What parts of things do you know the names for that most people don't?
March 26, 2011 6:08 PM   Subscribe

Looking for specialized knowledge of the anatomy of anything -- organic or inorganic.

I'm researching specialized terms for the components, anatomy, or otherwise parts of anything. Preferably it would be a set of terms developed in a defined discipline, but private systems of terms are of interest too.
Easy: in-depth terminology of bike parts.
Intermediate: The parts of a screw.
Hard: The parts of a thought.
posted by nímwunnan to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
The parts of a screw ...

Well, you've got your foreplay, and your ...

Try Machinery's Handbook for more information about machines, materials and parts of seemingly-monolithic things than you can shake a stick at.
posted by spacewrench at 6:27 PM on March 26, 2011

The parts of a sewing machine. A particular favorite of mine is "feed dogs."
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:37 PM on March 26, 2011

It would seem that a visual dictionary is a good starting place. They generally show exploded diagrams of various items, labeled with the names of each part. See Merriam Webster and even the classic classic Macmillan.

There are also visual dictionaries for various disciplines, especially within engineering and construction. In addition to the Machinery's Handbook suggested above, there is the Visual Dictionary of Architecture, the Backstage Handbook, and even Sports: The Complete Visual Reference.
posted by zachlipton at 6:45 PM on March 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

You might enjoy looking into a field called "biomedical ontology (that page has a ton of resources) - basically it is the job of figuring out a category system and conceptual interrelations of medical and anatomical terms, so that computer programs can use them in intelligent ways to make inferences.

Another term that might be of interest is mereology, which means "study of parts" and is used for a set of questions in philosophy having to do with relations of parts generally. The term is also used to mean one system of logic that's supposed to capture some of those relations.

Parts of boats, especially sailboats, have tons of specialized vocabulary that is in active use among people who operate/sail boats. Here's one basic diagram of parts of a sailboat, but you can find much more comprehensive references by searching.

Plant anatomy; and plant anatomy

You might also enjoy books llke The Way Things Work by David Macaulay and other books that have cutaway diagrams, cross sections, and that sort of thing - Stephen Biesty is a great illustrator for this, but there are tons of these for all domains (engines, military equipment, major civil engineering projects, machines, anatomy of humans and animals, cell biology, geology).

Architecture of every historical style (parts of a gothic cathedral, parts of a Shinto temple, etc) is another great source of specialized part-names.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:46 PM on March 26, 2011

The parts of an inro.
posted by spasm at 6:55 PM on March 26, 2011

Ah - clothing is a good source of part-terms, eg you can search for all the parts of a traditional wedding outfit for various cultures.

Knot parts: bight, turn, bitter end, etc.

parts of a paintbrush: "ferrule" is one of my favorites

You can search for "parts of a x" where x=any tool that's been around for 50+ years, and there will be names for its parts.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:15 PM on March 26, 2011

Parts of a cell = subcellular organelles.
posted by Quietgal at 7:26 PM on March 26, 2011

Parts of a story.
posted by jeanmari at 7:27 PM on March 26, 2011

McMaster-Carr's catalogue of hardware.

(Yeah. It's a commercial catalogue, but it's damned near encyclopedic considering the breadth of their inventory, and the excellent illustrations that accompany each part.)
posted by schmod at 12:04 AM on March 27, 2011

Some terms related to basic arithmetic:
  multiplicand * multiplier = product
  addend + augend = sum
  dividend / divisor = quotient
  minuend - subtrahend = difference

posted by harmfulray at 5:26 PM on March 28, 2011 [1 favorite]

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