mentions Luce. The earlier one, September 16 of that year in The Spectator of London, has it between ``Mrs. Parker and a snooty debutante.''

Apparently the only person ever to positively claim that she witnessed the exchange was Gertrude Benchley. The claim appears only in Robert Hendrickson's American Literary Anecdotes (New York, etc.: Facts on File, 1990), p. 174:

Recalled Mrs. Robert Benchley when she was 80 years old: ``I was right there, the time in the Algonquin, when some little chorus girl and Dottie were going into the dining room and the girl stepped back and said, `Age before beauty' and Dottie said very quickly, `Pearls before swine.' I was right there when she said it.''
(Italics and quotes sic. Robert Benchley married Gertrude Darling in 1914 and died in 1945. Gertrude Benchley turned 80 in 1969 and died in 1980.)

[At least one webpage attributes this quote to ``Mrs. Robert Benchley's biography of her husband.'' There doesn't appear to be any such.]

Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley were star members of the famous Algonquin Round Table, which met daily at the Algonquin Hotel from 1919 until about 1929. (There are widely credited claims that they had an affair.) If Mrs. Benchley's recollection of the age...swine incident is accurate, it would likely to have occurred during the Round Table days. If so, then one could reasonably have expected the exchange to have been reported by FPA in ``The Conning Tower.'' [During that period, fwiw, Ann Clare Boothe was single and then married to (Aug. 23, 1923) and divorced from (1929) George Tuttle Brokaw. Tuttle remarried, and died in June 1935. Clare Boothe married magazine magnate Henry Luce in November 1935. Tuttle's widow married Henry Fonda. Henry seems to have been a successful name for second husbands.]

Here, from <quoteinvestigator.com>, is one detailed excavation of the anecdote. What doesn't get said enough in analyses of this sort is that Mrs. Luce (or Mrs. Brokaw or Miss Booth), a celebrated writer, was smart enough to guess that a dimwitticism like ``age before beauty'' would elicit a sharp retort from the likes of Mrs. Parker, and would at least have had a rejoinder ready for the expected retort, if she have been (I think that's the probably-contrary-to-fact subjunctive) foolish enough to launch the first verbal assault.


Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Classical Caucus. Within the American Philological Association (APA, q.v.). Dang, this is so advanced -- I'd be surprised if the American Physical Society even had so much as a Democratic Caucus.

Identity groups in professional organizations often raise the same sort of question. In this case: is this a caucus of lesbian, gay and bisexual philologists, or is it a caucus of those who do philology related to the lesbians, gays and bisexuals of antiquity? I think the answer is sometimes and yes.

In regard to the first question: it is considered impolite to ask, but it is not considered impolite to say. It's probably even considered impolite to guess, but our visitors demand information, and we have to come up with answers somehow.

The LBGCC has cosponsored events with the Women's Classical Caucus (WCC) and the Committee on the Status of Women and Minority Groups.

In 2000, the LBGCC changed its name to LambdaCC.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transsexual, Transylvaniaaaa-aa-aah. Sorry, got a little bit carried away there. Excited. The T definitely doesn't stand for Tim Curry, probably.

Some people like to have a lot of l.*ers. Some people like l.*ers of the same kind, some people like different l.*ers. Some people have felt they had the wrong kind of l.*ers and known that they wanted a different kind of l.*er since they were six. (The l-word, of course, is ``letters.'') Some people feel that four is enough for anyone. So LGBT may stand, as an example, for ``Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Queer and Questioning.'' I've seen that apparent expansion.

I'm with Mrs. Campbell -- just don't do it in the street and scare the horses. This isn't too theoretical. Since I've been in Indiana, I've never lived more than two miles from at least one horse stables. The nearest one to me now is across the road from the nudist colony. More about that at AANR.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans{gender|sexual}, and Que{er|stioning}. I'm not sure what ``transgender'' means, so I guess I must be questioning. My friend L__ claims that at some bien-pensant center on this campus, she's seen little cards that say stuff like ``Safe Zone: LGBTQ-friendly.'' Or maybe it was the more-common ``LGBT-friendly'' version. She thinks this shouldn't be promoted on a Roman Catholic campus. Boy, is she gonna be shocked when she finds out that the heterosexual students fornicate.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans{sexual|gender}, and Que{er|stioning} Alliance. This is not considered redundant; see GLBTQ. Trust me, I will alert you as soon as I encounter BLTGQ. Okay: done!

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning, Flexual, Asexual, Genderforked-or-whatever, Polyamorous, Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism. If I had made this up myself, it would be fair to accuse me of ironic intent, but that charge cannot stick to Wesleyan University in Connecticut, which introduced this 15LA in February 2015 to identify the kindsss of studentsssssss to whom it is catering, or pandering, in a housing option called ``Animal House.'' Wait! Let me check that...nope, it's ``Open House.'' I don't understand. They are to be commended for compactly representing B/D,D/S,S/M by just a simple BDSM, at least. (Don't want to look silly. Can't have that.) I would recommend that they follow the pattern of i18n and E13n, rather than go full tanstaafl. Just engrave l__z across the lintel of the House, and install a digital display in the space. Hook that up to an optical turnstile (a/k/a ``barrier-free person-counting system'') and they're good to go for the truncated tenures of at least a couple of sacrifical deans.

Wait! This all seems to arbitrarily assume just two genders! This oppresses the multisexuals! Toss another dean on the flames.

Loop- or Ground-start Exchange.

lgfd, LGFD
Looks Good From Door. Hospitalese that occurs both as a complete comment and as a noun. As a comment it implies, besides whatever the expansion suggests about a patient, that someone (generally the speaker) has not made a closer examination of the patient in question. The noun LGFD describes someone not in obvious need of immediate treatment; the implication of using the term LGFD, sometimes intended and sometimes not, is that the patient is or is judged to be obnoxious.

Looks Good From The Corridor. Synonym of LGFD.

Local Government Financing Vehicles. Term for financial entities established by local governments to invest in infrastructure and other projects. Example of use (by Minxin Pei, writing for The Diplomat): ``Chinese LGFVs are known mainly for their unique ability to sink perfectly good money into bottomless holes in the ground.'' Ah -- they're deep-mine drilling investments! That doesn't sound so bad.

Lower GastroIntestinal Bleeding.

Last Glacial Maximum. Say 26.5 kya, when the ice sheets covering much of North America and northern Europe reached their maximum extent.

Little Green M{e|a}n.

Lateral Geniculate Nucleus.

Librascope/General Precision 30. An early 1960's computer.

Loop- or Ground-start Subscriber.

Ladies' Golf Union. Founded in 1893, it is the governing body for ladies' amateur golf throughout Great Britain and Ireland.

Local Government Unit.

Ligne[s] pour trains à Grande Vitesse. French acronym for French name of (surprise!) French `High-Speed train Line[s].' The trains themselves use the acronym TGV (just don't ask me what's down with TGV-R). LGV consists of three lines:

Ligne pour trains à Grande Vitesse [LGV] Atlantique. The trains themselves use the acronym TGV.

Lesbian & Gay Veterinary Medical Association. This isn't one of those bogus joke entries, but I think it's okay to laugh anyway.

Ligne pour trains à Grande Vitesse Paris-Sud-Est. The first of the three LGV's to be built. More information at the entry for the trains used on that line: TGV-PSE.

Laser-Guided Weapon.

Lateral Hypothalamus. Damage to the lateral hypothalamus can reduce the desire to eat. Stimulation of a healthy LH can induce hunger. Cf. the complementary VMH.

l.h., LH
Left-Hand[ed]. See also LHCP, LHD, LHDP, LHS, and lvalue.

LH, lh
Light Hole. A kind of hole, in the sense of an unfilled one-electron state in a valence band (almost completely filled in a semiconductor). The crystal field breaks the symmetry of the atomic levels that broaden into a crystal's electronic bands. At the level of perturbation theory, this can be thought of as a split of the s=1/2, l=1 (p) states into j=1/2 and j=3/2 states. This gives rise to two bands -- the lower-energy band, with energy decreasing more rapidly with quasimomentum, has a smaller effective mass and is generally called the light hole band. The other band is called the heavy-hole band. (Strictly speaking, these two bands should not be thought of as bands of different j, since, j is not a good quantum number in the crystal.)

Luteinizing Hormone. Here's a comparative study involving human, horse, and llama LH. Also ISCH. A gonadotropin; a pituitary hormone that stimulates the gonads -- to produce sperm and testosterone in males, and to release an egg from its follicle and produce estrogen in females.

Left-Handed Batter. LHB's generally bat better against LHP's than against RHP's.

Lecturer, Human Behavior or Psychopathology course.

Large Hadron Collider. A proton-proton collider originally planned to begin operating at CERN ca. 2003. Testing and commissioning have been rescheduled and pushed back a few times. As of January 2008, commissioning with beam is scheduled for May 2008. When the LHC is operating at full performance, the center-of-mass energy of collisions will be 14 TeV and luminosity is expected to be 1034/sec/cm².

It is supposed that the LHC will have enough energy to detect the Higgs boson. Elementary particles physicists are hoping for Higgs plus -- the Higgs boson plus some other particles. This would finally take the science into a domain of phenomena that are not already predicted by the Standard Model, which has been in place for decades. Personally, I'm rooting for Higgs minus.

The Higgs boson is an excitation of the Higgs field, and the Higgs field is a kludge. In order to have all the nice symmetry properties that explain the relationships among the known lighter particles, it is necessary for the fields of which those particles represent excitations to be massless -- that is, to give rise to particles that have zero rest mass. To explain the mass, Higgs posited the existence of a single scalar field (now called the Higgs field) which in its pristine (``uncoupled'') form would imply a single massive particle (the Higgs boson, or just ``the Higgs''). When there is a coupling between the fields, the number of kinds of elementary excitations -- i.e., the number of kinds of particles -- is preserved, but the properties of the particles can mix. This mixing gives rise to a nonzero rest mass of the other particles (and to interaction between the Higgs and other particles).

Left-Hand Circular Polarization.

Left-Hand Drive. Refers to steering-wheel placement; LHD is for vehicles to be driven on the right (i.e. correct, American) side of the road. Very oddly, the driving convention followed in the US is the same convention followed in most of the rest of the world. There's more extensive discussion at the entry for right-hand drive.

The Travel Library site lists useful mundane information for the places it describes, including driving side. For Texas, they report ``Driving side: N/A.'' Yeah, that'id be about raght. For Virginia, they seem pretty optimistic: ``Driving side: Drivers drive on the right-hand side of the road'' and ``Languages: English, Spanish, French, German.'' I suppose that refers to intervehicle communications (profanities and suggestions).

Local Health Department.

Left-Hand Decimal Point. Refers to digit displays. (See, for example, 7-Segment displays.)

Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics of NASA's GSFC.

Leah was Jacob's first wife. Rachel was the one he wanted, but Jacob's uncle (brother of his mother Rebeccah), tricked him into marrying Leah. Always check under the veil.

Life History Inventory. The data collection instrument for the Random Access Monitoring of Narcotics Abusers (RAMONA) Project. A semistructured interview designed by Simeone Associates Inc. (SAI).

Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy. A mitochondrial syndrome.

Left-Handed Pitcher. You want your LHP to face right-handed batters, so the batters have less room to swing, and tend to hit more weakly into the ``opposite field'' (right field, in this case).

Only about 10 per cent of the general population is left-handed, so LHP's are evidently disproportionately prevalent in the bigs. This is evidently because of their advantage over RH pitchers. Conversely, one would expect lefties to be less over-represented at other (hitting) positions, since their advantage is in hitting against the minority of pitchers who are lefties. I no longer have any idea what I meant when I wrote the last sentence. This either means that I'm getting stupider or smarter. Maybe they should be under-represented, all other things being equal, but probably they're not.

Lower Half-Plane.

Labour History Review. A publication of the SSLH.

Law and History Review. ``America's leading legal history journal, encompasses American, European, and ancient legal history issues. The journal's purpose is to further research in the fields of the social history of law and the history of legal ideas and institutions. LHR features articles, essays, commentaries by international authorities, and reviews of important books on legal history.''

Until 2009, LHR was published by the University of Illinois Press. UIP's description of the journal was very similar to the current one (2010) quoted in the previous paragraph, with one easy-to-miss difference. LHR was previously said to encompass ``American, English, European, and ancient legal history'' (my emphasis). The omission is almost certainly reflects no change in editorial policy, for many reasons. For example, it would be awkward to study American law in a broad historical context while ignoring British precedents and antecedents. I don't know if the description change was an oversight or a conscious streamlining (perhaps by the new, English, publisher: Cambridge U.P.), but the omission is more significant than usually. ``Europe'' may include England or not, in different political usages of the term, but English law is a very different thing from continental European law. The general principles of law throughout western Europe are based on Roman law, with various important codifications. England (along with Wales) traces its laws to a traditional and virtually pre-historic ``Common Law.'' (Scotland's system is something else again, with Roman Catholic canon law an important component, but I don't know much about it.)

The journal used to be published in three editions per year (``Spring, Summer, and Fall''), but now there are apparently four. According to the journal's current adverising information, the copy dates are (12/18, 2/5, 5/7, and 8/6). [Isn't it sweet how they use the US date-ordering system?]

The UIP page used to state that the annual subscription fee included membership in the American Society for Legal History (ASLH). I'm not certain, but it seems that ASLH dues (which depend on income and job status) include a subscription to LHR.

Library History Round Table.

In 1954, the Westfield (NJ) library was a room in someone's house. In the 1960's it took an expanding portion of the municipal building. In the 1970's they created a second floor where some of the high ceilings used to be. I was away for a while. Today it has a building of its own further up East Broad Street.

Thank you for letting me contribute. The ALA has lots of other round tables, like EMIERT and LRRT.

Luteinizing Hormone-Releasing Hormone.

LHS, l.h.s., lhs
Left-Hand Side. This curious expression means left side, because, coincidentally, the left hand is on the left side, so the side corresponding to the left hand is in fact the left side. Got that?

This expression is frequently used in referring to equations, as mathematics requires clear, efficient expressions, and ``l.h.s.'' uses one less alphabetic character than ``left.''

Cf. RHS.

I saw a Chrysler with the chrome letters LHS on the right rear fender.

In the bad old days, when earrings were uncommon on male landlubbers, the mnemonic for sexual orientation was ``left is right and right is wrong.''

Left-Hand Traffic. There seems to have been a screw-up here. Until it's sorted out, I suggest you take a detour through the RHT entry.

Lock Haven University, a member of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education.

Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania. All new!

It should be a buggy Unix command: not NO HangUPs, just Less HangUPs. (Of course, that should be fewer.)

Lower Heating Value. Cf. HHV.

Liquid Hydrogen. (Molecular hydrogen is diatomic, of course: H2.)

Lactose Intolerance. Lactose is the principal sugar in milk, and it is normally broken down by the enzyme lactase.

The custom of drinking milk or consuming milk products into adulthood is not universal. It only began with the domestication of animals, and did not become universal even among agricultural societies. In crude approximation, one may say that milk is a Caucasian taste. (Mnemonic: white.) In the US, milk and milk products are used extensively in prepared foods and restaurant meals, which is okay for probably ninety percent of the population.

Back in 1977 or so, when Warren and I were in college, he came down with this persistent intestinal problem -- severe gas pains. He went to a bunch of doctors who failed to diagnose his problem, although in retrospect it was as obvious as the color of his skin. He eventually visited a doctor who happened to be black like him, and who diagnosed LI. When the lactose isn't broken down by the body's own enzymes, intestinal flora feast on it and release gas.

If you are in a food-service profession, or even if you just happen to be raising children in Alabama, you may find our Hold-the-cheese entry instructive.

Langelier Index. A pH measure of relevance to hard water. Its value is given by
L.I. = pH - pHs ,
where pHs is the pH of a solution with the same concentration of Ca2+ at the point where it is just saturated with calcium.

The idea is to keep the L.I. high enough to prevent precipitation of calcium carbonate (formation of ``scale'' or ``sinter''), but not so high that one risks corroding metal pipes.

If vapor pressure were measured this way, its L.I. would be something like the difference between actual temperature and the dew point.

Laser Ionization. Vide LIMS.

(Domain name code for) Liechtenstein.

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

According to the principality's government, ``[a]s an important part of its sovereignty, Liechtenstein pursues an independent and active foreign policy.'' In 1990, it even joined the UN.

Linguistic Inquiry. A journal.

Linux International.

Chemical symbol for LIthium. At Z=3, the lightest alkali metal, unless you count cold, compressed hydrogen.

Early in the twentieth century, lithium bromide (LiBr) was used as a sedating tranquilizer. This led to our use of the word ``bromide'' for a trite, not to say slumber-inducing, saying. Somebody (I forget who: probably Gelett Burgess, but maybe Don Marquis) wrote ``Are You a Bromide?''

It turns out, however, that the psychoactive element is lithium. This was discovered, quite accidentally, by John F. J. Cade in 1949. Unfortunately, by the 1940's, lithium was considered dangerous, because its use as a sodium substitute in cardiac patients led to some deaths. Cade found that lithium was effective against bipolar disorder (then called manic depression). That story is told at the alkali metals entry here and in Peter D. Kramer: Listening to Prozac. [It helps Kramer make one of his central points, which is, roughly, that a successful therapy can define a diagnosis. That's part of the idea of the title: listen to the successful therapy Prozac, it tells us something about what we might or should call emotional health. See also this ED entry.]

Because of the distrust of lithium, and because of Cade's obscurity, lithium therapy did not catch on again until the sixties. I remember, though, a lot of glossy lithium ads in my grandmother's Journal of the American Psychiatric Association from those days. The ads were glossy, not the lithium. By that time they were marketing it in the chloride.

The group Nirvana had a song called Lithium, 4:19 in the album version. Its first words, sung morosely by lead vocalist Kurt Cobain, are ``I'm so happy.'' KC eventually committed suicide.

Learn more about the chemical element lithium at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Lithium batteries are kind of unusual. Normally, a battery has

  1. a positive electrode coated with a chemical species to be reduced,
  2. a negative electrode coated with a chemical species to be oxidized,
  3. an electrolyte to move ions around.

A simple example would be Ag2O [silver (I) oxide] to be reduced at the anode, and Zn [zinc] to be oxidized at the cathode, with a water electrolyte. Lithium, however, is just burning to be oxidized, so one doesn't need anything special at the positive electrode -- water electrolyte itself serves as the oxidizing agent, with hydrogen being reduced and hydrogen gas being evolved.

Long Island. It stretches ENE from Manhattan, NY. Sometimes LI is used in place of the state abbreviation NY.

Laser Institute of America.

Linear Inductance Accelerator.

One of the words most frequently misspelled in résumés. It's not the hardest word to spell, but if your work history includes words like debris, a résumé, let alone good spelling in it, may be unnecessary.

I have encountered the new English verb liaise. You shouldn't use this word, no matter how convenient or useful it is, because that would be an innovation.

It's a French word, and in French one of the things it refers to is the transition between two words. One well-known consequence of liaison occurs in the pronunciation of a word-final letter ess (or zee or ex). A final ess preceding a consonant is silent (as illustrated by a pun or two at the lasagna entry), but it is normally sounded when the following word begins with a vowel sound (i.e., begins with vowel, possibly preceded by a silent aitch).

The Indonesian word meaning `illegal.' I mean, is that cool or what? Cf. air.

Lexicon of Inconspicuously Ambiguous Recommendations. A ``means by which the [writer of a letter of reference] can convey unfavorable information in a way that the candidate cannot perceive as such'' if the possibly litigious candidate should at some later time exercise his or her right to read the letter. See excerpt of posting by Brent Smith to classics list. An example:

(3) To describe a candidate with lackluster credentials: "All in all, I cannot say enough good things about this candidate or recommend him too highly."

Unappreciated ironist. (It's an alternative interpretation, okay?)

You mean liaison.

Libra. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Lib Dem
LIBeral DEMocrat. A member of the UK's third major party.

libel law
A mechanism for those who can afford pricey legal flunkies to bankrupt the honest.

liberal arts
Grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. The first three, considered more elementary and more necessary to be known, are called the trivium. The presumption that they are elementary gave rise to the expression `trivial.' The remaining four are called the quadrivium.

Although this division of school subjects dates from the middle ages, it is helpful to recognize, as Vico reminds us [ ftnt. 33 ] that the original sense of the root liber was `noble.' Unfortunately, though, he was wrong; liber, a cognate of Eng. leaf, is related to the Gk. elphtherios (`freedom'). The association with nobility probably developed later, from the unfortunate fact that it was mostly the noblemen who were free.

The Seven Liberal Arts are illustrated/personified/epitomized here.

Lust-Induced Brain-Freeze. A concept introduced in Dave Barry's Complete Guide to Guys: A Fairly Short Book by Dave Barry (New York: Random House, 1995), p. 32.

London Interbank BID rate. You take what you can get, and sometimes you can get screwed. It's just a pun, okay? Better than LIBF, in the long run.

A Latin term, also spelled lubido, with a constellation of meanings around the idea of `longing, desire.' It's a feminine noun of the third declension (gen. sing. libidinis or lubidinis).

Sigmund Freud adopted the term for his psychoanalytic theory, in which context it is defined or described as a psychic drive or energy. Since I'm not qualified to opine (or at least, since I know nothing about the subject), I can fatuously affirm that the great utility of Freud's concept is in its liquid or fungible aspect. Desire, in ordinary terms, is thought of as something fixated on an object. In Freud's understanding, this was a bit too rational. Libido in his theory is desire that can be transferred to a different object, or that can be an underlying drive. The term is particularly associated with sexual desire. Here we bump into a common irritation with Freud: from time to time, he issues disclaimers briefly but carefully explaining that it doesn't have to be about sex. Then he goes back to ignoring anything that isn't to do with sex. See LIBF for a more plausible theory.

LIBOR, Libor
London InterBank Offered Rate. Benchmark interest rate of the British Bankers' Association, reflecting the short-term rates at which its banks lend to each other. Cf. LIBID.

At UB and at ND. In case I lose my bookmarks file, or can't access it. You don't matter; this glossary is really just for my own information, and because it costs me nothing I'm letting you see it too. If neither of these library systems is convenient for you, build your own glossary.

The translation of library into another Western European language is usually a cognate of the French word bibliothèque (German Bibliothek, Spanish and Portuguese biblioteca; exception: Italian libreria). In French, librairie (librería in Spanish, llibreria in Catalan) means `bookstore.' For more of this sort of noncorrespondence of words and translations, see the faux ami entry. For online Spanish bookstores, see the links on this page (Librerías Españolas). (They're mostly small. The best database I could find of books in Spanish is the Consultas page at Librería Canaima. Casa del Libro offers to email you the results of a search if their search form doesn't return any results.)

French and Spanish, `free' in the sense of having liberty, not in the sense of the Latin, French, and Spanish word gratis.

I would mention the conventional ``free as in speech, not as in beer,'' but I won't, since it's not very original.

librería de viejo
A Spanish term meaning `used book store.' Literally, the term means `bookstore of old,' although it can be interpreted as `old person's bookstore.' Other terms in use are librería anticuaria (`antiquarian bookstore') and librería de viejo y antiguo (store selling books that are `old and very old' or `old and antique').

Librería Verde
`Green Bookstore.' The name of a New-Ageish Spanish-language bookstore.

Spanish, `book.'

LIBRO, Libro
Library of IBerian Resources Online. A site maintained by AARHMS.

Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy.


LIByan STUDies. Standard TOCS-IN abbreviation. I imagine there are different titles that may correspond to different journals or things outside of classics.

Line-Interface Computer.

Low-Intensity Conflict. Anything short of ``conventional war,'' whatever that is.


Leeds International Classical Studies.

Light-Induced Drift. See, for example
Vladimir M. Shalaev, Constantine Douketis and Martin Moskovits: ``Light-induced drift of electrons in metals,'' Physics Letters A, vol 169, pp. 205-210 (1992).

LIght Detection And Ranging.

[Phone icon]

(Telephone) Line Information DataBase.

Long Island Dental Hygienists' Association. I'm just a sucker for a beautiful smile and nicely placed apostrophe.

Long Island Expressway. A parking lot.

No, no, it wasn't a ``lie.'' It was a surprise -- albeit an unpleasant one.

Laser-Induced Fluorescence.

Here's some instructional material from Virginia Tech.

You've got to learn to take it one disaster at a time. If time permits.

They say that Life is a picture magazine.

life I used to know, The
A rock lyric. Like babybaby, the phrase does not occur in any other context.

A judicial sentence of life plus fifty years in prison. That's so they can't bury you outside. No, not really. Beyond the symbolic, there is a practical reason to impose a formal sentence term that exceeds the longest (life, ``All Day'') that can be served. The idea is that at some later time, sentences may be reduced in a sort of batch-processed way: legislation, judicial ruling, parole laws, or a broad executive commutation may reduce life sentences to as little as time-already-served. The extra time in the formal sentence is partly an imperfect way of assuring that hard time will be served.

The copyright protection (CP) rule in some of the world today. In Life+50 countries, literary, dramatic, & musical work published, performed, communicated, or recorded and offered for sale in an author's lifetime are protected for the life of the author plus fifty years from the end of the year of the author's death. This is approximately, but not exactly, forever. The other common rule is Life+70. Can you guess how Life+70 differs from Life+50?

This is not explained at the Life+50 entry (q.v.). The US and the EU follow the Life+70 rule and are pushing the rest of the world to follow their lead.

London International Financial Futures Exchange.

Last In, First Out. Like a stack. Also a protocol for protecting employees with seniority from lay-offs. Also one approach to asset accounting (particularly inventory).

Logically Integrated Fortran Translator. Hey! Is dis some kinda sophist'caded disrespect at solid, family-values-upholding original-flavor FORTRAN? Huh?!!

Lithographie, Galvanoformung, Abformung. German for [X-ray] `Lithography, electroforming, [plastic] molding.' Not just any combination of those processes, but a particular ``micromachining'' technique important for the formation of microelectromechanical systems (vide MEMS).

Lateral Insulated-Gate Bipolar Transistor. See, for example:
R. Jayaraman, V. Rumennik, B. Singer, and E. H. Stupp, ``Comparison of High-Voltage Devices for Power Integrated Circuits,'' IEDM Technical Digest, 258-261 (1984).

The offspring of a LIon and a tiGREss. Cf. tigon.

Spanish adjective meaning `light,' in weight or on one's feet, or `gentle' or `graceful.' You get the idea. From the French léger. The female form of ligero is tigona. Just kidding -- it's ligera.

Light Brigade
The Light Brigade ``is the leading fiber optic training organization in North America having trained over 16,000 people since 1987 in both public courses and custom classes delivered at customer sites throughout the world. The company also writes and produces fiber optic training videos and CD-Roms. The Light Brigade also manufactures and distributes custom cable assemblies, fiber optic products and supplies.''

``Light Brigade'' must have seemed a clever punning name, and it is unquestionably memorable, but it works because most people do not remember the true nature of the exploits of the famous ``Light Brigade.'' A famous poem by Tennyson immortalized the dramatic action of this brigade, able to make stunning rapid progress because it was light. Another consequence of its light armament, and also of its reckless rapid advance, was heavy casualties. The charge of the light brigade at Baklava on the Crimean peninsula, on October 25, 1854, was a pointless exercise in glorious suicide, as futile as Pickett's Charge a decade later. French General Bosquet commented ``C'est magnifique, mais ce n'est pas la guerre.''

lightening rod
A rod that is used to lighten, evidently. A creamer-impregnated swizzle stick, probably. The locution is used by senior editors of TNR and other illiterates.

An interview with Alicia Silverstone was published by London's Sunday Telegraph on March 12, 2000. Commenting on her body of work (actually, I don't know what the context was, but I just wanted to write ``body of work''), she had these observations on ``Clueless'':
Very deep. I think it was deep in the way that it was very light. I think lightness has to come from a very deep place if it's true lightness.
I hope she can clear up my questions about gravity during her next in-depth interview. I also look forward to her cameo in ``SCUBA Diving Basics.'' She needs to do more work in a bathing suit or with something nonverbal in her mouth, so this will be perfect.

Milan Kundera is another blond public intellectual. (A silver blond, aetatis causa.) He also pondered lightness, but his thoughts were not highly profound, and he didn't do anything for oceanography either (see being).

Electrical discharge of clouds. Here's a practical, nontechnical discussion from the NOAA.

Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory. It's ``a facility dedicated to the detection of cosmic gravitational waves and the harnessing of these waves for scientific research. It consists of two widely separated installations within the United States -- one in Hanford, Washington and the other in Livingston, Louisiana -- operated in unison as a single observatory.'' As of 2006, it's being constructed by Caltech and MIT, and funded by NSF.

Lateral Insulated-Gate (Bipolar) Transistor. Same as LIGBT.

Leaf Initiated Join Parameter.

Here are some representative examples of the use of like. Most of the examples illustrate a new use of the word that I first noticed in the 1990's, in which it introduces an approximate quote or paraphrase, or perhaps just invented speech that represents unspoken thoughts or attitudes.

Likes romantic walks on the beach.
Personals ad cliché. Personals-ad copy editors have a macro so they can enter this phrase in at most three keystrokes. Four keystrokes in states with no beaches. Unique is <meta>-U. Sincere is <meta>-S. There's a special key sequence for removing the words candlelight dinner.

When 2001: A Space Odyssey was in production, Arthur C. Clarke made a remark to the effect the MGM publicity department must have typewriters with a single key that would type ``Never before, in the history of motion pictures.'' 2001 was released in 1968. It's 2003. We still don't have colonies on the moon or manned interplanetary expeditions, but we have achieved keyboard shortcuts (and calmly uncooperative computers, but that is no news).

Eye dialect for indifferently articulated pronunciation of little.

Literacy In Libraries Across America. A program, not a declarative sentence. Was it successful? I don't know -- I haven't been to the library to read the results.

International League of Antiquarian Booksellers / La Ligue Internationale de la Librairie Ancienne. The ABAA is its national association for the US.

(Notice how the French version of the name is librairie corresponding to the English booksellers? More of that sort of situation is discussed at the libraries entry.)

Long Island Lighting COmpany.

Lab for Integrated Learning and Tech. At Illinois State. ``Serving the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.''

Lotus-Intel-Microsoft. (These companies have certain communication formats for PC's in common.)

Lima is a Spanish word, and you know what that means... ¡Fiesta! ¡Fiesta de Polisemia! [`Polysemy Party!'] Let's get some drinks and meet at the next entry.

The name in most varieties of Spanish for the fruit called `lime' in English. The same word can be used for the lime tree. A more specific name for the lime tree is limero (although the same word applies to a person who sells limes). Mexico uses different names for the lime and lemon: see limón.

The name in Spanish for the tool called a `rasp' or `file' in English. To use that sort of file is limar, so lima also means `he files.' (Here `he' is a generic third person. You wouldn't want to be in he's shoes.) It's also a couple of other conjugated forms of the same verb.

Incidentally, sandpaper (or emery paper, etc.) is lija (of uncertain origin). To use sandpaper, of course, is lijar.

The English word file, for the tool mentioned here, is Germanic in origin, and unrelated to the English word file borrowed from the French fil and file. That's one can of worms, to be opened later.

The capital of Peru, and a common placename in the US. The Lima in Indiana is pronounced LEE-muh, in a fair English approximation to the Spanish name (and coinciding with the English pronunciation of the Peruvian capital's name). The name of the Lima in Ohio is pronounced LYE-muh, like the bean (in English).

The Lima in Ohio has ``City'' in its official name, but with a population of something over 40,000 it's hardly any bigger than the ``Town'' I grew up in, which no one ever called a city. Whether one uses a word like city or town depends on more than just population and zoning ordinances. A city tends to be regarded as a slightly exceptional thing. You can have a string of towns one right after the other, but people are not yet used to the idea that many cities could sit cheek by jowl. So Lima, surrounded by rural Ohio, is separate enough to be a city. Westfield, one of many similar-size bedroom communities along the rail line west from New York City, is a town.

The Lima in Indiana, incidentally, is not a municipality but a township. It's a rectangle about five miles wide and four miles high. (On the map, that is. I'm avoiding a more natural description while I reassess my capitalization convention on compass directions.) It's along the Michigan border in Lagrange County. Look, a picture is worth a thousand words. You want to know more, look in Township Atlas of the United States, published by Andriot Associates of McLean, Virginia, in 1979. Those are actually the associates of John L. Andriot, compiler and editor of this wonderful reference. Anyway, the radio stations in that part of Lagrange County, and people from around there, use the placename about as everyone else uses the name of a town. Elsewhere in Indiana, there's also a Peru.

Isabela Allende was born in Lima, Peru, in 1942. She lived in Chile until the military coup that overthrew the president, her uncle Salvador Allende. She left. Smart move; I know less prominent people who stayed. She must be the most famous writer in Spanish now living in the US, though in recent years she has been writing novels in English.


Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae. Lessee, this probably means `Alphabetized list of Icon Graphics for Mythological Classics.' I dunno, go check it out and see. Oh, wait, here's a more elaborate site.

Hey, it takes up an entire shelf and it's mostly in foreign languages!

A few green citrus fruits. The real lime, Citrus Aurantifolia, grows throughout the tropics and in the Western hemisphere is common as far North as Mexico. Until a hurricane did in the main orchards in 1926, they were grown in the Florida Keys, where Key Lime pie was invented. Another fruit, essentially a lemon (Citrus Limon) hybrid, is called Tahiti lime or Bears lime (Citrus Latifolia). This tastes like Key lime but is less tart. It's sold green so you can tell it's not a lemon. Most lime sold in the US is Tahiti lime.

Let the State of Florida tell you more about tropical and subtropical fruit.

Another interesting thing about the Florida Keys is that the US states that have prominent strings of islands are at the extreme geographic corners -- Alaska (Aleutian island chain), Florida (Florida Keys), and Hawaii (Hawaii). Then again, maybe it's not so interesting. You wouldn't expect Iowa to have a major island chain. A lot of Atlantic coast states have lines of what some are pleased to call barrier islands. See OBX.

A bright light used for magic lanterns in the eighteenth century, generated by calcium flares (sticks of CaO).

Calcium Carbonate. As ``rocks'' go, it's pretty water-soluble. As ionic salts go, it's not very soluble.

[Chiefly British:] A pejorative noun meaning ``British'' or ``English.'' This word is an underappreciated feature of the English language. Somewhat like sesquipedalian, it refers unfavorably to most of those people who know and use the term. This is not normal. Does the French language have a disparaging term for Frenchmen? (It's a rhetorical question; don't interrupt.) Human languages do not usually have a derogatory term for people in general: If one says, ``every person can be bought,'' the derogation occurs in the sentence as a whole, but there is no word that one could use to replace person that, standing alone, would be recognized as pejorative and general. (But see yahoo.)

The word Limey originally referred only to British sailors, but was later extended. (It was a reference to sailors' eating of citrus to prevent scurvy. The Germans pioneered the practice of vitamin-C supplementation with Sauerkraut. This was adopted by the British first; the switch to citrus came later.)

The word Limey ironically undercuts itself -- it's a weasel word to itself. It'd be downright postmodern, if it weren't so retrograde. Another class of words that may be regarded as self-denying, in a contrived sort of way, are heterological words like monosyllabic.

Light Intensity Modulation Method.

Lotus-Intel-Microsoft Memory.

English, short for LIMOusine.

German, short for Limonade (`lemonade'). I guess if the caddy is a lemon, that's what you must make. (This joke worked a bit better when this entry and the previous one were integrated into a single confusing entry for the unrelated English and German words.)

Well, that was based on what I learned long ago. Apparently though, the meaning has drifted. Now Limo and Limonade both mean `fizzy drink,' and if you mean lemonade you have to say Zitronen-Limonade (literally `citrus lemonade').

The Spanish word that general means `lemon.' In Mexico and some parts of Central America (at least Guatemala), the word is used for lime. Lime there seems to be much more popular and common than lemon. I've read that the Mexican term for lemon is limón francés (the second word means `French'). A few years ago (mid-aughts, I guess) asked a couple of people at the local Mexican grocery store (Supermercado Rosales) and they didn't seem aware of the term. The standard term in Mexico and Guatemala seems to be limón amarillo (amarillo is `yellow'). In the rest of the Spanish-speaking world, a lime is called a lima. Some Mexicans and Guatemalans use lima for `lemon,' completely inverting the usage elsewhere.

A Spanish word meaning `cleans.' That is, it's the third-person singular indicative present tense form of the verb limpiar, meaning `to clean.'

The same word, or string, let's say, also functions as the female form of the adjective `clean.' Note that the stress in limpia falls on the first syllable. This is considered the penult (the penultimate syllable) because the final ia is pronounced as an a with a palatalization of the preceding consonant. In Spanish words with two or more syllables, the default stress is on the penult if the final letter is s, n, or a vowel, and on the ultima (final syllable) otherwise. An explicit accent (acento gráfico), in the form of an acute accent on the vowel of the stressed syllable, is used to indicate deviations.

Finally, limpia serves as the familiar () singular imperative. That is, ¡Límpialo! means `Clean it!' The explicit accent occurs because the enclitic pronoun lo doesn't change the location of the stress in the verb (such invariable stress is a general pattern in Spanish).

The word limpia also occurs as the first element in various compound nouns, in much the same way that cleaner (in English) occurs as the final element. Here are but a few examples:

It's obvious that the element limpia in the examples above is related to the lexeme limpiar, and it happens to coincide with three identical forms. If one had to choose one of those and say it occurs in the compound, the indicative form (meaning `it cleans') seems to make sense, but it's not necessary to make this choice.

Earlier I implied that the familiar second-person singular verb forms in Spanish are associated with (singular nominative `you'). That's true in most of Spanish-speaking world, but not in Argentina and Uruguay, and not in most of Central America and western Colombia. There the familiar forms are associated with a pronoun vos, and a different set of conjugations. The imperative form for vos is limpiá.

There's a lot more to the various second-person forms, but here I just want to round out the discussion of explicit accents in Spanish. As noted above, accentuation is used to indicate stress. The default rules make it unnecessary to indicate stress in the majority of words, and an acute accent is used to mark the default behavior. In addition, accents are used to make semantic distinctions among very common homophones. For example, means `you' (in the restricted sense detailed above) and tu means `your.' In the sentence ``Sí sé si se acentúa'' (meaning `yes I know if it is accented'), means `yes' and si `if,' while means `I know' and se is a reflexive pronoun used to construct a kind of passive voice (as discussed at the Ú. entry).

In the preceding examples of accents making a semantic distinction, the words distinguished were monosyllables, so there was no unstressed syllable to distinguish from the marked one. Semantic accent marking also occurs in multisyllable words. For example... wait a second: is it really possible I never explained this before? I think I'm going to hold off until I'm sure I haven't.

A Spanish masculine noun meaning `windshield eh wiper.' Sorrry, I meen dee wiper off de-- okay enough of that. It's an official ``queer Spanish word.'' The word is evidently constructed from limpia (`it cleans') and parabrisas (`windshield').

Laboratory Information Management System[s]. Perkin-Elmer would like to sell you one.

Laser Ionization Mass Spectroscopy. Just like SIMS, but with laser light rather than an ion beam doing the ablating. Works in laser ionization (LI) mode (implicitly--ionization of bulk material) and laser desorption (LD) mode.

LINAC, linac
LINear ACcelerator.

A combination of LINseed and flAX that fuels Google's PC's. It is gathered free at nearby open space preserves. Lin/ax kernels continue to be at the core of Google's open space lin/ax system.

Lithium Niobate. Nonlinear (optics) crystal.

Lindemann criterion
An empirical observation about the melting temperature. The condition is that the mean-square vibrational displacement of the atoms in the solid is 10% of the nearest-neighbor distance at the melting point. This was described by F.A. Lindemann Physikalische Zeitschrift (vol. 11, pp. 609-612) in 1910. The term (viz., Lindemann criterion) is now applied to improved forms of the criterion, such as the form proposed by J.J. Gilvarry in Physical Review vol. 102, pp. 308ff (1956).

The Lindemann criterion is also applied -- as appropriate -- to the sublimation point rather than the melting point.

LIncoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (Program). In New Mexico.

line frequency
DC power distribution was very popular in the US until the Chicago Columbian Exposition in 1893, and when Niagara Falls went online at 25 Hz in 1895. After that Edison had lost the argument, and the only question was what frequency. Steinmetz at GE, and Tesla at Westinghouse, independently decided 60 Hz was best (lamps didn't care much, for motors the decision had to do with motor speeds, number of poles, etc.). Since Westinghouse (and GE as licensee) had clear title to important patents, they dominated the business and 60 Hz became standard throughout North America. In Europe it took longer. In 1918, London alone had ten different frequencies and twenty-four different voltages. All or most of Europe eventually settled on 50 Hz (3000 cycles per minute). Much of the rest of the world ended up with the frequency determined by colonial or neocolonialist or whatever control (I.e., 50 Hz in Australia, Africa and most of Asia, 60 Hz in the Philippines and some South American countries -- Brazil and most of the countries with a Pacific coast, IIRC.) Korea and Taiwan are at 60 Hz. Japan ended up weird, with one part at 50 Hz and another at 60 Hz.

The wiring FAQ has some info on how delivered power (at least to distribution substations) is three-phase, and on voltages.

The reason for the switch from DC to AC was fairly well known, I thought: In order to have voltage supply at least approximately independent of the number of customers, customers must represent loads in parallel. If you think of the distribution system and users as parts of a voltage divider, you see that as you increase the number of loads in parallel, the largest fraction of the voltage is dropped by the distribution lines. The solution was thicker cables and more closely spaced dynamos. Edison and backers had all the patents free and clear, and were perfectly happy to continue in this approach.

The alternative was AC power, which could be transmitted at high voltage and stepped down by transformers. Edison tried valiantly to kill this technology, particularly by raising the safety issue. (Although as presented, the concern was deceptive, it was nevertheless true that in practice, transmission lines would carry very high voltages and be more dangerous.) The DC partisans brought their safety case to the New York state legislature at the time when a more-humane execution method was sought, and painted such a picture of instant death that the legislature bought the first electric chair (AC, of course). (A ghastly bungled horror, BTW; the condemned not only smoked, he also continued to gasp.)

A practical problem in AC distribution, however, was the absence of a good motor. Nikola Tesla, motivated at first by a desire to create a brushless motor, came up with the idea of an induction motor that ran on AC. His asynchronous design developed high torque even when starting; with this and his complete design for a polyphase power system, he revolutionized the industry. Westinghouse, who had made his money from the design of the air brake for trains (and an early evangelist for standardization) had already licensed some European designs for part of an AC distribution grid, and he soon bought Tesla's patents for a cool million. That brings us close to 1893.

In the days of DC, a few miles was "long distance." The first customer for Niagara Power, in 1895, was (what became) ALCOA, 22 miles away in Buffalo.

French for `ingot.' Borrowed into Spanish as lingote. There are two main relationships possible between Fr. lingot and Eng. ingot: Either the French word is derived from the English one, or it is not. The first possibility has the advantage of a straightforward Anglo-Saxon etymology and a similarly constructed word (Einguss) in German, but suffers from the difficulty of accounting for the initial el. No one ever seems to mention (I mean, the major etymological dictionaries don't, and I haven't checked the primary literature) the possibility that l'ingot might have been reinterpreted as lingot, or à l'ingot as au lingot.

Those who deem the insertion of an initial el an insuperable problem generally assume that the French word (with a Romance origin) was adopted into English, and don't see the loss of the el as a problem in English. (I suppose lingot might have been misunderstood as l'ingot. Why does this sound familiar?) The leading etymon candidate on the French side is Latin lingua (`tongue'; a typical ingot looks vaguely like one, and when the mold first starts to fill, the metal looks like an extending tongue). There are some detailed technical problems with this, including (as I understand it) the fact that in the process of gaining a Romance -ot, the word would be expected also to have exchanged its i for an e or a. Alternative Romance derivations have their alternative technical problems. Similar sorts of problems have been adduced for the Anglo-Saxon derivation.

Professional and (what is almost the same) academic linguists are often anxious that you understand that knowing a lot of languages is not what linguists are about -- that a linguist may study a lot of languages and may know things about a lot of different languages, but needn't be able to speak any of them. I'm okay with that. (And I'm more okay with that than with many linguists' belief that what they do qualifies as science. Some do linguists do science, many don't.) I do, however, want to point out that what they're trying to do is corral the meaning of the word ``linguist.'' For a long time it has been a synonym of polyglot. Their effort is prescriptive, like any other attempt to command language usage. Prescriptivism -- describing how language should be rather than how it is -- is something that linguists generally claim to regard as foolish or vain or in some other way bad. (This attitude is part of the reason why linguistic enlightenment is one of the great disasters that befell language education in post-WWII America.)

There is a synonym for linguist that does not, at least in principle, also have the sense of polyglot. That word is philologist, which deserves its own entry that I haven't written yet.

This is the fundamental science, since everything that can be expressed can be expressed in some language. (I understand that there's a contrary opinion, but they have failed to articulate their position to my satisfaction, so they're wrong.) The MSU English Department has a page of useful language and linguistics links. So does the University of Rochester Linguistics Department.

There is an Ethnologue Database of world languages.

Some translation and language information is available at ECHO.

There's a site associated with The Linguist List.

German adverb meaning `on the left' or `to the left' (politically or not). This particular word doesn't seem to have any cognates outside of High German. Incidentally, the German word corresponding to the English gulf is Golf. Some years ago, in fact, VW sold a four-wheeled vehicle also called the Golf. What ``High German''? These guys must think they're Highlanders.

Leichter Innovativer Nahverkehrs-Triebwagen. `Lightweight Innovative Short-range Motor Coach.'

Freeware unix-like operating system for PC's originally written by Linus Torvalds. Documentation and code are available from the official site as well as the Linux Documentation Project. Here's another site. There's even a dedicated host for Linux International (LI). This site discusses the pronunciation as well as other matters.

Laser-Induced Optical Device.

LIterature ONline. ``[A] fully searchable library of more than 350,000 works of English and American poetry, drama and prose, 192 full-text literature journals, and other key criticism and reference resources'' as of late 2006. Also called the Chadwyck database. Coverage tails off after 1924, on account of a little something yclept copyright.

``Lion King''
A Disney animation based without acknowledgment on the Japanese anime series of the seventies, ``Kimba, the White Lion.'' Perpetuates an unfair characterization of hyenas. At least the big cats are not vegetarians, as in the Japanese original.

lion hunting
The mathematical theory of lion hunting was developed informally at Princeton in 1937. Dinner-table results were extended by Frank Smithies and Ralph P.Boas, Jr., and published under the pseudonym of Pondiczery.

The most famous method was that of inversive geometry:

``We place a spherical cage in the desert, enter it, and lock it. We perform an inversion with respect to the cage. The lion is then in the interior of the cage, and we are outside.''
It was published in American Mathematical Monthly. Readers were appreciative of the careful concern for such practical details as having hunters and hunted on different sides of the cage.

The name Pondiczery, spelling anglicized to Pondicherry, occurs as the name of a rich Indian prince in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. That's in chapter three. In chapter four, radical measures against chocolate-industrial espionage are described. How does Grandpa Joe know all this stuff?

Once, after giving a lecture on statistical mechanics, Professor Arthur S. Wightman was approached by a student in the class, who asked him about Louisville's Theorem.


Louisville's Theorem.

``Louisville's Theorem''? I am not aware of any theorem by that name.

The Louisville Theorem. You just proved it during class!

I did?

Yeah. The one about how the volume of a phase space region is conserved under Hamiltonian evolution.

Oh! You mean Liouville's Theorem!

[In the preceding reconstruction of dialogue, the student's cogency has been enhanced for brevity.]

Less mild spelling correction is described at the Dr. entry. Anyone who came here from the Flourine entry might now, having read the above cautionary tale, wish to visit the F entry. And if you came from the Furrier Series entry, you're looking for Fourier Series. We don't have an entry for that yet, but in search engines, ``spelling counts.''

Large Internal (data) Packets.

Lightning Instrument Package. Used in the CAMEX.

Roughly speaking, the nonpolar chemicals typically found in living organisms. That is, fats and oils, waxes, most things that feel oily to the touch, and quite a few that don't. (That is not the same as things that feel slimy to the touch! The mucous coating of the throat and other internal passages exposed to air is highly polar.) For low molecular-weight compounds, ``polar'' and ``nonpolar'' might be approximately synonymous with water- and oil-soluble, respectively, but this is not true for tissues. [If it were, we would say with the Wicked Witch of the West (movie version only!): ``I'm melting! Melting!'' Of course, what she really meant was dissolving, but in the circumstances, this inaccuracy might be forgiven even a witch. As Saki wrote in The Comments of Maung Ka: ``A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation.'' In the preceding quote, tons was probably not intended to be understood literally. You know, on second thought, it wasn't really dissolving either. It was some sort of dematerialization, a slow-motion bottom-up implosion -- almost as if she were descending into a hole in the stage.]

In practice, ``lipid'' is a catch-all term intended to include everything that isn't a protein or a carbohydrate. To define lipids more positively, if that is the term, one may say that most lipids are fats and oils. Fats and oils, as materials, consist overwhelmingly of chemicals called triglycerides. Other common lipids are fatty acids, steroids, some vitamins, and phosphoglycerides. The Hormel Institute studies lipids.

Lipids play an indirect rôle in the microelectronic device fabrication process, because without them there'd be no one alive to staff the fab line, see?

A ``letter-dropped'' text. A text with one or more letters of the alphabet completely absent. It's not very challenging if you do this with one of the less common letters. The most famous lipogram in English is Gadsby, subtitled A Story of Over 50,000 Words Without Using the Letter ``E.'' It was written by Ernest Vincent Wright, initially longhand, and eventually with the E of his typewriter disabled. (BC-era spell-checking!) It seems his main motivation was to show that it could be done; another of his books was The Fairies That Run the World and How They Do It (1903). (He did, however, express the sick hope that ``[t]he book may prove a valuable aid to school children in English composition.'') The book was reportedly written in 165 days, but a lot of the numbers associated with this achievement are a bit uncertain. The book was published in 1939 (the introduction is dated February that year) -- or maybe ``circa 1939'' -- but whatever the case, Wright reportedly died the day it was published, age 66 or, um, 67. He excluded abbreviations like Mr., since ``for those words, if read aloud, plainly indicate the E in their orthography.'' He excluded Mrs. for the same reason, though I don't think anyone still read that aloud as ``mistress'' by then. He even excluded all the numbers between 6 and 30 (inclusive). The entire horrifying achievement is available on line.

Georges Perec, who was circa aet. 3 when Wright's inspirational story of youth was published, undertook similar but longer project in French. La Disparition (1969) was written without any e (which is the most common letter in French, as it is in English, where only about one third of words are e-less). With these projects, the question one is bound to ask, and bound not to receive an adequate answer to, is ``Why?'' Well, he liked word games. The book grew out of his involvement with the famous experimental writers' group Oulipo. At least we can say definitively that Perec (1936-1982) survived the stunt. (FWIW, one of the many mildly interesting and largely pointless foibles of Oulipo is that published lists of its membership did not distinguish between living and dead members.)

Perec wrote another, less well-known lipogram: the short story ``Les Revenentes,'' which excludes all vowels other than e.

Perhaps the most heroic lipogram is the translation of a lipogram from another language. Gilbert Adair's lipogrammatic translation of La Disparition was published in October 1994 by HarperCollins (postdated to 1995). It couldn't be titled The Disappearance, of course; it was A Void. The title character is Anton Vowl, who goes missing. (In the original, the character is named Anton Voyl; voyelle is French for `vowel.')

A conjugated protein whose prosthetic group is a lipid. Less obscurely:
a protein which is bonded to a lipid. This is the principal means of transporting lipids in the blood. Due to the great variety of lipoproteins, ordinary chromatographies and electrophoresis cannot determine precisely the lipoprotein content in blood samples -- chemical characterization is laborious. Instead, blood tests report back the fraction in different ``density'' ranges: sometimes VLDL, and LDL, HDL -- very low, low, and high ``density.''

It is now the common and intellectually slovenly practice of the medical profession to refer to the whole class of lipoproteins by the term cholesterol, which is the name of a completely different chemical which does not happen, itself, to be a lipoprotein. Imagine: premeds take a minimum of two years of college chemistry. Sheesh!

Usage: ``We won't feel comfortable until we get total cholesterol below 200.'' [Notice the use of the ``medical we,'' a first and second person singular personal pronoun in Hospitalese, construed plural.]


Logical Inferences Per Second. Thousands is KLIPS. That reminds me -- I have to trim my mustache.

Laboratorio Integrato di Robotica Avanzata. Italian `Laboratory for Integrated Advanced Robotics.' Called the ``LIRA-Lab'' -- the only official AAP pleonasm I can think of. It might have something to do with the fact that, until Italy adopted the euro, its currency was the lira.

``LIRA-Lab is now located in Villa Bonino, a beautiful XVII century building with frescos and old slate portals, surrounded by a nice garden with palms and cherry trees.''

Italian word for pound, from libra. (Plural form lire: a regular feminine noun.) The official currency of Italy until the adoption of the euro. Because a lower-case el is easily mistaken for the digit 1, the lira currency was normally abbreviated with a capital el.

Through most of the post-WWII era, the lira had a value of roughly 0.1 cents of a US dollar. When I was there in 1989, you could still find a few coins in one- and five-cent (i.e. cents of a lira) denominations. If you needed a custom-made washer, I guess you could drill a hole through the center. Alas, where can one be a millionaire so easily any more? One way to find out is to read magazine covers. Archivos del Presente, an international-affairs door-stop published in Buenos Aires, lists its price in the various countries where it allegedly circulates. For Year 8, no. 30:

Long Island Rail Road. Operates the commuter railways from Long Island to New York City (NYC). Was privately owned, now part of the New York MTA.

If you noticed that Queens is on Long Island and also, technically, if you insist, part of New York City, beware: noticing things like that is one of the seven warning signs of Captiousness. Treatment is available; send money and we may be able to help you.

Yes, they really spell Rail Road as two words, but it took Mark two emails to convince me.

liquid measure, traditional
1 chopin	= 2 gills
1 pint		= 2 chopins
1 quart		= 2 pints
1 pottle	= 2 quarts
1 gallon	= 2 pottles
1 peck		= 2 gallons
1 demibushel	= 2 pecks
1 bushel	= 2 demibushels
1 kilderkin	= 2 bushels
1 barrel	= 2 kilderkins		(a barrel is a firkin)
1 hogshead	= 2 barrels
1 pipe		= 2 hogsheads
1 tun		= 2 pipes
Note that if a pint is a pound, then a tun, at 2048 pints, is about a ton. Note also that at 512 lb., the hogshead is perhaps optimistically defined.

Traditional French liquid measures, when still used in the seventeenth century, seem to have been about twice the size of the corresponding English measures (I think the weight measures were comparable): a chopine was 16 oz., or two English chopins. Half a chopine was a septier (8 oz.), and a quarter chopine was a posson or, confusingly, poisson. This according to Elizabeth David: Harvest of the Cold Months: The Social History of Ice and Ices (Penguin, 1994), p. 102.

Legislative Information System (of the US Library of Congress).

Library/Information Science. There's that weasel word science again, this time playing coy about Library.

Lost In Space.

Large Installation System Administration. Name of annual conference sponsored by USENIX SAGE.

Laser Interferometer Space Antenna. A space-based gravitational-wave observatory, jointly sponsored by the ESA and NASA.

LIght-Switching Array.

LiSrAlF6. Lithium Strontium Aluminum Fluoride. With chromium doping (Cr3+:LiSrAlF6), this is a vibronic laser material.

A town in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio (only two counties; cf. Rome), Pennsylvania and Tennessee. Seventeen states.

Lost In Space Fannish AlliaNce.

Line Impedance Stabilization Network[s].

LISP, Lisp
LISt Processing language.


Listen to your heart.
Favorite saying of the ventiloquist crotch.

Gendered administrator of a mailing list (like a ListProc or LISTSERV, infra).

A brand of mailing list software from CREN. (ListProc home here. Useful user documentation here.) If there's a listing of listprocs from the vendor, I guess it's in the ``members-only'' area.

A brand of mailing list software. The term is a registered trademark owned by L-Soft international, Inc.. The latter serves a Catalist (L-Soft SM), ``the official catalog of LISTSERV lists.'' They only list the (14K as of summer 1997) public LISTSERVs on the internet (out of 55K total), omitting an unknown number on intranets, and also excluding mailing lists from sites running ListProc (from CREN), freeware packages like MAJORDOMO, the commercial package Lyris and any of the free web-based mailing list servers (a few are listed in the mailing list entry).

(As of Nov. 15, 1999, those numbers are 27,842 public lists out of 147,082 LISTSERV lists.)

For other mailing list indices and search tools, see the general mailing list entry.

As a matter of usage, although other software is common, ``listserv'' has become an alternative generic term for mailing list or mailing-list software.

Literature. Also, alas, litterature. To be fair, the Italian cognate is spelled with a double tee. But if you start being that fair, you end up turning a blind eye to independance because it looks like the French spelling. (In fact, it's a bilingual misspelling: the French word is indépendance.)

Library and Information Technology Association. A division of the ALA.

Lithium Tantalate. Laser substrate material. Ferroelectric above 400 °C.

LITerary-CRITicism. Adjective and noun (the noun is often also hyphenated).

Literary History of England, A
The title of a work edited by Albert Croll Baugh that I cite elsewhere in this glossary. It's a single large volume divided into four books with five original authors. For reference purposes, it may be handy to list the major divisions:
Book I.    The Middle Ages
           Part I.  The Old English Period                   ... pp. 3-105
	                 (to 1100; by Kemp Malone)
           Part II. The Middle English Period              ... pp. 109-312
	                 (1100-1500; by Albert C. Baugh)
Book II.   The Renaissance                                 ... pp. 315-696
                (1485-1660; by Tucker Brooke)
Book III.  The Restoration and the Eighteenth Century     ... pp. 697-1108
                (1660-1789; by George Sherburn)
Book IV.   The Nineteenth Century and After              ... pp. 1109-1605
                (1789-1939; by Samuel C. Chew)
This describes the first edition (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1948). It was published the same year by Routledge & Kegan Paul of London, and in a second US edition by Prentice-Hall of Englewood Cliffs, NJ, also in 1948.

The cutoff date of 1939 reflects the original intention of bringing the history near the present; publication was delayed by the war. A subsequent edition (1967) added authors and pages to books II-IV, but I probably won't cite that. The books were also published as separate volumes.


Lit. Hum.
Literae Humaniores. See Greats.

lithopedion, lithopaedion
Stone baby. From the Greek, `stone child.' A calcified fetus that results from an ectopic pregnancy. If the fetus corpse is too large to absorb, the body calcifies it as a way to protect itself from infection. An extremely rare event.

In its January 24, 2000 issue, the American Cynic reported that doctors in Taiwan operating on a 76-year-old woman found a twenty-gram lithopaedion from a miscarriage the woman suffered when she was 27. The Cynic reported that

It's an extremely rare event, recorded only three times before in medical history. ... The earliest recorded case of a lithopaedion dates to 1582, when a rocky fetus at least a quarter-century old was found in a French woman's abdomen.

Stone Baby is the name of Joolz Denby's maiden effort as a novelist. Every book is a labor of love.

This was intended to be a humorous entry, but I hadn't gotten around to finishing it. Until I do, I'll mention that in reality, and in contradiction of an enormous number of news reports, lithopaedia are not quite so rare, occurring in about 0.0045 percent of pregnancies.

A figure of speech in which an emphatic statement is implied by the negation of its (unemphatic) opposite. An unacceptable example would be ``a is not less than b'' for ``a is greater than b.'' Understatement is an even more important aspect of litotes than negation. ``a is not less than b'' is a litotes for ``a is much greater than b.''

Isn't it amazing how the use of abstraction and mathematical language can take all the interest out of a thing? I could have used the example of ``Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.'' Then I would have pointed out that this was not litotes if you regard Dorothy's statement as tentative, and definitely litotes if you think she really suspected that they were very far from Kansas. However, if I had used this example first instead of the boring example involving a and b, you might still be reading this entry. I guess I used the dry example to speed you on your way. Don't mention it! If Judy Garland had been listening to the background music, she'd have realized immediately that they were somewhere over the rainbow.

BTW, litotes is the singular form. The plural form is litotes. Don't get them mixed up! The original Greek term equivalent to litotes was apophasis (don't use it!) and it got mixed up with itself.

For more on being very far from someplace, see the I dunno entry.

A French dry measure, used by retailers of pulses, millet, salt, etc. in seventeenth-century France. A litron of flour was 12 oz., according to François Pierre La Varenne, in his Nouveau Confiturier, qui Enseigne la manière de bien faire toutes sortes de Confitures, tant sèches que liquides, et autres delicatesses de bouche, published in 1650. What kind of ounces? Ahh, mon ami, now you know why the French adopted the metric system.

``Computer technology creates the only self-cleaning litter box!'' according to the print ads. COMTRAD Industries also uses the words ``No Questions Asked'' in its advertising. I wouldn't either. The LitterMaid advertisement shows a cat hunched in a refractory posture, scowling with growing alarm at a gadget-mad owner (out-of-picture, stage right). The gifs don't do it justice. See the hardcopy, p. 161 of the June 9, 1996 New York Times Magazine.

little A
Aeronautics at NaSA.

little green men
It was that or magenta grass. Those old color TV's are difficult to adjust.

See LTZ below.

Litz wire
From German Litzendraht, `braided wire.' Special wire for high-frequency applications. The problem solved is that with ordinary wire, the skin depth at high frequency restricts current to a thin outer layer. The current-carrying capacity of ordinary wire in these conditions increases only linearly with circumference or radius, which is to say only as the square root of the area or nominal (low-frequency) conductance. (It also decreases as the inverse of the skin depth, or as the -½ power of the frequency.)

Litz wire consists of many fine insulated conducting filaments intended to be not significantly larger in radius than the skin depth. If these filaments were parallel or merely twisted together, however, it would not solve the skin depth difficulty: in such a configuration, the magnetic field and Faraday effect of all the separate wires would add constructively, so that only the outer layer of filaments would conduct. Therefore, an additional aspect of Litz wire is a braiding which brings all filaments to the surface periodically and which reduces the vectorial B-field sum in any filament.

Line Interface Unit.

LIUC, Liuc
Libero Istituto Universitario Carlo Cattaneo. Also Università Carlo Cattaneo. At Castellanza - Varese. For other free universities, see FU yourself.

Laborers' International Union of North America. Referred to as Laborers' rather than by acronym. Founded in 1903 as the International Hod Carriers and Building Laborers Union. Membership over 800,000 as of early 2004. ``Binational'' (Canadian and US) would be more precise than ``international,'' if this map of its organizational regions is any indication.

Link Integrity Verification.

Luminescence-I-V (current-voltage). A simultaneous (``double y-axis'') plot of luminescence and voltage versus current. Common for laser diodes.

This has nothing to do with the chemical phenomenon of luminescence.

Light-Induced Voltage Alteration. I've seen the woman's name spelled `Leeva.'

liver of sulphur
A name common in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century for the solid obtained by heating sulfur and potassium carbonate (K2CO3) together in a closed vessel. In composition, it was a mix of potassium polysulfides.

* Liverpuddle
Diminutive or affectionate form of Liverpool, after pool <--> puddle. Completely unattested usage, but confidently (not to say fatuously) inferred from the gentilicial noun Liverpudlian. There are other gentilicial nouns for Liverpudlians, such as Scouse.

The fab four were Liverpudlian.

The liver is an organ with many functions, including the recovery of iron (vide Hb) from worn-out blood cells. Back in the days when bleeding or `leeching' a patient was among the lesser tortures performed by members of the medical profession (who were in fact often called leeches themselves), there was a need for large-scale leech production. This was done in large pools filled with leeches. Old horses not eaten or turned to glue were pushed (not led!) into these pools and quickly died by exsanguination. That's one way that large mammals brought down by hyenas die: the hyenas pack-attack and rip open the underbelly, and the animals go into shock as they're disemboweled. This is a nicer and probably a quicker way to go than being killed by a lion. Lions typically take the animal around the neck and wait for it to suffocate if they haven't broken its neck.

I know why I didn't go into biology.

I suppose none of this is etymologically relevant to the name of Liverpool, but so what?

In one of his books (The Periodic Table, maybe), Primo Levi described how paint left too long in the can forms a soft solid. The process is called `livering.'

And now, Shock! Indignation!. It turns out, as you may see for yourself, that the Liverpuddle neologism is not so neo.

A bluish-black color, like a good day-old bruise. I know, I know: you thought it meant red, or pale, or angry. And the dictionary agrees with you.

[column] Fine. In Latin, the word lividus meant `black-and-blue.' That's what livid originally meant in English. The word was used figuratively, in phrases like ``livid with anger' or loosely, as in `livid [i.e., darkened but not in a blush] with fear.' As a result, for various users of the language, livid came to mean crimson (the imagined color of anger) or furious or ashen or pale. As these meanings propagated, dictionaries came to list them.

On the facts as listed in the preceding paragraph there is general agreement, but beyond, the descriptivists and the prescriptivists part company. The descriptivists will argue that the lexicographers' work is descriptive and not normative. The prescriptivists say ``you blithering idiots! If your scruples prevent you from from reaching out the ink-stained hand of hope for the poor wretches floundering among dictionary pages in search of knowledge and guidance, how dare you tell the lexicographer his business!?'' A dictionary cannot help but be normative: it lists only the senses it can find in its source corpus, so it already uses a coarse measure of frequency to bias the meanings listed, and then confounds the process by inconsistent and inaccurate indications (obs., rare, arch.). And a dictionary is prescriptive by default -- it can't help but be: this is how people use it. The only question is not whether to be prescriptive, but what criteria to use.

As this balanced presentation clearly demonstrates, the prescriptivists have the full force of reason on their side. If you want further proof, however, consider this: among academics and all university humanities-type people, descriptivism is dominant and prescriptivism is considered discredited.

Now that you are completely convinced of the truth of the prescriptivist position, you want to know what criteria to use. Fortunately, I will tell you. It is not straightforward, however, but requires the application of considered judgement. Rome wasn't built in one glossary entry, you understand? You don't unnerstand? I mean SEND MONEY, dammit! The oaks of wisdom don't bloom in a freakin' desert, you know.

Okay, okay. Here's a light drizzle of the wisdom storm that will drench you when you subscribe. A major purpose of prescriptive semantics is efficiency, and one principle of efficiency resembles a statement of Occam's razor:

Thou shalt not multiply meanings unnecessarily.
Say, for example, you had a word that meant red, grey, blue, black, and white, and the meaning couldn't be determined from context. Such a word is useful for communicating that the speaker isn't sure what he means to say. Now we apply the second Occam-like principle:
Thou shalt not multiply words unnecessarily.
As it happens, we already have plenty of words that communicate a variety of different kinds of personal confusion on the part of the speaker, such as alterity, deconstrudle (that's the prescriptivist spelling, not the descriptivist one), dimension, discourses, and parameter, and, uh, various sorts of filled pauses.

After further impartial and careful analysis too subtle to describe for free, the certain conclusions are drawn that

  1. Conventional expressions like ``livid with anger'' are to be retained for the use of the uncreative, but in these expressions, livid is not to be regarded as having an independent meaning. That is, ``livid with fear'' means about the same as ``ashen-pale from fear,'' but livid does not have a productive sense `ashen' that can be applied in new phrases.
  2. In certain restricted cases, livid can be used as if in the mistaken sense crimson, as an intentional malapropism, to suggest ignorance in an ironic way. This use requires a valid and current literary license.
  3. In all other cases, livid describes the bluish-black of recently bruised skin.

You're welcome. You can send the check blank, but don't forget to sign.

living wage
A term allegedly coined by a Catholic theologian, the Rev. John A. Ryan. He certainly popularized the term, publishing a book by that title in 1906.

According to the Watts' Dictionary of Chemistry (1892):
The application of water to solid mixtures, for the purpose of extracting the solid parts.

Lennard-Jones. That's just one guy: J. E. Lennard-Jones. ``LJ potential'' (LJP) is usually an interparticle potential combining the van der Waals attraction and a short-range quantum repulsion, in which both are approximated as radial (varying only with separation r), and proportional to an inverse power of r.

[Aside: Rigorously, a nonrelativistic treatment gives an asymptotic fall-off of the van der Waals attractive potential as the inverse sixth power of r, and this is generally used, although a relativistic treatment gives a seventh-power fall-off. It's easy to estimate the validity of this: the van der Waals interaction can be thought of classically as a correlation between fluctuational dipoles. The dipole moment is associated with quantum uncertainty, or virtual excitation of electrons in the highest-energy occupied states into the lowest-energy unoccupied states. These states are at the outer edges of the atomic cloud, defined by a screened Coulomb potential of the nucleus that has an effective charge close to unity. The average speed of such electrons is [alpha]c, where [alpha] is the fine structure constant and c is the speed of light. Relativistic corrections arise if the fluctuational dipole rotates appreciably in the time it takes the information about the dipole orientation to be carried (at light speed c) from one particle to the other. In other words, the transition from inverse-sixth to inverse-seventh power law behavior occurs around the place where the interatomic distance is larger than an atomic radius divided by the fine structure constant, or very roughly for gases whose density is less than a millionth of the solid density.]

The approximation of the short-range repulsive term as an inverse power law was introduced by Max Born in his work on ionic crystals. Values computed from compressibility data extrapolated to low temperature show values in the range of 6 to 12 (values of six or less do not imply instability for an ionic solid, which has electrostatic attraction in addition to van der Waals).

Sometimes people use ``LJ potential'' to mean a 6-12 potential: using an exponent of 12 for the repulsive term. This is mathematically convenient. You know, it's just an approximation.

For Lennard-Jones's own contributions, you might look at Proc. Roy. Soc., 106 441, 463, 709 (1924); 109, 476 (1925); 109 584 (1925).

Library Journal.

Let's Just Be Friends. Depending on timing, this may mean (1) I'm not interested or (2) goodbye. Now concerning these separate situations:

  1. Other early-in-the-prospective-relationship code is ``let's keep in touch'' (but I can't honestly say I've seen it abbreviated LKIT). If the guy says this at the end of the first date, it means he doesn't want to hear from you again, okay? If he were interested, he'd be more specific.

  2. You may not want to be just friends. You may want revenge. ``The Last Word!'' offers resources (they're developing a place to vent, and they sell tell-him-off cards) if you feel that way. Its creator, reporter Karen Cumming, from Toronto, points out that her cards are ``smart, hip, better than therapy, and cheaper too!'' Well, they are cheaper than therapy, and they're too lame to merit a reply, so you probably will have the last word. This glossary has more on Toronto girls. BTW, the domain is <lastwordcards.com>, and not <lastword.com>.

    Of course, there are more extreme responses.

Liverpool John Moores University.

Lennard-Jones (LJ, q.v.) Potential.

(Domain code for) Sri Lanka. (Formerly `Ceylon.')

Larry King Live. A television show featuring an ancient but unvenerable guy who wears suspenders (Brit. ``braces'') and who interviews weird guys. It's been reported that he also sometimes interviews people who are not weird guys, but it's sort of like the situation with the Nobel Peace Prize. Even if you thought well of someone before they won it, afterwards you begin to have doubts.

Lines. Plural of l.

Lingua Latina. Short title of some books by Hans Henning Ørberg. It's in a foreign language, so I'm not sure what it's about, but it's probably about the Latin tongue. (I hadn't realized there was an ethnic variation in that part of the anatomy.)

Oh, all right. Around 1953 some unusual Latin teaching materials were published by the Nature Method Language Institutes. THE REST OF THIS ENTRY IS INOPERATIVE, or at least suffers from diminished operativity. We'll be working to enhance its truthiness soon.

The Nature Method Language Institutes seem to have been be based pretty much everywhere (specificially, if that's the word, in Amstelodami, Bruxellis, Hauniae, Helsingii, Holmiae, Londinii, Mediolani, Monachii, Novi Eboraci, Osloae, Parisus, Turici, et Vindobonae, and no, I don't plan to convert those genitives back to nominatives). The front cover (of the first volume, which is all I've seen of the first edition) was full of the names of all of the important people who didn't actually write the book.

It's pretty distracting. Now where were we? The core materials are four textbooks by Ørberg. (See Oerberg regarding the usual English/ASCII spelling.) The unusual feature of the books is that they were written entirely in Latin. I suppose it would have been even more unusual if they had been entirely written in any other language. Anyway, the texts contain no translations, and except for a few proper nouns in the front matter, everything is in Latin, including the grammar explanations. This is typically called the ``direct method.'' It is so close to what happens naturally when a child learns a first language, or when one learns a language by immersion, that it is hard to say who, if anyone, ever invented the method.

On the other hand, a language program or even a textbook based entirely on the direct method is a rarity. It seems hard to construct something that is self-contained, and not enormous, that can implement the method. Ørberg pulls it off. Obviously, the initial vocabulary has to be pretty obvious (placenames, Roma est in Italia, that sort of thing, and much of the vocabulary is recognizable through cognates). The common title of the textbooks was originally Lingua Latin Secundum Naturae Rationem Explicata, which can be fairly back-translated as `the Latin language, explained according to the nature method.'

Arthur M. Jensen's is one of the names listed on that busy front cover I mentioned above. He developed and apparently named the nature method. I've seen no explanation or attempt at an explanation of why it wasn't called the ``natural method.'' Perhaps he felt that what is ``natural'' is for a teacher to explain a foreign language to a student in a language the student already knows. That's natural enough that it is the dominant method in schools. Possibly the name was chosen because, in applying the method to the teaching of English, he found it convenient to teach the word nature long before the corresponding adjective. Possibly it was a mistake. I don't know. I am pretty sure he wrote at least one EFL text on these principles, and there was apparently also a French-as-a-foreign-language text that he wrote or had a hand in, but these initiatives seem to have faded away. (On the other hand, it may be that the nature method has been implemented naturally. In East Asia, the English fever is so hot that there aren't enough local teachers to supply demand. Consequently, a lot of the English teachers are recruited from the ranks of educated native speakers of English who have minimal knowledge of the languages spoken in the countries where they teach.)

The first two volumes, at least, have continued to be published (2/e 1983, 3/e 1990, minor corrections 1998, 1999, reprinted 2001) under the title Lingua Latina per Se Illustrata (`the Latin language elucidated by itself'). (And just for completeness: Lingua was written in all-caps, and the capital u was now written V. Also, in the first edition Ørberg had been spelled Oerberg.) I haven't seen the earlier editions of the second volume, but judging from the supplemental materials, which I have seen, they had 53 chapters in the first two volumes, and three chapters were added to the second volume in the last edition.

Supplemental materials (saddle-stitched typescripts of from 30 up to 100 pages or so) include a teacher's manual for vols. 1 and 2, and separate student's guides for vol. 1 and vol. 2, all in English, copyright 1972, by the aptly named W.M. Read, professor of classics at the University of Washington. These were commissioned by the Nature Language Institute in Novum Eboracum. Perhaps Nature Language Institutes in other places produced materials in other languages. New York also commissioned another Teacher's Manual from Prof. Ian Thomson (Dept. of Classics, Indiana University) copyright 1975.

Ørberg also provided a set of Fabellae Latinae (typescript preliminary edition 1972) to go with chapters 1-12, a workbook (Exercitia Latin, typescript 1974) for chh. 1-20, and Colloquia Personarum to go with chh. 1-24 (published in Haunia in 1985). Haunia seems to be in Finland. The precise set of supplementary materials has evidently changed over time, and in particular, the numbers of text chapters that various materials are keyed to has changed. This is obvious by comparing what my library has accumulated over the years with a 1974 review Richard T. Scanlan: ``A Critical Survey of New [yes] Elementary and Intermediate Latin Textbooks, 1969-1973'' in Modern [yes] Language Journal.

Not mentioned by Scanlan, unless it's the ``Prospectus,'' is an undated ``Introduction'' (16-page typescript). There is also an early set of ``Instructions'' keyed to the first 53 chapters, evidently intended for student use, in three anonymous and undated typescripts. Read's two-volume guide probably superseded this.

There's a mailing-list-based discussion group for the Ørberg text. As of early February 2007, it has 227 subscribers.

Liquid-Liquid (interface, phase transition, etc.).

Latin, loco laudato, `at the place cited.' (Lat. laudare is the origin of Eng. laud; `cited' stands for something like `commended to your attention.') loc. cit. is much more common.

Loose Leaf.

Lower Level. In a hotel, that would be at or below the first floor, depending on local storey-counting convention and pretensions. In statistics, it would typically be the lower limit of a confidence interval (cf. UL).

[Image of llamas strutting.]

Life magazine reports (Jan. 1994, p. 15) on research by Virginia veterinarian Dr. Donna Matthews, who has found what is there described as a new way to get these animals to haul ass:

``They chase coyotes because it's a fun thing to do. The moment they sense fear, and think something will run from them, they chase it.''

In fact, this is not really news. [ Ftnt. 21 ] Llamas have been used for years in Texas to protect against coyote intrusions, and a good breeding llama can go for $10 000 (all llamas are mean, but not all llamas are equally mean to coyotes). [ Ftnt. 19 ] This information is courtesy of the Stammtisch banjo specialist. (Link may claim, heretically, that no such newsgroup exists; this merely indicates that your news server is deficient. Incidentally, that's the Stammtisch Beau Fleuve specialist in banjo. There is as yet no particular Stammtisch Beau Fleuve banjo, although this would not be difficult to arrange.)

Llamas have been bred for fur in Clarence, a rural area about 10 mi. east of UB. Llamas are very fastidious creatures [ Ftnt. 20 ], and they typically select a single place to defecate. If you keep them away from this area, they will explode (explotarán in Spanish; concerning which, see the miga entry).

The information above is courtesy of the Stammtisch U.E. specialist. ``You never know when this kind of information might come in handy,'' comments the Stammtisch specialist in decanal affairs.

Winston Churchill once described Charles de Gaulle as looking like a llama surprised in her bath. President and First Lady Jack and Jackie Kennedy, on a state visit to France, were impressed by the breeding of Charles de Gaulle, and his erudition. Young Billy Clinton was impressed and inspired by President Kennedy, whom he met personally in a `Boy's Nation' event. On December 13, 1995, the pugnacious former mayor of Buffalo, Jimmy Griffin, announced that he would challenge President Clinton in the New Hampshire primary, because he disagreed with him on, not to put too fine a point on it, everything. There were neither debates nor fisticuffs. In the primary, Jimmy placed seventh in a field of twenty Democratic party candidates, with about 200 votes out of the few tens of thousands cast. Jimmy decided to abandon his campaign. He probably ended up voting for that gentle old softie Pat, who was bred not in Clarence but near Texas.

Llamas are also used as golf caddies. (You can also check out a site with images that may eventually load.)

According to Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953), in More Beasts for Worse Children (1897) ``The Llama'':

The Llama is a woolly sort of fleecy hairy goat,
With an indolent expression and an undulating throat
Like an unsuccessful literary man.

More local (i.e., SBF) information on llamas at the kevlar entry. There is, of course, a central llama-alpaca site on the web... <llama.org>.

Llamas are native to the Andes, which can get cold. (But see another llama entry.) ``Native'' here is not quite right. The llama, like the puma, jaguar, and many of the other placental mammals that we think of as South American, originally evolved in Laurasia (see below) and later colonized South America from North America, often displacing (driving to extinction) species that had developed locally.

During the age of the dinosaurs, most of the earth's land mass was distributed in two large continents: Gondwanaland comprised land that became the modern continents of South America, Antarctica, and Australia, the Indian subcontinent, most of the current continent of Africa, and scattered bits and pieces of stuff like the island of Madagascar. Laurasia comprised the rest: North America, Greenland, Europe to the northern coast of Africa, and Asia excluding the Indian subcontinent.

About 100 million years ago, over thirty million years before the end of the era of dinosaurs, these large continents began to break up. At the time, mammals -- monotremes (egg-layers like the duck-billed platypus), marsupials and placentals -- were widely distributed but marginal, generally small nocturnal animals. After dinosaurs (or at least featherless dinosaurs) became extinct, mammals evolved to fill ecological niches they had occupied. This evolution took place independently on the separated continents, with marsupials dominating in Australia, placentals dominating in the northerly continents, and a mix of marsupials and placentals developing in the South American continent. Over most of this time the South and North American continents were separated. Placental mammals that evolved in South America (like the armadillo and sloth) are genetically quite distant from those that developed in North America and Europe, even though morphologically, animals that evolved to fill similar ecological niches exhibited uncanny convergence. North American marsupials like the possum generally developed in the southern continent and colonized the north.

Visit the ndl page and get your own glow-in-the-dark FONDL (Friends Of Naked Dancing Llama) tee shirt. For stuff about real llamas, try LlamaWeb.

Llamas don't have lanolin in their wool, so they can get drenched in the rain. Llamas, unlike many animals, seem to have no innate aversion to brother-sister incest.

Spanish, `[he, she, or it] calls.'

Spanish, `flame.'

It's nowhere near as bad as Chinese, but Spanish does have a lot of homographs. Since Spanish is quite phonetic, all homographs are homophones. However, orthography is many-to-one: if there were any word yama in Spanish, it would be a homophone (i.e., pronounced the same as llama).

English spelling, of course, is many-to-many. Among the clever little demonstrations of this apparently obscure fact is Ogden Nash's poem ``The Lama,'' first published in his collection Free Wheeling (1931):

The one-L lama,
He's a priest.
The two-L llama,
He's a beast.
And I will bet
A silk pyjama
There isn't any
Three-L lllama.

The standard reply in Brooklyn is ``theah shaw is -- it's a helluva fah-yu.''

There are cases, incidentally, where Spanish vocabulary makes a distinction that English does not. For example, English fire translates Spanish fuego (controlled fire, like a campfire) and incendio (uncontrolled fire, like a housefire).

My father's mother used to tell him, ``tres mudanzas equivalen un incendio.'' It's a proverb, sometimes attributed to Ben Jonson or others -- ``three moves equal one housefire.'' I hope to find a citation somewhere.

A more important instance of Spanish distinguishing what English does not is that Swiss Army knife of a verb, be, which serves primarily as copula, modal auxiliary, occasionally as an intransitive verb, and a few other things I'm not worrying about now.) In Spanish, when the copula takes a predicate nominative, it is a form of the verb ser. When it takes a predicate adjective or anything else, it is a form of estar. This seems to correspond fairly directly to the Latin verbs essere and stare. English also uses be as a modal to construct a progressive aspect, as in the phrase ``I am going.'' In Spanish, the ordinary present is used more generally, and a periphrastic progressive, with modal verb estar, is used primarily for emphasis (estoy llendo, ``I am going''). At the opposite extreme, a language that distinguishes the progressive aspect much more often than English is Russian. This is noticeable in the kinds of errors Russian-speakers make in English.

Spanish estar and Latin stare are cognate with German stehen and English stay. German stehen has a past tense formed from stand, and (in any tense) corresponds roughly in meaning to English stand. (Even in ``dead metaphor'' derivatives like verstehen, `understand.') English stay typically becomes bleiben in German translation.

In Russian, Ancient Greek and Hebrew, one typically does without a copulative verb. In Japanese, a neutral sort of copula is desu, but you can leave off almost anything you want except the case particles.

Another uncanny similarity between Russian and Hebrew is that verbs occur in different moods. Some Israelis don't even realize that the different moods are related forms of the same verb. That business of different forms of one verb evolving into different verbs evidently occurs in any language with nontrivial synthetic conjugation (like Old English or Hebrew).

German, which like English has a single be verb (sein), uses it as a modal equivalent to haben (have) in forming perfect conjugations. As a rough general rule, a form of haben is used in with most verbs, the exception being with sein and other stative verbs, and with intransitive verbs. It should be noted that in German, as in many languages, the distinction is eroding between preterite aspect (past action, possibly but not necessarily completed in the past) and present perfect aspect (action completed in the past). That is, the meanings of `I threw the ball' and `I have thrown the ball' (Ich warf den Ball, Ich habe den Ball geworfen) are not sharply distinguished. The present perfect form tends to be used. As you can imagine, the past perfect conjugation (I had thrown the ball) is rare.

In English historically, it seems there has been an occasional tendency to use be in place of have. You can see how it would happen, from the related meanings and similar forms of the following two syntactically quite distinct paradigm sentences:

I am gone.
(Verb phrase is construed as copula + adjective, where the adjective is the past participle of go.)
I have gone.
(Verb phrase is construed as modal + past participle, together forming present perfect.) I'm actually tripping here across a topic (the periphrastic perfect tenses) that has been extensively studied, particularly in Western European languages. It seems to have arisen simultaneously in Germanic and Romance, and it's been hard to locate the origin. The wobble among different choices of the modal verb is a general phenomenon too.

Getting back to the different translation of English be into Spanish, the English sentence there is water is translated hay agua, using a form (hay) of the verb haber. Now, the word haber is used as a modal to construct perfect tenses, just as haben and have are used in German and English. It is therefore tempting to guess that they are cognates, but they're not. The Germanic haben is cognate with Latin carpe, `hold.' That's just the way the sound transformations came down. You can see how having and holding could be confused. The Spanish word that translates the ordinary (nonmodal) meaning of English have is tener. The modal construction I have to ... (i.e. I must ...) corresponds to Spanish tengo que ... (tengo means `I have').

You know, we took off on this meandering tangent (it's a curved space) because this is the third llama entry. But just before we took off, we were discussing one or two three-ell lllamas. I'm not aware of any language with a word that begins with three consecutive ell's, but since the recent German spelling reform, German probably has a bunch of compound words with three consecutive ells in the middle. This is something new. German has a fair number of words that end in a double ell, and a fair number that begin with a single ell. Traditionally, German compounds have not used hyphens, but when simple concatenation led to three of any letter, the cluster was reduced to two of the letter. No more: clusters of three of the same are not to be reduced to two. As if German wasn't already a weird-looking language. On the other hand, hyphens are now encouraged. I'll keep an eye out.

LocalTalk Link Access Protocol.

Lower Layer ATM Interface.

Latin, Legum Baccalaureus, `Bachelor of Laws.' (The el is doubled because legum, `laws,' is plural.) Cf. J.D.

Line Loop-Back.

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts.

Language Learning for Children. A SIG of the ACTFL.

Limited-Liability Company.

Logical Link Control. Divided into numbered layers LLC1, LLC2, ...

Lowest-Level Cache. Anywhere from L1 through L6 and on up, in principle, but L2 or L3 seems pretty typical. I mean, there has to be a role for the main memory store, right?

LeadLess Chip Carrier. This acronym is fairly comprehensible, unlike LCC.

LL Cool J
Ladies Love Cool James. The abbreviated form is stage name for a rapper whose real name is James Smith.

Logical Link Control/SubNetwork Access Protocol.

Latin, Legum Doctor, `Doctor of Laws.'

Lower Limit of Detection.

Linear Low-Density PolyEthylene[s].

Low-Level Exposure.

Laurie Lewis and Grant Street. BG artists.

The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at UT Austin.

Lowest Landau Level.

Limited-Liability Limited Partnership. It was always my understanding that the ``limited'' in ``limited partnership'' referred to the limitations on liability (as in LLP), so it's not clear to me how LLLP differs. Maybe they should write ``LLLP, Ltd.'' just to be on the safe side.

Low-Level Mixed (nuclear and non-nuclear) Waste. Cf. LLW.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Library of Living Philosophers.

Lightning Location and Prediction. Lots of luck with the second operation. The path of any particular lightning bolt is substantially affected by the charged-particle component of cosmic rays, which produces straight segments of ionized, and highly conducting, air. Lighting paths tend to consist of such straight paths connected by shorter, more diffusive segments.

Limited Liability Partnership. Equivalent to Ltd.

Live Long and Prosper. Standard translation of the Vulcan expression, ``mene sakkhet ur-seveh,'' also used on by Earth people.

Lyman-Line Pumping. The Lyman series is a subset of spectroscopic lines. Pumping is what you do to get a laser to work: you flood the material with light to create a population inversion.

Large Lattice Relaxation.

And now a word from our sponsor...


Select from our reliable line of children's and infants' flame-throwers.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled glossary entry.

Laser-Light Scattering.

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It ``is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education, and patient services. LLS's mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.'' The LSA was founded in 1949 as the Leukemia Society of America.

Lunar Landing Vehicle.

Low-Level (radioactive/nuclear) Waste.

Low-Level (i.e. altitude) Wind-shear Alert System. Wind shear around airports caused some commercial aviation accidents in the 1980's, leading to a technical effort to develop detection systems.

Little League World Series.

Light Microscop{e|y}.

Liquid Metal. The surface tension of LM is generally much higher than the surface tension of any other liquid at comparable temperatures. Partly in consequence of this, LM surfaces rank among the flattest surfaces known.

You can make a good parabolic mirror by spinning mercury

Literary Marketplace. The title of an annual publication that lists hundreds of publishers that don't want to publish your book.

LuMen. The SI unit of luminous flux -- i.e., light power, suitably normalized. This and related units are explained at the photometry entry.

Lunar Module. NASA's name for the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM). The contractors tended to use the designation LEM, and the initialism el-em was apparently often slurred to ``lem,'' so we put most of the information-like text at the LEM acronym entry.

Laminating Materials Association. According to their old homepage, on a domain that now belongs to the Louisiana Municipal Association, the LMA was a ``not-for-profit trade group, represents all types of man-made decorative overlays except for high pressure laminate. In addition, the LMA is the representative organization for all edgebanding in North America. The products represented by the LMA are applied to a wood substrate and used in the production of furniture (household and office), store fixtures, kitchen cabinets, wall paneling, and etc.''

In 2004, the LMA was absorbed by the Composite Panel Association (CPA), which became ``the primary trade association for the wood-based decorative surfaces industry.''

Late Middle Ages.

Leucemia Mielóide Aguda. Spanish for `acute myeloid leukemia.'

Louisiana Municipal Association.

LMAO, lmao
ROFLMAO without rolling on the floor. For when you're chatting.

Laboratory of Molecular Biophysics within NIEHS.

The Lady Margaret Boat Club. Founded in 1825 as the boat club of St. John's College, Cambridge, it was the first Oxbridge College boat club.


Large Magellanic Cloud. The larger of the two Magellanic Clouds. (The other is the SMC; you can guess what that stands for.) Both are irregular dwarf galaxies that are part of the local group of galaxies that the Milky Way is part of.

(Telephone) Line Maintenance Center.

Loop Maintenance Center.

Literature, Media, and Cultural Studies.

Local Multipoint Communication Systems. Name used in Canada for LMDS, q.v. The Canadian government has allocated 3 GHz of electromagnetic spectrum around 28 GHz for such systems, a number of which are currently (1999) being set up.

Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique (du CNRS).

Local Multichannel Distribution Systems. A wireless system for data similar to cellular phones, also using high-frequencies that operate line-of-sight (LOS).

For the US, the FCC has auctioned a 1.3 GHz band around 28 GHz for LMDS, and currently (1999) in trials involving ~10,000 subscribers in the US.

London Metal Exchange. The world's premier market for non-ferrous metals. One also reads of ``LME warehouses'' which may from time to time hold a fair fraction a year's world consumption. These are LME-approved warehouses. According to an LME website FAQ,
``The LME is not the natural source for physical metal. It is rather, a financial market, used mainly for limiting future price risk, supported by a delivery of last resort. Consumers wishing to buy physical metal normally do so directly from producers or through merchants. Some LME members do have a physical department.

``Metal to meet deliveries of LME contracts, that do go to delivery, is stored on warrant in LME-approved warehouses and must meet the specifications of the individual metal contracts as laid down by the LME. In order to ensure the quality of metal held on warrant for delivery against LME contracts, all such metal must be of a brand listed as good delivery by the directors of the LME. If a party wishes to buy metal via the LME it can do so through a broker on the LME. It should be noted that delivery is at seller's option and the location, production source and shape cannot be guaranteed. However, the metal will be of a brand and specification in accordance with LME rules and will be stored in an LME approved warehouse. The LME price is 'in warehouse' and the costs of taking up that metal will have to be met by the buyer.''

Lady Margaret Hall. ``Changing lives since 1879''! Gosh, that's a sturdy old dame. Oh wait: ``An Oxford college for the 21st century. LMH was founded in 1878 [no lives changed the first year, apparently] from a passion for scholarship, equality, and fairness.''

They're introducing a program called the LMH Foundation Year, accepting applications for Autumn 2016. It ``is designed to take academically able students from under-represented groups and through a combination of academic and personal support, enable them to fulfill their potential.'' It's all so carefully worded, but in a video, the principal of LMH (a college with a ``principal''? -- I guess we are divided by a common language) explains that they're looking for students who got poorer grades than they (the students) thought would be necessary to get into or succeed at Oxford, but who can do better than the grades suggest. And I, for one, don't doubt that students with relatively poor grades are an under-represented group among students at Oxford. But the whole program seems an exercise in treading a careful path. If word gets out, it may (unfairly, no doubt) stigmatize LMH students. But if word doesn't get out, then students otherwise too discouraged to apply won't apply. I'm threading the needle right here and thus: I'm letting you know, but you shouldn't tell anyone else. Indeed, you should probably forget about it yourself.

{ Layer | Link | Local } Management Interface.

Leo Minor. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Linear Matrix Inequality. If G is a real-valued n×n square matrix, then G > 0 is a ``matrix inequality,'' obvious shorthand for the proposition that sTGs > 0 for all real-valued, nonzero column vectors s. If G depends linearly on some x (which need not be a scalar), then the inequality is called an LMI.

Lloyd's Marine Intelligence Unit. A shipping consultancy that estimates seaborne petroleum trade by tracking oil tankers.

LAN MAN Management Protocol. IEEE standard for network management.

Lactate MonoOxygenase. An enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of lactate. See LOD.

Loop Maintenance Operations System.

Last Menstrual Period. The number of ``weeks [since] LMP'' determines the price of an abortion.

(Online) Literary Marketplace. There's also an ILMP.

Logic, Math, and Physics. The LMP conference at UWO is a Graduate Conference in Logic, Math, and Physics, held annually since 2000.

Language-Minority Student. A student who is a member of a language minority. There are, in this sense, many majority-minority regions and countries.

Leading Market Services. A full service ad/PR agency specializing in luxury-brand marketing. Founded in 2000 and headed by Lori M. Sachs, whose previous position had been Marketing Vice President at Reed/Cahners Travel Group. The coincidence of initials might be accidental. The firm was created by ``The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd.'' (LHW) and some ad/PR firm with a long name.

Least Mean Squares. Parameters determined by minimizing the sum of squares of the deviations.

Licence in Mediaeval Studies. Also M.S.L. (Parameters probably determined by minimizing the deviations of the squares.)

The LMS is a post-Ph.D. degree! You read right. If you're not one of the people who gasped and demanded government action after learning about this, the following message is for you.

Listen, guys: the war in 'Nam is over! The draft is history! You don't need another deferment, you don't need to go to Canada. For God's sake, get a job and get a life!

(And as if that weren't bad enough, see the M.S.D. entry.)

London Mathematical Society.

London, Midland & Scottish Railway. For the other mainline railway companies of Britain's Grouping era, see Big Four.

Leading Market Services. A full service ad/PR agency specializing in luxury-brand marketing. Founded in 2000 and headed by Lori M. Sachs, whose previous position had been Marketing Vice President at Reed/Cahners Travel Group. The coincidence of initials might be accidental. The firm was created by ``The Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd.'' (LHW) and some ad/PR firm with a long name.

Liquid Mirror Telescope. A reflecting telescope that uses a liquid mirror. The idea (Newton's) is that an incompressible liquid with no surface tension, spinning at constant angular velocity in a constant gravitational field, has a surface that describes a parabola. Obviously, these conditions are or can be well approximated in reality, and LMT's using mercury have been operated since the nineteenth century. The widest LMT in current use is Canada's incredibly cheap ($500,000 Canadian) Large Zenith Telescope, six meters in diameter.

It's called a ``zenith telescope'' because the parabola's axis of symmetry is vertical, so it looks straight up.

Local Mean Time.

Linear Muffin-Tin Orbital.

Linear Muffin-Tin Orbital (LMTO) -- Atomic Sphere Approximation.

Line Monitor Unit.

Leeds Metropolitan University. Leeds Met ``is striving to be a world-class regional university....''

Lincoln Memorial University. Founded on Lincoln's birthday in 1897, thanks to General O.O. Howard of the Union army, who remembered that President Lincoln once expressed the hope that he would organize a great university for the people of his area after the Civil War. Thanks are reportedly also due to Reverend A.A. Myers, a Congregationalist minister who came to the Cumberland Gap in 1888 and opened the Harrow School (an elementary school). Thanks as well to Colonel A.A. Arthur, the organizing agent of an English company that in the late 1800's built a 700-room hotel called ``The Four Seasons'' in the area, along with a hospital, a sanitarium, and an inn, and some smaller buildings. That's it for the titled double-vowel people. The English company abandoned the project in 1895 due to a financial panic; Gen. O.O. got together a group that purchased the hotel and turned it into LMU. I'm not sure what Rev. A.A.'s role was in all of this, but he's mentioned at the page from which I cribbed this bit of history.

Loyola Marymount University. ``LMU|LA'' also appears; the LA stands for the campus location.

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. `Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.'

When it was established in 1472 in Ingolstadt, it was the first university in Bavaria. Today it's located in Munich and is the largest University in Germany. For what happened in the intervening five centuries, see this page.

Low Molecular Weight.

Low-Molecular-Weight Heparin. A fraction of UFH, q.v.

LaNthanide. Or lanthanoid, if you want to be hip with the IUPAC hepcats. Anyway, Ln is an informal chemical symbol for a generic actinide. Don't confuse it with La, the symbol for lanthanum. Lanthanum, by a curious coincidence, is the lightest element of the series (the lanthanides) named for it. It's Science! There's a similar symbol An, for a generic actinide.

Natural Logarithm. Logarithm base e, where e is Euler's constant. I suppose ln might also stand, or be thought of as standing, for Napierian logarithm, or the logarithm of John Napier.

Low-Noise Amplifier. In a sequence of amplifier stages, noise in the earliest stage is amplified the most, so LNA's are best placed early. Vide signal-to-noise-ratio.

Low-Noise Block (converter). See LNBC.

Low-Noise Block Converter. Satellite-industry term for receiver stage that amplifies and converts received microwave downlink signal into lower-frequency CATV signal. Vide Low-Noise Amp (LNA).

Ladies of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's. It seems they now favor ``LND/SMC.'' It's possible to interpret the name of this organization as `Ladies of Our Lady and our Lady's.'

The Ladies of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College. It ``is a social organization dedicated to promoting activities and friendships among the women associated with the University of Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College. ... All women faculty and administrators at Notre Dame and Saint Mary's College and wives of faculty and administrators are encouraged to take advantage of membership in the organization.''

Before they had a website, back when their recruitment letters came on paper, I thought they were a club for faculty spouses. (Or is that ``faculty spice''? Or should we just voice the intervocalic ess in spouses?) I figured it was open to males (husbands of professors) as well as to persons of gender. I was wrong. This goes to show just how out of step with the times I am. I'm a troglodyte, maybe even a trilobite or something pre-Cambrian, and I don't even know it! Well, at least I can be sure that they would welcome warmly the wife of a lesbian professor.

London & North Eastern Railway. For the other mainline railway companies of Britain's Grouping era, see Big Four.

Liquified Natural Gas. Natural gas (mostly methane) liquified by cooling below -163°C = 110 K.

`Pure' Natural Gas is odorless to humans. A fragrance is added to allow leaks of unburned natural gas to be detected.

Luria-Nebraska Neuropsychological Battery.

Local Number Portability. You can keep your phone number if you move nearby.


Leading Order. This first nonvanishing order of contributions to some calculable quantity. Typically, the order is the power of some parameter, and the various terms arise from a Taylor series or diagramatic expansion.

When the first term is labelled the LO, the subsequent terms are often labeled the NLO and NNLO.

Literaturblatt des Orients.

[Phone icon]

Local Office. The telephone switching node closest to the individual subscribers. Originally it was an office with a switchboard manned by a switchboard operator (hence ``operator''). Later it was a bank of relays, and later a bank of semiconductor switches. Also ``Central Office'' (CO), q.v.

Local Oscillator.

Longitudinal Optical. Refers to longitudinally polarized phonons. LO phonons always interact with charge carriers by DO interaction. In a polar crystal, they also interact via PO interaction, typically called the Fröhlich interaction, after the description he gave of it that is still used in all but the most ``realistic'' simulation. Cf. LA, TO;

Leave Of Absence.

Limits Of Agreement. A statistical measure. I think it would be better termed LoD. What do you think?

Short for Archers of Loaf, indie band out of Chapel Hill, NC. Here's a fine unofficial website.

Lancaster-Oslo/Bergen Corpus (of British English).

Left On Base. (Baseball statistic.)

`Praise' in German. A noun.

Toss in a high, gentle arc.

  1. noun: ante-room.
  2. verb: to haunt the lobbies of legislators' or other decision-makers' offices, in hopes of persuading them to one's view or interest.
  3. noun: an entity that lobbies for a view opposed by the person using the word. In contrast, a group lobbying for a view favored by a speaker or writer is a ``public interest group'' or ``research foundation.'' Similarly, an individual retired from a legislature who returns to plead a third party's cause has gone through the revolving door to get on the gravy train, or become a respected elder statesman, depending as one disapproves or approves the views advocated, respectively.

Large Optical Cavity.

Lead On (integrated-circuit) Chip.

Loss Of Consciousness. An ER abbreviation.

Loss Of Crew. An acronym NASA has had too frequent occasion to use. Cf. LOM.

Certain words, like ``tristate'' and ``statewide,'' become more irritating than useful when used on the web.

http://www.statewide.com/ is apparently in (all over, from Bedford) New Hampshire (NH). http://www.statewideweb.com/ is in Northern Indiana. http://www.tristate.com/ is a domain name that was scarfed up and held for ransom by an internet scalper.

This glossary contains a longer think-piece on the important ``tristate area'' language crisis.

loc. cit.
Latin, loco citato, `at the place cited.' Less commonly, l.l. Cf. op. cit.

Loss Of Cell Delineation.

The singular form of the Spanish word locos. An ordinary dictionary would make loco the primary entry for the variously inflected forms of this word, but this is not an ordinary dictionary. One of the fundamental guiding principles in the uh-rrangement of this glossary is that words love company just as much as misery. The only reason we have hundreds of words of loca/loco/locas/locos content at all, and the reason that the majority of that is under locos, is that the original LOCOS entry was lonely. I know, it's `crazy.'

Chilean abalone.

LOcal Control Operating Panel.

LOCal Oxidation of Silicon. [Masked oxidation near the silicon surface to provide electronic isolation between devices. Made possible by relatively slow oxidation of silicon nitride, used as a mask. To prevent dopant diffusion, oxidation is done at low temperature and high pressure. Cf. ROx, dielectric isolation, junction isolation.]

Spanish for `crazies.' (That's the male plural form of the adjective and noun. Traditionally, the male plural is used if one or more of those referred to are male. In the politically correct new world -- the cowardly new world -- it is supposed to be an affront if any female is described by a grammatically male word, so a group of crazy males and crazy females must be locos y locas, or locas y locos, or something equally crazy. That doesn't cover all the cases once covered by the single term locos, however. A group of three or more in which only one is male or female would be loco y locas or loca y locos

Locos is derived from logos. Logos is a Greek word meaning `word,' and by extension `reason.' It is well known that crazy people are often obsessed with reason, and quite logical. They just have extremely poor judgment. In the absence of any apparent organic cause, this syndrome is diagnosed as philosophy. There are two main branches of philosophy: analytic and continental, or, as I prefer to call them, acute and chronic. The word philosophy is also derived from Greek roots. It means `love of sophistry.'

Okay, I've been informed that there may be some errors in the preceding paragraph: the first and possibly the last sentence. Picky, picky! Alright: honestly, I had always understood that loco is really derived from Latin locus, `place,' via some longer phrase meaning that you have misplaced your brain. But apparently I understood wrong. Corominas y Pascual devote two pages to examining the various rather tentative hypotheses regarding the origin of loco, and eventually throw up their hands, concluding that its origin is oscuro, possibly Arabic, and that even a pre-Romance origin cannot be excluded. The word occurs in all literary periods of the Middle Ages, and there are old cognates in Galician and Portuguese. The word is recognized as a common Castilianism (castellanismo, if you don't like the neologism) in other Romance languages (and in English, of course), and has been borrowed into the Valencian dialect of Catalan (as lloco, which is to say, without change in pronunciation). You know, I think the whole logos idea is beginning to seem plausible.

Lactate OxiDase. An enzyme. That (like LMO) catalyzes the oxidation of lactate, duh. Lactate, of course, is the anion associated with lactic acid. Lactic acid is a three-carbon molecule, a breakdown product made when glucose is used in muscle contraction. LOD breaks it down further. Many people confuse lactose with lactate, as I seem to have done in an earlier version of this entry. Lactose is another sugar. People who are lactose intolerant (LI) are not lactate intolerant. No one can be very lactate intolerant, since we all produce and metabolize so much of the stuff.

Level Of Detail.

Limit[s] Of Detect{ability|ion}.

Loss Of Frame.

LOw FIdelity [to the exact original]. Term patterned on the earlier Hi-Fi, q.v.

Laplacian Of [a] Gaussian. The ``Mexican-hat function.'' The convolution of an LoG with some property of an image is a popular edge detector.

``Contrariwise,'' continued Tweedledee, ``If it was so, it might be, and if it were so, it would be; but as it isn't, it ain't. That's logic!''

The Miss USA competition includes an interview. During the 1994 pageant, Miss Alabama was asked, ``If you could live forever, would you and why?'' She replied: ``I would not live forever, because we should not live forever, because if we were supposed to live forever, then we would live forever, but we cannot live forever, which is why I would not live forever.''

logistic equation
Verhulst-Pearl logistic equation. A differential equation describing growth under a limiting condition. In this particular model, the usual equation for exponential growth in time t of a quantity N at a rate r,
-- = r N ,        [ordinary equation for exponential growth]
is modified by a simple correction factor 1 - (N/K),
dN       K-N
-- = r N --- ,    [Verhulst-Pearl logistic equation]
dt        K
where K is some constant upper bound on N. If N is the population in some area, then r represents the rate of natural increase in conditions of abundance (i.e., N much smaller than K), and K may be called the ``carrying capacity'' of the territory. The assumption that the growth rate falls off linearly is just a mathematically convenient one. In most applications the model has the convenient features of familiarity and integrability, and the fact that it satisfies two coarse requirements (exponential growth at small N, growth falling to zero as N approaches K) that describe some idealized situations.

This same logistic equation has also been used to model changing market share of two competing technologies, with K taken as unity (total market share). In this case, the justification is even weaker: within the assumptions of classical economics, the "quantity supplied" is not bounded by a constant, but by a market-determined amount that depends in a self-consistent way on the supply functions for competing goods. Scaling by total (time-varying) quantity supplied, to determine market fraction, is just a fudge. Never mind. If you plot it on a log scale, everything looks good.

Now about integrability: a little algebra shows that

dg                             N
-- = r g ,   if we define g = --- .
dt                            K-N
That is, the quantity g grows as a simple exponential:

g(t) = g(t0) exp[r(t-t0)] .

Usually, one uses a semilog plot (i.e., one plots log(g) against t, labeling the vertical axis by the corresponding g values). This is very good for hiding large final deviations. Logarithmic plotting can usually be manipulated to hide at least one bad fit per graph.

``Logit'' variables are logistic variables used in statistical analysis. If, using the variable names in the previous entry, N/K is a probability, then g is the corresponding odds. As noted above, if N satisfies the Verhulst-Pearl logistic equation, then log(g) varies linearly in time. More generally, all real values of log(g) are meaningful, whereas probabilities N/K must be between zero and one. This has led to the use of logit variables in linear regression (``logit methods'').

The most important thing that must be said about most uses of linear regression in the social sciences is that if the people who use them had any idea what they are doing, they could be called frauds. Logit methods are attractive because they yield results that are not prima facie illogical (probabilities that are negative or greater than unity), but in all other respects are just as bad.


Asociación Española de Estudios sobre Lengua, Pensamiento y Cultura Clásica. Not an acronym, just the Greek word.


A Spanish-language classics discussion list, the mailing list of LOGO (supra). See announcement. (There's also a LOGO-L homepage, but last I checked it was down or very slow.)

A model of communication in a distributed computation, used to optimize performance.

Load OverHead. Cf. TOH.

Letter Of Intent.

Lunar Orbit Insertion. Firing of spacecraft engines to put vehicle into a lunar orbit. In all cases so far, this has eventually been followed a successful TEI. Some details of the first LOI by a manned spacecraft are given at the apocynthion entry.

Land-Ocean Interactions in the Coastal Zone. A ``core project'' of IGBP.

Legacy Of Kain. A series of video games.

LOL, <LOL>, lol
Laughing Out Loud. Internet usage. Cf. FCOL.

On chats and in other very informal internet communications, it's become quite common to append ``lol'' as a sort of predicate adverb, in situations where the phrase it abbreviates would be clearly inappropriate. Something like ``I like emo boys, lol! Let's meet for coffee, lol.'' I suppose it's supposed to express a genial geniality, but I'm against it. People should stick to tradition. Use an emoticon, the way people have for generations! ;-)

l.o.l., LOL
Little Old Lady. All-caps is the way I've seen this abbreviation scattered around webspace, but since LOL and lol are already much more commonly used for ``laughing out loud,'' I recommend the abbreviation with periods.

Lift On / Lift Off... the freight to and from the vehicle, that is. As opposed to RO/RO (roll), f'rinstance.

Loss Of Mission. An acronym NASA has had too frequent occasion to use. Cf. LOV.

Lowest-Order Model.

Loads Of Money But A Real Dic... Oooh. I should read proposed entries before I add them. Don't wanna lose the G rating.

This term was reportedly around in the late 80's. In those days the self-aggrandizing downhill skier ``Tomba la bomba'' trained in northern Italy, though perhaps not precisely in Lombardy. Maybe his epithet should have been ``Tomba il bombastico.''

(Yes, Alberto Tomba's surname does translate to `tomb' in English.)

lo mein
A dish of noodles stir-fried with sliced vegetables, and usually chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp). The meat and vegetables are usually cut up small enough to pick up with chop sticks; the noodles are not too short, but they can picked up with chop sticks because the thick sauce tends to hold adjacent aligned noodles together. The two dictionary definitions I've seen mention that the dish includes seasonings, as if to imply that anyone but a barbarian would cook without spices.

The term lo mein, pronounced ``low main'' in English, was not just made-up for use in Chinese-American restaurants (like chow mein). It's actually a term used for a dish in Guangdong (southern China, the region around Hong Kong that we used to call Canton), meaning `stirred noodles.' In the US, the noodles are usually wheat-flour noodles.

LOw-altitude Missile Engagement Zone. Surface-to-Air missiles. See differential definition at the weapon engagement zone entry of the DOD's online Dictionary of Military Terms.

A locality in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Ontario (about 70 km from Paris), Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

London, Ontario is further south (42° 59' N) than any major Canadian city. London, England (51° 30' N) is further north than any major Canadian city. I like this so much (even though I didn't make it up myself) that I'm simply going to go ahead and define Windsor, Ontario (42° 20' N) and Edmonton, Alberta (53° 33' N) as nonmajor Canadian cities so that the between-Londons statement can be true. I'd like to say Windsor is a village of about 200,000, and Canada's leading port of entry from the US. Unfortunately, after being incorporated as a village in 1854, it became a town in 1858 and a city in 1892. And Edmonton is the capital of one of those big western states, uh, provinces. But really, what does that signify? Look, it's like this: the south-of/north-of claim is really neat, and I'm not going to let the fact that it's false interfere with my belief in it. Instead, I'm going to do what everyone does when faced with a factual inconvenience: redefine some variable terms (such as Canada and city). I'll report my rationalization in detail later. Until then, you can visit the ECU entry.

London LS
LONDON Liverpool Street. A train station at some street in London, terminus for points northeast.

Anglophone mnemonic for the gender of Spanish nouns: words whose singular form ends in l, o, n (but not ión), e, r, or s are masculine 97% of the time. Moreover, many of the exceptions (female words ending in these letters) are recognizable as Greek borrowings; examples include anatomical terms like laringe, faringe, and siringe, and a large class of abstract nouns ending in -sis).

A prominent exception to the LONERS rule is la sal (`the salt'), but the French cognate is male (le sel). Other exceptions in Spanish include la mano and la libido. (These are not exceptions to the pattern of preserving the gender of the Latin original: mano is derived from the fourth-declension manus, and libido is not from libidus or libidum; but the third-declension libido.)

A mnemonic like LONERS, but for feminine nouns, is D-ION-Z-A. As explained there, many of the rules can be understood in terms of the morphology-gender connections in Latin. In particular, two large classes of abstract nouns that are female in Latin typically end in -tas and -tio in the nominative. The Spanish reflexes of these, generally preserving the female gender, are regularly derived from the ablative Latin forms, and end in -tad and -ción.

long-delayed publication
We describe a moderately extreme example (48 years or not much longer for Index of the Books and Authors cited in the Zoological Works of Linnaeus) at the Studies in Linnaean Method and Nomenclature entry. Publication is often long-delayed because the item to be published is long, but this item doesn't qualify as a long delayed publication. Nevertheless, trying to determine its length, I did run into an oddity. The WorldCat record contains this descriptor field:
Description:  	xlix, 174, lxiii p. ; 31 cm.

I've been assured by a local cataloguing librarian that this really means what it seems to mean: that there are 49 pages numbered with Roman numerals, followed by 174 pages numbered with Arabic numerals, followed by another 63 pages numbered with Roman numerals again. I haven't found out yet whether this means that something like ``p. xxx'' is ambiguous.

Long Eighteenth Century
A conventional name for the period 1688-1832. This begins in the year of the Glorious Revolution, and ends in the year of the famous (voting) Reform Act. Obviously this periodization is most useful in the context of British political history. A handy term for a period that follows it closely is the Victorian Era. Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901, and for the different purposes of different disciplines Victorian Eras that at least substantially overlap that period are defined more or less precisely. Cf. Long Nineteenth Century.

Long Nineteenth Century
A conventional name for the period 1789-1914. This begins in the first year of the French Revolution, and ends with the beginning of the Great War. Well, I guess some people define it as running from the beginning of the French Revolution to the beginning of the Russian Revolution (see BrANCH). Cf. Long Eighteenth Century, Short Twentieth Century, and periodization.

(long story)
Please don't ask.

look, the
Well, I suppose there might be a few, but the one I had in mind was a certain sort projected by the eyes. I describe it in some detail at this english entry. Well, I guess it wouldn't do to have an entry with just that link, huh? You think? Don't just sit there silent with that glassy stare! Speak to the computer! Okay, then, here's a verse from Tennyson's 1855 poem ``Maud'' (part I, stanza or whatever xiii):
Who shall call me ungentle, unfair,
I long`d so heartily then and there
To give him the grasp of fellowship;
But while I past he was humming an air,
Stopt, and then with a riding whip
Leisurely tapping a glossy boot,
And curving a contumelious lip,
Gorgonised me from head to foot
With a stony British stare.

Oh, look: I recently noticed a different noun use of look! The April 25, 2005, issue of People includes a teaser for ``Mariah Carey: How I Changed My Look.'' I didn't read the text, but after examining the pictures (pp. 132-3) I think I can conjecture the method she used to achieve the new look: she switched to wearing dresses that simultaneously cover her upper thighs, midriff, and both sides as well as the bottoms of her implant carriers.

There are three main uses of loose:
  1. As an adjective meaning -- depending on context -- not tight or not confined.
  2. As a verb meaning release from confinement, set loose. (The verb meaning untighten is loosen.)
  3. As a misspelling of the verb lose.

I decided to add this entry after seeing this amusing headline on the website of the UK's Daily Mail:

Jobseekers who don't bother to learn English will loose benefits.
(It was the anchor text for the link to an article. The full title was ``Migrant jobseekers who don't bother to learn English will be stripped of benefits, pledges [UK PM] Cameron.'' To be needlessly fair, the URL uses ``lose.'')

loose women
Women who don't need a formal declaration before, cough, being used.

Oh -- I think I mean loosely typed women. I was speaking loosely. They inherit from sex objects (again, loosely speaking). Surprising to think they have any class at all.

Light OutPut. (I mean the electromagnetic-radiation noun ``light,'' not the low-weight adjective ``light.'')

Loss Of Pointer. Oh, so sorry to hear it.

Loss Of Pointer to Line.

Loss Of Pointer to Path.

Loss Of Pointer -- Virtual.

LOng Range Aid to Navigation.


When The Virgin Mary died, angels bore the house she was born in to Loretto, in present-day Italy (but at the time, they bore it to past-day Italy, the only Italy then taking deliveries). Really! Collecting ancient relics must already have been pretty popular, even though they were, relatively speaking, not very ancient at the time. The house still stands there today as ``The Holy House of Loretto,'' as an official postage stamp of the Italian Post Office proves. No homepage yet, but you can visit the Vatican Library and try to find contemporary reportage of the event.

Father Montague Summers dedicated his The History of Witchcraft (1925), first, to his fellow holy Patrick and the memory of ``Loretto and Our Lady's Holy House,'' where they both worshipped.

[The History of Witchcraft remedied a defect of previous studies, which had been fatally flawed by a nonbelief in witchcraft, and which paid insufficient attention to the mass of damning evidence extracted from the accused by the use of rudeness and other more extreme methods.]

An article on relics, ``What Remains'' by Kathryn Harrison, appears in the December 1995 issue of Harper's Magazine, pp. 54ff. A human has swallowed moon dirt and lived.

British word equivalent to American English truck. Lorry was once the standard word. Lexis-Nexis searches of British and Irish papers in mid-2005 suggest that truck occurs roughly twice as frequently as lorry, and that this ratio has not changed very much since the mid-1970's.

Length Of Stay (in hospital).

Line Of Sight. Term used to make two or three slightly different distinctions.

Line-of-sight transmission is electromagnetic signal transmission that does not rely on reflection from the ionosphere, either because transmission is over a short range or (e.g., commercial TV and FM radio) because the part of the electromagnetic spectrum used is not efficiently reflected by the ionosphere.

Within the context of line-of-sight transmission (by the above definition), one distinguishes the direct line-of-sight signal from signals that travel a different path (e.g., bouncing off a building or a plane). Cities like Moscow and Washington, DC, where tall buildings have generally been prevented from being erected, have significantly fewer echo/shadow/fade problems.

Local Operator System.

Loss Of Signal. One use of the term is indicated at corresponding AOS entry.

Line-Of-Sight AntiTank. An adjective modifying weapon or weapon system.

lose way
The stock answer to the question, ``how would you get to <locant> from here?'' is ``if I were going to <locant>, I wouldn't start from here.'' It usually sounds funnier if you substitute an actual or hypothetical literal for the variable <locant>. (I can't call it a lexical variable; I don't want to go out of scope.) It also sounds funnier -- possibly even funny -- if you haven't heard it 377777 times before.

lose weight
Oh, yeah: like, forget where you put it. It sounds so easy. It oughta be a piece of cake. (The misplaced quantity is called ``weight loss.'')

Here's a sure-fire appetite suppressant: abdominal crunches. Do enough abdominal crunches and you will feel full. (You will also feel pain.)

Free bonus health tip! Sure-fire laxative: seated or squatting leg press. Very effective. In fact, be sure there's a free stall and the path to the bathroom is clear. Wear dark sweatpants or have a change of underwear ready. In fact, if you've got, like, a big back log, you might consider just double-bagging the Depend®s.

Law Of the Sea Treaty.

lost cause
Noble cause. By definition, regardless of the merits. It's a literary convention.

lost in thought
And looking for a way back to familiar territory.

Lost Language of Cranes, The
title of a 1986 novel by David Leavitt, The. It was his debut novel, but it is regarded as important for being one of the first ``gay novels'' with serious literary merit or (if you're a bookman) for being one with serious crossover sales.

One of the characters in the novel runs across the story of a baby habitually left alone by his drug-addicted mother, in a place that looks out on a construction site. The baby, imprinting like a feral child, takes to imitating cranes there -- not cranes of the bird kind. I only wrote this entry because I wanted to spare ornithologists certain disappointment in finding out too late. Everyone seems to agree that the imagined language of the cranes is somehow a metaphor for a missing language of gay self-expression, but the details are sketchy. I just hope that when they find that missing and somehow wanted language, they let the rest us have the word ``gay'' back.

(As some wag observed, the love that dared not speak its name has become the love that won't shut up.)

Loss Of Synchronous Word.

Landelijke Onderzoekschool Taalwetenschap. The preferred or proferred translation is `National Graduate School of Linguistics.' LOT publications offers a variety of dissertations complete and free on line.

Lord Of The Rings. A fantasy ``trilogy'' by JRR Tolkien.

Ralph Bakshi made an animated film of Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers. He originally planned to make one film for each of the three books, but when he couldn't get financing for The Return of the King, he combined the first two thirds of the project into a two-and-a-half hour movie and released it (in 1978) under the LOTR title. It won a Golden Globe for the Best Original Score. Even today, animated characters do not receive acting awards. This would have been an interesting marginal case, since it was animated from life: filmed with live actors in black-and-white, and then ``rotoscoped'': each animation cel was drawn over a live-filmed frame. Bakshi's LOTR was the first entirely rotoscoped animated feature film.

Peter Jackson made a three-film adaptation that was released in time for Christmas 2001 (4 Oscar wins), 2002 (2), and 2003 (11).

Czech word meaning `scoundrel.' I wonder if the plural isn't lotri.

Logistics Over The Shore.

  1. A game of chance.
  2. A tax on stupidity.

Back in the late seventies, governments suddenly noticed that people didn't like to pay taxes, and that they especially didn't like to pay increased taxes. Legislators, who pay attention to this sort of thing, realized that their continued employment might depend on how they voted on tax bills.

It was also noticed, however, that people are more willing to pay for government services that they see as benefitting themselves. In the nineties, this observation garnered the buzz words ``user fee'' and the principle was harnessed to pay for roads near upscale suburbs. In the eighties, however, the public service that citizens were willing to pay for was the chance to be rich. A number of states of the US set out to provide this service through lotteries. It was a service many citizens desired, particularly among those who are poor but not so poor they have no loose change. Properly speaking, a lottery is a poverty program.

[As a sop to puritans, a bit of the revenue from this poverty program was diverted to education. This is really unfair, because educated people are some of the lotteries' worst customers (vide supra).]

[Football icon]

Whaddayamean, ``Lou who''?!

The former coach of Notre Dame's (ND) football team! Coach at ND for more games than any previous coach, more even than the legendary Knute Rockne!

Early in the 1996 season, I used to see a sheet hanging from some upper dorm windows. It said ``IN LOU WE TRUST.'' Some time after the loss against Air Force, the sheet came down. Oh ye of little faith! In a Catholic school, yet.

That election season, a group supporting a California ballot proposition to end affirmative action paid for some ads featuring the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Over a picture of the martyred civil rights leader, the ad played excerpts from his historic ``I have a dream'' speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, in which he conjured the image of a future truly colorblind society. The Reverend Jesse Jackson, who once tried to corner the market on the martyr's legend, called this ``blasphemy.''

The California ballot proposition passed, but Lou Holtz resigned effective the end of the season, explaining only that ``it was the right thing to do.'' (Holtz is an alternate spelling of Holz.) Six years later, rumors still circulate as to the precise reason that he was pushed out.

Now a word or two about his unworthy successor, Bob Davie. We pass over in silence the age-discrimination suit that ND lost, brought on account of one of Davie's early coaching-staff adjustments. Over his first four years the overall W-L record was a not terrible 30-19. In his fifth season (2001), no player is left who was recruited or ever coached by Lou. The team began the season with three straight losses for the first time in the century or so it has been playing, and as I write this paragraph, the season record stands at 3-5. With two of the three remaining opponents BCS-ranked, prospects are of worse to come. I want to explain why this is a good thing.

It's a good thing because nothing should be allowed to jeopardize the expeditious departure of Bob Davie. Mr. Davie is mealy-mouthed. His vacuous speech consists of clichés trite even by sports standards, relieved by his careless enunciation and spiced up only by interesting errors. He is a typical enemy of the English language; he has nothing to say and says it, poorly. This is the situation after five years of improvement. He should have studied his clichés before it was showtime. For the right way to do it, see the franchise entry. (What you want is at the end, but you should read the whole entry because.)

How well can you expect a man to prepare for a big game if he can't prepare for a short powder-puff interview? How can someone with negative-to-negligible communication skills instruct and motivate his team? Davie's failure is good because it confirms the suspicion that verbal competence is correlated with other abilities, that general lack of creativity glares through in boring speech. It suggests that careful linguistic habits contribute usefully to achievement in activities deemed important. If the man can't build his vocabulary beyond ``big,'' ``small,'' ``good,'' and ``bad,'' how in reason can he be expected to build a football program?

George Bernard Shaw wrote in the preface to ``Pygmalion,''

It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him.
I am that other Englishman. Davie's failure licenses me to say not merely ``his speech offends'' but ``he must be a poor coach because his speech offends.'' Hooray! Pray God for the triumphant return of eloquent football wizard Lou.

Well, as this paragraph begins it's December 2001, and there's a lot to catch up on. On December 1, ND closed the season with a win at Purdue, bringing the season record up to five and six. The next day, Davie was expeditiously put out of his contractual misery. I thought it was interesting to watch the person-in-the-street interviews on local TV. By ``the street'' I mean a sports bar in town and a grassy area of the ND campus. Excerpts of a dozen interviews were broadcast, almost equally split between men and women. All the men interviewed, to a man, stressed that Davie had failed to perform and had to go. Some of the men expressed sympathy (as in ``It's tough but...'') and some expressed relief or anger that the move came when it did (finally and long-overdue, resp.). To a woman, every woman interviewed expressed sympathy with Davie's plight. None said outright that he had failed and deserved to go. The reporter concluded with a gender-neutral synthesis, that everyone interviewed ``sympathized but felt it was time for him to go.'' (If you want accuracy, alertness, acuity of perception, or even an ounce of courage, don't watch the news, watch a stupid daytime talk show.) (If you want interesting content, don't read this glossary entry. Oops! Too late!)

There was a rush to find a replacement immediately (I'm not making excuses here) as the recruiting season got under way, and a week later, George O'Leary was hired away from Georgia Tech to lead Notre Dame football into a new era. The era lasted five days. Some New Hampshire reporters saw his résumé on the web and did a little reporting from O'Leary's alma mater, UNH. Probably the most interesting fact they discovered was that though O'Leary claimed to have lettered three times in football, he only attended the school for two years. Also, he never played in a game (not counting practice) -- on account of mononucleosis the first year (1967) and a knee injury the second. He also claimed to have received a masters degree in education from NYU, but had in fact only taken two one-semester courses there. Somewhat interestingly, O'Leary's letter of resignation and apology on December 13 also contained further inaccuracies to excuse the ones that were caught (like the claim that he had had almost enough credits for a masters from NYU). The Manchester (NH) Union Leader, in an editorial that did not recognize the continued dissembling, gave him credit for finally doing the honorable thing by resigning and coming clean (well, one out of two). George O'Leary's ostensible ability to transcend his previous failings was contrasted favorably with Bobby Knight's same old same old: the previous week Knight had reportedly cursed out an arena manager and challenged him to a fight. Former president Bill Clinton's whopper temporizing when l'affaire Lewinsky broke is also compared unfavorably (hey, you know, it's the Machester Union Leader). It's a feeble virtue that depends on the timing of one's best apology.

All the students and players expressed dismay and disillusionment at the revelation of O'Leary's academic dishonesty. And I personally was shocked -- shocked! But enough about me. I just want to pass along a comment of one of the guards at the library (the library with the mural called ``touchdown Jesus'' that faces the stadium) who doesn't have a website of her own. She commented that when she was hired (to prevent books from walking away and such), she was required to provide registered high school transcripts and to take a drug test (a demeaning outrage, as she had no need to point out). On the other hand, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to note that she uses white correction fluid on her crossword puzzles.

loudness notation
Also called dynamical notation. An approximate yet finely graded set of instructions written in Italian on the music staff, spelled out or abbreviated (usually in italics, appropriately enough). In order of increasing loudness, the common ones are
  1. Pianississimo (ppp): very, very soft.
  2. Pianissimo (pp): very soft.
  3. Piano (p): soft.
  4. Mezzo piano (mp): half soft.
  5. [no loudness mark, where instruction is expected]: normal loudness; neither loud nor soft.
  6. Mezzo forte (mf): half loud.
  7. Forte (f): loud.
  8. Fortissimo (ff): very loud.
  9. Fortississimo (fff): very, very loud.

The opening title and the closing credits for Brassed Off appear on screen in oddly mixed font: all letters f and p appear in lower case italics, and tinted red. The title, for example, appears somewhat like this:

The premise of the film is that a coal mine in a northern English village may be closing, which could spell doom for the miners' brass band. It seems the film wraps some pedestrian demonization of Thatcher and the Tories in a bit of sex, music, and improbable and insipid inspiration. I'll have to rent that one real soon.

Louisville pronunciation
The Louisville in Kentucky has a silent ess: ``LOO ee vill.'' The smaller and lesser-known Louisville in Pennsylvania has an ess that is pronounced (but not ``voiced''): ``LOO iss vill.'' I assume you know about the Newarks (New Jersey and Delaware) and about Houston Street in New York (see this SoHo entry if you don't), but I admonish you to review Liouville.

Loss Of Vehicle. Bermuda Triangle? Think Mars. Cf. LOC.

``Loving.'' A daytime soap opera on ABC. Abbreviation standard for rec.arts.tv.soaps.* newsgroups.

[Editor's note: Not every reference work would dare attempt to explain love. That's why we're here.]

Love is a term used in tennis, whist, and other games (we can hardly say ``similar games,'' can we?), with the meaning of zero (as a score). It is speculated that love in this acception has a separate etymology from the usual Germanic one, and is instead a corruption of the French l'oeuf, meaning `the egg' (an egg being generally understood to resemble the numeral zero).

There's an interesting partial parallel to this situation: Another English number is four (4, you know? iv, the famous result of 2+2). This is also a word in French, and in specialized usage (what we call, uh, slang), it too indicates a kind of zero -- more precisely a `failure.' Also, like the English word love, the French word has another meaning (`oven, furnace'). Make of this what you will, but not too much.

Well, since that connection was something of un four, we'll try another. (We never learn.) The English word eggplant was coined for a variety of the vegetable Solanum esculentum whose fruit is white. It's an odd-seeming term now, since the common variety (truth to tell, it's the only kind I've seen in my life) is dark purple to black. The French word for the fruit is aubergine, diminutive of auberge. Auberge basically means `inn or hotel' (or hôtel). That's a red herring! The auberge that aubergine is derived from is an old variant of alberge, whose semantic field is planted with both `apricot' and `peach.' (Finding out whether there has been nectarine in there is on my to-do list.)


low and behold
Cow vacation activities. (And in answer to the obvious question: no, Latin vaccinus and vacatio are unrelated words.)

A less commonly written phrase uses the interjection lo, an expression of surprise or awe.

low-carb treat!
High-fat treat.

lower house
In Britain's bicameral parliament, the House of Commons is referred to as the lower house. Members of that chamber may be and mostly are commoners. The House of Lords is known as the upper house. Instead of being elected for limited terms, they serve permanently by appointment or hereditary privilege. In the current constitution of the British government, the lower house is the more powerful. The government (that is, the executive) is formed by the party or parties that control the House of Commons; new legislation is introduced in that chamber and (usually) approved by the upper house.

The legislature of the US federal government and the legislatures of all US states (except Nebraska) are bicameral. In contrast with the British system, the two chambers in American legislatures have comparable power. Nevertheless, there are parallels that unambiguously establish the correspondence of the US Senate and of state senates to the upper house of the British Parliament, and of the other chamber (usually called the House of Representatives) to the lower house.

low-fat cheese
Cheese that's low in cheese.

low-fat treat!

low-propensity voters
Unlikely voters.

To have your bike fall over to the inside of a curve. Noun and verb.

Smoked salmon. Great on a bagel with cream cheese. For a bit more on salmon, see the .ca entry; for a bit on cheese, see the cheese, and WI entries.

LipOXygenase. An enzyme that oxidizes lipids. One of three enzymes important in the formation of volatile compounds in fruit (including the tomato, which is botanically a berry fruit) during ripening (and also upon bruising and other tissue disruption). The other two are HPL and ADH.

For details see R. G. Buttery and L. C. Ling, ``Volatile components of tomato fruit and plant parts: relationship and biogenesis,'' in Bioactive Volatile Compounds from Plants, 1993, like you're really gonna look that up.

Liquid OXygen (see under its atomic symbol O). A liquid rocket fuel, no wait, I think it's an oxidizer.

At atmospheric pressure, oxygen has a boiling point of 90.2 K and a freezing point of 54.8 K.

LOX, Lox
Liquid Oxygen eXplosive is the original expansion, dating back to at least 1923. Lox was used in mining. According to G. J. Young's Elem. Mining (4/e, 1946), ``Lox consists of a canvas cartridge filled with granular carbonaceous material, moistened, which when soaked in liquid oxygen, removed from the soaking box, and placed in the drill hole can be detonated and is an effective blasting agent.'' By the 1960's this was no longer common, and the sense of LOX came to be predominantly that of liquid oxygen (above).

Lysyl OXidase.

Sofia Consuegra and Ian A. Johnston have studied LOX in lox. Well, they studied it in salmon genes. I imagine the source salmon were dead, and that they didn't die a natural death. That's ``smoked'' enough for the purposes of humor. The article (that I found -- there are probably others) was ``Effect of natural selection on the duplicated lysyl oxidase gene in Atlantic salmon,'' in Genetica vol. 134, #3, pp. 325-334 (Nov. 2008). The abstract begins ``We examined the polymorphism of the lysyl oxidase (LOX) locus, involved in the initiation of muscle collagen cross-linking, in three populations of Atlantic salmon with different life histories and growth rates and compared it with a closely related species (rainbow trout). Up to four alleles were observed per individual, probably as a consequence of the tetraploid origin of the salmonid genome. We found high polymorphism in the LOX locus (16 alleles expressed in total and several low frequency private alleles) in two natural Atlantic salmon populations and extremely reduced diversity in a farmed population (3 alleles) with low density of collagen crosslinks.''

Myrna was a movie star, Nora Charles in the Thin Man series. Mina (1882-1966) was an artist and poet (see NYTimes Book Review for July 28, 1996; there's a review of Carolyn Burke's The Life of Mina Loy on p. 23.)

Loyola University
By some fantastic coincidence, every school with a name like this is a Catholic institution, and even more incredibly, all of these are Jesuit institutions (vide SJ).

Lactose Permease. An enzyme, as is obvious from the -ase ending.

Liberal Party. That doesn't sound very specific. Members of the Liberal Party of Canada (Parti libéral du Canada) are called Grits.

Libertarian Party.

Linear Programming.

Long-Play. Refers to ``records'': vinyl discs (about the dimensions of a silicon wafer) that were used to play back audio recordings on a ``turn-table.'' LP's were the kind of record that spun at 33 1/3 rpm and were about one foot in diameter, so you could get about 18 minutes of sound out of one side. This was a big deal at the time. I have the notes my father was keeping at one time for a planned update of his technical dictionary, and the entry for the microgroove technology that made these speeds possible was all misty-eyed.

Earlier formats, right back to the Edison cylinders, used monstrously thick needles and robust chasm-like grooves. By the 1940's the standard format was a seven-inch disc rotating at 78 rpm with a maximum playing time of about 4.5 minutes. The 33 1/3 rpm records were introduced in 1948, with up to ten minutes of playing time per side (the twelve-inch format came later). RCA came out with a competing format in 1949. At 45 rpm it also ran longer (six minutes) than the old 78's, but a little playing time was sacrificed to put a big center hole that made possible reliable playing of multirecord stacks. (In any case, since angular velocity was constant, grooves too close to the center gave a poorer sound quality.)

Half-speed (16 2/3 rpm) was tried but never quite caught on in the US.

(Urban legend maintains that for a long time, US law required records made in the US to contain a certain percentage of recycled vinyl, so everyone had to buy Deutsche Gramophon recordings if they wanted quality classical recordings.)

The preceding reminiscence is a story with a moral: Even a doomed technology may continue to make progress and innovations. To take another example, as semiconductors were preparing to roll over the vacuum-tube OEM's, improvements continued to be made in vacuum tube design: tubes kept getting smaller, more rugged and less power-hungry, and multiple functions--integration--were beginning to be implemented. Similarly, as magnetic core memory was about to be ambushed by MOS memories in the sixties, research and progress continued on improving density and access time in those old clunkers.

It is often appropriate -- market-adaptive -- to invest in improvements of a technology that is being superseded. Competition continues even (or especially) among participants in a shrinking market for the older technology. With drop-outs in the shake-out, a healthy few companies may survive or thrive. Moreover, a technology may not be supplanted completely. Most television sets continue to have one big (video) vacuum tube, and the best musical-instrument amplifiers continued to be made with tube technology rather than semiconductors until the late 1990's. High-power applications like microwave ovens use magnetrons, with klystrons and traveling-wave tubes a dominant technology in its application niche. While no new magnetic core memory is manufactured, the market for magnetic storage devices has been expanded tremendously by the growth of the overall computer market.

I now park my pulpit. Vide tubes.

Low Pressure. Appears mostly as prefix in longer initialism. In those situations, it's a compound attributive noun (i.e., an adjective) and so should be hyphenated.

Lehrstuhl für Prozessautomatisierung. Felicitously translatable from the German as `Laboratory for Process Automation.' At Saarland University.

Linear Power Amplifier.

Acyl Lyso-glyceroPhosphoCholine.

Least Patentable Change. The smallest modification of an existing product, formula, etc., which produces something which can be patented. This is a more precise unit than the Least Publishable Unit, since a patent must make definite claims.

Linear Predictive Coding.

Low Pressure Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD).

Line Printer Daemon. A pernicious wraith that examines files sent to the printer, and disables the printer before anything important is printed, unless it contains a significant error. A lot like the kite-eating tree.

Low Probability of Detection.

Luteal Phase {Defect | Deficiency}.

Liberaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands. `Liberal Democratic Party of [East] Germany.' A kept political party of the old GDR, an equal participant (as measured by allotted Volkskammer seats) in the SED-controlled National Front. After German reunification, it merged into the FDP.

Local Policy Decision Point.

Logic-process DRAM. Why they had to double-up the acronym with this expansion, I don't know.

Low-power DRAM.

Liquid Precursor Delivery System (to CVD growth).

Liquid Phase Epitaxy.

Low Pressure Epitaxy.

League for Programming Freedom. A lobbying and public-interest research organization dedicated to keeping public knowledge from being privatized by inappropriate patenting. Founded, like FSF, by Richard Stallman. The FOLDOC entry is quite informative.

Libertarian Party of Florida (FL).

LPF, lpf
Liters Per Flush. Cf. GPF. A liter is a US unit of -- ugh!! -- liquid measure about equal to about 0.264 gallons, or 0.264 of a gallon, or something like that. The grammatical number of quantified uncountables is in a state of, dare I say it, fluxus.

LPF, lpf
Litres Per Flush. Cf. GPF. A litre is a widely used unit that's about equal to 0.220 Imp. gal. (I'm not getting caught in that gallon/gallons trap again!)

Why the discrepancy -- 0.264 gal. per liter vs. 0.220 gal. per litre? Well, a number of possibilities occur. It could be that troy/avordoopwah thing: different units for ordinary and precious substances. It reminds me of that fellow who was ``Venerated Master'' and founder of Aum Shinrikyo. Oh yeah, now I remember: Shoko Asahara, born Chizuo Matsumoto on March 2, 1955. (Okay, okay, I didn't really remember; I looked it up on the net. I bet you'd do the same.) He would sell some of his bodily fluids and his bathwater to his followers at prices that would make a normal person break out in a cold, unprofitable sweat. The bathwater, known as miracle pond, was relatively cheap: two hundred dollars for, well, I don't know the serving size. (Here's the same item.)

Here's an old saw that was carried off in the tumbrils of the sexual revolution:

Why buy the cow when you can have the milk for free?

After the attack, Japanese police were able to track Mr. Asahara down by following a trail of melons. When they tried to take his pulse (not so surprising -- he was found hiding hanging upside down in a cocoon-like space) he resisted and protested that he didn't even allow his disciples to touch him. His disciples were also allowed only a limited selection of beverages. More on beverages at the Pocari Sweat entry. (I ought to add here what Woody Allen has pointed out: man does not live by bread alone; frequently there must be a beverage.)

Okay, the 0.220/0.264 thing probably isn't related to that. I'll try to think of something. Actually, what I'm thinking is, this is a pretty appropriate entry in which to dump the Aum Shinrikyo information. One of the sarin sources was left in a subway toilet stall.

This is probably a good place to mention that traditional Japanese toilets are basically ceramic versions of slot-in-the-ground latrines -- you squat instead of sitting. They look like tall urinals lying on their backs. Who was it said that dancing was the ``vertical expression of a horizontal desire''? No one in particular. It's a modification of

Dancing is a perpendicular expression of a horizontal desire.
These words of George Bernard Shaw were quoted in New Statesman, March 23, 1962.

Not too bad a year for Dada psychoanalysis. Anyway, as of 2001, western-style toilets are becoming increasingly common in Japan, partly because of the aging of the population. The cars in a Shinkansen train each have both kinds.

Low-Pass Filter. A filter which allows only low frequencies (`below a cut-off') to pass. A more precise definition would be analogous to that given for a high-pass filter at its entry.

Liquefied Petroleum Gas. Lighter (shorter-chain) alkanes in petroleum, liquified by cooling. Also carelessly expanded with the oxymoronic ``liquid petroleum gas.''

Ladies' Professional Golf Association. Here's a history.

Laser Programmable Gate Array. I've seen it expanded ``Laser Personalized Gate Array.'' Ugh.

Lightning Print Incorporated, ``provides "on-demand" printing and distribution services to the book industry. LPI books are stored electronically and printed, one at a time, as ordered by booksellers and librarians through book wholesalers. In addition, LPI offers short run and galley print services for its publisher clientele.''

This posting summarizes.

Lines (of text) Per Inch.

Low Probability of Interception (of transmitted, coded signal).

Linearly Polarized Light. Cf. CPL.

Liters Per Minute.

Low Profile Module.

Low Pressure MOCVD.

Low Pressure MOVPE.

Licensed Practical Nurse. I've put the results of my anthropological investigation into LPN's into the CNA entry.

Lateral PNP. A pnp transistor made within the traditional vertical npn fabrication process essentially by reassigning the rôles of different doped regions: the uncompensated n-doped material that usually is used for npn collector becomes pnp base, while the the regions within this that are compensated p to serve as npn base instead become pnp emitters and collectors. Lateral pnp's occured in I2L technology, which used a mix of npn and pnp transistors.

Licensed Program Product.

Library Programs Service (of the GPO).


Lunar Power System. A proposed system to collect solar energy at the moon and beam it for use on earth. In principle, it's the same as a satellite power system, except the satellite is more stable and less maneuverable. Also LSPS.

Line PrinTer. Not part of any automobile model name.

Low-Pressure Turbo.

Least Publishable Unit. A measure of research, or of its absence. Within each field, a different person is (dis)credited with discovering the LPU.

Cf. LPC.

Line Protection Unit.

Linear Parameter Varying.

LoPinaVir. A protease inhibitor used in the treatment of AIDS.

Leipzig Power eXchange.

Letter Quality. Term often used with 9-pin and 23-pin dot-matrix printers. In the former case, only the term ``NLQ'' is ever justified.

Link Quality. Hey, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, if it's simply connected. But LQ usually refers to a telecommunications link.

Link Quality Indicator.

Long QT Syndrome. An infrequently occurring familial disorder in which affected members have QT prolongation and a propensity to syncope and fatal ventricular arrhythmias.

Larson Ratio. Term used in water treatment.

Lawrencium. Atomic number 103. Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

(Domain code for) Liberia.

Living Room. A floorplan abbreviation. So what do you do when you're in the other rooms?


According to the introductory editorial in the December 2003 issue of AFER, ``[t]he Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a rebel group led by Joseph Kony against the Ugandan government, has lasted for the last 17 years. Originally, this violent conflict was based in Acholiland, but of late it has escalated to other districts in Northern Uganda. [This issue of AFER] presents a heart-breaking and depressing picture of a humanitarian crisis...''

    ``The LRA is characterized by its brutal activities of hacking innocent civilians to death, abducting children, raping women, cutting off the lips, ears and limbs of those they suspect to be pro-government, leave alone stealing the people's little food.''

Lightning Rod Ball. A decoration at the top of a lightning rod.

London Review of Books.

Loop Reverse Battery.

Laparoscopic Renal Cryoablation. I think I'll pass. No wait-- let me think about that!

Longitudinal Redundancy Check[ing].

Long-Range Correlation.

Long-Range Diagonal Order.

Laboratory of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology. Part of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences of the NIH.

Laser Range Finder.

Leukaemia Research Fund. A UK charity.

Leukemia Research Foundation. A US charity.

Long-Range Force[s].

Lymphoma Research Foundation. ``LRF's mission is to eradicate lymphoma and serve those touched by the disease.'' Be careful you don't miss the second verb there. ``LRF was formed in November 2001 by the merger of the Cure for Lymphoma Foundation (CFL) and the Lymphoma Research Foundation of America (LRFA). Both CFL and LRFA were founded by lymphoma advocates who sought to turn a life-changing diagnosis into a positive experience for others with the disease. LRFA was founded in 1991 in Los Angeles by the late Ellen Glesby Cohen, who lost her own battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in August 2000. CFL was founded in 1994 in New York City by Jerry and Barbara Freundlich. Jerry is a twelve-year survivor of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma thanks to research and a chemotherapy protocol which cured him.''

Lymphoma Research Foundation of America. Merged into LRF, q.v.

Lightning Rod Insulator.

Local Routing Number.

Low-Risk Neonatal (nursing). Registered nurses in the US and Canada with sufficient experience and recent employment in the specialty may take a written or computer exam administered by the NCC to receive an LRN credential.

Long-Range Order.

Lower Reading Room. Of the Bodleian Library at Oxford. There's a URR too.

Library Research Round Table. Someone had a fire sale on round tables, and the ALA maxxed out the corporate credit card. Cf. EMIERT, NMRT.

Now if you're gonna wait until we get a round tuit -- hah!

Laser Raman Spectroscopy.

Long-Range Strike Bomber. Also widely expanded as ``Long-Range Strategic Bomber,'' but since ``strategic'' is virtually synonymous with ``long-range,'' this is clearly not what the smart weapons procurers intended. Moreover, a bomber is more ``long-range'' without bombs, so the third word serves a purpose. On the other hand, it was evidently not necessary to clarify confusingly that the aircraft was an explosive bomb-er. Also, the strangely placed hyphen (in the head term) is a key to proper intonation of the initialism. This all makes so much sense to me that I'm clearly insane.

The US Air Force put out the RFP for the LRS-B in July 2014. The initial contract was awarded to Northrup Grumman in October 2015.

Lansdowne Road Stadium Development Company. A joint venture between the IRFU and the FAI, to tear down the old Lansdowne Road Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, and build a new one in its place.

LRSDC was set up in September 2004 by John O'Donoghue, then Ireland's Minister for Arts, Sport, and Tourism. The old stadium was demolished in 2007 and, as of January 2009, the new stadium is expected to be finished in April 2010.

London Regional Transport. Government body that took over the Underground (LUL) and some other transport networks, and that in the mid-1980's started calling itself the LT, q.v.

Lahori Roman Urdu (script). Defined, in the book mentioned at the Pakistan entry, as ``any [my emphasis] Roman Urdu system which combines `basic' Roman letters with traditional Arabi[c] diacritical marks.''

``Basic Roman letters'' in this case included the inverted l.c. ee to indicate shwa, and the æ of Danish. ``[T]raditional Arabi diacritical marks'' refers to marks added by Muslim Indians to the [Persian extension of] Arabic script in order to indicate sounds not present in Persian.

Lahore is a city in Pakistan somewhere, and Lahori is the adjective form.

Least Recently Used. Computer programming term designating the item that presumably is least likely to be missed, and therefore a prime candidate for replacement in cache. This idea can backfire if you're cycling systematically through a set of numbers that's just slightly larger than the cache. Then by following this reasoning you'd always be deleting from cache the number you were about to need. Cache algorithms require a certain level of cleverness.

A good waiter is like a good cache algorithm, always anticipating your needs (a) without your voicing those needs explicitly and (b) without being obtrusive. Good waiters notice if your glass is nearly empty and reason that if you're halfway through dinner and all the way through fluids, you may be thirsting for another glass. A good waiter detects the status of your glass using peripheral vision. A good waiter knows that it is possible to walk and even carry some empty dish and look around at other tables one is servicing without tripping. A good waiter does not come to your table empty-handed when your glass has been empty for fifteen minutes and say ``Everythingokay?Good'' and leave the bill before you can finish masticating. And a good waiter does not tell you his name.

It used to be that the main reason you paid to eat at a better restaurant was so that there wouldn't be mouth-breathing peasants at the next table unfamiliar with the safe and seemly operation of a fork and knife. As the job market stays tight, however, restauranteurs are scraping the bottom of the waiter employment barrel. Since most people tip on a percentage basis, better waiters go to work where the food is more expensive. So maybe having a better class of fellow patron has slipped to second place among reasons to dine out at a pretentious place. Better food or cooking is usually a distant fifth. Decor and bragging rights are third and fourth.

Line-Replaceable Unit[s]. Unit[s] replaceable at the battle-line, or near it.

Lunar Roving Vehicle. Or just Rover. ORV; very limited number produced (ten). Top speed about 10 mph. Follow this link for a nice pdf brochure.

It was powered by two 36-volt silver-zinc batteries. (One battery had sufficient power for all systems, but it was a long hike back to the LEM if it failed. In fact, the LRV was kept within 9.5 km of the LEM in case that became necessary.) The batteries served not only as electric power sources but as heat sinks for the electronics.

Three LRV's were used on the moon -- one for each of the last three Apollo missions (15-17).

(Domain code for) Lesotho.

Level Switch.

Levi Strauss. Mr. Strauss was born in 1829 in Bavaria. Levi was his first name. He died in 1902. He and Jacob Davis patented a process for riveting men's pants. Levi Strauss and Company will be happy to tell you more of this history.

Claude Lévi-Strauss was born in 1908. He spent WWII in New York City, teaching at the New School for Social Research. Also while there, he was a cofounder of École Libre des Hautes Études (see FU). When he taught American students in New York, his name was listed in the course catalog in some butchered form I can't recall very certainly, probably ``Claude L. Strauss.'' He asked why, and was told essentially that his real surname would be regarded as a joke. [I probably read this in Conversations with Claude Lévi-Strauss (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991).]


Lewis and Short. Surnames of the editors of a Latin dictionary. When it was first published in 1879, simultaneously in the UK and the US, Oxford gave it the modest title A Latin Dictionary (the indefinite article was such a nice touch) and Harper's brought it out as Harper's Latin Dictionary. It's generally called simply ``Lewis and Short'' or some abbreviation of that. Its successor, compiled by a new set of editors, was named Oxford Latin Dictionary (no article, indefinite or otherwise, unless you regard dictionary as uncountable and imagine the null form of indefinite article). Its first fascicles appeared beginning in 1968. This successor has, of course, more recent scholarship, but also various perceived shortcomings (briefly described at the OLD entry), so the L&S continues to be used.

Pejoratively, L&S is called ``Lewishort.'' Also jocularly: ``Levis et Brevis'' (`light and short'). [Glad I looked that up; I thought it meant `Mutt and Jeff.' I wish it meant that. What the hell, let's just pretend that's what it means. It's a dead language anyway, who cares. Then again, maybe it means jeans and underpants. That reminds me of one of the most popular puerile jokes among Latin students: ``Semper ubi sub ubi'' supposedly translated `Always wear underwear.']

Just think! All this information-like drivel is

FREE! on the World-Wide Web.

Unless, of course, you're paying connect charges.

An online version of Lewis and Short, integrated with some online texts, is available as one of the text tools at the Perseus Project.

In principle, ``L & S'' might also be used by classicists to refer to Liddell & Scott, but one nowadays usually recurs and refers to LSJ.

Incidentally, about Mutt and Jeff: Mutt was the taller one, I think. According to Fred L. Worth's The Complete Unabridged Super Trivia Encyclopedia (1977), when the comic strip Mutt and Jeff was begun in 1907, Mutt had a first initial A. Ha ha. Those guys were subtle. Also:

Bud Fisher, the original artist, titled it ``A. Mutt.'' On June 7, 1908, Russ Westover killed off A. Mutt, only to bring him back to life. His full name, later: Augustus P. Mutt.

LiSt. A Unix command to list the contents of a directory. Users of other operating systems may encounter this command if they use a command-line version of ftp.

Local Switch.

Locus Sigilli. Latin for `place for seal.' A now mostly obsolete type of formal contract required a seal or boss. L.S. would be the place. Over time, however, a written substitute came to be accceptable. People would write ``SEAL'' or ``L.S.'' Sealed contracts are still common in real estate.

Loop Start.

Low-power Schottky. Designates a subfamily of TTL (`LS-TTL') that uses Schottky diodes to clamp BC junctions away from forward bias (and consequent BJT saturation).

``Subfamily.'' Sounds demeaning, doesn't it?

Luminescence Spectrometer.

Law and Society Association. founded 1964. A constituent society of the ACLS since 1997. ACLS has an overview.

``The Law and Society Association is a group of scholars from many fields and countries, interested in the place of law in social, political, economic and cultural life.''

Leukemia Society of America. Founded in 1949. At some point it expanded its mission to become the LLS.

Limited Space-Charge Accumulation.

Linguistic Society of America. founded 1924. A constituent society of the ACLS since 1927. ACLS has an overview.

``[F]or the advancement of the scientific study of language. The Society serves its nearly 7,000 personal and institutional members through scholarly meetings, publications, and special activities designed to advance the discipline. An interest in linguistics is the only requirement for membership.

The Society is an affiliate of the Permanent International Committee of Linguists (CIPL), a constituent society of the American Council of Learned Societies ..., a member of the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA), the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Literature[s], [the] Science[s], and [the] Art[s]. Eighteen ways to designate the liberal arts college of a university. In practical terms probably not any different from FAS or CAS. On a quick search, it seems the U of M at Ann Arbor is the only one currently with a College of LSA. The University of Iowa uses LSA as the name of its Division of Interdisciplinary Programs. The University of Oregon's CAS was formed at the turn of the nineteenth century ``as a collection of discrete departments under a single administrative umbrella.''

Louisiana Sheriffs' Association.

The Lute Society of America.

Law School Admission Council. See LSAT.

Link Service Access Point.

Law School Admission Test. A half-day standardized test required by all Law School Admission Council (LSAC) law schools, which group includes all 200 or so ABA-approved law schools in the US. Scores range across the comical range of 120 to 180. Before the rescaling in June 1991, the score range was 10 to 48. It seems almost as arcane as the Common Law.

Almost all LSAC-member law schools in the United States also require applicants to subscribe to the LSDAS.

Least Significant Bit.

Lower SideBand.

Library Services and Construction Act.

Limited Space Charge Accumulation.

Laser Scanning Confocal Microscopy. Here's an explanation from Lance Ladic at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Also called Confocal Scanning Laser Microscopy (CSLM).

LS coupling
Coupling between orbital (L) and spin (S) angular momentum of a system. Also called Russell-Saunders coupling.

Lake Shore Drive. A major north-south road in Chicago.

Law Student Division of the American Bar Association (ABA).

Least Significant Digit. For binary representation, this is equivalent to LSB.

Limited-Slip Differential. Doesn't allow one wheel to spin free when the other has traction. Helps you pull out of a muddy or icy ditch, and generally helps maintain your grip on the road.

d-LySergic acid Diethylamide. Generally does not help maintain your grip on reality. Then again, Albert Hoffman took a heavy dose of LSD shortly after discovering it in 1938, and though he had a bad trip, he lived to the age of 102, dying in April 2008. Living long is one way to maintain a kind of grip on reality.

Law School Data Assembly Service. A service of LSAC that provides a means of centralizing and standardizing undergraduate academic records to simplify the law school admission process.

Large-mammal Spongiform Encephalopathy. That's not the expansion; it's just the template for the expansion. Some day there likely will be a spongiform encephalopathy afflicting a mammal whose Latinate name begins with the letter el, and we will be ready -- we've already reserved the plot. We're not taking applications, but we do wish to point out that llamas are ``camelids.''

For other spongiform encephalopathies, see the entry for prions, which may be the cause.

Level[s] of Significant Exposure.

London School of Economics. It's still usually referred to by those four words, but at least since 1978 its official name has been the ``London School of Economics and Political Science.'' It was rather leftist when it was founded in 1895, but drifted steadily to the right until the 1960's. The first sociology department in a British post-secondary institution was created in the LSE in 1902, followed by Manchester University (1904) and Liverpool University (1905). I notice that as of 2006, the LSE has a ``Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method.'' This is like having a Department of Astrology and Astronomy (without astronomers). Mick Jagger attended the LSE until he was sure that the music thing was going to pan out. (I've encountered contradictory versions of the story.)

London Stock Exchange. Come to think of it, this is sort of a London school of economics.

Low Self-Esteem. A fashionable excuse for the behaviors it is supposed to cause (and which probably cause it). The main problem with treating low self-esteem is that it is often entirely and even more than entirely warranted. (As Winston Churchill is widely reported to have said of Clement Attlee -- ``a modest man, who has much to be modest about.'') The treatment for LSE consists of boldly ignoring the etiology and hoping the symptoms will go away. Of course, low self-esteem is not just some pernicious buzzword for the unreflective. It is also an opportunity for the more sincere Professor Henry Hills of the world, the Trouble they must find right here in River City.

(Personally, I would like to recommend that low self-esteem be abbreviated lowse and pronounced ``lousy.'' In fact, I insist. You must follow my recommendation because, because if you don't I'll feel bad, and hold my breath till I turn blue.)

Perfectly characteristic of the LSE industry is The Self-Esteem Institute, which appears to comprise Marilyn J. Sorensen, Ph.D. (I mean ``comprise''). The common banner (copyright 2002) at the top of its pages announces

The Self-Esteem Institute

"Dedicated to the advancement of healty self-esteem"

I pass over in silence the uneducated use of quotation marks. The question is, how to solve the LSE problem that might arise if anyone there ever notices the ignorant misspelling? The watch begins today, May 19, 2003. Ever watchful, I returned in November 2005 and found that they have a new common banner:

The Self-Esteem Institute

"Offering a program for recovery from low self-esteem"

Alright, enough of that.

Can we talk? No -- this is just a vanilla webpage. Can I be really serious for a moment? Yes. Sorensen and others write and act as if low self-esteem were some newly discovered ailment that psychiatrists and psychologists refuse to recognize. This is approximately like calling the GI tract the ``IO tube'' and complaining that gastroenterologists ignore its importance.

But that's not the worst of it. The esteem industry is responsible for such inanities as suggesting the use of purple ink for correcting students' homeworks. Red is so demeaning, you know. Purple, what a great idea! Better: let's not correct any errors. This will lead to higher grades, and that's what we all want, after all.

Law Society of England and Wales. Known locally simply as ``The Law Society.'' It's not about eradicating lawyers. Is it pronounced 'll sue?

Librerís Santa Fe. Spanish, `Santa Fe Book Stores.' An Argentine (.ar) chain. About 50K titles. Perhaps I ought to mention that santa fe means `holy faith' in Spanish.

Live and Safe Free-Choice (kind of Petri net).

Langelier Saturation Index. Water-quality parameter.

Large-scale integration (100-10,000 transistors; vide integration).

LSI Logic


Liddell-Scott-Jones. Classics classic. Greek-English Lexicon. Available online from the Perseus Project.

LSJ is the update by Henry Stuart Jones (1867-1939) [and also Roderick McKenzie (1887-1937)] of what was officially (and otherwise rarely) known as the Oxford Greek Lexicon. That earlier work was compiled by Henry George Liddell (1811-1898) and Robert Scott (1811-1887); its last edition was that of 1883. Substantially abridged versions of the Liddell and Scott lexicons were titled An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon of Liddell and Scott, better known as the ``middle Liddell.'' (At least two somewhat different abridgements were produced.) By analogy, the LSJ is occasionally referred to as the ``Great Scott.''

The link above gives access to both LSJ9 and I-don't-know-which middle Liddell. You know, this here is a glossary entry for a lexicon. Does that lexicon have an entry for this useful glossary? No, this is an unreciprocated citation, an unrequited entry.

As I'm sure you realize, disk space is precious. So you understand that we can't spare bytes for needless repetition. Instead of cutting and pasting, I'm going to have to ask you to spend your connection penny on visiting the Pakistan entry, if you want to learn more about the provenance of the LSJ.

If this were a movie instead of a glossary, we could cut to a different scene at this point, without preamble or headword. It would be morning in America. Specifically, it would be the early morning hours of Independence Day, 1862. That is a day that both contestants (er, adversaries) in the US Civil War celebrate with pride, and both sides in their different ways feel they are nobly defending the achievements of the Revolutionary War heralded on that day in 1776. Today General McClellan's Army of the Potomac is returning to Washington, DC.

The war has not been going very well for the Union. President Lincoln, a circuit-riding lawyer with no experience as a soldier, is frustrated that the southern rebellion has not been defeated quickly. General McClellan's Army of the Potomac set out on the Peninsular Campaign in March 1862, to capture Richmond, Virginia -- capital of Virginia and of the Confederacy. Modern communications technology (the telegraph) allowed Lincoln to take direct command of Union armies and test whether he could do any better job commanding them than the generals he contemned as timid. In the Battle of Seven Pines on May 31, 1862, Joseph E. Johnston's army attacked and nearly defeated McClellan's troops outside of Richmond. Johnston was gravely wounded, and Robert E. Lee replaced him, renaming the army ``Army of Northern Virginia.'' Ironically, McClellan judged then that Lee was ``likely to be timid and irresolute in action.'' Lee attacked McClellan on June 25; in the Seven Days Battle that ensued, both sides suffered heavy casualties. So we have come upon McClellan's forces in unhappy retreat. A week after this Independence Day, Lincoln will cede the post of general-in-chief to a professional soldier (Gen. Henry W. `Old Brains' Halleck). (The position isn't yet called ``head of the joint chiefs of staff'' because that institution doesn't exist yet. Later, when it does exist, it won't prevent commander-in-chief LBJ from micromanaging the Vietnam War. And then -- but why don't you read about it in the JCS entry?)

US Independence Day always has a more or less odd tenor in Britain. The oddity is greater during the Civil War. Britain was the center of the world abolitionist movement, and US slavery was that movement's greatest target. So there was a sort of partisan British interest in the conflict that precipitated the American Civil War. On the other hand, the Union's refusal to allow the secession of its southern states has to seem a bit ironic, in England, four-score and six years after the Philadelphia declaration of independence.

On this day, in Oxford, three little girls are taking a boat trip. They are the daughters of Henry Liddell, dean of Christ Church College. (You remember Henry George Liddell, a principal of this entry?) The children are accompanied on their voyage by Reverend Robinson Duckworth and his friend, a mathematics lecturer in their father's college. As he has on previous outings, and as he will again, the lecturer spins a fantastic story in which ten-year-old Alice Liddell is the central character. This day the story is especially engaging. This day, as the author will recall twenty-five years later, ``in a desperate attempt to strike out some new line of fairy-lore, I had sent my heroine straight down a rabbit-hole, to begin with, without the least idea what was to happen afterwards.''

It is, W. H. Auden will say, ``as memorable a day in the history of literature as it is in American history.'' On this day, or the next, little Alice Liddell begins pestering the story-teller, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, to write the stories down for her. Late that November, she will receive ``A Christmas Gift to a Dear Child in Memory of a Summer Day,'' entitled Alice's Adventures under Ground. (That's the title, transcribed from a facsimile. In more recent printings the third word is often capitalized.) Friends will urge Dodgson to publish it. The Civil War drags on. Finally, on April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee surrenders the Army of Northern Virginia. Five days later, Lincoln is shot. He dies on the day remembered throughout the US today as the IRS tax-return filing deadline. Under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll, Dodgson comes out with a much-expanded Version of his stories: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It is published by MacMillan on the fourth of July, 1865.

The original single bound manuscript volume Alice's Adventures under Ground was eventually auctioned by Mrs. Alice (Liddell) Hargreaves to pay the burial duties for her late husband. At Sotheby's it fetched a handsome 15,400 GBP, eventually ending up in the possession of Eldridge Johnson, founder of the Victor Talking Machine Company (later merged into RCA-Victor). Johnson died in 1945, and the next year the book again went on auction. Luther H. Evans, the Librarian of the Library of Congress got together a consortium of American bibliophiles to buy it on behalf of the British people ``... as the slightest token of recognition for the fact that they held off Hitler while we got ready for war.''

Another child who inspired famous books and had a cherished treasure end up in America was Christopher Robin. See this A. A. entry for details.

I lodged at Christ Church, Oxford, for a conference. They have a bust of Dean Liddell there. I also stayed at a Christ College in Cambridge. When I told the taxi driver I wanted to go to ``Christ College,'' he explained that Cambridge has a Christ's College (founded 1505) and a Corpus Christi (founded 1352). (He didn't give quite that much information.) This Christ guy seems to have been pretty popular at one point, or else rendered unto Caesar a truly glorious contribution to the capital campaign. I told the taxi driver I probably wanted Corpus Christi, as that would be more ironic. I guessed right, and my room had a view of the cemetery.

Do not confuse Liddell and Scott with Lewis and Short (L & S).

There's a book I'd like to recommend, and it's somewhat relevant to this entry (what isn't, at this point?) so what the hey. Robert V. Bruce: Lincoln and the Tools of War (Urbana and Chicago, Illinois: Univ. of Ill. Pr., 1989). (Actually, it was first published in 1952.) Abraham Lincoln (like George Washington) worked for a time as a surveyor and had a long-time amateur interest in technology (ditto). When he took office and war came, he aggressively sought to turn the North's technological advantage into a military one. Worried that Great Britain might enter the war on the Confederate side and deprive the Union of niter from India, he set up a research project, secret from the Navy and War Departments, to develop a new chlorate-based explosive. Anyway, the book is mostly about ordnance; not much about C3I.

Landing Ship Medium. Medium size.

Laboratoire de Spectroscopie Moléculaire et Cristalline.

Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco. Advertising slogan of Lucky Strike brand cancer sticks, made intensely well-known from 1944 on.

Local Service Management System.

Lenguaje de Signos Nicaragüense. A sign-language pidgin created independently by deaf students in Nicaragua. Developed when Sandinista government created schools for the deaf which applied lip-reading methods. A boon for linguists. Cf. ISN.

Louisiana State Nurses Association.


Local Service Order Administration.

Languages for Special Purposes. This term generalizes ESP (English for same). At least there's no psychic namespace collision, but it does seem to suggest that the language as a whole serves a special purpose. I think it's meant to suggest a specialized use (or training for a specialized use) of a general-purpose natural language, but you may use it as you please.

Lake Snell Perry & Associates, Inc. I guess they chose the punctuation after consulting an unfocus group of [fill in favored despised group of analphabets here].

A polling company; there are others.

Lunar-Solar Power System. Also LPS, q.v..

Lens-Shaped Quantum Dot. Weirdly, although the people who write research papers on LSQD's are manifestly aware of the word lenticular, they rarely use the term ``lenticular quantum dots.''

Leaf Setup Request.

Large-Scale Structure. In the Universe. Astronomy term, so ``large'' here is literally astronomical.

Lean Six-Sigma. I see it written in italics, so I suppose the ``lean'' is a negative skew rather than a positive kurtosis.

Lindhard, Scharff and Schiott (ion implantation range computations).

Light Spot Scanning.

Lower Single SideBand.

Level-Sensitive Scan Design.

Landing Ship for Tanks.

Large Space Telescope.

Library Services and Technology Act. Originally enacted by the US Congress as part of the Museum and Libraries Services Act of 1996, up for reauthorization in 2002. Provisions administered by the IMLS.

Here's a page on LSTA from the Washington Office of the ALA. The closest thing to a dedicated federal page on the LSTA is this page on ``Grants to State Library Agencies.''

Low-power Schottky TTL. Wait a second -- didn't we just cover this? Sure!

Load-Store Unit. A sometime element of computer architecture.

Louisiana State University. In Baton Rouge, LA.

Logistic{al|s} Support Vehicle. Apparently an error, and a surprisingly rare one, for LVS.

(Domain code for) Lithuania. (A national website is under construction as of July 2000.)

Lithuanian men's given names generally end in -as, -ius, -us or -is.

H. L. Mencken, in his an appendix (4/e, 1936) to his The American Language, sloppily classed Lithuanian as a Slavic language. (In fact, with Latvian it constitutes the East Baltic language family, the only surviving part of the Baltic branch of the IndoEuropean language family.) He gives the declension of bòmas, the form of the English word bum as adopted into the American dialect of Lithuanian (as a male noun of the second accent class):
Singular Plural Dual
Nominative bòmasbòmaidù bomù
Vocative bòmebòmai
Genitive bòmobòmu
Dative bòmuibòmamsdviem bòmam
Accusative bòmabomùsdù bomù
Instrumental bomùbòmaisdviem bòmam
Locative bomèbòmuose

The identity of vocative and nominative plural forms above is not peculiar to this accent class; they are always identical. The dual form, as the table suggests, is not always available. In fact, it is now apparently rare, found primarily in nonstandard dialects. (The American variety of Lithuanian reported by Mencken reflected the speech of nineteenth-century immigrants.)

The locative case is used without a preposition. E.g., Vilniuje typically requires translation as `in Vilnius.' The modern locative is actually an adessive case, a remnant of an earlier, more glorious system of locative cases. The allative and especially the illative are still found dialectally. Isn't that great? These locative cases originally developed as postpositions (like prepositions but following a noun) used earlier were assimilated to the nouns.

The grave accents indicate short stressed vowels. There are some other diacritical marks besides the grave accents, but we're not going to use a full Unicode font just to get this one table straight. On the other hand, this information could come in handy some day -- you never know. So in detail, the final a in the accusative singular and u in the genitive plural each have a hook, sort of like a cedilla facing the wrong way, hanging off the bottom. The hook has no phonemic value: it represents a final long-vowel nasalization that disappeared from all dialects centuries ago. It does means that there are extra vowel symbols for long vowels (hooked i and u correspond to wye and to u with a macron, resp.).

Also in that table above, the dviem in the instrumental case only has a tilde over the e. The orthography of Lithuanian also includes acute accents. The tilde and acute accent are used to distinguish the two tones (circumflex and acute, respectively) of stressed long vowels and diphthongs. These are usually indicated in dictionaries and other linguistic works, and not elsewhere. (However, we get a bye because this is an English dictionary and other linguistic work, see?) They also have a dotted (above) e, and they do one or two things to consonants. I imagine that if you had a dirty typewriter ribbon, it made you look like an elementary-school drop-out.

Definiteness of nouns is marked by a modification of the ending.

Lawrence Taylor. Defensive lineman for the Jets, retired.

Left (L) Tackle (T).

Linear Technology semiconductor device prefix.

Line Termination.

London Transport. Previously the LRT. Owned the London Underground (LUL) and oversaw the now privately operated city bus and light rail routes in the Greater London (England) area. Under the GLA Act, all its responsibilities were supposed to be transferred to TfL. Oversight of the private transport networks was transferred to TfL, but the government got cold feet when it came to the government-owned networks. The GLA act was amended so that LT remained in existence and retained ownership of these -- LUL and its subsidiaries, including the Infracos (separate legal companies). It is envisioned (as of 2001) that the Infracos will eventually be privatized, and that at some time afterwards, ownership of the Underground will pass to TfL.

L/T, L-T
Long Term. As in ``long-term debt.'' You notice how the term ``long-term credit'' doesn't come up anywhere near as often? There's a reason for that. When individuals and organizations go into debt, they get money in the short term on the basis of their long-term ability to pay it back. The paying-back is always longer-term than the initial transfer of the loan principal, or there wouldn't have been a need for the loan in the first pace. In the transaction, the debtor takes on an obligation to repay (with interest), and the creditor receives a promise. Since the credit is a positive value, the creditor has something that can be sold on its own. In fact, banks and other lending institutions do this all the time. So you never hear about the burden of being ``saddled with long-term credit.'' The debtor, on the other hand, has something that puts a negative value on the balance sheets. Positive value comes from the ability to generate revenue, which is typically harder to sell separately from the company itself, to say nothing of personal debt. And if you think it's hard to sell a car with a lien on it, try selling the lien without the car.

All this plus-minus asymmetry is something that really torques me off about charities. Solicitations for charitable contributions often make me wish I could make a negative contribution, and decrease their unwelcome or even destructive activities. Unfortunately, it's just as difficult to make a negative contribution to a charity as it is for a debtor to give away its obligations. Capitalism is so unfair. The most you can do is sound disingenuously interested when they call, and encourage them to waste money on a follow-up direct mail solicitation too. It's the least you can do. But back to loans...

A couple of major factors color the secondary market in loans: one is confidence. If there is a question of the debtor's likelihood of repaying -- and there often is -- then the credit is still transferable, just not at its face value. Collection agencies are essentially speculators in loans that are damaged goods. They gamble that their cost of collection, plus the reduced price they pay for the bad loan, is less than the amount they can expect to collect. Certain situations can interfere with the operation of the market in bad debts. The best known today is the one that afflicts Japanese banks. Under existing rules, they can keep nonperforming loans on their books at far above their realistic value. They can't collect, they can't sell at the value they list on their books, and if they try to foreclose the real value becomes apparent.

Government bonds of stable capitalist democracies are not subject to significant questions about likelihood of repayment, so they allow one to isolate another factor: inflation. I'll fill in the discussion on that later. Why are you reading about elementary economics here anyway? Don't you know this started out as a microelectronics glossary? I mean, I'm just makin' it up as I meander along.

Technically, the reason you can't get the prime rate on your loan is that you don't have the sterling credit rating of your bank's best customers. In reality, of course, size matters. The bank is in the business of making loans, so a big customer for the bank's product can demand a little extra consideration in return for not taking its business elsewhere. You, punk, can go where you like.

Long Ton. (2240 lb.: 20 hundredweights of 8 stones of 14 pounds. Divisible by seven as well as five, and more factors of two than you can shake a yardstick at.) Cf. ST.

Low Temperature. Colder than a well-digger's ass usually doesn't qualify. 77K is more like it.

Lower Tester. What the heck is that?

Lighter Than Air (vehicle).

Long-Term Agreement.

Low Temperature Buffer.

Long-Term (medical, nursing) Care.

Low Temperature (LT) Ceramic Carrier. The `CC' is also expanded Co-fired Ceramic. (See slide show here.)

Low Temperature CVD.

Laser Target Designation.

LimiTeD partnership: partners assume limited liability for the obligations of the enterprise. A popular type of business organization.

LTD, Ltd., ltd.

Line-Terminating Equipment.

Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium.

Long-Term Evolution. The fourth-generation wireless standard?

LengTH Field.

Lingua Tertii Imperii. Abbreviation used by Victor Klemperer in his famous diary of life in Nazi Dresden (and also used as title of one of his books). The German word Reich does not translate very well into English, which is perhaps the reason it isn't translated. It doesn't exactly mean `empire,' as is obvious from the German name for Austria (Österreich), but it is intended to be a little stronger than `country.' You might translate it `realm' if that word weren't archaic, but in some contexts Reich does convey an archaic idea. I have an old (1849) children's picture book with the title Von den alten Weltreichen, which may be fairly translated `Of the Ancient Civilizations.' (I think Reich is related to the -ric ending in English names -- -rich ending in German -- meaning `ruler.' The Old English word rice meant `kingdom.' This word appears to be one of a relatively small number of early borrowings from Celtic into Germanic.)

Victor Klemperer's NS-Zeit diaries were published in two volumes in 1995 by Aufbau-Verlag. LTI appears toward the end of volume 1 (Ich will Zeugnis ablegen bis zum letzten: Tagebücher 1933-1941). For a long time, he made short notes in the diary, mostly noting individual word substitutions. Usually he headed these observations Sprache: [`language']. At page 305 (for September 14, 1936) he uses Sprache des 3. Reichs [`language of the 3rd reich']. (Maybe elsewhere too, I only skimmed.) I think he first introduces ``LTI'' in formal typescript inserted at the end of June 1941.

Klemperer (1881-1960) was a philologist and literary historian at the Technische Universität Dresden, who, although Jewish, was not murdered by the Nazis, and lived in oppressive conditions considerably better than a death camp, evidently because his wife was gentile. [This ``exception'' allowed some others to live, most famously in Berlin, though it certainly was not always or even usually enough to save one's life. Consider that gentile-Jewish intermarriage was made illegal by the Nuremburg laws. In an autobiography published in 1997, the late theoretical particle physicist, scientific biographer and historian Bram Pais described his survival in occupied Holland. He and a friend were discovered, and his friend was executed essentially because that friend's girlfriend and lover, saving her own life, convinced interrogators that she was gentile.]

V. Klemperer managed to escape Dresden early in 1945 -- timely, given the Allied fire-bombing later that year [described in Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut, who survived the firebombing as a P.O.W. on work detail (illegal under the Geneva conventions, FWIW) at Schlachterhaus Fünf there]. Klemperer returned after the war and taught at various East German universities.

The long delay (until 1995) in publishing the diaries has been reported to have something to do with the fact that his book casts a critical eye on language abuse not only by the Nazis but also by the Soviet occupying authority. I've heard that the English translation leaves much to be desired.

Victor Klemperer was not an immediate relative of his contemporary Otto Klemperer, the conductor and composer. It's interesting how The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians entry for Otto manages to avoid all explicit reference to nazism. It describes how ``[g]rowing economic distress, coupled with pressure from the Right, obliged the government to shut the Kroll Opera in July 1931,'' and mentions airily that Otto Klemperer ``emigrated'' in April 1933. The Encyclopædia Britannica) (in those editions where the most important woman mathematician in history has merited an entry) describes similarly Emmy Noether's relocation from Germany to the US. Who is served by this coyness? (For more on EB entry politics, see error propagation.)

Otto Klemperer was from Breslau. If you want to read more on Breslau, Germany (.de) you visit the He entry. That's how this glossary works. Breslau has been Wroclaw, Poland (.pl) since the end of WWII. It experienced severe flooding a couple of years ago. That's right, just a couple of years ago, in, uh, the Summer of 1997.

Less than a TruckLoad. This doesn't really mean the truck is any emptier than otherwise. It designates shipment of loose freight, as opposed to sealed containers.

Long-Term Memory. Cf. STM.

Long Time No See. Chatese expression meaning `I didn't see you in chat yesterday.'

Low-Temperature Oxide.

Lot Tolerance Percent Defective. For example, `5% LTPD' means that no more than 5% of a lot should be defective. Puts one in the mind of the Parson's egg.

Now suppose that you set the LTPD at 5%, and the acceptable quality level (AQL) at 95%. That AQL implies that, on average, 5% of of any lot will be defective, so the typical lot will be flirting on the borderline of not meeting the lot tolerance, and something like half of the lots will be unacceptable. (The precise fraction depends on shape of distribution, but it's pretty close to half, by the central limit theorem, if units in a lot are uncorrelated). Okay, now suppose you have a hundred units per lot, and the AQL of 95% is being just met. Then the standard deviation of the percent of defectives in a lot is just a sliver under 2.2%. Therefore, an LTPD of 10% would be reasonable (if 5% failure can be called reasonable). For similar considerations of unit vs. lot, see the eggs entry.

LeTteR. Or maybe LetTeR.

Long-Term Relationship. Personals-ad abbreviation. This term stands in approximately the same relationship to marriage as SO does to spouse. If marriage were spelled with one more letter, then the two acronyms would have equal data compression ratios.


Learn To Read Latin. One of the first genuinely new Latin textbooks in many years (cf. LFA), written by Andrew Keller and Stephanie Russell and published by Yale University Press in December 2003. You need both the text and the big accompanying workbook; together they weigh five pounds. Wouldn't Learn to Lift Latin have had greater alliterative appeal? (One of the authors points out that the workbook pages are perforated, cutting in half the weight that must be hauled to class.)

One great divide among Latin textbooks is between those using synthetic text (made-up Latin examples) versus those using authentic literary text as soon as practicable. LTRL is solidly in the authentic camp, and the authors have mined the TLL to take examples from an unusually various assortment of authors, but... the book is dense with grammar explanations, and most reviewers seem to feel it is an introductory text suitable only for very advanced students.


Leaning Toothpick syndrome. A disease of regular expression syntaxes.

Laser-Triggered Spark Gap.

Lead Tin Telluride.

Language Training and Testing Center. Part of National Taiwan University (NTU).

The LTTC was first established in 1951 (under some other name I didn't find on the English pages) ``to provide intensive training in English for government-sponsored personnel who were preparing to go to the United States under technical assistance programs in place at that time.''

``In 1965, the LTTC began to offer courses in Japanese, French, German, and Spanish, and to open classes to other government-sponsored personnel; personnel sponsored by private organizations; and to the general public. The LTTC also began to provide foreign language proficiency tests.''

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Better known as ``Tamil Tigers.'' More informatively understood as ``Tamil Terrorists.''

Loan-To-Value. Normally thought of as a ratio [and expanded as Loan-To-Value (ratio),'' vel sim.], but expressed as a fraction or percentage, though a ``75% LTV'' is really an LTV ratio of 3, strictly speaking. At least the relationship is monotonic.

Whether ratio or fraction, it refers to the amount of a mortgage loan relative to the lending value of the property on which one takes the mortgage. You may ask: ``why take out a mortgage on more than the value of the property''? Why indeed. Because interest adds up, and also sometimes because of the precise definition of lending value, q.v.

Lobster-Trap Video. A traditional lobster trap with modifications: a Plexiglas roof, red lighting for night-time operations, and a VCR used, as you may possibly have guessed by this time, to study the behavior of lobsters. The first LTV was developed by the University of New Hampshire research group of zoologist Winsor H. Watson III.

Lunar Transfer Vehicle.

Long Tone Zero. Typically pronounced and written LiTZ. A Ham-radio emergency broadcast protocol used on VHF/UHF. You transmit three or more seconds of DTMF zero, followed by a voice description of the emergency. Read about it here.

Logic[al] Unit. Compare DLU and contrast PU.

London Underground. Link is to the official website. You're interested in historical information, so you want CULG.


Latin, Lucius. A praenomen, typically abbreviated when writing the full tria nomina. Also ``L.''

(Domain code for) Luxembourg. A place that challenges the concept of `native language.'

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

Lutetium. Atomic number 71. Improve yourself, learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Light Utility Aircraft.

Logic[al] Unit Block.

LUnar landing and launch vehicle (i.e., BUS).


Titus Lucretius Carus. Author of De Rerum Natura (Latin, `Of the nature of things'). The cognomen Carus means `dear.' Lucretius was one of the most important of Epicureans, philosophical descendants of Epicurus, whose physics was largely that of Democritus. De Rerum Natura is held dear by some as the first great qualitative work of statistical mechanics, which attempted to derive the properties of macroscopic bodies from the behavior of their microscopic constituents.

Local Usage Details. Detailed record of local calls made and received from a particular phone number.

These records are regularly available to police with a court order -- this constitutes a kind of search, so it is unconstitutional (unreasonable search) unless it can be demonstrated to a judge that there is reasonable cause to suppose that it is material to a crime that has been committed. It's subject to the same restrictions as tapping. Cf. T-3.

In August 1999, the FCC decided to allow law enforcement authorities access to the record of cells through which cellular phone calls are routed. Civil liberties groups have opposed this as an unreasonable infringement of privacy that turns a cell phone into a tracing device.

The German form of the name Louis.

Luteinized Unruptured Follicle. A syndrome in which the follicle develops into the corpus luteum without releasing the egg. Vide Luteinizing Hormone (LH).

An airy breakfast surprise, served very hot. Introduced during WWII. Ultimately unsuccessful: it was not well-received in England -- it bombed. Okay, this entry is a joke. (Obviously, right? Right!?? It's a pun on Luftwaffe.) But big cookies really were dropped. For amazing information on another incendiary breakfast treat, see the SPT entry.

For related information (that's actually true) on toast, see the FF (for French Fries) entry. Look, it's there alright, you just have to scroll down a bit! Do you expect everything to be served to you on a silver platter with maple syrup? For something to put on ordinary English toast (during WWII), there's some relevant information at the Spam entry.

Steven Wright said he went to a restaurant that served breakfast `any time.' I guess that's an acceptable variant. So he ordered French toast during the Renaissance. Ha! That's German toast!

Luhn checksum
An algorithm often used to provide a check digit in applications such as credit card numbers. In the number with the check digit removed, number the digit positions starting with 1 at the beginning. Take all the digits in even positions, double each one, and add the individual digits of all the resulting numbers; add to this total all the digits from the odd positions. The check digit, when added to this total, must produce a total ending in 0. This checksum serves to detect any error that affects only a single digit or is a transposition of adjacent digits other than a 0 and a 9.

Example: the number to be checked is 34567790. The 0 at the end is the check digit. The digits in even positions are 4, 6, 7 -> 8, 12, 14. 8+1+2+1+4 + 3+5+7+9 + 0 = 40, so the number is valid.

Luiss, LUISS, LUISS Guido Carli
Libera Università Internazionale degli Studi Sociali. `Free International University of Social Studies.' Guido Carli -- the man it's named after, so to speak -- makes the full name a tad long, and more often makes an appearance with the rest of the school's name compressed to LUISS.

London Underground Ltd. ``The Underground.'' More at the LT entry.

Sounds seditious, and you can see lean and hungry types wailing there and strumming a few chords. The Stones were from London, the Beatles were from Liverpool.

Portuguese, `squid.' This has no apparent cognate in Spanish, where the standard term is calamar.

Lula is the nickname of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio da Silva. What, Portuguese doesn't have a word for buffoon?

League of United Latin American Citizens. The oldest functioning Hispanic civic organization in the US. It was called United Latin American Citizens at its founding in February 1929, and took its current name at its constitutional convention the following May.

Portuguese, `squid.' This has no apparent cognate in Spanish, where the standard term is calamar.

Laboratoire pour l'Utilisation des Lasers Intenses.

Line Unit/Line Termination.

An actress and singer born Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie. Remembered for her first film role, in ``To Sir, With Love'' (1967). The ``sir'' referred to was the starring role of an engineer, Mark Thackeray, who takes a job teaching in what was literally an underclass neighborhood, though today we'd describe it as a model working-class community (in the East End of London.) Sidney Poitier played the starring role. Lulu played one of the students and also sang the theme song (same title as the movie), and it went to top of the pop charts in the US but didn't do especially well in the UK.

Weird, very weird fact: she was married to Maurice Gibb, one of the Bee-Gee's, from 1969 to 1973.

lumber dimensions
Lumber is usually priced and purchased by its nominal dimensions. The exception is when you buy wood ``in the rough.'' If you buy a length of 2x4 in the rough, you get a piece of wood with a rectangular cross section of thickness 2 inches (2'') and width 4''. When you take this wood home and plane it, and let it dry (and shrink some more), it takes dimensions closer to the real dimensions you get when you buy dressed (surfaced) wood of nominal dimensions 2x4. Long ago (1950's, say) the conversion from nominal to actual dimensions was something like this:
 Nominal ||  Actual
     (in inches)
    1    ||  25/32  (0.78125)  (Oh sure, accurate to a quarter mil.)
    2    ||  1 5/8  (1.625)
    3    ||  2 5/8  (2.625)
    4    ||  3 5/8  (3.625)
    5    ||  4 5/8  (4.625)
    6    ||  5 5/8  (5.625)
    7    ||  What the heck weird kind of size is that?
    8    ||  7 1/2  (7.5)
   10    ||  9 1/2  (9.5)
   12    || 11 1/2  (11.5)

Cf. board foot. You want to know more lumber terms? Visit the specialized glossary at the online Hardwood Handbook.

Lowest Unoccupied Molecular Orbital. Cf. HOMO, LUMO+1. Just because you didn't have enough problems already, I suggest you read the HODO entry to find out about the LEAO, a special case of LUMO.

Lowest Unoccupied Molecular Orbital plus one. The next molecular orbital above LUMO. Not quite as interesting, for total-energy calculations, as HOMO-1 because, like, there's no electron there. Vide etiam HOMO-2. If you want to find laser energies, on the other hand, pretty important.

I wish a few people would leave a bit early for lunch. There are never any parking spaces when I get in to work.

LUnar Orbit. (NASAnese.)

LUnar Orbit Space Operations Center. (NASAnese.) That is, an SOC that is itself in lunar orbit.

Lupus. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Lesbian yUPPY. The plural is normal (luppies).

US Armed Forces slang for LRRP: Long-Range, Reconnaissance Patrol.

Leaking Underground Storage Tank. Aww, mama, I'm goin' down!

Look-Up Table.

A lute player. Also lutenist. If you get the idea you've been here before, you may have entered a limit cycle. CTRL-ALT-DELETE to escape.

A lute player. Also lutist.

A maker or repairer of stringed instruments, such as violins, and occasionally even lutes. Cf. lutanist.

A lute player. Also lutanist.

Sixtiesian for `love.' Should be spelled in warm colors. In an appropriate haze, this can seem profound.

``Love to see you, bye.'' Abbreviation reliably attributed to someone's sixteen-year-old daughter.

Lautverschiebung. German term meaning `sound shift'; the standard linguists' term in German for what is called a ``[regular] sound shift'' in English.

Left Ventricle. It's the Big One!

Likely Voter[s]. An ill-defined category that pollsters start to try to report a month or two before an election.

The starting point for computing the numbers and preferences of likely voters is the same data for registered voters, culled or somehow corrected on the basis of some additional information. When asked, people who identify themselves as registered voters (probably including a large number who are not registered) say, about 90% of the time, that they are likely to vote. This is not an accurate prediction. Some pollsters report LV counts that are 90% of their RV counts, which suggests that they're going by these unreliable self-reports of RV's. I suppose it's better than nothing, since it ought to exclude a larger fraction of those who won't than those who will vote. Then again, it probably excludes a larger fraction of those giving honest answers rather than the ones they suppose pollsters would prefer.

You've probably heard that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him (let's say it's a he) drink. This is stupid. You lead a horse to water by steering him along the way to water. You lead a horse to drink water by driving him the long way, through arid parts. Uh, I seem to have lost my way.

Oh yeah, I wanted to comment on the LV/RV ratio. In recent years there have been increased efforts to register the unregistered. Here are data for the State of Florida in three consecutive election years:

               Year:     1992        1996        2000
RV/adults                62.9%       72.4%       72.3%
voters/RV                83.1%       67.4%       70.1%
voters/adults            52.3%       48.8%       50.7%

Notice the gratifying increase in voter registration between 1992 and 1996. Notice how the fraction of registered voters who managed to find a way to vote decreased dramatically in the same interval. It's almost as if people who hadn't registered to vote in the past were not very interested in voting anyway, and ended up not voting. If this theory were correct, and if the fraction of people ultimately interested enough to vote were approximately constant, then the large increases and decreases in the first two rows of the table above would balance out to much smaller variations in the third row. Hmm.


Low-Voltage CMOS (logic family). It's important, beyond the expansions, to keep the acronyms straight: LV CMOS and LVC expand to the same words, but the acronyms are used as designations for different generations of CMOS technology. LV uses 3.3V (``3 V'') logic swing and is fabricated with 2-micron design rules. LVC uses the same voltage swing but 0.8-micron design rules, for lower currents and all of the other standard scaling goodies. The subsequent ALVC uses 0.6-micron technology, but it also has some further features -- they're not just scaling the old designs.

LV is a 3V logic intended to have performance comparable with the 5V HCMOS logic; LVC is a 3V logic intended to have performance comparable with the 5V 74F logic.

According to TI, LV drives up to 8 mA (i.e., the maximum current its output can deliver while maintaining its logic level within the noise margin is 8 mA). Since CMOS logic gates have very high input impedance, this imposes essentially no limit on the static fan-out. The current drive is important at the final stage, where something may have to be actuated, but that can easily be handled by specialized driver circuitry or buffers. The current drive also affects timing, since the interconnect and gate capacitances charge in a time inversely proportional to that drive current. Propagation delays are specked at 18 ns maximum, while the static power consumption is ``only'' 20 µA for both bus-interface and gate functions.

Landau-Vlasov. Semiclassical description of nuclear dynamics. See Gré, C., Remaud, B., Sébille, F., Vinet, L., and Raffray, Y., Nucl. Phys. A585, p. 317 (1987); Shuck, P., Hasse, R. W., Jaenicke, J., Gré, C., Remaud, B., Sébille, F. and Suraud, E., Prog. in Part. and Nucl. Phys. 22, p. 181 (1989).

(Domain code for) Latvia.

Rec.travel offers a starting point for web travel thence.

Literacy Volunteers of America.

I volunteer to be literate in America myself.

Left-Ventric{le|ular} Assist Device. After all, it's the left ventricle that does the heavy lifting, pumping into the aorta, while the right ventricle just sends blood to the nearby lungs. In 1994, the FDA approved the first LVAD for implantation to keep failing hearts functioning. It was meant as a stopgap for patients awaiting a heart transplant. The ``second generation'' of LVAD's, starting in 2005, are increasingly intended as a long-term alternative to a heart transplant.

{Left|Location} VALUE. In computer programming, an lvalue is an expression that can be assigned to. (In other words, it can appear on the left side of an assignment, in the conventional way such things are written. Outside of COBOL, of course. You know: ``ASSIGN 9THIS TO 9THAT.'') In other words, an lvalue is an expression that can be evaluated to a memory location of some sort. This gives me a creepy feeling, because it sounds like it's got something to do with pointers. Better to stay with rvalues. Originally, the first letter of lvalue was expandable specifically as left, but I have seen the location expansion in at least one programmer's manual (for C#).

The concept of an lvalue, although not quite the term itself, seems to have had its explicit origin in the description of CPL. Here is Section 6 (``Expressions'') of the Barron et al. description (1963; bibl. details at our CPL entry), in its entirety:

  There are two possible modes of evaluation of an expression in CPL, known as the left-hand (LH) and right-hand (RH) modes. All expressions can be evaluated in RH mode, but only certain kinds of expression are meaningful in LH mode. When evaluated in RH mode an expression is regarded as being a rule for the computation of a value (the RH value). When evaluated in LH mode an expression effectively gives an address (the LH value): the significance of this is discussed further in Section 8.

Section 8, ``Left-hand expressions and assignment commands,'' makes clear that LH values are used to determine the destinations of results in ``assignment commands.'' (All statements in CPL are definitions or commands.) The language has multidimensional arrays and LISPish lists somewhat resembling contemporaneous FORTRAN common blocks, and these data structures can be assigned to in single assignment commands (i.e., they can be evaluated in LH mode).

Perhaps LH and RH values came to be called lvalues and rvalues in CPL programming. Those terms were certainly used with CPL's immediate descendant BCPL. (See the July 1967 manual linked from our BCPL entry. The operators lv and rv were available for pointer arithmetic.) The terms lvalue and rvalue continued in use with B, and (drumroll, please) C.

Low-Voltage CMOS (logic family). 0.8-micron technology for 3.3-V logic levels. Cf. lower-performance 2-µm LV and later 0.6-µm ALVC. Performance of LVC is comparable to the 5V 74F TTL family.

Visit TI's page.

Left Ventricular end Diastolic internal Diameter.

Low-Voltage Differential Signal.

Left-Ventricular Ejection Fraction. Implicitly the fraction ejected into the aorta; the fraction ejected back through a leaky mitral valve into the left atrium isn't doing much good.

Left Visual Field.

Lehigh Valley International (airport). Serving the greater Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area. Airport code ABE

As the architecture scholar Witold Rybczynski pointed out in City Life: Urban Expectations in a New World (New York: Scribner, 1995), no large European city was founded after the sixteenth century, and no American city (now standing) was founded before then.

Lviv is the current (Ukrainian) name of the largest city in Galicia. By ``Galicia'' here I mean the one in northwestern Ukraine, western Russia, southeastern Poland, or the eastern end of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, depending on the era you're looking at. The city thus has various different names, many of them a godsend to this sparsely populated region of the collation sequence (LV, LW). Tradition and recorded history say that it was founded in 1256 by a Russian prince and named after his son Lev (`Leo' in English), although archaeology says that a settlement had already existed there for some time. The transliteration to English of the Russian name of the city is normally Lvov. Many centuries ago, Galicia was conquered by the kingdom of Poland. In the Roman script of Poland its name is spelled Lwów, but the pronunciation is closer to what an English-speaker would guess from ``Lvov.'' Poland gradually shrank and finally disappeared as its largest neighbors grew, and Galicia became a part of the Habsburg Empire (the Austrian, later the Austro-Hungarian Empire). Under Austrian rule, Lwów was known by its German name Lemberg.

At the end of WWI, the Polish people got a country of their own again, and Lwow was part of it. On August 23, 1939, Hitler's Germany and Stalin's USSR signed a mutual non-aggression treaty called the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. The treaty included secret clauses partitioning Poland between the signatories. The next week (specifically September 1), Germany invaded Poland and precipitated WWII. The Soviet Union occupied eastern Poland for a while, but was pushed out two years later, when Germany invaded Russia (Operation Barbarossa, begun June 22, 1941). At the end of WWII, pursuant to an understanding among the leaders of the main Allied powers (Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill), the Soviet Union took a few territorial bites out of its neighbors. One of those bites was Galicia, which was made a part of Ukraine. At the time, the Polish population of Lwów/Lvov/Lviv was told that they were free to stay, but that the city would become Ukrainian. If they wanted to remain in Polish territory, they were advised to move to Wroclaw. Wroclaw is the Polish name of the city that had been called Breslau when it was part of Germany. Towards the end of WWII, most of its surviving German population fled west ahead of advancing Russian forces. The Polish municipal government of Lwów moved en masse to Wroclaw.

Low Vibrational Mode[s].

Louisiana Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton. It's an intentional AAP acronym-assisted pleonasm, revel in it! (It's catching.) LVMH was created in a June 1987 merger of Louis Vuitton, known for fancy luggage, and Moët-Hennessy, known for champagnes and Hennessy cognac.

Both companies also had growing stakes in the perfume industry. They continued expanding in that direction to become the biggest luxury-goods house in the world; owner of Parfums Givenchy and Christian Dior, and some other famous names like, uh, Louis something, the name escapes me right now, Guerlain, Parfums Kenzo, etc. LVMH is vertically integrated, with the retailers Sephora and DFS (duty free stores) since 1997.

Lvov is the usual English transliteration of the Russian name of the largest city in Galicia. It's the administrative center of its own oblast. The administrative center for SBF information about Lvov is the Lviv entry. You're expected there now.

Laser Vibration Sensor.

Layout-Versus-Schematic. One kind of automated comparison implemented on CAD software.

Lightweight Video Sight. That's an infantry term.

Logistic[s] Vehicle System. That's a cavalry term. It stands for a system -- a vehicle system, in fact -- that happens to be what most people would just call a vehicle. Hence LSV.

Licensed Veterinary Technician.

Light-Valve Technology.

Low-Voltage (LV) Transistor-Transistor Logic (TTL).

Light Weight (compound noun) or LightWeight (adjective).

Long Wave.

Long Wheelbase (motor vehicle). Also ``LWB.'' You needn't follow link to SW.

Long Wheelbase (motor vehicle). Also ``LW.'' You needn't follow link to SWB.

(Cloud) Liquid Water Content.

Living Well Center at UB.

Local Weightlifting Committee. Local affiliate of USAW.

Logging While Drilling (for oil or gas). I wouldn't know; ask here.

A monetary unit. In the forests of Angola, a lwei is only worth one one-hundredth of a kwanza (and murrychristmas to you too) but in the Scrabble forest it's worth at least seven points.

The Scrabble plural is lweis, but in the real world Lweis occurs most frequently as a typo for Lewis.

Lutheran World Federation.

Long-Wavelength InfraRed (IR) (light). Greater than 12 µm, say.

Leave WithOut Pay.

`Leave' in the sense of time away elsewhere -- in the expectation, or at least with the option, of return. Not `leave' in the sense of farewell.

Lwów is the Polish name of the largest city in Galicia. Right now the city is part of the Ukraine, and goes by the Ukrainian name Lviv; most of our Lwów-related information is at the Lviv entry. If I end up putting some information to the glossary concerning Lviv during a period of Polish rule, the present entry would be the logical place to put it. No guarantees, though. (Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.)

Light-Weight Process.

Long-Wavelength Pass (filter, coating).

Light-Water Reactor.

Linear White SPace.

Amphibious (Landing) Warping Tug.

Listen While Talk.

The League of Women Voters. You don't have to be a woman to join. You don't even have to be female.

dysLeXic rebus for excel. For a number of Japanese car lines, designates the intermediate (not fancy, not plain) model.

Languages across the Curriculum. A program at SUNY Binghamton.

Local eXchange Terminal.

Roman numeral for seventy; abbreviation for the Septuagint (available online). A translation of the Old Testament into Alexandrian Greek (an identifiable variety of Koine), completed around the end of the third century BCE. In Hebrew, it's called Targum Ha'shivim (`Translation of the Seventy'). It is the earliest known translation of the Hebrew Bible, and is one of the main aids in the interpretation of Hebrew terms no longer known (see, for example, the entry for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and the Ecclesiastes material at the BG entry). Apart from translation issues, it is also interesting to compare in detail the texts of the oldest surviving Biblical texts: LXX, DSS, and the Masoretic text.

A variety of seventy-two's are traditionally associated with this translation -- seventy-two days to finish (this I do not believe), seventy-two translators (six from each tribe; how they found so many from ten lost tribes, I'm not sure). Oh yeah, and each translator made his translation in isolation, so they could be compared afterwards, and all the translations turned out identical.

Seventy, and occasionally seventy-two, is the traditional number of languages (after Babel). Hence, there is a sort of Jewish numerological association with languages generally.

Mark Goodacre's New Testament Gateway includes a Greek New Testament Gateway, which also has links to texts and tools for the LXX. There must be a link in there somewhere for Computer Assisted Tools for Septuagint/Scriptural Study, or I suppose you could just click on this link. Here's a short bit on the history from Innvista.

A suffix that transforms adjectives into adverbs. Some examples: slowly, easily, deviously. When the adjective ends in -ic, the adverb is almost always formed by adding -ally. There's a small list of exceptions at the publically entry. (Don't do this orthographic experiment at home!) For some comparison of -ly with similar morphemes in other languages, see the adv. entry.

Some nonadverbs also end in ly, such as Cicely, comely, early, family, friendly, homely, homily, and likely. A few such nonadverbs, like kindly, sickly, and elderly, even have the form of current adjectives with an -ly adjective added. Coincidentally, many of the -ly oddities I can think of have something to do with the sickly elderly (see this NAA entry and the Dylan Thomas afterthoughts in the see through entry).

(Domain code for) Libya.

Libya Online has some tourism information, but doesn't mention any gender restrictions. Back in the 1980's, a friend of mine, age about 30, wanted to do some ethnological research in North Africa, and she chose Tunisia over Libya. One consideration was that to stay in Libya she would have had to have been accompanied by a close male relative -- father, brother, or husband.

Light Year. The distance light travels in a year. And if you're chasing a light pulse at half the speed of light, then in a year you will travel one half light year, and the light pulse will travel a whole light year, but you will still be a whole light year further behind. Really. Give up, or do it with mirrors.

NaOH. Caustic soda. If you're going to use it to make soap (vide saponification), make sure you get pure lye, and not lye with pieces of aluminum intended to help clear your drains. Widely available Red Devil brand lye has no aluminum. I have no commercial or pecuniary interest in Red Devil.

Lynx. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

lynx, Lynx, DosLynx
A text-oriented web browser for Unix, VMS, and PC-DOS platforms. One home of Lynx (the original home, I think) is at the Academic Computing Services of the University of Kansas. The current version is available here.

Bermuda's commercial internet.

Lyra. Official IAU abbreviation for the constellation.

Lavender Youth Recreation and Information Center. In San Francisco, where else?

lyrical solipsism
This may not be the best term for what I want to define, so I'll leave it undefined until after I collect more than two examples.
  1. ``I'm a sight for my sore eyes.'' This is a line from the Vertical Horizon song ``Finding Me,'' written by Matthew B. Scannell. The next line is ``But it's all I am so,'' leading into the chorus, which begins ``Don't tell me how to be / 'Cause I like some sufferin'.''
  2. ``We are the hope we have been waiting for.'' A popular line from Barack Obama's speeches or revival meetings of early 2008. Some people think the expression means something, and some people don't. Some people say ``yes we can,'' and some people say ``and to think here we were hoping for hope to arrive when all the time it was staring hollow-eyed at us from the mirror.'' I say it's lyrical collective solipsism.

Just for narcissism balance, I'd like to extend my remarks on that hope quote above. It was used during a primary campaign in which Obama's primary opponent (in both senses) was Hillary Clinton. In her book Living History (2003), she wrote ``While Bill talked about social change, I embodied it.''

Landing Zone. I guess that would usually be about half-way between floors.

(Abraham) Lempel and Jacob Ziv. In 1977 and 1978, Lempel and Ziv authored papers that became the basis of most lossless compression algorithms currently in use. Macintosh Stacker, for example, uses LZ77, the algorithm described in their 1977 paper, and Unix compress uses LZ78.

For more information than I'm willing to tap in here, visit the compression FAQ.

Luftschiffbau Zeppelin, `Zeppelin Airship Works.' Used as a prefix for the individual numbers of their dirigibles; for example, the Hindenburg was LZ 129. ``D-LZ129'' appeared on the side of the ship; presumably D stood for Germany (Deutschland).

Zeppelin was a brand of dirigible, named for Graf Zeppelin (Graf is German for Count). The first Zeppelin, an aluminum-frame dirigible, was made by Count Zeppelin from the (1892) design of David Schwartz, a Zagreb timber merchant. Dirigible means directable -- i.e. steerable, and in principle might include blimps (as well as airplanes, for that matter). Established usage, however, applies the term almost exclusively to rigid-frame lighter-than-air craft. Besides, the other kind already have a category name -- blimp. No one really knows the origin of the term blimp (one proposal: B-limp, next after A-limp). (The cartoon character Colonel Blimp, the supercilious jingoist, was created in the 1930's; the balloon blimp term was in use from the turn of the century.)

To a significant degree, even high-altitude balloons without propellers are directable. By raising the craft to different levels, one takes advantage of air currents flowing in different directions. However, you can't tack against the wind in the middle of the sky.

Lempel-Ziv Excise (algorithm). The LZ78 compression algorithm generates a tree of strings. If the message encoded is constructed from an alphabet of length N, then each node of the tree has at most N branches. Once all N branches have occurred in the message, there are no further references to the parent node. LZE is an implementation of LZ in which one takes advantage of this fact to abbreviate the encoded references to previously occurring strings.

Laser Zentrum Hannover. The linked pages are a convenient but incomplete English translation of the German pages. You might want to know that ``Forschung / Entwicklung / Beratung'' -- the uniform motto on the upper right of the pages -- means `Research / Development / Consulting.' The German pages appear to have perhaps about as much English text as the English pages have German text, but on the German pages English words are loans. [The word Center, for example, is the common singular and plural form of the German word whose more native cognate is Zentrum (pl. Zentren).]

What, you wanted to know about lasers? Visit the durn site!

Lempel-Ziv-Welch. Terry Welch's version of LZ78 compression, which cleverly encodes the dictionary in the compression process, so it is automatically reconstructed in the decompression. Welch designed it in 1984 for implementation in hardware for high-performance disk controllers.

First Language. Abbreviation is common in the literature of second-language (L2) acquisition.

First Lumbar vertebra. Cf. 1L. Also the name of a Lagrange point, q.v.

Last 10 (games).

L10n, L10N
        L ocalizatio N
         |<--    -->|
          10 letters
Cf. E13n, i18n, j10n.

Second Language. The abbreviation is common in the literature of second-language acquisition (SLA), contrasted with L1, the native language. (It goes with the indefinite article an, if you had any doubt as to its pronunciation.) SLA research literature rarely mentions a third language. Presumably the view is that a third language is a second second language. Peano would love this.

In most of the research I've seen, the L2 is English. Other acronyms you should know, if you want sound hip in that crowd: the equivalent terms EFL and ESL (usually for adult or late adolescent learners), the corresponding TEFL and TESL (teachers of same), ELL (immigrant children in the US, roughly), and EO (the Anglophone control group for ELL's). To really sound practical, you ought to spout about TOEFL.

Second Lumbar vertebra. Cf. 2L. Also the name of a Lagrange point, q.v.

Layer-Two Tunneling Protocol.

Third Lumbar vertebra. Cf. 3L. Also the name of a Lagrange point, q.v.

Fourth Lumbar vertebra. Cf. 4L. Also the name of a Lagrange point, q.v. Do you think you can detect a pattern here?

In 1983 or so, Sidney Coleman gave a seminar at the Princeton University Physics Department, on the large-N approximation. At one point he evaluated some trivial diagrams whose values turned out to increase linearly with the order of the diagram. Coleman did not make this point explicitly, but simply evaluated a few terms so the audience would see the pattern as it emerged. At about the fourth-order term, the late Samuel B. Trieman, sitting in the audience, interrupted petulantly to protest that he didn't see the point of the evaluations. The speaker paused to answer

``Sam, I'm going to evaluate one more diagram. If you still don't see a pattern, I recommend that you consider a position in university administration.''

Perhaps Professor Coleman was unaware that Professor Trieman was Director of Graduate Studies (vide major world language).

Fifth of five Lumbar vertebrae. Also the name of a Lagrange point, q.v.

l8r, L8r
Chat rebus for `later.'

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