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Re: Off Topic: Pathalogical
- From: "Thomas B. Passin" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- To: email@example.com
- Date: Sat, 03 Feb 2001 16:58:54 -0500
Clark C. Evans asks about "pathological".
> I'm wondering about your usage of the word "pathalogical". I've seen
> only a few times before (most recently in the book Learning Python).
> On Sat, 3 Feb 2001, Rick Jelliffe wrote:
> > schema languages must be initially to identify pathological cases that
> In particular, I'm curious about the etymology of your usage
> of this word. I've looked up the word in almost every dictionary
> and reference work that I have access to (the ones on my bookshelf
> date to the 70's and 80's so they may be out-of-date) and
> on-line sources below. In each case, the word was either not
> found, or had the traditional (and expected), "compulsive" definition.
I have always thought that it comes from "pathology", that is, some damaging
medical condition. The pathologist examines tissue samples or a body to try
to determine what disease(s) contributed to the result.
Thus, a "pathological" case in programming is one that causes some damaging
condition (failure). This is not a bug, but a test case whose construction
was not anticipated in the program (or language) design.
Metaphorically, I think that this would be "FAILURE IS A DISEASE".