It’s All in the Name: Suffixes in Medicine and Science
An article in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday discussed the importance of suffixes in medicine and science. The article starts, “In the beginning, there was the genome. Then came the foldome, the phenome and the connectome, quickly followed by the secretome, the otherome and the unknome. Over the past decade, a linguistic trickle swelled into a flood of buzzwords tagged with the curiously resonant suffix ‘ome.’ Today, hundreds of ‘omic’ terms have worked their way into the lexicon, coined mostly by scientists intent on creating new sub-specialties. ’It sounds futuristic. It sounds computational,’ said medical geneticist Robert C. Green at Harvard Medical School, who studies what he and his colleagues call the incidentalome—the realm of all incidental medical findings. ’When you use the term ‘omics,’ it signals you are a new paradigm guy.’ ” The article further reports, “Some scientists roll their eyes at this speedily spreading suffix. ’It’s a language parasite,’ said evolutionary biologist Jonathan Eisen at the University of California, Davis. They have even coined a word for their antipathy—the antiome.” http://tinyurl.com/8hy7fts.