This week, Merriam-Webster added more than 800 new words to its dictionary. Amid the influx of shortened words (“adorbs” for adorable, “zuke” for zucchini, “guac” for guacamole, etc.), a few scientific and technical terms made the cut. The dictionary now includes:

Biohacking, defined as “biological experimentation (as by gene editing or the use of drugs or implants) done to improve the qualities or capabilities of living organisms especially by individuals and groups outside of a traditional medical or scientific research environment.”

Haptics, the “science concerned with the sense of touch.” (It also means the physical feedback, like a buzz or shudder, produced by smartphones and video game controllers.)

Fintech, a portmanteau of financial and technology: “products and companies that employ newly developed digital and online technologies in the banking and financial services industries.”

The additions to Merriam-Webster reflect our evolving relationship with technology, the dictionary editors wrote when announcing the changes. “We are no longer naming our devices and programs, we’re talking about what we do with them, and what they do for us,” they wrote.

Scientific terms jump from jargon to mainstream when they’re useful, easy to pronounce and a more common word won’t do the job just as well. A word like haptics, which has been around since the 19th century, will travel from a specialist group to the public only when the public needs it. Thanks, smartphones!

Haptics is rooted in the Greek word for touch; few people are able to will a word from nothing into existence. The only exceptions are called nonce words, per the Guardian, which include fleek and bling. Science and math have a few examples, too, like quark (the subatomic particle) and googol (the number one followed by a hundred zeros) — the inspiration for Google.com, which began as a typo.

— Ben –  The Washington Post

Free text books

For example:

A Concise Introduction to Logic

Author: Craig DeLancey
Cover image for A Concise Introduction to Logic

Book Description: A Concise Introduction to Logic is an introduction to formal logic suitable for undergraduates taking a general education course in logic or critical thinking, and is accessible and useful to any interested in gaining a basic understanding of logic. This text takes the unique approach of teaching logic through intellectual history; the author uses examples from important and celebrated arguments in philosophy to illustrate logical principles. The text also includes a basic introduction to findings of advanced logic. As indicators of where the student could go next with logic, the book closes with an overview of advanced topics, such as the axiomatic method, set theory, Peano arithmetic, and modal logic. Throughout, the text uses brief, concise chapters that readers will find easy to read and to review.


Two of Bob’s books are here.

And more . . .