Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

TOURBILLION

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

TOURBILLION

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:24 pm

• tourbillion •


Pronunciation: tur-bil-yên • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A vortex, as a whirlwind or whirlpool. 2. A skyrocket with a spiral or spinning flight path.

Notes: No, this word has nothing to do with tours or billions, although it may have reached its current spelling through folk etymology influenced by these two words. The earlier French spelling, tourbillon, supports this interpretation.

In Play: The rapid spinning motion implied by today's Good Word may move on an upward trajectory: "Derry Yare rose to fame on a tourbillion of hype, talent, and skimpy outfits that was faster and more brilliant than anyone expected." It may also move downwards: "Canby Allgood was sucked into a tourbillion of ever-increasing corruption from which he could not escape."

Word History: Today's Good Word came into English from Old French torbeillon, which goes back ultimately to Latin turbo, a borrowing from Greek turbe "noise, confusion, turmoil". Once turbo arrived in Latin, it quickly went into the making of the verb turbare "to confuse, create turmoil". It also produced turbidus "muddy, full of confusion", which English borrowed, via French, as turbid "muddy". Turbulent is another related word based on the borrowed Greek word that came to us from Latin via French. In Latin it meant "boisterous, stormy, tempestuous" and was based on turbula "a disorderly crowd".
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3351
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:41 am

Tourbillion has some etymological cousins. I wish The Good Doctor had given us some. I believe turbine, turbulent, turbulence and turbid, are related. I think, but have not confirmed, that torque is a related word. No doubt The Good Doctor knows more, including those in foreign languages. Does anyone else know cognates or cousins of tourbillion? The more obscure and esoteric the better.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1662
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby mikespeir » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:03 am

So, just now you get around to telling us about this word? I can think of specific instances in the past where I might have used it. But no. Too late; too late. Maybe one day the opportunity will arise again.

:D
mikespeir
Junior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:26 pm

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby MTC » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:39 am

Other turbo-powered words ("spinoffs"?) include, disturb, perturb, imperturbable, turbinate, turbocharger, and turbot, to name a few. Trouble and related words derive from Latin turbidus.

As Dr. Goodword points outs, tourbillion moves both up as a firework and down as a whirlpool. This contrarian movement enhances the word's essential whirly meaning.

Tourbillion also refers to the escapement movement in a watch. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourbillon for a tourbillion movement in action.

Must spin off now...
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1066
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:45 pm

Living in the middle of 'tornado alley' I wonder why
they were called tornadoes instead of tourbillions.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3314
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby FrancisKisner » Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:17 pm

In my previous occupation, I was a jeweler. The word tourbillion is used among watchmakers. A traditional watch movement centers around the balance wheel, pallet fork, and escape wheel. The balance wheel, as the name suggests, needs to be perfectly in balance. A few centuries ago, some watch designers were concerned that the balance might not be perfect in all directions. If the watch were always sitting in the same orientation to vertical, the balance would be true. If it were carried and the position changed, the balance might not be correct and the watch could gain or lose time.
To correct for this, they designed a mechanism in which the whole balance system goes through a rotation as the watch runs. In this way, if the watch is moved, the differences from true time will cancel each other out. The correcting mechanism was very complicated and it didn't catch on. In fact, it wasn't really necessary for most purposes. The name they gave to the system was "tourbillion". In high-end modern watches, the tourbillion is considered a "complication". It is added to movement designs to set them apart from lesser makes.
FrancisKisner
Junior Lexiterian
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2013 9:03 am

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby Slava » Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:55 pm

FrancisKisner wrote:In my previous occupation, I was a jeweler. The word tourbillion is used among watchmakers. A traditional watch movement centers around the balance wheel, pallet fork, and escape wheel. The balance wheel, as the name suggests, needs to be perfectly in balance. A few centuries ago, some watch designers were concerned that the balance might not be perfect in all directions. If the watch were always sitting in the same orientation to vertical, the balance would be true. If it were carried and the position changed, the balance might not be correct and the watch could gain or lose time.
To correct for this, they designed a mechanism in which the whole balance system goes through a rotation as the watch runs. In this way, if the watch is moved, the differences from true time will cancel each other out. The correcting mechanism was very complicated and it didn't catch on. In fact, it wasn't really necessary for most purposes. The name they gave to the system was "tourbillion". In high-end modern watches, the tourbillion is considered a "complication". It is added to movement designs to set them apart from lesser makes.

Thanks for the short history lesson Francis. And welcome to the Agora. Dare we hope we have a new gem in the group?
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4450
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Jan 28, 2013 8:35 pm

Indeed, welcome
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3314
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Jan 28, 2013 11:52 pm

FrancisKisner: Thrice welcome!
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1662
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby MTC » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:55 am

Thrice will not suffice!
You clarified the history of "complications," Francis. Welcome.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1066
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:52 am

Luke: Is Nebraska in the middle of 'tornado alley'? That alley is pretty long and pretty wide, taking in most states. Statistics puts Texas number one with an average of 155 tornados a year. Of course Texas has size to account for. Interestingly Florida is next with 66. Alaska and Rhode Island tie for last at 0. I have had several close calls but never a direct hit. Of course, when the tourbillious monster is roaring down on you, you are, de facto, in tornado alley.
See http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/sev ... adoes.html .
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1662
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 12:57 pm

I think tornado alley is wherever you are located, and one
comes thru, as you say. I've lived thru 3 of them here in
this city. One totally destroyed a hospital and the beams
and steel work now make the entrance gate to a park
called Tornado Alley Park. I was debating heading to
the basement one time, thinking it was just another
scare. I was watching out the window and saw an
office chair fly over head. That made up my mind for
me. We had one in 1975 that decimated a huge area,
schools, churches, post office, hospital, businesses by
the dozen. A maintenance man found a bible in the
yard opened on the ground. The first words
on the page were: "...a mighty wind shall..." , as well
as two $100 bills in a chain link fence perfectly entertwined
next to each other, and the serial numbers were
consecutive.
I had debris in my yard from the hospital, rubber gloves,
surgical apparatus, etc, which was 2 miles away. Roofing
and texts from the high school also all over the place.
Three tornadoes is enough - don't want any more in my
life. Weather Channel each spring calls NE and KS and
OK the tornado alley. But you are right about anywhere in
North America being eligible for the title.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3314
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby MTC » Tue Jan 29, 2013 5:23 pm

" I was watching out the window and saw an
office chair fly over head."

Surreal! Are you sure you weren't watching a rerun of The Wizard of Oz?
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1066
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:53 pm

Nope, not Oz. I was listening to a small hand held
transistor radio (remember those), and following the
movement by radio personality, seeing the chair I
realized I was only about 3 blocks away.
One boy in my class was going to skip baseball
practice (6grade) and take a nap, but decided at the
last minute to go. The team hid in a dugout, and when
he came home, what was left of it, there were 3 pieces
of plate glass lodged in his mattress. The image
still gives me the shudders.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3314
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: TOURBILLION

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Jan 29, 2013 11:02 pm

i arrived in Waco in the fall of 1953. A friend of mine, a Baylor senior, had been living with his brother, a freshman, the spring before when a tornado went down the main street of Waco , wreaking terrible damage. My friend got home from class that afternoon and discovered his brother wasn't there yet. He fixed a sandwich, sat down to eat, and his brother came in sopping wet. "Where have you been? Why are you so late? And why are you wet?"
"There was a big wind down town."
"Where's your car?"
"We'll have to go get it. There was a big wind down town."
Still not understanding, the two got in the senior's car and went downtown to discover a building wall had fallen on his brother's car. They pitched in and helped and didn't get home for two days.
Yeah, there was a big wind down town.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2176
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Next

Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests