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Mar 13, 2012
This week's theme
18-letter words to mark Wordsmith.org's octodecennial

This week's words
preantepenultimate
gedankenexperiment
reductio ad absurdum
plurisignification
princesse lointaine

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Gedankenexperiment or gedankenexperiment

PRONUNCIATION:
(guh-DAHNG-kuhn-ik-SPER-uh-muhnt)

MEANING:
noun: A thought experiment: an experiment carried out in imagination only.

ETYMOLOGY:
From German Gedanke (thought) + Experiment (experiment). Earliest documented use: 1913.

NOTES:
Here's an example of a famous Gedankenexperiment on gravity to determine whether a heavier object falls faster than a lighter one: Galileo's Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment.

USAGE:
I watched a TSA officer confiscate my father's aftershave at the airport ... Feeling curiouser, I did a gedankenexperiment: What if the bottle had been completely empty -- would he have taken it then?"
Steve Mirsky; Not a Close Shave; Scientific American (Washington, DC); Jan 30, 2009.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Laugh, and the world laughs with you; / Weep, and you weep alone. / For this brave old earth must borrow its mirth, / But has trouble enough of its own.-Ella Wheeler Wilcox, poet (1850-1919)

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