Word that means "gap in knowledge"
July 3, 2020 9:48 AM   Subscribe

I recently came across a single word that meant "gap in knowledge" or "a gap to be filled", when I was reading a scientific manuscript. Now for the life of me, I cannot recall what the word was, but it was incredibly useful. It was a single word, not a phrase, and maybe started with the letter L (or maybe not). Google was no help. Ask Metafilter, you're my only hope!
posted by misery loves company to Writing & Language (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Lacuna?
posted by ITheCosmos at 9:49 AM on July 3, 2020 [35 favorites]


Yup, the word you're looking for is lacuna (plural usually "lacunae"), from the Latin. Used most often in academic contexts.
posted by ClaireBear at 9:53 AM on July 3, 2020 [2 favorites]


I think you have a meta-lacuna ...
posted by carter at 10:14 AM on July 3, 2020 [37 favorites]


Also a very commonly used word in French, so you see it a lot more than usual from writers with a French background or who come from Quebec but write in English. In French it's simply "lacune".
posted by mikel at 10:19 AM on July 3, 2020 [2 favorites]


If you ever saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the company was called Lacuna Inc.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:30 AM on July 3, 2020 [9 favorites]


Also used for those missing bits of a re-assembled artifact - say a broken pot or an ancient manuscript.
posted by rudd135 at 10:40 AM on July 3, 2020 [1 favorite]


And it's derived from a Latin word that just means "hole" or "gap".
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:50 AM on July 3, 2020


Hence, also lake and lagoon
posted by sjswitzer at 11:54 AM on July 3, 2020 [6 favorites]


Wow! That was it! And the additional etymology of lake and lagoon was a great bonus! You all really came through! Neat to know its common uses on missing pieces of an artifact. I had a meta-lacuna after all!
posted by misery loves company at 4:36 PM on July 3, 2020 [1 favorite]


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