Friday, March 10, 2006


At Pharyngula yesterday, PZ Myers coined (as far as I know) the word cyniclin:
“I'd be more enthused if the earlier hype hadn't switched on my skeptical gland and flooded my system with cyniclin, the hormone of disillusionment.”News from Enceladus 3/9/06 5:19 PM
I guess it'd be pronounced SIN-ihk-lin, not sin-EYE-klin. That would bridge between cynic  and hormone names like adrenalin, insulin, and so on.

But I like poster SEF's idea better:
“At least you also have lots of natural cynicillin to protect you against all those infectious religion memes though. It's just a shame so many people are apparently allergic to critical thinking.”SEF | 3/9/06 06:59 PM
I think it sounds funnier, and the idea of protection is more easily conveyed by the -cillin  ending.

Other antibiotics (like ampicillin) have picked it up as well, even though, like copter  in newscopter  or burger  in cheeseburger, it has no etymological significance. Penicillin  comes from penicillus, meaning a little penis – a tail or brush. That's how it looked under the microscope. (There was article I'd like to read on the “Irradiation of the Suffix cillin” in the American Dialect Society's American Speech, but they keep it behind a $$ wall. Their site sucks wad, by the way.)

No googlits for cyniclin OR cynicillin. There is a PC-CILLIN “leading antivirus software” that's in a domain name dispute. [Update: Last year at LiveJournal, there apparently was (briefly) a blog or blogger called cynicillin, but it was touted as “the cure for cynicism?” – very different than these senses.]

Cynicillin is healthy to have around, but you don't want to overdose on it.


Post a Comment

<< Home