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September 07, 2018  |  Friday words #137  |  956 hit(s)

My friend John used to tell me that the right way to eat was “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” The idea is that you eat less at the end of the day than at the beginning, and that this helps keep your weight under control.

Although the saying has been around for a long time (I guess?), I recently learned a term for this: chrononutrition. More specifically, chrononutrition is the “interaction between circadian rhythms and nutrition,” as one article puts it. Eating at specific times, or only within specific times, is referred to as time-restricted eating, or TRE. Another term is intermittent fasting, or IF.

I just learned the term chrononutrition, as noted, and as far as I can tell, it only started showing up in the popular press relatively recently (2017, 2018). A more scholarly article from 2016 refers to chrononutrition as an “emerging discipline.” That said, there are articles that go back at least as far as 2007. The most intriguing aspect of looking at this word is that that a lot of the literature about it is in French—for example, there’s an article on chrononutrition in the French version of Wikipedia, but not in the English version. And I found a single reference to a book titled Chrononutrition: les aspects fondamentaux des relations de la chronobiologie et de la nutrition that’s from 1994.

So that’s both a new word and some life advice. Bonus!

The other day I was reading about how car horns work (because who doesn’t want to know that, right?), and one of the articles mentioned the word klaxon. I always thought of this as an olde-tyme word for an electric horn. (Another friend of mine joked about how “honk the horn” probably used to be “activate the klaxon.”) A note in the Wikipedia article about horns makes the interesting claim that “Klaxon horns produce an easily identifiable sound, often transcribed onomatopoeiacally in English as ‘ahoooga.’”

Anyway, the interesting thing I learned about klaxon was that it used to be a trademark, apparently till 1992. It referred to a then still relatively novel electric horn manufactured by the Lovell-McConnell Manufacturing Company in the early 1900s. The excellent article “Signalling Methods Definitely Cared For” in The Automobile magazine from January 13, 1910 explains that klaxon is from a Greek word meaning “shriek”:

If you have a few moments, it’s interesting to read what they had to say in 1910 about the many benefits of using a signaling device on your automobile (“the motorist should be thoughtful of others, and not only possess a good signalling device, but use it very freely as well”). Perhaps you can read it while you’re having your late-night snack.

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