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(Benighted) Word of the Week: Equinox

September 22, 2008

So it’s the first day of fall (here in the Northern Hemisphere), which means the autumnal equinox occurred at some point (15:43 GMT), which means the sun crossed over the celestial equator, which means basically that day and night are the same length today. Fine.

OK, but…equinox. Now, Mr. Crumpet doesn’t mind seeing that word in the pages of his Farmer’s Almanac.

However, the word “equinox” has taken on a life of its own. A Frankenstein-monster, creature-from-the-black-lagoon kind of life.

It’s quite extroverted. “Equinox” is seen everywhere: cars, gyms, movies, bands, video games, restaurants, tech companies.

It does sport a “Q” and an “X,” both of which have mass appeal on their own. (It also means, at seven letters, it’s a world-beater on the Scrabble board, especially with the triple-word score.)

And it may have been cool once, say, in the 1970s, conjuring up images of men in star-spangled, red-white-and-blue karate gis fighting in a cage somewhere on a distant inhospitable planet. The Equinox! Where Death Is A Reward!

That was then.

Now, overexposed and overstaying its welcome,  “equinox” invites pity. Perhaps it’s for the best it returned to whence it came.

Equinox, science still has a place for you.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. truce permalink
    September 29, 2008 12:35 am

    Can it join ‘Genius’ and ‘Vacuum’?

  2. October 1, 2008 10:32 pm


    And let’s add “transparency” while we’re at it.

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