Friday, 28 October 2011

Word of the week #25


The London Film Festival officially ended yesterday, although expect to still see a few reviews next week based on films I have not yet had time to write about, meaning that Word of the week can get back to its normal schedule after a brief hiatus. It has been a fairly mad two weeks of work for me, trying to fit everything in around getting to and from the various screenings, and I hope that anyone following this feature didn't feel too badly let down by its absence last Friday.

If you were left counting the days, then it might interest you to learn that there is a particular word to describe one way you might have done so. Your word of the week is...
 
Dactylonomy  

Noun: The practice of counting using the fingers. In addition to the common practice in the Western world of using each finger to represent a single digit up to ten, the term is also associated with an ancient Arab counting system known as 'arithmetic of the knots' that allowed complex mathematics to be calculated using numbers up to 9,999. This technique was often used in financial transactions between traders. (Source) Pronounced as written. English word derives from the Greek da'ktylos (finger) and no'mos (law, distribution).

Example: Poor Keith attempted to calculate his tax returns using the Arab art of Dactylonomy, but only succeeded in tying his fingers in knots.


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