Words of the Week (well last week)

bifurcate

Pretty neat way of saying to divide in to (two) parts.

It is used in a variety of disciplines:

In Law- To bifurcate is the decision to spilt one case in to two separate trials so that one part can be finalised before moving on to the next part of the case. So if we think about a situation at a school: a child has accused their classmate of pouring some lemonade on them. Without bifurcation- both the accused and the prosecutor will be brought before a teacher and discuss what happened, (why) and what to do next. This could lead to a lot of arguing between the two children, where one may say that the prosecutor is lying or that it was an accident. Thus to then sort out some sort of compensation or punishment could be complicated. The defendant may say that they doesn’t deserve a punishment as they didn’t do it or say there is no evidence to back up the prosecutors argument. With bifurcation- the teacher would have two separate meetings, where they discussed what happened and then to sort out compensation and punishment. This means that what happened would be finalised so less negotiation would take place when sorting out the outcome.

In maths- it’s complicated and I don’t particularly understand much of it. If you don’t understand something, NEVER EXPLAIN IT! That is against the human code, and probably the bro code.

Rivers and Lakes- when a river splits in to two. These are normally temporary as the water in the separate channels will erode through the material that separates them eventually. Bifurcation lakes are lakes which have outflows in to two drainage basins.

Derivation:

From Medieval Latin, “bifurcatus” (having been divided). This is the perfect passive participle (yeah, Latin is useful sometimes) of the verb “bifurcare” (to divide), which is from the adjective “bifurcus” (two-pronged) from the prefix “bi-” (two) and “furca” (fork).

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