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

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Sunday Rest: cation. Word Not To Use Today.

 We all know about vacations and staycations (although opinions vary as to whether a staycation is a holiday taken while living at home, or merely one taken in the home country).

But what about a cation?


No, not a KAY-shn, as it happens, but a katt-eion (to rhyme with flat-iron).

The person who coined that word was called William Whewell. 

Now, I myself pronounce Whewell HYOO'll to rhyme and scan with fuel; but at least one internet pronunciation guide insists it's hyoo-ELL.

So it's quite possible that when William Whewell made up the word cation he was having a bit of fun after a life-time of having his own name pronounced wrongly.

I like to think so, anyway.

Sunday Rest: cation. The Greek word kation means going down. It is made up of the Greek kata- which means down (or against, through, or concerning etc) and ienai, to go.

An ion is usually an atom with an extra bit either missing or stuck on, which means it has an electrical charge. A cation has an extra bit stuck on; an anion (an-ei'n) has a bit missing.

cation is negatively-charged and it is attracted to a cathode during electrolysis (so they go down towards them, geddit?).  

The word cation was coined in 1834, and championed by Michael Faraday.

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