This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Sunday Rest: osmose. Word Not To Use Today.

The good news is that this horrible word isn't used nearly as often as it used to be. Now people usually talk about osmosis.

Not that osmosis isn't a pretty horrible word, too.* 

I have to admit that osmose does describes a very important process. I mean, you couldn't get by without it.

Look at this:

Those red things in the picture are blood cells. Their skins aren't watertight, so to keep them the right shape the liquid they live in has to be just the same thickness as the liquid inside the cells. Otherwise, the stuff inside the cells will leak out, or the stuff outside the cells will leak in, trying to even up the thicknesses of the two liquids.

Osmose is also used more loosely to describe the action of anything that goes slowly through a barrier, such as happens in dialysis, which helps people with kidney problems.

If you have no sense of beauty, and are very pompous, you can also use osmose to describe the way ideas gradually spread without anyone purposely going out and spreading them.

But luckily you have, and you're not. Are you.

Word Not To Use Today: osmose. This word is so horrible that even the scientists have mostly stopped using it. It was made up in the 1800s and is related to the Greek word ōsmos, which means to push or thrust.

*There's a game of patience (solitaire) called Osmosis. Well, if you use a word like that then no wonder no one wants to play with you.

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