Orthogonally parked in a parallel universe – not so Smart after all

I learned a new word in a workshop the other week: Orthogonal.  It means “at a right angle to”  in the same way that “diagonal” doesn’t.  X and Y axes are “orthogonals”, so are longitude and latitude.

Words like that make me shiver with pleasure.  The problem is that though I find them exciting and sexy, other people can find them really off-putting. (I guess it depends on whether you found reading an exciting escape from the humdrum as a child or whether it was what you were forced to do when it was too wet to play football). Anyway, I held up the meeting and said “back up a minute, what does that mean?” But you can’t do that when you are reading a document.  

Ultimately words are there to communicate, so although “orthogonal” is undeniably funky, it makes more sense to use “in another dimension” to put the point across.  Shame though.  It’s an oddly satisfying word.  

Almost worth buying a Smart car to do some orthogonal parking.

6 responses to “Orthogonally parked in a parallel universe – not so Smart after all

  1. language is very sexy, isn’t it

  2. Oh yes. Glad to know I’m not alone in finding it sexy though. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


  3. Orthogonality is pretty funky itself


  4. Indeed! Thank you for posting the link. That’s the most accessible description of why considering the 4th dimension as time doesn’t mean it’s qualitatively different from the spatial 3. I’m still unconvinced by that – hypercubes and klein bottles seem very spatial to me.



  5. I imagine as with aliens, Gods etc if the 4th dimension were a tangible spatial right-angle to our three we’d have seen some evidence of it by now – things popping up out of nowhere in convenient proximity to each other, as fingers through a sheet, or something. The Many-Angled Ones…

  6. But that’s what clouds are! Angels’ wings brushing us with their trans-dimensionality. 😉

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