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Tuesday, November 08, 2005

On the circle with a line through it

On the main thoroughfare near my house, they were installing a new street sign today. It had a picture of a truck with a red circle around it and a red line through it. The “red circle with a line through it” has become an almost universal symbol for “no”, “not”, “don’t”, or in certain parts of New York City, “foh geduhbot id”. I can't imagine anyone who doesn't recognize it as the symbol for negation. It seems like something that is as well known as this symbol should have a well-known name. It made me curious about whether of not the symbol (circle with a line inside it) even had a name. There is, of course, a symbol in math that I think is called a null, but that has a line that extends beyond the area of the circle. I mean, think about it, we gave the ampersand its own name. (I cannot imagine who gave the umlaut its name.)

I tried several search engines and a couple of encyclopedias and couldn’t find an actual name for the symbol itself. It may have a name already, but I was unable to find one.

Just in case no one has bothered to name it yet, I decided to stake my claim and would like to propose that we call the symbol a circumnegate.

Circumnegate (pronounced: ser kuhm NEH gate) [From the Latin, circum (around) and negāt (to deny, root of the word, negate)] can be used as either a noun for the symbol itself or as a verb in using the symbol as in “to circumnegate”. The process of using it is called circumnegation. The symbol that it is placed over is the circumnegatee and is said to be circumnegated. Someone who uses the symbol casually is a circumnegator. Someone who uses the symbol professionally is a circumnegationist. The place where it is used routinely is a circumnegatorium. If used systemically, the area can be said to be circumnegatized. A scholar who studies them is a circumnegatologist who teaches circumnegatology. (see “On the *ologies” posted here on October 9th, 2005) Someone who proposes a system of government based on the use of the symbol is a circumnegatarianismist. Those who are fond of abbreviations and acronyms have my permission to simply refer to them as CN’s.

If you happen to see the word, circumnegate, in the next edition of Webster’s Dictionary; just remember that you saw it here first.

Hey, it beats the heck out of "umlaut".

9 Comments:

Blogger Glory said...

Don't forget circumnegatophile, a lover of the circle with the line through it, and circumnetatophobe, one who fears it.

9/11/05 12:11 PM  
Blogger Glory said...

Rats, I spelled circumnegatophobewrong.

9/11/05 12:12 PM  
Blogger HCaldwell said...

Good ones. I thought of circumnegataphilatalist (someone who collects them as a hobbby) after I had already posted.

9/11/05 1:15 PM  
Blogger Vest said...

Where can I buy one? I collect unsolveable problems.

11/11/05 11:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad someone thought of naming this, too. However, since this may be my only chance to adding a word to the English lexicon, I will be calling it a "scamdoo". Let's race and see who gets it recognized first.

13/2/06 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not intending to be crude ... but some may interpret this comment as just that ... what would you call someone who determines the appropriate size of the circumnegator ... a circum-sizer??

... As as side note, in my younger days, we called that symbol a "posi-not" ...

Brent

11/1/07 11:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought it was a "negator"... but that doesn't seem to find anything either.

26/2/07 12:58 PM  
Blogger Viola said...

According to Wikipedia, the ISO named it the "No Symbol" or "Prohibition Symbol" back in 2002. Still, it's a bit more boring than your idea.

15/6/07 12:47 PM  
Blogger shambhalaart said...

You answered a question we asked only today...
we love the word, will use it when we need it.

We suggest the pronunciation

CIRcumnegate for the verb ( SER kuhm neh gate)
as in "abdicate".

and

Circumnegator (ser kuhm NEHG ator) to replace circumnegate the noun


Someone who uses the symbol casually is a GROUCH.


Happy New Year,
Margie Brown and Angela Lloyd

3/1/10 12:41 PM  

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