See the complete Devil’s Dictionary of Scientific Words and Phrases here.
hither the opposite of thither.
thither the opposite of hither; almost but not quite yon.
yon an abbreviation of the word yonder, which is where you’ll end up if you don’t complete your thesis.
reductionism to repair a piece of equipment that has already been repaired once using duct tape by applying another layer of duct tape.
in the same fashion today this means “in the same way.” Until around the 1970s, however, it meant that everyone in a lab had to wear the same clothes. The group leader had full authority over the dress code, including underwear (or not). The practice began after a paper in a psychology journal suggested that giving group leaders this power would improve their mood, the morale of their labs, and thus the impact of their papers. Most groups adopted the generic lab coat (underwear optional), but others took a more creative approach. Popular themes for laboratory wear included: monogrammed shirts with the logo of the lab bowling team (membership obligatory), black tuxedos, white tuxedos, Vikings, woolen sweaters knitted by the group leader’s mother, Disco, Star Trek, penguin costumes, the Village People, hockey uniforms, Octoberfest, pimps & hookers, Elvis impersonators, the Court of Versailles, the band KISS, characters from the Godfather films, etc. (The “cowboy” theme was forbidden after the first few shootouts.)
last but not least a phrase commonly used in talks that functions like an alarm clock, or a defibrillator, rousing members of the audience who have entered comas, raising hopes that they may live to hear the end. Speakers who are unable to hold the audience’s attention in any other way use the expression about once every five minutes, even several times in the same paragraph. Officially, this is considered a foul, and any speaker who is caught doing it gets an automatic yellow card and a one-year suspension from the conference circuit.
If you like the Devil’s Dictionary, you will probably enjoy these older posts:
Plus the other pieces in the categories “satire”, “science cabaret,” and “hilarious moments in science communication.” And there are, of course, many serious pieces on the site.
Feel free to pass along the link to your fellow science nerds! And, of course, quote the Devil’s Dictionary – just remember the reference! All material here is copyrighted Russ Hodge.