E=mc2, formula that relates mass (matter) and energy.
21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - Erasistratus to Federalism
Erasistratus (3rd century B.C.), Greek physician of the Alexandrian School of Medicine, credited with the foundation of physiology as a separate discipline.
Erasmus, Desiderius (1466?–1536), Dutch Roman Catholic humanist and advocate of church and social reform.
Erastus, Thomas (1524–83), Swiss theologian.
Eratosthenes (c.275–c.195 B.C.), Greek mathematician and astronomer.
Erbium, chemical element, symbol Er; for physical constants see Periodic Table.
Ergot, disease of grasses and cereals caused by a fungus of the genus Claviceps.
Erhard, Ludwig (1897–1977), West German economist and political leader.
Eric the Red, 10th-century Norse explorer who founded the first colonies in Greenland c.985.
Erie (pop. 275,572), city in northwestern Pennsylvania, on Lake Erie.
Erie Canal, artificial U.S. waterway completed 1825, connecting Buffalo on Lake Erie with Albany on the Hudson River, thus providing a route to the Great Lakes from the Atlantic Ocean.
Erikson, Erik Homburger (1902–94), German-born U.S. psychoanalyst who defined 8 stages, each characterized by a specific psychological conflict, in the development of the ego from infancy to old age (Childhood and Society, 1950).
Erin See: Ireland.
Eritrea, independent state in East Africa, bounded by the Red Sea, Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti.
Ermine, term for any weasel that turns white in winter.
Ernst, Max (1891–1976), German-born artist, leader of the dada and surrealism movements in Paris.
Eros, in Greek mythology, the god of sexual love.
Erosion, gradual wearing away of the land by natural forces.
Ervin, Samuel James, Jr. (1896–1985), U.S. senator from North Carolina (1954–74).
Erving, Julius (1950– ), U.S. basketball player.
Erysipelas, contagious skin infection caused by streptococci bacteria, which generally enter through a small wound.
Erythema, redness of the skin resulting from dilation of the capillaries of the skin to allow extra blood to flow.
Erythromycin, antibiotic synthesized by the soil bacterium Streptomyces erythreus.
Esau, or Edom, in the Bible (book of Genesis), son of Isaac and Rebecca, elder twin brother of Jacob.
Escalator, moving stairway used in public buildings to transport passengers from one level to another.
Escape velocity, speed an object must reach in order to break free from the gravitational pull of a massive body, such as the earth, moon, or sun.
Escorial, monastery and palace in central Spain, 26 mi (42 km) northwest of Madrid.
Esdraelon, or plain of Jezreel or of Megiddo, plain in northern Israel, about 200 sq mi (520 sq km), stretching along the coast near Mt.
Esfahan See: Isfahan.
Eshkol, Levi (1895–1969), Israeli political leader, one of the founders of the state, prime minister, 1963–69.
Eskimo, European name for the Inuit people, indigenous inhabitants of the Arctic regions of northeast Asia, North America, and Greenland.
Eskimo dog, large, wolflike Arctic dog, used in teams to draw sleds and for hunting.
Esophagus, thin muscular tube leading from the pharynx to the stomach.
ESP See: Extrasensory perception.
Esperanto, artificial language designed by Dr.
Espionage, systematic secret gathering of information about the plans and activities of foreign governments or competing businesses.
Esposito, Phil (1942– ), Canadian hockey player.
Essay, literary composition in which the writer deals with a single topic or attempts to convert the reader to a point of view.
Essen (pop. 626,100), city in western Germany, on the Ruhr River.
Essene, member of an ascetic Jewish sect that flourished in Palestine around the time of the birth of Jesus.
Essex, Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of (1567–1601), English courtier, a favorite of Queen Elizabeth I.
Estéban See: Estevanico.
Established Church See: Church of England.
Estates-General, or States-General, French national assembly (first summoned in 1302) composed of representatives from the 3 “estates” or social classes: clergy, nobility, and commoners.
Esters, organic compounds formed by condensation of an acid (organic or inorganic) and an alcohol, water being eliminated.
Estevanico, or Estéban (1500?–39), explorer in colonial America.
Esther, book of the Old Testament.
Estivation, dormant state entered into by some animals in hot, dry climates, to conserve moisture during the summer.
Estonia (Republic of), independent country on the east coast of the Baltic Sea, bordered by Russia in the west, and Latvia in the south. The largest cities are Tallinn, the capital; Tartu; and Pärnu. A third of the land, which consists of plains and low plateaus, is forested. The climate is temperate. Estonians are ethnically and linguistically related to the Finns. The population largely c…
Estrogen, any of a group of female sex hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle and control the development of secondary sex characteristics.
Estrous cycle, in most female mammals, periodic readiness for mating, regulated by environmental signals and the release of hormones.
Etching, method of engraving in which acid is used to carve the lines into a metal plate; also, the print obtained from such a plate.
Ethane, hydrocarbon (C2H6) of the paraffin series of chemical compounds.
Ether, or aether, in physics, hypothetical substance that was once believed essential for transmission of light waves through space.
Ether (C2H5)2O, flammable liquid that causes unconsciousness when inhaled.
Etherege, Sir George (c. 1634–91), English dramatist, writer of restoration comedy, who influenced both William Congreve and William Wycherley.
Ethics, branch of philosophy devoted to the consideration of the moral principles of human behavior and social organization.
Ethiopia, formerly Abyssinia, country on the eastern edge of Africa, bordered by Eritrea on the north, the Sudan on the west, Kenya and Somalia on the south, and Somalia and Djibouti on the east. Geographically, Ethiopia consists of two great plateaus, separated by part of the Great Rift Valley. The Ethiopian plateau, to the west of the Great Rift Valley, is the most fertile and most densely popul…
Ethnic group, collection of individuals united by ties of culture and/or heredity who are conscious of forming a subgroup within society.
Ethnocentrism, belief that the characteristics of one's own culture or race are superior to those of other groups or races.
Ethnography, branch of anthropology concerned with the investigation of contemporary culture, particularly treating ethnic groups one by one.
Ethology, branch of zoology dealing with animal behavior.
Ethyl alcohol See: Alcohol.
Ethylene (C2H4), colorless, flammable organic gas.
Etiquette, formal system of rules to guide human social behavior.
Etruria See: Etruscan.
Etruscan, name for the people whose civilization flourished in Italy before the rise of Rome.
Etymology, study of the origin and evolution of words.
Eucalyptus, any of a genus (Eucalyptus) of tall evergreen trees of the myrtle family, indigenous to Australia.
Euclid (c.300 B.C.), Greek mathematician of Alexandria whose major work, the Elements, still constitutes a basis of many courses in geometry.
Eudoxus of Cnidus (400–350 B.C.), Greek mathematician and astronomer who proposed a system of homocentric crystal spheres to explain the movements of the planets; this system was adopted in Aristotle's cosmology.
Eugénie (Marie de Montijo; 1826–1920), empress of the French 1853–70 as wife of Napoleon III.
Eugene (pop. 282,912), second-largest city of Oregon, seat of Lane County, in the Willamette Valley of western Oregon.
Eugenics, study of techniques to improve the genetic endowment of human populations.
Eugenius III (d. 1153), pope 1145–53, promoter of the Second Crusade.
Eugenius IV (1383–1447), pope (1431–47).
Euglena, any of several microscopic, one-celled organisms found mainly in stagnant water.
Eulachon, saltwater fish (Thaleichthys pacificus) of the smelt family, native to the North Pacific.
Eulenspiegel, Till, Brunswick trickster hero of a group of German tales originally published 1515.
Euler, Leonhard (1707–83), Swiss mathematician who worked in St.
Euphrates River, Western Asia's longest river, over 2,200 mi (3,540 km).
Euripides (c.480–406 B.C.), ancient Greek playwright, writer of tragedies.
Europa, in Greek mythology, daughter of King Agenor of Phoenicia.
Europe, world's second smallest continent in area, second largest in population (after Asia). Geographically, Europe is a peninsula of the Asian landmass. Traditionally, the division between Europe and Asia is considered to be the Ural Mountains, which run north-south through Russia, and the Ural River, which flows into the Caspian Sea. On the south, Europe is divided from Asia by the Cauca…
European Common Market See: European Community.
European Community, organization of Western European nations formed to regulate trade, agriculture, labor, transportation, and industrial standards. The European Community was formed in 1967 by consolidating the European Coal and Steel Community, the European Economic Community (the Common Market), and the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom). Membership includes Austria, Belgium, Denmark, F…
European Economic Community See: Common Market, European.
European Free Trade Association (EFTA), customs union and trading group formed in 1960 by Austria, Great Britain, Denmark, Finland, Portugal, and Sweden, to promote free trade between members, other countries followed.
European Monetary System (EMS), Western European organization established (1979) to link currencies of its members for the purpose of stabilizing exchange rates and offsetting inflation.
European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire), research center for particle physics (the study of subatomic particles), funded by 14 European members and located near Geneva, Switzerland.
European Recovery Program See: Marshall Plan.
European Space Agency (ESA), research and exploration agency for nations of Western Europe, formed 1975 by the merger of the European Launcher Development Organization and the European Space Research Organization.
Europium, chemical element, symbol Eu; for physical constants see Periodic Table.
Eurydice, in Greek mythology, nymph who married the musician Orpheus but died on her wedding day.
Eustachian tubes, narrow tubes running from the middle ear to the back of the throat.
Euthanasia, practice of hastening or causing the death of a person suffering from an incurable disease.
Eutrophication, increasing concentration of plant nutrients and fertilizers in lakes and estuaries, partly by natural drainage and partly by pollution.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, U.S. religious denomination formed in 1988 by the merger of the Lutheran Church in America, the American Lutheran Church, and the Association of Evangelical Lutheran Churches.
Evangelicalism, Protestant theological movement that emphasizes personal conversion and biblical authority.
Evangeline (1847), long narrative poem by U.S. poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Evans, Mary Ann See: Eliot, George.
Evans, Sir Arthur John (1851–1941), English archeologist famous for his discovery of the Minoan civilization from excavations at Knossos in Crete.
Evans, Walker (1903–75), U.S. photographer best known for documenting the effects of the Depression in the southern United States.
Evaporation, escape of molecules from the surface of a liquid such that they attain a gaseous state.
Eve See: Adam and Eve.
Evelyn, John (1620–1706), English writer and humanist whose Diary (1818) is one of the most important historical sources for English life in the 17th century.
Evening primrose, any of various wildflowers of family Onagraceae, native to North America.
Evening star, general term for a bright planet (most often Venus) that appears in the western sky at sunset or in the early evening.
Everett, Edward (1794–1865), U.S. statesman and orator.
Everglades, swampy region of southern Florida covering an area of about 5,000 sq mi (12,950 sq km), extending from Lake Okeechobee in the north to the southern tip of the Florida peninsula.
Evergreen, plant that retains its leaves the year round; the leaves are continually shed and replaced.
Evers, name of 2 African-American civil rights leaders.
Evert, Chris(tine) (1954– ), U.S. tennis player.
Evidence, in law, that which is advanced by parties to a legal dispute to prove, or contribute to the proof of, their case.
Evolution, process by which organisms have changed and species have arisen and disappeared since the origin of life. The formulation of the theory of evolution in its modern form is credited to Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, 19th-century British scientists who proposed that the central mechanism of evolution was natural selection. In essence, this theory states that life forms with cert…
Ewe See: Sheep.
Ex Parte Milligan, U.S.
Ex post facto, in law, retroactive legislation, most commonly to make illegal actions that were legal when committed.
Examinations See: College entrance examination; Testing.
Excalibur, in Arthurian legend, the name of King Arthur's sword.
Excess-profits tax, tax levied on profits above a legislated level, generally enacted during wars to raise state revenue at a time when some businesses make “windfall profits.” U.S. and British corporations were subject to such taxes during and after World War I (1917–21), and during World War II (1940–45).
Exchange rate, rate at which one country's currency is valued in terms of another's.
Excommunication, expulsion of a person from a religious group.
Excretion, or elimination, removal of waste material from the body, including the undigested residue of food and the waste products of metabolism.
Executive, the part of government that implements laws; also, the head of that part.
Executor, person appointed to administer the estate of a deceased person.
Exeter (pop. 102,000), port city on the Exe River and capital of Devonshire, England.
Exile, expulsion or voluntary prolonged absence from one's homeland.
Eximbank See: Export-Import Bank of the United States.
Existentialism, 20th-century philosophical current that stresses personal responsibility and the relation of the individual to the universe or to God.
Exobiology, or xenobiology, study of possible life forms elsewhere than on earth.
Exocrine gland See: Gland.
Exodus, second book of the Old Testament and of the Torah (Pentateuch).
Exorcism, ritual expulsion or casting out of malignant spirits and demons by incantations, prayer, and ceremonies.
Expansion, in physics, increase in the volume of a substance due to a rise in temperature.
Exploration, discovery and surveying of unknown parts of the world and the universe.
Explosive, substance that decomposes suddenly, but controllably, forming gas and releasing heat in the process.
Export-Import Bank of the United States (Eximbank), U.S. government agency set up in 1934 to assist foreign exports.
Exports and imports, goods shipped out of or into a country.
Expressionism, early 20th-century movement in art and literature that held that art should be the expression of subjective feelings and emotions.
Extension program, usually a non-degree educational program offered by a college or university, generally off campus.
Extinct species, in biology, species of which no living individuals remain.
Extract, concentrated essence of plant or animal material, used as food flavoring, in drugs, and in cosmetics.
Extraction, selective removal of a substance or substances from a mixture by use of carefully selected solvents.
Extradition, surrendering of a person wanted for trial of a criminal offense by 1 state or country to another.
Extrasensory perception (ESP), communication or perception without use of sight, hearing, taste, touch, or smell.
Extraterrestrial intelligence, intelligent life originating outside the earth and its atmosphere.
Extraterritoriality, privilege granted by a country to resident foreign nationals, allowing them to remain under the jurisdiction of the laws of their own country only.
Extrovert, term used by Swiss psychiatrist Carl G.
Extrusion, process for shaping materials—especially metals, but also such nonmetals as rubber, plastic, and glass—by forcing them through a small orifice or die.
Exxon Corporation, one of the world's largest petroleum company, founded 1882, by the Rockefeller family, as the Standard Oil Company of New Jersey.
Eyck, Jan Van See: Van Eyck, Jan.
Eye, organ of vision possessed by all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals. Eyes vary widely in complexity. Many invertebrates have simple cup-shaped eyes containing light-sensitive cells that merely perceive the intensity of light. Insects and crustaceans have compound eyes comprising many hundreds of units that build up a picture composed of minute light and dark spots like a newspaper photo…
Eye bank, place where corneas removed from newly dead persons are stored until needed for transplantation to restore the sight of those with corneal defects.
Eyeglasses See: Glasses.
Ezekiel, Book of, book of the Old Testament of the Bible, named after the early 6th-century B.C.
Ezra, Book of, book of the Old Testament of the Bible, named for the 5th-century B.C.
F, sixth letter in the English alphabet.
Faber, Eberhard (1822–79), founder of the first large-scale pencil factory in the United States.
Fabergé, Peter Carl (1846–1920), Russian goldsmith famous for the jewelry he made for the Russian tsars and other royalty, especially the jeweled and enameled Easter eggs.
Fabian Society, English society for the propagation of socialism.
Fable, short story that usually teaches a moral.
Fabre, Jean Henri Casimir (1823–1915), French entomologist who used direct observations of insects in their natural environments in his pioneering researches into insect instinct and behavior.
Face fly (Musca autumnalis), insect that feeds on the body fluids of livestock.
Facsimile, precise reproduction of an original document; in modern usage, a reproduction transmitted over telephone lines.
Factor, in mathematics, whole number (integer) that may be divided into another number a whole number of times without remainder.
Faeroe Islands, group of 18 Danish islands (540 sq mi/1,399 km) in the North Atlantic, northwest of the Shetland Islands and southeast of Iceland.
Fahd ibn Abdul Aziz (1922– ), king of Saudi Arabia (1982– ).
Fahrenheit, Gabriel Daniel (1686–1736), German-born Dutch physicist and instrument maker.
Fair Deal, domestic program proposed by President Truman (1945–48), covering civil rights, education, health services, agriculture, and employment.
Fair housing laws See: Open housing.
Fair Labor Standards Act, U.S. law passed in 1938 under the Roosevelt administration's New Deal to guarantee most workers a minimum wage and a 44-hr maximum working week.
Fair-trade laws, laws developed for the purpose of preventing a particular business from selling goods at extremely low prices in an attempt to abolish competition.
Fairbanks (pop. 30,843), second largest city in Alaska, located in central Alaska in the Yukon Valley.
Fairbanks, Douglas, Jr. (1909– ), U.S. movie actor and the son of the silent film star Douglas Fairbanks.
Fairbanks, Douglas, Sr. (1883–1939), U.S. film actor famous for his romantic and swashbuckling roles in films such as Robin Hood (1922) and The Black Pirate (1926).
Fairchild, David Grandison (1869–1954), U.S. botanist who introduced many useful plants into the United States.
Fairchild, Sherman Mills (1896–1971), U.S. inventor of aerial mapping photography.
Fairy tale, tale involving fantastic events and characters, not necessarily fairies.
Faisal, or Feisal, name of 2 kings of Iraq.
Faisal, or Feisal (Faisal ibn Abdul Aziz al Faisal al Saud; 1905–75), king of Saudi Arabia from 1964, when his brother, King Saud, was forced to abdicate.
Faith See: Religion.
Falange Española, recognized as the only legal political party in Spain under dictator Francisco Franco.
Falcon, name generally applied to about 60 species of hawk, though the true falcons of the family Falconidae number about 35 species.
Falkland Islands, or Islas Malvinas, self-governing British colony, also claimed by Argentina, consisting of 200 islands totaling 4,700 sq mi (12,200 sq km) in the South Atlantic about 480 mi (770 km) northeast of Cape Horn.
Fall River (pop. 157,272), city in southeastern Massachusetts, situated on Mount Hope Bay, at the mouth of the Taunton River.
Falla, Manuel de (1876–1946), Spanish composer.
Falling bodies, Law of, group of rules that tell what an object does when it falls freely to the ground.
Fallout, radioactive debris produced by the explosion of nuclear weapons.
Fallout shelter, building or underground structure whose purpose is to protect people from the effects of fallout, or radiation.
Family planning See: Birth control; Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Famine, acute food shortage resulting in widespread starvation.
Fan, instrument that excites a current of air by the agitation of abroad surface, vanes, or disks.
Faneuil, Peter (1700–43), wealthy Boston merchant.
Fannie Mae See: Federal National Mortgage Association.
Fanon, Frantz Omar (1925–61), French black psychoanalyst and social philosopher.
Fantin-Latour, Ignace Henri Jean Théodore (1836–1904), French painter known for his flower paintings, his illustrations of the works of Robert Wagner and Louis-Hector Berlioz, and his group portraits of artists, such as Homage to Delacroix (1864) and A Studio at Batignolles (1870).
FAO See: Food and Agriculture Organization.
Far East, term often used for eastern Asia, comprising China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and eastern Siberia in the Russian Federation.
Farad (F), unit of electrical capacitance.
Faraday, Michael (1791–1867), English chemist and physicist, pupil and successor of H. Davy at the Royal Institution. He discovered benzene (1825), first demonstrated electromagnetic induction and invented the dynamo (1831), and, with his concept of magnetic lines of force, laid the foundations of classical field theory later built upon by J. Clerk Maxwell. He discovered the laws of electro…
Farce, comedy based on exaggeration and broad visual humor.
Fargo (pop. 153,295), largest city in North Dakota and seat of Cass County.
Fargo, William George (1818–81), co-founder of Wells and Company (later Wells-Fargo), the pioneer express service, in 1844.
Farm Credit System, network of cooperatively owned banks regulated by the Farm Credit Administration (FCA).
Farm and farming, setting and activity of the cultivation of crops and the raising of livestock.
Farmer See: Farm and farming.
Farmer, James Leonard (1920– ), U.S. civil rights leader.
Farmer-Labor Party, minor U.S. political party founded 1919 to promote the interests of small farmers and city workers.
Farmers Home Administration, U.S.
Farming See: Agriculture; Farm and farming.
Farnsworth, Philo Taylor (1906–71), U.S. radio research engineer who pioneered television technology.
Farouk I See: Faruk I.
Farquhar, George (1678–1707), English dramatist.
Farragut, David Glasgow (1801–70), U.S. admiral and Civil War hero.
Farrell, James Thomas (1904–79), U.S. writer.
Farsightedness, or hyperopia, defect of vision in which light entering the eye from nearby objects comes to a focus behind the retina instead of on it.
Faruk I, or Farouk I (1920–65), king of Egypt (1936–52).
Fascism, originally, political system of Italy under Benito Mussolini (1922–45); more broadly, authoritarian and antidemocratic political philosophy placing the state above the individual, and stressing absolute obedience to a glorified leader.
Fat, compound of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen found in certain parts of the body, an important constituent of diet. Fat is the most concentrated source of food energy, supplying 9 calories per gram; protein and carbohydrate, the other 2 sources of food energy, supply only 4 calories per gram. Fats are the chief sources of essential fatty acids (EFAs), as well as carriers of vitamins A, D, E, and K…
Fates, in Greek and Roman mythology, goddesses of destiny, called Moirai by the Greeks and Parcae by the Romans.
Father of the Constitution See: Madison, James.
Father Divine See: Divine, Father.
Father of Medicine See: Hippocrates.
Fathometer, underwater device used on ships to measure the depth of water.
Fatimids, Muslim dynasty that ruled a North African empire from its conquest of Egypt in A.D. 969 until 1171.
Faulkner, William (1897–1962), U.S. writer, known for his vivid characterization and complex, convoluted style in novels and short stories set in fictional Yoknapatawpha County, based on the area of his hometown, Oxford, Miss.
Fault, fracture in the earth's crust along which there has been relative movement and displacement of the rocks on each side.
Faun, in Roman mythology, woodland spirit, usually portrayed as having a human upper body and goat legs.
Fauré, Gabriel Urbain (1845–1924), French composer.
Faust, legendary German enchanter, based on a 16th-century charlatan, who sold his soul to the devil Mephistopheles for knowledge and pleasure.
Fauves (French, “wild beasts”), group of French painters whose style emphasized intense color, often applied directly from the paint tubes, and vigorous brush strokes.
Fawkes, Guy (1570–1606), Roman Catholic Englishman, hired by the Gunpowder Plot conspirators as an explosives expert while he was serving in the Spanish army.
Feather, covering of a bird's body, made up of a central shaft, with the hollow quill at the tip, and the vane on each side, consisting of rows of fine threads called barbs, which are held together by hooked barbules to form a web.
Feather star See: Sea lily.
Febold Feboldson, Swedish-American folk hero, popular in tall tales of the Great Plains.
Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), agency of the U.S.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), investigative branch of the U.S.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), independent U.S. agency that regulates communication by radio, television, wire and cable.
Federal court See: Court; United States, government of the.
Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC), U.S.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), U.S. agency that insures bank deposits in all federal reserve system banks Federal Reserve System.
Federal Election Commission, independent U.S. government agency that enforces the Federal Election Campaign Act, which governs campaign spending for election to federal offices.
Federal government See: Federalism.
Federal Hall, building in Lower Manhattan, New York City, that served as first capitol of the United States under the Constitution.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), U.S.
Federal Home Loan Bank Board, independent U.S. federal agency, made up of 3 presidential appointees, that supervised and regulated savings and loans associations between 1932 and 1990.
Federal Housing Administration (FHA), U.S. government agency created to bolster lender confidence in mortgage loans and increase housing demand and construction.
Federalism, system of government in which states form a union by granting a central government supreme power in common or national affairs, while retaining their independent existence and control over local affairs.