The Devil’s Dictionary of Scientific Words and Phrases

Good Science Writing

A List of Helpful Expressions
which commonly appear in Scientific Texts:
their Meanings and a Guide
to their Appropriate Use


inspired, naturally,
by Ambrose Bierce

copyright 2016 by Russ Hodge

additionally  a word meaning the opposite of “subtractionally”.

affinity  a word indicating the likelihood that two components of a system will have intercourse with each other, whether molecules or members of a laboratory; “high affinity” means they’re getting it on every chance they get, whereas “no affinity” means “when Hell freezes over, and probably not even then.”

aliquot  a small portion of a liquid, not an exact measurement, but smaller than the contents of a shot glass; if you start with a full shot glass and then drink a portion of it, this leaves you with an amount that is no longer a portion, so you drink a portion of that, then a portion of the portion, and so on…

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