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October 19, 2013

Word of the Day

  • in silico
  • audio pronunciation
  • \in-SIL-ih-koh\
  • DEFINITION

adverb or adjective

: in or on a computer : done or produced by using computer software or simulation
  • EXAMPLES

"Researchers claim they are creating life forms on computers, in silico creatures as truly alive as the bacteria studied in vitro." — From an article by Joshua Quittner in Newsday (New York), July 21, 1992

"Leaps in mathematics and computing power now mean that increasingly complex biological functions can now be simulated in silico instead of in vivo." — From an article by Douglas Heaven in New Scientist, March 2, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"In silico" literally means "in silicon" in New Latin, and is a nod to the importance of silicon in the creation of computer chips. (The same nod is given in the name "Silicon Valley.") "In silico," which dates only to the early 1990s, is modeled on and often contrasted with two similarly-structured terms, both of which date to the pre-computer days right around the start of the 20th century. "In vitro" means "outside the living body and in an artificial environment." (In New Latin "in vitro" means "in glass.") "In vivo" translates as "in the living" in New Latin, and is used in English to mean "in the living body of a plant or animal."

Test Your Memory: What is the meaning of "importune," our Word of the Day from September 19? The answer is …

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