Tag Archives: professional development

Restrictive Term, Element, Clause

“Restrictive Term, Element, Clause: A phrase or clause that limits the essential meaning of the sentence element it modifies or identifies. Professional athletes who perform exceptionally should earn stratospheric salaries. Since there are no commas before and after the italicized clause, the italicized clause is restrictive and suggests that only those athletes that perform exceptionally are entitled to such salaries. If commas were added before who and after exceptionally, the clause would be nonrestrictive and would suggest that all professional athletes should receive stratospheric salaries.”

Excerpted from: Strunk, William Jr., and E.B. White. The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition. New York: Longman, 2000.

Term of Art: Ability

“Ability: Developed skill, competence, or power to do something, especially (in psychology) existing capacity to perform some function, whether physical, mental, or a combination of the two, without further education or training, contrasted with capacity, which is latent ability.”

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Term of Art: Ability Test

“Ability test: A test that measures a person’s current level of performance or that estimates future performance. The term sometimes denotes an achievement test, sometimes and aptitude test, and sometimes and intelligence test.”

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Term of Art: Academic Problem

“Academic problem: A learning difficulty, usually in a schoolchild, that does not amount to a learning disability.”

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Write It Right: Attain for Accomplish

“Attain for Accomplish. ‘By diligence we attain our purpose.’ A purpose is accomplished; success is attained.”

Excerpted from: Bierce, Ambrose. Write it Right: A Little Blacklist of Literary Faults. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2010.

Term of Art: Schema

“Schema: A plan, diagram, or outline, especially a mental representation of some aspect of experience, based on prior experience and memory, structured in such a way as to facilitate (and sometimes to distort) perception, cognition, the drawing of inferences, or the interpretation of new information in terms of existing knowledge. The term was first used in a psychological sense by the English neurologist Sir Henry Head (1861-1940), who restricted its meaning to a person’s internal body image, and it was given its modern meaning by the English psychologist Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett (1886-1969) in his book Remembering: A Study in Experimental and Social Psychology [1932, p. 199] to account for the observation that errors in the recall of stories tend to make them more conventional, which Bartlett attributed to the assimilation of the stories to a pre-existing schemata. The concept of a frame, introduced in 1975 by the US cognitive scientist Marvin (Lee) Minsky (1927-2016), is essentially a schema formalized in artificial intelligence. A script is a schema of an event sequence.

[From Greek schema a form, from echein to have]”

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003

Term of Art: Risk Aversion

“Risk aversion: A widespread characteristic of human preferences, first discussed in 1738 by the Swiss mathematician and physicist Daniel Bernoulli (1700-82), according to which most people tend to value gains involving risk less that certain gains of equivalent monetary expectation. A typical example is a choice between a sure gain of 50 units (Swiss francs, dollars, pounds sterling, or any other units) and a gamble involving a 50 percent probability of winning 100 units and a 50 percent probability of winning nothing. The two prospects are of equivalent monetary expected value, but most people prefer the sure gain to the gamble, which they typically value equally to a sure gain of about 35 units.”

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Term of Art: Acute Stress Disorder

“acute stress disorder: A transient anxiety disorder following exposure to a traumatic event, with a similar pattern of symptoms to post-traumatic stress disorder plus symptoms of disassociation (such as dissociative amnesia, depersonalization, derealization) but occurring within four weeks of the traumatic event. If the symptoms persist beyond four weeks, then a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder may be considered.

[From the Latin acutus sharpened, from acuere, to sharpen, from acus a needle]”

Excerpted from: Colman, Andrew M., ed. Oxford Dictionary of Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Term of Art: Antonomasia

“Antonomasia: [Stress: ‘an-to-no-May-zy-a’]. 1. In rhetoric, the use of an epithet to acknowledge a quality in one person or place by using the name of another person or place already known for that quality: Henry is the local Casanova; Cambridge is England’s Silicon Valley. 2. The use of an epithet instead of the name of a person or thing: the Swan of Avon William Shakespeare.”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Historical Term: Billeting

[Given the post immediately below this on, it’s worth mentioning that the Third Amendment to the United States Constitution–i.e. the third of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, guaranteed this freedom: “No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.”]

“Billeting The custom of requiring householders to provide accommodation for members of the armed forces. The system was widely abused in the 17th century under Charles I and protests against it were included in the Petition of Right (1628). Despite the forbidding of forced billeting in 1679, it continued under Charles II and James II, ending only when parliament agreed to the building of permanent barracks in 1792.”

Excerpted from: Cook, Chris. Dictionary of Historical Terms. New York: Gramercy, 1998.