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Feynman’s Flower » Blog Archive » Introducing: Factini

Introducing: Factini

OK, at first glance the word may look silly. But it should suit my need.

Ever since finding out that using the word factoid for a true fact, rather than an almost-but-not-quite-true fact, is incorrect, I’ve hoped to find an appropriate substitute. I need a word for the little tidbits of scientific results I so love so. I love telling my mom about oxytocin and trust, my heartbroken friends about vassopressin and voles, and random strangers at cocktail parties about, gosh, anything I read in New Scientist that happens to fit into the conversation. Science Nerd, sure. But I have enough English Major in me to hesitate to knowingly misuse words.

So, after some deliberation, I decided “factini” would work well to mean a small fact - a real fact. Perhaps a fact that could be taken out of context a bit or taken a step beyond what is strictly proven, but the best factini inspires wonder and/or comprehension in a eureka flash.

And it’s best served dry with two olives.

47 Comments

  1. fang said,

    January 31, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    The correct usage would be “factino” (factini would be more than one factino)

  2. raven said,

    January 31, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    I have considered your astute observation, fang, and have decided: Nope - I like factini better. Why don’t you spread “factino” around, I’ll stick with “factini,” and we’ll see which one catches on. Heck, I would be delighted with either!

  3. fang said,

    February 23, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    OK - you win. I don’t see a landslide for “factino”. But what about “facteeny”? This would preserve the euphony without violating Latin (or Italian) grammar. (Plus: Don’t ignore The Cute Factor)

  4. Warshok said,

    June 30, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Well, I tend to disagree about “factoid.” The scary truth is that a word means whatever the consensus is that it means in common usage. While a word may have an original meaning (or logical meaning) quite at odds with its current usage, this doesn’t make it more valid: quite to the contrary.

    Contranyms (words that means the exact opposite of what they should) are a fascinating example. Of course it’s not exactly logical, but what about English is logical?

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