Etymology-wise, what part of a circle is a beam of
Etymology, Etymology, and more Etymology
as well as grammar, usage, euphemism, slang, jargon, semantics, linguistics, neologism, idiom, cant, and argot.
The critically-acclaimed board game
consists of tough questions about the nuances of the English language.
The straight-line distance from the centre of a circle to
its circumference is called the radius, which means "beam of
light" in Latin.
As worded, I think this question is bad. I suggest,
"Etymologically speaking, what part of a circle is a beam of light?" Except in
an etymological sense, no part of a circle is a beam of light.
[Mootguy: Good point. I'll change
derek at westenlaw.com
Actually, the radius isn't PART of a circle at all, it's a
characteristic of a circle. Perhaps "one radian" would be a more appropriate
answer, since this actually represents PART of a circle.
[Mootguy: An analogy: We know that Bob's arm is
part of Bob. But is Bob's height part of Bob? Maybe "aspect" is a better word.
Thus the questions becomes: "Etymology-wise, what aspect of a circle is a ray
wording is a bit tricky since, as you point out, the radius is not part of a
circle in the same way that Bob's arm is a part of Bob.
The latter is a constituent part: if you removed it, part of Bob would be
missing. However, the radius is a mental extrapolation; remove it from the
circle and the circle would still be there.
a good piss-you-off moot question for you: Is the circle's radius part
of the circle? That question homes in on the meaning of
part, a word that we all thought we knew the meaning of before
this question.(I would also change "the circle" to "a circle.")
[Mootguy: I agree. Done. I'll try your question out at the
next live MooT game we have in Vancouver.]
jacko at lycos.com
Copyright 1998-2009 Blair Arts Ltd. All rights reserved.