Enkephalitis … Перельман is my homeboy … Obstipation 14th of June, 2010 POST·MERIDIEM 03:56
Minor language detail that I haven’t seen documented elsewhere, so I may as well write it up here. In English, in RCSI and as far as I can tell in the other medical schools in Ireland, the Greek root ‘ceph’ (from κεφαλή, ‘head’), is usually pronounced as /kɛf/. So ‘anencephaly’ is /ænənˈkɛfəlɪ/, ‘cephalosporin’ is /ˈkɛfælɔspoʊɹɪn/. One example of encephalitis written to reflect this spelling, by someone who’s apparently not a medic, is here; the original poster writes the word ‘enkephalitis’. The OED doesn’t list this pronunciation at all, so I’ve no idea of its age.
On another subject entirely, for any nerds who remain reading this, it occurred to me back in aught-six, after reading this, that the world needs a tshirt that says “Перельман is my homeboy”, in the same spirit as the comic’s “Knuth is my homeboy” shirt. All these years later, to that end, zazzle.ie have such a tshirt; surprisingly difficult to achieve, given most of the online tshirt templating places don’t accept Cyrillic text!
Word of the day: obstipation has nothing to do with fruit; instead, it means constipation that is so serious the patient can’t pass wind.
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