Today’s whimsical Wayno / Piraro Bizarro:

(if you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 3 in this strip — see this Page)

A complex bit of wordplay here, which involves a chain of nouns — nanotechnology, nano, and nanobot — and then the combination of the nouns nana ‘granny’ and robot the way nano and robot are combined in nanobot. So: nanabot ‘granny robot, robot granny’. The nanabots in the cartoon are doing culturally conventional things for solicitous grandmothers: baking cookies, inviting the kid to visit, knitting a scarf, giving the kid some money for candy.

The noun chain. All entries from NOAD.

— the noun nanotechnology: the branch of technology that deals with dimensions and tolerances of less than 100 nanometers, especially the manipulation of individual atoms and molecules. [AMZ: on nano-: in units of measurement, a factor of 10-9]

— the noun nano: informal short for nanotechnology: high-quality surgical nano wasn’t enough to do the trick | [as modifier]: nano scientists are talking about shrinking supercomputers to the size of a hardback book.

— the noun nanobot: a hypothetical, very small, self-propelled machine, especially one that has some degree of autonomy and can reproduce. [AMZ: a portmanteau of nano robot]

Then, separately:

— the noun nana-2: informal one’s grandmother: I grew up cooking with my nana | this card is sent with lots of love from Nana, Grandad, Mum, and Dad, and all of your family. ORIGIN mid 19th century: child’s pronunciation of nanny or gran.

So, then on the model of the portmanteau nanobot: nanabot. Delightful.

(Wayno’s title: “Another Job [grandmothering] Lost to Technology”)


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