Monday, November 21, 2005

Word of the day: floccinaucinihilipilification

From a recent commentary in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology (I put some links in):

"... Petticrew and Egan comment that: ‘‘There is a widespread assumption that what systematic reviews are best at is assessing ‘the evidence’ and concluding that it is too little, and anyway what there is of it, isn’t very good’’[1]. They highlight a useful 19th century word for this activity - floccinaucinihilipilification - which, according to the Oxford English Dictionary means ‘‘The action or habit of estimating something as worthless.’’ "

[1] Petticrew M, Egan M. Relevance, rigour and systematic reviews. In Popay J, editor. Moving beyond effectiveness in evidence synthesis: methodological issues in the synthesis of diverse sources of evidence. London: NICE, in press.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Dave said...

So a person with this habit would be a floccinaucinihilipilificator

:-)

9:13 AM, November 23, 2005  
Blogger StephenH said...

Hey, that's one of my favorite words!
I first came across it back in '92 on an assignment for a course in Complex Variables... something to do with integrating around curved entities (electric fields, perhaps?) and under the right conditions getting a big fat zero as an answer ... hence this word.
Since that's about the only thing I remember from it, does that mean I have floccinaucinihilipilificated the course?

11:39 PM, January 22, 2006  
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