Pérez de Cuéllar, Javier (1920– ), former secretary general of the United Nations (1982–91), succeeded by Boutros Boutros Ghali.
21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Pennsylvania Dutch to Pima
Pétain, Henri Phillippe (1856–1951), French World War I hero who became chief of state in the collaborationist Vichy regime (1940).
Pennsylvania Dutch (from German Deutsch, “German”), descendants of German-speaking immigrants who came to Pennsylvania during the 17th and 18th centuries in search of religious freedom.
Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), any of 4 species of low-growing herb of the mint family Labiatae native to Europe, Asia, and North America.
Penobscot River, longest river in Maine.
Penology See: Criminology.
Pensacola (pop. 344,406), city, northwest Florida, seat of Escambia County, seaport on Pensacola Bay of the Gulf of Mexico.
Pension, regular payment received after retirement from employment because of age or disability, from the government under Social Security programs, or from private employers, or both.
Penstemon See: Beardtongue.
Pentagon, The, five-sided building in Arlington, Va., that houses the U.S.
Pentagon Papers, 2.5-million-word, top-secret history of U.S. involvement in Indochina from 1945 to 1968, compiled by order of Secretary of Defense Robert S.
Pentateuch (Greek, “five books”), the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Pentathlon, track and field competition that consists of 5 events.
Pentecost (Greek, “50th”), Jewish and Christian festivals.
Pentecostalism, Protestant fundamentalist and revivalist movement that emphasizes holiness and spiritual power as initiated by an experience (“baptism in the Spirit”) in which the recipient “speaks in tongues.” The Pentecostal churches base their distinctive doctrines and practice of charismata on New Testament teachings and accounts of the bestowal of the Holy Spirit.
Pentothal See: Thiopental.
Penzias, Arno Allan (1933– ), German-born U.S. physicist who shared (with Robert Wilson) the 1978 Nobel Prize in physics for discovering cosmic microwave radiation emanating from outside of the galaxy, providing evidence for the big bang theory of the origins of the universe.
Peonage, form of coercive servitude by which a laborer (peon) works off debts—often inescapable and life-long—to a creditor-master.
Peony, cultivated member of the buttercup family (genus Paeonia) with large showy blossoms.
Peoria (pop. 339,172, industrial city in north-central Illinois, the third largest city in the state and the seat of Peoria County.
Pepin the Short (c.714–768), first Carolinian king of the Franks, who succeeded on the deposition (751) of Childeric, the last of the Merovingian kings.
Pepper (Capsicum frutescens), woody plant of the family Solanaceae; also, its edible fruit.
Pepper, pungent spice obtained from the black pepper (Piper nigrum) plant, a woody climbing vine of the family Piperaceae native to Java.
Pepperell, Sir William (1696–1759), American colonial leader and soldier who, backed by a British fleet, conquered (1745) the reputedly impregnable French fortress of Louisburg in Cape Breton, Canada, during the French and Indian Wars.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita), wild herb of the family Labiatae whose leaves contain an oil widely used for flavoring.
Peppertree (Schinus molle and S. terebinthifolius), tropical ornamental tree of the cashew family Anacardiaceae.
Pepsin, enzyme secreted by glands in the walls of the stomach to break down and digest protein.
Peptide, compound containing from 2 to as many as 50 amino acids linked through the amino group of one acid and the carboxyl group of the other.
Pepys, Samuel (1633–1703), English diarist.
Pequot, Native Americans of the Algonquian language group who lived in southern New England.
Perón, Eva Duarte de (1919–52), popularly known as Evita, second wife of Argentina's President Juan Perón.
Perón, Juan Domingo (1895–1974), president of Argentina (1946–55, 1973–74) as head of an army clique, he helped overthrow Ramón Castillo in 1943.
Percentage, literally by the hundred, numerical computation indicating the ratio of a given number to a total number when the total number is compared to 100, shown by the symbol %.
Perception, recognition or identification of something.
Perch, freshwater fish of the family Percidae, often having colorful striped bodies.
Percussion instrument, musical instrument from which sound is produced by striking.
Peregrine falcon See: Falcon.
Perelman, S.J. (1904–79), U.S. humorous writer noted for his collaboration as screenwriter on several Marx Brothers' films, humorous books like The Rising Gorge (1961), and many articles that appeared in The New Yorker.
Perennial, any plant that continues to grow for more than two years.
Peres, Shimon (1923– ), prime minister (1985–86) of the National Unity government of Israel.
Perfume, blend of substances made from plant oils and synthetic materials that produce a pleasant odor.
Pergamum, ancient capital of Mysia in Asia Minor, now western Turkey.
Pergolesi, Giovanni Battista (1710–36), Italian opera composer famed for his comic intermezzo The Maid as Mistress (1733).
Pericles (c.495–429 B.C.), Athenian general and statesman.
Peridot, transparent green olivine of gemstone quality.
Perigee See: Orbit.
Periodic table, table of the elements listed in order of increasing atomic number, arranged in rows and columns to illustrate periodic similarities and trends in physical and chemical properties. In 1869 Dmitri Mendeleev published the first fairly complete periodic table, which was later revised by Henry Moseley. The numbers and arrangement of the electrons in the atom are responsible for the peri…
Periodontitis, or pyorrhea alveolaris, disease of the gums and bones surrounding the teeth.
Peripatetic philosophy, method of teaching philosophy attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.
Peritonitis, inflammation of the peritoneum (abdominal lining), usually caused by bacterial infection or chemical irritation of peritoneum when internal organs become diseased (as with appendicitis) or when gastrointestinal tract contents escape (as with a perforated peptic ulcer).
Periwinkle, any of a genus (Littorina) of edible snails found in northern Europe and on the Atlantic coast of the United States.
Perjury, willful false statement made under oath during judicial or administrative proceedings.
Perkins, Frances (1882–1965), U.S.
Perlman, Itzhak (1945– ), U.S.-Israeli violinist.
Permafrost, permanently frozen ground, typical of the treeless plains of Siberia, though common throughout polar regions.
Permalloy, alloy that may be temporarily magnetized by electric current.
Permian, last period of the Paleozoic era, stretching between c.280 and 230 million years ago.
Permutations and combinations, mathematical term for ways of counting out, arranging, and choosing objects in a group.
Perpetual motion machine, concept of a machine that would work continuously without external interference, or at least with 100% efficiency.
Perrault, name of two French brothers.
Perret, Auguste (1874–1954), French architect known for his use of reinforced concrete in housing projects (Paris, 1903), in the Théâtre des Champs Élysées (1913), and in the church of Notre-Dame, Le Raincy (1922–23).
Perry, name of two U.S. brothers who became distinguished naval officers. Oliver Hazard Perry (1785–1819), became a hero of the War of 1812. After assembling a fleet of nine ships at Erie, Pa., he defeated six British warships on Sep. 10, 1813, off Put-in-Bay, Ohio, the Battle of Lake Erie. He announced his victory in the famous message, “We have met the enemy and they are ours. …
Perse, Saint-John (1887–1975), French poet and diplomat whose real name was Alexis Saint-Léger.
Persephone, in Greek and Roman mythology, goddess of the underworld; the Romans called her Proserpina.
Persepolis, ancient ceremonial capital of the Achaemenian kings of Persia, lying 30 mi (48 km) northeast of Shiraz, southwestern Iran.
Perseus, in Greek mythology, son of Zeus and Danaë, a mortal.
Perseus, in astronomy, constellation containing the variable star Algol.
Pershing, John Joseph (1860–1948), U.S. general.
Persia See: Iran; Persia, Ancient.
Persia, Ancient, ancient high plateau of Iran, home of several great civilizations.
Persian, or Farsi, principal language of Iran, widely spoken in Afghanistan.
Persian Gulf, or Arabian Gulf, arm of the Arabian Sea between Iran and Arabia.
Persian Gulf War, conflict (January-February 1991) initiated by Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and its announced annexation of that country. A coalition of forces led by the United States was assembled, first to forestall further incursions of Iraq into Saudi Arabia or other Gulf states and second to reverse Iraq's takeover of Kuwait, as called for in a series of 12 UN resolutions. After …
Persian lamb See: Karakul.
Persian wars (500–449 B.C.), wars between Greek states and the Persian Empire.
Persimmon, any of several trees (genus Diospyros) of the ebony family.
Personality, in psychology, characteristics and ways of behavior that define the uniqueness of an individual.
Perspective, method of producing the appearance of three dimensions on a flat surface.
Perspiration, watery fluid secreted by the skin as a means of reducing body temperature.
Perth (pop. 1,193,100), capital of Western Australia, a western state with a coast on the Indian Ocean.
Pertussis See: Whooping cough.
Peru, third largest country in South America. With an area of 496,225 sq mi (1,285,216 sq km), Peru is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia; on the east by Brazil and Bolivia; on the south by Chile; and on the west by the Pacific Ocean. The 1,400 mi (2,253 km) long coastal strip, a central mountain region, and the eastern Amazonian plains are the country's main regions. The coastal…
Peru Current, or Humboldt Current, cold ocean current originating in the South Pacific and flowing north along the coasts of north Chile and Peru, whose climates it moderates, before turning west to join the South Equatorial Current.
Perugino (Pietro Vannucci; 1446–1523), Italian Renaissance painter, teacher of Raphael.
Perutz, Max Ferdinand (1914– ), Austrian-born English biochemist who shared with J.C.
Pescadores, group of about 64 small islands c.50 sq mi (130 sq km) of land area belonging to Taiwan, in the Formosa strait.
Pestalozzi, Johann Heinrich (1746–1827), Swiss educator.
Pesticide, substance used to kill plants or animals responsible for economic damage to crops or ornamental plants or that prejudice the well-being of humans and domestic or conserved wild animals.
Peter, Epistles of, 2 New Testament letters, traditionally attributed to St.
Peter I (1844–1921), king of Serbia.
Peter I, the Great (1672–1725), became joint tsar in 1682 and sole tsar in 1696.
Peter II (1923–70), king of Yugoslavia.
Peter, Saint (Simon Peter; d. c.A.D. 64), leader of the 12 Apostles, regarded by Roman Catholics as the first pope.
Peterborough (pop. 61,000), city in southern Ontario, Canada, on the Otonabee River.
Petersburg (pop. 41,055), city in southeastern Virginia, on the Appomattox River.
Petersburg, Siege of See: Civil War, U.S.
Petipa, Marius (1819–1910), French dancer and choreographer who created the modern classical ballet.
Petit, Roland (1924– ), French dancer and choreographer.
Petitgrain oil, oil manufactured from parts of the bitter orange tree, produced abundantly in Paraguay, South America.
Petition of Right, document presented to Charles I of England by Parliament (1628) in protest against his arbitrary fiscal methods.
PETN, common designation for the explosive pentaerythritol tetranitrate, an organic compound essential to the detonation system of certain explosive devices.
Petoskey stone, fossilized coral and state stone of Michigan, found outside the town of Petoskey.
Petra, ancient city in south-western Jordan.
Petrarch (Francesco Petracco; 1304–74), Italian poet and early humanist.
Petrel, name for seabirds of the tubenosed-bird order Procellariformes, particularly the typical petrels and shearwaters of the families Procellariidae and Hydrobatidae.
Petrie, Sir William Matthew Flinders (1853–1942), English archeologist and Egyptologist.
Petrified forest, stone-covered trunks of coniferous trees.
Petrified Forest National Park, park of 147 sq mi (381 sq km) in eastern Arizona.
Petrochemical, any chemical made from petroleum or natural gas; includes organic chemicals, plus the inorganic substances carbon black, sulfur, ammonia, and hydrogen peroxide.
Petrograd See: Leningrad.
Petrol See: Gasoline.
Petroleum, naturally occurring mixture of hydrocarbons, usually liquid “crude oil,” but sometimes taken to include natural gas. Petroleum is believed to be formed from organic debris, chiefly of plankton and simple plants, which was rapidly buried in fine-grained sediment under marine conditions unfavorable to oxidation. After some biodegradation, increasing temperature and pressure …
Petroleum coke, byproduct of the process of refining crude oil.
Petronius Arbiter, Gaius (d.A.D. 66), Roman satirist.
Petunia, group of popular herbs (genus Petunia) from South America.
Pevsner, Antoine (1886–1962), Russian-born sculptor who studied in Paris (1911–13) and settled there from 1922.
Pewter, class of alloys consisting chiefly of tin, now hardened with copper and antimony, and usually containing lead, which increases malleability.
Peyote See: Mescaline.
pH, measure of hydrogen gas in a solution. apH of 7, which is neutral (neither acid nor alkaline), means there are 100 nanoequivalents of hydrogen ions per liter of blood.
Phaëton, or Phaëthon, in Greek mythology, mortal son of the sun god Helios and the sea goddess Clymene.
Phalanx, ancient Greek infantry formation, consisting of rows of eight men, each heavily armed with an overlapping shield and long pike.
Phalarope, any of various small seabirds of the family Phalaropodidae.
Pharaoh, Hebrew form of the title of the kings of ancient Egypt.
Pharaoh hound, breed of hunting dog originating in ancient Egypt.
Pharisees, member of an ancient Jewish sect devoted to strict observance of the holy law and strongly opposed to pagan practices absorbed by Judaism and to the Sadducees.
Pharmacology, study of drugs, their chemistry, mode of action, routes of absorption, excretion, metabolism, drug interactions, toxicity and side effects.
Pharmacopoeia, text describing all available drugs and pharmacological preparations.
Pharmacy, preparation or dispensing of drugs and pharmacological substances used in medicine; also, the place where this is practiced.
Pharos of Alexandria See: Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Pharyngeal tonsils See: Adenoids.
Pharynx, part of the digestive system, back of the throat where the mouth (oropharynx) and nose (nasopharynx) pass back into the esophagus.
Pheasant, game bird of the 16 genera of subfamily Phasianidae, including partridges and the peacock.
Phenology, science studying the effects of climate on biological phenomenon.
Phenolphthalein, white or yellowish white chemical compound (C20H14O4) used medicinally as a laxative and as an indicator of alkalies and acids. (Its solution is bright red in alkalies and colorless in acid.) The German chemist Adolf von Baeyer discovered the compound (1871).
Phenomenology, modern school of philosophy based largely on a method developed by Edmund Husserl.
Phenylketonuria (PKU), inborn error of metabolism, characterized by a virtual absence of phenylalanine hydroxylase activity and an elevation of plasma phenylalanine, that frequently results in mental retardation.
Pheromone, chemical substance secreted by animals and serving to stimulate behavioral responses by other individuals of the same species.
Phi Beta Kappa, most prestigious U.S. honor society for college and university students in the liberal arts and sciences.
Phidias, or Pheidias (500–432 B.C.), perhaps the greatest Greek sculptor, whose work showed the human form idealized and with great nobility.
Philadelphia, name of several ancient Greek cities.
Philadelphia (pop. 1,552,600), historic city in the southeastern region of Pennsylvania, the fourth largest in the United States. It is a key shipping port, with important metal, machinery, clothing, petroleum, chemical, and food industries and has long been a center for publishing, education, and the arts. It was one of the first planned cities. Its founder, William Penn, created his colony in 16…
Philanthropy, acts of charity meant to improve the welfare of people.
Philemon, Epistle to, New Testament letter written c.A.D. 61 by St.
Philip, name of six kings of France. Philip I (1052–1108) reigned from 1060. He enlarged his small territories and prevented the union of England and Normandy. His practice of simony and his disputed second marriage led him into conflict with the papacy. Philip II, or Philip Augustus (1165–1223), reigned from 1180 and established France as a European power. He joined the Crusades, on…
Philip, name of five kings of Spain. Philip I, or Philip the Handsome (1478–1506), was archduke of Austria, duke of Burgundy, and inheritor of the Netherlands. He became first Habsburg king of Castile in 1506, ruling jointly with his wife Joanna. Philip II (1527–98), crowned in 1556, united the Iberian peninsula and ruled an empire that included Milan, Naples, Sicily, the Netherlands…
Philip the Evangelist, also called Philip the Deacon, early Christian preacher chosen by the apostles to work in the church of Jerusalem.
Philip II (382–386 B.C.), king of Macedonia from 359 and father of Alexander the Great.
Philip, Prince (1921– ), consort of Queen Elizabeth II of England.
Philip, Saint, one of the Twelve Apostles.
Philippi, ancient city of Macedonia, in present-day Greece, named for Philip II of Macedon.
Philippians, Epistle to the, New Testament letter written by St.
Philippines, archipelago and republic in the southwest Pacific Ocean. The Philippines consists of more than 7,000 islands with a total area of 115,830 sq mi (300,000 sq km). A far-flung archipelago, the Philippines is bounded by the China Sea to the west, the Celebes Sea to the south, the Philippine Sea to the east and, in the north, the Bashi Channel separates the Philippines from Taiwan. The isl…
Philistines, non-Semitic people who lived in Palestine from the 12th century B.C.
Phillips, Wendell (1811–84), U.S. orator and social reformer.
Philo Judaeas (c.20 B.C.–c.A.D. 50), Egyptian-born Jewish philosopher, “the Jewish Plato.” His attempt to fuse Greek philosophical thought with Jewish biblical religion had a profound influence on both Christian and Jewish theology.
Philodendron, genus of South American evergreen plants frequently grown as greenhouse and house plants.
Philosophe, member of the 18th-century French school of thinkers, scientists, and belles lettrists who believed that the methodology of science should be applied to contemporary social, economic, and political problems.
Philosophy, study of the nature of being and thinking, and more specifically of the human experience.
Phlebitis, inflammation of the veins, usually causing a blood clot, or thrombosis (thrombophlebitis), and obstruction to blood flow.
Phlogiston, elementary substance (without color, weight, taste, or odor) postulated by G.E.
Phlox, genus of plants of North America and eastern Siberia that are grown in gardens around the world.
Phnom Penh (pop. 900,000), capital and river port of Cambodia, on the Tônlé Sap River, where it joins the Mekong.
Phobia, inordinate and overwhelming fear of certain events, situations, and objects.
Phoebe, any of several small birds (genus Sayornis) in the flycatcher family.
Phoenicia, ancient territory corresponding roughly to the coastal region of modern Lebanon, inhabited by the Phoenicians (originally called Canaanites) from 3000 B.C.
Phoenix (pop. 890,700), largest city in and capital of Arizona and the seat of Maricopa County.
Phoenix, symbol of rebirth.
Phonetics, systematic examination of the sounds made in speech, concerned with the classification of these sounds, the physical and physiological aspects of their production and transmission, and their reception and interpretation by the listener.
Phonograph, or record player, instrument for reproducing sound recorded mechanically as modulations in a spiral groove.
Phosphate, derivative of phosphoric acid, either a phosphate ester or a salt containing phosphate ions.
Phosphor, substance emitting light (or other electromagnetic radiation) on nonthermal stimulation.
Phosphorescence, light produced by certain substances after the absorption of certain forms of energy, especially radiant energy.
Phosphoric acid, also called orthophosphoric acid, syrupy acid (H3PO4) produced from phosphate rock or, in purer form, from white phosphorus.
Phosphorus, chemical element, symbol P; for physical constants see Periodic Table.
Phosphorus cycle, the cycling and recycling of phosphorus in the living world, or biosphere.
Photochemistry, branch of physical chemistry dealing with chemical reactions that produce light or are initiated by (visible or ultraviolet) light.
Photocomposition, also called phototypesetting, system by which words are arranged for printing on photographic film or paper.
Photoconductive cell See: Electric eye.
Photocopying, duplication of printed images or words through a process involving photographic techniques.
Photoelectric cell See: Electric eye.
Photoelectric effect (properly photoemissive effect), the emission of electrons from a surface when struck by electromagnetic radiation, such as light.
Photoengraving and photolithography, processes by which plates or cylinders containing matter for printing are created.
Photogrammetry, method for making measurements for maps or surveys through photographs.
Photography, use of light sensitive material to produce permanent visible images (photographs). In the most familiar processes a photographic emulsion is a preparation of tiny silver halide crystals suspended in a thin layer of gelatin coated on a glass, film, or paper support. On brief exposure to light in a camera or other apparatus, a latent image in activated silver salt is formed wherever lig…
Photometry, science of the measurement of light, particularly as it affects illumination engineering.
Photon, quantum of electromagnetic energy, often thought of as the particle associated with light or other electromagnetic radiation.
Photosynthesis, process by which green plants convert the energy of sunlight into chemical energy that is stored as carbohydrate.
Phrenology, theory that the various faculties of the mind occupy distinct and separate areas in the brain cortex and that the predominance of certain faculties can be predicted from modifications of the parts of the skull overlying the areas where these faculties are located.
Phrygia, ancient region and sometime kingdom (8th–6th centuries B.C.) in present-day central Turkey.
Phyfe, Duncan (c.1768–1854), Scottish-born U.S. cabinetmaker, designer of the most distinctive U.S. neoclassical furniture.
Phylloxera, louse resembling an aphid that is a serious pest in vineyards.
Phylum See: Classification.
Physical chemistry, branch of chemistry in which the theories and methods of physics are applied to chemical systems.
Physical education, instruction designed to further the health, growth, and athletic capacity of the body.
Physical therapy, or physiotherapy, system of physical treatment for disease or disability.
Physics, science that deals with the interaction of matter and energy. Physics attempts to explain the nature of the physical world from the movements of planets to the smallest sub-atomic particles. Physics is important because many of the conclusions drawn from scientific study are applied to medicine and technology. Physics is usually divided into 2 large categories-classic physics and modern p…
Physiocrat, member of 18th century French school of economists founded by François Quesnay, who held that agriculture, rather than industry or commerce, was the basis of a nation's prosperity, and that land alone should be subject to tax.
Physiology, study of function in living organisms.
Physiotherapy See: Physical therapy.
Pi, in mathematics, name of the symbol π, which denotes the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter (3.1416).
Piaf, Edith (Edith Giovanna Gassion; 1915–63), French cabaret and music-hall singer.
Piaget, Jean (1896–1980), Swiss psychologist whose theories of the mental development of children, though now often criticized, have been of paramount importance.
Piankashaw See: Miami (tribe).
Piano, or pianoforte, musical stringed keyboard instrument.
Piatigorsky, Gregor (1903–76), Russian-born U.S. cellist.
Picasso, Pablo (Pablo Ruiz y Picasso; 1881–1973), Spanish-born French painter, sculptor, graphic artist, and ceramist, considered by many the greatest artist of the 20th century. A precocious painter, after his melancholy “blue period” and his lyrical “rose period” (1901–6), he was influenced by African and primitive art, as shown in Les Demoiselles d…
Piccalilli, relish made from chopped and pickled vegetables (green pepper, onion, cucumber, among others) and spices (mustard seed, celery seed, etc.).
Piccard, name of Swiss scientists who were twin brothers.
Piccolo, small woodwind instrument resembling a flute.
Pickerel, carnivorous freshwater fish, smaller relative of the pike (family Esocidae), also with a snout like duck's bill.
Pickering, Timothy (1745–1829), U.S. politician.
Pickett, George Edward (1825–75), Confederate general in the U.S.
Pickford, Mary (Gladys Smith; 1893–1979), Canadian-born U.S. movie actress.
Pickle, food preserved in vinegar or brine to prevent the development of putrefying bacteria.
Picotte, Susan La Flesche (1865–1915), first Native American woman to become a physician.
Picric acid, also known as trinitrophenol, toxic, explosive, crystalline acid (C6H3N3O7) with industrial applications.
Pictography, writing by means of pictures, particularly ancient methods of using actual pictures as symbols.
Pictou (pop. 4,400), town and port in northern Novia Scotia, Canada, on Northumberland Strait.
Picts, ancient inhabitants of Scotland whose forebears probably came from the European continent c.1000 B.C.
Pidgin, language of simplified grammar and vocabulary, most often based on a western European language, with some vocabulary from or based on another or several other languages.
Piedmont, region in northwestern Italy, including both mountainous terrain—the Alps and the Appenines—and the upper Po River valley, a rich farm area.
Piedmont Region, region of the United States from New Jersey in the north to Alabama in the south, from the Appalachian Mountains in the west to the Atlantic coastal plains in the east.
Pieplant See: Rhubarb.
Pierce, Franklin (1804–69), 14th president of the United States. Pierce, the dark-horse candidate of a badly divided Democratic Party, served during a period of sectional strife that eventually led to the Civil War. Inexperienced and poorly prepared for the burdens of national office, Pierce was unable to cope with the bitter conflict over slavery in the territories. He left office a discre…
Piero della Francesca (c.1420–92), Italian painter, one of the greatest Renaissance artists.
Pierre (pop. 11,973), capital city of South Dakota, in the central part of the state.
Pietermaritzburg, also called Maritzburg (pop. 126,300), capital of Kwazulu Natal Province in northeastern South Africa.
Piezoelectricity, reversible relationship between mechanical stress and electrostatic potential exhibited by certain crystals with no center of symmetry, discovered in 1880.
Pig iron See: Iron and Steel.
Pigeon, name for family (Columbidae) of some 255 species of birds, with worldwide distribution.
Pigeon guillemot See: Guillemot.
Pigfish See: Grunt.
Pigment, coloring substance.
Pigmy See: Pygmy.
Pigweed, any of several weeds of the Amaranth family.
Pika, group of small mammals (family Ochstonidae) related to the hares and rabbits, also known as mousehares, whistling hares, and rock conies.
Pike, carnivorous freshwater fish (family Esocidae) with ducklike snout and sharp teeth.
Pike, Zebulon Montgomery (1779–1813), U.S. general and explorer, best known as the discoverer (1806) of the Colorado mountain thereafter called Pikes Peak.
Pikes Peak, mountain, 14,110 ft (4,301 m) high, in east-central Colorado, part of the Rocky Mountains, near Colorado Springs.
Pilate, Pontius, Roman procurator of Judea (A.D. 26–36) who ordered the crucifixion of Christ, afterward washing his hands to declaim responsibility.
Piles See: Hemorrhoid.
Pilgrimage See: Hajj; Lourdes.
Pilgrims, English settlers who first landed in New England in 1620 in the location now known as Plymouth, Mass.
Pilot whale, also called blackfish, any of several species of smalltoothed whales (genus Globicephala) of the dolphin family.
Pilotfish (Naucrates ductor), fish (family Carangidae) once believed to guide sharks and even ships.
Pilotweed See: Compass plant.
Pilsen See: Plzen.
Pilsudski, Józef (1867–1935), Polish general and politician.
Piltdown man (Eoanthropus dawsoni), fraudulent human ancestor whose “remains” were found (1908–15) under Piltdown Common, Sussex, United Kingdom.
Pima, Native American peoples living with the Maricopas on the Gila River and Salt River reservations in southern Arizona.