This blog is for everyone who uses words.

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

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Sunday Rest: protease. Word Not To Use Today.

Is protease a campaign for the promotion of banter?

Well, of course not. (You say it PROH-tee-AYZ, as it happens, anyway, not pro-tease.) 

The word does look uncomfortably as if it's to do with teasing, though, doesn't it.

Protease is in fact dull but important. In fact, you use all the time. Protease is basically stuff for breaking down protein, as after your Sunday Roast (or, indeed, Thursday porridge).

Proteases occur in all organisms, and they do all sorts of stuff such as helping with blood clotting, and in the invertebrate prophenoloxidase-activating cascade. (No, sorry, I have no idea what that means: I just couldn't resist all the lovely long words)

So, protease is a good thing, yes?

Well, not entirely. Move forward the protease inhibitor, which is an antiviral drug that greatly slows down the growth of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

Yes. Important, isn't it.

So important, in fact, that I wish the person who'd discovered the stuff had come up with a much less confusing name.

Proteinase is, sadly, already taken for something else. But protase?

I'm not saying it's pretty, but at least it'd give us a bit more of a clue as to the contents of the tin.

Word Not To Use Today: protease. This word comes from protein, which comes from the Greek protos, which means first.  

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