Friday, November 30, 2007

Extrapolate

I listen to Radio 4 on my way to work and over the past few weeks there has been a lot of comment about the situation at Northern Rock. This necessitates the bringing on of financial experts to discuss the melt-down/takeover/whatever.

I have noticed that in almost every case the experts use the word 'extrapolate' when explaining what is going on. I have to admit, not being mathematically minded, that the word 'extrapolate' is a new one to me.  But I like the sound of it. I like the way those syllables click off the tongue. I wonder if I can slip it into casual conversation.

But not just yet for I'm not certain what it means. I think, from the context, it must mean something like, 'I haven't actually got the first clue, but going by what I do know, this might be the outcome... or not, as the case may be.'

Dictionary.com* puts it more concisely,

to infer (an unknown) from something that is known; conjecture

But how to work it into casual conversation...?

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*I really must get a dictionary for the office. A proper printed one would be much more authoritative looking that going online. You never know when it might be needed. Only the other week one of the young lads from the building site came in and asked me if I had one. 

No. I'm afraid I don't. Why do you need one?
I need to know the meaning of a word.
Try me. I might know the meaning.
Oestrogen.
Oestrogen? Where'd you get that from?
In a text message. 

So I told him all about it,  explaining its role in female sexual development, menstruation, pregnancy, sex changes and the menopause. There's nobody can say I don't provide a first class support service from this office.
 

4 comments:

StrayTaoist said...

I tend to use 'extrapolate' quite a bit. And, recently, 'conflate'. Sometimes I have been known to throw in an 'asymptotic'.

A fine word, though.

Nelly said...

And what would you be talking about when you use those fine words?

ellie said...

Thank God it was just oestrogen he needed to know the meaning of!

Nelly said...

Oh, I culd have told him about testesterone too. I never did find out why he needed to know. I wonder if he was planning a sex change.