Mistaken

I thought it meant one thing, when it really meant something else.

Perk

Short for perquisite. A casual or secondary benefit.

I hate being wrong. Probably no one likes it very much. I know that being wrong is part of the scientific process and that many scientists delight in being wrong. I can relate to that. I tend to love new discoveries. But new discoveries also tend to be something I’ve intentionally questioned, perhaps even knew I did not know. I get frustrated when I discover that something I was absolutely certain was true simply is not so.

Transitive

Characterized by the passage of some property or characteristic from one place or concept to another place or concept.

When I took French in high school I came across the concept of transitive versus intransitive verbs. Perhaps this distinction was made in my studies of English, but what I recall is a specific conversation in French class.

While trying to grasp what my teacher was telling me, I asked whether a transitive verb was one that required a direct object. I hoped that was a different way of saying what she had been telling us, and that she would confirm that I had it right.

Leach

To dissipate or distill by percolation.

Mr Lanier strikes again.

When I came across the sentence, «The strangeness is being leached away by the mush-making process» in You Are Not A Gadget I thought at first that I’d stumbled across a typo that had escaped the editor’s eye. I expected that he meant leeched as in, sucked away as though by a parasite. While this would have made enough sense, Lanier’s choice indeed seems more appropriate.

Chitin

The organic substance that makes up the exoskeleton of arthropods.

Came across this while I was looking up the definition of Carapace. I'd always assumed it was pronounced with a soft ch sound and a short i. In actuality it's a hard ch and a long i. Instead of rhyming with kitten, it rhymes with Titan.

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