February 9, 2014

"Thanks for using 'evanesce'! Always loved that word and its sound. And thanks also for all the O.E.D. posts."

Wrote Lyle Sanford, RMT, in "The morning chocolate conversation," so naturally, I had to look up "evanesce" in the OED.

"Evanesce" means "To fade out of sight, 'melt into thin air,' disappear." The word is traced back to 1855, to Frederick William Faber's "Growth in Holiness":
We must with holy superstition keep [spiritual favors] secret.... As soon as they are known they will evanesce. This is their way. When God means us to let any of them be known, He will give us such a light that we cannot mistake Him and such an impulse that we cannot resist Him.
This feels weighty, given the inclusion, earlier today, of "knowing God" as the 3rd item on my list of "List of Easy and Impossible Enterprises."

13 comments:

Jupiter said...

In the interaction of light and matter, there is a phenomenon called "total internal reflection", in which a beam of light enters a prism, crosses it, and is reflected internally by the other side. No light is seen to pass through the reflecting surface, but an "evanescent wave" can be detected there if one places a suitable detector close enough. The amplitude of this wave dies off exponentially as the detector moves away from the surface.

Bob said...

Google Books gives us an occurrence from 1837.

From Inwood said...

Evanesce

That explains this tweet by

PETHOKOUKIS

Here is a stat … to think about:
Before the Great Recession, there were 122 million full-time jobs in America.
Now 4 1/2 years after its end, there are still just 118 million full-time jobs in America
despite a labor force that is 1.6 million larger and a non-jailed, non-military adult working-age population that is 14 million larger.

See also Alice's Cheshire Cat: the grin without the cat

St. George said...

“By an epiphany [Stephen] meant a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or of gesture or in a memorable phase of the mind itself. He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments”

Portrait of the Artist, Joyce

America's Politico said...

How to be the next Ezra Klein (Founder, JournoList)?

http://www.cjr.org/realtalk/realtalk_020614.php?page=all

kentuckyliz said...

Inwood: don't you know, people are quitting their jobs because of the freedom Obamacare gives them!

m stone said...

This feels weighty, given the inclusion, earlier today, of "knowing God" as the 3rd item on my list of "List of Easy and Impossible Enterprises."

Missing link? Can't find the reference.

Richard Dolan said...

"Evanesce' is a clunky, too-forced-by-half word, one that was never meant to be a verb. The imagination that came up with may have been so stuffed with Germanic forms that it couldn't see the clunkiness.

Beldar said...

For the tragically unhip: Evanescence:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YxaaGgTQYM

Beldar said...

Or, more lyrically:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YxaaGgTQYM

JackOfVA said...

Evanescent wave is also found in antenna analysis. The normal 1/R relationship between the electric field or magnetic field and distance (or 1/R^2 for energy) is only an approximation valid in the far field as the higher order terms in the full electromagnetic analysis become negligible.

At small distances (say 1/3rd of a wavelength and less) the evanescent wave energy becomes important and the simple 1/R relationship cannot be relied upon.

JackOfVA said...

Evanescent wave is also found in antenna analysis. The normal 1/R relationship between the electric field or magnetic field and distance (or 1/R^2 for energy) is only an approximation valid in the far field as the higher order terms in the full electromagnetic analysis become negligible.

At small distances (say 1/3rd of a wavelength and less) the evanescent wave energy becomes important and the simple 1/R relationship cannot be relied upon.

Lyle Sanford, RMT said...

Wow! - an Althouse tag! Makes me feel I should comment more and lurk less to be worthy of the honor. Thanks.