orthotropous max

Orthotropous Max is the rule that ideas should be extended in a straight line as far as they go. Think of measuring continental drift by sighting quasars.

“Orthotropous” may be hard to understand in this phrase, since it has been orthotropized. In other words, because the principle of Orthotropous Max has been applied to its own name, it’s hard to see where it came from. So here are some definitions.

American Heritage “Growing straight, so that the micropyle is at the side opposite the stalk. Said of an ovule.”

Random House “(of an ovule) straight and symmetrical, with the chalaza at the evident base and the micropyle at the opposite extremity.”

Webster’s “Having the axis of an ovule or seed straight from the hilum and chalaza to the orifice or micropyle; atropous. Note: This word has been used (but improperly) to describe an embryo whose radicle points towards, or is near to, the hilum.”

Now the etymology. “Ortho-” literally means straight or vertical, and may metaphorically mean correct (or in mathematics right-angled). “-Tropous” means turning or curving, so the whole word means straight-curving, an arresting concept.

I think these clippings are ample evidence that “orthotropous” demands othrotropization.

originally written November 1997
updated and added here January 2012