(Click here for bottom)

W w

Five thousand, in various nroff troff extended versions of the Roman numerals. See also Z.

Italian abbreviation for Evviva! Evviva means `Long live.' An auspicious first entry (which this once was) for a glossary file.

In Spanish, Italian and various other languages, the letter w is called by a name that translates `double vee.' It seems to make more sense than double-yoo, but yoo and vee developed from different glyphs of the same Latin character.

The letter w was invented by Anglo-Saxon scribes and adopted on the continent. Later English scribes revived the wyn and started to use that instead of the w. Eventually, the w was reborrowed from the continent. In continental Europe, the letter had in fact been adopted primarily by speakers of Germanic languages and by the Normans (close). Romance-speakers often used gu, especially for words borrowed from Germanic. The different practices of Norman and non-Norman French scribes gave rise to English word pairs like warranty/guarantee. An alternate French practice, particularly with words of Latin origin, was to continue with the u/v, but to insert a silent intial h when necessary to indicate that an initial u represented a vowel.

Because of these practices, the letter w is somewhat exotic in many Romance languages (including French, Spanish, and Italian). In the Braille alphabet, the dot patterns are ordered systematically as one goes from a to v and then x, y, z. Braille was French.

Waste. An inauspicious first entry for a glossary file, which this was for a while.

Water. This comes in handy even in chemistry, particularly when space limitations occur (in a table, graph, or adscript, say). It costs nothing to use lower case, and avoid confusion with the symbol for tungsten (W).

Abbreviation and symbol for watt, a unit of power equal to one joule per second (1 J/s). Named in honor of James Watt (1736-1819), who made a number of improvements and inventions in steam engine design. Watt himself defined the power unit of horsepower (HP).

In electricity and electronics, one watt = 1 volt × 1 ampere (W = VA) as a unit. See, however, the KVA entry for a subtlety.


White. A personals abbreviation (part of a compact self-description) used in print ads. It doesn't normally refer to hair color. My local paper (The South Bend Tribune) still has a classification code (for the classified ads, y'know?) for personals (I imagine this is for lonely hearts, romance, I lost your phone number, please call, and I hate you ads), but I don't think anybody is placing any ads under that classification lately. Cf. WW [it doesn't indicate porcelain skin or pearly teeth].

Hey -- did you ever notice that W written upside-down looks like an M? Wow, mom! For more amazing insights, see the 4 magic M's entry.


W/, w/
With. (Without is W/O.)

Chemical element abbreviation for tungsten, after the name Wolfram. Learn more at its entry in WebElements and its entry at Chemicool.

Washington (state). USPS abbreviation.

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

The jpeg archive of Washington University of St. Louis Missouri (MO) has an aerial view of Tacoma.

Washington is a community property state.

Western Australia.

A suffix on vacuum tube designations, indicating ``ruggedization.''

Japanese, `harmony.' (There's also the particle -wa, semantically related to -ga, which I don't dare attempt to explain.)

A Japanese particle that functions as a case marker for the nominative (subject case). It alternates with -ga (there must be a particle; any subject not marked by -wa must be marked by -ga).

The wa/ga distinction is approximately like the the/a distinction in English. In particular, -wa tends to mark subjects that have been introduced before -- possibly long before. Japanese also uses -wa demonstratively, like the English word this.

It is also used to mark abstractions or types. This is much like saying ``the brain'' in English to mean brains in general, construed singular. ``Any brain'' or ``every brain'' might work as well depending on context. In English, the pattern in this use of the is irregular (or perhaps its regularities are obscure and complicated). The Japanese use of -wa in this particular sense seems to be more like Spanish in its regularity.

Japanese nouns don't have grammatical number, and so far as I know there's is no distinction drawn between countable and uncountable, so these are not issues in Japanese as they are with English determiners.

The wa/ga distinction is not made in objects. The standard direct-object marker is just -o. [The different treatment of definiteness between subjects and objects is not so unusual. In Hebrew, the definite article ha gives less information for subjects than the form et ha that must be used with objects. (There's a famous example; I'm trying to remember it.)]

In transliteration to romaji, a particle like wa is sometimes written as a suffix, sometimes connected to the preceding word by a hyphen, and sometimes separated by a space. WAKE UP! One minor complication when discussing the particle -wa is that it's spelled with the hiragana character for ha, even though it is pronounced ``wa'' (and sometimes just ``a'').

The ha/wa sound difference is not as great as it would seem to speakers of English. The general reason can be traced to the fact that Japanese has fewer phonemes than English. One consequence of this (and of the far fewer consonant clusters, and of the mostly CV syllable structure) is that average word in Japanese has many more syllables than in English. The Japanese seem to compensate for this by speaking more syllables per minute. Another consequence of the fewer sounds is that one can vary the pronunciation more without creating ambiguity. (Just as well if you're going to talk faster.) The Japanese do seem to take advantage of this liberty.

For example, intervocalic g can be nasalized into ng. In particular, some Japanese pronounce onegai as onengai, and this is considered an acceptable variant, if it is noticed at all. (I refer to the single consonant ng: the ng of song or singer, not the ng of finger.) You can take advantage of this even where the Japanese do not. Specifically, Japanese has a single liquid phoneme, transcribed r, which Japanese-speakers pronounce fairly consistently like the Spanish single-r consonant. However, you can substitute a similar liquid -- English l, for example -- and many Japanese will have difficulty even detecting a difference, let alone detecting an error.

More relevant is the broad range of fricatives acceptable for the consonant in ha, hi, fu, he, and ho. You can say ``huton'' or ``hune'' with an English aitch for ``futon'' or ``fune,'' and only a purist might object. (Though this, at least, is a distinction that Japanese actually tend to be conscious of. There's a bit more on this at the tsu entry.) The essential point is that the place of articulation of the consonant is vague, and may be bilabial. This is reinforced by the fact that kana symbols for syllables beginning in b or p (voiced and unvoiced bilabial plosives) are created by adding diacritical marks to the kana for the corresponding h (or f) syllables. (For example, ba is ha with the usual voicing mark top right; pa is ha with a tiny circle top right.)

In summary, the h of ha can be bilabial. The w of wa, on the other hand, is a voiced bilabial. (Or labio-velar -- please let's not get into that.) Hence, the only essential difference between ha and wa is one of voicing. (And as long as you're asking: no, I don't think I've heard -wa ever pronounced -hwa, but my exposure is limited.)

Women's Army Auxiliary Corps. See discussion at WAC.

Women's Army Auxiliary CorpS. Original official abbreviation. See discussion at WAC.

Woman's Auxiliary to the AIME. Founded in 1916 (or 1917 or 1919, according to different official pages). It is still in existence under the same name, though now membership is ``open to all spouses or family members of AIME members, science teachers, or anyone affiliated with support industries of AIME.'' (AIME is a bit conservative about organizational renaming.)

WAAIME does education-related charitable or promotional work -- funding book and library resources, and giving educational financial aid. It annually ``awards scholarships totaling more than $100,000 to students pursuing mining, metallurgical, or petroleum professions.'' The thing they do that has the highest humor coefficient, however, is sponsor an ``essay/poem contest ... to encourage students and teachers to read, think and write about useful minerals in their everyday lives.'' It's open to students in elementary and secondary schools. The theme for the 2001-2002 contest was ``My Most Useful Mineral.'' More than 10% of submitted entries won. ``Salt encompasses many things, / The oceans, relaxation aides, and chicken wings.'' ``Amazonite gives stamina, faith and compassion, / Comes in green to blue-green, the latest in fashion....'' The 2003-2004 contest has been cancelled. Darn, I was going to submit the poem I copied into the I (Iodine) entry.

WAshington (State) Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Wide-Area Augmentation System.

Western (Canada) Association of Broadcast Engineers.

Japanese, `quiet dignity.'

Wabi, WABI
Windows Application Binary Interface. A Microsoft Windows emulator (PWI) running in a Unix Windows environment. From Sun Microsystems; licensed by IBM for AiX.

Waste Acceptance Criteria. Term in environmental assessment reports.

Oh, you know who runs that racket. The fix is in. It's all based on SAT (Sludge Aptitude Test) scores.

Western Athletic Conference.

Women's Army Corps. A WWII organization that served as a kind of ``Ladies' Auxiliary'' of the US Army before women were allowed to join on a more equal basis. WAC was pronounced ``whack,'' and the term was also used to refer to the conscripts, so WAC was also ``the WACs.'' (For an example of this usage, recall these lines from the Cheap Trick song ``Surrender'':
Father says "Your mother's right, she's really up on things.
Before we married, mommy served in the WACs in the Philippines."
Now I had heard the WACs recruited old maids for the war.
But mommy isn't one of those, I've known her all these years.
Better yet, don't recall it.)

In fact, the corps was originally designated the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps and apparently abbreviated WAACs, but eventually the ``Auxiliary'' was dropped and WAC (no ess) became the official acronym, possibly following popular usage. I'd have to do a little work to track down the precise chronology, but that's my best understanding as of now.

The World Archaeological Congress. It ``is a non-governmental, not-for-profit organization and is the only archaeological organisation with elected global representation. Its programs are run by members who give their time in a voluntary capacity. Membership is open to archaeologists, heritage managers, students and members of the public.'' The World Archaeological Congress holds an International Congress every Julian leap year. The WAC was founded at the instigation of Prof. Peter J. Ucko, who died in June 2007.

Writing Across the Curriculum. It's something you do with a broad summary of the curriculum and a can of spray paint. It's ``a practical and theoretical stance that views writing as both a means of communicating and a way of making knowledge, thus implicitly acknowledging the need to help students improve their writing and to become active learners and makers of knowledge within their own disciplines.'' Uh, much obliged, thank you.

``One way to facilitate critical thinking [whatever that is]. ... [A m]ovement to broaden the scope of student writing beyond the confines of the English Department. [It's b]ased on the notion that writing increases subject area knowledge. [It's also b]ased on the notion that the subject area provides a necessary context for writing instruction.''

This reminds me of my experience trying to find out what ``AL'' (action learning) might be. At the time, I thought the circumstantial, almost evasive description was a symptom of business journalism.

Okay, after poking around some more, I've concluded that WAC is the practice of including inappropriate writing assignments in courses outside the English department, and the justification of this malpractice. WAC will take inches off your waistline and perform other wonders. Most of the people who advocate WAC sincerely believe that the process of writing is so intrinsically educational that adding writing assignments to a course is not an onerous distraction. (See WTL.) If I seriously believed this, I wouldn't assign any calculations. I'd assign homeworks like ``Think critically about the electronic eigenstates of the hydrogen atom. Consider alternative opinions. Present arguments for and against. Remember that in the real world there are no `right answers'.''

As long as we're going to have WAC, however, I think it'd only be fair to also have ``calculating across the curriculum.'' Students would be assigned calculations to back up the airy claims in their essays.

[Chicken in 19c.-tech truss]

West Australian Centre for Rural and Remote Medicine.

Wacky Patent of the Month
Recognized at this site.

Wireless Access Communication[s] System.

Women's Army CorpS, let's call it. Vide WAC supra.

World Anti-Doping Agency. Drug testing was the responsibility of the International Olympic Committee's Medical Commission starting in 1967. Widespread feeling that the commission's work was insufficient to the mounting scale of the doping problems led to international pressure on the IOC, which created WADA in 1999.

Since that time it's been headed by Dick Pound. Doping is detected by means of urinalysis.

West African Development Bank.

Western Air Express. Western Air Express was formed in July 1925 with six Douglas M-2 mailplanes and 20 employees. It provided mail and passenger service in 1926 between Los Angeles and Salt Lake City via Las Vegas. In 1930, WAE reached agreement with Transcontinental Air Transport to merge and form Transcontinental and Western Air Inc. (TWA). Although the deal fell apart (or something; I still haven't sorted out the company history), TAT kept its new name.

Widely Accessible Enterprise Management Solution. A ``complete ERP solution'' from Maxema Technologies.

West African Economic and Monetary Union.

ICAO designator for Flamenco Airways Inc.

Women in the (US) Air Force. Name for organization and for a member. Organized after WWII (see USAF), and since disbanded.

Work Approval Form.

The ``Palestine News Agency.'' (I haven't tracked down what it's supposed to mean yet.)

[Image of wafer]

A slice of single-crystal semiconductor with electronic circuits fabricated onto it. In anything less than wafer-scale integration (WSI), the circuits are repeated in multiple locations, and each segment of the wafer, after dicing, will be a distinct chip. The only reason I've bothered to state the obvious here is that it gives me an excuse to illustrate with a pretty gif at left depicting a wafer with circuit segments before dicing. (Gif is courtesy of Siemens, <http://www.siemens.de/Semiconductor/02_Products/PRODGIFS/WAFER.GIF> .)

Warm And Fuzzy Feeling. The usual implication is that this emotion cannot be experienced without a suspension of intellection.

Scottish: wave or flutter (intr. v. and n.).

Western Australian Farmers Federation.

German, 'weapon' (masculine noun).

Pejorative adjective from first acronym WAFF above.

Elmer Fudd's pronunciation of raft.

To drift gently on air or water currents, or to cause to do so.

Wild-Ass Guess. Cf. SWAG.

Washington [state] Academy of General Dentistry. A constituent of the AGD.

Wageningen UR
`Wageningen Universiteit en Researchcentrum. `Wageningen University and Research Center.' Its main strengths are in the Life Sciences. Wageningen is in the Netherlands, on the Lower Rhine.

Wageningen University (Wageningen Universiteit) was founded in 1918 as the Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen (literally `Wageningen Agricultural High School'), continuing the earlier Rijksland- en tuinbouwschool Wageningen (something like `Wageningen Royal Country and Horticulture School'). It was called the Landbouwuniversiteit Wageningen (`Wageningen Agricultural University'; you should be getting the hang of this by now) between 1986 and 2000, when it assumed its current name.

wages of sin
It's not a union scale. Different sins receive a different compensation or dispensation or whatever it is. There seem to be a lot of specializations; we'll be adding to this entry as our research team reports in new findings.

  1. Hypocrisy:
    Regular pay: the admiration of those you despise.
    Benefits: your real friends doubt your sincerity.
  2. Bank robbery:
    Regular pay: money.
    Benefits: If you do it right, you can contemn the amateurs mentioned at the invisible ink and future cell-phone-related entries.

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. They had to come up with a name that unavoidably suggests dogs?

West Anglia Great Northern Railway.

Western Association of Graduate Schools.

``The members of WAGS are accredited institutions of high education in the western United States and Canada that offer Master's and Doctoral degrees. WAGS is a regional association affiliated with the U.S. Council of Graduate Schools.''

WAGs, Wags
Wives And GirlfriendS. Implicitly, the WAGs of British soccer players, who were skewered viciously in the press for going out and having a little fun during the 2006 World Cup.

German, 'choice, election.' The verb wählen is to `vote, elect, choose.' A verb wele is attested in English manuscripts of the fourteenth century. That word, possibly borrowed from Old Norse, is used in the sense of `select.' A cognate wale (noun and verb) with similar meanings still survives in Scotland and northern England. The words are more distantly related to English will, German wollen, etc.

Washington Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. An affiliate of NAICU.

Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. An affiliate of NAICU. Offices on W. Washington Avenue. Look, would it have been that hard to come up with an acronym that wasn't already taken? All the big vowel states managed to avoid NAICU namespace collisions. (Alabama has AAICU, ... Alaska has no NAICU members, alas. See the NSF entry for a hypothetical reason. There's ``The Federation of Independent Illinois Colleges and Universities,'' ICI for Indiana, and IAICU for Iowa. Idaho has only two NAICU member schools as of fall 2003. There's AICUO for Ohio, OICU for Oklahoma, oh don't you cry for me, OICA for Oregon.)

World Association for Infant Mental Health. ``WAIMH's mission involves promoting ...'' the obvious, pretty much. It's not a profound defect, but it is a fault: WAIMH and some associated organizations have a little difficulty with the concept of a mission statement. A mission statement states a mission. Statements of what the mission ``involves'' or what the members are ``concerned with'' (in ``Purpose of KAIMH'') are of interest, and may illuminate the motivations behind the mission, but they do not belong in the mission statement. The problem is not just formal and logical. If ``mission involves promoting'' can be replaced by ``mission is to promote,'' failure to do so is a sign that the author or authors of the statement were inattentive.

The organization has official names in Spanish, French, and German: Asociación Mundial Para La Salud Mental Infantil, Association Mondiale de Santé Mentale du Nourrison, Internationale Gesellschaft für Seelische Gesundheit in der frühen Kindheit.

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. An IQ test originally devised by David Wechsler in the 1950's. [Pronounced ``wayce.''] The original tests were also called the Wechsler-Bellevue Scale, after Wechsler and his affiliation, Bellevue Hospital. 1996 was the centennial of David Wechsler's birth, and advances in IQ testing stand as a continuing rebuke to the notion that, with intelligence, things improve over time.

The scores on Wechsler subtests are scaled to a mean of 10 and a standard deviation of 3. They combine (and evidently rescale by a factor of 1/2) to get an overall IQ score with a mean of 100 and standard deviation of 15.

This test is not used as widely, but it's faster. This one takes longer.


West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Cf. EAIS.

Wide-Area Information Server. Refers to a particular protocol that has essentially been superseded (overwhelmed, actually) by the WWW.

It was invented by Brewster Kahle, who eventually sold it to America OnLine (AOL) for $15 million. I really can hardly believe this -- I can't figure out what part of WAIS is sellable. (But more power to him!) Oh, well. This according to The Chronicle of Higher Education, 6 March 1998, in an article by Jeffrey Selingo on Kahle's subsequent venture, a nonprofit archiving of the web (the Internet Archive), and a suite of search tools, Alexa, that evolved out of that effort. Alexa has since been sold to Amazon, but still donates its archiving crawls (two months apiece) to the Internet Archive, with a six-month delay. Since the beginning of 1999, only text has been archived, and no images.

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, III. Current (1999) version of WAIS. Most commonly used IQ test for US adults.

Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Revised (WAIS tests after substantial revision of 1981). [Pronounced ``wayce-are.'']

Certain terms are used to characterize the scores, of population fractions computed on the assumption that the distribution is normal (the mean and standard deviation are adjusted to maintain mean 100, standard deviation 15, despite changing raw scores that depend on questions selected).

WAIS-R Score Interpretation
Designation IQ range population fraction so designated
Very Superior >130 2.2%
Superior 120-129 6.7%
Bright average 110-119 16.1%
Average 90-109 50.0%
Low average 80-89 16.1%
Borderline intellectual functioning 70-79 6.7%
Mild retardation 50-69 2.2%
Moderate retardation 35-49
Severe retardation 20-34
Profound retardation <20

The verb wait is intransitive, although there is an established idiom ``wait your turn.'' There's a perfectly serviceable transitive verb await, but with some exceptions (like ``await further developments''), it seems to be regarded as stiff or formal. Thus, what would be the direct object of await is normally drafted into a prepositional phrase, to function as an adverbial modifying wait. As recently as the 1990's, the standard preposition was for. To await clearance was to wait for clearance, for example. One waits for an event, and the object of the preposition for is either the event, or an object (person or thing) whose arrival, availability, readiness or whatever is the awaited event.

Alternatively, the verb wait often takes a prepositional phrase in on. Traditionally, this construction had a different meaning and the preposition on took a different kind of object. To wait on a person is to serve that person. (See Waiting. Or read it; I don't think it's been made into a movie yet. Sorry.)

Sometime in the mid-1990's, I began to hear people in fast-food restaurants (you know -- hot food-item retailers) saying things like ``I'm waiting on the fries.'' Under the old rules, the ``on'' should have been ``for.'' I don't know if fast-food workers were the vectors that transmitted this language disorder to the wider public, but wherever it broke out originally, it's epidemic now.

Waiting: the true confessions of a waitress, by Debra Ginsberg, copyright 2000. (It was a bestseller; the paperback came out with an epilogue, © 2001.)

One topic not discussed in the book is cigarette smoking (she does discuss cigars), even though it is an important seating issue. My impression is that most waiters and waitresses smoke, though rarely do they reek. More at the non entry. (I mean the entry for non.)

Other entries of this glossary that cite Waiting:

  1. black bra
  2. BO
  3. Hold the onions.
  4. LBI
  5. paddy wagon
  6. restaurant virgin
  7. wait
  8. wait staff
  9. WANT

wait staff, waitstaff
Yeah, it's an ugly locution. It occurs primarily in help-wanted ads and signs. Some restaurants probably use it to cover their legal ass, but certainly not all. At Panorama, the last time it was still in business, I noticed a paper sign in the traying area that warned the ``ladies'' to do or not do something or other. After they hired a waiter, a little caret and the text ``and gentlemen'' was scrawled in. FWIW, the proprietor at the time was a former waiter. At Nick's, Richard now works some hours as a host and some as a waiter. When there are no men working as waiters, he refers to the waitstaff as the ``girls,'' just as the girls themselves do. (The term is not used in the strictest sense. Some of these ``girls'' are white-haired grandmothers.) I guess the take-away here is that restaurant people have too many real problems to deal with, to spend too much time worrying about the finest niceties of political correctness.

Some restaurants might use ``waitstaff'' because it's shorter than ``waiter or waitress'' or ``waiters and waitresses'' or whatever. Many probably use it because elegant language is not a specialty of the house. It wouldn't be a problem if the sexually marked (``gendered'') term waitress were not so common, because then waiter might be confidently regarded as an unmarked term. Just be glad that such gendered occupational terms are the exception rather than the rule in English. We have but a sample, a taste, of the problems and awkwardness that are widespread in languages like French, Spanish, and German.

The obvious word server, although indifferently male or female, has some problems of its own: some people dislike the associations of serve, particularly the word servant. Also, serving food is only one part of waiting table, and server is the natural word for the those who, in some restaurants, do a part of the serving that waiters and waitresses don't do. (And in small restaurants that are not dysfunctional, anybody in the ``front of the house'' will water tables and do similar stuff to take some of the pressure off any waiters or waitresses who are headed for the weeds.)

There are subtle indications, moreover (I seem to recall a suggestion in that direction in Waiting), of a semantic distinction that would make the term wait staff somewhat useful and hence not so ugly. That is, ``wait staff'' can be taken to comprise not just waiters and waitresses but other restaurant employees in the front of the house, particularly busboys, bartenders, and hosts (hosts and hostesses, maîtres d', seaters, greeters, choose your term).

Once past the want ads, in any case, one does not yet find the restaurant business to be roiled by sexual correctness. Managers at most restaurants do seem to be genuinely indifferent to whether they hire waiters or waitresses -- their problem is usually finding enough. (Certainly the ancient complaint about women not making a career of it doesn't matter: waiting is highly transient work.) On the other hand, most of the waiters and waitresses in the local restaurants are in fact waitresses (or waiters in convincing drag, I suppose). It seems that all of the front of the house is becoming increasingly feminized, with busgirls tending to replace busboys, and hostesses replacing hosts even on the night shift. The usual collective term for waiters and waitresses is ``the girls'' (as noted earlier). The last maps I saw of table assignments were labeled ``two-girl assignments, three-girl assignments'' and so forth.

In Plainville, USA, an anthropological study of a small, isolated farming town in the Midwest, there's a discussion of occupations, and naturally for the era (pre-WWII), the available options were more restricted for women than for men. Those options were further narrowed by societal pressures.

... ``Working out'' (housework) is considered undignified. It is not thought good for a girl to train herself for secretarial or office work in a large city. A few girls do get jobs ``outside,'' [out of the Plainville area] in factories and offices, or as waitresses, housemaids, and hotel maids, but with much difficulty because their families (and in a sense the whole community) must know much about the job in advance before feeling that their daughters will be ``safe.'' Parents of a girl doing housework for a city family sometimes boast about how ``rich'' the family is and how well they ``treat'' the girl, so that people at home will not think of her as simply ``working out.'' When a girl becomes a ``hasher'' (waitress) or hotel maid in Largetown or elsewhere, as some lower-class girls do, she is generally assumed to have become a prostitute also.

I was reminded of this when I read about a case study by the psychiatrist Hervey Cleckley, of a 20-year-old woman he referred to as ``Roberta.'' It was published in The Mask of Sanity: An Attempt To Clarify Some Issues About the So-Called Psychopathic Personality (St. Louis: C.V. Mosby Co., 2/e 1950), as the second of twelve chapters, one per person, in a subsection illustrating ``The Disorder in Full Clinical Manifestation.''

Roberta became his patient in the early 1940's, so her experiences coincide closely with the period of the first Plainville study. She left her parents' home one day without a word, going off to a distant town to visit a boyfriend who turned out to be away. Perhaps there was nothing in her behavior (before she became a petty thief and forger) that would have been strange if she'd been a girl from a poor family and had no home to go to, except that she hardly cared what anyone thought. She bumped around briefly, then took a bus to Charlotte, North Carolina. ``Reaching Charlotte, she had little trouble finding small jobs in restaurants and stores. She supported herself for several days by working but found her funds barely provided for room and food. She thereupon began to spend the nights with various tipsy soldiers, travelling salesmen, and other men who showed inclination to pick her up. With all these she had sexual intercourse.''

Wait! You've got ads!
A more accurate AOL greeting than the usual ``Welcome! You've got mail!''

Informative variant:

Wait, sucker! Your welcome screen and email inbox are infested with AOL ads!

Wallpaper of Sound
Disco Rocks!   DISCO Rocks!   Disco ROCKS!   DISCO ROCKS!   Disco 
Rocks!   DISCO Rocks!   Disco ROCKS!   DISCO ROCKS!   Disco Rocks!
   DISCO Rocks!   Disco ROCKS!   DISCO ROCKS!   Disco Rocks!   DIS
CO Rocks!   Disco ROCKS!   DISCO ROCKS!   Disco Rocks!   DISCO Roc
ks!   Disco ROCKS!   DISCO ROCKS!   Disco Rocks!   DISCO Rocks!   
Disco ROCKS!   DISCO ROCKS!   Disco Rocks!   DISCO Rocks!   Disco 
ROCKS!   DISCO ROCKS!   Disco Rocks!   DISCO Rocks!   Disco ROCKS!
   DISCO ROCKS!   Disco Rocks!   DISCO Rocks!   Disco ROCKS!   DIS
CO ROCKS!   Disco Rocks!   DISCO Rocks!   Disco ROCKS!   DISCO ROC
KS!   Disco Rocks!   DISCO Rocks!   Disco ROCKS!   DISCO ROCKS!   

In 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 minute lengths. Volume and academic discounts also available. FM 95.9 in Youngstown, Ohio, claims to be the home of ``ALL THE HITS!'' I find this conceptually challenging.

Not me!

Wide-Angle Large Reflective Unobscured System. At this point in the glossary, I should probably point out that this entry is entirely serious. At least, I am completely serious. If there's a joke here it was someone else's.

What A Long Strange Trip It's Been. Famous line from the Grateful Dead song ``Truckin'.''

World Association for Laser Therapy. Such a jaunty, out-patient sort of name!

Workload Assessment Monitor. A strain gauge of sorts.

Wroclawska Akademia Medyczna. I suppose this expansion may have been the official name at one time, since it accounts for the abbreviation, but U never know. It is now Akademia Medyczna we Wroclawiu. It traces its history back to August 1945, when it was constituted primarily by faculty displaced from Jan Kazimierz University in L'vov.

Web Application Meets Bricks And Mortar. Cf. DOTBAM.

Hey, suffragette!

World Assembly of Muslim Youth.

Wide Area Network. May cover a region as wide as a nation. Usually has point-to-point links.

World Animal Network.

White Anglo-Norman Gendarme. A personals-ad abbreviation. Well, ``wang'' occasionally occurs in personal ads; I imagine that this is usually what it means.

I just received some unsolicited email offering electronic devices, and the sender's company name included ``Wangma.'' I thought that was kind of funny, so I've decided to share.

wan smile
Duffer's victory jig.

Wages And Not Tips. A defunct extremist group ``whose members leave business cards with their checks stating that they don't believe in tipping. According to this group, employers should pay their employees fairly and spare the customer the agony of trying to calculate and then fork over a tip. Get a life, I [Debra Ginsberg, in Waiting] say. And watch your back on the way out of the restaurant...'' (p. 32 in the paperback edition).

I have to admit that I was slightly skeptical when I read this, particularly after a Google search turned up only one mention of the group, and that one was in a review of Ginsberg's book. It's nonfiction, but it's published by HarperCollins. (I did run across a clearly nonfictional Anti-Tipping Society of America that flourished in the first quarter of the 20th century.)

So you can imagine my surprise a few years ago when I received an email complaining that this entry was ``seriously misleading,'' and confirming all the details of Debra Ginsberg's description quoted above. My correspondent also judged that the ``members of W.A.N.T. were [praise the tense] certainly not extremists in any sense of the word.'' Well, I didn't call them terrorists. They were more like people who steal things for themselves not because they want to break the law but because they don't believe in private property. The group certainly never represented more than an extreme minority of diners, and in this sense its extremeness was a welcome thing. All one could ask was that they had become a more extreme minority more quickly.

According to my helpful informant, the group was founded by Richard Busemeyer in December 1987. Here is the text on the card (bifold, business size) that members of his organization distributed:

   About Your Tip
Please do not be offended because you have not received a monetary tip. It has nothing to do with your service.

I am a member of WANT (Wages And Not Tips). We are against the antiquated practice of tipping because:

   It is unfair to employees who are underpaid and, therefore, must depend on degrading themselves for tips.
   It is unfair to consumers who are made to feel that tipping is a necessary part of certain businesses, even though the service provided is due the customer at the posted prices.
   Unfair to the government (all of us) because taxes are often not paid on tips received.

It is unfortunate that you must suffer until the practice is changed and you are paid fair wages.

Please show this to your employer. Tell him you don't want handouts, you want a paycheck.

Thank you.
W.A.N.T. Wages and not tips

(There was a Cincinnati post office box address.)

In 1988, the US minimum wage for restaurant staff ``eligible for tips'' was $2.01 an hour. By 2010 it had soared to $2.13 an hour. (I double checked: Kellie showed me her pay statement.) At the local (Northern Indiana) family restaurants, the de jure minimum wage is also the de facto maximum wage. The IRS assumes that waiters earn tips equal to 12.5% of sales billed to their patrons. (Before you do the arithmetic, you may want to read the tipout entry.)

I remember once after a long afternoon at a Tempe pub, my Mancunian friend S. tossed a clearly inadequate quantity of change on the table and it dawned on me that he had performed no calculation. Some people seem to leap from the correct proposition that tipping is an approximate science to the fantasy that it is nonquantitative. (His wife, who once worked as a waitress, was there at the time; I'm pretty sure that his poor tipping habits weren't the main cause of their eventual divorce, but it probably didn't help.)

Ginsberg reports: ``I've actually seen fights break out over which country, France or Germany, has the cheapest diners.'' (Page 40; she considers and dismisses the ignorance alibi.)

For the first couple of years after Bernard Shaw moved to London, he managed to avoid holding a job. His first regular employment there was in 1879, when he spent some months working for the Edison Telephone Company. In the preface to his second novel, The Irrational Knot, he explains that he derived some enjoyment from the discomfiture of visitors, who were uncertain whether they ought to tip him after he demonstrated the operation of the telephone for them.

One suspects that he enjoyed their discomfiture in part because of his own severe shyness, described in the preface to Immaturity. (If you've never seen a GBS play between covers, you may not realize that most of his works were written as excuses for prefaces.)

(Before you judge all this discomfiture and shyness too harshly, recognize that the events and circumstances under discussion took place in the Victorian era, the high point in concern for propriety. By ``concern'' I mean that propriety was understood to be the larger part of morality.)

Returning home for the Summer at the end of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, as the Hogwarts Express pulls into the station, Harry gives his best friends his phone number. To Ron, a pureblood wizard, he has to give some clarifying information (is it okay if I call it a ``tip''?): ``This is called a telephone number. I told your dad how to use a telephone last summer -- he'll know.''

Wire ANTenna.

Weak Anthropic Principle. See Martin Gardner: ``WAP, SAP, FAP, and PAP,'' New York Review of Books, May 8, 1987.

Wireless Application Protocol. Used for passing nonvoice data between a (digital) mobile phone and the internet. Enables browsing on a small screen (of downloaded maps, say), remote device control, and other spiffy stuff. Documents downloaded via WAP have formatting indicated using WML tags, much as documents retrieved via HTTP use HTML.

A search engine adapted for ease of use via WAP is WapItOut.

Wisconsin Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Western (US) Association of Pre-Law Advisors. Are you supposed to think of ``whiplash'' and ambulance chasers? For other US regional pre-law advising organizations, see the list at SWAPLA.

WAshington POst. One of the most important newspapers in the US. Back in 1984, the Washington Post Company bought Stanley Kaplan's test-prep company (for pennies -- a paltry 4.5 billion pennies). Kaplan, Inc., had revenues of 2.3 billion dollars in 2008, and the Washington Post is one of the most financially secure newspapers in the country. There's some more information on the newspaper at the entry for WP.

World Administrative Radio Conference.

In my limited experience, it seems that the dominant sense of this word shifted over the second half of the twentieth century, from an item of furniture to a collectivity of clothing. Anyway, here are various meanings:
  1. A piece of furniture for hanging clothes. A free-standing closet with one or two doors and a rail or hooks. It's usually tall enough to hang an ankle-length dress.
  2. A piece of furniture for holding a TV set, with a door or two, tall enough so things placed on top will be forgotten when you check out, with a rail and problematical hangers, and enough clearance so that at least a tank top can hang free. Please fill out the dry-cleaning form.
  3. A collection of clothing. When a woman says ``I have nothing to wear,'' it's this wardrobe that gets to say ``so what am I, chopped liver?'' Yeah, I had the same kinky thought.

Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. A nonprofit entity founded in 1925 to ``promote, encourage, and aid scientific investigation and research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison'' (UW). It's located inland.

The old WARF page is still accessible.

Japanese: `disposable chopstick[s].' The general word for chopsticks is hashi, and wari means `break.' Disposable chopsticks are made of wood. Plastic chopsticks are considered reusable. I feel better now about washing my plastic cutlery sometimes.

Until the 1980's, about half the disposable chopsticks used in Japan were produced domestically. I'm not sure, but I imagine the rest came mostly from Korea or North America. Then China started supplying them at a much lower price: one to two yen -- less than one or two US cents -- per pair. Does that include a neat paper wrapper that you can fold into a chopstick rest?

Either way, by 2006, Japanese were using 25 billion pairs per year -- about 200 pair per capita per annum -- over 90% from China. In 2005, Chinese producers started raising prices in response to increased wood supply prices. The PRC government imposed a 5% tax on wooden chopstick exports, and warned that it would eventually ban waribashi exports altogether. (The Japanese newspapers Mainichi and Nihon Keizai reported that the cut-off might occur as early as 2008.)

I suppose that fractionally, 50% price increases are more shocking than the gas-price increases we've seen in the same period, but this still seems like a sandstorm in a ricebowl to me. If this were a news article, a few more lines would write themselves -- search for alternate suppliers (Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia), shift to bamboo, blah blah blah. Elementary economics isn't a required high-school subject, so the newspapers teach it on a daily basis. Plastic chopsticks cost about 100 yen a pair, and can be reused about 130 times, according to a spokesman for the Osaka-based restaurant-chain operator Marche Corp., which switched its 760 outlets to plastic in February 2006 after testing various after testing various alternatives. Don't soap and water cost too?

War is not the answer.
It isn't? Oh -- you were thinking of a different question!

warm body
A person employed primarily for his or her unskilled presence. A baby-sitter for equipment. The first time I encountered this term it was in connection with a tandem Van de Graaff accelerator. For some reason the building that housed it had to be occupied at all times. I've also heard the term used to describe students during their early presence in a research lab. Although they're not immediately useful, the hope and sometimes even the design is that they will learn something and eventually become useful.

Sorry, this one doesn't work with the daily mirror.

War of the Words
The twilight struggle of the sciences and would-be sciences.

The word war, like the cold war, began during the last stages of the last world war. Large parts of the German lexical apparatus were dismantled and reassembled in the new enemy camps, recruited willy-nilly into the new war effort. Members of the Frankfurt school were given American citizenship, and many frankfurters were bought outright by the CIA (q.v.). Grievous two-page-long extended adjective constructions were quietly ``forgotten,'' though the authors had shown no signs of remorse.

The infusion of German word technology had varied but deep effects. For example, ``characteristic vector'' was definitively replaced by the superior ``eigenvector,'' and the clumsy, incomprehensible ``social sciences'' has begun to be superseded by the graceful, selbstverständliche ``Geisteswissenschaften.'' This is the kind of word that can make you proud of your work, no matter how humble the work really ought to make you feel. Words like Heideggerian, Freudian, and Schadenfreudian have enriched technical vocabulary by providing synonyms for obscurantist, sexual and nyah-nyah that are precise and dignified. The metric system has been introduced, and now the measure of words is taken accurately in gleaming modern meters, instead of stinky feet. (Similarly, weighty literary output is reckoned in kilograms, instead of the board-feet used in an earlier, more superficial time.)

Eventually, word warriors came to the startling realization that foreign words are unknown in the languages of adoption. It was realized that this is not a disadvantage but an opportunity: a foreign word can be regarded as a tabula rasa [Latin term, pronounced ``tucker,'' meaning `dry bucket']. That is, an authentic sequence of letters that constitute a foreign word, just as they are not (indeed, generally cannot be) pronounced as in the original language, also can be assigned fanciful meanings and nuances that did not exist in the original language. This idea was put most famously into practice with Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft, reinvented by C. P. Loomis in his translation Community and Society (Lansing: Michigan St. U. P., 1957) of Ferdinand Tönnies's Gemeinschaft und Gesellschaft (1887). (Tönnies is spelled Toennies in German when ö is unavailable. ``Tonnies'' is a misspelling.)

(You know, I don't want to interrupt the careful logic of this intricate argument, but right around now I'm hoping that you've visited the floating signifier entry.)

[column] Today, the war consumes ever-increasing quantities of precious national intellectual resources, in a never-ending race for the illusory security of the ``respectability high ground.'' For example, after organic chemistry revolutionized table-talk with the cis-trans buzz-dichotomy, sociological word wizards working without sleep rigged up etic-emic to reëstablish parity. Similarly, when Comte, knowing the proverbial small Latin and less Greek, combined the two in the transgenic coinage ``sociology,'' he established a standard of etymologic mischief unequaled until Electrical Engineering answered: first with electrocute and, finally and definitively, with television--whose language-destructive megatonnage is unquestioned and unrivaled.

It has been computed that current stockpiles of hot air and smoke are enough to toast the literate world's remaining gray matter to a cinder six and a half times over, and impose a mental ``nuclear winter'' longer than Andy Warhol's movie ``Empire.'' Nevertheless, terrifying new words continue to be mass-produced. In this balance of terrible words, there is not an exact parity, but the opponent sides have different weaknesses. For example, physics has a near monopoly on whimsy, while sociology edges out electrical engineering for acronyms -- well-named ``the concussion grenades of semiotics'' in the popular expression. This balance of terrible is well-characterized as ``MAD,'' to borrow the expression of war historian Robert Strange McNamara.

As the word race continues to escalate, still more dangerous locutions are invented and quickly put into the field. Sometimes, in the rush to keep up, corners are cut in the certification process. The tragic incident involving [CENSORED], which was quickly withdrawn from journals, has been a sobering lesson to us all. (Do not attempt to speak this word in your own mouth! A trained CPR specialist must be present!) Accomplished polyglot linguists have been known to bite themselves badly during alpha testing of powerful neologisms. Even now, not all details of the SartreMañanaWeltanschauungshello,world particle project debacle have yet been revealed. Maybe we don't want to know.

If you've read this far, you may need stronger insomnia medicine. Try Husserl's contemptibly ignorant, condemnably stentorian, and widely admired The Crisis of European Sciences. If you want to know the etymology of Geisteswissenschaften, see the calque entry.

War of the Worlds
A festival for W alliterators. The original story was a novel by H. G. Wells, and adapted for radio by Orson Welles (on Mischief Night 1938) [ftnt. 36]. The setting was changed from England to New Jersey, and a lot of people got very scared when it was broadcast. It's considered a classic of mass hysteria. Every few minutes, an announcer would break in to mention that the news-like reporting was actually part of a fictional radio program, but there were a lot of people with whom this didn't register.

To be fair, I think it was confusing because the story started out as a series of intermittent news flash interruptions in a music format entertainment. The whole thing had the authentic feel of the disorder surrounding a mounting disaster.

For a better account, try Hadley Cantril's The invasion from Mars: a study in the psychology of panic: with the complete script of the famous Orson Welles broadcast.

Although press accounts at the time suggested widespread hysteria, more recent research suggests that press reports were exaggerated.

The multiple threads in a loom, transverse to which the shuttle is passed (the thread on the shuttle is the weave). I'm tired right now. If anyone has the energy, let me know if that's right.

warp speed
The cube root of beta, the dimensionless velocity in natural units. In other words, warp 8 is 512 × c.

Workplace ARrogance Scale. It's an instrument developed by Stan Silverman, dean of The University of Akron's Summit College, Aarti Shyamsunder of Kronos, Inc., and Russell Johnson of the University of South Florida. (Considering the subject, I figured that listing the affiliations is de rigeur.) It was for a study of that they presented in New York City at the 22nd annual conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, in a paper entitled ``Arrogance: A Formula for Failure.'' I guess that kinda gives away the big secret. It's almost a definition: arrogance is bad pride. They also discovered that ``the more arrogant you are, the more self-centered and the less agreeable you're likely to be.'' Wow, how did they ever figure that out? WARS.

Writing Apprehension Scale. A questionaire created by J.A. Daly and M.D. Miller to measure ``writing apprehension.'' Here apprehension means fear. I suppose that's clear enough in the precise context of writing; ``reading apprehension,'' I fear, could be understood as the understanding of what is read.

WAS was first described in this pair of articles by Daly and Miller in volume 9 of Research in the Teaching of English:

  1. ``The empirical development of an instrument to measure writing apprehension,'' pp. 242-249.
  2. ``Further studies on writing apprehension: SAT scores, success expectations, willingness to take advanced courses and sex difference,'' pp. 250-256.

There's also something related, called the ``Writer's Block Questionnaire'' created by M. Rose and detailed in Appendix A of his Writers Block: The Cognitive Dimension, (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1984). However, there is an evident reluctance to abbreviate this by WBQ. I don't know why, but I can't bring myself to write an entry for it in this acronym glossary.

West African Science Association. Publishes the West African Journal of Science.

Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. As they say on the homepage,
Welcome to The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates. Generated by the USDA, used by the USTR to set TRQ's.

wasei eigo
Japanese for `Homemade English.' E.g.: ``salaryman'' [ftnt. 6] (white-collar worker), OP (overhead projector). Similar things happen in other languages. For example, in France the British terms pull-over (Amer. sweater, Span. pulóver), bulldog, and water closet (WC; Amer.: bathroom) have been shortened to ``pull,'' ``bull,'' and ``water,'' while sports terminology like ``recordman,'' ``Rugbyman,'' and ``supercrack'' has been invented. These are old and have gone somewhat out of use, but the emergence of English as the international lingua franca of science and commerce has expanded the scope of the phenomenon beyond historical extrapolation. [In fact, each of the non-sports terms was unfamiliar to at least one Frenchman interviewed for this entry, but all terms were familiar to at least one. There are substantial regional variations in usage.] The world is taking its revenge for the promiscuous miscegenation that the English language has been for centuries.

I should note that although eigo means `English,' it is not a derived from the word English. It's not a simplified pronunciation, just a coincidence. (On g for ng, see this ng entry.)

A town in about two thirds of the states. There is no town of Washington in the state of Washington; that would be confusing. Originally, only a part of the District of Columbia was called Washington.

When the Moonies tried to recruit me in San Francisco, they accosted me with the line ``Haven't we met before?'' (This works on men, maybe that's why we expect it to work on women.) ``Have you ever been in Washington?'' Sure I'd been in Washington... the District of Columbia. Being from the East, I didn't think of Washington State. That's all I wanted to say.

Washington (state) Assessment of Student Learning.

A superannuated ism.

White Anglo-Saxon Male. An acronym constructed on the model of WASP. Happily, it is not so widely used.

World Association for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME's).

Was it me, or wasn't it? Only my hairdresser knows for sure.

This joke is really very funny, and you should have laughed your head off. Seriously, you should be experiencing severe intestinal pain, and there should be dirt from the floor adhering to the clothing on your outer thighs. (I assume you are dressed, formally, as you read this. This is a decent glossary.) Let me explain: there was once an ad campaign for some hair product, sold to dissimulate youth and beauty, that had the catch phrase ``Does she, or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure.'' This was a cultural reference. No longer at sea, you have your bearings in alphabet soup.

What color was Ronald Reagan's hair?

A flying insect with a sting.

White Anglo-Saxon Protestant. An acronym explicated and given currency by E. Digby Baltzell in his The Protestant Establishment: Aristocracy and Caste in America (Yale U. P., 1964). E. B. Palmore defined and used it in a 1962 journal article.

Women's Auxiliary Service Pilot. Women pilots in the USAAF/USAAC, assigned to noncombat duties that included ferrying bombers to Britain and towing targets for gunnery practice. More than a thousand served. Cf. WAC. (I don't want you to get the idea that I'm in any way bothered about this, really, but a common term of disparagement for women -- before we all became enlightened in 1970, I mean -- has been waspish, meaning highly irritable or easily irritated. YOU'D THINK SOMEONE MIGHT HAVE GIVEN THAT FACT A MOMENT'S THOUGHT, WOULDN'T YOU??!!)

Wide-Angle Search for Planets. The WASP Consortium is a UK-based international group that is conducting a kind of star-magnitude monitoring program. They detect exoplanets (planets beyond the solar system) by regularly photographing large chunks of sky (hence the ``wide-angle''), something made possible by CCD cameras. Every morning, a small army of graduate students pores over the results (up to 50,000 stars per image) to see if anyone notices any transitory decrease in light intensity that would indicate the transit of a planet. Oh wait-- they use computers instead. Whatever.

The consortium has used the WASP acronym productively, as in WASP0 (for a prototype instrument) and SuperWASP (for the current stage of projects. The acronym was originally used with the expansion Wide Angle Survey Patrol in an unsuccessful funding proposal by astronomers at Leicester University. This shows that it's not enough just to have a good acronym; there has to be a good expansion backing it up.

German adjective meaning `bleached blond' or `peroxide blond.' (Literally `hydrogen blond.' Also verbed: wasserstoffblondieren.)

Was soll...?
Start of a common German idiomatic form. Sollen is a modal verb corresponding approximately to English `should.' In English and German indicative sentences, an omitted verb after this modal is understood to be do or machen, respectively, with the same meaning. The notion of intentionality is stretched a little further with sollen, however. When the subject of the verb is inanimate, then sollen essentially means `has the purpose of' or `means.' (This is probably a good moment to contemplate the English expressions `I mean to' and `I purpose.' Yes: ``purpose'', not ``propose''; the expression is a little out of use.) This is perhaps not so distant from English usage, but in questions it can look decidedly odd to an Anglophone. My grandfather used to say ``Was soll das schlechte Leben?'' This meant roughly, `Why suffer?' (Das schlechte Leben is `the bad life.')

In the tenth of his ten Duino Elegies, Rilke wrote (ll. 44-48):

                                        Wo? Und der Jüngling
folgt. Ihn rührt ihre Haltung. Die Schulter, der Hals--, vielleicht
ist sie von herrlicher Herkunft. Aber er läßt sie, kehrt um,
wendet sich, winkt . . . Was solls? Sie ist eine Klage.

From a translation published in 1939 (by J.B. Leishman, in collaboration with Stephen Spender)

                                        Where? And the youth
follows. He's touched by her manner. Her shoulder, her neck,--perhaps
she comes of a famous stock? But he leaves her, turns back,
looks round, nods . . . What's the use? She's just a Lament.

Wafer Acceptance Test.

WATerloo coBOL. A COBOL compiler developed at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.


Writing Across The Curriculum. A less common initialism than WAC. Why should I tell you what it is? No one told me. I'll tell you about it instead. It's a program intended to compensate for the fact that illiterates are admitted to college.

Working group on the Assessment of Toxic CHemicals. Ahh, for the good old days when people arranged their organization names to yield felicitous acronyms.

Writers, Artists, and Their Copyright Holders. ``[A] database containing primarily the names and addresses of copyright holders or contact persons for authors and artists whose archives are housed, in whole or in part, in libraries and archives in North America and the United Kingdom. The objective in making the database available is to provide information to scholars about whom to contact for permission to publish text and images that still enjoy copyright protection. WATCH is a joint project of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Reading Library, Reading, England (what a great address for a university library!).

watching TV
Making an investment of time in an information tedium.

A fascinating fluid. Lethal if taken in sufficient quantities. I don't mean sufficient quantities in the wrong places (drowning). I refer instead to the fact that sometimes, people attempt to pass urine drug tests (with emphasis on the word pass, I suppose) by drinking a lot of water, and they can suffer seizures as a result. I don't know if Gatorade would be any better, but at least Pocari Sweat is amusing. For further amusement, see this, if the link ever comes up again.

We have local entries for DHMO, dry water, hard water, and heavy water.

In other languages, the English word water has sometimes been borrowed with the meaning of `flush toilet,' as a shortened form of water closet (W.C.).

water hammer
Shock wave in a closed channel (vide open channel). A serious problem when a water pipe is abruptly closed, or when water filling an empty pipe suddenly meets an obstruction. Because water is substantially incompressible, either of these events creates a shock wave traveling back through the column of water whose flow has been impeded. The resultant stresses at bends or other irregularities in the pipe (joins, constrictions) can far exceed the nominal hydrostatic pressure or ordinary inertial stresses. (The only silver lining is that yield strength of materials is generally greater for stresses applied suddenly and briefly than for those applied continuously.)

Shock absorbers for this effect are called ``water-hammer arrestors'' (``...arresters'' is a common enough variant).

WATER Information Sharing and Analysis Center. ``[T]he most comprehensive and up-to-the-minute online resource of security information for America's drinking and wastewater utilities. It provides a unique link between the water sector and federal environmental, homeland security, law enforcement, intelligence and public health agencies.''

WATER Security Channel. ``[A] free service of WaterISAC designed to disseminate security information [by email] to the broadest wastewater and drinking water community.''

WATerloo Fortran IV. Another FORTRAN-IV compiler developed at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. Successor to WATFOR infra. See also WATBOL.

WATerloo FORtran. A FORTRAN compiler developed at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. Succeeded by WATFIV supra.

Wireless ATM. Technology for interfacing wireless communication and ATM.

Wide-Area Telephone Service. Those 800-numbers are WATS lines.

Wireless Access Telecommunication[s] Service.

Watts' Dictionary of Chemistry
This isn't an entry; it's a footnote, okay? If respected publishers can put footnotes at the end of a book or at the end of a chapter or in some other unlikely place, I can put them in the middle of the glossary. If this bothers you, please scroll this entry down to the foot of the window.

When I refer to Watts' Dictionary of Chemistry in this glossary, if I should ever happen to do so, I will mean the edition revised and entirely rewritten by H. Forster Morley, M.A., D.Sc. (Fellow of University College, London, and Professor of Chemistry at Queen's College, London) and M.M. Pattison Muir, M.A. (Fellow, and Prælector in Chemistry, of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge), assisted by eminent contributors, in four volumes, published in 1892 (London and New York: Longmans, Green, and Co.). Each volume is about 800 or 900 pages long and each page is loaded down with long cellulose fibers and words. Don't pick a fight with a chemistry librarian.

On second thought, maybe I'll just pop all that interesting text into every entry that mentions the work, making this entry, err, footnote, entirely superfluous.

Writing Across The University. Same as WATC.

Wireless Access for Vehicular Environments.

wave motion
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse:
All that in idea seemed simple became in practice immediately complex; as the waves shape themselves symmetrically from the cliff top, but to the swimmer among them are divided by steep gulfs, and foaming crests.

Another thing you probably didn't have in mind was the action of waves on surfboards.

Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (in the US Navy). WWII organization that served as a kind of ``Ladies' Auxiliary'' of the Navy before women were allowed to join on a more equal basis. The British equivalent was WRNS.

Wide-Area Wireless.

Women in the Ancient World: The Arethusa Papers, edited by John P. Peradotto and J. P. Sullivan (Albany, 1984).

Wide-Angle X-Ray Diffraction. Contrasted with SAXD.

Wigner-Araki-Yanase (theorem). John Baez gives a description.

What Are You Doing?


World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Wazoo, Wazu
WAshington State University. These friendly nicknames are extremely rare on wsu.edu webpages, suggesting that it might be regarded as pejorative or disrespectful by Cougar fans. Too bad.

Waiver Business. A travel status in the US equivalent to a B-1 visa. Nationals of certain countries can visit the US for up to ninety (90) days under the conditions that hold for the B-1 visa, but instead of applying for a B-1 visa from a US consulate before traveling, they just get an I-94 card with the notation ``WB.'' (``WT'' works the same way for the same term, but under the conditions of a B-2 visa.)

As of this writing (January 2001), these are the twenty-nine countries in the visa waiver program:

Brunei? For now, I guess. When the oil runs out in another decade and they're poorer than Indonesians, maybe things'll be different. Interestingly, there's been no change in the list of participating countries in the five years since I put this list in.

Canadians don't get I-94 cards unless they request them, and are assumed to be in B-visa status.

Warner Brothers. Now just a piece of Time Warner (the former AOL Time Warner). There was a network of television stations that calls itself ``the double-yoo be.'' (I think that's right; I probably never watched it.) In 2006, the WB network as such ceased operations and its content was absorbed into a new network called The CW.

Welcome Back. Chatese.

West Bank. Territory between the Jordan River and the 1949 cease-fire boundary (the ``green line'') between Israel and Jordan (i.e., the Jordanian-occupied part of the UN-envisioned Palestinian Arab state).

West Bengal.


WheelBase. Distance between front and rear axles on a two-axle vehicle.

Note that, in principle, this is ambiguous: if front and rear wheels are of different diameter, horizontal separation is not equal to axle-center separation. In practice, this only matters on dragsters. The reason is that the difference is what one calls a ``second-order correction.'' Suppose that the total centerline-to-centerline separation between axles is C, the horizontal separation between wheel centers on level ground is W, and the difference in wheel radii (under whatever load) is h. Then W and h are the legs of a right triangle with hypotenuse C, and

C2 = W2 + h2
by the Pythagorean theorem. We can rewrite this as
C = SQRT( W2 + h2 )
By Taylor's theorem or by the binomial theorem, when h << W, this can be approximated
C = W + h2/(2W) + W * O[ (h/W)4 ] .
That is C is W at lowest order, and the leading correction for the difference between C and W is of second order in h/W.

On a truck with two rear axles, WB is conventionally taken as the distance between the front axle and the midline between the two rear axles.

Wide Band.

World Bank. The initialism occurs but rarely, possibly because ``World Bank'' was originally only the common but informal name of an institution officially called the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). In 1960, an International Development Association (IDA) was created, and these two together are now (officially, I think) known as the World Bank. These two, plus the IFC, MIGA, and ICSID, together constitute the World Bank Group.

The World Bank sends a lot of money and stern, well-intentioned advice to a place called Africa. It's pretty certain that the well-intentioned advice is not diverted to Swiss bank accounts. In Africa as everywhere else, the World Bank is hated. There: three sentences to establish a transition to a tenuously (okay, gratuitously) connected issue. The issue was #92 of the quarterly magazine Granta. This was a special issue on Africa, with an article by Binyavanga Wainaina in the how-to-cook-a-potboiler genre: ``How to write about Africa'' (fiction or reportage -- but I repeat myself). A sample of the detailed instructions: ``Bad Western characters may include children of Tory cabinet ministers, Afrikaners, employees of the World Bank.''


Wörterbuch. Full title Wörterbuch der griechischen Papyrusurkunden mit Einschluss der griechischen Inschriften Aufschriften Ostraka Mumienschilder usw. aus Ägypten. `Dictionary of papyrus documents with an introduction to Greek inscriptions, labels, ostraca, mummy signs, etc. from Egypt.' First compiled by F. Preisigke.

World Boxing Association. Decades-old boxing organization. There are a few; see IBF.

World Boxing Council. Decades-old boxing organization. There are a few; see IBF.

White Blood {Cell | (cell) Count}. Also, for latter, WCC.

Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

Wide-Band Code-Division Multiple Access (CDMA).

World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Wide-Band Data.

Web-Based Enterprise Management.

World Bridge Federation.

In the 1990's the International Olympic Committee was moving cautiously but steadily towards making bridge a medal sport. (Yes, a sport: In 1995, the International Olympic Committee designated bridge, along with chess, as a ``mind sport.'') Anyway, to make a long story short so I can publish this webpage already, the effort was a house of cards, and it collapsed in 2002.

WideBand Frequency Modulation.

UB's FM radio station, an NPR affiliate broadcasting at 88.7 MHz. Like most university FM stations, its programming is informed by the great insight that news junkies like jazz and any music that is noncommercial (because it's better than it sounds). (http://wings.buffalo.edu/services/wbfo/ and http://www.wbfo.buffalo.edu/ work as well.)

Wheaties! Bananas! Gorilla Milk! Bazooka!
Back when I was in Boy Scout camp, the troops in mess were divided up into four competing shouting sections.

Westfield Baseball League of Westfield, NJ. In a town of under 29,000 (1990 US census), over 1000 children participated in 1998. That's the little league. I don't have a link for the adult amateur league. When Dennis played in the adult league, one of the players was a coinventor of astroturf. The team had all-new uniforms. Chuck's team went undefeated, a couple 'years later.

WbN, WbS
West by North, West by South. Vide compass directions.

World Boxing Organization. A sort of imposter boxing organization, used to sanction fights too shameful for the big three. See IBF.

Warner Brothers Records.

World Baton Twirling Federation. First WBTF championshps were held in 1980. It seems that major national baton twirling assocations line up either with the WBTF or with the GA.

World Blind Union. Regards itself as ``the only organisation entitled to speak on behalf of blind and partially sighted persons of the world, representing 180 million blind and visually impaired persons from about 600 different organisations in 158 countries.'' Given the forward arrogation of authority, you won't be surprised to learn that ``WBU has consultative status within the UN Agencies and ECOSOC.'' (ECOSOC is sort of like the ``Earth Shoe (TM)'' company -- they make environmentally friendly socks that biodegrade right in your shoes and do not harm foot fungus and other biodiverse creatures. Unagencies are, well, you can guess.) ``The hallmarks of WBU are openness and democracy. All countries fulfilling the conditions laid down in the WBU Constitution are welcomed as members with the right to express their opinions and points of view freely and without fear of recrimination.''

World Boxing Union. A sort of imposter boxing organization, used to sanction fights too shameful for the big three. See IBF.

World Broadcasting Unions. The eight members are the North American Broadcasting Association (NABA), the Asia-Pacific (ABU), Arab States (ASBU), Caribbean (CBU), and European Broadcasting Unions (EBU), the International Association of Broadcasting (IAB, based in Uruguay), la Organización de la Televisión Iberoamericana (OTI), and la Union des radiodiffusions et télévisions nationales d'Afrique (URTNA).

World Birthday Web.

Tungsten Carbide. When exposed to carbon-containing gases, tungsten heating filaments absorb a lot of C. This is outgassed slowly as CO. But see the next entry.

Water Closet. A room with a flush toilet. Outgassing from this is less noxious but more noticeable than from the previous WC.

For the sake of a small joke, I made that entry slightly confusing, so let me try to make amends: tungsten carbide is a heterogeneous catalyst.

Waveguide, Circular. Cf. less unfortunately named WR.

WelCome. Chatese. I tried to be different and wrote ``veal comin','' and all I got for my trouble was a bunch of comments about vegetarianism.

w.c., wc, W.C.
Westminster College. ``Leading liberal arts college, New Wilmington, PA.''

W/C, w/c

Wilkinson-Cohn. Typical design of a broadband two-way power divider is based on S. B. Cohn: ``A Class of Broadband Three-Port Hybrids,'' IEEE Transactions in Microwave Theory and Techniques, 16, pp. 110-116 (February 1968). This is a multisection generalization of the design in E. J. Wilkinson: ``An N-way Hybrid Power Divider,'' IRE Transactions in Microwave Theory and Techniques, 18, pp. 116-118 (January 1960).

Wiring Concentrator (for FDDI).

Word Count. A Unix utility.

Workers' Compensation. Originally, at least conventionally, called Workmen's Compensation.

World Championships.

World Chiropractic Alliance. ``Protecting and Promoting The Principles of Chiropractic.''

As of January 2005, the homepage has a photograph of two WCA apparatchiks with President George W. Bush. They're all wearing very similar light-blue ties. I know there are people who will look askance at this, but please -- don't dismiss the WCA until you have the complete story!

Worst-Case Analysis. Remember, you can't take it with you. Shrouds have no pockets.

Western Canadian Association of Bovine Practitioners.

World Climate Applications and Services Program. One of the four major components of WCP.

World Chess Boxing Organisation. The sanctioning authority for the first European Heavyweight Chessboxing Championship, a match held in Berlin on October 1, 2005. That was apparently also the last.

The match consisted of alternating rounds of chess (4 minutes) and boxing (2 minutes). According to the rules, a KO or checkmate could end the match; otherwise, it ended after eleven rounds. I have no details on how the judges were supposed to score it, but in the event, Tihomir 'Tiger' Titschko scored a check-mate over Andreas 'Doomsday' Schneider in the ninth round. (TTT used a dragon variation of the Sicilian opening, but further details were scarce.)

Waukegan Community Church. In Waukegan, Ill. ``Welcome To Our WEB PAGE !!!!''

Westchester Community College.

Westminster Choir College. My pal Mark, a professional tenor, attended Westminster long before July 1, 1992, when it became ``Westminster Choir College of Rider College'' (``of Rider University'' after April 13, 1994).

Whatcom Community College. Serving Whatcom County, Washington, and the world (International Student Services offers ``Free Airport pickup at the Bellingham International Airport'').

Apparently the name is old, of Native American origin, but Whatcom looks like the question that some dotcom would be the answer to. Bellingham looks to be closer to Vancouver than Seattle. Everyone has heard of Bellingham because SPIE is based there, right?

White (blood) Cell Count.


Women's Classical Caucus. ``We were founded in 1972 to foster feminist and gender-informed perspectives in the study and teaching of all aspects of ancient Mediterranean cultures and classical antiquity. We -- women and men scholars, together -- also strive to advance the goals of equality and diversity within the profession of Classics.''

Women's College Coalition. According to WCC, there are about 60 WC's, erm, women's colleges, in the US in 2006, down from almost 300 in the 1960's.

World Council of Churches.

Wearable Cardiac Defibrillator.

Wideband CDMA. That ought too be the same as WB-CDMA. The coding used for communications over G3 networks.

World Data and Monitoring Program.

World Commission on Environment and Development. Of the UN.

Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications.

``The Cooperative advancing the effective use of technology in higher education.''

``The''? Interesting capitalization, too.

World Climate Impact assessment and Response strategies Program. One of the four major components of WCP.

World Confederation of Labor.

World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

(IEEE) Wireless Communications and Networking Conference.

World Climate Program.

Wisconsin College Personnel Association.

``World Conference on Photovoltaic Energy Conversion.''

There are three major world conferences on photovoltaics (PV's) for solar energy conversion, one each in the US (PVSC), Europe (EU-PSEC) and Asia (PVSEC). Each of these meets once every year-and-a-half. Starting in 1994, the three conferences have been held jointly once every four years or thereabouts. The second one, in 1998, was hosted by the Europeans. Evidently because their big conference includes ``and Exhibition'' in the official title, their WCPEC was called the ``Second World Conference and Exhibition on Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conversion.''

  1. WCPEC-1: 1994 December 5-9 (Hilton Waikoloa Village Waikoloa, Hawaii)
  2. WCPEC-2: 1998 July 6-10 (Vienna, Austria)
  3. WCPEC-3: 2003 May 11-15 (Osaka, Japan)

Waterloo Co-operative Residence Incorporated. ``WCRI aims to provide quality, affordable student housing, emphasizing member participation and superior service in the spirit of Co-operation, while promoting pride, education, and diversity in a dynamic cooperative community.''

World Climate Research Program.

This has nothing to do with WKRP, but I put in a link anyway. You're welcome. Actually, there isn't any WKRP entry right now, so I sent you to the next-best thing -- QRP. Yes, I'm very thoughtful aren't I.


Washington Classical Society.

Wisconsin Card Sorting Test.

Western Connecticut State University. Part of the CSU System.

Women's Christian Temperance Union. This organization still exists! Carrie the nation into the age of sober information?

Still under construction, but already provocative: ``Alcohol is a gateway drug which may lead the user to experiment with illegal drugs.''

I think the WCTU should stop playing softball. The plain fact is, virtually everyone who smokes marijuana (``pot'') has tried chocolate first. Obviously, we must illegalize it. In fact, criminalization is clearly not enough. Experience shows that chocolate users will lie to hide their consumption. The testimony presented before sessions of OA, exceedingly reliable because it was obtained with the promise only of anonymity, without compromising the possibility of eventual prosecution, shows that chocolate is a `hard' addiction, leading sooner or later to obesity, heart disease, and death.

No, mere criminalization will not win this holy war; we must make chocolate unconstitutional, and we should enforce a policy of less than zero tolerance. That's right: anyone found with any nonnegative quantity of the substance, down to and including zero, will be deemed suspect and therefore guilty. In keeping with established practice in the hugely successful, or at least lucrative, drug war, anyone suspected of chocolate use will be liable to have their property confiscated. Of course, Constitutional due process protections apply: Property can be confiscated only if the suspect might have been in or near said property at or about the time that he or she may or may not have thought about illegal possession of chocolate.

Of course, the problem of jail space must be faced squarely. In the drug war to date, jail space has not been a problem, because mandatory sentencing laws that put the morally decrepit weekend toker away for life do not prevent the state from making space by giving early release to one-time murderers and child molesters. However, because of the widespread social acceptance of chocolate abuse, incarceration rates will skyrocket. Part of this problem will be solved by conversion of currently unused and underused space. Specifically, all states with fewer than seven electoral college votes will be converted to jails. Any unconvicted residents of Texas will be drafted for guard duty.

That will do for the users. For pushers -- dime store clerks (the CSP gang), vending-machine attendants, girl scouts and similar incorrigibles -- the electric chair. That'll teach'em.

Learn these warning signs:

  1. Hairless brown mustache.
  2. Plastic and foil wrappers.
  3. Sticky fingers.
  4. Unexplained weight gain.
  5. Diet soda consumption.
  6. Watery mouth.
  7. Possession of furniture that can be used to hide chocolate.

BTW, if you came here from the B-2 entry, hoping for enlightenment on the French word gauche, then you sure have had quite a long detour, haven't you? Oh, alright, I relent: it means `lacking in social polish or tact.' You know -- savoir-faireless.

Tungsten (chemical symbol W) Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD). Deposition of tungsten and tungsten-based conductive alloys.

World Championship Wrestling. Ted Turner's attempt to muscle in on WWF turf. In 2000, WCW lost an estimated 80 million dollars, which is a lot of money if you don't have it. On March 22, 2001, Stamford-Connecticut-based WWF bought it from AOL Time Warner Inc.'s Turner Broadcasting Systems. Ha-ha! The joke's on them. Since the entire entertainment-information-communication-data system belongs to AOL Etc., they probably really only bought it from themselves.

Walt Disney.

Western Digital.

Wood Deck. See this NC entry regarding the possible prevalence of this real estate abbreviation.

Women's Division. Well, I'd heard of ethnomathematics, but this is ridiculous.

Working Draft. A particularly bad first effort might be a working daft.

Waste Disposal Authority.

Wisconsin Dental Association. For other Dental organizations, see the list maintained by Sue Hutchinson.

Everyone agrees that http://www.wisconsindental.com/ is the new site, but as of January 2000 there's some problem. If this is a really big disappointment to you, follow this link to the Washington Ozaukee County Dental Society. ``It promotes dental health and education in Washington and Ozaukee Counties [of southeastern Wisconsin]. WOzCDS is a nonprofit component society of the Wisconsin and American Dental Associations.''

Wisconsin (WI), of course, is known for cheese. A major cause of tooth decay is acidity in the mouth, from whatever cause (acid reflux, acidic foods, decreased salivation). Cheese is one of the foods that quickly reduces acidity in the mouth, and so prevents tooth decay. Kobe sells beef that's been bathed in beer, Wisconsin ought to try marketing cheese from cows raised on (and bathed in?) highly fluoridated water.

Western Digital Corporation.

The Wisconsin Debate Coaches Association. I guess they have to keep their rhetorical defensive weapons sharp up there, on the thinly defended lake border with our cussed neighbors to the North. Oh wait, that's CUSID neighbours (spelling conventions, you know). Not to mention menacing Minnesota (MN), which chose a former entertainment wrestler as governor [Jesse ("`The Body,' no, `The Mind'") Ventura].

Wavelength-Division DeMultiplexer.

Wood-Destroying Insect. Like termites.

Windows Driver Logic.

Wavelength-Division Multiplex{ing|er}.

Wood-Destroying Organism. I've often asked how it is that wooden temples have lasted so many centuries in Japan. The answers I get are usually that
  1. They don't; the wood is frequently replaced.
  2. Cedar wood is very resistant to rot and insects.
  3. Buildings are designed and placed for proper ventilation, so they dry properly to avoid rot.
What do I know?

Back in 1995 or so, a study of carving boards found that wood was more antiseptic than plastic. This was a surprise, because it had been thought that (a) wood is a more tempting growth medium for microbes than plastic and (b) a plastic surface can be washed more completely. Maybe there is a persistent antibacterial agent in wood.

Wavelength-Dispersive Spectroscopy.

WatchDog Timer.

Walt Disney World. This is the theme park in Orlando, Florida. Cf. Disneyland.

Well Developed, Well Nourished. Ready for WDW!

What Do You Mean By That?

What exactly is in there?

A personal pronoun, specifically the first-person plural pronoun in English. We, us, our, and ours, the forms of we in various cases, are also used in ways not entirely sanctioned by grammatical logic. These are described at medical we and pregnant we. (Instructional we is coming, if I can think of something interesting to say about it.)

W(e), We
Watts of Electric power. One situation in which it is useful to distinguish these is with heat engines, such as steam engines or nuclear power sources like RTG's and fission reactors. Heat engines generate heat [at rates that may be quantified in watts and labeled by W(h) or W(q)], and some of this heat may be converted to electric power, which is a kind of work. The efficiency of this conversion process has a theoretical upper bound known as the Carnot efficiency.

(Internal combustion engines are also heat engines, but the working fluid is exhausted rather than being returned to its initial condition, so the maximum theoretical efficiency, will still bounded strictly away from unity, is not such an easy question to answer.)


Washburn Endowment Association. ``[A]n independent organization that exists to support Washburn University through fundraising, fund investment, and alumni records management.'' (Alternate URL.

Washington Education Association. Affiliated with the NEA.

We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.
Count your blessings -- we could have pretended that it was a feature. Be respectful and diffident or we'll go vipw and munge you.

We are overbooked and need volunteers to take a later flight in return for vouchers
Many are called; few are chosen.

Wear your learning lightly.
But don't let it slip off.

South Bend, April 17, my moral outrage soared as I trudged to my car, I was in the oxygen-mask-required heights of dudgeon. Snow, white plague. I asked the cop moonlighting at Osco Drug if there wasn't a law against this sort of thing. Not his jurisdiction, he claims. Hell, it's snowing in Mishawaka too. I know a shirker. ``Arrest Mother Nature!'' I demand. ``We don't mess with Mother Nature.'' What, does she have diplomatic immunity?

The ECMWF maintains a page of meteorology links.

[The term white plague typically refers, meteorologically speaking, to hail and not snow. But I have a poetic license.]

The Weather Channel. (TWC) has forecasts.

A quick place to get the current weather and related astronomical information is the Weather Underground. A good resource, but not a very good name. There was a US terrorist group in the sixties that called itself ``The Weathermen'' (their name was inspired by a Bob Dylan lyric -- you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows). Later, they changed the name to ``the Weather Underground'' because, hey, terrorists have to be politically correct -- isn't that the whole point? This Weather Underground and that are completely unrelated, but I wish they'd chosen another name. I'm more interested in the weather aboveground, outdoors. They also chose the domain name <wunderground.com>, which suggests the German word Wunder (BTW, the cognate of English `ground' in German is Grund).

weather report
Hot, Cold, Ha Ha Ha.

Sun, Clouds, Ha Ha Ha.

Rain, Snow, Wind, Hail, Ha Ha Ha, Ha Ha Ha.

Cold front, Low pressure system. Ha Ha.

Tomorrow's weather when we return after this word from our sponsor.

Ha Ha Ha.

WEB-based semINAR. Some contractions that we expand here we really would prefer to explode.

Originally a LOG of the WEB. Now more like a personal log on the web. More at blog.

Old word meaning `weaver.' It ought to be a new word having something to do with the web.

WEB toilet
Waterless Electric Biological Toilet. Just add coconut shells.

Original name of a system that makes it possible to browse the web using an ordinary TV and a set-top box. Purchased by Microsoft in 1997 and renamed MSN TV in 2001.

Wafer Environment Control. Silicon wafers. They have to be kept squeaky clean, people who get close to them have to wear bunny suits, salt is bad. Reminds me of nursery school. (I attended Geraldine, on North Avenue.) Less silly information at the sodium entry.

World Environment Center. Hey, why stop at wafers?

Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance.

We can and should
I can feel the political wind at my back to

A kaiser roll with caraway seed (German Kümel). Hence [roast] ``Beef on Weck,'' a traditional specialty of the Buffalo, NY area. Great with curly fries garnished with vinegar.

Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange. ``The future of electronic connectivity in the healthcare industry.''

We don't know the risks!
I don't know the risks. So don't do it. NIMBY. (The world, and your property in particular, is my back yard.)

Whatever it is, it's bad for you.

Western Equine Encephalomyelitis.

A town in California. Home of College of the Siskiyous. I have no idea if that's a plural.

In Kehlog Albran's The Profit there is the following enlightening passage:

A woman stepped forward and asked,
What is the strangest day?
Tuesday, the Master explained.

On the other hand, in one of Douglas Adams's HHGttG, Ford Prefect says: ``This must be a Thursday. I could never get the hang of Thursdays.''

Back in the days before quantum mechanics, there was a ``Quantum Theory'' that married ad hoc discreteness hypotheses to a fundamentally incompatible classical theory based on continuum models. To use this jury-rigged theory required a certain agile willingness to ignore discrete aspects during essentially classical measurement, and the inconsistent continuum aspects during quantum modeling. After 1925, most of classical mechanics was subsumed under quantum mechanics as an approximation thereof, but the measurement process has continued to contain some mystery. The apposite comment of Sir William Henry Bragg (1862-1942) has been much cited:

We use the classical theory on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and the quantum theory on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.
Observe the consistency.

I understand that this alludes to an earlier famous comment that I don't know, possibly of John Calvin.

Workplace Environmental Exposure Level.

Water Environment Federation.

With Effect From.

World Economic Forum.

Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates.

This puzzling message appears on a sign visible as one leaves the CVS drug store at the UB Commons.

WEHO, WeHo, Weho, weho
WEst HOllywood. A rather shady part of LA. No wait -- I only meant -- oh, never mind.

Weight proportionate to height.
Personal-ad jargon: `not too wide to get through doorways.''

weight room
An area for sitting on resistance machines and ``resting between sets.''

weird alchemical glassware

I always forget the name. In principle, the term applies to any heatable receptacle that is sealed at the top with a long neck that extends sideways or down. Various shapes have been used for distillation. However, the classic alembic looks like a glass gourd with a tapering neck bent over so it points downward (toward the plane of the base of the gourd shape).

The initial al- in the name and the history of alchemy both suggest that the word is from Arabic, and it is, though the proximate source is French and ultimate source is Greek: < Fr. alambic < Ar. al anbiq (`the still') < Gk. ambix, ambik- `cup, beaker, cup of a still.' Ambix is an alternative word for alembic in English, and both Alembic and Ambix are associated with publications about the history of chemistry.

In particular, Ambix is the journal of the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry. (ISSN 0002-6980). Over a period of decades, the Alembic Club published at Edinburgh a number of reprints of important documents in the history of chemistry. The earliest Alembic Club reprint I am aware of was published in 1898: Joseph Black's famous Experiments upon magnesia alba. The last, afaik, was in 1958: X-rays and the electric conductivity of gases; comprising papers by W.C. Röntgen (1895, 1896) J.J. Thomson and E. Rutherford (1896) With an historical introd. by N. Feather.

Weisskopf's Theorem
Any physicist working with Bohr was certain to be married after no more than two years. This is Victor Weisskopf's statement of the law as it appears in his memoir, Joy of Insight (NYC: Basic Books, 1991), p. 69. There Weisskopf only described it a ``rule.'' It was well known, and I'm not sure by precisely what term, though the discovery was generally credited to Weisskopf. Bob Schrieffer, in his contribution to the Copenhagen symposium celebrating the centenary of Niels Bohr's birth, called it ``Weisskopf's Theorem'' and took credit for adding another ``proof.'' Bram Pais and Viki Weisskopf himself had provided earlier ``proofs.''

Well, it's a matter of judgment whether it's better or worse than before.
Look, we just install the upgrades -- you can't expect us to make the software work!

Wellhausen's Axiom
In Biblical studies, the position that only texts written shortly after an event are trustworthy. After Julius Wellhausen, a Biblical scholar of the late nineteenth century.

This axiom is typically disregarded when it is inconvenient. A much more popular axiom in nonscholarly Biblical studies is that texts written before an event are most trustworthy. (Hey -- they haven't been proven false!)

A compound adjective that is often used jocularly. Sometimes the joke is irony, but sometimes it is more subtle. In particular, one may describe someone who is well known as a ``well-known <foo>,'' where <foo> describes the well-known person by a characteristic that is not so well known.

[column] For example, Herbert Clark Hoover might be described as the well-known commentator and co-translator (with his wife Lou Henry Hoover) of De Re Metallica. A related but distinct rhetorical situation occurs in the Barbarossa entry, where I rightly describe Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus as ``famous.'' You've heard of him.

Well started is half done.
A proverb that applies best to giving a haircut to a bald man.

Weighted Ensemble Monte Carlo (simulation method).

Wilderness Emergency Medical Services Institute.

We must not forget the true meaning of __
I am a self-recognized authority on what other people should think about __

A benign tumor of the skin. It can appear when you play Scrabble, using all three major Scrabble dictionaries (or just one of them).

We need this information in order to help serve you better.
Marketing wants to know what kind of junk mail would annoy you best.

World Elephant Polo Association. Headquartered in Kathmandu. I'm still checking whether this game is on the level, whether the story is on the up-and-up.

Warehousing Education and Research Council. This doesn't really sound like a lot of fun.

Western European Specialists Section (of the Association of College & Research Libraries -- ACRL). I think it used to be the ``Western European Specialists Section.'' James Campbell maintains a listing of Electronic Text Collections in Western European Literature at WESSWEB.

``Westchester, New York,'' is a county, and is also called ``Westchester County.'' The county includes such well-known municipalities as Pelham Manor, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Yonkers, Scarsdale, Dobbs Ferry, White Plains, Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, and Mount Pleasant, working roughly northwards.

Next on the list might be Ossining Village and Ossining Town; they aren't so well-known directly, but on account of the state prison known as Sing Sing. The village of Sing Sing was incorporated in 1813. (Named after the Sint Sinck Indian tribe.) On the basis of a respected authority, a different form of the the name, Ossinsing, was chosen for a town incorporated in 1845, north of the village. This was changed to Ossining (considered easier to pronounce) the next year. The state prison was built there in 1825-1828, the site being chosen on the basis of quarry resources that would provide work for the inmates (marble quarries and also some galena, indicating the possibility of silver). Other industries were introduced. The growing labor movement in the late nineteenth century opposed competition from prison labor and promoted boycotts of goods from Sing Sing. To avoid the bad business associations, the village of Sing Sing changed its name to Ossining Village in 1901. In 1970 the prison followed suit, becoming the Ossining Correctional Facility. There was an uprising and hostage situation there in 1983, and apparently one of the lessons taken from that tragedy was that no one was ever going to stop thinking of the place as anything but ``Sing Sing,'' and in 1985 it was renamed Sing Sing Correctional Facility.

Sing Sing was home to many of New York's most dangerous felons, and is famous as the place which first used the electric chair. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, executed there in 1953, are probably the best known.

Interestingly, the first New York State prison (Newgate, opened 1797) was built in Greenwich Village.

West Indies
Here's a bit of clarification from Jane Austen's Persuasion:
``What a great traveller you must have been, ma'am!'' said Mrs. Musgrove to Mrs. Croft.

``Pretty well, ma'am, in the fifteen years of my marriage; though many women have done more. I have crossed the Atlantic four times, and have been once to the East Indies, and back again, and only once; besides being in different places about home: Cork, and Lisbon, and Gibraltar. But I never went beyond the Streights, and never was in the West Indies. We do not call Bermuda or Bahama, you know, the West Indies.''

Maggie Thatcher (long-time former Tory PM of Britain) used this term for the backsliding or weak-willed L-word men, especially on her side of the aisle.

Prized swamps, an important part of the ecosystem. The part of the ecosystem that is a nursery for mosquitos. Important because mosquitos are a much-needed vector for a variety of important diseases, like malaria, which afflicts a fifth of the world's people, and kills twice as many as AIDS every year.

A lot of the world's species are disease bacteria. We must protect them!

We vote pro-life.
I vote pro-life. The others say they do too.

Western European Union.

I never hear about this organization. It's probably the labor organization for makers of western europeans. They've probably been on strike.

You know, all the major continental European countries have achieved (or suffer, if you're a national pension-fund analyst) fertility rates that should eventually lead to negative population growth. (Most of the countries are still growing, partly because of immigration and partly due to the shape of the age distribution. Among the largest EU countries, France boasts the highest rate of natural increase, but in the Basilica of Saint Denis, Pippin the Short spins.) Italy is at about 1.3 children per woman, equal to Japan. In Sweden, with a package of generous incentives, the pension-fund analysts were handing out cigars (figuratively speaking, okay?), but fertility collapsed in the recession year of 1990, and it never came back. The US has fertility rates slightly below replacement level as well, but the effect of immigration is enormous, particularly because the immigrant population tends to be skewed toward young adults, so the US is growing at the highest rate of any industrialized country.

Normally, about 105 baby boys are born per 100 baby girls. Thus, population equilibrium requires an average of 2.05 children per woman. Depending on how one deals with childhood mortality of females, that can nudge the equilibrium fertility rate up a bit. People normally talk of 2.1 as the replacement level.

Of course, in China, the sex ratio is higher; it appears to be in excess of 1.14. The cause is understood to be the traditional preference for male children, combined with a severe (though unevenly enforced) government policy to limit births. The precise mechanism is a ``mystery,'' but the main question is whether female infanticide or selective abortion is the more important factor. Ultrasound testing is widespread, but operators are forbidden by law to identify the sex of the fetus. In practice, the law doesn't impose any significant barrier to the communication of that information. Under-reporting of female births has also been suggested.

Moreover, thousands of baby girls are abandoned in China every year. (They're Chinese girls. It's not as if people from neighboring countries go to China to ditch their children. I just put the prepositional locative in there so you'd know that we are still on the subject of sex-ratio in China, even though it's a new paragraph. I mean, for all you knew we might have switched to another topic altogether, such as the WEU.) It reminds me of Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, although that was a different situation.

Look here: even though I'm just a lowly lexicographic drudge, I've got a heart too. Set aside the asides and the replacement levels, and we're still talking about thousands of little girls with no one to hug.

In the mid-1990's, the PRC relaxed its rules on international adoptions. In Hong Kong, you would see a lot of Western couples with a Chinese child they had come to adopt. I've actually read of one instance where the adopted child was a boy (but ``a special needs'' child -- with a surgically correctible congenital condition, in that instance), but this is quite exceptional. (Interestingly, in Japan there is a preference for girl adoptees. The reason given is that parents feel they will be less independent and more loyal and likely to help the parents in their old age.) More than 5,000 Chinese children were adopted by US parents in 2002, making China the largest source of international adoptions in the United States. Between 1997 and April 2003, over 30,000 Chinese children were brought to the US. These numbers are from the State Department, whose main involvement is in giving out visas and in swearing in the new little citizens. That couldn't wait?

An entire industry has grown up around the international adoptions. US parents have been required to go to the American consulate in Guangzhou for the swearing-in. There most families stay at the White Swan Hotel. In addition to expenditures for travel and such things as ``home study'' (US adoption agency's investigation of the environment the child would be coming into), there is a ``donation'' of as much as $15,000, less than a third of which may go to the orphanage. Many adoptive parents are moved to make voluntary (not ``voluntary'') donations to the orphanages.

In March 2003, responding to the SARS epidemic, the State Department eased rules a bit, not requiring adoptive parents (when there are two) to both travel to Guangzhou. On Friday, April 25, 2003, the PRC's China Center for Adoption Affairs (yes, China is part of the name) shut down for nine days -- the week of the May 1 holiday (you know -- the annual holiday that was cancelled in 2003 on account of SARS). They didn't get back to business the next week, though, and on May 15, they officially suspended adoptions. Unofficially, it was estimated that adoptions would resume in August. I don't remember when things finally got back to normal. It was probably late Summer, but friends of mine who were going to adopt in May only finally adopted in November, although there were unusual glitches in their case.

I really don't know what the WEU is, but I hope you have been entertained and or informed.

What is just as amazing, fertility rates have dropped world-wide, even in many underdeveloped countries like Pakistan. Population growth has been accelerated by advances in public health (mostly hygiene -- clean water).

Well, someone dutifully wrote to tell me what the WEU is, but things crashed and I lost the email. As I remember it, it turns out that WEU is a defense force. In fact, if I remember from a few years back, they were putting together a joint German/French rapid deployment force. It seems the basic role played by WEU was to give France a way to coordinate with its natural allies in NATO without having to tolerate US commanders. (De Gaulle took France out of the NATO military command in the 60's, although not technically out of NATO.)

What's this entry doing here?!

Weapon Engagement Zone. Although the correct expansion uses the singular form weapon, it's really no fun with only one weapon. Think of this as weapon in an uncountable sense, as a mass noun. Think of uncountable and mass in any sense you please. See analytic differential definition at the weapon engagement zone entry of the DOD's online Dictionary of Military Terms.

If this weren't already a military term, it would be a great euphemism for her paw's house just'afore the shotgun weddin'.

ISO code for Wallis and Futuna Islands. Wallis is probably not named after Wallis Simpson, even though she and ex-King Ed lived in France after they married, and W&F are overseas French dependencies.

Local currency is issued by France. A classicist's South Pacific paradise: no TV stations.

Exports in 1995, about a third of a million bucks f.o.b.. Imports, over a dozen mill's, c.i.f. When France finally knuckles under to the market, they're going to have to restructure, maybe consolidate the two big islands into one, I don't know -- is there an exit strategy?

Inoffensive data on Wallis and Futuna is found in the factbook entry from the latest edition of the CIA Factbook

Wigner Function. Fourier-transform only the difference coördinate of the density matrix, and you get a quantum mechanical object (WF) that corresponds to the classical distribution function and is often also called a quantum phase space distribution.

Similar mathematics has application in optics.

Balescu gives a nice treatment based on the Wigner-Weyl transform.

The Wigner function first appeared in print in a fairly general, many-particle (albeit only first-quantized) version as eqn. 5 (p. 750) of ``On the Quantum Correction for Thermodynamic Equilibrium,'' by E. Wigner, The Physical Review, 40, pp. 749-759 (June 1, 1932). In a footnote to that equation, Eugen Wigner states that L. Szilard and he had found the expression ``some years ago for another purpose.''

Wigner observed immediately that no bilinear function of the wavefunction depending on 2N phase-space coördinates, could reproduce the expectation values found from the N-variable-dependent wavefunction and also be positive, so the necessity of having a quantum distribution function that could be become negative was unavoidable.

An important early paper on Wigner functions is ``Quantum Mechanics as a Statistical Theory'' by J. E. Moyal, in Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 45 pp. 99-124 (1949).

Work Flow Automation.

William F. Buckley, Jr.

West Falls Church. A Metro station in northern Virginia.

Wide-Field Camera.

World Federation of Chiropractic.

World Food Council.

Can I have fries with that?

World Federation of Culture Collections. I've heard of culture vultures, but this is ridiculous.

``The WFCC is a Multidisciplinary Commission of the International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) and a Federation within the International Union of Microbiological Societies (IUMS). The WFCC is concerned with the collection, authentication, maintenance and distribution of cultures of microorganisms and cultured cells.'' Oh.

World Federation of the Deaf.

World Flying Disc Federation. ``Flying disc'' is a generic term for a frisbee.

Wiped-Film Evaporator.

NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Tears of restraint puddle at my keyboard, as I manfully resist the near-overwhelming urge to pun in this entry [ Ftnt. 30 ].

[Football icon]

Wet Flue Gas.

World Football League. This organization no longer exists.

WorkFlow Management Coalition.

Worldwide Faith News.

World Federation of NeuroRadiological Societies. ``[E]stablished in 1993, [WFNRS] is an umbrella organization composed of eighteen national and regional neuroradiological societies. It fosters international scientific and educational programs in neuroradiology and promotes cooperative projects between its member organizations and those in allied disciplines.

Weather Forecast Office. Future component of National Weather Service.

Wiiiide Open. A motorcycle throttle position.

I've been asked about the eff. Cf. RTFM.

World Federation of Orthodontists.

Wide Field-Of-View.

World Food Programme. The food aid organization of the UN.

Haven't paid your UN dues lately? Assuage your guilt feelings cheap at The Hunger Site.

Weighted Fair Queuing.

Wigner Function (WF) Transport Equation.

World Federation of Trade Unions.

Wake Forest University.

World Federation of United Nations Associations -- Fédération Mondiale des Associations pour les Nations Unies.

See also WFUNA-Art.

Windows For Workgroups. Windows 3.11: Windows 3.1 plus network support.


Working Group. A productive affix. In the grammatical sense. Arbeitsgemeinschaft in German, abbreviated A and AG. Groupe de Travail in French, with suggestive mistranslation in English.

Western Governors' Association. ``[A]n independent, non-partisan organization of governors from 18 Western states, two Pacific-flag territories and one commonwealth.''

Membership description sounds a bit like an old pre-breakup song about the geographic constitution of Yugoslavia. I guess they noticed. The homepage now has a simplified phrase ending with ``18 States and 3 US-Flag Pacific Islands.''

(Screen) Writers Guild of America. Guild of screenwriters for film (including animation), TV, and interactive projects.

There's always the possibility that a screenplay will be produced, and thus almost certainly botched. Therefore, writers should keep in mind the WGA's rules on pseudonyms. As of 2004, the $200,000 limit (below which a writer has an unnegotiated right unilaterally to choose not to be credited) is unchanged since at least 2000. Those poor screenwriters are suffering bracket creep.

One movie with a surprisingly messy writing situation was Casablanca. The history is reconstructed in the Harmetz book's chapter 3: ``Writing Casablanca: A Survival of the Fittest Script.'' The movie is based on a play by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison, ``Everybody Comes to Rick's.'' The project of making a screenplay from the play was originally given to Wally Klein and Aenas MacKenzie. They worked seven weeks and produced a script that was never used. The screenplay that became the movie was written mostly by the Epstein twins (Julius J. and Philip G., each employed 12 weeks on the script). The Epsteins were known for bright dialogue. It was common practice to use multiple writers, and Howard Koch was hired to rewrite the first Epstein script as soon as part I was available. Koch eventually spent seven weeks on the script. The script was written in an iterative process with each side tugging in a different direction (Koch preachy and political; the Epsteins light, too comic for Koch's taste). At a certain point, revisions came daily in typically unsigned replacement sheets. Who suggested or changed what is often impossible to reconstruct. Except for MacKenzie and Klein, the preceding writers are listed at IMDB, along with Casey Robinson, who is listed as ``uncredited'' under ``writing credits.'' Harmetz writes (p. 56) that he ``would shape the love story.'' Lenore Coffee was an uncredited ``uncredited writer.'' She spent a week employed on the script and was one of those by whom ``the broth was stirred,'' according to Harmetz, but no specific contribution is mentioned. The process seems to have balanced out nicely.

News update: November 2, 2007: the WGA board voted a strike to begin at 12:01 Pacific Time the following Monday. In other news, Republican presidential hopeful and former actor Fred Thompson announced a temporary suspension of all televised public appearances starting next week.

Who Gives A SKÔR Anyhow? An acronym that was once (say around 1970) reportedly popular. Okay, maybe with SKÔR in German (Scheiße) or possibly even English. (If you don't recognize the Ancient Greek form, it's probably because the root and combining forms are different -- the genitive form is skatos and the modern Greek nominative form is skata).

Wgasa Bush Line
The Wgasa Bush Line was a monorail that carried visitors around the perimeter of the Wild Animal Park, a large branch (1800 acres) of the San Diego Zoo. The monorail was in service from the time the park opened in 1972. After three decades, though, the monorail was suffering from periodic maintenance woes, and in March 2007 it was ``retired'' in favor of ``open-sided, soft-wheeled tour vehicles'' (trams) that are called the ``African Express.'' The ``express'' concept might be somewhat metaphorical: the African Express circuit is a 4-kilometer, 25-minute ``Journey into [and thankfully also, with apologies to Isak Dinesen, out of] Africa.''

Then again, ``express'' may express a selling point: visitors nowadays reportedly have shorter attention spans; the old ride lasted 50 minutes. (That's not counting the times in December 2004 and August 2005 when breakdowns left riders stranded for hours -- long enough to rework the lyrics of the theme from ``Gilligan's Island.'') That ride had featured both the Africa and Asia ``ranges.'' At the beginning of May 2006 a track modification was completed and the 50-minute omnibus monorail tour (yes, I wrote that because one shouldn't pass up the opportunity to make a rarely-appropriate equivocal collocation) became two separate half-hour tours -- one through the Africa-themed area and one through the Asia-themed area.

The Asian range of the Wild Animal Park gets less attention (possibly for good reason), so I'm not sure of the project status there. A separate new tour for the Asia range was planned, with the entire project scheduled for completion in 2008 sometime. There are no signs that they will call it the ``Asia Express.'' This is good, because otherwise people will think that a half hour after getting on, they'll feel like they didn't see anything and want to take another tour. They should call it the Wa-Te-Fu tour, because that sounds Asian. (Okay, I wouldn't object to ``Orient Express.'' You know, if it weren't for that Agatha Christie mystery, this might be a common name for Chinese buffet restaurants -- especially diners.)

Other differences between old and new rides: the African Express goes through rather than around the park, bringing tourists close to the animals; it also visits the pens where the residents are taken for veterinary care, and breeding-program areas in the ``hinterlands'' that had not been visible from the monorail. From the monorail, the animals were several hundred yards away. On the down side (if you're a visitor): there's a fare for the new ride; the old ride was included in the price of admission.

The Wgasa Bush line got its name during a meeting or a memo exchange (details lost to history) conducted to come up with a name for the planned monorail. However, ``Wgasa'' was not originally proposed as a name; instead, ``WGASA'' was apparently proffered as a comment on the effort to find a name. (The acronym is expatiated upon in the preceding entry.) The story is retold and evaluated at <Snopes.com>.

``Wgasa'' was regarded by some as ``African-sounding.'' This probably reflects (a) the salience of initial consonant clusters like mb, mp, nd, ng, and nk that are common in many African languages and generally absent (and possibly difficult) in European languages, and (b) the fact that the initial consonant cluster wg is also generally absent (and possibly difficult) in European languages. Heck, sounds good to me! (No, wg is not a common initial consonant cluster in African languages.) There is also (c) the distinctive ending -asa seen in the African proper nouns Nyasa, Mombasa, Kinshasa, and Casablanca (< Casa Blanca).

World's Greatest Automobile Zone. A radio station serving South Bend, Indiana from 1922 to 1925, when it was renamed WSBT. Until the Great Depression (which began in 1929 in the US), the US automobile industry had a large number of small independent manufacturers, mostly in the Midwest. One of the more successful ones was South-Bend-based Studebaker, which survived WWII but died in the early 1960's.

World Games for the Deaf.

German: Wassergefährdungsklasse. `Water hazard class.' This is not about golf courses.

Whispering-Gallery Mode.

Working Group on Numerical Experimentation (of the World Climate Research Programme).

Working Group on Planetary System Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union (IAU).

Waveguide Grating Router.

WorkingGroup Systems.

World Geodetic {System | Survey}.

An FM radio station serving New Carlisle (stress on last syllable) and South Bend. So far (early March 2002) I've heard the call letters announced every hour or less, no ads, and a classic-rock mix (an hour-long loop in the morning) and nothing else. Here's a page of information from the FCC. It's been licensed at 102.3 MHz since 1989. How did I miss it all these years?!? And what is their business model?

Oh, now I remember -- it used to broadcast that insipid religious music. I hear that's very popular. I guess it's possible to get too much of a good thing, huh? Hmm: ``2/18/2002: Local Marketing Agreement ends with LeSea Broadcasting. Contemporary Christian 'Pulse FM' format is dropped in favor of Classic Rock. Old web site: http://www.pulsefm.com [still in service for 96.9 MHz broadcasts.''

Technically, it seems they were really WZUW starting January 23. And since April 2002, they've been broadcasting the same signal as the classic rock station at 97.7 MHz, which has the call letters WZOW. Hmmm, you don't think maybe they were angling for the new business? Hmm... they became ``double rock 97.7 and 102.3'' and various related gimmicks. And split again in March 2003. A frightfully fast business, always a step ahead of the glossaries.

Waregem Gaver Tennis Club. In Waregem, Belgium.

West Georgia Technical College. In LaGrange, Georgia, US. A ``postsecondary educational institute operating as a unit of the Georgia Department of Technical and Adult Education (DTAE) serving the needs of business, industry, and the public in the counties of Troup, Meriwether, and Heard counties [sic] in West Georgia.''

That's the trouble with long sentences -- by the time you get to the end you forget what you already said and start to repeat what you already said in long sentences.

Western Governors University. A grave threat to higher-education business-as-usual.

It claims ``Western Governors University is a unique institution that offers degrees and certificates based completely on competencies -- your ability to demonstrate your skills and knowledge on a series of assessments -- not on required courses. We make it possible for you to accelerate your "time to degree" by providing recognition for your expertise.'' Sounds a lot like Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, New Jersey, founded in 1972.

Watts of Heat. W(q) is also used. See W(e).

White House.

W. H.
Wystan Hugh (Auden). J. Laughlin, founder of the New Directions publishing house, began calling Delmore Schwartz the American Auden in January 1938. Probably to protect his trademark, and perhaps for other reasons, W. H. Auden emigrated to the US shortly afterwards. A lot of people think that both had done their best work by 1940. It just goes to show ... something, I guess.

Women's History and Ancient History, edited by Sarah B. Pomeroy (Chapel Hill, 1991).

What is to be done?
Lenin chose this title in what he quite reasonably expected would be recognized as an allusion to the novel of the same name by Nikolai Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky (1828-1889).

What goes around?
Comes around. Yeah, it's pretty hackneyed. I just needed a place to make a minor point. Back when Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger finally got divorced, everybody understandably felt sorry for Jerry Hall. She seemed to have tried everything to save the marriage, including getting pregnant. I suppose that in the entertainment business, things go around so much that they come around a dozen times before they go around even once, whatever that means. Anyway, when Hall and Jagger started dating, she was engaged to Bryan Ferry and Jagger was married to Bianca. So let's keep the betrayal thing in perspective, okay?

What's a mother to do?
Cue the product endorsement.

What's gnu?
A three- or four-letter word. (This witticism is in the public domain; it fits all known homonyms of gnu but is funnier than ``a word.'')

What's new?
A greeting. It bothers people who pay attention to its literal meaning and feel put on the spot, or feel that they're not given enough time to formulate a detailed answer or something. Consequently, this greeting is only used by those who ignore the literal meaning. Therefore, you can answer ``Thanks. What's new with you?''

I remember that my friend Dilia mentioned back in 1978 that it bothered her. In 1999, Mary Schmich had a column on the greeting in the MetroChicago section of the Chicago Tribune. In a follow-up column on June 18, about favorable response to her earlier column (columnists like to coast too), she reported that many letter writers suggested the response ``Fine.''

Writing to her husband Tom, Mrs. Carlyle began a letter of September 20, 1860 thus:

I do hate, Dear, to tell about myself every day! as if I were ``the crops,'' or something of that sort.

What's up?
Almost synonymous with ``What's new?'' but with the advantage that if you're grouchy you can answer ``Skyward.'' Also spelled in eye dialect: Whassup? Bugs Bunny used to say ``Ehhhhhhhh...what's up Doc?''

What's your nationality? ... Huh, what a coincidence! You know, you look familiar...
It had been a record forty-two weeks since the last time anyone anywhere on this planet had invented a new pick-up line...it was about due.

Works best in Iceland and North Korea. (WINK.)

These are just as bad. Or were, before the link died.

Okay, okay: another new one. I picked this one out of my spam filter. The original version begins like this:

From: Mohammed Houndstooth Goldstein 
Subject: Beach Chair

To Whom It May Concern,

We have learned from the Internet that you are interested in tents.  We have
been in the tent manufacturing business for many years and are currently in the
process of expanding and our customer base.  We are quite excited about

With a few little changes, I'm sure this could be turned into a great new line for picking up MOTAS. And if not, maybe you'll sell some beach blankets.

What was I thinking!?
Scratch ``what.''

Elbert Hubbard defined an editor as
A person employed by a newspaper whose business is to separate the wheat from the chaff and to see that the chaff is printed.
This aphorism is precisely the kind of mechanical cleverness that you get from the harnessing of great ambition to mediocre talent.

when compared with
Many of you have written to ask: ``How do I make my writing more sophisticated, so that I will win the respect of people just like me. (I don't personally care about sophisticated writing -- I just want the respect I deserve. Scratch that: more respect than I deserve.)''

The answer is very simple. You have to use special sophistication phrases. These are secret phrases that automatically make people and attractive members of the opposite sex respect you. For a complete list of these phrases, you'll have to buy the book, but here for free is one of those powerful phrases: ``when compared with.''

The way to deploy this phrase is to take anything you were going to say with the word ``than'' and replace ``than'' with ``when compared with.'' This has no effect on the meaning of whatever you were saying, but it automatically increases the sophistication exponentially.

Some people object that saying ``the losing team scored less points when compared with the winning team'' implies that there is some useful sense in which the losing team might have scored more points when not compared to the winning team, and that the longer (more sophisticated) form unnecesarily draws attention to that fact. Ignore these people. They're just jealous because you have greater sophistication when compared with they do.

When in doubt, take it out.
It could be the surgeons' creed.

APGO's Women's Healthcare Education Office. ``[I]nvolved in a number of activities to strengthen undergraduate women's health education for all medical students [in the US and Canada], across all specialties.'' They follow a common semantic practice in medical education, of using ``undergraduate'' to mean `a student not yet graduated from medical school.'

where the sun don't shine (, put it ...)
A part of your anatomy.

If. These are not exact synonyms. The point is only that whether is neither wether nor weather. The weather may have spells of uncertainty, but it is certainly not spelled ``whether.''

White House Iraq Group.

Walks and Hits (given up) per Inning Pitched. A baseball pitching stat. The number of innings pitched is one third of the number of batters faced. Another statistic is HIP, which means what you'd guess. The statistic that might be abbreviated WIP isn't; this is just as well, since most people don't make an audible distinction between wh and w.

whipped butter
Sounds kinky, but not very exciting. Seriously now, I wonder whether the desire to salvage rancid butter didn't contribute to the popularity of whipped butter. (See the butter discussion a few paragraphs into the French-toast entry.)

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
Words meant to suggest an initialism WTF having a different expansion.

White Alice
WHITE (like snow) ALaskan Integrated Communications and Electronics. A microwave (900 MHz) military communication system of the 1960's and 70's. I always had trouble enough to keep from confusing Snow White and Cinderella; this won't make things any easier.

white carpet
Probably the entire market for this product is the film studios for cleaning-product advertisements.

white gold
Mostly, this refers to alloys of gold with one or more white metals. These are used for jewelry. Nickel was once a common choice for the white metal, but is now avoided because some people's skin reacts to it. That's not what this entry is about. You can learn more about that kind of white gold from its Wikipedia entry, or from this page served by the World Gold Council.

I only wanted to mention that in the old Soviet Union, a term meaning `white gold' was used as an epithet of cotton. The idea was that the crop would make Kazakhstan (or rather, the workers of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic) rich. Just like Mississippi, I guess.

White House
Official Residence of the US President, and site of various high-level executive-branch activities. Its earlier official names, if indeed they were official, were ``the President's House'' until about 1850, and then the ``Executive Mansion.'' In 1901 President Theodore Roosevelt ordered that the official name reflect what everyone called it. (The term is also used metonymically in reference to the executive branch of government and the highest levels thereof.)

John Adams was the first to occupy the still unfinished mansion, moving there from Philadelphia on November 1, 1800, for his last months in office. The building was burned by the British during the War of 1812. (I might point out that there are a number of places that are called Casa Quemada in Spanish, `burnt house.' But I better not, or I'd only end up adding more glossary entries.) US history textbooks have often neglected to point out that the burning of the White House and other Federal buildings in 1814 was an act of retaliation for a similar act committed by US troops in York, Canada. (In 1834, York was incorporated and renamed Toronto. North York, different story.)

James Madison (president from 1809 to 17) wasn't able to move back in. The White House wasn't ready for occupancy again until the term of his successor James Monroe (1817-25). There is a popular story that the Executive Mansion only came to be called the ``White House'' after the fire. The idea was that it was whitewashed to hide the burn marks on the gray sandstone walls. This is at least partly incorrect. The sandstone had been whitewashed as early as 1798, and there are some letters extant from as early as 1811 in which it is called the white house.

The White House is called la Casa Blanca (q.v.) in Spanish and la Maison Blanche in French. What strange names.

white knight
  1. A chesspiece.
  2. An investor who makes a welcome counter-offer against the unwanted takeover bid (or bids) for a public corporation. Cf. angel.

white monks
Cistercian monks. An order of monks formed at the end of the eleventh century (1098) by reformist Benedictine monks who followed a more ascetic life style. Not named for cisterns or anything, just after a village (Cistertien, in eastern France) near an abbey. A similar name confusion occurs with CSC.

``White'' monks in reference to their robes. The Benedictines wore black robes (hence, ``black monks'') and were ridiculed by the white monks for their rich living.

Life Style. I like the sound of that.

I saw a Cistercian in the library the other day. It's really more a cream color than white.

white noise
Noise with frequency-independent spectrum. Since a perfectly constant power spectrum would represent an infinite energy, it is implicit that noise is white only over a limited power spectrum. Cf. Brown and pink noise.

white pages

white tie
A white bowtie. A white-tie affair is an ultra-formal affair (hoity-toity, fancy-shmancy) where the men have to wear white ties with their tuxedoes. A black-tie affair is merely formal.

In The Picture of Dorian Gray, the painter Basil Hallward speaks to Lord Harry: ``With an evening coat and a white tie, as you told me once, anybody, even a stock-broker, can gain a reputation for being civilized.''

WHMIS, Whmis
Workplace Hazardous Material Information System. The Canadian government's ``hazard communication standard. The key elements of the system are cautionary labelling of containers of WHMIS `controlled products', the provision of material safety data sheets (MSDS's) and worker education and training programs.''

World Health Organization. Its regional offices are listed at the AFRO entry.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. At Woods Hole, MA, of all places!

A directory for InterNIC-registered second-level domains. The organization now has a web gateway..

IC and other electronic part manufacturers quote prices per part, but generally supply only in wholesale -- i.e., in lots or minimum orders of 1000 or 10,000. If you only need one or ten, you typically buy from a retailer. Mark-up varies widely in response to the usual market considerations, but you can expect to pay very roughly twice the price for single units. (Many retailers, especially those that sell primarily by phone or mail, have volume discounts.) It sometimes happens that no retailer carries the individual part you want, or that the part is no longer available. Very occasionally, you might want to buy wholesale. Often, if you're attempting a repair, this will convince you to replace instead. Another possibility to consider: upgrade. If the precise part you need isn't available, try to get a better part that is. It may be that the part you sought is not available retail because only someone with a stake in early failure would use it.

A SUSA poll in September 2004 asked this question: ``If the election for U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania were today, and you were standing in the voting booth right now, who would you vote for? Republican Arlen Specter? Democrat Joe Hoeffel? or some other candidate?''

Fully 12% were recorded as having said they would vote for ``other,'' while only 3% were ``undecided.'' I very much doubt that 12% of the vote will go to third-party candidates. I'd like to think that one in ten people surveyed answered ``Whom!''

An expression of mock enthusiasm.

Who pays the piper calls the tune.
This is the traditional form of a proverb that has become tricky for some Modern English-speakers to understand. It is now often rendered in either of two alternative forms:
  1. He who pays the piper calls the tune. (Very common.)
  2. Whoever pays the piper calls the tune. (Not exactly epigrammatic, and fortunately much less common.)
  3. She who pays the piper calls the tune. (Oh, gimme a break already.)

To understand the archaism of the original form, it helps to recognize that English has three kinds of relative clauses:

  1. Adnominal relative clauses, like the italicized clause in this sentence:
    ``The tune is chosen by the person who pays the piper.''
  2. Sentential relative clauses, like the italicized clause in this sentence:
    ``The fellow who paid the piper called the tune, which doesn't surprise me.''
  3. Nominal relative clauses, like the italicized clause in this sentence:
    ``Whoever pays the piper calls the tune.''

Adnominal relative clauses are the most common, and in these the relative pronoun is usually who, whom, which, or that. The relative pronoun has an antecedent in the sentence outside the relative clause. In the example given, the antecedent of who is clearly ``the person.'' In alternative form 1 of the proverb has the same adnominal relative clause, with ``he'' as antecedent.

Sentential relative clauses modify entire clauses rather than noun phrases, much as sentence adverbials modify entire clauses rather than verbs. Thus, in the example given, the antecedent of the relative pronoun which is the entire statement preceding the comma.

Unlike adnominal and sentential relative clauses, nominal relative clauses do not have an antecedent outside. Instead, they are said to ``contain'' their antecedents. Most of the words that function as interrogative pronouns (``wh-words'') can also serve as relative pronouns for nominal relative clauses. (The interrogative pronouns form a closed class, but not really such a small one: what, when, where, which, who, whom, whose, why, how, and a few less common or archaic words like whence and wherefore.) In addition, most of these have forms ending in -ever or -soever that may be used. The doubling of ordinary wh-words with their -ever forms accomplishes something that English is prone to: marking for definiteness or specificity. This is most prominent in the distinction between definite and indefinite articles. It also occurs between anyone and someone (a distinction difficult to render reliably and compactly in other European languages such as Spanish or German). Similarly, for most wh-words occurring in nominal relative clauses, the -ever form provides an indefinite variant. Compare ``give me what is on the table'' and ``give me whatever is on the table.''

Some of the wh-words are not commonly used, or are only marginally acceptable, as pronouns for nominal relative clauses. To some extent this is avoids ambiguity. In particular, the words which, who, and whom can all serve as relative pronouns for both adnominal and nominal relative clauses. There has been a degree of load-leveling with whichever and who[m]ever, and today who[m] and which usually occur only in nominal relative clauses with verbs like choose, please, etc. But not pay. Hence the confusion.

With the Supremes, Diana Ross sang ``This time I'll live my life at ease / Being happy loving whom I please.'' Come back later for an in-depth discussion of Holland, Dozier, and Holland.

Who Shot J.R.?
Kristin, his sister-in-law and former mistress, played by Mary Crosby. J.R. Ewing -- and for that matter Larry Hagman, who played him -- survived. These facts were revealed in the Nov. 21, 1980 season premier of the soap ``Dallas.''

Two months later, Ronald Wilson Reagan was inaugurated president of the United States. He was eventually also shot, but survived. He became the first US president since 1840 to be elected in a year divisible by twenty who did not die in office.

Who's Who In Theology
Subtitled ``From the First Century to the Present'' (the latter being 1992). Why such an arbitrary cut-off? Still, I give thanks that someone (John Bowden) has compiled this miraculous volume. It's short -- 132 pp., not including the pope list -- so you know only those who are damn deserving have been included. Frits Staal (Hindu mysticism) deserves an entry, though.

WareHouse Of WEb DAta.

Waist-to-Hip circumference Ratio.

Westfield High School.

Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations.

The William Herschel Telescope. A 4.2-meter telescope operated by ING. I think they operate it for the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) -- after all, someone has to pony up the money. However, ING doesn't seem to use a serial comma before and (they use the ambiguous ``A, B and C'' style), so this important question of sponsorship is unclear from the ING homepage and will remain forever a mystery. Also on behalf van de NWO en del IAC. Damn the punctuation.

What Have You. Although the expression is widely used (in a sense similar to ``[and] stuff'' or etc.), the initialism is chiefly British. It has been in use in the UK since times when classified ads only appeared in print.

World Hunger Year. It's not a particular year (calendar or otherwise, like the International Geophysical Year). Instead, it's a year in very loosely the way that Newsweek is a week. That is, it's an organization that performs certain activities each year.

``Founded in 1975, WHY is a leader in the fight against hunger and poverty in the United States and around the world.'' Organizational self-descriptions are, it goes without saying, to be taken with a grain of salt. Salt is a flavor enhancer. Then again, they didn't say it is the leader. It was ``founded by radio talk show host and present Executive Director Bill Ayres, and the late singer-songwriter Harry Chapin.'' Among other things, one of their annual events is a dinner. That seems especially appropriate for a hunger organization. I'd like to know what they serve. Or is it pot luck? Okay, it's an awards dinner. They've been making media awards (and serving them, I guess) since 1982, to encourage the media to ``tell the story of hunger and poverty.'' They used to be called the World Hunger Media Awards, but now they're called the Harry Chapin Media Awards.

Harry Chapin died in a 1981 car crash, at the age of 38. I suppose this might be adduced as evidence for the proposition that ``only the good die young.'' Billy Joel released his song of that name in 1977, in the album entitled The Stranger. The song had to do with tasting forbidden fruit or satisfying one's appetites or something.

Why am I writing this?
I have no idea. Seek your own truth.

Why didn't he call?
Because he didn't want to talk or meet with you again, obviously. That's not really the question.

Why did he say he would call?
Because he didn't want to finish the act before the curtain came down. He didn't want a scene.

Either this entry or the previous one is out of alphabetical order. Once I can decide which one of the two is out of place, I'll move it. But not to Wisconsin.

West Indies.

The Wireless Institute. ``The Wireless Institute in the College of Engineering at the University of Notre Dame is becoming an internationally preeminent center of research, education, technology transfer, and outreach activities that develops wireless communication & networking technologies, applications, and economic & policy studies of great value to society.'' They don't pay me to publicize this, I guess it's fair to say.

Wisconsin. (USPS abbreviation.) The market value of the cheese produced in Wisconsin in a year is greater than the market value of all the tea in China.

It's probably fair to point out that these market-value comparisons can be deceptive. For example, in 1992, US sales of ``Mexican sauces'' eclipsed sales of ketchup (each at about three-quarters of a billion bucks total final sales). However, the retail price by volume is four or five times as much for salsa as for ketchup. [Data from Jeffrey Steingarten: The Man Who Ate Everything (Random House, 1997).]

Ketchup is fat free. Cheese is not. For more encouraging news about health aspects of cheese, visit the WDA entry.

Some years back, the state sponsored a competition for a new motto and motor vehicle license plate logo. Everyone knows that the one that should have won was ``Eat Cheese Or Die,'' but they WImped out: their motto is ``Forward.'' Yick. And they're not ``The Cheese State'' either, they're ``The Badger State.'' It's enough to make you move to Minnesota (MN).

Fans of the Green Bay (Wisconsin) Packers are known as cheeseheads; their ceremonial headgear is in the shape of a large wedge of yellow cheese.

The Villanova Center for Information Law and Policy serves a page of Wisconsin state government links. USACityLink.com has a page with some municipal links for the state.

Wisconsin is a community property state.

Mmm, here's something: according to the US Economic Census of 1997, in 1996 the top exported commodity category of the state of Wisconsin was nonelectrical machinery, for $3.167 billion, making up 37.7% of its $8.410 billions in total exports. Neighboring Minnesota's top exported commodity category was agricultural products, at $4.943 billion making up 35.6% of that state's $13.884 billion total exports. ``Food and Kindred Products'' is a different category than ``Agricultural Products.'' Arkansas and Nebraska are the only states for which this constitutes the largest export commodity category.

Since the Iraq war of 2003, close US presidential advisors have been giving subtle little diplomatically worded hints that France's obstructionism might redound to that country's disadvantage. Here's the secret plan, based on the Joint military doctrine of flexible (and sometimes rubbery) response: we shall bombard them with American cheese product! This will be called Operation Eat Cheese And Die.

Women's Institute. A charitable membership organization in Britain.


WIsconsin Association of Teachers of Japanese. An affiliate of the NCJLT.

Polish male noun meaning `wind, gale, breeze.' Colloquially: `noise.' It also has the acceptation of `nose' (of a dog or horse).

Wouldn't It Be Nice If.

Not normally an allusion the Beach Boys' ode to marriage, Wouldn't It Be Nice.

Western International Communications, Ltd. of Canada.

West-Indische Compagnie. The Dutch `West India Company' of old. [Literally the `West-Indian Company.'] Officially the Geoctroyeerde West-Indische Compagnie (see GWC for an utterly fascinating discursus on geoctroyeerde). For the Dutch East India Company, see VOC.

Judging from occurrences in the LION literature database of English poetry, drama, and prose, the term `West Indies'' has typically been two to four times more common than ``West India'' in all of the last five centuries. However, WIC was always translated as the ``West India Company.''

(Supplementary Nutrition for) Women, Infants, and Children (government program). To learn more, you might visit The Welfare Law Center.

The religion of witchcraft.

I heard that! Watch what you say or I'll put a spell on you.

Perhaps you were looking for wic.ca, Western International Communications (WIC), Ltd. of Canada.

World Industry Council for the Environment.

Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education.

It's my impression that Wicca is especially popular in the Northwest.

Water Industry Certification Scheme. (UK term.)

Widely Integrated Distributed Environments.

WIndow gaDGET. Otherwise known as a component or a GUI control. Widgets include things like buttons, menus, scrollbars, comboboxes, etc. It occurs to me that some people don't know that the word widget existed long before GUI's. It had the senses of (a) an unspecified or hypothetical manufactured object, probably small, and (b) a bell or whistle on a manufactured object. The word is attested as early as 1931 in the journal American Speech (vol. 6, p. 259).

Widlar, Bob
Designed National Semiconductor's popular LM709 Op Amp.

Widlar circuit, Widlar-mirror
A BJT mirror circuit.

A woman whose husband died while he was still married to her. If you get a divorce and then your ex dies, you're still a divorcee.

Of course, if you're Catholic, in the eyes of the church you're never divorced: either you're still married (and possibly a bigamist) or you got an annulment and you weren't really married in the first place. What this means is that in a sense, the church is a widowmaker. (At least a widowconstruer.)

Women's International Electronic University.

An AM radio station in Indianapolis.

Windows 3.1 Intelligent Font Environment.

WIreless high-FIdelity communication technology that conforms to IEEE standard 802.11b.

Tungsten (chemical symbol W) Inert-Gas welding. Another name for GTAW, q.v., and TIG. In German, WIG is expanded Wolfram-inertgas[schweißen].

Long-distance communication of general messages using a code of flag (or light or an arm) motions or positions.

Worldwide Information Infrastructure.

One of the most hideously lame excuses for a product name since... I can't think of anything. It's world-historic. Some people have suggested that the name is so stupid that it will generate nonstop buzz. Rabid Nintendo fans have pointed out that they're so hopelessly addicted to Nintendo products that they'll buy them no matter what name they get.

The name Wii is supposed to be pronounced like the English pronoun we, or the English verb wee, meaning to urinate, or the English adjective (Scottish dialect) wee meaning small, or the French oui meaning `yes.'

The product now called Wii, a wireless video-game console, was known until April 27, 2006, by its development codename, ``Revolution.'' On the day that the new name was announced, the company website explained that the ``we'' pronunciation ``emphasizes that the console is for everyone.''

Other stupid comments on the site included this: ``Wii can easily be remembered by people around the world, no matter what language they speak. No confusion. No need to abbreviate. Just Wii.'' One could ignore a little bit of over-optimistic linguistic ignorance, but there is a nice irony in the fact that the sound ``wii'' or ``we'' does not occur in Japanese, a language familiar to the management of Nintendo, a Japanese company.

[Historically, there have been kana for at least four syllables beginning in w. However, the kana for wi (pronounced ``we'') and we (pronounced ``weh'') are as obsolete as the Old English wynn rune, and the kana for wo is now pronounced o. That leaves only the kana for wa, which is not appropriate for constructing a two-kana representation of wi. No wi sound occurs among the standard 1000 kanji approved for ordinary use. In principle, a wi sound might lurk among the kanji that occur in family names, but it's rather unlikely. To spell this sound in Japanese I'd figure you'd have to use romaji -- Western characters -- and some version of, say, the Hepburn transcription scheme. Then it could indeed be spelled ``wii.'' And most Japanese can probably pronounce that.

However, there's also a French-style solution for Japanese, discussed below. The w is not part of the traditional French alphabet. On the other hand, having the letter w (which was invented by Norman scribes in England, and was readopted in England after catching on on the continent) is no guarantee; there are many languages in which the semivowel represented by w in English does not occur. In modern German, for example, the letter w has a vee sound, and many German-speakers have difficulty producing the English w sound. (``Vee don't haff vays aff making ahss tock.'')]

There's no need to wonder about the linguistic competence of someone who could approve or promote this name. Here are the words of Perrin Kaplan, vice-president of marketing and corporate affairs for Nintendo of America, as quoted by Daniel Terdiman, staff writer for CNET <News.com>:

The goal is we are a highly innovative company and we want the name to speak to that innovation and uniqueness. If you were to look at [the name of the controller] visually, the point isn't just how you pronounce it, but it symbolizes the controllers, which are one of the most innovative and unique parts of the system.

This is the name of an unincorporated community in Volusia County, Florida. It's part of a sandbar or the outer barrier island near South Daytona Beach. There's a Wilbur Bay between it and the mainland.

Wild Mango Mating Calls
Unrequited fruit. Probably the most poignant song about fruit is Jimmy Webb's ``All I Know'' (popularized by Art Garfunkel). It begins ``I bruise you / You bruise me / We both bruise too easily.'' Fruiting plants reproduce sexually, you know. ``All my plans depend on you / Depend on you to help them grow.'' Eventually, the rot sets in: ``Endings always come too fast / They come too fast / But they pass too slow.'' (They cause constipation?)

Wile E. Coyote
Poster-boy for the policy of testing complex systems in component stages.

A town in Pennsylvania. The name is pronounced ``Wilk's Barry'' or ``Wilk's Berry,'' or with an ambiguous vowel interpolating between Berry and Barry pronunciations.

WIreless Local Loop.

willful ignorance
Premeditated or complicit innocence.

Williams, Robin
Writer of computer books. Who did you think?

willing to adapt material from other sources

... will never be forgotten.
Come back tomorrow and see.

WILMington (Delaware) Area Planning COuncil. An MPO.

Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Wilson circuit, Wilson mirror
A MOSFET mirror circuit.

Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave ACCess.

Windows, Icons, Mouse, and Pull-down menus. (Xerox usage.)

Weakly-Interacting Massive Particle. The name alone would seem to include the charged leptons (electron, muon, tau and, as usual implicitly: their antiparticles). Implicitly, however, WIMP refers to uncharged particles. Also, there is some experimental evidence to suggest, and no overwhelming theoretical reason to doubt, that the neutrino partners of the known leptons are not quite massless. These are excluded too: WIMPs are electrically uncharged Weakly-Interacting Massive Particles Other Than The Known Leptons, but that doesn't make a very compelling acronym (WIMPOTTKL).

WIMPS have been hypothesized in the attempt to solve the dark matter problem. See, for example, this.

Popular name for the Vickers Amstrongs Wellington bomber, designed by Dr. Barnes Wallis. The nickname alluded to comic character Popeye's friend and opposite, the rotund, placid hamburger-fanatic J. Wellington Wimpy (patent line: ``I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today''). The Wellington was used by Britain at the beginning of WWII as a ``heavy bomber.'' As other bombers came into service over the course of the war, it became a ``medium.''

Fully loaded and crewed (normally five men), the Wimpy was normally used to carry up to 4500 pounds of ordnance, typically nine 500-lb. M.C. bombs or 810 four-lb. incendiaries (yes, small bombs -- they were dropped from small-bomb containers, SBC's), to medium range. Records show that it was used for bomb loads as large as 6500 lbs. over short distances in 1944. It could also carry a pair of 1000-lb. naval mines. With special modifications, it could carry a cookie.

The 4500-lb. payload was about the same as that of the larger B-17 and B-24, but it was a smaller, lighter, and cheaper plane, in significant part because it carried much less defensive armament -- it was used for night bombing. USAAF crews had other names for it, including ``rag bomber,'' ``paper-covered kite,'' and ``canvas-covered coffin.''

Whip Inflation Now. A slogan without a program, instantly derided theme introduced by President Jerry Ford in 1975. The lapel buttons must be a collector's item.

Wireless In-building Network.

An opening in the material covering the wafer surface, defining regions to be oxidized (window in a nitride surface), doped, metallized (contact or via window), deposited, etched, etc. Note that due to the penetrating nature of ion beams, an implantation window need not reach all the way down to the silicon surface.

Cf. defenestrate.

Colloquially, of a number of MS-Windows products -- Windows 3.1, Windows ME, Windows NT, Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows 95, Windows 98 -- that are not all equally bad.

Basically, after Windows 3.X there were two parallel OS paths for desktop machines: more reliable commercial-grade software (NT, 2000) and higher-functionality OS's more popular in home use (95, 98, Me). Windows XP is supposed to build on the 2000 core but provide the functionality of the 95/98/Me versions.

Windows CE
Windows Compact Edition. A Microsoft OS for handhelds.

Windows ME, Windows Me
Windows Millennium Edition. In a certain technical sense, this is succeeded by Windows 2000, which crashes much less frequently but has poorer device and application support. That's great: 2000 succeeds 2001. Okay, enough humor. For a nonpro's (my) overview, see the main Windows entry.

Windows NT
Looks just like Windows 95/98 to the application user, but inside it's the Win95 rebuilt from scratch (originally on a POSIX base, but it's not an open system at all). It's popular in commercial applications because it has enhanced security (while Win 95 has negligible security). It's a memory hog, and not all software for 95, or not all widgets on any given piece of software for 95, will work on NT. When it does, then there will be no further versions of the Win95, 98 series. It came out before Win95, but both had been in development awhile.

Win NT was available before Win 95, but its look and feel corresponds to Win 95 more than Win 3.1. I'm not sure what earlier versions of Win 3.1 looked like.

In Japan, Sony Vaio machines replaced the worthless Microsoft error messages with their own haiku. For example:

Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.

Windows XP
Windows eXPerience. Not clear whether that's good or bad experience. It will require 128 MB of RAM and not exactly require Pentium-III speed. It's the great hope of the industry that its release, now scheduled for October 26, 2001, will fuel hardware sales going into the 2001 Xmas shopping season.

That part of the entry is frozen in time, because that way I don't have to update it. However, I can report here that although it did take some time, the strategy finally worked: In June 2003, Robert installed XP on his old laptop and various peripherals stopped working. Even though he eventually got everything except the tape back-up to sort of work again, the effort elevated his frustration level to the point where he was no longer tolerant of other things that he'd been putting up with for years, so he went out and bought a new computer. Interesting how that works.

What do you mean, ``Who's Robert?'' Who are you?

Windows 95
Here's all you really need to know. If you already have Windows95, then you already have annoyances.

Windows 98
If Windows 95 (supra) had been called Windows 4.0, then, Windows 98 would have been called Windows 4.2. (There was a bug-fix on Win95 that would have been Windows 4.1.) If you got the early release and wanted to install the bug-fixed version, your installer probably wouldn't have recognized the difference. The easiest work-around was to go in and change the name so it looked like it wasn't there. The next little improvement was Windows Me.

Workshop on Innovative Nanoscale Devices and Systems. WINDS2012: Big Island of Hawaii, Kohala Coast, December 2-7, 2012. No, it doesn't take place on the beach, though that's an interesting thought. The conference venue is the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel.

Attendance is by invitation only. Here's a bit from an email announcement of WINDS2012:

The Workshop on Innovative Nanoscale Devices and Systems (WINDS) is a 4 and 1/2 day meeting with morning and evening sessions, and with afternoons free for adhoc meetings and discussions among participants. WINDS follows the tradition and format of AHW (Advanced Heterostructure Workshop). In 2008, there was a transition as the workshop name morphed from AHW to AHNW to WINDS in order to attract more participation from industrial labs. The format of each session involves one or two overview presentations plus lively discussion (about 15 minutes for each paper) based on recent data. To ensure enough time for discussion, short presentation of data is encouraged. Each participant is expected to engage in these discussions and is strongly encouraged to bring three to four overhead transparencies or a PC with PowerPoint files showing most recent results that can be incorporated into the discussions. Titles, introductions, summary and acknowledgements are strictly discouraged. The total number of participants will be limited to around 80 to keep the discussions lively in the single session.

[Italics in original.]

WINdows Emulator for Linux. The name also has a XARAtic expansion, ``Wine Is Not an Emulator.'' So I guess the first expansion is not official. Also, as of fall 2003, it was already running on FreeBSD and Solaris.

wing fence
Term preferred by Airbus and McDonnell-Douglas aircraft manufacturers for the vertical structures at the outside ends of the wings of some of their jets. More at winglet.

Term preferred by Boeing for the vertical structures at the ends of the wings on their 747-400. Airbus and McDonnell-Douglas aircraft manufacturers use the term ``wing fence.'' The 747-400 winglets only rise from the end of the wing. MD-11 and Airbus wing fences extend both above and below the wing.

Web Interactive Network of [Local, State, and Federal US] Government Services.

The Campus-Wide Information Service of the University at Buffalo. Named after Buffalo. See also CWIS and UB.

Wings of Madness
The cover of this book shows an early-design heavier-than-air craft near the Eiffel Tower, with spectators in the foreground in circa-1900 dress. The jacket copy begins with this dramatic excerpt:
On October 19, 1901, thousands of people turned out to watch Alberto Santos-Dumont attempt to circle the spire of the Eiffel Tower in an innovative flying machine. When Santos-Dumont made it around the tower, he became the toast of Paris. Jules Verne and H. G. Wells sent him congratulatory telegrams. But what started in glory would end in a descent into madness and despair.

Fine print at the bottom of the back flap lists the perpetrators:

Jacket design by Julian Humphries (c) Fourth Estate 2003. Jacket photograph: A composite image of Santos-Dumont flying the Demoiselle, the world's first sports plane, and the crowd that watched him circle the Eiffel Tower in a powered balloon in 1901. (c) Collection Musée de l'Air et de l'Espace, le Bourget 6/03.

WINdows Hardware Engineering Conference.

Nickname for the boy's given name Winston, usually but (see next entry) not always.

Winnie was a bear at the London zoo who inspired a series of books by A. A. Milne. It had the name Winnie because it came from the city of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada.

Winnie Mandela was named Winnifred at birth, in case you were wondering.

Winning isn't everything
There's no payoff if you don't cover the spread.

A New York City radio station, AM 1010 KHz. ``All news all the time. You give us twenty-two minutes, we give you the world.''

Warehouse Industry National Standards. But compare...

Warehouse Information Network Standards. In fact, I think the previous entry may be a mistaken guess.

Windows Internet Name Service.

WINdows SOCKet.

Winston concentrator
A trough-type parabolic collector of solar radiation. (A long mirror with a profile, viewed from the end, in the form of a parabola, with a collector tube along the focus.) If the length of the trough is much greater than the focal distance, then there's little to be gained (and major costs to be saved) by tracking the sun along one axis only. It's possible then to have fixed plumbing for the working fluid (in the collector) while the mirror rotates around it. The approach was developed by Roland Winston.

Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.
Old advertising slogan and lyric. Heard so often that you forget if you noticed that it was ungrammatical the first time.

Designates a standard PC: MS Windows OS and Intel processor.

A Windows News Client.

Windows 95.

Windows 98.

Women In Prison. A subgenre of soft-core pornographic B-movies. Well, yes: ``a subgenre of B-movies'' would not have been a lot less specific.

Work In Progress. Occasionally also Work In Process, probably as interpreted by people with a limited notion of the semantic field of the word progress. Progress originally meant movement forward, with movement and forward both understood metaphorically (just as the Latin root of dependent, meaning `hanging from,' only makes sense metaphorically). Thus, ``forward progress'' is something of a pleonasm. The meaning of progress does suggest improvement, and the word has an inevitable positive connotation, but the meaning of the word has never been restricted to apply only to those instances in which the speaker is supposed to approve the direction of movement.

For more related to ``dead metaphors'' like dependent, see the calque entry.

World Intellectual Property Organization. It appears that little intellectual property was invested in naming this organization.

If two or more logic gates which pull down are simply connected together, the result is high only if none of the wired-together outputs is low -- a logical AND in positive logic. The idea is part of ordinary gates in I²L. It is also handy for bus applications. In that case, one has to modify the usual TTL output, which would have a push-pull design (totem-pole in earlier families; more complex in later versions). Instead, the relevant output is an open collector (OC) -- the lower half of an ordinary output. The collectors are wire-ANDed, and a simple resistor is used as the pull-up.

The same idea as wired-AND, but in negative logic.

Electromagnetic signals propagated without wires. Like, through the ether! Wild, huh?

Kind of an old term that stuck. Here's a list of links.

``Wireless'' also excludes fiber-optic cables, by conventional agreement.

An adjective meaning not wireless.

The term ``telecommunications'' sort of has a connotation of wireline communications, from the association with telephone and telegraph, but not with television. Just a reminder that language doesn't have to make sense.

Wirth's Law
Software gets slower faster than hardware gets faster.

Not quite equivalent to a common saying.

Nicklaus Wirth, a professor at ETH, developed Pascal as his notion of how Algol should evolve, as mentioned in the DBPL entry.

In the US, his last name is pronounced ``Worth,'' while in Central Europe, this German name is pronounced (writing here in English eye dialect) ``veert.'' When asked if the differing pronounciations bothered him, he is reputed to have replied:

Not at all, in Europe they like `call by name,' and in the US they like `call by value.'

Water-Industry Specifications.

Weizmann Institute of Science.

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Most commonly used IQ test for US children. Targeted for ages 6 to 16. [Pronounced ``wisk.''] More at WAIS (q.v.).

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, III. Third version of WISC, in use since 1995.

Wiener Institute for Social Science DOcuMentation. If I were an institution named ``Wiener'' anything, I'd think it wise to go by an acronym also.

A qwerty fat-finger typo for wide.

WordPerfect Information System Environment.

Women In Scholarly Publishing. ``A professional organization serving the educational and professional advancement of its members. Since its creation in 1979, WiSP has worked with a clear commitment to achieving equal opportunity and compensation for all those employed in the field of scholarly publishing.''

With all due respect to
No respect is due to.

with regard to
Verbal quicksand.

with your own eyes
Sure, like you considered an alternative.

Women In Technology International.

World Information and Technology Services Alliance. Alliance of ITAA and various similar software and IT service associations in other countries.

[Big picture of Luddie looking
slack-jawed but close-mouthed, stage right.]

Ludwig. Picture at right. An MAE before he got into the philosophy racket. I don't have anything useful to say about his philosophies, though a strength of my thorough ignorance is that I can fairly claim not to misunderstand them... but I felt that the W's were a bit thin, so I added him.

The graduate student lounge on the fourth floor of Princeton's Jadwin Hall was named in memory of Wittgenstein, for no particular reason that I am aware of. Once, I was standing there staring out the window and across the courtyard, and Robert McKay asked me what I was looking at.

``Brick,'' I said.

``Ah, yes -- poignant brick,'' he replied.
It was quite brown, as usual.

...Bloody Limeys with their sesquipedalian ripostes. What I really need is a deep philosopher whose name begins in cue or wye. (No, no, I've disqualified Quine.)

The raison d'être of all this verbal dross here is so it is very clear that the illustration at right is not of any person in what was once the entry immediately following this. We wouldn't want any such errors on our conscience.

It may be of interest to those who gave up and did not read down to this point that there is a mailing list for the discussion of analytic philosophy. Its web page is here now.

The uninflected form of the Lardil word for `bush mango.' Lardil is spoken on Mornington Island off the coast of Australia, by approximately zero persons. Wiwalan is the nonfuture form. You can become the only speaker of Lardil (approximately) by studying this homework sheet.

When I Was A Lad. A mythological era in the recent past.

According to the Sherman brothers' lyrics, during his ladship Bert (played by Dick van Dyke in the movie version of Mary Poppins) was subjected to physical and emotional abuse by his father (``gave me nose a tweak and told me I was bad''). A social worker taught him a magic word that saved his nose; he survived and grew up to become a productive member of society (a dancing chimney sweep). The End.

Wizard War, The
This WW was WWII. The head term is short for The Wizard War: British Scientific Intelligence 1939-1945, by R.V. Jones (New York: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, Inc., 1978). As Jones explains in the introduction, he had wanted the title to be Merchants of Light, Francis Bacon's name for science spies in his New Atlantis, but was informed that this was ``not a `selling' title.'' He reviews various alternative titles he considered, and explains (p. xix) that he finally settled on the title of a chapter (``The Wizard War'') in Volume II (1949) of Winston Churchill's memoirs. In that chapter, Churchill describes how he summoned Jones to their first meeting in June 1940, writing ``[t]his was a secret war, whose battles were lost or won unknown to the public; and only with difficulty is it comprehended, even now, by those outside the small high scientific circles concerned.''

Jones ends this paragraph of his introduction thus: ``So here, as it were, pickled in its own juice, is Scientific Intelligence in World War II as I saw it, under the Churchillian title The Wizard War.'' (That sentence, at least, must be different in the first published version of Jones's book, sold in Great Britain under the title Most Secret War.)

This is a citation entry: information about a source to be referenced multiple times is sequestered in a single location for convenience and efficiency. If you want more substantive information about the book's contents, you'll have to look at the entries for

  1. A.D.I. (Sc.),
  2. D. of I. (R),
  3. S. of S.,
  4. V-2,
and others as they come up.

I have one bit of practical advice about mentioning the book in conversation: don't refer to Jones as the title page does -- ``R.V. Jones.'' If your listener is familiar with him, ``Jones'' will do. Otherwise, he will almost invariably suppose you said ``Harvey Jones.'' Say ``Reginald Victor Jones.''

Women's International Zionist Organization. It is ``a non-partisan international movement dedicated to the advancement of the status of women, welfare of all sectors of Israeli society and encouragement of Jewish education in Israel and the Diaspora.''

William James. The pragmatic philosopher and proto-psychologist. Born in 1842, the year Edgar Allen Poe invented detective fiction. Died in 1910, the year Mark Twain went out with Halley's comet. A/k/a Henry James's smarter brother.

World Jewish Congress.

Weak Jump Shift.

William James Society.

William James Studies. An interdisciplinary peer-reviewed online journal introduced in Spring 2006. It is ``dedicated to publishing high quality, scholarly articles related to the life, work and influence of William James. No subscription to it is required. Access to the journal is open so as to ensure that all who have an interest in William James have access to its contents. WJS is published [online] by University of Illinois Press and sponsored by the William James Society.''

Wheeling Jesuit University. For more on Jesuit Colleges and Universities, see AJCU entry.

Wentzel-Kramers-Brillouin. (Also WKB-J.) None of these gentlemen is represented above right (see instead the Wittgenstein entry above).

An approximate method for finding solutions of the Schrödinger equation, appropriate for potentials that vary either very smoothly or very rapidly in the vicinity of classical turning points. Instanton and soliton methods can be regarded as a generalization of WKB to multiple dimensions. Similar methods applied to other differential equations are known as multiscale methods. Boundary-layer theory in hydrodynamics bears mathematical similarities, with the boundary layer analogue in the Schrödinger solution being the region near the classical turning point where Airy function solutions can be matched to the actual solution.

Wentzel-Kramers-Brillouin-Jeffreys. More commonly WKB, q.v..

NewsChannel 7, Buffalo, NY. Originally chosen to stand for ``Well-Known Bible Witness.''

Washington and Lee University. In Lexington, Virginia.

W-L, W/L
Won-Lost or Win-Loss record. In sports where ties are rare or technically forbidden, teams or individual players can be ranked unambiguously (I won't say always meaningfully) by W-L record. When the teams or players compared have not played an equal number of games, a ranking (technically a standing) can be computed by comparing values of (W-L)/2. In particular, in baseball a team is said to be ``[n] games behind first place'' if (W-L)/2 for the team is n less than the largest value of (W-L)/2 in the division. ``Best record in baseball'' and similar expressions refer implicitly to the W-L value.

Sports announcers and commentators being the sort of people they are, the W-L record will occasionally be called a ratio, after the pattern of ``take-away ratio,'' which is always the difference in turnovers.

In ice hockey, where ties are frequent, standings are computed by assigning two points for a win, one point for a tie and zero for a loss. This means, for example, that a team that's gone 0-1-5 (no wins, one loss, five ties) is ahead of a team with a record of 2-0-0, so if games are played on a very uneven schedule the ``points'' approach can be a poor measure for comparison.

Word Line. Cf. and read explanation at BL.

[Football icon]

World League of American Football. There's a Scottish team named the Claymores. Are they named after the antipersonnel mines? I guess this name has a different resonance in Scotland. They list their roster alphabetically by first name first. I think that's a good idea. `Who asked me?' Look, if you didn't need to know this stuff then why did you read it?

Wireless Local Area Network (LAN).

[Football icon]

Weakside LineBacker.

Wafer-Level Burn-In.

Women's League for Conservative Judaism.

Wafer-Level Chip-Scale Packaging.

World Long Drive Championship. The LDA's top annual event. Details in the WLD Champion entry below.

WLD Champion
World Long Drive CHAMPION. A winner of the LDA. There used to be five divisions, each with its own champion. Then, on November 19, 2008, the LDA announced a ``new division structure'' consisting of three divisions: open, senior (ages 45-52) and super senior (ages 53 and up). Art Sellinger, owner and CEO of the LDA, explained:
We have decided to streamline the RE/MAX championship in 2009 by eliminating two divisions, grand champions and women. We salute 2008 RE/MAX world champions Rick Barry and Lana Lawless for their victories, and we thank all the grand champions and women's division entrants for their support.

Eliminating these divisions was a difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary going forward. The fact is that participation in those two divisions has fallen well short of expectations. Simply put, we are unable to envision a reversal to that trend. It's time to move on.

At the time, LDA also canceled the 2008-2009 Exceptional Driver Championship (EDC), a driving contest for amateur golfers that rewarded accurate power. Sellinger had created the competition in 2005, but apparently had trouble selling it. ``The reality is the tournament lacked sufficient financial underpinning to sustain itself during the coming year. Prospects of finding new tournament sponsors in the current financial environment were slim to nonexistent. Eliminating the EDC after its promising three-year run and its move to Golf Channel is an act of necessity dictated entirely by economic conditions.''

World Languages Institute, a unit of the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at UB.

WireLess Loop, or Wireless Local Loop.

World Languages Other than English. The point of the modifier ``world'' here is not especially clear. It could mean that the languages are from any part of the world, as opposed, say, to languages spoken in North America other than English. Given the quantity and variety of recent immigration, that might not be a very substantial distinction. Alternatively, it might be meant as a restriction to languages spoken throughout the world, rather than merely in a limited region. Again, given recent immigration flows, this would be a difficult distinction to make sharply. Evidently, some other distinction is meant, and it is probably this: ``world languages'' are languages native to this planetary world, and not some other. For practical purposes, WLOE is equivalent to ``languages other than English and Klingon.''

WLOG, wlog
Without Loss Of Generality. Used in mathematics to describe arbitrary choices made to simplify statements or calculations.

Wafer-Level { Processing | Packaging }

Wafer-Level Reliability.

Weighted Least Squares.

Wafer-Level Test.

Would Like To Meet. Personals-ad abbreviation. I suppose this usefully distinguishes one kind of ad from those others placed by people who prefer permanently long-distance relationships.

Wilfrid Laurier University. In Waterloo, Ontario. I think it's cool the way the university abbreviation suggests its location. Hmm -- it turns out that the name -- but, I feel a digression coming on. Let me mention the name thing later.

Y'know, I'm reminded of something that happened one day at a phonons conference, when Claire introduced me to some of her friends. I said to one guy, ``your accent sounds familiar! Don't tell me, you're from, uh, uh -- you're a Walloon!'' He said ``Walloon''? Beginning to be disheartened, I said ``yeah, you know: French-speaking Belgian.'' He replied ``oh -- wallon!'' Turned out he was a Francophone Swiss. Thinking it over later, I realized that l'anglais québécois resembles those other two as well, though not as closely. There seems to be something in common among the English accents of Francophones from French/Germanic bilingual countries, though I find it hard to define precisely what. I should also mention Finns here. In my experience, the range of Finnish accents in English is astonishing. A Finn speaking English could be mistaken for a native speaker of almost any Germanic language, and quite a few other north-central European ones. I think this has a little to do with varying degrees of familiarity with Swedish as a home language, and something perhaps to do with the sheer foreigness of Finnish. (Estonian is similar to Finnish, of course, but Hungarian, the only other demographically significant language remaining from the Finno-Ugric language family, is very distant. Hungarian and Finnish are not mutually intelligible, but one Finn has told me he senses a ticklish sort of familiarity in the general sound of Hungarian. Both languages have vowel concordance, but to a nonspeaker of both [me], their sounds and song are very different.)

Once my mother attended a talk by an English fellow who, so far as she could tell, had a perfectly standard educated British accent, except... something. She approached him after the talk and asked if he was from Vienna. Turned out he had been a child there. In German, of course, Viennese speech has a distinctive melody, but it's surprising to have it color English recognizably. I also feel that the way Italian sounds in Rome (and not anywhere further north) is very suggestive of the Argentine accent (Argentina had an enormous Italian immigration, of course), but I can't claim to have conducted anything like a test of this hypothesis unless eating in small Roman tratorie counts.

Well, this next story has no connection with WLU that I'd care to try to define, but I haven't written it anywhere else in the glossary. Visiting family in the Los Angeles area once, I walked into a little take-out place on Van Nuys Boulevard just south of Ventura. All I said was ``¡Qué hay de beber?'' [`what is there to drink?'] and the woman behind the counter asked me if I was Argentine like her. This had nothing to do with accent or melody or vos conjugations. It's just that de instead of para in that phrase is Argentine.

This has degenerated into bragging, hasn't it -- language dropping. Let's veer in another direction: Waterloo. I just had a thought I wish I hadn't, and now that I've had it I'd like to be rid of it. So I'll do the usual thing, which is stick it in the glossary and hope some visitors will take this thought away with them. (It's free!) Don't say I didn't warn you. The thought is that Waterloo can be analyzed as Water + loo, and that water is French slang for `bathroom' [< Eng. water closet], while loo is British slang for the same. Remember to flush.

(Just as an aside to that, notice that ``now that'' in a sentence above would often be contracted to ``now'' in British but not in American. Eliding a had just before the comma in that same sentence is also more British than American. We now break back out to the aside this aside was nested in. Sorry for not indenting my statement blocks.)

(Oh, another aside, same nesting depth as previous. It's been suggested that there is an etymological connection between loo and Waterloo. In the October 1974 Blackwood's Magazine (vol. 316, #1908), Alan S.C. Ross had an article entitled ``Loo'' (pp. 309-316). This article seems to be mostly about a military chap, one Gen. Public. Ross has some really quite insulting things to say about this poor benighted fellow, considering him, as we Americans would say, a low-grade moron. I won't say anything at all about my opinion of Alan Ross, except that, to judge from this article only, he was a pretentious fool. Ross proposed incoherently that loo is derived in English from a rare muddled French pun on Waterloo. A difficulty with most of the explanations is explaining why the word loo is first attested in English no earlier than 1947 or so. The etymology of loo is unknown.)

Now about WLU... Wilfred Laurier was prime minister of Canada from July 11, 1896 until October 6, 1911. He apparently had nothing to do with the founding of Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, which opened its doors on October 30, 1911. The seminary grew and spawned other educational institutions in the usual ways, with an eventual renaming and promotion (to degree-granting status) yielding a ``Waterloo Lutheran University'' in 1960. In 1973, this was renamed Wilfred Laurier University, and the only connection ever offered between the school and its current eponym is the coincidence of W and L initials, allowing the school to keep its monogram.

By the way, if you came here for information about Washington and Lee University, you got the wrong entry. You want W&L.


WM, wm
Window Manager.

World Medical Association.

Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, launched 2001.

Washington (DC) Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Subway (MetroRail) and bus (MetroBus) operator in DC and nearby suburbs. Normally people just call MetroRail the METRO or Metro. Cf. MARC, VRE.

War Manpower Commission. A WWII institution of the US government, created to assure appropriate allocation of manpower to the military, industry, and agriculture. See also OWM.

Weighted (usually ensemble-weighted) Monte Carlo (simulation method).

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

Weapons of Mass Destruction. If you spend a year looking for WMD information in this glossary, most of what you find will be sausage-related. Follow this link. Of course, there's SALT.

The German word for WMD is Massenvernichtungswaffen. If you wanted to be strict about it, most German acronyms would have to be one letter long. Dial M...

Windows Meta File.

Wireless Mark-up Language. Formatting for documents downloaded to cell phones with WAP, q.v. Based on HDML (Handheld Device Markup Language), and conforms to general XML guidelines.

World Meteorological Organization.

Clement Wragge, an Australian meteorologist of the early 1900's, is believed to have originated the practice of naming hurricanes and other tropical storm cyclones. He started out using Greek letters. (This worked, of course, because in a typical storm season, the storm systems in any region number fewer than 24.) Later, he switched to names from Greek and Roman mythology, and finally to ordinary names in alphabetical order. The practice was continued informally until 1953, when the WMO started doing it. For each storm region, a separate WMO committee of local representatives chooses the naming procedure and names.

North Atlantic hurricanes and tropical lows are named in alphabetical order from a list. There are currently six lists, used successively so that the storm names for 2001 are taken from the same list as those of 1995. Any country affected by a storm can request that the WMO retire a name -- not use it again for at least ten years. Hurricanes Gilbert (1988), Hugo (1989), and Mitch (1998) have all been retired. Starting at the beginning of the alphabet every year has the advantage that you can tell from the name approximately when in the season the storm was born. From the names retired, one can guess (correctly) that the first few in each season are not usually the worst. The storms originate off the west coast of North Africa and drift west, then take less predictable paths when they approach the Caribbean. Sometimes, when two storms in close succession take very different paths, they will arrive in Florida out of alphabetical order.

Central north Pacific typhoon names are taken in order from four successive lists of alphabetically ordered names. However, naming proceeds to the next list only when the current list is exhausted, rather than switching with each new annual season. This means that there is greater variety in the first letter of name used, and that must be good news for people who find the first half of the alphabet old-hat. However, anybody whose name begins in wye is probably stuck with having a typhoon namesake every four years. Australia uses a similar system.

Wealth Management Product.

Work Management System. See GITA.

World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics.

Western Michigan University. It's in Kalamazoo.

Waste Management Technology Analysis and Decision Support.

The year 2000, by ukase of the IMU, will be the

World Mathematical Year.

For more on the year 2000, visit the century (c.) entry.

I was in graduate school in 1979. A friend of mine was in graduate school for Mathematics in California. Back East, we would whisper ``Pssst! The eighties are going to be like the sixties! Pass it on!'' In 1980, Ronald Reagan was elected to his first term in a landslide; Carter conceded as my mathematician friend was driving to the polls to vote. Every decade is special.

Women's National Basketball Association. An initiative of the NBA, which has no plans to rename its traditional operations the MNBA.

Washington National Cathedral. It ``rel[ies] entirely on private support. The Cathedral receives no government or national church funding.''

Call letters of TV channel 16 in South Bend, Indiana. The station was begun in 1955 as the television station of Notre Dame University. We're clarifying our mission and rationalizing our operations, with centralization and reengineering as focal points, allowing us to leverage the synergy and take it to the next level, whatever ``it'' is. What I'm trying to communicate here is that all further WNDU-TV information is at the Joyce ACC entry, for your convenience.

Wireless Networked Embedded Control System.

Wide-area Network Interface Module.

Channel 34, the PBS affiliate serving the South Bend area.

Women's National Invitational (basketball) Tournament. Cf. NIT.

Within Normal Limits. A technical term used by doctors to mean, ``Hey, I do that too.''

Where No One Has Gone Before. Politically neutered form of classic TOS-original WNMHGB.

The Western NeuroRadiological Society. They do neuroradiology at rodeos and shoot'em-ups, I think. But to be a member you have to have founded it or live no further east than Alberta, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas.

The mailing address is in Oak Brook, Illinois, identical with the ENRS. Different extension on the phone number. Related to the ASNR.

``Sunny 101.5.'' A light-rock FM radio station serving the greater South Bend area (yeah, Michiana), owned by SCI. In the evening they play that insipid Delilah program. All schmaltz, all the time.

It began its broadcast life in 1962 as WSBT FM, simulcasting WSBT AM. After a series of format and call-letter changes, it ended up as WNSN FM in 1984.

West Nile Virus. Appears to be more convenient for writing than speech. (I refer to the initialism. The virus itself is not particularly convenient.)

The virus was first detected in the US in 1999 in New York City. WNV usually causes mild or no illness in humans, and most people infected don't know they're sick. However, a small fraction become seriously ill and a few die from virus-related encephalitis. In 2004, WNV was found in 47 states of the US, where 2370 people were known to be afflicted and 88 died of the disease.

West NorthWest. Vide compass directions.

W/O, w/o
WithOut. (With is W/.)

Washington Office on Africa.

``The Washington Office on Africa (WOA) is a church-sponsored not-for-profit advocacy organization seeking to articulate and promote a just American policy toward Africa. We monitor Congressional legislation and executive policies and actions and issue action alerts to advance progressive legislation and policy. We seek to work in partnership with colleagues in Africa, the Africa advocacy community in the United States, and grassroots organizations concerned with various aspects of African affairs.

WOA was founded in 1972 to support the movement for freedom from white-minority rule in southern Africa. Today, we have an expanded mission which seeks to address issues affecting grassroots African interests throughout the continent. A key focus of our energies presently are economic justices issues in Africa, including questions of aid, trade, and debt.''

Elmer Fuddese for rob.

Variant spelling of web, used in Scotland and northern England since the seventeenth century. Not surprising, when you consider that woven is a form of weave.

Wire-On-Bump. Electronic interconnect term.

Wom{a|e}n-Owned Business[es].

World Ocean Circulation Experiment.

Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society. (We define ostomy here.)

Waste Of Film And Time.

Wo Fat
A villain (originally Commander of Red Chinese Intelligence in the Pacific Theater), on the long-running TV series Hawaii Five-O. He was Moriarty to Steve McGarrett's Sherlock. McGarrett clashed with Wo Fat many times (``Cocoon,'' ``Forty Feet High and It Kills,'' and other episodes), finally triumphing in the final episode (#278) of the final (twelfth) season (of the original series, not the 2010-2014 retread).

That episode was entitled ``Woe to Wo Fat,'' and first aired April 5, 1980. McGarrett was able to arrest Wo Fat by posing as theoretical physicist Dr. Elton Raintree. I'm not sure how the name ``Elton'' was chosen, but Elton John's stardom, and the fact that he often performed in costumes that might be regarded as disguises, could have had something to do with it. I imagine that ``Raintree'' was chosen to evoke ``Rainwater.''

James Rainwater was a (nonfictional) theoretical nuclear physicist who predicted that some nuclei are not spherical. This was confirmed experimentally by Aage Bohr (son of the great Dane Niels Bohr -- sorry, had to) and Ben R. Mottelson. All three were well-known to fellow physicists, but in 1975 they shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for this work. Bohr and Mottelson were Danes (in fact, Mottelson was born in the US and became a naturalized citizen of Denmark), but Rainwater was American, and I suppose that may have counted for something with the writers of Hawaii Five-O.

Most of the Nobel laureates in physics between 1975 and the final season of the show were also Americans, so there was plenty to choose. But I think that at the time, most nonphysicists (and I believe that most of Hawaii Five-O's audience were nonphysicists) would have thought that theoretical nuclear physics was the summa plus ultra of physics. Rainwater may also have had some additional popular renown from his participation in the Manhattan project, and it might have counted for something that he looked a little bit more like Jack Lord (who played Steve McGarrett) than the others. Then again, the name and profession might be simple coincidence.

Patricia Crowley guested in ``Woe to Wo Fat.'' She later went on to fame in the TV series ``Don't Eat the Daisies,'' based on a book by Jean Kerr (see pancreas).

This is actually just a longer version of the WOFAT definition, as befits WOFAT.

Web Open Font Format.

Write-Only Memory. Almost as useful as a one-terminal resistor. There's a spec sheet around, but it's easy to burn-in your own customized implementation.

A family of Australian marsupials that resemble the koala but have a more varied diet.

Waste Of Money, Brains, And Time.

In Saturnalia 2.4.29-30, Macrobius tells the story of some birds. Here is Michael Hendry's summary of the story (posted to the Classics List):

A man trains a raven to greet Augustus after Actium with "Hail Caesar, victorious general!" The emperor gives him 20,000 sesterces. His partner, who got no share in the money, then comes forward to tell Augustus about his other raven, trained to say "Hail Antony, victorious general." Augustus makes them split the money. Augustus then buys a parrot and a magpie trained by others to say the same. A poor tailor is inspired to try the same with a raven, but his bird is too stupid or stubborn to learn its lines, and the trainer keeps muttering "Wasted trouble and expense" (opera et impensa periit). When Augustus is passing in the street, the raven manages to say the proper "Hail Caesar," the emperor says "I get enough of that kind of stuff at home," and then the raven says "Wasted trouble and expense." The emperor is so charmed he pays more for it than for any of the other birds.

EC abbreviation for Committee on Women's Rights.

West Old Norse.

The relation of the new to the old, before the assimilation is performed, is wonder.
-- William James

wonderful book
What do you mean you don't like it?

wonderful children
Ah -- so they're your little monsters, then?

An expert with an unnatural enthusiasm for subject of expertise. An obsessive maven.

It has taken literally years (about three, actually) for the Stammtisch to achieve this definition.

Common use: ``Clinton administration policy wonk.''

Etymology: Antonomasia with elision of unstressed syllable, based on ``Willy Wonka,'' owner of the factory in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a moral parable in the form of food science fiction (1964) by Roald Dahl. A movie was made. [This etymology was discovered by a process of careful imagination.]

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was read to one of my classes in grade school. Many years later, two of my former classmates were arrested on weapons charges. In fact, I just heard that one of them is in trouble again. And of course, there's me. I remember when my college roommate Dennis, who's from the same hometown but went to a different grade school, looked at my fourth grade school class picture. He said: ``What a bunch of losers''!

Another datum respecting the etymology of wonk is that the term is widely believed to have originated at Harvard at least as long ago as The Sixties ®. Then, it was a synonym of nerd: a bright, hardworking, socially maladroit student. It's not clear what could have made Dahl's book such an underground hit at Harvard.

It has been observed that ``wonk'' is ``know'' spelled backwards. Similar observations about ``dog'' and ``knurd'' (a variant spelling [ftnt. 25] of ``nerd'') have proven to be irrelevant to the etymologies of those words. Come think of it, the word nerd occurs in the work of Dr. Seuss.

Werk[e] ohne Opusnummer. German for `Work[s] without Opus number.' The work of Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) is referred to by number to an unusual degree (e.g., ``Beethoven's Fifth,'' ``the Ninth Symphony''), but many of his works were unnumbered. Numbers were assigned to them in Das Werk Beethovens; thematisch-bibliographisches Verzeichnis seiner sämtlichen vollendeten Kompositionen. (`The Work of Beethoven: complete thematic-bibliographic catalog of his completed compositions'). This standard work was completed after Kinsky's death by Hans Halm and published in 1955; it is cited both as Kinsky and as Kinsky-Halm. WoO is used as a prefix when giving the Kinsky numbers, as in ``WoO 1: Ritterballett.'' Since opus means `work,' the Kinsky numbers are being referred to in this way as the works-without-work-number [work] numbers.

Kinsky based himself on the ``Complete Edition'' of Beethoven's works published in 1888, which was in fact incomplete. (At this point, you could hardly be surprised.) In 1957, Willy Hess published Verzeichnis der nicht in der Gesamtausgabe veröffentlichten Werke Ludwig van Beethovens (`Catalog of works of Ludwig van Beethoven not published [i.e., included] in the Complete Edition'). This listing included some lost works, unfinished pieces, and alternate arrangements of previous works. Many of the works listed by Hess and not in the original Kinsky compilation were eventually assigned WoO numbers; those which were not are referred to by their Hess numbers. (In 1959, Hess also published the scores in a fourteen-volume Supplemente to the Gesamtausgabe.)

Hess also published an appendix (Anhang) to Kinsky's catalog, listing ``Beethoven works'' of questionable authorship. Works listed there are referred to by AnH numbers. Numbers make everything systematic and straightforward.

Canine syllable, American dialect. Ruff is also used, especially by the pet of Dennis (`the Menace') Mitchell. There's more information on this topic at the subwoofer entry (SW).

``Bow-wow'' is not used. It can hardly be considered an onomatopoeia at all. It's like trying to imitate a New Jersey accent by saying ``Noo JOYsee,'' when in fact the only people who speak like that live on Lawn Guyland.

Sheep hair, usually. Mom knit me some socks, and in reply to my question about washing writes

> If your machine does not have a "delicate" cycle, I would throw them
> in 5 minutes before the rinse. Warm water should be OK. BTW wool is very
> absorbent and you don't have to wash the socks after each use (if your
> American upbringing allows you to conceive of this possibility).

Liverpudlian name for Mancunians. I have it on Liverpudlian authority that this is not pejorative but affectionate (so I originally arranged the alphabetization to place it here after a pet entry).

{ World | Wonders } Of Radio. Original expansion for the call letters of a New York City broadcaster.

Worcestershire sauce
Contents listed here.

An organization like Al-Anon but for the families of workaholics.

Work Area
A five-mile stretch of reduced speed limits, doubled fines, and traffic cones blocking off at least one lane of highway, ending in a hundred-yard stretch of idle equipment.

A PC adjective meaning ``non-Western.''


World Archaeology. A journal catalogued in TOCS-IN.

World Bank
It's a big secret, so don't tell anybody -- don't even admit it to yourself: the World Bank is part of a worldwide conspiracy to take over the world by making nonproducing loans.

It's so secret, it's not even called the World Bank. It's actually the IBRD. It's based in Washington, D.C. [Sober aside: the World Bank name might be official by now, and IBRD was joined by the IDA in 1960, and later by some other international financial institutions. See the WB entry.]

By tradition, the World Bank president is nominated by the US. The appointment is then voted on by the Bank's executive directors, who represent shareholder countries. Also by tradition, the nominee is an American.

In 1995, Bank President Lewis Preston became ill and the White House began a round of interviews. There was wide agreement among both Clinton administration officials and World Bank insiders that his successor should be selected with a view to serving 10 years, regarded as the kind of time necessary to have a meaningful impact on such a complex organization.

The person selected and accepted to replace Preston was James D. Wolfensohn, and the rest of the content resources that ought to have gone here were retasked and deposited under his name.

World Bank Group
The IBRD, IDA, and IFC. Lately, all conspiracies are trilateral. Oops: as of 2006, this one is already pentagonal. Perhaps the principles are earning interest. See the WB entry; I can't keep these redundant glossary entries all up-to-date at the same time.

Western Civ
WESTERN CIVilization[s]. A common informal and sometimes official name for an overview course in the history of Europe and of the modern history of some places colonized by Europeans. Western Civ courses are able to stir controversy both by their presence and by their absence. (More usually by their impending appearance or disappearance, or changes in associated curriculum requirements). In all cases, the controversy is predicated on the false assumption that students will remember the material or, failing that (pardon the expression), be affected in the long term by having been exposed to it (something like strontium-90, I guess).

World Class
Able to compete in the world. For example, the corner store at Walnut and Jefferson is world class because it provides a unique service (newspapers and chewing gum at walking distance from and along the way to school, respectively) to local customers that not even the store at Wilson and Elm can match.

The following showed up in my email; I thought you'd enjoy it:

A conference co-sponsored by the Academy of Management's Management
Education and Development Division and the United Arab Emirates University,
College of Business and Economics
        to be held in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, April 2-3, 2000.
Personally, I think that avoiding typographical errors and awkward constructions, at least in official announcements, is part of being world class. But then, I'm not a manager's manager or a developer's developer; I'm just literate. If I were illiterate, I would be qualified to write some of the stuff in the management self-help/inspiration genre. The announcement continues
Proposals should be 200 words describing a presentation, symposium (panel
discussion), or workshop (demonstration) of research or theory relevant to
World Class Management Education and/or Management Development in the 21st
Century in its relevance to the developing nations.  ...
See? The term ``world class'' is not just for unsophisticated folk and the ironic. It is also used by those with a weak grip on the language.
                ...  Presentations and proposals may be in English or
Arabic.  Though, English is generally recommended to provide wider access to
sessions by all international attendees.  ...

World Class Quality
The title of a book published by AMACOM, a publishing arm of the American Management Association. Just so you don't confuse it with other books with the same title from the same publisher, this is the one subtitled Using Design of Experiments to Make it Happen. I saw it on the dollar table and riffled through it.

If I were defining world class quality, I would make it the quality of being a global class, but I'd make it nonheritable.

WORLD Science Fiction CONvention. Worldcons bear an interesting relation to WSFS, q.v. In years when Worldcon is held outside North America, a NASFiC is held as well.

World Unclaimed, The
Subtilted ``A Challenge to Heidegger's Critique of Husserl.''

CRITIQUE! CHALLENGE! A world as prize!

Fight! Fight!

You think I'm going to spoil the excitement by reading the book? Get real.

(Yes, sure I mean ``subtilted.'' It's not a typo. You've heard of tilting at windmills and other worthy opponents -- that's violent too.)

Okay, I'll tell you something about the book. The dust jacket (dj) is done in earth tones, basically -- dark brown and purplish grays, some orange. The name ``Lilian Alweiss'' appears on the front, below the aitch names.

This book grabbed my attention because it reminded me of a very bad movie I liked -- ``Bridget Jones's Diary.'' That also featured two men in conflict over a woman, and at one point they come to actual blows. It's never made clear why these two characters are so hot for Bridget Jones, a character that is a fat, chain-smoking, stupid sot. Then again, incredible casting may have made the script credible. You could believe that they're crazy about her because she's hotter than Renée Zellweger. (I mean, hotter than Renée Zellweger is when she's skinny. Tastes vary, you pervert. More discussion of this important psychosocial landmark event can be discovered at the entry for Car Door Slam Method.)

Anyway at the start of the fight, Bridget's ahem, slightly effeminate male friend (he calls himself a ``hag fag'' in the book -- moderately clever, but pretty uncomplimentary all around) runs across the street and alerts the waiters in the ethnic restaurant. So they all rush out and enthusiastically begin to handicap the contest in some distant foreign language. It's one of the rare genuinely funny moments in the movie, so I figured I'd spoil it for you. Of course, if you get your jollies from watching people be genuinely embarrassed, then this will have you rolling on the street.

I hope The World Unclaimed is funny like that, and not about lost luggage as the cover illustration seems to imply. You know, there's a company in Alabama that buys all ultimately unclaimed luggage in the US and auctions it off.

What the heck, let's crack it open at random and see if there's anything valuable inside. Page 122 bears the running head ``The Final Loss of the World'' (mixed-caps, but I can't be bothered to reproduce the formatting) and page 123 has ``The Distinctiveness of the World'' at the top. Random text from page 123:

`Nearness' cannot be measured or calculated, but is defined in relation to what is environmentally closest to Dasein (i.e., the book on the desk rather than the glasses I am wearing) [SBF says, concrete examples are soooo helpful]. Equally, equipment is not merely present-at-hand, occurring at random in some spatial position ..., but all equipment has its place (Platz) in a specific region (Gegend): ``In each case the place is the definite `there' or `yonder' [`Dort' und `Da'] of an item of equipment which belongs somewhere....

I feel like I ought to photocopy some of this stuff and send it over to the boys at baggage claim to see what they can make of it.

Have I ever mentioned ------? (Oops. I had.) Her luggage was lost for a few days when she visited Greece, but fortunately she had a new package of panties in her carry-on. (Look, I just report this stuff. I don't know if Greek panties are not part-compatible or something.) Eventually she got her suitcase back and it had a mark across it as if a tractor tire had rolled across it. Later when she was talking with the airline's adjuster about her losses, she mentioned that ``it looks like a tractor ran over it.'' The adjuster said ``yes, that's probably what happened.'' I guess when you're a claims adjuster, the mysterious becomes ordinary. Dasein -- don't leave home without it. (And stuff a couple in your carry-on -- you never know how far ``nearness'' may be.)

Actually, I do have some information relevant to the part-compatibility issues. My mother's stepfather was a tailor, and he spent long stretches of his career in Germany, then Latin America, and finally in the US. With each move, he had to change his dress patterns. Generally speaking, in Latin America the patterns conformed more closely, so to speak, to that health ideal called the ``pear-shaped body.''

Write On[c]e Read Many. Usually refers to CD that can be written to by the user (CD-R). Optical-disc WORM's are O-WORM's.

World-Wide-Web for Operations Research and Management Science.

worse than previously thought
A somewhat otiose headline phrase. For the most part, general news sources translate quantitative information into qualitative description, and what is lost in translation usually cannot be recovered directly. Even when numerical information is offered, this is done with context inadequate for understanding. Numbers are at best decoration for emotive claims (see 000). ``Worse than previously thought'' thus means something like: ``It's not just bad! It's bad!''

German, `taciturn,' from wort (`word,' duh) and karg (meager, sparse). The word wortkarg is not exactly equivalent to taciturn in connotation, however. In English, a person described as taciturn may reasonably be inferred to have a somewhat dour or sour temperament. Wortkarg doesn't carry that load. Is it possible that English, a language with a bulging armamentarium of words sufficient to wage simultaneous logomachies on three different continents, does not have a word meaning wortkarg? Of course not! The proper translation is laconic. There's also schweigsam, which might be translated as `quiet.'

(Microsoft) Windows Open Services Architecture.

Eye dialect for what. Chiefly British.

Waste Of Time And Money.

Word Of The Day. A service that provides erudition at an eye-dropper rate. Here's one served by the OED.

World ORT Union.

Windows On Win32.

World Of Wireless COMmunications. The public face of the CTIA.

Wow, who's the mother?
In the strictest mathematical sense, this is the absolute worst thing that a man can say when a close female friend calls excitedly to announce that he is to become a father.

Hmmm, could be I inhabit an alternate social universe. In the movie ``The Opposite of Sex,'' Dede (played by Christina Ricci) has seduced her gay half-brother's boyfriend Matt (played by some guy, okay?). She gets pregnant and breaks the news to Matt while they're lying on the bed fast-forwarded after some PG-level lovemaking (I don't know how the movie earned an R), and he asks ``Is it mine?'' She answers ``See? Only straight boys ever say that line. You're in!'' On the other hand, the movie is advertised as a comedy because you can't take the plot or many of the premises too seriously. We'll have to go on collecting data. Later, in a heated discussion with Dede's half-brother and a friend (Lisa Kudrow) who hangs around so the movie can have multiple plot lines, Matt insists, with a bit of umbrage, that he's not gay but bisexual.

I should note that Matt asks whether he's the father even after Dede has explicitly implied that he is. To find out how she implies explicitly (it's easier than explying implicitly, I'm sure), see the pregnant we entry. Yes, it does seem that I'm milking this scene for all and more than it's worth, but Ricci has the udders for it, especially when she hasn't slimmed down for some thin role.

Oh, and -- ladies? Here is something for you to avoid doing. Do not interrupt sex to answer the phone. It spoils the entire act, if you know what I mean.

I never realized what an old-fashioned romantic I was until recently, seeing couples walking through the scenic campus hand-in-hand. They are immersed in worlds of their own, oblivious to everything except the cell phones they hold in their other hands.

Nickname of Stephen Wozniac, a cofounder of Apple Computer. The ``Woz'' is somewhat evocative of ``the Wiz.'' Some important early computers had names ending in IAC: ENIAC, various ILLIACs, JOHNNIAC, and MANIAC, that I can come up with.

Oh wait, that's ``Wozniak'' with a k! Never mind, then.

Gee, seeing as how the connection between this entry and the -IAC machines is kinda tenuous, we might as well mention some -AC machines: BINAC and EDSAC (1949); EDVAC, an early machine; and UNIVAC, which had some name recognition into the 1960's. There's also a much later CMAC.

Frankly, the ILLIAC's don't really qualify as -IAC machines, since the second I stands for ``Institute'' instead of ``Integrator,'' or as -AC machines, since the AC stands for ``Advanced Computation.''

Washington OZaukee County Dental Society. ``[P]romotes dental health and education in Washington and Ozaukee Counties (of Wisconsin). WOzCDS is a nonprofit component society of the Wisconsin and American Dental Associations'' (WDA and ADA). For other Dental organizations, see the list maintained by Sue Hutchinson.

Warsaw Pact. The post-WWII military grouping of the USSR and its ``allies'' (smile for the camera!). Cf. NATO.

The Washington Post. Also ``WPost'' (nuthin' at that entry) and ``WaPo.'' In 1995 they were still piggy-backing an AT&T site. Then again, until 2007, I hadn't updated this entry. These days, as Pinch Sulzberger destroys his family's New York Times (quondam ``paper of record'' of the US), the Washington Post is becoming the country's leading paper by default.

The Washington Post was founded in 1877. William McKinley, who was president of the US from 1897 to 1901 (September -- he was assassinated), kept a parrot named Washington Post in the White House that whistled ``Yankee Doodle.''

Wheel Pulser.

[Phone icon]

WP, wp
White Pages. In US telephone books, the white pages list numbers ordered alphabetically by the name of the party reached at the number. Increasingly, white pages listings have separate residential and business sections. In New York City, something like a third of residences have their numbers unlisted.

White Paper. A special report, the result of a study. In another context: A general research proposal, or outlook, without a budget and not submitted formally through the contracting agency of the author(s).

WordPerfect. Novell owned it during '95, but their site at first seemed to have only a little information on WordPerfect. You had to look under ``Network Applications.'' Anyway, they sold it at the end of January 1996. I think Corel sells it now as part of an office automation suite.

WordPerfect was the word processing program that became dominant on the PC platform while MS Word became dominant on the Macintosh. Now the platform base is expanded for both, and they're fighting it out. In the process, version 6 of MSWord was written for the PC, and the Mac version apparently used a crude translation of the PC code. This made a significant deterioration in performance, and the code didn't really have Macintosh look-and-feel, let alone satisfy Macintosh human interface guidelines. Time to try something new.

Word Process{ing | or}.

Name based on similar action of food processor on food.

Wi-Fi Protected Access.

Works Progress Administration.

Perhaps I should write a couple of words about this Depression-era relief program. The words would be ambitious and unprecedented. If I could have an adverb I would definitely go for an intensifier like utterly. Of course, the Great Depression was itself, for combined duration and depth, unprecedented (and happily unrepeated) in US history. FDR was no economist, but he had the reasonable idea that a big problem would require a big solution, and he had a sense that the urgency of the problem justified testing audacious solutions.

The WPA was a relief measure established on May 6, 1935 by executive order 7034 of Pres. Roosevelt. It was a make-work program, but not so sharply focused on construction projects as programs created earlier in FDR's administration (FERA, PWA, and CWA). It included

The WPA was also much larger than the previous large programs. By March, 1936, it was providing employment for more than 3,400,000 -- about of third of workers without nonrelief employment. Of course, there was still plenty of construction work in the mix. Over its eight years of existence, the WPA built, repaired or improved

This all cost money. The WPA spent about $11 billion in its eight-year life, employing at one time or another a total of 8,500,000 different people on 1,410,000 different projects.

It was reorganized in 1939 (see WPA infra). Once the US got into WWII, military spending became the big spending program, and war production took up the labor supply that didn't go into uniform. The WPA went out of existence on December 4, 1943.

Works Projects Administration. Name of the old Works Progress Administration (WPA, supra) from 1939 on, when it was reorganized as part of the Federal Works Agency.

WPA, w.p.a.
Worth the Price of Admission.

  1. The Council of Writing Program Administrators. Writing Program Administration
  2. WPA: Writing Program Administration. (The Journal of the Counsil of Writing Program Administrators.)

Wyoming Press Association.

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. In Ohio. ``Wright-Pat'' for short.

War Production Board. An institution of the US government created to control the distribution of strategic materials and empowered to control or suspend production of consumer goods during WWII. See also OWM.

West Palm Beach, Florida. ``West Palm.''

Walsworth Publishing Company.

Water Pollution Control.

Washington Publishing Company. ``[S]pecializes in managing and distributing Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) information, primarily in the form of documentation for organizations that develop, maintain, and implement EDI standards.''

WaterProof Chartbook.

An abbreviation never used by the Weeks Publishing Company. Good call! This company publishes ``food product design [don't ask] and food executive magazines.''

Western Publishing Company, Inc. A printer of playing cards.

Whey Protein Concentrate.

Williamsburg Publishing Company. Publishes WILDLIFE NEIGHBORS OF THE WILLIAMSBURG AREA (Jamestown, Williamsburg, Yorktown).

Wimbledon Publishing Company. It may have been bought out in 2002.

Witter Publishing Corporation. ``Through magazines, conferences, trade shows, Internet sites and related products, Witter Publishing provides the information that professionals in the fluid handling, critical cleaning, industrial metal cleaning and business continuity markets need to make business and technology decisions.''

Women's Political Council. A teachers' group. Rosa Parks was arrested on December 1, 1955, for refusing the order of a bus driver to move further back in the bus. The WPC, led by JoAnn Robinson, initiated the idea of a one-day bus boycott. Within 24 hours, the WPC had distributed more than 52,000 fliers announcing the bus boycott, which was to take place December 5, the day of Parks's trial. As the vacant buses made their circuits around Montgomery that day, she was convicted and fined $14. She would appeal to the circuit court. Read more about it in the Encarta Africana article about Rosa Parks, or at the related MIA entry.

World Publishing Corporation. Core business: fifteen monthly newspapers (shoppers) distributed free in the East Valley area (the area around Mesa -- east of Phoenix, Arizona). Had we but world enough and time, this coyness, lady, were no crime.

WPC Expo
Formerly ``World PC Expo.'' You know what PC means, don't you?

Warm, Pink, Dry (skin).

WordPerfect Document. A filename extension.

WinniPeG. A girl's given name, formed by contraction of the names Winnie and Peggy (nicknames for Winifreda and Margaret). Just like pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty Peggy Sue. At the time that Buddy Holly hiccupped this song to the top of the charts, Peggy Sue was the girlfriend (and future wife) of Buddy's buddy and drummer J.I. Allison.

Hmmm. A faithful reader of the glossary has sent in a, uh, comment. I was right, of course, that Winnipeg is a given name (but the name was given to a Canadian city).

Wafers Per Hour. Silicon, not communion.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Word-oriented language internal to PRODOS Applewriter 2.1.

wpm, WPM
Words Per Minute. A hundred is a good clip. On the other hand, if you're using Morse Code that's about impossible, unless all the words are a. To get a novice ham radio licence in the UK you still need to demonstrate 5WPM Morse Code capability, 12WPM for more advanced licences. Morse code requirements for ham licenses in the US ended in the late seventies or early eighties.

The Washington Post. See the WP entry; I don't feel like repeating myself.

Web Presence Provider. Web Host -- a company that provides http (and generally some other) servers; the WPP's bandwidth and local storage (or rack space) are leased by third parties. There are a lot of WPP's out there. ISP check uses subscriber responses to rate the good ones, and also provides information on the others, all searchable. Startplace bases its ratings on test suites. Hmmm. Just tried to browse Startplace and their server was not responding. Not a good sign. Microsoft also has a WPP certification program.

Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence. Intended for ages 4 to 6. More at WAIS (q.v.). WPPSI-R is the current Revised version.

Wisconsin Public Radio.

WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific. To judge from EMRO and SEARO, the W in this ill-formed acronym represents the first letter of Western, and not of World Health Organization. See AFRO for at least one other regional-office acronym.

Word-Processing Software.

Wireless Power Transmission.

William Patterson University. In Wayne, New Jersey. In 2005 it celebrated the sesquicentennial of its founding. (That means its 150th birthday, you moron.)

Wolff-Parkinson-White (syndrome). A heart disorder -- an arrhythmia often accompanied by only mild symptoms. There's a brief nontechnical description from The Arrhythmia Service of St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center. Here's a page of links from The Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW). There's an internet Discussion Forum for the Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.

Watts of heat. Q or q traditionally represents heat. See W(e) for discussion.

Wilson Quarterly. You know, you'd never guess it from reading the articles, but the Wilson quarterly is a government publication, published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, housed in the Smithsonian Institution Building. Maybe they could send a SWAT team to any of the other departments and see if they can begin to rescue the English language.

Water Quality and Waste Management.

Water Resource[s].

Waveguide, Rectangular. In such designations as ``WR-62.'' Cf. infelicitously named WC.

Wear Resistant.

[Football icon]

Wide Receiver. An offensive position in American football. A very offensive position, in fact. The strong acids of team chemistry. Probably a majority of WR's are underperforming prima donnas. ``Wide'' refers to the fact that the receiver lines up wide to the left or right of where the ball is spotted. WR's also called wideouts. It's unconscionably easy to find metaphorical parallels between their position and their attitude. There are also some exceptions.

World Record.

Since I haven't anything enduringly interesting to say about world records, let me say something about the word world. Like a large fraction of Modern English monosyllables, it's an eroded version of a proto-Germanic disyllable. In Old English, it still had spellings like weorold and worold, reflecting were, `man,' and ald, `age.' The first part of the compound normally meant a male person, and not man in the generic sense. The word fell out of use, though it is recognizable in werewolf, and in words derived from the Latin cognate vir, such as the English words virile and virtue (the latter originally referring to the virtues identified with `manliness').

The second element, ald, gave rise to the modern adjective old. The OED describes this combination, with an etymological meaning of ``age of man'' or ``life of man,'' as ``a formation peculiar to Germanic.'' It may be, but the association of long time with world is not unique. In Hebrew, the common word olam has the meanings of `forever' and `world.' On the other hand, world records in sports are not associated with long time. They're associated with short time -- that's the whole point, in races at least. And world records in popular sports seem to fall on a regular basis. They don't even just seem to. You can do a linear regression of best times as a function of time and predict what the world record will be a few years in the future with fair accuracy.

As implied earlier, incidentally, world has cognates in other Germanic languages -- in most of the well-attested ones, at least. In German, the English adjective old has a cognate alt with the same meaning, and world is Welt, the r having been lost during the Middle High German period. The devoicing of final consonants in German is standard. (Bavarian and Yiddish are the prominent exceptions.) The main reason to spell a German word with the letter or letters for a voiced final consonant is so that one will know to revoice it if an inflection puts a vowel after it.

So the unusual thing that happened to Welt is not that its final d was devoiced, but that its plural went from Welden to Welten. This seems unsurprising, since the plural would be used infrequently and the status of the final consonant of the singular as devoiced d rather than simple t would presumably be forgotten. But it turns out not to be so unusual, and this special pleading is apparently unnecessary. Many (not all) originally -ld words I can think of offhand are -lt words in Modern German. Here's a sampling (the German words are translated by their English cognates, where possible):

alt, `old'
bald, `soon' (cognate with Eng. bold)
Bild, `formation, picture' (cog. w. build)
Feld, `field'
Gold, `gold'
kalt, `cold'
Schild, `shield'
Wald, `forest' [cogn. w. wold, which was deforested somewhere between Old English and Middle English]
Welt, `world'
wild, `wild'

Many -l words in Middle High German became, or became once again, -ld words in Modern German. It doesn't seem that one can say much more than that the distinction was subject to change.

Waste Regulation Authority.

Window Random-Access Memory (RAM). A dual-ported video accelerator memory like VRAM, but with very wide internal buses (256-bit wide, say) for gigabyte-per second speeds. And priced like DRAM?! Oh, ``near-DRAM prices.'' Not clear whether this will become the name for a next generation of VRAM, or just stay the name of VRAM from Matrox.

Warfighting Rapid Acquisition Program.

Wide Range Achievement Test. ``WRAT-3'' is the third revision.

Welding Research Council.

World Radio Conference. That's a world conference on wireless communication, not a world conference conducted over the radio. It's probably sponsored by the ITU.

World Renewable Energy Congress.
  1. WREC2000, July 1 - 7, Brighton, United Kingdom.

This is a crucial first element in a bill ``acceptor,'' typically integrated into the front of the rubber draw mechanism. Its purpose is to prevent it being too easy to insert a bill, and to ensure that subsequent attempts will be progressively harder.

A Wristwatch-style PHS phone that went on sale May 7, 2003. Hello, Dick Tracy. 37,000 Yen, 113 grams, two hours continuous talk time, 200 hours continuous stand-by time, 64 kbps/32 kbps data rates (down/up, I presume), dark gray metallic.

Personalsese occupation term meaning `unemployed.'

writers in the paint industry
More precisely, writers who have been managers of paint factories, in the formulation of Philip Roth. Roth raised the topic with Primo Levi in a conversation they had in Turin in 1986, published later in Shop Talk. (See pp. 16-17.)
Italo Svevo (1861-1928)
Italo Svevo means, loosely, `Swabian Italian.' It was the pseudonym of Aron Hector Schmitz, who was born in Trieste, and who used the name Ettore Schmitz, at lest after Trieste became Italian. He is best known as the author of The Confessions of Zeno (also published under the title Zeno's Conscience. The Italian title is Conscienza di Zeno, and coscienza means both `conscience' and `consciousness,' so what the heck. Throughout his life, his writing was a hobby. In 1898 Schmitz married his cousin Livia Veneziani. Her family's company Società Veneziani, manufactured marine paint; Schmitz joined the firm, eventually becoming manager of the business after the death of his father-in-law. The firm, like the family, was based in Trieste, which changed hands from Austria to Italy at the end of WWI.
    In Shop Talk, p. 17, Primo Levi tells an amusing tale about this. The marine paint had special antifouling properties (it prevented shellfish incrustation). It was supplied to the Austrian Navy (that has an odd ring these days, doesn't it?) before and during the war, and to the Italian and British navies after. Levi claims that Schmitz took English lessons to deal with the British Admiralty. The very interesting thing is that he took these lessons from an then-unknown Irish writer named James Joyce. They did meet, and become friends, but in 1907. Joyce was already working on Ulysses, and he used Schmitz both as a model for the character of Leopold Bloom, and as a source of information on Judaism. (Schmitz's parents and he were Jewish, but he converted to his wife's Catholicism at some point after they were married.) Joyce spent the war years in Zürich, though he did return to Trieste.
    Ettore Schmitz's mother's maiden name was Allegra Moravia, and that antifouling marine paint, according to Levi, was called Moravia also (using a surname in the family). Another famous Italian writer, born in 1907, was Alberto Pincherle. He used the pseudonym Alberto Moravia; Moravia was his paternal grandmother's maiden name. According to Levi, it's the same Moravia family.

Sherwood Anderson (1876-1941)
Another nonchemist who was just in the business as a business. When he was living in Elyria, Ohio, he managed a mail-order business and paint manufacturing firms. Roth contrasted his situation with Levi's: ``Anderson had to leave the paint factory (and his family) to become a writer; you [Primo Levi] seem to have become the writer you are by staying and pursuing your career there.''

Primo Levi (1919-1987)
He's pretty famous, and you can learn a lot about his experiences as a chemist in some of his books [e.g., The Periodic Table (1975)], so I'm not going to write much. After surviving at Auschwitz, he returned to Turin and lived the rest of his life in the house where he had been born. From 1948 he worked for the Accatti family's paint business SIVA (as principal chemist from 1950). This company, according to Levi (in Shop Talk) ``specialized in the production of wire enamels, insulating coatings for copper electrical conductors.''
In the course of giving his view of The Monkey's Wrench, Roth describes Levi in passing as a scientist. As part of his reply (p. 10), Levi remarks the following:
By the way, I am not a scientist, nor have I ever been. I did want to become one, but war and the camp prevented me. I had to limit myself to being a technician throughout my professional life.

War Resisters League.

I'm glad to have some relevant personal experience to contribute to this entry. My high school electronics shop teacher, Mr. Coulter, was in the Signal Corps in 'Nam (.vn). He always said

Ten percent is good enough for government work.

In the usual color code, 10% tolerance is represented by a silver band immediately following the bands for the nominal resistance value of the resistor. Oh! WRL is for war ``resisters''? Sorry.

Mr. Coulter used to argue with the physics teacher, Mr. Taylor, about which direction current really flows in. But the temptation to escalate the argument to outright war was resisted successfully.

Western Rail Link To Heathrow. Man, that is sooo 2013. You mean WRAtH. But, heh, I haven't constructed that entry yet.

Women's Royal Naval Service. WWII organization that served as a kind of ``Ladies' Auxiliary'' in the British Navy before women were allowed to join on a more equal basis. Informally, WRNS was pronounced and spelled with an ee: ``Wrens'' and an individual member was called a Wren. The US equivalent was WAVES.

WROclaw Airport, IATA airport code. (In Polish, the name of the operating company is Port Lotniczy Wroclaw SA.)

With Right Of Survivorship.

WRT, wrt, w.r.t.
with respect to.

Wide Receiver (WR) University. Officially known as the University of Tennessee.

Work-Related Upper Limb Disorder. Think RSI.

World Rally Cross Country. Used by Subaru as a model name.


Watt-Second. In other words, a joule/second × second, or. lessee, a joule! The abbreviation is apparently used in medicine. Kinda reminds me of nonadiabatic.

[Football icon]

Weak Safety. Not an offensive epithet, but a defensive position, in American football.


Wiener Studien. Studies of small hot dogs? Not quite. `Vienna Studies,' a classics journal (Austrian, of course) catalogued in TOCS-IN.

Wigner-Seitz. The Wigner-Seitz cell is the set of points in quasimomentum space that are closer to the origin than they are to any other point in the reciprocal lattice. In other words, this is a unit cell in the reciprocal lattice constructed as a Voronoi cell. This is a common way to choose the first Brillouin zone (BZ).

German, Wintersemester.

Women's Studies.


World Series. A series of baseball games played each autumn between the season's champions of the American and National Leagues (i.e., between the winners of the ALCS and the NLCS).

The World Almanac was originally published by the company that published the New York World. In the time before television, New York City had as many as fifteen newspapers. The World is one of the ones it doesn't have any more. In many important respects, the modern game of baseball originated in New York, but the ``World'' in the series name does not refer to the New York World or any other newspaper.

The American game of baseball evolved from the English game of rounders, introduced to the British colonies some time before 1744. Rounders was also called round ball, goal ball, post ball, town ball, and base ball, and the rules were about as standard as the name. It was something vaguely like tag or war ball played on a cricket pitch, or like stick ball. With one, two, or three bases besides home, it was called one old cat, two old cat, or three old cat.

The American game became standardized in something approximating its present form after 1845, when Alexander J. Cartwright, a member of the New York Knickerbocker Base Ball Club, drew up rules that were soon widely adopted. Until the Civil War, the game was popular primarily in the New York and Boston areas, but it spread behind Union lines and the veterans brought it back home across the country. The original postseason series, between the pennant winners of the National League and the American Association, was played in 1882 and annually from 1884 to 1891. The first ``World Series'' to carry that name was a postseason series played in 1903 (Boston over Pittsburgh, five games to three). No WS was played in 1904, but in 1905 the National Commission established it as an annual event. Also established in 1905 were the ``Brush rules,'' which included some traditions that continue today: that the WS is a best-of-seven series, and that 60% of receipts for the first four games are paid directly to the players. (No you don't make out a check directly to a player. If you did the endorsed canceled check might be worth more than the price of admission.) Since 1905, the series has been canceled only in 1994 (due to an owner lock-out in response to a player strike).

The game was introduced and grew quickly in popularity in Japan and Cuba before the end of the nineteenth century, so by the time the WS was inaugurated, baseball was not just a US sport. Still today, only US major-league teams are eligible to compete in the World Series. However, the series is played in the world.

For 1919, in a move that may be interpreted as motivated principally by greed for gate receipts or by a desire to satisfy heightened post-war demand, the World Series returned to the best-of-nine format used in 1903. That was the year of the famous ``Black Sox'' -- eight of the Chicago White Sox players conspired to throw a series that, until word of the fix leaked out, they had been heavily favored to win. Toward the end of the 1920 season some of the conspirators confessed. In 1921, with the records of all three confessions stolen from the prosecutor's office, they were acquitted of conspiracy in criminal court, but all eight players were subsequently banned from professional baseball for life. In 1922, the series returned to best-of-seven.

The Sporting News (TSN) archives have brief summaries of all past World Series since 1903.

We have other 1919-related entries. It was a big year for scams; cf. IRC.

Weapons Storage Area.

Westfield Soccer Association of Westfield, NJ. Westfield was always a big football town. Don't get me wrong -- it probably still is -- but like a lot of towns where parents selfishly put the health of their kids before the pride of the town, more children have been playing that foreign game. The joke's on them: heading the ball has been clinically proven to cause brain damage. Ha-ha! It's slightly worse for young kids, since their skulls are still a bit soft, but basically the concussion's the thing. Oh well, at least they won't suffer a career-threatening rotator-cuff injury.

World Savings Bank Institute.

Web Sports Broadcast Network. They won't be worrying ESPN any time soon. They're decidedly a network (four servers) for broadcasting web sports -- what are normally called games and not sports. Cf. PBA.

Could be the AM radio station or the the television station now. One-time WSBT-FM has been WNSN since 1984.

A typical news-talk radio station. A particular one serving the South Bend area. You know -- Dr. Laura, the usual trash. A CBS affiliate since 1932. Owned by Schurz Communications, Inc. (SCI).

WSBT began broadcasting as WGAZ in 1922 and became WSBT in 1925. In the radio station's early days, South Bend was not quite the backwater it is today, and the station racked up one or two firsts or near-firsts.

Channel 22, serving the South Bend area. There are no VHF TV stations serving South Bend. WSBT-TV is a CBS affiliate just like WSBT-AM, and also owned by Schurz Communications, Inc. (SCI).

Winston Spencer Churchill. What to say, what to say? I'm at a loss for words, relatively speaking.

World Scrabble® Championships. Held in odd-numbered years, starting in 1991. It may be that there's such a thing as home-field advantage in Scrabble. The year the WSC was held in Malaysia (in Kuala Lumpur), it was won by Panupol Sujjayakorn of neighboring Thailand. Of the eight WSC's up to 2005, the US and Canada have won three championships each. Also, eight of the champions have been men (including the 1995 champion, David Boys). The Joels have won back-to-back championships (J. Sherman in 1997 and J. Wapnick in 1999).

World Scientific and Engineering Academy and Society. Covering all bases, or is the acronym some kind inside joke in Greek slang? ``Unifying the Science.''

Western Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. One of those organizations that doesn't have a homepage, just a few pages each for some of its more recent annual meetings (usually in February).
  1. was at Northern Arizona University (no conference link)
  2. was at California State University San Bernardino (no conference link)
  3. at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas
  4. at Arizona State University
  5. at Chapman University in California

They seem to have petered out.

(UK) Wines and Spirits Educational Trust. There -- a single acronym for every kind of fun: wine, women, and science...

Women in Science, Engineering and Technology. It's an entry under the LC number Q130 in the CyberStacks.

Washington Science Fiction Association. (For the greater Washington, D.C., area.)

Welsh Science Fiction Association.

Wood & Synthetic Flooring Institute

Which Stands For Nothing. A concept acronym. Also the name of a beginner's language for Atari computers.

World Science Fiction Society. Membership in the World Science Fiction Society is defined as the membership in the upcoming Worldcon, so joining that Worldcon is the only way to join WSFS.

Wafer-Scale Integration (chip consisting of whole wafer; vide integration).

Wall Street Journal. The dominant national business daily in the US. Published by Dow Jones and Company.

Waterloo Systems Language.

Wafer Starts per Month. Typical fabs in the eighties did 10K WSM, at the end of the nineties, the standard is approaching 30-40K WSM.

White Sands Missile Range. A tri-service facility operated by the US Army, occupying an approximate rectangle in South Central New Mexico, 40 miles wide (E-W) by 100 miles long (N-S). The southernmost point is about 15 miles north of the NM-TX border.

Wireless Sensor Network.

Weapon[s] System[s] Officer. Term used by various air forces (including US and Singapore), meaning gunner. All four forms (with and without either final ess) are widely used. If there's an official convention for the US, it's hard to be certain what it is.

World Series Of Poker. Look, who cares about that? Here's a site called <poker-babes.com>.

Western States Petroleum Association. ``... represents the full spectrum of those companies which account for most of the exploration, production, refining, transportation and marketing of petroleum and petroleum products in six Western states (California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii).

Founded in 1906...'' when neither Arizona nor Hawai'i had attained statehood.

World Society for the Protection of Animals.

Western (US) Society of Physical Education for College Women.

Wavelet/Scalar Quantization. Used for fingerprint image compression under development by FBI.

Weather Surveillance Radar. ``WSR-88D'' is NEXRAD.

War of the Spanish Succession.

Wide Screen Signaling (line). In the future, scan line 23 of all 625-line TV broadcasts in Europe will contain data identifying the signal format (PAL, PAL+, SECAM, etc.). PAL+ will also use this WSS line to indicate whether film or camera mode (successive frames of related or unrelated pictures, respectively) is in use. Cf. GCR.

Winston-Salem State University.

Washington State Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

West SouthWest. Vide compass directions.

Woman who has Sex with Women. Unless she's monogamous, in which case she's a Woman who has Sex with a Woman. The imprecision of medical terminology never ceases to amaze me. Of course, language can also be too precise: I would like to have used the word ``monogynous'' above, but the meaning I needed is not standard. For more thoughts, cf. see this MSM entry.

See MSF.

Water Sector Working Group. Yeah, you're not the only one whom it reminds of WYSIWYG.

World Socialist Web Site. Published by the ICFI. Opinions about labor and the US, sometimes both.

Waiver Tourist. A travel status in the US equivalent to a B-2 visa. Nationals of certain countries can visit the US for up to ninety (90) days under the conditions that hold for the B-2 visa, but instead of applying for a B-2 visa from a US consulate before traveling, they just get an I-94 card with the notation ``WT.''

Just like the WB status, which see for the list of participating countries.

Waste Treatment.



Wild Type. As opposed to genetically manipulated.

Wireless { Telecom[munications] | Transmi{tter|ssion} }

Wireless Telegraph[y]. Usually refers to radiotelegraphy, an old technology sort of like texting, except that you typed in all the letters using just one key.


World Twirling Association. According to this history,

In 1960, Victor Faber founded the World Twirling Association. He left his mark on the sport of baton twirling by founding TWO twirling organizations [I guess the other one must've been the IERS] and for being the only person in his field to lead a twirling organization who had been a championship baton twirler.

West Texas A&M University.

Want[ed] To Buy. Actually, I prefer[red] to have it free.

Wireless Telecommunications Bureau of the FCC.

The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine at UCL.

Wilson (truck) Trailer Company.

World Trade Center. Built over a period of many years in the 1970's, so we all (in the metropolitan area) had a chance to watch it go up. A seven-building complex owned by the Port Authority, dominated by twin towers 110 floors tall, it was destroyed in terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. We all had a chance to watch it come down on TV.

World Technology Evaluation Center and ``companion'' Japanese Technology Evaluation Center (JTEC) ``at Loyola College provide assessments of foreign research and development in selected technologies under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF).

What The?!?! Cf. WTH, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

Women's Tennis Federation.

Who Do You Think You Are?

What Happened TO The Weapons of Mass Destruction?

Wave-pipelined Transmission-Gate Logic.


{What|Who|Why} The Hell? Interrogative pronouns in decreasing order of likelihood. Not `What The Hades?' Hades is a person, albeit a Greek god. He has a two-tined pitchfork, or something. Some dictionaries have surrendered the field to ignorance, but we uphold a few standards here. (To be needlessly honest, even some ancient texts use Hades as a metonym for his realm.)

West Texas Intermediate. The light, sweet grade of crude whose price is a benchmark of the oil market.

Writing To Learn. English teachers' and college administrators' interference in the learning process. The attitude motivating this may be best illustrated in Roots in the Sawdust: Writing to Learn across the Disciplines, ed. Anne Ruggles Gere (NCTE, 1993). Syrene Forsman's contribution had the title ``Writing to Learn Means Learning to Think.'' WTL is associated with WAC.

Wright Technology Network. An Ohio nonprofit dedicated to technology transfer (T2) from the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) (at WPAFB) to industry in Ohio. See also ODOD.

World Toilet Organization. A nonprofit based in Singapore. ``Improving Toilets and Sanitation Globally.'' Jack Sim, president of the WTO, was quoted in a July 31, 2007, Time magazine article by Ceri Au (``Fighting for the Right to Flush''):
Ladies prefer to keep silent while they queue up all their lives at public toilets, missing the show after [intermission], doing kung-fu stances to pee because the seat cover is too filthy. We don't talk about [public restrooms]. And what we don't discuss, we can't improve.
(It's not my mess; I didn't do it. The square-bracketed bits are in the original article.)

Jack Sim established the Restroom Association of Singapore (RAS) in 1998 and discovered that there were other toilet associations in existence around the world, but that there was ``no channel [good word!] to facilitate information-sharing and gathering of resources.'' (Okay, the last square-bracket thing is my fault. I'm quoting here from a WTO page on the Founder.) So he founded the WTO in 2001. ``Today, WTO comprises of [aaagh!] 54 members in 41 countries.'' By now (August 4, 2007) it may be up to 42 countries (Time). The memberships are piling up! The American Restroom Association (ARA) represents the US in WTO.

The homepage also bears the UN logo. It's not clear that WTO has UN recognition, and one reason may be that the UN has (or had) two other WTO's (explained here). My view, however, is that the WTO nameturf war is the UN's greatest success in defusing a conflict so far this century, and they should build on it. Later, as a further confidence-building measure, they can send some blue helmets to keep Liechtenstein and Andorra from going to war. (That's not a synecdoche. I mean just send the helmets. That's enough, and almost all the UN can handle logistically.)

``Message of Logo: `LOVE OUR TOILET'
The logo of the WTO is the image of a toilet seat-cover viewed from an angle as how most people would see it. The ring in the middle of the toilet seat-cover signifies a connected circle of members. Blue was chosen as the colour of the toilet seat-cover as a symbolization of water and how WTO is also closely-related to water issues.'' It's deformed slightly at the top so the outer outline resembles the ``heart shape.'' On some pages it's compressed vertically so it looks like parted metallic-blue lips.

Visit the entire website, hopping from one virtual foot to the other if necessary. It's a gas! Observations on the homepage menu bar links: ``Useful Links'' is unnecessarily graphic. ``Toilet Entertainment'' is all clean. About Us > Our Team shows pretty much everyone smiling except Philip, who is the lead trainer in World Toilet College.

World Tourism Organization. Created long before the World Trade Organization, which -- as the Economist put it -- ``pinched its initials.'' Adding insult to injury, in 2005 the General Assembly of the UN approved changing the World Tourism Organization's initialism to UNWTO (with a parallel 5-letter acronym in Russian, which had a parallel namespace problem). The change went into effect on December 1 of that year. In French and Spanish the initialism remains OMT. What all the initialisms have in common is that they are unpronounceable as acronyms. This seems to be part of a broader pattern (see at least VVV). You should check out yet another WTO (not known as YAWTO, though it's the most recent). Maybe they can tell you where you can go when you go there. We also have a Tourism entry.

World Trade Organization.

You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile. In fact, it's so futile it's downright amusing.

For amusement, visit the Responsible Trade Campaign Home Page of the Sierra Club, the Mobilization Against Corporate Globalization, the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, United for a Fair Economy (UFE), or Global Exchange (GX).

What, back already? Okay, here's something: the WTO was created by the Uruguay Round to succeed GATT (q.v.) on January 1, 1995. The WTO expanded GATT's rules to apply to trade in services and IPR, and includes a tribunal to misadjudicate trade disputes.

World TOurism Organization. Once used instead of the usual WTO when necessary to distinguish it from the World Trade Organization (the other WTO). Rare or rarefying since the UN decided to assign the initialism UNWTO to the tourism organization.

Western Test Range. NASA acronym.

World TRade Organization. Once used instead of the usual WTO when necessary to distinguish from the World Tourism Organization (the other, senior WTO from which the initials were shamelessly filched). Since 2005, WTrO has become increasingly unnecessary; see why at this WTO entry.

William Tindale (or Tyndale) Translation (of the bible). He completed a translation of the Greek New Testament in 1526, and copies of this began to be burned as soon as they appeared in England. He then began translating the Hebrew Old Testament, but only managed to translate the Pentateuch (the ``Five Books of Moses'') and Jonah before he himself was burned at the stake in 1536. http://www.catholicapologetics.net/kill.htm Eventually, his translation formed the basis of the only English translation of the bible authorized to be published in Great Britain and its dominions (KJV).

The Tindale translation is not to be confused with the translation of Reverend Dimmesdale, which also was not completed. Indeed, it wasn't even begun, so far as is known, but Hester Prynne apparently red a letter or two in it, with an alternate recension of the commandment concerning whether adultery should be committed.

WaveTable Upgradeable.

Washburn University. In Topeka, Kansas. It would be so cool if they gave doctorates in thinkology.

Winthrop University. In Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Writer's Union of Canada? Oh, you want TWUC.

Web User Interface.

German noun meaning `wonder' or `miracle.' Cognate with English, wonder, just as Wunderbar is cognate with `wonderful.'

World Union for Progressive Judaism. Established in London in 1926. According to the Overview page, it
is the largest body of religious Jews in the world. Its basic aims are, first, to create common ground between its constituents and, second, to promote Progressive Judaism in places where individuals and groups are seeking authentic, yet modern ways of expressing themselves as Jews.

The World Union for Progressive Judaism serves congregations and communities in nearly 40 countries, encompassing more than 1,200 Reform, Progressive, Liberal and Reconstructionist congregations and more than 1.5 million members throughout the world. Its international headquarters is in Jerusalem, with regional offices in London and Moscow and New York.

Progressive Judaism is rooted in the Bible, especially the teachings of the Hebrew Prophets. It's founded on authentic manifestations of Jewish creativity, ancient and modern, particularly those that stress inwardness and desire to learn what God expects from us; justice and equality, democracy and peace, personal fulfillment and collective obligations.

The practices of Progressive Judaism are anchored in Jewish thought and tradition. They seek to extend the range of observance - e.g., by granting full equality to all Jews, irrespective of gender and sexual orientation - while challenging laws that are contrary to Judaism's fundamental principles.

Of the twelve million Jews in the world today, nearly one-third live in countries where Jewish life is weak and where there are few opportunities for meaningful Jewish practice. It is the World Union's goal to ensure that all Jews have access to the vibrant Jewish life that can best inspire them spiritually and bring their communities together practically. We are committed to this sacred task.

The word authentic appears twice. Whether it's protesting too much a revealing insecurity, or asserting what is confidently believed, it points to a real issue of authority or legitimacy.

Wideband, Uniform Rate, and Smooth Truncation. (NMRtian.)

Washington University in St. Louis. The abbreviation used to be well-known because of the popular ftp site they used to serve.

West University Softball Association. A collection of girls' little league teams. West University is a Houston neighborhood just west of Rice University. My great aunt Mona used to live there. The 10 and under team is called ``The Blazers,'' 12 and under ``The Waves,'' 14 and under ``The Flash,'' 16 and under ``The Crush.''

I think this is the first softball entry, so here's where I'm going to mention it: according to international softball rules, in all innings after the ninth, each team starts with a runner on second. (There are seven regular innings of play.)

Was he?

West Virginia. USPS abbreviation.

The Villanova Center for Information Law and Policy serves a page of West Virginia state government links. USACityLink.com has a page with a few municipal links for the state.

World Veterinary Association.

{ Wisconsin | Wyoming } Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

West Virginia Veterinary Medical Association. See also AVMA.

Waste Vegetable Oil. See SVO.

Within Visual Range.

Water-Vapor Transmission Rate.

West Virginia University.

``Where Greatness is Learned.''

They're obviously not going for the small potatoes at WVU.

Wide Well. Vide coupled quantum well.

WidoWed. A personals-ad abbreviation. Usage example: ``WWWPF'' means ``widowed white professional female'' or possibly ``white widowed professional female.'' See W for a nonusage example. Personalsly, I'm bothered by the ``professional female'' thing. It's like pornography advertisements for ``amateur girls.'' What, they didn't get enough practice? Their girlhood apprenticeship was too brief?

[column] In early March 2006, Classics-L (``Classical Greek and Latin Discussion Group'') had a discussion under the subject head ``vomiting courtesans,'' prompted by an image of Würzburg L 479 at the blog Laudator Temporis Acti. One posting included the following:

> ... Your subject line looked at first glance like more porn spam.  (Yes,
> Virginia, there are newsgroups and websites for those who like to watch women
> vomit.  TMI, but if I have to know this, so should the rest of you.)

Actually, it was clear from the original posting that what was meant was something like ``vomiting onto the feet of ancient Greek courtesans.'' The author had meant to write ``vomiting komast'' (the one interpreted as vomiting on the girl).

Yeah, you needed to know all that, else you wouldn't have read it. There's an old joke that still makes some sense even with Caller ID. The punch line is this: ``Well if this is the wrong number, then why did you pick up the phone?''

World War. Choose WWI, WWII, WWIII, or WWIV. (Also written with Arabic numerals, and with space or hyphen after WW).

Western Writers of America, Inc. ``Literature of the West for the World.''

What Would Ann Coulter Do? Ann Coulter is a right-wing, um, there's a word for this, and she writes books. In 2006, Cafe Press was offering a variety of gear (coffee cups, bumper stickers, tee shirts) with WWACD? logos. Cf. WWJD?

Commentator? Provocateur? Firebrand? Wacko? Planter's variety-pack? It's a matter of point-of-view. An old friend of mine, who over the years has drifted off to the left, recently asserted that Rush Limbaugh is a liar. So I asked him to give me one example of a lie that he had told, and he replied that he really didn't want to get into such a bitter subject just before dinner. Good gambit! I'll have to try that some time.

One of the events at the first YearlyKos (see Kos) was a workshop called ``Pundit Project Training,'' run by the Center for American Progress. According to a handout distributed there, when you appear on television you mustn't wear pyjamas (I think they only imply that). Men are advised to wear blue shirts, and to accept make-up if it's offered. [As many talking heads -- white ones, anyway -- have noticed, you can look sickly pale without it.] Women are advised, ``don't dress like Ann Coulter. Cover up for God's sake, preferably with a neutral-colored jacket and a bright shirt.'' (See the Matt Labash report from YearlyKos: ``Riding with the Kossacks,'' in the June 26 Weekly Standard.)

WorldWide Art Resources

Writer's WorkBench. Unix software.

What Would Brian Boitano Do? The touchstone of all philosophical analysis posed by the boys of South Park when considering a moral dilemma. It parodies WWJD?

What Would Betty (Bowers) Do? If you read her advice here, then perhaps you will be saved, but probably not. As the Good Book says, many are called, but few pick up because caller-ID just says ``out of area'' when the call is from, you know, up there. Cf. WWJD?, WWBBD?

Walla Walla College. ``Walla Walla College is situated in the Walla Walla Valley in Southeast Washington State.'' Or... it used to be. It's -- it's gone! The website, everything, gone! It's been completely replaced by Walla Walla University (WWU), which has a totally different domain name.

Walla Walla University. ``Seventh-Day Adventist Higher Education.'' I think they've arranged things so they don't have to play football on Saturday: they only play intramural football (without helmets or pads!).

I guess the WWU initialism could be summarized as quintuple-yoo, but that wouldn't work in every language. In Spanish, for example, the letter w is called doble ve (`double vee'). While we're on the subject, and since there are so many above, I'll mention that the double el (``ll'') in Spanish originally represented a palatalized el (like ``gl'' in Italian), but it lost the el and now sounds like an English consonantal y in most of Spain and Latin America, zh (French j) in Argentina, Uruguay, and thereabouts, and English j in various others. (Puerto Rican ``ll'' sounds like j softened a little towards zh, to my ear, but it's a while since I heard it.)

The ll sound originally developed from pl and cl consonant clusters, as well as from some plain old l's and ll's. (In Latin, not only vowels but some consonants were subject to a quantity distinction. Double consonants represented a longer pronunciation. No method of representing the distinction between long- and short-quantity vowels ever caught on.)

The letter y arose in different contexts than ll, but today it's a pretty reliable rule that ll and consonantal y are pronounced identically, however they are pronounced (i.e., as zh in Argentina, etc.). Nevertheless, there's a word yeismo, which describes the practice of pronouncing the ll like a y. I'm going to have to look into this.

Vocalic y, pronounced like Spanish i, is largely obsolete in Spanish. It occurs in a number of surname variants (e.g., Yglesias for Iglesias). Greek loan words with y in English use i in Spanish (also, ph and th appear as f and t).

Gee, Walla Walla must be a pretty interesting place!

Women's World Cup. Quadrennial soccer competition. Inaugural WWC in 1991 was won by the US. Norway won in 1995 and USA won in 1999.

When I say ``USA won,'' naturally I mean that the entire country was out on the field. Each American woman was on the field, usually for about 0.4 milliseconds. It was a traffic jam, but the team stayed fresh. It's because of this kind of participation that all American women can take pride in our victory.

World Water Council.

Western Wyoming Community College. ``Western'' for short.

Women's Wear Daily. The principal fashion-industry trade journal. ``WWD.com is the authority for breaking news, comprehensive business coverage and trends in the worlds of fashion, beauty and retail.''

World Wrestling Entertainment. `World championship wrestling': very strenuous acting. If you had a stunt double, you'd never get on. Previously called the WWF (q.v.), but it had to change its name.

What Would Escher Do? The initialism appears on the outer side of a wrist band in the form of a Møbius strip, which in turn appears with the expansion on an XKCD comic.

World Wildlife Fund. That was its earlier worldwide designation, and continues to be its name in the US. Outside the US, it has been the ``WWF -- World Wide Fund for Nature'' since 1989. Brief description here from WCMC.

Gee, it seems I neglected to mention that WWF press releases bear as close a connection to reality as the next WWF bears to authentic wrestling.

World Wrestling Federation.

Mr. Jesse Ventura, governor of the state of Minnesota (MN) from 1999, and the first head of the US Reform Party not to be named Ross Perot, performed in the WWF as Jesse ``The Body'' Ventura before going on to host a radio call-in show and do a stint as a mayor (in a city where mayor is essentially just one vote in the town council). Mr. Ventura is, contrary to the stereotypical assumption outside his state, a man of rather liberal tendencies. He was the only one of the three major candidates in the 1998 election who came out strongly in favor of abortion and gay marriage, and since the election he has had a cooperative relationship with the Democrat-Farm-Labor legislators in his state legislature, but not with the Republicans. (THE DFL coalition is a Minnesota peculiarity, a legacy from Fritz Mondale, Hubert H. Humphrey, and before.)

I don't know Ventura's position on conservation, but I suspect he's among a tiny minority of either WWF-ers who would feel at home at the other WWF.

Everybody calls the governor ``Jesse'' outside his presence, but he prefers to be called ``Mr. Ventura.'' He's constantly suspicious that, because of his occupational background, people don't take him seriously. He wants people to be aware that he spent more years doing radio talk than he spent in the WWF. (Oh, well that's different. You've got to respect a radio talk-show host.) If he felt strongly enough about this perceived lack of seriousness, he could do something about it by curtailing his own bantering violent threats and guest appearances as a color commentator for the XFL. Minnesotans still go around pinching themselves and saying ``We did it, didn't we? We elected a clown! Man, we've got guts.'' And sore, over-pinched behinds.

Ronald Reagan was also an actor, and he did creative sports announcing as well (reading off a description with feeling and pretending to be live radio; a widespread practice at the time and also more recently when the 2000 Olympics in Sydney were tape-delay broadcast to the US). RWR held a minor executive position as well (head of the Screen Actors' Guild -- SAG) before becoming governor, and then moving on to the presidency. Some people think that acting skills -- in particular, the ability to bluster and bluff -- are not the most important skills needed by a US president.

Lately (2001) Jesse's been trying to slash the Minnesota higher education budget. Is this a move with direct election implications?

Enough of this political hogwash! LET'S SHOUT ABOUT WRESTLING!

In a dramatic multiround sequence of courtroom smack-downs, the World Wildlife Fund -- a wimpy charity! -- humiliated World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. In a 2001 split decision, the wrestling federation had torn away from it the legal right to use the logo it had adopted in 1998, and the circumstances under which it could deploy the letters WWF were backed into certain specified cases, only within the US. The federation made a desperate stand at London's Court of Appeal, but was denied in February 2002. On Monday, May 6, the Stamford, Connecticut-based company threw in the towel, tossed in the sponge, cried uncle, and changed its name to the appropriately effete ``World Wrestling Entertainment'' (WWE).

WWF International
No matter how you expand WWF, this is an organization with both World and International in its name. That's some kind of distinction.

Worthless Word For The Day.

World Winter Games for the Deaf.

Woman Who Has Sex With Men. This isn't an initialism that is actually used. It's just an opportunity for me to insert inappropriate foreign objects into the glossary. Last month, I heard a self-described ``traditional slam poet'' recite a work in which she described the neglectful mother of a childhood friend of hers as a ``slut about town.'' Drew Barrymore, of the illustrious Barrymore family of actors, played the lead in a movie called ``Riding in Cars with Boys.'' Yeah, that was all I wanted to say.

Woman Who Has Sex With Women. Usually expanded in the plural. Usually used... not at all. The subsingular. Okay, with ghits in the single digits, it's more common than WWMRWW (MR for ``makes romance,'' as they used to say in those old demure, if not quite chaste, old Motown songs), but even so, WWHSWW is mostly just grist for alt.usage.english and such. Its principal virtue is that it is one of the longer initialisms composed entirely of letters that are still valid letters when turned upside down. WWSWW is way more common.

World War One. Originally called ``The World War.'' Also known as ``The Great War.''

For information on earlier wars, try the De Re Militari website.

What Would I Do? Gee, I don't know-- I haven't done it yet. But thanks for asking. I'm getting a lot of advice:
  1. WWACD? (Ann Coulter)
  2. WWBBD? (Brian Boitano)
  3. WWBD? (Betty [Bowers, not Rubble])
  4. WWED (Escher)
  5. WWID (contrived)
  6. WWJD (Jesus)
  7. WWJMD (Jim Morrison)
  8. WWMAD? (Mary Ann)
  9. WWSD? (Satan)
  10. WWXD? (Warrior Princess Xena)

Here are some more variant variants:

  1. WWIT? (What Was I Thinking?)
  2. WWJD (What Would Jesus Drink?)
  3. WWJD (What Would Jesus Drive?)
  4. WWSD? (What Would Scoobie Doo?)

World Watch Institute. Yeah, they spell it out Worldwatch Institute and they use the ``WI,'' but their magazine is called World Watch, and their service Worldwatch News, so spelled, is abbreviated WWNews. Therefore, I think they should use ``WWI'' to avoid confusion.

[1000 words]

World War Two. Also known as ``The Good War.'' Also known in the old Soviet Union as the ``Great Patriotic War.'' This glossary entry could be expanded considerably.

The moderated usenet newsgroup soc.history.war.world-war-ii has FAQ material in hypertext format.

World War Three. Also known as ``The End of the World.''

In The Mathematical Experience (Boston: Birkhäuser, 1981), Philip J. Davis and Reuben Hersh wrote

One began to hear it said that World War I was the chemists' war, World War II was the physicists' war, World War III (may it never come) will be the mathematicians' war.

Ignazio Silone said (in the fifties, I think), that

The next war will be between the Communists and the ex-Communists.

``The New York Intellectuals'' was a loosely-defined group of public intellectuals of the 1940's and 50's, associated more or less with Partisan Review. The typical New York Intellectual was a disillusioned ex-Communist. (I have to capitalize these words. They're name brands.)

See, however, the WWIV entry for a more recent alternative take on WWIII.

What Was I Thinking?

``I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.'' -- attributed to Albert Einstein.

It's now become popular to regard the Cold War as WWIII, and to call the war against terror WWIV. Norman Podhoretz, in the pages of Commentary, has been one of the main popularizers. For an alternate take on this, see Marshall McLuhan's comment quoted at the JDAM entry.

Wireless Watch Japan.

What Would Jesus Do? A brand of heavy-duty self-adhesive paper patches used to repair rusty bumpers and van doors. Like Harley-Davidson, a brand whose popularity has been used to market clothing and accessories (tawdry trinkets).

The main difference is that WWJD, reflecting its original product, is rather downmarket compared to Harley, which nowadays is a rich man's bike. This is known as market segmentation.

In Carlyle at his Zenith, D. A. Wilson quotes him as saying

If Jesus Christ were to come to-day, people would not even crucify him. They would ask him to dinner, and hear what he had to say, and make fun of it.

The legendary animal trainer Frank Inn, son of a Quaker preacher, was a devout Christian. In addition to training Benjie (preincarnated as Higgins, the dog on the TV series ``Petticoat Junction''), Arnold Ziffel (the ``Green Acres'' pig), and hundreds of other TV and movie animals, he also donated dogs to the handicapped and wrote poetry. Some of his poems pondered whether Jesus had a dog.

I heard the trope ``what would <admirable personage> do'' long before I ever encountered WWJD or its expansion. So when I first heard WWJD, it sounded vaguely sacrilegious -- as if suggesting that He would face all the same constraints and limitations of a mortal. Einstein once commented that the good Lord does not suffer from our integration difficulties -- He integrates empirically (i.e., a physical system is tantamount to an analog-computer simulation of the differential equations describing it). Well, there are different interpretations, but for many the popularity of WWJD has turned the old trope from a general question into an implicit reference to WWJD (hence joke versions like WWBBD?, WWBD?, the genius stroke WWMAD?, ktl.). [There's an up-to-date list at WWID.] Then again, not everyone is so affected. James Q. Wilson wrote in The Moral Sense (Free Press, 1993), possibly without intending this particular irony (pp. 5-6):

Everywhere we look, we see ordinary men and women going about their daily affairs, happily or unhappily as their circumstances allow, making and acting on moral judgments without pausing to wonder what Marx or Freud or Rorty would say about those judgments.

On Monday, November 30, 2009, Jesus Christ reported for jury duty. It's a little surprising that His name got on the list in the first place, but this was Birmingham, Alabama. Assigned to Judge Clyde Jones's courtroom, Jesus Christ became disruptive and was asked to leave. Judge not that ye be not judged, I guess. The 59-year-old woman had had her name legally changed from Dorothy Lola Killingworth. It seems like a lot of trouble to go to to avoid jury duty. Afterwards, according to USA Today, ``[e]fforts to reach Christ were unsuccessful.''

What Would Jesus Drink? Overheard at Nick's. (Reconstituted wine.)

(Actually, I overheard this at Nick's Patio, but I wanted you to think of Nick's bar, the doppel of Martini's in IAWL.)

What Would Jesus Drive? Yet another automobile-related acronym. A campaign by the Evangelical Environmental Network.

What Would Jim Morrison Do? Get stoned and die. Soooo biblical!

What Would Mary Ann Do? I guess that would be Mary Ann of Gilligan's Island renown.


WorldWide Military Command and Control System. Of the US, of course. Who else?

Weekly World News. Also WWNews. A funny paper available at your supermarket check-out. What keeps it interesting is that some of the stories are true.

WorldWatch NEWS. Propaganda from the depressing people at World Watch Institute. Some of the stories are true. Cf.WWN.

Western Wood Products Association.

WorldWide Publishing Consortium. I'm not entirely clear on what it was supposed to do (``provide an independent international forum for the publishing, graphic arts, communications and multimedia industries to facilitate the exchange of information and advancement of education''), but apparently it didn't.

Weekly Web Review in Emergency Medicine. It is still widely cited on the web, but the links to it all seem to be into the <wwrem.com> domain, which just has one of those old generic ``web directory and search'' lists. Apparently a domainer owns it now.

Wine, Women, and Song. That's the canonical order, anyway, but you can expand it however you like.

What Would Satan Do? A question pondered by a man in a big office, in a New Yorker cartoon by P. Byrnes (p. 98, issue of Feb. 18 & 25, 2002).

What Would Scoobie Doo? That question no verb, but clearly: get scared and scat. I guess WWSDD would sound too scatological.

Woman Who Sleeps With Men. This isn't an initialism that is actually used, despite possibly having an apt pronunciation (``woos 'em'').

Woman Who Sleeps (wink wink, nudge nudge) With Women. This is WAAAAY more common (WAAAAY is not an acronym) than WSW.

WasteWater Treatment Facility.

WasteWater Treatment Plant. In a less fastidious time, waste water was known as sewage. In Rome, the central sewer was called the cloaca maxima. In chickens, the vessel through which both eggs and chicken shit pass out of the body is called the cloaca.

Western Washington University.

I haven't heard ``quintuple-yoo.'' The URL is something of an inertial tongue-twister -- once you get started you have to remember to get off.

Call letters of the Colorado-based NTIS short-wave transmitter (2.5, 5, 10 and 15 MHz) that provides a time standard following an atomic clock. Cf. CHU.

In addition to voice and beeps, time information is encoded digitally by PWM on 100 Hz (one bit per second: 0.2 seconds on for 0; 0.5 seconds for a 1).

Call letters of the Hawai'i-based NTIS short-wave transmitter (2.5, 5, 10 and 15 MHz) that provides a time standard following an atomic clock. Just like the Colorado station (WWV, q.v.), but with a female voice. God, I feel really sorry for her. What a boring job!
She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time ...
could be as bad as recording one of those dreadful `endless loop' tapes. The technique is demonstrated in one of those Italian neocrazyist films; I think it's in Antonioni's ``Il Deserto rosso'' (`Red Desert') from 1964. In it, Giuliano Missirini plays the radio-telescope operator.

Wicked Witch of the West. I didn't catch her name, so she can go by an initialism.

No! Not water!
You curséd brat! Look what you've done!
I'm melting! Melting!
Oh, what a world! What a world!
Who would have thought that a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?

Oh, she was Elphaba Thropp. Thank you, Hollywood. Actually, it turns out that Margaret Hamilton, who played the part in the 1939 film version, later used WWW sometimes when she signed autographs.

Honorable mention: Water, World & Weissmuller, a biography by Narda Onyx (1964).

World Weather Watch of the WMO.

World-Wide Wait. When you're browsing over a dial-up modem, you've got plenty of time to invent new expansions of old initialisms.

World-Wide Web. You can find an FAQ -- where else -- on the web. Also: World-Wide Waste of time, etc.

Here's an authoritative article in postscript. Oh, wait: it's only of historical interest (year of Oh Lord! 1992). [Berners-Lee, T., et al. World-Wide Web: The Information Universe in Electronic Networking: Research, Applications and Policy 1 2 (Meckler, Westport CT, USA, 1992).] For general information, see also W3C.

World-Wide Webb. Just the fax, ma'am.

Wretched Writers Welcome. Usage peculiar to BLFC.


World-Wide Web Consortium. More commonly W3C.

World-Wide Web Virtual Library.

What Would Xena Do? My guess: slap Chaz Bono around some, just on general principles. I saw a WWXD poster in the art images library room just below the ``God Bless John Wayne'' poster, so there was explicit deity content on the same wall.

World War 1. See WWI.

World War 2. See WWII. Arabic numerals make a more compact and convenient numbering system, especially if you're expecting a long sequence of them. Cf. WWIV.

World War 3. See WWIII. Arabic numerals might have a certain appropriateness, depending on where the next big one begins.

Weather. [Aviation code.]

WX Detc.
Weather (WX) DETeCtor. Gives flight crew advance warning of clear air turbulence (CAT). Drinks are served immediately.

Wyoming. USPS abbreviation. Paul Bunyan used to park his blue ox cart there when he attended school in Alberta.

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

Maybe you can't afford to live in your own private Idaho, but you can probably afford wyoming.com (an ISP).

To judge from Yahoo's listings, Wyoming appears to be the only US state without a private baccalaureate-granting institution. In fact, it does seem that there are no private institutions there that you can attend, in the traditional sense of the word, to earn a bachelor's degree. Isleuth finds a bunch of private institutions, perhaps 17 of them distinct, but are all online -- with one partial exception: there are students actually physically manning Preston University. (Yes, I did have to state the fact in that infelicitous and obscure way first. Don't ask why.) Preston is ``headquartered'' in Cheyenne at 1204 Airport Parkway, and you can attend classes in person (f2f), but only if you're going for the MBA. For other degrees, you can do the online thing or else just attend classes at any of almost 50 affiliated campuses worldwide (as of 2004). The one that's located in the western hemisphere is in Caracas (or was; the link is dead).

The University of Wyoming is the state's only public post-secondary institution. Its two campuses are in Laramie, about 50 miles west of Cheyenne, the state capital.

World Youth Day. A Roman Catholic missionary effort based in Cologne, Germany. Wow, they're really taking it to the pagans' and atheists' home court!

The name of the letter "y." Essentially a version of the Greek letter upsilon, and so called in German and some other languages. In Spanish and French it's called Greek i (Sp. i griega, Fr. i grec). The name is used in various practical applications to refer to the shape of the letter.

A wye turn, for example, effects a U-turn: drive just past a road or drive on the right, stop and back into it (use your right turn signals), then make a left from that to return to the road you were on, but moving in the opposite direction. If your turning diameter is larger than the road width, and you don't have a crossing at which to execute a wye turn, try a kay-turn. I always thought the shape of a wye turn more resembles an upper-case tee than a lower-case wye, but it's a case of stare decis. You can do a wye turn at a tee intersection.

In elementary circuit analysis, a useful set of formulas is the delta-wye transformation. Externally, a delta and a wye both present three nodes. Internally, a delta is in the form of a Greek letter delta, a triangle. Each side is a two-terminal circuit element connecting two of the external nodes. The wye (I suppose you could call it an upsilon for consistency) has a central node joining one end of each of three two-terminal circuit elements, the three remaining ends each connecting to one of the external nodes. I'll do the ASCII art later. It's straightforward to analyze this and any similar generalization (square and cross, say) using Kirchoeff's laws and the characteristics of the circuit elements. However, deltas and wyes with passive linear elements (resistors, capacitors, inductors) occur frequently, and I have to run now and finish this entry later. Okay, back now. The delta-wye transformation given below allows one to replace a delta network with a wye network, and vice versa. This turns out to be useful even when oh, no, not again! I'll be back.

The characters in Vladimir Nabokov's Pale Fire live in New Wye, U.S.A., home of Wordsmith College. (I'm not going to say that's where the novel is set; it's not that kind of a novel, necessarily. Maybe it's not a novel either.) You can't spell toponymy without two wye's. Go for the gusto at the Yreka entry.

Although the OED and some other dictionaries come right out and define wye and aitch as the names of the letters Y and H, many dictionaries avoid the issue of whether wye or aitch are names. The Random House Dictionary gives wye as a spelling (not an alternate spelling) of the name of the letter Y, but doesn't indicate what that name is. One linguistic authority who shall remain nameless (like the letter i) has sent me numerous (two) emails insisting that Y is the name of the letter Y. Some of you (spelled why, oh, you) may think that words like name have only approximate meanings determined by usage, and that this question turns on details of its meaning and usage that are not generally agreed. I disagree, and when I retire I'll try to remember to put resolving this important issue on my list of things to get around to.

What You See Is All You Get.

Of course, it's not polite to stare.

FOLDOC has one explanation of the term, essentially in terms of the limitations of PC-based GUI desktop publishing (DTP) ap's for large-scale documents.

What You See Is What You Get. Describes some screen-based text-editing programs or their editing modes. [Pron. ``wizzy-wig.''] The term has become sufficiently standard as a spoken word that it is subject to misspellings that reflect pronunciation overruling the expansion: WYSIWIG.

Vide CLI, GUI.

What You See Is What You Need. Claim of Allaire's HomeSite HTML editor. (For the Mac, a similar program is BBEdit.)

World Zionist Organization.

Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Wilhelm-Pieck-Universität Rostock. Registerband zu den Jahrgängen 1(1951/52) bis 25(1976) / herausgegeben im Auftrage des Rektors von der Universitätsbibliothek Rostock.

World Wide Web Consortium. An industry consortium run by the Laboratory for Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

World Wide Web Virtual Library.

[ Top ]

[ A ][ B ][ C ][ D ][ E ][ F ][ G ][ H ][ I ][ J ][ K ][ L ][ M ][ N ][ O ][ P ][ Q ][ R ][ S ][ T ][ Þ (``thorn'') ][ U ][ V ][ W ][ X ][ Y ][ Z ][ Numbers ]

[ Thumb tabs and search tool] [ SBF Homepage ]

Oops! Overshot the pointers.

Space above was intentionally left free of glossary definitions so that links to bottom of document can appear at the top of the screen display.

© Alfred M. Kriman 1995-2016 (c)