[LMB] RE: OT: Factoid was Math, sex, gengineering

Damien Sullivan phoenix at ugcs.caltech.edu
Fri, 11 Mar 2005 11:57:40 -0800


On Mon, Mar 07, 2005 at 04:48:00PM -0500, douglas.winston at srupc.com wrote:
> References: <200503071201.MAA26172 at talia3.herald.co.uk>
> 
> In the SOED dictionary definition, a factoid seems equivalent
> to an urban legend since it gains value by being repeated.
> The suffix -oid means "similar to" so a factoid is similar to a fact.
> 
> Actual usages may differ:
> 1998 _Island in the Sea of Time_,by S.M.Stirling
> p.281 One more factoid for the Useless Trivia File.

Many Americans my age may have learned the word "factoid" from the kids'
science magazine and/or TV-show 3-2-1 Contact!  The magazine had a couple of
pages called "Factoids" full of weird facts and explanations; I don't recall
if the show had an equivalent.  The few factoids I remember seem to have been
confirmed true in later life.

-xx- Damien X-)