This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Sunday Rest: Word Not To Use Today: extravehicular.

This one's just silly: I mean, that HIC!  in the middle.

Extravehicular means stuff that happens outside a spacecraft.

This can either be in space itself, or on the surface of a moon or planet.

Rather sweetly, Extravehicular Activity is usually known as EVA. I'm not surprised: for one thing scientists love acronyms, and for another extravehicular is a spectacularly silly word .

Silliness isn't always a bad thing, of course. There's nothing wrong with the word twerp, for instance. But extravehicular is long, twitchy, ungainly, obscure and silly.

AND it's a pain to spell.

Word Not To Use Today: extravehicular. This word doesn't appear at all in my Oxford English Dictionary, so it must have been coined quite recently (though as far as my version of the OED is concerned that's anything after about 1930).

Perhaps when making up technical terms NASA should have spent a few dollars consulting the odd poet.

It wouldn't have been difficult: I mean, so many poets are.

Word Not To Use Today: extravehicular. The extra bit of extravehicular is Latin, from exterus, outward, and the vehicular bit is from the Latin word vehiculum, from vehere, to carry.

May I ask any visitors to this blog who happen to be in space to stick to EVA for the next day or so?


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