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Are You Feeling

bissextile?

Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Eugene,

My challenge to you (as someone who has actually used the word "sesquidecennium" in a published paper) is to use "bisextile" in a law review article
2.29.2008 1:08pm
Baseball Crank (www):
Happy birthday!
2.29.2008 1:22pm
Dave N (mail):
Eugene,

No I am not, but I am sure you are.

In fact, if I want to be cramky about it, I could note that as a salaried employee, I am essentially working today for free.
2.29.2008 1:26pm
Dave N (mail):
And now I am CRANKY that I can't even type correctly today.
2.29.2008 1:29pm
Chris Newman (mail) (www):
Since I followed the link, I guess that makes me bicurious.
2.29.2008 1:41pm
Happylee (mail):
Somewhere in Jersey there's a geek test writer who is gleefully inserting that word into a GRE or SAT question. Nice.
2.29.2008 1:54pm
alias:
Words that sound "adult," but aren't... great. Reminds me of high school. "Are you masticating over there? Don't think I don't see you masticating. At least close your mouth."
2.29.2008 2:01pm
rbj:
My dad, when he was an undergrad at Georgia Tech in the 1950s, heard one politician smearing his rival by stating "and while at college he matriculated with the co-eds"
2.29.2008 2:42pm
Le Messurier (mail):
I feel bissextile every four years except when metemptosis occurs. By the way, when will that be again?
2.29.2008 3:12pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Why would I tell you?
2.29.2008 3:19pm
Felix Sulla:
I am of a bissextile origin as it happens, and to the extent the question was wishingme and those similar to me in this regard.....thank you. ;-)

Le Messurier, I was not aware of that phenomenon ("metemptosis"), and I suspect it may no longer be practiced or enforced as such. However, the bissextile day itself is eliminated (via the Gregorian reforms to the calendar) in century years not divisible by 400. Thus, my generation was somewhat (fortunate?) in not having to wait eight years for a birthday if our lifespan happened to coincide with a turn-of-the-century.
2.29.2008 3:45pm
Aaron:
Chris Newman wins the thread.

Happy Birthday Eugene!
2.29.2008 5:03pm
arbitraryaardvark (mail) (www):
Yes, thanks.
2.29.2008 5:04pm
Le Messurier (mail):
Rare but still in use!

From Michael Quinion's World Wide Words":

Weird Words: Metemptosis /metemp't@UsIs/

Omission of the extra day of a leap year.

Though this word is extremely rare, the situation that it refers to
is still very much with us, as it refers to one of the corrections
that form part of the Gregorian calendar we all use. The correction
will not affect the leap day at the end of this month, however: the
next metemptosis will occur in 2100.

The problem for calendar creators is that the number of days in the
year doesn't exactly fit the length of the year - there's about a
quarter of a day over. The older Julian calendar from Roman times
had a simple way to deal with this: it just added an extra leap day
every four years to make up the numbers and get the calendar back
into sync with the year.

Unfortunately, over the next 1500 years it slowly became clear this
wasn't good enough. In fact, the number of days in the year is very
slightly less than 365ΒΌ, so the calendar was slowly gaining on the
seasons. In the sixteenth century, advisors to Pope Gregory XIII
told him that it was necessary to leave out some days to get things
back in step and to change the calendar to omit three leap years in
every 400 years. To do this, they suggested century years should
only be leap years if they were divisible by 400.

Astronomers created "metemptosis" in the early eighteenth century
for this process, when reform of the British calendar was becoming
urgent (Catholic countries had implemented it in 1582; Britain only
did so in 1752, though we weren't the last by any means). It's from
Greek "meta-", after, "em-", in, and "ptosis", a falling.

There is, to be complete, "proemptosis", its opposite, adding a day
to the calendar, in this case to keep it in line with what the moon
is doing. For reasons I have no intention of trying to explain, one
of these will not be needed until the year 4200.
2.29.2008 5:45pm
Dave N (mail):
OK--so in 4200, there will be a February 30? I don't have any plans for that day. I am just asking.
2.29.2008 7:58pm
juris_imprudent (mail):
A coworker mentioned to me that we were working for free today (being salaried personnel). I replied that either that, or for the other three years we are paid for a third of a day that we didn't work.
2.29.2008 8:45pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
Dave N:

There has already been a February 30th three times in human history, in Sweden in 1712 because they'd screwed up their transition to the Gregorian calendar and needed to get back in sync with their neighbors, and in the U.S.S.R. in 1930 and 1931, when the Party decided to rationalize the calendar and make every month have 30 days, with five more days that did not count as part of the months to make up the total of 365. These were Lenin Day between 1/30 and 2/1, two Workers' Days between 4/30 and 5/1, and two Industry Days confusingly between 11/7 and 11/8. There would also have been a Leap Day every four years in the usual spot, but the calendar was canceled before the first 30+1+30+1 Leap Day scheduled for 1932.

Source: Bonnie Blackburn and Leofranc Holford-Strevens, The Oxford Companion to the Year, 1999, pages 98-99 and 688-89.

Perhaps I'll post something about this: according to BB and LH-S, the attempt to make a five-day week with everyone getting a different day off to keep the assembly lines running all the time and suppress religious holidays was a total flop. Peasants continued to take Sundays off along with the new every-fifth day.

*'Menstrual' is just the Anglicized form of the Latin word for 'monthly'.
2.29.2008 9:13pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
EV:
You weren't actually born on a bissextile day, since that was on February 25th -- or the "Sixth [sextus] Day before the Kalends of March Twice [bis]". (Romans counted inclusively, so from the 24th of February to the 1st of March in a normal year is six days, not five.)
2.29.2008 9:16pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
One more comment, inspired by the first one's mention of a 'sesquidecennium'. The Internet Classics list, now sadly mostly abandoned due to a few members' insistence on politicizing it at every opportunity, once had a request from a university that wanted a fancy Latin name for a 125th anniversary. There doesn't seem to be any simple way to express that in Latin except my (rejected) suggestion: hemidemisemimillennial.
2.29.2008 9:19pm