Sing Sing, state prison in the city of Ossining, N.Y.
21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Singing Tower to Sound
Singing Tower, tower in central Florida with the biggest bell chimes in the world.
Single tax, proposed reform that tax on land value should be a government's sole revenue, stated by Henry George in Progress and Poverty (1879).
Sinhalese, also Singhalese or Sinhala, Indo-Aryan language derived from Sanskrit, spoken by the majority of the people of Sri Lanka.
Sinn Féin (Irish, “we, ourselves”), Irish nationalist movement formed by Arthur Griffith in 1905. It secured wide support in 1916, when most of the leaders of the Easter Rebellion against English suppression were martyred. Led by Eamon De Valera, the Sinn Féin set up a separate Irish Parliament, the Dáil Éireann, which declared Irish independence (1918). S…
Sintering, process by which powdered metal is used to form solid objects.
Sinus, body cavity, usually containing air or blood.
Sioux, or Dakota, confederation of Native American peoples in the North American plains. There were 7 main Sioux tribes, including the Santee, or Dakota, of what is now Minnesota, and the Lakota, or Teton, of the western Dakotas and Nebraska. There were about 30,000 Sioux; 15,000 of these were Lakota, of whom 3,000 were Oglala. The Sioux lived in tepees, and their principal activities were buffalo…
Sioux City (pop. 115,018), city in western Iowa, on the Missouri River near where the borders of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota meet.
Sioux Falls (pop. 123,809), largest city in South Dakota, on the Big Sioux River in the southeastern corner of the state.
Siphon, device, usually consisting of a bent tube with 2 legs of unequal length, that utilizes atmospheric pressure to transfer liquid over the edge of one container into another at a lower level.
Siple, Paul Allman (1908–68), U.S. geographer and explorer of Antarctica.
Siren, device used to create loud, shrill warning signals.
Sirenian, or sea cow, any of an order (Sirenia) of aquatic mammals.
Sirens, in Greek mythology, sea nymphs whose irresistible singing lured sailors to their deaths on rocky coasts.
Sirius, Alpha Canis Majoris (Dog Star), brightest star in the night sky.
Sirocco, in southern Europe, warm, humid wind from the south or southeast, originating as a dry wind over the Sahara and gaining humidity from passage over the Mediterranean.
Sisal, any of various plants of the agave family, genus Agave.
Sisley, Alfred (1839–99), Anglo-French painter, a founder of impressionism.
Sistine Chapel, papal chapel in the Vatican Palace, Rome, renowned for its magnificent frescoes by Michelangelo and other Renaissance artists like Perugino, Botticelli, and Ghirlandaio.
Sisyphus, in Greek mythology, founder and king of the ancient city-state of Corinth.
Sitar, Indian stringed instrument with a long neck and smallish, rounded soundbox.
Sitka (pop. 7,803), city in southeastern Alaska, on Baranof Island, west of British Columbia.
Sitting Bull (c.1831–90), chief of the Teton Sioux who led the last major Native American resistance in the United States.
Sitwell, Dame Edith (1887–1964), British poet and critic.
Six, les, term coined in 1920 for a group of French composers: Georges Auric, Louis Durey, Arthur Honegger, Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, and Germaine Tailleferre, inspired by the anti-impressionist work of Erik Satie.
Sixtus, name of 5 popes.
Skagerrak, also spelled Skager-Rak and Skagerrack, arm of the North Sea that separates Denmark from Norway and Sweden.
Skate, any of various fish (genus Raja) similar to rays.
Skateboard, small board with plastic wheels, forming a kind of surfboard to be used on land.
Skeena River, river in British Columbia, Canada, rising in the Stikine mountains and flowing about 360 mi (580 k) to the Pacific Ocean.
Skeet, sport in which the competitor shoots at clay disks mechanically thrown into the air.
Skeleton, in vertebrates, framework of bones that supports and protects the soft tissues and organs of the body. It acts as an attachment for the muscles, especially those producing movement, and protects vital organs such as the brain, heart, and lungs. It is also a store of calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorous, and proteins, while its bone marrow is the site of red blood corpuscle formation. …
Skepticism, philosophical attitude of doubting all claims to knowledge, chiefly on the ground that the adequacy of any proposed criterion is itself questionable.
Skew line, in geometry, line that neither intersects nor runs parallel to another line in the same plane; in statistics, a line, as on a graph, indicating that the measured quantity departs from a normal distribution to the right or left of the curve.
Skidmore, Louis (1897–1962), U.S. architect and cofounder of the firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (1936), which designed such government and corporate projects as Oak Ridge, Tenn. (1943–45), the U.S.
Skiing, sport of gliding over snow on long, thin runners called skis.
Skimmer, seabird whose lower half of its bill is longer than the upper half.
Skin, tissue that forms a sensitive, elastic, protective, and waterproof covering of the body, together with its specializations (e.g., nails, hair). In the adult human it weighs 6.1 lb (2.75 kg), covers 18.3 sq ft (1.7 sq m), and varies in thickness from .04 in (1mm) in the eyelids to. 12 in (3 mm) in the palms and soles. It consists of 2 layers: the outer, epidermis, and the inner, dermis, or tr…
Skin diving, underwater swimming and diving with or without self contained underwater breathing apparatus (SCUBA).
Skin grafting, application of portions of skin, either the outer layers or the full thickness, to a raw surface to promote healing or to replace a defect.
Skink, slender lizard found in many of the warmer parts of the world.
Skinner, B.F. (1904–90), U.S. psychologist and author whose advocacy of behaviorism helped it gain acceptance in 20th-century psychology.
Sklodowska, Marie See: Curie, Marie Sklodowska.
Skryabin, Alexander See: Scriabin, Alexander.
Skua, any of various sea birds (genus Stercorarius) known for stealing food from other sea birds, such as gulls, terns, petrels, and penguins.
Skull, bony structure of the head and face situated at the top of the vertebral column.
Skunk, carnivorous mammal of the weasel family renowned for the foul stink it produces when threatened.
Skunk cabbage, either of two plant species (Symplocarpus foetidus or Lysichitum americanum), of temperate regions named for the foul smell that comes from the plant when the tissues are squeezed.
Sky See: Atmosphere.
Skydiving, popular name for sport parachuting.
Skye terrier, breed of dog named after the Isle of Skye, Scotland, where it was first bred, in the 17th century.
Skylab See: Space exploration.
Skyscraper, extremely tall building.
Slag, residual material produced during the manufacture of pig iron and the smelting of metals, such as copper or lead.
Slander, false statements intended to damage a person's reputation.
Slang, informal and innovative use of language.
Slate, fine-grained, low-grade metamorphic rock formed by the regional metamorphism of shale.
Slater, Samuel (1768–1835), British-born originator of the U.S. textile industry.
Slavery, practice found at different times in most parts of the world, now condemned in the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Slavery generally means enforced servitude, along with society's recognition that the master has ownership rights over the slave and his or her labor. Some elements of slavery can be found in serfdom, as practiced during the Middle Ages and in Russia…
Slavonic, 3 groups of Indo-European languages spoken by about 440 million people in central and eastern Europe and Siberia.
Slavs, largest European ethnic group, living today in central and eastern Europe and Siberia, all speaking Slavic languages.
Slayton, Donald Kent (1924– ), U.S. astronaut.
Sled, transportation vehicle that moves over ice and snow on runners.
Sleep, state of relative unconsciousness and inactivity. The need for sleep recurs periodically in all animals. If deprived of sleep, humans initially experience hallucinations and acute anxiety and become highly suggestible. Eventually coma and sometimes death result. During sleep, the body is relaxed and most bodily activity is reduced. Cortical, or higher, brain activity, is measured by the ele…
Sleeping sickness, serious disease caused by protozoan parasites and transmitted by the bite of the tsetse fly.
Sleepwalking (somnambulism), condition in which a partly awakened sleeper performs physical activities during a period of tension or worry.
Sleet, partially frozen, transparent bits of ice, falling initially as rain or melted snowflakes and freezing as they travel through parts of the atmosphere below 32°F (0°C).
Slime mold, organism classified as a fungus but that resembles an animal in its ability to move.
Sling, device used to hurl stones or other objects.
Slipperwort, or slipper flower, any of a group of 300–400 evergreen plants belonging to the figwort family found in Mexico and South America.
Sloan, Alfred P. (1875–1966), U.S. industrialist, president (1923–37) and chairman of the board (1937–56) of General Motors.
Sloan, John (1871–1951), U.S. painter, member of the Ashcan School and influential in the development of modern art.
Sloe, or blackthorn, spiny shrub (Prunus spinosa) of the rose family found in some parts of North America, Asia, and Europe.
Slot machine, mechanized gambling device first developed in 1899.
Sloth, slow, tree-dwelling, toothless mammal.
Sloth bear, or honey bear, slow-moving mammal of the bear family found in the warm forest regions of India and Sri Lanka.
Slovakia, or Slovak Republic, independent country in central Europe, bordered on the north by Poland, on the east by Ukraine, on the west by Austria, and on the northwest by the Czech republic. The capital is Bratislava. Slovakia is mostly mountainous, but the heights slope down to plains and the Danube River in the south and southwest. The climate is continental with warm summers and cold winters…
Slovaks, Slavic people who settled in central Europe during the 5th and 6th centuries.
Slovenia (Republic of), independent country in central Eastern Europe, bounded by the Adriatic Sea and Italy in the west, Austria in the north, Hungary in the northeast, and Croatia in the south. Its capital is Ljubljana. This small country (7,819 sq mi; 20,251 sqkm) is mostly mountainous, with a narrow coastal strip. The largest part has a continental climate, with an alpine climate in the mounta…
Slug, mollusk best described as a snail without a shell or with a tiny shell inside the body.
Small Business Administration , independent agency of the U.S. government that furnishes small businesses with practical advice and low-cost loans.
Small-claims court, U.S. court set up to resolve lawsuits involving claims of less than $ 5000.
Smallpox, acute, highly contagious viral disease, initiated by sudden severe constitutional symptoms and characterized by a progressive skin eruption that often results in permanent pits and scars.
Smartweed, weed belonging to the buckwheat family and found in the lowlands and marshes of North America.
Smell, sense that enables humans and animals to perceive and identify odors.
Smelling salts, chemical stimulant used to alleviate faintness.
Smelt, small, silvery fish that lives in large shoals in the colder waters of the Northern Hemisphere.
Smelting, in metallurgy, process of extracting a metal from its ore by heating the ore in a blast furnace or reverberatory furnace (one in which a shallow hearth is heated by radiation from a low roof heated by flames from the burning fuel).
Smetana, Bedrich (1824–84), Czech composer.
Smilax, any of many species of woody vines (genus Smilax) found in temperate or tropical areas.
Smith Act (1940), federal U.S. law making it a criminal offense to advocate the violent overthrow of the government or to belong to any group advocating this.
Smith, Adam (1723–90), Scottish economist and philosopher.
Smith, Alfred Emanuel (1873–1944), U.S. politician elected governor of New York 4 times (1918, 1922–26).
Smith, Bessie (1894–1937), U.S. jazz singer. “The Empress of the Blues” came from a poor Tennessee home and first recorded in 1923; later she performed with many leading musicians, including Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman.
Smith, David (1906–65), influential U.S. sculptor, famous for his constructions of wrought iron and cut steel.
Smith, Edmund Kirby (1824–93), U.S. general who served in the Confederate army during the Civil War, having previously fought in the Mexican War.
Smith-Hughes Act, congressional act adopted in 1917 providing eligible states with funds for job-training programs.
Smith, Ian Douglas (1919– ), Rhodesian prime minister (1964–79).
Smith, James (1719?–1806), Irish-born U.S. lawyer and legislator and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Smith, Jedediah Strong (1799–1831), U.S. pioneer who led fur-trapping expeditions to the Missouri and Wind rivers and in 1824 discovered the South Pass route across the Rocky Mountains to the far West.
Smith, John (1580?–1631), English soldier who helped found the first successful English colony in America, in 1607.
Smith, Joseph (1805–44), founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Fayette, N.Y., in 1830.
Smith, Kate (Kathryn Elizabeth Smith; 1909–86), singer and radio and television personality.
Smith, Margaret Chase (1897– ), U.S. legislator, first woman to serve in both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Smith, Walter Bedell (1895–1961), U.S.
Smithson, James (1765–1829), British chemist and mineralogist.
Smithsonian Institution, world's largest museum complex, known as the “nation's attic,” comprising 14 U.S. government-sponsored museums and the National Zoo.
Smog, term first used in 1905 to describe the combination of smoke and thick fog that hung over London and other cities in Great Britain.
Smoke, vapor consisting of fine carbonaceous particles suspended in a gas, produced by the burning of fuel.
Smoke detector, or smoke alarm, device placed in a room or floor of a building to signal the presence of smoke or fire.
Smoking, habit of inhaling the smoke of dried tobacco or other leaves from a pipe or a cigarette. Smoking has been practiced for centuries in various communities, often using plants with hallucinogenic or other mood-altering properties. The modern habit of smoking began in America and spread to Europe in the 16th century. Mass production of cigarettes began in the 19th century. Researchers have no…
Smuggling, unlawful conveyance of goods or individuals across a border.
Smut, fungi named for the masses of sooty spores formed on the surface of the host plant.
Smuts, Jan Christiaan (1870–1950), Afrikaaner soldier and politician, prime minister of South Africa (1919–24 and 1939–48).
Snail, herbivorous gastropod mollusk with, typically, a spirally coiled shell, found on land, in fresh water, or in the sea.
Snake, legless reptile related to the lizards. There are about 2,700 species, most of which live in tropical countries, though a few survive in nearly arctic conditions. Snakes do not have legs, although the boas and pythons have the remains of a hind pair of legs. It is thought that they evolved from burrowing, legless lizards. Snakes, unlike lizards, do not have eardrums and are deaf to airborne…
Snake charming, folk art originating in northern Africa and southern Asia in which a charmer uses rhythmic body movements to encourage similar swaying movements by a snake, usually a cobra.
Snake dance, religious ceremony of the Hopi tribe of Native Americans in the Southwest.
Snake killer See: Roadrunner.
Snake River, large branch of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest, made up of the Upper, Middle, and Lower Snake rivers.
Snakebird See: Anhinga; Wryneck.
Snakebite, bite of a snake that, when poisonous, can be fatal.
Snakeroot, any of a group of unrelated plants found in the prairies and wooded areas of North America and believed to be useful in curing snakebite.
Snapdragon, plant (genus Antirrhinum) of the figwort family whose flowers have the upper and lower petals pressed together like an animal's jaws.
Snapper, large-headed fish with a long dorsal fin and a deep body.
SNCC See: Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Snead, Sam (1912– ), U.S. golfer.
Sneeze, explosive expiration through the nose and mouth stimulated by irritation or inflammation in the nasal epithelium.
Sneezewort (Achillea ptarmica), perennial plant of Europe and Asia, a species of yarrow, whose leaves are used to make sneezing powder.
Snipe, long-billed bird of the family Scolopacidae with flexible bill tips that can be opened below ground to grasp food items.
Sniperscope, device developed during World War II to enable soldiers to aim rifles accurately at night.
Snooker See: Billiards.
Snoring, rough, hoarse respiration of certain persons during sleep; the noise is caused by vibration of the soft palate.
Snow, precipitation consisting of flakes or clumps of ice crystals.
Snow blindness, temporary loss of vision with severe pain, tears, and swelling due to excessive ultraviolet light reflected from snow.
Snow bunting, or snowflake, bird of the finch family found in Arctic regions.
Snow, C(harles) P(ercy) (1905–80), English physicist, government official, and author, many of whose works deal with the widening gap between art and technology.
Snow, Edgar (1905–72), U.S. journalist and author.
Snow leopard, or ounce, large mammal (Felis uncia) of the cat family found in central Asia.
Snow line, uneven line along mountain slopes marking areas of permanent snow.
Snow-on-the-mountain, annual plant (Euphorbia marginatd) of the spurge family found predominantly in the central plains of the United States.
Snowball, or European cranberry bush, any of various berry-producing shrubs (genus Viburnum) of the honeysuckle family native to Gelderland province, the Netherlands.
Snowdrop, flowering herb (Galanthus nivalis) of the amaryllis family found predominantly in Eurasia.
Snowflake See: Snow; Snow bunting.
Snowmobile, engine-driven sled used for transport over large areas of ice and snow.
Snowshoe, oval-shaped wooden frame with crosspieces strung with thongs, attached to the foot to distribute body weight so as to make it easier to walk on snow without sinking.
Snowshoe hare, or varying hare, North American mammal of the rabbit family.
Snowy egret See: Egret.
Snuff, pulverized, fermented tobacco leaves ground into a powder and inhaled, chewed, or placed in the mouth.
Soap Box Derby, downhill coasting race for small racing cars without motors or pedals, open to young people from 9 to 16 years.
Soap plant, herb (Chlorogalum pomeridianum) of the lily family, native to California.
Soap sculpture, raised design or figure sculpted from a bar of soap.
Soapberry, species of trees and shrubs belonging to the soapberry family, grown in tropical and subtropical areas of the Americas and Asia, as well as on Pacific islands.
Soapstone, or steatite, metamorphic rock consisting largely of compacted talc with some serpentine and carbonates, formed by alteration of peridotite.
Soares, Mário Alberto Nobre Lopes (1924– ), Portuguese politician, premier (1976–78 and 1983–85) and president (1986–96).
Sobieski, John See: John III Sobieski.
Soccer, national sport of most European and Latin American countries, and rapidly increasing in popularity in the United States.
Social class, group of people with a similar social standing based on factors such as wealth, ancestry, or occupation.
Social contract, in political philosophy, concept of the formation of society in which people agree to surrender part of their “natural” freedom to enjoy the security of the organized state.
Social Credit Party, Canadian party formed (1935) by William Aberhart.
Social Darwinism, late-19th-century school of thought that held that society evolved on Darwin's biological model.
Social psychology, branch of psychology concerned with group processes and interactions among individuals.
Social sciences, group of studies concerned with humanity in relation to its cultural, social, and physical environment; 1 of the 3 main divisions of human knowledge, the others being the natural sciences and the humanities.
Social security, government programs for protecting people from hardship due to loss of income through old age, disability, unemployment, injury, sickness, etc. State social security systems developed in Europe after 1883, when Germany started a compulsory health insurance scheme. In 1911 Great Britain adopted an unemployment insurance program. In the United States in the Depression, the Social Se…
Social Studies, elementary and secondary educational course designed to give students a knowledge of how people and institutions function in different societies and to promote understanding of both Western and non-Western cultures.
Social work, activity of trained social workers that has as its aim the alleviation of social problems.
Socialism, economic philosophy and political movement that aims to achieve a just, classless society through the collective or governmental ownership of all property and means of manufacture and distribution of goods. Socialism was born out of the hardships of capitalism and the Industrial Revolution (late 18th-early 19th centuries). The ideas of class war, first put forth by F.N. Babeuf (and reje…
Socialist realism, compulsory artistic doctrine since the early 1930s and until recently the dominant philosophy and style in most Communist countries.
Socialization, in psychology and sociology, process by which individuals are indoctrinated by parents, teachers, and peers into accepting and following the written and unwritten rules of conduct of a particular society.
Socialized medicine See: Health Insurance, National.
Society of Friends See: Quakers.
Society Islands, southern Pacific islands covering about 650 sq mi (1,684 sq km) in western French Polynesia, comprising the Windward and Leeward archipelagoes.
Society of Jesus See: Jesuits.
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), organizations promoting humane treatment of animals.
Sociobiology, controversial theory that attempts to prove the influence of natural selection on human and animal behavior.
Sociology, systematic study that seeks to describe and explain collective human behavior—as manifested in cultures, societies, communities, and subgroups—by exploring the institutional relationships that hold between individuals and so sustain this behavior. Sociology shares its subject matter with anthropology, which traditionally focuses on small, relatively isolated societies, and…
Socrates (469–399 B.C.), Greek philosopher and mentor of Plato.
Sod house, ancient northern European type of house made from strips of turf that were used like bricks, the roof being reinforced with wood.
Soda, any of a group of sodium compounds derived from common salt (NaCl).
Soddy, Frederick (1877–1956), British chemist awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in chemistry for his research in radioactive decay and particularly for his formulation (1913) of the theory of isotopes.
Sodium, chemical element, symbol Na; for physical constants see Periodic Table.
Sodium chloride See: Salt.
Sodium hydroxide See: Lye; Soda.
Sodium nitrate See: Saltpeter.
Sodium nitrite See: Nitrite.
Sodium pentothal See: Thiopental.
Sodom and Gomorrah, in Old Testament history, cities probably in the southern region of the Dead Sea.
Soeharto See: Suharto.
Soekarno See: Sukarno.
Sofia (pop. 1,220,900), capital, largest city and commercial center of Bulgaria, in west-central Bulgaria between the Balkan Mountains in the north and the Vitosa Mountains in the south.
Soft-coated wheaten terrier, sporting dog of Irish origin, used for hunting, herding, and as a guard dog.
Soft drink, nonalcoholic beverage generally containing fruit acids, sweetening agents, and natural or artificial flavorings and colorings.
Softball, type of baseball played with a softer, larger ball (12 in/30.5 cm in circumference) and a modified bat.
Softwood See: Wood.
Soil, uppermost surface layer of the earth, in which plants grow and on which, directly or indirectly, all life on earth depends.
Solanum, group of herbs, shrubs, and trees belonging to the nightshade family.
Solar eclipse See: Eclipse.
Solar energy, power derived from the sun. Because the earth's supplies of coal, petroleum, and other fossil fuels will eventually be exhausted, while the sun's energy will not, several methods of using solar energy have been developed. One is the solar furnace, basically a huge parabolic mirror that focuses the sun's heat onto a small area. Temperatures of more than 7,232…
Solar plexus, ganglion of nerve cells and fibers situated at the back of the abdomen that subserve the autonomic nervous system function for much of the gastrointestinal tract.
Solar System, the sun and all the objects orbiting it, including the planets, asteroids, comets, and meteors. There are 9 known planets in the Solar System. Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, and Pluto make up the terrestrial (Earthlike) planets. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are giants largely made of gas. All but 3 planets have their own moons orbiting them. There are at least 66 known moons in…
Solar wind, gases in the Sun's corona that escape from its gravitational field.
Soldering, joining metal objects using a low-melting-point alloy, solder, as the adhesive.
Sole, any of several species (family Soleidae) of flatfishes found in temperate seas and fresh water.
Solenodon (genus Solenodon), rare, nocturnal, insect-eating mammal of Cuba and Haiti.
Soleri, Paolo (1919– ), Italian-born U.S. architect.
Solid, one of 3 states of matter possessing the property of excluding all other bodies from the space occupied by itself; it has a definite volume and definite shape.
Solid-state physics, branch of physics concerned with the nature and properties of solid materials, many of which arise from the association and regular arrangements of atoms or molecules in crystalline solids.
Solidarity See: Walesa, Lech.
Solitaire, or Patience, any of several card games played by 1 person.
Solomon (d.922 B.C.), second son of David and Bathsheba.
Solomon Islands, independent democracy in the British Commonwealth, extending across an ocean area of over 232,000 sq mi (600,880 sq km) in the southwestern Pacific. The land area of the islands is approximately 10,639 sq mi (27,556 sq km). The mountainous Solomon Island archipelago, composed of 21 large islands and many islets, is of volcanic origin; 4 volcanoes are intermittently active. The hig…
Solomon Islands, island chain in the South Pacific Ocean.
Solomon's seal, perennial plant that grows in woods and thickets.
Solon (c.640–559 B.C.), Athenian politician and poet, and one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece (Seven Sages).
Solow, Robert Merton (1924– ), U.S. economist.
Solstice, two times each year when the sun is on the points of the ecliptic farthest from the equator.
Solti, Sir Georg (1912–97), Hungarian-born British conductor.
Solution, in chemistry, homogeneous molecular mixtures of 2 or more substances (solid, liquid, gas), commonly of a solid and a liquid, though solid/solid solutions also exist.
Solvent, liquid capable of dissolving a substance to form a solution.
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander Isayevich (1918– ), Russian writer.
Somalia, or Somali Democratic Republic, republic occupying the horn, or northeastern tip, of Africa. The capital is Mogadishu. Covering 246,091 sq mi (637,541 sq km), Somalia is bounded on the north by the Gulf of Aden, on the west and southwest by Ethiopia and Kenya, on the east by the Indian Ocean, and on the northwest by Djibouti. In the north, a narrow, barren coastal plain is hemmed in by mou…
Somaliland See: Djibouti.
Somerset, Edward Seymour, 1st duke of (1500–52), protector of England (1547–49) on the death of Henry VIII and accession of Edward VI.
Somme River, river rising in northern France near Saint-Quentin, flowing west about 152 mi (245 km) to the English Channel.
Somnambulism See: Sleepwalking.
Somoza, Nicaraguan political family, 3 members of which controlled Nicaragua from 1936 to 1979.
Sonar, acronym for Sound Navigation and Ranging, technique used at sea for detecting and determining the position of underwater objects (e.g., submarines, shoals of fish) and for finding the depth of water under a ship's keel.
Sonata, in music, term used in the 17th and early 18th centuries to describe works for various small groups of instruments, as opposed to the cantata, originally for voices only.
Sondheim, Stephen (1930– ), U.S. composer and lyricist, whose work is characterized by sophisticated lyrics and intricate music that enriches a storyline.
Song, musical setting of words, usually a short poem, often with instrumental accompaniment.
Song dynasty (960–1279), period of Chinese rule and cultural advancement, founded by Zhao Kuangyin, who became the first emperor.
Song of Roland See: Roland.
Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs, book of love poems in the Old Testament of the Bible.
Songhai Empire, West African trading state created by the Songhai people of the Middle Niger.
Sonic boom, loud noise generated in the form of a shock-wave cone when an airplane traveling faster than the speed of sound overtakes the pressure waves it produces.
Sonnet, lyric poem of 14 lines with traditional rules of structure and rhyme scheme.
Sons of the American Revolution , patriotic organization for male descendants of Revolutionary War veterans or of those who furthered independence in other ways.
Sontag, Susan (1933– ), U.S. novelist, short-story writer, filmmaker, and essayist.
Soo Canals, or Sault Sainte Marie Canals, waterways on the U.S.-Canada border linking Lake Superior and Lake Huron.
Sooners, Oklahoma homesteaders who entered the Indian Territory in advance of the date of the first official “run” for property: Apr. 22, 1889.
Soong Ching-ling (1892–1981), deputy head of state of the Chinese Communist government (1949–75).
Sophist (Greek, “wise men”), name given to certain teachers in Greece in the 5th and 4th centuries B.C., the most famous of whom were Gorgias and Protagoras.
Sophocles (c.496–406 B.C.), great Athenian dramatist (also, priest and general), who, together with contemporaries Aeschylus and Euripides, was one of the founders of Greek tragedy.
Sorbonne, college founded in Paris in 1253 (named 1257) by Robert de Sorbon (1201–74).
Sorghum, widely cultivated cereal crop (Sorghum vulgare), the most important grown in Africa.
Sorokin, Pitirim Alexandrovich (1889–1968), Russian-U.S. sociologist.
Sorrel, plant (genus Rumex) of the buckwheat family.
Sound, sensation produced by stimulation of the organ of hearing; instrument for insertion into a cavity to detect a foreign body or stricture; or noise, normal or abnormal, heard within the body.
Sound, in geography, any of several types of waterways, most commonly a long arm of ocean, larger than a strait or channel, that runs parallel to a mainland coast.