17 December 2009


This wonderful word has two meanings, seemingly so distinct, so separate, one wonders if there were not originally two words, one for each, which sounded somewhat alike. Ignorance and Laziness being powers of nature on par with water and gravity, people would have begun to substitute one word for the other, eventually blurring the distinction, and begetting this monstrosity that means, on the one hand, a waterfall, and on the other, a distortion or imperfection in the lens of the eye -- fairly common among human beings these days, especially if said beings are of advanced years.


Cataract Cat"a*ract, n. [L. cataracta, catarracles, a
waterfall, Gr. ?, ?, fr. ? to break down; in the passive, to
fall or rush down (of tumors) to burst; kata` down + ? to
1. A great fall of water over a precipice; a large waterfall.
[1913 Webster]

2. (Surg.) An opacity of the crystalline lens, or of its
capsule, which prevents the passage of the rays of light
and impairs or destroys the sight.
[1913 Webster]

3. (Mach.) A kind of hydraulic brake for regulating the
action of pumping engines and other machines; -- sometimes
called dashpot.
[1913 Webster]
-- From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48

n 1: clouding of the natural lens of the eye
2: a large waterfall; violent rush of water over a precipice
-- From WordNet (r) 2.0

146 Moby Thesaurus words for "cataract":
Niagara, ablepsia, amaurosis, benightedness, blepharitis,
blind side, blind spot, blindfolding, blinding, blindness,
blurring the eyes, cascade, cataclysm, cecity, choroiditis, chute,
collapse, come down, comedown, conjunctivitis, crash, cross-eye,
darkness, debacle, declension, declination, defective vision,
defluxion, deluge, depriving of sight, descend, descending,
descension, descent, detached retina, dim-sightedness, dip down,
down, downbend, downcome, downcurve, downfall, downflow, downgrade,
downpour, downrush, downtrend, downturn, downward trend, drop,
drop down, drop off, drop serene, dropping, economic blindness,
engulf, esotropia, ever-during dark, excecation, eye defect,
eyelessness, fall, fall down, fall off, falling, falls, flood,
flooding, force, fresh, freshet, glaucoma, go down, go downhill,
gravitate, gravitation, gutta serena, hoodwinking, inclination,
inundate, inundation, iritis, keratitis, lack of vision, linn,
lose altitude, making blind, nappe, niphablepsia, optic neuritis,
overbrim, overflow, overrun, overwhelm, parachute,
partial blindness, pink eye, pitch, plummet, plummeting, plunge,
pounce, pour, pour down, pour out, pour over, precipitate,
psychic blindness, rain, rapids, reduced sight, retinoblastoma,
river, run over, sault, sightless eyes, sightlessness, slop, slosh,
snow blindness, soul-blindness, spate, spill, spill out,
spill over, spiritual blindness, spout, stone-blindness, stoop,
sty, submerge, swamp, sweep, swoop, torrent, total blindness,
trachoma, trend downward, unenlightenment, unseeingness, uveitis,
walleye, waterfall, waterflood, watershoot, whelm

-- From Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0

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