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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Perhaps some science maven can tell us whether the strobotron has been replaced by some newer technology that produces the same effect.
 
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strobotron

A specified cold-cathode gas tube used to apply a short-duration, high-power arc for a stroboscope.
 
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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:
1938 Depression-era laws were meant to protect low-wage workers from toiling too many hours by guaranteeing the overtime; they specifically exempted most white-collar workers. The rules are so outdated (they refer to such jobs as "straw boss" and "leg man") that companies are at a loss to know how to figure out who qualifies for overtime.

That confusion has been a gold mine for trial lawyers, [who] troll through companies, looking for categories of workers they say were '"unfairly" deprived of overtime pay. Once they find a court to agree, they can extort millions in back pay from companies for huge groups of worker-plaintiffs.

[Under legislation now pending,] rules would more clearly define who qualifies as an executive, manager or professional.
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
 
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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.
 
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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.
 
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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!
 
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An interesting discrepency in today's word:

frutescent -
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?
 
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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

Sing it!
quote:
I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said "Well, a-bless my soul"

You load sixteen tons, what do you get?
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store.

Tennessee Ernie Ford - Sixteen Tons
 
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