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Word of the Quarter

Every now and then I notice a massive uptick in the gross incidents of a certain word or terminology -- suddenly seeing it used dramatically more frequently than seen previously without a change in the general context or level of discussion to warrant it. This is not to indicate that the use is incorrect, or that the word isn't valuable or helpful to clarity, but rather that it's interesting seeing the wildfire effect of some elements of linguistics.

About 3 months ago the word in favour was "graph". Before that it was "refactor", with some pretty heavy competition by "corollary".

After much consideration, I would like to nominate the word "orthogonal", and by corollary the variant "orthogonally" as the most increased usage in a quarter.

Thank you

Dennis Forbes
Saturday, January 03, 2004

There are sites that monitor these "word bursts" in order to detect new "hot" trends coming up.

http://www.daypop.com/newsburst/

MX
Saturday, January 03, 2004

Orthogonal's coming back? I used to like that word until it got overused about 10 years ago to the point where I wouldn't use it anymore since it was starting to get used for things it doesn't mean.

Things need to be completely independent to be orthogonal.

So in what areas of industry are you hearing it used?

Dennis Atkins
Sunday, January 04, 2004

I've seen it used on here probably 10 times in the past two weeks, and it has absolutely skyrocketed in popularity on Slashdot, as well as several blogs -- I think a couple of people used it in context, some people hit dictionary.com, and suddenly it became a "must be interjected" word.

Dennis Forbes
Sunday, January 04, 2004

My vote goes for the over use of the word "broken".

These days everythings is claimed to be broken. "SMTP is broken", "Windows security is broken".

I prefer the term "has a problem".

Matthew Lock
Sunday, January 04, 2004

"Plastics, Benjamin, plastics".

Mitch & Murray (from downtown)
Sunday, January 04, 2004

Matthew - I think people use "broken" to indicate that in their opinion, it's something that cannot be repaired in place.

IPv4 is an example - sure it "has a problem" but absent reinventing mathematics, there's nothing that can increase the number space. So IPv4 is "broken" and IPv6 is the solution.

MHO only, of course.

Philo

Philo
Sunday, January 04, 2004

Rather too often for comfort, I have been on airplanes, that like IPv4 do not have any spare seats/addresses.

I would however have been quite worried if instead of saying the plane was full, they had said it was broken.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, January 04, 2004

I agree with "broken" -- "I don't understand this GUI so it's broken", "I get spam in my mailbox so email is broken", blah blah blah. 

SomeBody
Sunday, January 04, 2004

Geeks use "borken" or "borked" instead of "broken", hence "broken" is considered available for redefinition however it may seem convenient. :p

Richard P
Monday, January 05, 2004

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