Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary is being given its once-a-decade update. We pause to honor some of the words that have been deleted to make room for the new.
strobotron - a gas-filled electron tube used especially as a source of bright flashes of light for a stroboscope (1937)
Perhaps some science maven can tell us whether the strobotron has been replaced by some newer technology that produces the same effect.
If words change with the times and change how we view the world, then confusion can result if those words aren't changed to keep up with the times. The newspaper had this example:
quote:straw boss – a worker who acts as a boss or crew leader; an assistant to a foreman in charge of supervising and expediting the work of a small gang of workers
legman – 1. a reporter assigned usually to gather information 2. an assistant who performs various subordinate tasks, as gathering information or running errands
nephoscope – a grid-like instrument for measuring the altitude, direction, and velocity of movement of clouds. Greek nephos = cloud
One site says the nethoscope is not necessarily grid-like. It explains "The grids in the grid nephoscope are used as reference in finding the speed and direction of the cloud. The vertical pointer in the mirror nephoscope is placed such that the image of a cloud appears in line with it and the center of the disk. The image is then watched" as the cloud moves.
skibob - a vehicle for gliding downhill over snow.
Resembles a bicycle, with skis replacing the bicycle's wheels.
Perhaps a picture is worth a thousand words.
The device, and the term, don't seem to have caught on.
I have seen these skibobs at some snow shows around here. Can't say as I would want to try and ride one though! That is a very interesting helmet that rider is wearing. I prefer my snowmobile, thank you very much!
An interesting discrepency in today's word:
some say it means "shrubby" (AHD);
some say it means "imperfectly shrubby" or "somewhat shrubby." (Web. Unabrgd)
Could one say a scruffy young man had a frutescent haircut?
Originally posted by wordnerd:
straw boss – a worker who acts as a boss or crew leader; an assistant to a foreman in charge of supervising and expediting the work of a small gang of workers