Word of the Day : April 16, 2011

biophilia

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noun bye-oh-FILL-ee-uh

Definition

: a hypothetical human tendency to interact or be closely associated with other forms of life in nature

Did You Know?

The term "biophilia" was popularized by psychoanalyst Erich Fromm in the 1960s. In his work, he used the word (from "bio-," meaning "life," and "-philia," meaning "friendly feeling toward") to describe the biological drive toward self-preservation. In the late 1970s, American biologist Edward O. Wilson extended the word's meaning, seeing it as the perfect word for "the rich, natural pleasure that comes from being surrounded by living organisms." Recently, "biophilia" has been in the news as the title of Icelandic singer Björk's latest project, a multimedia production that (according to the website for the Manchester International Festival) "celebrates how sound works in nature, exploring the infinite expanse of the universe, from planetary systems to atomic structure."


Examples

"We live in an age in which it is easy to email Buenos Aires, and browse the internet from the Grand Canyon. We could just dial in from whatever sylvan spot appeals to our biophilia." -- From an article by Edward L Glaeser in The Independent [UK], March 23, 2011

"For some, biophilia manifests itself in such ordinary ways as, say, owning four or five house cats. For myself and others … it means flying to the other side of the globe to see a fruit bat, a duck-billed platypus, or a parrotfish." -- From an article by Lisa Gosselin in Audubon magazine, September - October 1998



Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of the verb "osculate," our Word of the Day from March 31? The answer is ...


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