One of my passions is the English language. I enjoy the flexibility and mutability of its structure and meaning, and in day to day conversations this inherent fuzziness makes up a large part of what I consider humorous. The normally flexibility of English is in stark contrast to the rigid definitions and strict interpretations that are found within technical jargon. This makes technical jargon ripe for manipulation and humorous interpretation when you relax the rigidness with which the words and phrases are interpreted. Some of my personal favorites come from physics:
- Retarded fields – strictly speaking, fields that are time lagged due to distance from the source and the finite speed of light
- Degenerate states – quantum states that have the same energy
- Rigid bodies – objects that can be treated as inflexible, thus reducing the amount of math required to describe their motion
As you can plainly see, the technical meaning of these terms are drab and boring, and not open to interpretation when used in the context of physics. But using more colloquial meanings, these phrases are really quite funny.
Because of my interest in language, I am curious about technical terms from other fields that people consider funny, whether the interpretation is puerile, perverse, or just plain odd. So, I would like to invite everyone to share whatever technical terms that make you chuckle, or just downright laugh out loud, whenever you hear them.
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