## Five-Dollar Words For Programmers, Part Five: Reification

Today, another in my series on awesomely arcane words for programmers. Reification is the process of turning something that is normally thought of as an abstract concept into something more concrete. It’s from the Latin res facere, “thing making”. Thing-making happens all the time in non-computer-related domains. Queen Elizabeth, her throne and her crown, for…

## Five-Dollar Words For Programmers, Part Four: Boustrophedonic

Here’s an almost useless but thoroughly delightful five-dollar word. English of course is read left-to-right. Hebrew and Arabic are read right-to-left. A text is boustrophedonic if it reads left-to-right and right-to-left, alternating. It’s from the Greek βουστροφηδόν meaning “as the ox turns”;  you’d plow a field with an ox right to left and then left…

## Five-Dollar Words For Programmers, Part Three: Homoiconic

Jeff Atwood was kind enough to once more give me the shout-out in his blog the other day. Thanks Jeff! This inspires me to continue my series on five-dollar words for programmers. Here’s one that I only learned relatively recently, when I helped write the code that translates a lambda expression into an expression tree…

## Five-Dollar Words for Programmers, Part Two: Orthogonal

In geometry, “orthogonal” basically means the same thing as “perpendicular”, or “at right angles”.  The walls are orthogonal to the floor. But algebraists extend the meaning of “orthogonal” beyond mere perpendicularity; to an algebraist, two aspects of a system are orthogonal if one can be varied without changing the value of the other.  Imagine for…

## Five-Dollar Words for Programmers, Part One: Idempotence

Programmers, particularly those with a mathematical background, often use words from mathematics when describing their systems. Unfortunately, they also often do so without consideration of the non-mathematical background of their colleagues. I thought I might talk today a bit about the word “idempotent”. This is a very easy concept but lots of people don’t know…