See the complete Devil’s Dictionary of Scientific Words and Phrases here.
ambiguity a mental state resembling the condition when someone can’t decide which of your eyes to look at and keeps shifting right-left-right-left until you want to punch them: cognitive eyeball pingpong.
optimism hopeful expectation without any evidence to back it up. The first stage in depression.
penetrance the degree to which some genetic or medical condition that you have – such as a cleft chin, or a mosquito bite – annoys you, and as a result the extent to which you annoy everyone around you.
straightforward moving ahead in a direct line no matter what the impairment, such as during a sobriety test conducted on the highway.
truncate to reduce the size of something so that it will fit into a chest, for example by chopping off its limbs.
If you like the Devil’s Dictionary, you will probably enjoy these older posts:
Ontogeny recapitulates sobriety: from the Archaeal origins of life to the pinnacle of evolution: a PhD
Plus the other pieces in the categories “satire”, “science cabaret,” and “hilarious moments in science communication.” And there are, of course, many serious pieces on the site.
Feel free to pass along the link to your fellow science nerds! And, of course, quote the Devil’s Dictionary – just remember the reference! All material here is copyrighted Russ Hodge.