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    macabre : gruesome, suggesting death; grim and horrible; the term is applied to a type of artistic or literary works characterized by a grim or ghastly atmosphere with an emphasis on the details and symbols of death.
    machine : a device that transmits or modifies energy to perform or assist in the performance of a task; it requires a triggered input, and transmits the modified energy to an output, which performs the desired task. The term machine generally applies to an assembly of parts of somewhat independent operation to jointly perform a task (as opposed to simple mechanical tools, e.g. hammer).


script & writing

  majuscule : capital (upper case) or uncial letter.

geology : soil management

  manure : animal excreta collected from stables and barnyars with or without litter; used to enrich the soil for plant growing.


    marbled : having irregular streaks of color; veined like marble.


  market : a collection of homogeneous transactions. A market is created whenever potential sellers of a good or service are brought into contact with potential buyers and a means of exchange is available; the medium of exchange may be money or barter.

science & technique    acronym

  MASER : Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation : a device that produces coherent microwaves through amplification due to stimulated emission. Modern MASERs emit over a broad portion of the electromagnetic spectrum; this has led some to replace 'microwave' with 'molecular' in the acronym.

science & technique

  maser: a device that produces coherent electromagnetic waves through amplification due to stimulated emission.  As the MASER principle was applied over a broad portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, the term (acronym) 'MASER' has entered English language as a standard word 'maser', losing the capitalization in the process. When optical coherent oscillators were first developed, they were called 'optical masers', but it has become more common to refer to these as 'lasers'.



  mat : a fibrous reinforcing material comprised of chopped filaments (for chopped-strand mat) or swirled filaments (for continuous-strand mat) with a binder to maintain form; available in blankets of various widths, weights, and lengths.

informal                            noun

  math : mathematics


  mechanism : the doctrine that all the phenomena of the universe, particularly life, can ultimately be explained in terms of physics and chemistry : opposed to vitalism. doctrine


    mediterranean climate : the climate of mild, rainy winters and hot, dry summers which is typical of Mediterranean Basin; also found in several other widely separated parts of the world: California (North America), Central Chile (South America), Western Cape (South Africa), Southwest and South Australia [MAP].

geography : toponym

  Mendocino : The origin of this popular geographical name in California (cape, county, town, forest, canyon) cannot be satisfactory explained. Among several competing stories, one more plausible is that Cape Mendocino, which is the oldest appearance of the name (recorded on the map of 1587), was named for Lorenzo Suarez de Mendoza, viceroy of New Spain from 1580 to 1583. It is also possible that the cape was named for the earlier viceroy, Don Antonio de Mendoza. If one of the two viceroys was thus honored, the place name was created by the relatively rare method of using the adjective form of the personal name; in Argentina, a Mendocino is a man from the city of Mendoza.

botany & gardening

  mesocarp : the middle layer of the fruit wall (pericarp).
    meteorology : the study of the atmosphere and atmospheric phenomena.

computing & web        acronym

  MIDI : Musical Instrument Digital Interface :  compact sound format for recording and playing back on digital synthesizers.
    migration : long term and/or permanent movement of human population in general, whether into, out of, or within countries. NOTE: the term 'migration' is also appropriate for population movement in historical periods before the existence of recognized countries (i.e. when terms 'immigration' and 'emigration' are not suitable).

measurement unit

  mil : one thousandth of an inch, 0.001 in = 0.0254 mm


  mineral : a naturally occurring substance with a characteristic chemical composition (which could be expressed by a chemical formula), formed through geological processes; the term encompasses also the mineral structures. Minerals range in composition from pure elements and simple salts to very complex silicates with thousands of known forms; may occur as individual crystals or may be disseminated in some other solid substance. Note: most mineralogists include the requirements of inorganic origin and internal crystalline structure.


  mineraloid : a mineral-like substance that does not demonstrate crystallinity; their chemical compositions vary beyond the generally accepted ranges for specific minerals. For example, obsidian is an amorphous glass and not a crystal; jet is a dense form of coal; opal is another mineraloid due to its non-crystal nature; pearls, considered by some to be a mineral due to the presence of calcium carbonate crystals within their structure, would be better considered a mineraloid because the crystals are bonded by an organic material and there is no definite proportion of the components.

script & writing

  minuscule : small (low case) letter, as opposed to capital (upper case) letter.
    moiety : approximately half of something


  mole : a unit of measurement of the physical quantity named 'abundance' (also: 'amount of substance'); 1 mole is defined as the abundance of a system which contains the number of constituents equal to the number of atoms in exactly 12 grams of the carbon-12 isotope.
     The number of items in 1 mole is called Avogadro's number (NA = 6.0222 E+23 mol-1).
     Abbreviated as 'mol', e.g.  M = 32.2 g/mol.
     NOTE: The above definition of mole makes obsolete units such as 'gram-atomic weight', 'gram-equivalent weight', 'equivalent weight', 'gram-ion', 'faraday', and 'einstein'.


    molecular formula : a variety of chemical formulas which uses the exact number of atoms of each element present in the smallest unit of the compound or substance. For example, benzene is a molecule composed of six carbon and six hydrogen atoms and has a formula C6H6.
Note: two different compounds may share the same molecular formula. For example, both acetone (also called 2-propanone) and propanal (also called 1-propanone) share the same molecular formula of C3H6O, but have different arrangements of atoms in the molecules. These are called structural isomers. Structural isomers usually have different chemical and physical properties. See alsostructural formula.
    molecular model :  an enhanced structural formula, which uses structural models to represent the arrangement of atoms in a molecule (the molecular structure). Shown below are three equivalent ways of drawing the structure of acetone, C3H6O:

structural formula


  Mollusca : a large phylum of invertebrates comprising the oysters, clams, mussels, snails, slugs squids, octopi, whelks, etc., characterized by a soft, unsegmented body enclosed, in most instances, partly or wholly in a calcareous shell of one or more pieces, and having gills,, a foot, and a mantle.


  money : item which is widely accepted in payment for goods and services and in setting debts; while banknotes and coins have little or no intrinsic value, their use as money depends upon confidence that they can be exchanged for things of value; in addition to its use as a medium of exchange, money acts as a store of value, making savings convenient; money also acts as a measure of value (or unit of account) and as a standard of deferred payments which facilitates the granting of credit.

botany & gardening

  monoecious : bearing the stamens and the pistils on the same plant, but not in the same flower, e.g. chestnut, corn, cucumber.

geography : toponym

  Moss Beach (San Mateo Co., CA) : was named because of the presence of the marine plant life. There is another Moss Beach in Santa Cruz Co., CA and a Moss Creek in Mariposa Co., CA.

geography : toponym

  Moss Landing (Monterey Co., CA) : according to an often-repeated story, Charles Moss built a wharf there about 1865; the place became an important whaling station but was abandoned in 1888. The anchorage is not recorded on the detailed Coast Survey charts until about 1900. Hoffmann's map of 1873 shows it as Morse's Landing.

natural philosophy

motion : time dependence of a physical quantity; in its most general meaning, motion is a change in time of any physical quantity while mechanical motion refers to a change of a position, i.e. change of space coordinates. Accordingly, chemical reactions are class of motion with ‘rate of reaction’ being the velocity of motion while a ‘velocity of mechanical motion’ is the rate of position change.
must : the juice pressed from the grape or other fruit but not yet fermented into wine.

botany & gardening

  mycelium : the thallus or vegetative part of a fungus, made of threadlike filaments (tubes) called hyphae.

botany & gardening

  mycorrhiza : a mycelium found in the root tubercles of certain plants, supposed to assist in the nutrition of the plant and to sustain a symbiotic association between a fungus and the roots of a plant by which both are likely to benefit.

UPDATED : 2007-05-17

WEBSITE  EDITOR : Krešimir J. Adamić