What’s in a name?

By | 27th August 2013

We are clearly in the silly season!

Or are we? At least one high profile person has their business head firmly screwed on.

The tennis player Maria Sharapova is not one for bashfulness at the best of time. No one who grunts as she does, could ever be accused of shyness!

Sharapova was reported recently to have been considering an application to the Supreme Court of Florida for permission to change her name for the duration of the US Open to “Sugarpova” in support of her new line in sweets.

Now it seems, after “mature consideration”, she has changed her mind so umpires at Flushing Meadow will be spared having to call out the scores for la Sugarpova!!

Why is this newsworthy or important? Possibly, merely because Sugarpova is a shleb! Nothing wrong in that as such and the story certainly made me smile when I read it recently although I recognise it might cause one or two problems with word searches in due course.

Unlike the word “seiche.” This is a wave or series of waves formed in a lake or other partly enclosed water basin such as a fjord, a bit like the water sloshing in a bath as the water bounces of the sides of the bath. This phenomenon was spectacularly and tragically demonstrated in Chicago in 1954. One the far side of Lake Michigan, a thunderstorm caused the water to become so choppy that over three miles away in Chicago a wave over three metres high came ashore and eight people were drowned.

I could not imagine that there would be any confusion in a search for a seiche until I discovered that, as well as its more usual meaning, it is also a term for a cuttlefish or Bobtail squid!

One of the more fascinating (to me at least) aspects of e-disclosure is the terms people want/need to search. You would think that there was a strictly limited set of words and phrases which would crop up almost every time a search is undertaken or technology assisted review is used.

Which only goes to show how wrong one can be! If it were not enough to have to contemplate a seiche or a Sugarpova, what about a piteraq or a williwaw?

Suppose your next case involved damage to a building caused by certain meteorological phenomena such as a piteraq or a williwaw, you might want to know what they are. You can find out by Google search or a Wikipedia entry or you can read on.

A piteraq is a cold Katabatic wind which comes from the Greenland icecap and sweeps down the east coast. In case you are not sure what Katabatic means, it apparently comes from the Greek word meaning to go downhill. These winds can reach hurricane speed. Such a wind struck an unsupported charity trek last year. Despite having all the right kit, one member of the team of three died and the others suffered severe frostbite. Temperatures were said to have plunged to minus 70 degrees with wind speeds of up to 160 mph.

Piteraq is the name used in Greenland whereas williwaw is used elsewhere for the same phenomenon. For more information, or if you think I am pulling your leg, see the Wikipedia entry.

What’s in a name, huh?