In another place, a word has raised its head - as used by me: usability. I came across it - though pals - as used by Jakob Neilsen in reference to his calling to webpage usability - weighing what is on the screen. Trouble is...I don't know what it means: the "ability to be used" sounds pretty close to either useful or functional to me...
I think - use, usable, useful, utility, useless, capacity, capabilites, functional - and I am thinking of a list of words that pre-date the web. Did a new word really have to be created? Was one?
I do know what the coining of a word like "usability" does - it creates an expert, a gap in the expertise of others, a billing stream and, who knows, down the road, maybe a bachalors degree my kids may take. It makes an industry. Not that I am slagging (or, indeed, praising) Jakob Neilsen. It's the industry thing. The gathering. Unmeasurable metrics. When I was a kid an industry was not tourism, it was not consulting, it was not even medicine. It was oil fed metal moving and making. It made sounds so loud you needed ear plugs. It was smelly like a gas station.
I don't know why this grates me. I am a big believer in new words for new things. The thing is I also want to keep using good old words, too. Look at the upper left of this page. The implication that kneeding dough is a matter of usability. But bread's been kneeded for thousands of years - how old is the word usability? Its root, usable, is medieval. But was anything assessed for its usability before the web? Spoons? Gaskets? Shoe eyelets? Due to the web swampings of an industry, even Google can't seem to tell me.