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[ myoo-on ] [ ˈmyu ɒn ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


a subatomic particle similar in most respects to the electron except that it is unstable, it may be positively charged, and its mass is approximately 207 times greater.

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More about muon

Muon “an unstable, positively charged subatomic particle” is a shortening of mu meson; beginning in the mid-20th century, scientists have used Greek letters to identify specific types of newly discovered subatomic particles, and the terms pion and tauon are formed similarly. The Greek letter mu, which is pronounced as “mee” in modern Greek and is the ancestor of the Roman letter m, is a borrowing from the Phoenicians, a seafaring people of the ancient Mediterranean. The Phoenician source is the letter mēm, a relative of the Hebrew letter mem, and both come from a Semitic root meaning “water.” Muon was first recorded in English in the early 1950s.

how is muon used?

Like electrons, muons have a negative electric charge and a quantum property called spin, which causes the particles to act like tiny, wobbling tops when placed in a magnetic field. The stronger the magnetic field, the faster a muon wobbles.

Michael Greshko, “New experiment hints that a particle breaks the known laws of physics,” National Geographic, April 7, 2021

Muons are all around us and are, for example, created when cosmic rays collide with particles in the Earth’s atmosphere. They are able to pass through matter, and researchers have used them to probe the inaccessible interiors of structures from giant volcanoes to the Egyptian pyramids.

Zoltan Fodor, “Proof of new physics from the muon’s magnetic moment? Maybe not, according to a new theoretical calculation,” The Conversation, April 9, 2021
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[ brat-is ] [ ˈbræt ɪs ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


any temporary wooden fortification, especially at the top of a wall.

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More about brattice

Brattice “a temporary wooden fortification” comes by way of Old French from Medieval Latin brittisca, which appears to be a Latin adaptation of Old English Bryttisc “British” because of the assumption that this type of fortification originated in Britain. The word British—as well as the related terms Breton, Britain, Brittany, and Brythonic—comes from a lost Celtic name that Greek writers recorded variously as Brettanoí and Prettanikḗ two millennia ago. An alternative proposal is that brattice is a compound of German Brett “board” and a common Romance element derived from Latin -iscus, which forms adjectives. Brattice was first recorded in English in the early 14th century.

how is brattice used?

In the middle of the pass was a brattice in which a man always stood guard. While they were yet a good distance away, the man in the brattice saw them and shouted loudly, “Enemy approaching! Enemy approaching!”

Chretien Troyes (c. 1160–1191), Arthurian Romances, translated by William W. Kibler, 1908

A constant thunk! of bolts and shafts echoed along the brattice now; points hitting wood and stone. Her body tensed against the searing rush of Greek Fire …. The hook of a scaling ladder thumped into another brattice, further along the wall; she had a bare second to see that the men with swords and axes beginning to swarm up it were not Visigoth auxiliary troops …

Mary Gentle, Ash: A Secret History, 1998
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[ myoo-zey-shuhs ] [ myuˈzeɪ ʃəs ] Show IPA Phonetic Respelling


of or relating to the fruit of the tropical treelike plants of the banana family, especially bananas and plantains.

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More about musaceous

Musaceous “of or relating to the fruit of the banana family” comes from New Latin Musa, the name of the genus to which bananas belong, plus the suffixes -aceae “made of, resembling” and -ous “full of.” Musa is adapted from Arabic mawzah “banana” and, before that, perhaps Sanskrit mocaḥ. One interesting proposal is that Musa ultimately comes from an unidentified language once spoken in what is now Indonesia. In contrast, the English word banana comes via Portuguese or Spanish likely from a Niger-Congo language, much like the recent Words of the Day capoeira and mbira, though the specific origin is still uncertain. Musaceous was first recorded in English in the early 1850s.

how is musaceous used?

Now there grows among all the rooms, replacing the night’s old smoke, alcohol and sweat, the fragile, musaceous odor of Breakfast: flowery, permeating, surprising, more than the color of winter sunlight … so the same assertion-through-structure allows this war morning’s banana fragrance to meander, repossess, prevail.

Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow, 1973

Q-Jo put a plantain phalanx to your lips, issued a brief, derisive chortle .… She rapped the deck with the same musaceous digit she had employed to shush you. “A crystal ball, this is not, and you damn well ought to be glad about it.”

Tom Robbins, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas, 1994
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