Terms from the paper I'm reading


Coitus interruptus.

Erotic induction.

…I swear this is a Nobel prize winning paper on bacterial gene regulation and not a nerdy porno script. Though just think what’s going to happen when I’m allowed to name things.

Feel free to share giggle inducing terms from your fields.


  1. says

    My fellow sociology goobers and I used to get a good laugh out of Phantasmagoria.. I always think it sounds like a magical kingdom with trolls and faeries and unicorns.

  2. Patrick (Rubbs) Regan says

    “Big O” notation. You other Comp Sci peeps know what I’m talking about ;)

  3. says

    I’m a mechanical engineer. My friends and I had a hell of a time with a machine design chapter on “Shafts and associated parts.” Betraying our immaturity, we also giggled in a programming class when the teachers talked about the “duty cycle.”

  4. JsePrometheus says

    From physics:fluid dynamics,”penetrating the classically forbidden region”,Rabi flopping,Fock statesWhat really bothers me though is when people describe technical things as “cute”, “sexy”, or “anatomically correct”.

  5. Santiago says

    Some, probably a bit older, British engineers thought that a good abbreviation for “Bladed Rings” or “Blade Rings” would be. . .Blings. Cue titles like “High Performance Alloys for Bling Applications”.To be fair, people realized the double entendre fairly quickly and you rarely hear anyone say it anymore, it got replaced by the slightly-less-hilarious “Blisc” (bladed disc). (These are components for turbine engines, btw)

  6. Screamer77 says

    Well, it’s not exactly the same, but my students sometimes make mistakes looking stuff on the dictionary, or pronouncing words… A few examples:- trying to say ‘coconut’, they said something that sounded a lot more like ‘I poop’.- on a composition somebody used a feminine noun instead of a masculine, and wrote ‘the man is white, his head is black’ … of course the head wasn’t the one above the neck.- a gay guy who forgot something in his backpack asked another guy ‘can you open me behind?’- the verb ‘to enjoy’ is really difficult to translate since we don’t have the same exact word . The dictionary lists ‘to get aroused’ as one of the possible options. I remember a student who said ‘I get aroused making bread’ ….I really love my job. :D

  7. Jon says

    A friend studying biochemistry was excited to hear of Erotic Acid, before getting disappointed to discover it’s spelled ‘Orotic’.

  8. Vicky says

    Jen, I know I’ve told you this before, but I almost lost it when we learned about “Cleveland Steamers” in my restaurant equipment class. Still makes me giggle thinking about it.

  9. says

    During proofing, I noticed the following sentence in the ‘Milestones’ section one of my scopes for a data integration project. I’d written the following without even realizing.TBC [date]: In-depth analysis of customer’s back-end by [consultant name] to determine optimal insertion point….I did a quick find/replace that changed ‘back-end’ to ‘ERP’ and all was well.Proofing documents is for more than just typos. ^_^

  10. Citizensmith says

    Now I’m waiting for a gynecologist to post. I bet they know all kinds if amusing and rude sounding scientific terms.

  11. Ana says

    The electron is a perverted god: it fits in both holes at the same time. Oh, and the mnemonic for amphoteric substances is “they swing both ways”. xD And don’t even let me get started on the excited states of aromatic rings…Yeah, me and my friends had a lot of fun at classes…(btw, this site was ACTUAL bibliography for my chemistry introduction lab: http://www.chm.bris.ac.uk/sill… )

  12. wouldeye says

    From primatology– scientists refer to male g-g rubbing in bonobos as “swordfighting.”

  13. says

    See, here in Canada, cunnilingus can be translated as “Honey, you’re doing great but did you remember to bring me some poutine for afterwards?”. Really, I swear.

  14. isitisabel says

    My fellow musician friends–especially string players–and I like to talk about our G strings. I’ve also had some good discussions about correct fingerings and how best to change positions. And once a non-musician friend walked into the middle of a conversation about how I needed to improve my aural skills and was sorely disappointed when I explained what we were really talking about.

  15. says

    Nothing near as giggle-inducing or purely awesome as those, but some of my compatriots in the studio like to sharpen their knives with mineral oil. The label on one of them said (and I’m not kidding) “Laxative / Lubricant.” It was the cause of much innuendo in today’s reed class, mostly perpetrated by the professor who said she would “try and be the adult here” (ha).

  16. Chrissy says

    We were going over hybridization probing and the next day, to review, my genetics professor said, “Are we all comfortable with probing?”

  17. yaoi_myantidrug says

    Dammit, I played violin for 8 years and never noticed ‘changing positions’ sounded weird…..Brass players have their own set of funny sounding words;’tounging’ (sp?)comes to mind.

  18. says

    In econometrics, (and other fields) a variable with only two possible options is called a ‘dummy variable’ – it takes either 1 or 0 as a value. And of course, one of the fairly common things to want to study is if men or women do x or y with more frequency. So the phrase ‘sex dummy’ comes up surprisingly often.

  19. Azkyroth says

    Unfortunately, I’m in Engineering. I assume it gets better but right now I’m left snickering at “apply a load to the beam” or the like. :(

  20. NotThatGreg says

    In discussions of computer operating systems, processes have tables defining the structure of their address space. The tables get a lot more complex when the process executes a fork() call, which entangles its address tables with that of a new process. When the tables are simple and clean it’s a ‘virgin’ address space. So, yes, a virgin address space is one that hasn’t been fork()ed. Also, a process creates a child process by fork()ing. I’m not making this up…[Edit : see also http://xkcd.com/485/ ]

  21. Jesse says

    One word: ejaculomics. Not accepted in the community at large, but certainly used. I believe first used in the context of studies of reproduction in fruit flies.

  22. says

    Someone in my department just presented a poster on ejaculomics, and we talked about it for a while. Small world :D

  23. says

    O-kay… Starting to see what Jen was on about a few posts ago about having a surprisingly well-educated readership.Quite a diverse range of disciplines/professions on display too.

  24. Brendan C says

    I work in a TV studio. After spending oodles of money on a new set, we created a camera shot that took in as much of the new set as possible…yup, we call it the Money Shot.

  25. WhatPaleBlueDot says

    Oh hell, there was something in class Monday. What was it? Oh, right. A lecture on culture and diversity and another woman in my cohort mentioned the ‘tossed salad’ theory of American diversity (in contrast to the melting pot). Gets me every time.

  26. says

    I have a good friend that used to be a high school teacher in a rural (and quite poor) school district. The students were having a hard time grasping the 4 stages of a 4 stroke internal combustion engine. Following the students lead on “4 stroke”, she came up with a mnemonic device for “intake, compression, combustion, exhaust”: “suck, squeeze, bang, blow”

  27. says

    Not from school but the company I work for is a classified/auction site for scientific and medical equipment. I giggle when we get ads for anal reamers or semen tanks… my favorite was the ‘Redundant Condom Machine’. Many of my co-workers giggled when I looked up, confused, and said ‘Why would anyone want to make redundant condoms?’

  28. Philip Langmuir says

    “It may be … appropriate to say that estuaries are something like pornography—hard to define exactly, but we know one when we see one.”

  29. Azkyroth says

    Okay, it does get better: the Rockwell hardness testing machine has “penetrator” and “load applied” scales right next to each other.

  30. BrianSchaan says

    Homomorphism (from mathematics – most often used in algebra, but is common enough in pure math). I always abbreviate isomorphism as iso, but I can’t bring myself to abbreviate the former even if it’s for my own notes.

  31. n0b0dy says

    I don’t have anything particularly giggle inducing from my field off the top of my head. Possibly there are giggle-worthy words but I’ve become too jaded to notice. But a friend of mine once graded an undergraduate paper in which the student had let the spellcheck replace all occurrences of enzyme with enema. That’s fairly giggle-worthy.

  32. says

    Sorry, in film studies we get stuck with technical or the psychological and Frudian terms. “Fallic”, “fallos” and so on is funny at first but gets old real quick.But there was one film we saw where the female main characters lay in bed and ate bananas and sasuges… with scissors, slowly cutting them to pieces. That was funny.

  33. Kaleberg says

    I’ll recycle one of my favorites from Christopher Taylor, the taxonomist:”In 1954, Roewer described a new species of harvestman named Metagagrella mysoreana (so named, I assume, because it came from Mysore). Metagagrella has since been synonymised with the older genus name Psathyropus, but most of the appropriate new combinations have not yet appeared in print. I was just entering in names for the Psathyropus section of the Palpatores nomenclator, which requires me to form said new combinations. However, because Psathyropus is a masculine name, I had to correct species name genders.”from: http://coo.fieldofscience.com/

  34. Nichole says

    Another musician here. Aural/oral, G strings, etc. are all fairly amusing. Fingering, tonguing, even double-tonguing!… um… that’s all I can think of right now.

  35. says

    In Developmental Biology, you can tell the genes that came from Drosophila because they tend to have funky names like “Lunatic Fringe” and “Sonic Hedgehog”. Also, we use the term “invagination” so often (it’s a fairly basic morphogenetic movement) that it often surprises me when people think it sounds dirty.If you want rude, there’s always the mnemonic for the cranial nerves: “Oh, oh, oh, to touch and feel virginal girls vaginas and hymens.” (olfactory, optic, occulomotor, trochlear, trigeminal, abducens, facial, vestibulocochlear, glossopharyngeal, vagus, accessory, hypoglossal if memory serves correctly – bear in mind it’s been five years since I did anatomy, so dirty mnemonics definitely work ^_^)Also, I made a t-shirt for my friend with “proteolytic” across the bust (as in, “this cleavage is…”)I also (waaaay back in the day) studied architecture for a short while. Apparently one guy spent an entire presentation talking about how he was going have a “giant erection” in the middle of his design, with both him and the tutors completely straight faced while two other students were barely able to stop cracking up…

  36. Peter B says

    There is always the resistor color code mnemonic phrase “Bad Boys…But Violet….”I surprised no comp sci folks said bits, nibbles and bytes. “Words” too, but that’s not snark worthy.

  37. Stev84 says

    MBDA is building a new missile designed to destroy “hard and deeply buried targets”. Its name: HARDBUT Penetrator

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