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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Real word of the day

From the October 12, 1906 NYT in an editorial discussing the potential merits of the new football rules recently enacted at the time: "The progress of the game was a matter a mere momentum, of the weight multiplied by the velocity of eleven youths whose avoirdupois was the most valuable quality, pushing and shoving eleven other youths, or being pushed and shoved by them, an inch at a time, 'to the greater glory' of one or another institution of learning" (emphasis added).

A couple of points.

First the word "avoirdupois." From dictionary.com:
\av-uhr-duh-POIZ; AV-uhr-duh-poiz\, noun:
1. Avoirdupois weight, a system of weights based on a pound containing 16 ounces or 7,000 grains (453.59 grams).
2. Weight; heaviness; as, a person of much avoirdupois.

Second, give credit to the editorial board for correctly describing the actual physics definition of momentum: p = mass x velocity. Today it is all too easy to see editors and just about everyone else not being as accurate and careful in their rhetoric.

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