North America, third-largest continent, situated in the Western Hemisphere and bounded on the north by the Arctic Ocean, on the south by South America, on the west by the Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea, and on the east by the Atlantic Ocean. Besides the area covered by Canada and the United States, it includes Mexico and Central America, the islands of the Caribbean Sea, and Greenland. North America…
21st Century Webster's Family Encyclopedia - North, Lord to Olympic Games
North American Aerospace Defense Command See: NORAD.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), military defense organization of nations established in 1949 by Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United States.
North Carolina, state in the southeastern United States; bordered by Virginia to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, South Carolina and Georgia to the south; and Tennessee to the west. North Carolina has 3 main land regions. The eastern Atlantic coastal plain consists of low-lying, swampy marshland covered with trees and shallow lakes and rivers that extends into broad, grassy plains called…
North Cascades National Park, park located in the Cascade Range of northwestern Washington, covering 504,781 acres (370,250 hectares).
North Dakota, midwestern state in north-central United States; bordered by Canada to the north, the Red River (with Minnesota on the other side) to the east, South Dakota to the south, and Montana to the west. North America's geographic center is in North Dakota, near Rugby. North Dakota has three main land regions. The fertile Red River Valley, along the eastern border, has the state…
North Island See: New Zealand.
North Korea See: Korea.
North, Lord (1732–92), Frederick, 2nd Earl of Guilford, British prime minister (1770–82) under King George III.
North magnetic pole See: North Pole.
North, Oliver Laurence (1943– ), U.S.
North Pacific Current, ocean current fed by the Japan Current, heading east from the region of Japan to the U.S.
North Platte (pop. 24,509), city in west-central Nebraska, where the North and South Platte rivers join.
North Pole, northernmost point of the earth's axis, located at lat. 90°N, long. 0°, some 466 mi (750 km) north of Greenland.
North Sea, arm of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Great Britain, Scandinavia, and northwest Europe.
North Star, also called Polaris, Cepheid variable star (Alpha Ursae Minoris) nearest the north celestial pole.
North Vietnam See: Vietnam.
North West Company, fur-trading company in Canada, 1783–1821.
North Yemen See: Yemen.
Northcliffe, Viscount (1865–1922), publisher who created modern British journalism.
Northeast Passage, sea route linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Northern harrier, or marsh hawk (Circus cyaneus), North American bird of prey.
Northern Ireland, one of the four countries that make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain, the others being England, Wales, and Scotland. It was established by the Government of Ireland Act of 1920, which separated Northern Ireland from the independent Republic of Ireland. It comprises six of the nine counties that made up the ancient province of Ulster on the northeastern corner of the island …
Northern lights See: Aurora.
Northern Mariana Islands, commonwealth of the United States, comprising 16 islands in the western Pacific Ocean. Saipan is the capital. Of these volcanic and coral islands, only 6 are inhabited, with more than 88% of the population living on Saipan, the largest island, which is followed in size by Rota and Tinian. The total area is 183 sq mi (475 sq km). The tropical climate has temperature…
Northern pike See: Pike.
Northern Rhodesia See: Zambia.
Northern Territory, north-central region of Australia.
Northfield (pop. 12,562), city in southeastern Minnesota, on the Cannon River, 40 mi (64 km) south of St.
Northmen See: Vikings.
Northrop, John Howard (1891–1987), U.S. biochemist who received the 1946 Nobel Prize for chemistry, with James B.
Northumbria, Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the 7th–10th centuries, extending from the Mersey and Humber rivers in the south to the Firth of Forth in the north.
Northwest Ordinance, measure adopted by the Congress of Confederation in 1787 that established the government of the Northwest Territory and provided a form through which territories could become states.
Northwest Passage, inland water routes along the north coast of North America linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Northwest Territories, federally administered region of Canada comprising that part of the mainland north of latitude 60°N lying between the Yukon Territory on the west and Hudson Bay on the east. The islands in Hudson Bay, James Bay, and Hudson Strait are included, as are all islands north of the mainland. The territories are divided into 3 districts: Keewatin on the mainland in the east, …
Northwest Territory, region between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, extending north around the Great Lakes.
Norwalk (pop. 77,767), city in southwestern Connecticut, at the mouth of the Norwalk River, on Long Island Sound.
Norway, kingdom of northern Europe, occupying the smaller western portion of the Scandinavian peninsula. It is sometimes called the “Land of the Midnight Sun” since about one-third of it lies north of the Arctic Circle, where from mid-May into July there is continuous daylight; conversely, for part of the winter only twilight occurs at midday. The capital is Oslo. Covering 125,050 sq…
Norwegian, language of Norway, developed from the Norse and influenced by union with Denmark (1397–1814).
Norwegian elkhound, breed of dog originally used by Norwegian hunters and shepherds in the 4000s B.C.
Norwich terrier, hunting dog first bred in England around 1880.
Nose, organ of breathing and smell, located in the middle of the face.
Nostradamus (Michel de Nostredame; 1503–66), French astrologer, famed for his prophecies published in verse, Centuries (1555).
Notary public, state-appointed official who certifies the authenticity of documents and takes oaths.
Notation, in music, method of writing down notes to be read for study or performance. The method was formalized between the 10th and 18th centuries into a system, now in general use, of stave notation. This consists of five horizontal lines, or staves, as the framework on which any of 8 notes can be written: A, B, C, D, E, F, G (in ascending or descending order of pitch), then to A again an octave…
Note, or promissary note, written record in which an individual agrees to pay a designated sum of money to a specified individual.
Notre Dame, Cathedral of, cathedral church of Paris, on the Île de la Cité in the Seine River.
Nottingham (pop. 279,400), city in England, administrative seat of Nottinghamshire.
Nouakchott (pop. 450,000), the capital of Mauritania and an important port city on the Altantic coast of West Africa.
Nova, relatively small, very hot variable star that suddenly (usually within a few days) increases up to thousands of times in brightness.
Nova Scotia, third-largest of the Atlantic Provinces in eastern Canada. The capital and main port is Halifax. Nova Scotia has an area of 21,425 sq mi (56,491 sq km), including 1,023 sq mi (1,646 km) of inland water, and is a peninsula almost entirely surrounded by the sea. Only the narrow land link of the Chignecto Isthmus joins Nova Scotia to the mainland province of New Brunswick, Canada. On the…
Novalis (Friedrich Leopold von Hardenberg; 1772–1801), German poet.
Novaya Zemlya, group of 2 large islands and several smaller ones in the Russian Federation, in the Arctic Ocean between the Barents Sea on the west and the Kara Sea on the east.
Novel, work of prose fiction longer than the short story and novella. Although there were precursors in ancient Greece and Rome and in medieval Japan, the novel arose primarily in late medieval and early Renaissance Europe. The term come from the Italian novella, a literary form typified by Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron. Francois Rabelais' Gargantua and Pantagruel (1532–52) a…
Novgorod (pop. 229,000), city in the northwestern Russian Federation, capital of Novgorod Oblast.
Novi Sad (pop. 170,000), city in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, transportation center and capital of the autonomous region of Vojvodina, in the Serbian republic.
Novocaine See: Procaine.
Novosibirsk (pop. 1,443,000), city in southern Siberia, Russian Federation, on the Ob River and the Trans-Siberian railway line.
Novotny, Antonín (1904–75), president of Czechoslovakia (1957–68) and communist leader.
NOW See: National Organization for Women.
Noyes, Alfred (1880–1958), English poet, a traditionalist known for his popular, vigorous, rhythmic ballads, such as “The Highwayman,” and patriotic, blank-verse epics, such as Drake (1908), about the Elizabethans, and The Torch Bearers (1922–30), a trilogy praising scientific progress.
Noyes, John Humphrey (1811–86), U.S. religious reformer.
NSC See: National Security Council.
Nu, U (1907– ), Burmese political leader, prime minister (1948–56,1957–58, and 1960–62).
Nubia, ancient region of northeastern Africa, now mostly in the Sudan, along both banks of the Nile River from Khartoum in the south to Aswan (Egypt) in the north.
Nuclear bomb See: Nuclear weapon.
Nuclear energy, energy released through the fission or fusion of atomic nuclei. In fission, the nucleus of a heavy atom absorbs an extra neutron, which causes it to become unstable and split apart into 2 lighter nuclei plus other subatomic particles, including other neutrons. Fission can occur only in a few of the heaviest, least stable nuclei. The energy released by a fission reaction consists ma…
Nuclear fission See: Fission; Nuclear energy.
Nuclear force See: Grand unified theories.
Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) See: Magnetic resonance imaging.
Nuclear medicine, branch of medicine that uses radioisotopes in diagnostic and treatment procedures.
Nuclear physics, study of the physical properties, structure, and laws of the atomic nucleus and subatomic particles.
Nuclear power See: Nuclear energy.
Nuclear reactor, device containing sufficient fissionable material to produce a controlled chain reaction of neutrons able to split other nuclei. Many types of reactors exist; all produce neutrons, gamma rays, radioactive fission products, and heat. A fission reactor consists of a fuel, a moderator, and a cooling system. The fragments produced by fission of a heavy nucleus have a large amount of e…
Nuclear Regulatory Commissionl (NRC), independent U.S. government agency set up in 1975 to license and regulate the civilian use of nuclear energy.
Nuclear submarine See: Submarine.
Nuclear weapon, powerful explosive weapon whose power derives from nuclear energy.
Nuclear winter, term referring to the global environmental catastrophe that might occur as a result of dramatic changes in the earth's atmosphere caused by nuclear war.
Nucleic acid, the vital chemical constituents of living things; a class of complex threadlike molecules comprising 2 main types: DNA (deoxyribo-nucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid).
Nucleus, in biology, the central part of a cell, containing the genetic material; also, a group of nerve cells or mass of gray matter in the central nervous system.
Nuer, people living in southern Sudan on both banks of the Nile River.
Nuevo Laredo (pop. 214,200), city in northeastern Mexico, on the U.S.Mexican border, opposite to Laredo, Tex., to which it is joined by a bridge spanning the Rio Grande.
Nullification, in U.S. history, an act by which a state suspends a federal law within its borders.
Number theory, branch of mathematics that deals with the integers (or whole numbers), which include zero and the negative whole numbers.
Numbers, Book of, book of the Old Testament, fourth of the 5 books of the Pentateuch (or Torah), describing the 40-year wanderings of the Israelites through the desert after their exodus from Egypt and before their arrival in Palestine.
Numeration systems, or number systems, method of arranging and representing numbers.
Numerology, use of numbers to predict future events or provide insight into personality.
Numidia, ancient region of northern Africa, generally corresponding to present-day Algeria.
Numismatics See: Coin collecting.
Nummulite, single-celled sea organism from the Eocene and Oligocene periods.
Nun, woman member of a religious order, who devotes her life to religious service.
Nuremberg (pop. 494,000), historic city of Bavaria, southwestern Germany, on the Pegnitz River.
Nuremberg Trials, series of war crimes trials held in Nuremberg, Germany (1945–49) by the victors of World War II: the United States, USSR, Great Britain, and France.
Nureyev, Rudolf (1938–93), Russian ballet dancer who sought asylum in the West when touring with the Kirov Ballet in 1961.
Nursery rhyme, short, rhymed poem or tale intended to amuse children.
Nursery school, preschool care and early education for children from about 3 to 5 years old.
Nursing, care of the sick, injured, or handicapped.
Nursing home, residential facility for individuals, especially old people, needing medical or other daily assistance.
Nut, the edible kernel of a dry fruit, such as the walnut or chestnut, enclosed in a hard shell.
Nutcracker, any of several birds of the crow family.
Nuthatch, any of various small birds of the family Sittidae, found in temperate climates worldwide.
Nutmeg, evergreen tree (Myristica fragrans) grown in the tropics for the sweet, tangy spices it produces.
Nutmeg State See: Connecticut.
Nutria, large South American water rodent (Myocastor coypus), also found in the Mississippi Delta, raised commercially in Europe and North America for its reddish-brown fur, which resembles that of the beaver or muskrat.
Nutrition, process by which living organisms take in and utilize nutrients, the substances required for growth and for the maintenance of life.
Nutting, Mary Adelaide (1858–1948), Canadian-born U.S. pioneer in the field of professional nursing.
Nyasaland See: Malawi.
Nyerere, Julius Kambarage (1921– ), founder and first president (1964–85) of the East African state of Tanzania.
Nylon, heat-resistant, strong, elastic, synthetic material introduced in 1938.
Nymph, in Greek mythology, female divinity normally considered the guardian of an object or place occurring in nature.
Nystagmus, rhythmic rolling of the eyes that occurs normally when the head rotates.
Nzinga a Nkuwa (d. 1506), ruler of the Congolese people of west-central Africa.
O, 15th letter and 4th vowel of the English alphabet.
O'Brien, Lawrence Francis (1917–90), U.S. postmaster general from 1965–68 and special assistant in charge of congressional relations to presidents John F.
O'Brien, Robert C. (Robert Leslie Conly; 1918–73), popular U.S. author of children's fiction.
O Canada, Canadian national anthem.
O'Casey, Sean (1880–1964),Irish playwright whose sardonic dramas depict the effects of poverty and war.
O'Connell, Daniel (1775–1847), Irish statesman, called the Liberator, who led the fight for Catholic emancipation.
O'Connor, Flannery (1925–64), U.S. fiction writer noted for her brilliant style and grotesque, tragicomic vision of life in the South.
O'Connor, Frank (1903–66), Irish short-story writer whose works are ad-mired for their oral quality and portrayals of Irish life.
O'Connor, John Joseph Cardinal (1920– ), cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church.
O'Connor, Sandra Day (1930– ), U.S.
O'Dell, Scott (1898– ), U.S. author of children's historical novels, born in Los Angeles, Calif.
O'Faolain, Sean (1900–91), Irish short-story writer, novelist, and biographer.
O'Flaherty, Liam (1897–1984), Irish novelist known for his realistic stories of ordinary people in trouble, such as The Black Soul (1924), The Informer (1925), and The Assassin (1928).
O'Hara, John (1905–70), U.S. journalist and fiction writer known principally for his vigorous accounts of urban and suburban life in the United States.
O'Hara, John Francis Cardinal (1888–1960), Roman Catholic Church archbishop appointed a cardinal by Pope John XXIII in 1958.
O'Higgins, political family in South America.
O'Keeffe, Georgia (1887–1986), U.S. painter noted for her delicate, abstract designs incorporating symbolic motifs drawn from nature such as Cow's Skull, Red, White, and Blue (1931).
Oahe Dam, in South Dakota, one of the world's largest embankment dams.
Oahu See: Hawaii.
Oak, tree that grows in moderate climates and subtropics.
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Tennessee, one of the largest energy research centers in the United States.
Oakland (pop. 373,200), city on the east side of San Francisco Bay in northern California.
Oakley, Annie (Phoebe Anne Oakley Mozee; 1860–1926), U.S. entertainer.
Oakum, loose fibers of hemp or flax, used to make the seams of wooden ships watertight—a process called caulking.
Oarfish, or ribbonfish (Regalecus glesne), eellike fish with a flattened body 20 ft (6 m) or more long, 1 ft (1/3 m) deep and only 2 in (5 cm) across.
OAS See: Organization of American States.
Oasis, area in a desert where there is sufficient water for plants to grow.
Oates, Joyce Carol (1938– ), prolific U.S. novelist, short-story writer, poet, playwright, and critic whose work often deals with insanity, violence, and other nightmarish aspects of society.
Oates, Titus (1649–1705), English conspirator who in 1678 claimed to have discovered a Roman Catholic plot (called the Popish Plot) against Charles II.
Oath, pledge used to guarantee the honesty of an individual's statements.
Oats, cereal plants (genus Avena) cultivated in cool, damp climates in the Northern Hemisphere.
Oaxaca, southern Mexican state bordering the Gulf of Tehuantepec, founded by Aztecs c.1500.
Ob River, fourth longest river in the world, located in Siberia, Russia.
Obadiah, Book of, shortest book of the Old Testament, 4th book of the Minor Prophets.
Obelisk, 4-sided pillar tapering to a pyramidal top.
Oberammergau (pop. 4,700), village in Germany's Bavarian Alps, famous for its Passion Play.
Oboe, soprano wind instrument consisting of a double-reed mouthpiece at the end of a conically bored tube.
Obote, Apollo Milton (1924– ), president of Uganda (1966–71,1980–5).
Obregón, Alvaro (1880–1928), president of Mexico (1920–4).
Obscenity and pornography, terms referring to material believed to be publicly offensive.
Observatory, in astronomy, a scientific site at which systematic observations of the sky are made.
Obsidian, igneous rock, also called volcanic glass.
Obstetrics, the care of women during pregnancy and childbirth, a branch of medicine and surgery linked with gynecology.
Occam, William of See: William of Ockham.
Occultism, wide range of practices and theories based on belief in the supernatural; among them witchcraft, mind reading, astrology, divination, and telepathy.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. agency of the Department of Labor established in 1970 to regulate health and safety standards in industry.
Occupational therapy, rehabilitative medicine concerned with practical measures to overcome disability due to disease.
Ocean, combined area of interconnected water that covers about 71% of the earth's surface.
Ocean Drilling Program, geological research program established (1984) by the United States and other nations to determine the composition of the earth beneath the ocean floor.
Oceania, vast section of the Pacific Ocean, stretching roughly from Hawaii to New Zealand and from New Guinea to Easter Island, divided into 3 broad cultural areas: Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia.
Ocelot, medium-sized wildcat marked with black spots, rings, and stripes, of forests from the southwestern United States to Paraguay.
Ochoa, Severo (1905–93), Spanish-born U.S. biochemist who shared with Arthur K.
Ochs, Adolph Simon (1858–1935), U.S. newspaper publisher responsible for creating the prestige of the New York Times.
Ockham's Razor See: William of Ockham.
Ockham, William of See: William of Ockham.
Ocmulgee National Monument, in central Georgia, site of prehistoric Native American ruins.
Ocotillo, or coach whip, tall, slender plant of U.S. southwestern deserts that grows new leaves after each rain.
Octane, colorless, liquid, highly flammable hydrocarbon, commonly used in gasoline.
Octane number, measure of a liquid fuel's ability to resist premature ignition (knocking) and to burn evenly in an internal combustion engine.
Octave, in music, the interval between two pitches, one of which having twice the frequency of the other.
Octavia (65?–9 B.C.), wife of Marc Antony and sister of Emperor Augustus of Rome.
Octavian See: Augustus.
Octopus, marine mollusk (genus Octopus) with 8 tentaclelike arms that surround the mouth; a cephalopod.
Odd Fellows, Independent Order of, secret organization promoting good will and brotherhood and committed to helping its members in time of need, hardship, or sorrow.
Ode, stately lyric poem usually expressing praise.
Oder River, European water route forming a large part of the border between Poland and Germany, economically essential and mostly navigable on its 551-mi (886-km) length.
Odessa (pop. 1,500,000), city and port in Ukraine, on the Black Sea.
Odets, Clifford (1906–63), U.S. playwright and screenwriter noted for social-protest dramas about ordinary people in the Depression.
Odin, in Germanic mythology, the chief god, also known as Woden (whose name gave us Wednesday).
Odoacer (435–493), German chief who overthrew the last of the West Roman emperors in 476 and was proclaimed king of Italy.
Odometer See: Speedometer.
Odysseus See: Homer; Odyssey; Ulysses.
Odyssey, ancient Greek epic poem ascribed to Homer, one of the masterpieces of world literature.
Oedipus, in Greek legend, king of Thebes who was fated to kill his father, King Laius, and marry his mother, Jocasta.
Oedipus complex, sexual obsession by a son for his mother accompanied by resentment and aggression toward his father.
Oersted, Hans Christian (1777–1851), Danish physicist.
Offenbach, Jacques (1819–80), French composer.
Offset, printing process whereby ink is transferred from a chemically treated printing plate, used so that only the printing or design will receive the ink, onto a rubber-covered cylinder, to paper.
Ogaden See: Ethiopia.
Ogden (pop. 64,407), city in Utah, 35 mi (56 km) north of Salt Lake City, established by the Mormons in 1848 and incorporated in 1851.
Oglala See: Red Cloud; Sioux.
Oglethorpe, James Edward (1696–1785), English philanthropist, general, and member of parliament.
Ohia, mountain apple tree with evergreen leaves found in many tropical climates, of the family Myrtaceae.
Ohio, midwestern state in the northern United States; bordered by Michigan and Lake Erie to the north, Pennsylvania to the east, the Ohio River (with West Virginia and Kentucky on the other side) to the southeast and south, and Indiana to the west. Ohio has four main land regions. The Great Lakes Plains, a narrow, fertile strip of land bordering Lake Erie, is one of the nation's busiest shi…
Ohio Company, organizations formed to settle the Ohio River Valley.
Ohio River, main eastern tributary of the Mississippi River.
Ohio University, first school of higher education in the Northwest Territory, established in 1804 in Athens, Ohio.
Ohira, Masayoshi (1910–80), Japanese prime minister (1978–80).
Ohm, Georg Simon (1787–1854), Bavarian-born German physicist who formulated Ohm's Law, from his studies of electric current.
Ohm's law, law stating that the electric potential difference across a conductor is proportional to the current flowing through it, the constant of proportionality being known as the resistance of the conductor.
Oil, any substance that is insoluble in water, soluble in ether, and greasy to the touch.
Oil refinery See: Petroleum.
Oil shale, fine-grained, dark-colored sedimentary rock from which oil suitable for refining can be extracted.
Oil well See: Petroleum.
Oilbird, or guacharo (Steatornis caripensis), night-flying bird that lives in caves in northern South America and on Trinidad.
Oilcloth, fabric treated with oil or thick paint to become waterproof.
Oistrakh, David (1906–74), Russian violinist.
Ojibwa, or Chippewa, large Algonquian-speaking tribes of Native Americans.
Ojos del Salado (“Salty Eyes”), mountain in the Andes range in northwest Argentina, 22,572 ft (6,880 m) high.
Okefenokee Swamp, warm, boggy, unsettled region in southeastern Georgia and somewhat into northeastern Florida, covering 700 sq mi (1,800 sq km).
Okhotsk, Sea of, branch of the northern Pacific Ocean, 1,000 mi (1,600 km) long and 600 mi (970 km) wide, along Russia's eastern border and used as a travel and trade route to former Soviet ports.
Okinawa, largest (454 sq mi/1,176 sq km) of the Ryukyu Islands in the West Pacific, part of Okinawa prefecture, Japan.
Oklahoma, state in the southwestern United States; bordered by Colorado and Kansas to the north, Missouri and Arkansas to the east, the Red River to the south, Texas to the south and west, and New Mexico to the west. Oklahoma's topography varies immensely. There are broad, flat plains in the west, rolling hills in the center, and mountain ranges in the east. In some areas, the soil is ferti…
Oklahoma City (pop. 454,000), capital of Oklahoma, on the North Canadian River.
Okra, or Gumbo, hibiscus plant cultivated in West Africa, India, and the southeastern United States for its fruits, which are pickled or cooked.
Olav V (1903–91), king of Norway (1957–91).
Old Bailey, main criminal court in London, England, on Old Bailey Street (a bailey was an area between the inner and outer city walls in medieval times).
Old Catholics, group of churches that seceded from the Roman Catholic church.
Old English See: English language; English literature.
Old English sheepdog, working dog that resembles an unshorn sheep.
Old Faithful See: Yellowstone National Park.
Old Ironsides (ship) See: Constitution, USS.
Old North Church, name given to the old Christ Church in Boston, Mass., immortalized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem “Paul Revere's Ride”: “Hang a lantern in the belfry arch of the North Church tower as a signal light ,” a warning to the town of the British coming.
Old Spanish Trail See: Santa Fe Trail.
Old Testament, or the Hebrew Bible, the first part of the Christian Bible, describing God's covenant with Israel.
Old World, refers to the Eastern Hemisphere, which includes Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
Oldenbarneveldt, Johan van (1547–1619), Dutch statesman.
Oldenburg, Claes (1929– ), Swedish-born U.S. pop artist best known for his soft constructions (sculptures) that satirize America.
Oldfield, Barney (1878–1946), U.S. race car driver.
Olds, Ransom Eli (1864–1950), pioneer U.S. automobile engineer and manufacturer.
Olduvai Gorge See: Leakey.
Oleander (Nerium oleander), poisonous, evergreen ornamental shrub with roselike flowers.
Oligocene, third epoch of the Tertiary, c.40–25 million years ago.
Oliphant, Patrick Bruce (1935– ), editorial cartoonist whose work is seen in about 500 U.S. newspapers and won a Pulitzer Prize in 1967.
Olive, evergreen tree (Olea europaea) growing in Mediterranean climates and one of the world's oldest cultivated crops.
Olive oil, clear edible substance obtained from the fruit of the olive tree.
Olivier, Laurence (1907–89), English actor, producer, and director.
Olivine, group of minerals or chemical compounds made from silicon, oxygen, magnesium, and iron, found in igneous rocks (those formed from a molten state), schists, and gray, pink, or white marble.
Olmec, people of the southeastern coastal lowlands of ancient Mexico (c.500 B.C.–A.D. 1150).
Olmsted, Frederick Law (1822–1903), U.S. landscape architect and writer.
Olson, Charles (1910–70), U.S. critic and poet whose persuasive ideas challenged writers to reexamine their poetic style, structure, and phrasing, to intensify and further project its meaning.
Olympia, ancient sanctuary near the confluence of the Alpheus andCladeus rivers in southwest Greece.
Olympia (pop. 161,238), capital of Washington state since 1853, on the southern side of Puget Sound, within sight of Mt.
Olympiad, ancient Greek method of figuring a 4-year calendar time period.
Olympians See: Hera; Zeus.
Olympias (375?–316 B.C.), powerful, influential wife of Philip II of Macedonia, whom she had killed to secure the throne for her son, Alexander the Great.
In 1894 a French nobleman, Pierre de Coubertin, called a meeting in Paris that led to the first modern Olympic Games, held in Athens in 1896. Thirteen nations sent a total of 285 men, and the Games were effectively revived. Since then the Olympics have been held in different cities once every 4 years, with the exception of the war years 1916, 1940, and 1944. Women first competed in 1912. In 1924 t…