Telephonoscopy

In a recent Zippy, Griffy and Zippy manage to weave together telephone hassles and gastroenterology:

Once gasteroenterologists are in the conversation, Zippy lurches into the absurd phrasal overlap portmanteau intestinal tract house (intestinal tract + tract house), adding the absurd pseudonym Sigmoid Colon (predictably, the name has been used by others, in particular on the blog Sigmoid Freud: The life and views of a Forensic Psychiatrist).

Then there’s telephonoscopy, using the learnèd “combining form” (part compound element, part derivational suffix) -scopy. From Michael Quinion’s affixes site on the combining form:

-scope Also -scopic and -scopy.

An instrument for observing, viewing, or examining something.
[Greek skopein, look at.]

This ending appears in the names of a wide variety of instruments in engineering, medicine, the sciences, and other fields, most containing the linking vowel -o- before the ending. All can have associated adjectives in -scopic, as in spectroscopic or gyroscopic. Many have a linked noun in -scopy that describes an observation or examination made using the instrument: laryngoscopy, endoscopy (among those in which that form is rare are kaleidoscope and periscope, in which names do not represent a scientific instrument).

The link between telephonoscopy (presumably ‘an examination made using the telephone’) and gastroenterology lies in the procedures of colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy (and endoscopy in general).

(Getting rid of your telephone, cutting it out of your life, would of course be telephonotomy.)

2 Responses to “Telephonoscopy”

  1. telephon- « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] combination of two things: telephonoscopy (also telephonotomy) on this blog, here; and a recent card to me from Chris Ambidge, reporting a friend (observing him putting shirts and […]

  2. New frontiers in overlaps « Arnold Zwicky's Blog Says:

    […] telephonoscopy (link): intestinal tract […]

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