Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

GLITCH

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

GLITCH

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:54 am

• glitch •

Pronunciation: glich • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: 1. A spike in electric current that interferes with the proper operation of a system or circuit. 2. A hitch, a snag, a small failure that interferes with some process or operation.

Notes: Although bugs and glitches share much in common, a bug is a serious problem that may require long-term effort to correct. A glitch implies a minor, easily fixable interruption. Despite the fact that it is a very young word, glitch is already being used as a verb, as to glitch (cause a glitch in) a computer program, and has an adjective, glitchy, meaning "having or tending to have glitches".

In Play: Assuming most of us are not electronic engineers, let's stick with the second, more general meaning of today's word: "The only glitch in an otherwise perfect fishing trip was the leak in Rodney's left hip boot." However, computer programming and electronic circuits are likely places to find glitches: "Phil had a glitch in his computer accounting program that caused the totals to be multiplied by 1.1112." Some companies would call it a clever accounting principle.

Word History: Today's Good Word arose from the US space program in the late 50s or early 60s. It appeared in print the first time in 1962. The astronauts used it in referring to an aberrant electrical surge that caused problems in a system. By the late 60s the second meaning was in the general vocabulary. Merriam-Webster's suggestion that the word comes from Yiddish glitsh "a slip" is questionable because of the difficulty in stretching the original electronic sense of glitch to "slip" or "slide". It is more likely that this word is a blend of some word beginning on GL (<i>glance, glint, glimpse, glib</i>) with hitch, a near synonym itself. Bottom line: no one knows for sure. (It would certainly be more than a glitch in today's Good Word were we not to thank our long-standing South African friend Chris Stewart for suggesting it.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3492
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Postby Slava » Sat Feb 13, 2010 3:24 am

Nice word today. i never knew about the electrical and computer related origins. I never even thought about the origins, to be honest. Now that I have, I suppose we could even propose that it's a shortening of, "We've got a g-------d hitch in the system!" Then again, we have to know whence cometh "hitch," don't we?

++++++++++

Okay, now that you've had time to look it up, we see that there are a few definitions that could match what we need here.

I'd like to know how the "l" got in there. I'm not satisfied with the supposed Yiddish connection. Let's face it, just how much was Yiddish influencing American English in the early 1960s?

Just a few thoughts on this intriguing WOTD.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4608
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sat Feb 13, 2010 12:04 pm

I like that bugs are serious, and glitches are not so much.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3430
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Postby beck123 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 12:54 am

Slava wrote:Let's face it, just how much was Yiddish influencing American English in the early 1960s?


Oy, it only had to influence one good Mensch, and - mazeltov! - the rest would be history.

I'm surprised nobody asked NASA whence it originated. It's possible that whoever coined it is still alive.
Beck

"I don't know whether ignorance or apathy is worse, and, frankly, I don't care." - Anonymous
User avatar
beck123
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 243
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:12 pm
Location: Jacksonville, FL, USA

Postby LukeJavan8 » Sun Feb 14, 2010 1:07 pm

Quite possible, actually.
I was surprised to hear of the death of the inventor
of the Frisbee, this week. I was aware of the
pie-pan throwing of the Ivy Leaguers, but unaware the
plastic toy's inventor was still around.

How do we contact NASA? Do you live close to
Cape Kennedy, or Canavaral, or whatever it is called?
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3430
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Postby beck123 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:17 am

I'm no closer than anybody else, by email. It's about 150 miles from me, and I can see the shuttle launches from my front porch. Once, during a night shuttle launch, I was at the beach here and could feel the vibrations through my feet.

They changed the name of the geographical feature back to Cape Canaveral some time ago, but most of its land area is occupied by the Kennedy Space Center.
Beck

"I don't know whether ignorance or apathy is worse, and, frankly, I don't care." - Anonymous
User avatar
beck123
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 243
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:12 pm
Location: Jacksonville, FL, USA

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 12:32 pm

Cape Canavaral, Kennedy Space Center.
Ok, got it!

I have done some looking for a way to
contact them without causing National
Security to lock in on me. I would like to
know more about who invented the word
"glitch", more out of curiosity than anything.
Don't suppose that I will be too successful,
however.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3430
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Postby beck123 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 7:54 pm

NASA isn't a super-double-secret agency. They've just been told to start trying to find evidence for global warming in lieu of exploring the universe, so they may as well be renamed West Anglia College.

Try here: http://blogs.nasa.gov/cm/newui/blog/blogs.jsp
Beck

"I don't know whether ignorance or apathy is worse, and, frankly, I don't care." - Anonymous
User avatar
beck123
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 243
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 9:12 pm
Location: Jacksonville, FL, USA

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:54 pm

The whole site is almost too much for me
to grasp. I'd post an email and ask them
about "glitch" and see if there is anyway
anyone could trace the origins of the word.
But do you have any idea where to go on
that site. It overwhelms me.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3430
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water


Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 4 guests