Here’s an interesting consilience-type word. 

In astronomy, it’s when a bunch of planets all line up. We know that occurence mostly as an eclipse (sun, moon and earth in a line).

Turns out that syzygy is also used in poetry (two metrical feet in a single line), medicine (two organs fused together),  mathematics (I don’t understand the Wikipedia explanation), and many other disciplines.

I want to apply it in one new context, that of sports. I’ve lived in a bunch of different places and have had occasion to cheer for the Cincinnati Bengals and various other losing teams. So I understand how that feels. In and around 2004, though, I had the bizarre experience of seeing North Carolina win the NCAA men’s basketball championship, the Patriots win the Super Bowl, and most unlikely of all, the Red Sox win the World Series. (Aside – please stop calling them the World Champions. As Eddie Izzard says ever so gently to the American audience, “You do realize there are other countries?”)

At the time I thought I should retire from sporting interests because that level of success breeds a completely unrealistic level of expectation.

And yet here I am again. Not with championships guaranteed, but certainly enjoying a lot more winning than losing. The Blitz went to the USCL finals. The Pats are still undefeated. I might even start checking in on the Celtics from time to time.

The planets are more or less lined up.


8 thoughts on “Syzygy

  1. I was taught this word in first grade as a counter-example to the rule that all words have vowels. Odd that it was something as obscure as “syzygy” and not a more commonplace example such as “rhythm” or “nymph”.

  2. As a random aside, I wonder how many languages (that use letters) in which vowels are optional, or seem to be. I’ve heard this about Arabic and Hebrew.

    Rumors of an ingrained Eastern European aversion to vowels are greatly exaggerated.

  3. The fun part is that English is mostly legible anyway.

    “Hlp spprt Rssmblr! Clck n th … the … h wt. I dn’t hv ds.”

    Mostly legible, yes. (You could probably make a buck or two on the Google ads, at the expense of annoying your readers! Try it!)

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