Happy Friday! I am convinced today’s word was sent to Wordsmith by my car to remind me that its oil needs to be changed. I guess I can’t use the “I forgot” excuse now…
Next week I won’t be posting a new list of words because I have a scattered vacation and don’t want to do a couple of words out of the list of five. So review past words or visit Wordsmith for a new category, and I’ll see you back on the 20th. Have a great weekend and week!
tribology (try-BOL-uh-jee, tri-)
noun: the study of interacting surfaces in relative motion and associated issues, such as friction, lubrication, and wear.
From Greek tribos (rubbing), from tribein (to rub). Earliest documented use: 1966
Usually words are coined on the streets of language, but here is one instance where a word may be considered to have been synthesized in a lab, if there could be such a thing as a word lab. In 1965, a group of lubrication engineers decided they needed a name for what they did and contacted the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary for help. Out of this came the word tribology, suggested by one C.G. Hardie of Magdalen College.
So even though it looks like the perfect word for it, tribology is not the study of tribes. A related term is triboelectricity: electricity generated by friction.
Usage (from Wordsmith)
“As in the later case of the frayed shoelace, what I wanted here was tribology: detailed knowledge of the interaction between the surfaces inflicting the wear and the surfaces receiving it.”
Nicholson Baker; Mezzanine; Weidenfeld and Nicholson; 1988