The 2021 Word Of The Year is…
an extreme fear or dislike of touching or being touched.
Haphephobia “an extreme fear or dislike of touching or being touched” is a compound of the Ancient Greek noun haphḗ “a touch” and the combining form -phobia “fear,” from Ancient Greek phóbos. Haphḗ is a derivative of the verb háptein “to grasp, sense,” which is also the source of the adjective haptic “of or relating to touch.” Ancient Greek has two letters similar to English P: pi, which represents the “p” sound in spin, and phi, which represents the aspirated “p” sound in pin. Because pi and phi are pronounced similarly, many Greek verbs containing a “p” sound regularly alternate between pi and phi across tenses and forms, which is how the verb háptein, spelled with a pi, leads to the noun form haphḗ, spelled with a phi. Haphephobia was first recorded in English in the early 1890s.
Pilati, a powerful captain of industry who happens to have haphephobia and dreads being touched, has thrown his support behind Claudia’s campaign to become the town’s first woman mayor. Perhaps Roberto’s time might be better spent tweaking both his surveillance equipment and his home life, and not playing junior crime solver.
the point in a lunar orbit that is nearest to the moon.
Perilune “the point in a lunar orbit that is nearest to the moon” is a compound of the combining form peri- “about, around, near” and the element -lune “moon.” Peri-, from Ancient Greek perí “about, around,” is a common fixture in words related to closeness, such as perimeter and periphery, and in perilune, it is combined with -lune on the pattern of perigee “the point in an orbit that is nearest to the earth” (using Ancient Greek gaîa or gê “earth”). Unlike perigee, perilune features a Latin-origin element, -lune (from Latin lūna) to mean “moon”; if this element were derived instead from Ancient Greek selḗnē “moon” to better match perigee, we would be saying something like “periselene” instead! Perilune was first recorded in English in the late 1950s.
After being tracked for several days the spacecraft would be further slowed so that its perilune, or closest approach, would be reduced to about 28 miles above the lunar surface, which would be the primary altitude for photography. Originally the plan was to make the initial orbit circular at about 575 miles above the lunar surface; the slowing maneuver would put the spacecraft into an elliptical orbit with a perilune of 28 miles and an apolune, or maximum altitude, of 575 miles.
Since arriving at the Moon on 4 April, Beresheet has slowly lowered its orbit with a series of engine burns. On Tuesday, it circularized its orbit to an altitude of just 200 kilometers, and following a burn Wednesday, Beresheet dropped the perilune, or low point of its orbit, to just 15 kilometers over its eventual landing site in Mare Serenitatis.
occurring on or transmitted by a chromosome other than one of the sex chromosomes.
Autosomal “occurring on a chromosome other than one of the sex chromosomes” is the adjectival form of autosome “a chromosome other than a sex chromosome,” a compound of the combining forms auto- “self, same” and -some “body.” Auto- comes from Ancient Greek autós “self,” of uncertain ultimate origin, while -some comes from Ancient Greek sôma “body,” the stem of which is sōmat-, as in somatic. While sôma refers to a body generally, nekrós (as in necropolis and necrotic) refers specifically to a dead body. Autosomal was first recorded in English in the early 20th century.
Even if you are a descendant of Shakespeare, there is only a negligible chance [that you have] any of his DNA. This is because autosomal DNA gets passed on randomly …. Within 10 generations, Shakespeare’s DNA has spread out and recombined so many times that it doesn’t even really make sense to speak of a match. Putting the same point the other way, each of us has so many ancestors that … we don’t share any DNA with the vast majority of them.
What cannot be so quickly learned is how to compare two autosomal DNA profiles and understand what the overlapping fragments are hinting at, knowing which branch of a tree to focus on or seeing how these pieces will fit together to identify the unknown person. Mr. Holes said that genetic genealogists like Ms. Rae-Venter, “are worth their weight in gold,” because “they understand the DNA testing and DNA inheritance and the genealogy aspects,” which is rare to find in a single person.