Monday, September 02, 2013

This is how nerdy I am (Word invention edition)

A friend asked his more mathematically or English-inclined friends for suggestions on inventing a word for this circumstance:
I'm writing a paper that frequently references regions on a string, and these regions often intersect. I need to succinctly describe regions that almost completely intersect.
That is, say there's a string of numbers....


And I say, ok, one section I'll name flippity-bop and that'll cover 2 through 7, and another section I'll name bing-bang-bong and that will cover 3 through 8. Flippity-bop and bing-bang-bong almost completely match up with each other, except they're shifted one number off from each other, as if you were looking at it cross-eyed.

My friend wants an easy way to refer to this circumstance: one word, preferably fairly short and relatively quickly comprehended. If you read the link fully, you'll see he is temporarily using "mislapped" (a variation on overlap) and isn't satisified.

I saw this and thought, "a word game!!"

The inner nerd came out big time. Here are the suggestions I inundated my friend with:
It seems to me that it's almost like when you go cross-eyed -- the things almost line up but not quite. The technical word for that condition is strabismus, adjectival form strabismic. And it sounds cool. comes to me that strings like that would also resemble the foundation of a stairstep... so stairstepped could work (as adjective). Or, there's always the combination of Latins co + minor (for subtraction) + currere (a root of concur), which any way I try it becomes unwieldy or obtuse.

Another term related to going cross-eyed is diplopia, double vision. However it carries the connotation of "two" which doesn't seem to be the main force of what you're going for.

What about lone + eaves? Single overhang, which seems to get at the idea that's emphasized. Something like lone-eaved as adjective, or saying one string is lone eaves with another, or two strings are (have?) lone eaves. (Both words are from middle English. I'm pretty proud of this one, as I stayed within one root language rather than mixing Germanic with Latin roots, which can be considered a no-no!)
Yes, I'm a word nerd. I get it legitimately. (Here's looking at you, Mom!)


Wesleigh Mowry said...

It's funny, after reading this earlier today I found myself looking for the same word, but instead of a string of numbers I was looking at combinations of neighboring hues on a color wheel. Maybe your word has something to do with 'analogous'?

Abby said...

Sometimes I think you intended it and sometimes I think it was by accident the similarities with and the nonsense words you came up with before your list.

And word games are horrible.

Sarah said...

Wesleigh: Haha, I was actually searching for inspiration in the color wheel that day! Problem was, analogous already has a meaning within math. :P I thought that I might find some sort of possibility within the terms associated with tertiary colors but most of what I got was blue-green.... :P

Abby: Ummm.... it was actually by accident that they resembled the Doctor's jibber-jabber... hehehe! And word games are NOT horrible. :)

Guitarlady said...

Word games are terrific! :-)

Guitarlady said...

And yes, you do come by it legitimately! (mom)