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Thop Words

"Stop Words" are terms that are omitted by some free-text information retrieval programs. They're usually common little strings like "the", "and", "of", and so forth. Leaving them out improves performance and often saves huge amounts of space in the computer-generated index. On the other hand, without them some queries can't be performed, or won't be at all efficient.

Yes, and a few mornings ago at 5:20am, while walking to the Metro, I got to thinking about another kind of stop word: controversial ones that tend to derail conversation, or at least act like speed-bumps. They're arbitrary sounds (or when written, letter-patterns) and are associated, in my world anyway, with vulgarity, obscenity, profanity, violent hatred, etc. Hence, euphemistically, the the F-word, the C-word, the N-word, etc.

Which raises the question: is there a naughty-offensive word for every letter of the alphabet? And how about truly obscure letters, like thorn, eth, hwair, yogh, and the like? Or thop, a letter that my thesis advisor, Kip Thorne, used in an astrophysics lecture four decades ago? Does thop even exist? (Why can't I find it anywhere?) And what's the unspeakable Thop-word? (hmmm, maybe thop itself? excuse me!)

(cf. Troublesome Words (2006-04-09), ...) - ^z - 2012-12-04

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