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An oasis is an isolated patch of vegetation in a desert region.


Obeah is a form of witchcraft practised in the Caribbean.


The oboe is a musical instrument of the woodwind family.


Obsidian is volcanic glass.


The ocarina is a small wind instrument consisting of a pipe pierced with holes

for the fingers. They are usually made of terra-cotta, but sometimes of metal.


Occlusion is the property possessed by certain solids, notably some metals, of

retaining gases either within the solid or on the surface. There is no chemical

combination in the accepted sense.


see "Pulque"


An octroi is a station at the entrance of a town or department for the

collection of local dues and tariffs within a country.


An ode is a short poem, frequently of irregular or complicated lyrical form,

usually written for some special occasion. The term was originally applied to

the choric songs of the Greek dramas, and also to the poems of Pindar, Sappho,

Horace etc.


The ohm is the SI unit of electrical resistance. It was originally defined with

reference to the resistance of a column of mercury, but is now taken as the

resistance between two points when a potential difference of one volt between

them produces a current of one ampere.

Ohm's law

Ohm's law is that the steady current in a metal circuit is directly

proportional to the constant total electromotive force in the circuit, that is

e/i = r


Oil is a large group of viscid liquids which have a characteristic smooth and

sticky feel, are lighter than water, are inflammable and chemically neutral.

Old Maid

Old Maid is a card game for any number of players. A full deck of 52 cards is

used from which the Queen of Hearts has been removed and the remainder dealt.

Pairs are discarded and remaining cards are passed face down to the player to

the left who picks one at random. Play continues until all cards have been

played and one player is left holding the odd Queen (the Old Maid).


Olefines are unsaturated hydrocarbons of the aliphatic series. They resemble

the parrafins but chemically they are more reactive. Methylene is an example of

a very reactive olefine.

Oleic acid

Oleic acid is a colourless, odourless liquid unsaturated acid with the formulae

C18H34O2. It is obtained from animal tallow and natural vegetable oils (olive

oil) in which it occurs as the glycerol ester. It is chiefly used in the

manufacture of soap, commercial oleates and cosmetics where it is used as a



Oligarchy is government by a limited number of persons, as distinct from

democracy (government by all classes) and monarchy (government by one person).


The Oligocene was the fifteenth geological period, 42,000,000 years ago.


An olpe is a Greek oil-flask or small jug for storing oil.

Olympic Games

The Olympic Games originated at Olympia, in Elis, Peloponnesus and were said to

have been originated by Hercules in honour of the Olympian Zeus, and to have

been revived by Iphitus in 776 BC. Thereafter they were held every 4 years

without a break until 393. Today the Olympic Games are still held every 4 years

and are a general sporting contest held between supposedly amateur athletes of

all countries. In recent years the amateur status of many athletes from larger

and more industrial countries has become very dubious casting a shadow over the

spirit of the games.


Omber was a popular card game played in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was

played by three persons and with 40 cards.


Omega is the 24th and last letter of the Greek alphabet.

Omega-minus particle

In physics, an omega-minus particle is a baryon with strangeness -3, isotopic

spin 0, and negative charge.

Omni Page

OmniPage by the Caere Corporation is an optical character recognition program

capable of reading documents into a Macintosh II or Macintosh SE or PC running

Windows in word processing or TIFF format. OmniPage augments desktop publishing

systems by solving the input side of the desktop publishing, just as desktop

publishing programs and laser printers solve the output side. OmniPage scans in

documents and the results appear in a file for editing. This file can be preset

as a text file, a text file without returns, a MacWrite file (essentially

unformatted), or an Excel-compatible (tab-delimited) file, which can be read by

most spreadsheet and database programs. Additional file formats include

WordPerfect and Microsoft Word. Characters that cannot be read are replaced

with the tilde (~) character. You can then edit the scanned text in your

favorite application or using the programs Transitional Editor. On average,

OmniPage scans with an accuracy of 95% or better. The product removes graphics

so they do not interfere with text scanning. The graphics can be scanned into a

separate graphics file. OmniPage lets users choose only paragraphs they want,

and allows resequencing them before recognition takes place, saving editing

time. OmniDraft recognizes 8- or 9-pin dot-matrix draft text. OmniSpell is an

internal spellchecker, which corrects typical optical errors such as a "5" in

place of an "S" or a "cl" in place of a "d."


Omnibus (latin for 'for all') is the old term for a bus (public passenger

carrying vehicle). The first modern bus to make regular journeys was first

introduced in Paris in 1828 and introduced to London by Shillibeer in 1829 when

one carrying 22 passengers ran from Paddington to the Bank.

Omnis 5.0

Omnis 5 is a relational database package designed to be run under MS Windows.

This is a database package designed to make the the most of the graphical Front

end using Windows and allows you to create applications using a graphical

interface to make things easier to use for the end user. Within the package you

can design various datatabases and then using the applications generator you

can create a front end for this database using pictures and icons and you also

have full access to all the fonts that windows can handle. Alternatively you

may use the programming language that comes with this package to write the

applications yourself. Omnis 5 is compatible with Omnis running on the Apple

Mac so it is possible to create applications under the Mac version then use it

on the PC and vice versa. You may also run the two versions over a network and

have the version running the same applcation on the network sharing common

data. There is also a feature within Omnis to access CL/1 SQL server to

incorpoate SQL functions within an application. Omnis 5 is suited to developers

wanting to develop relational database applications with a graphical front end.

Also a good use for this package is developing multi user applications to

bridge between Mac and PC.

Omnis Quartz

Omnis Quartz is a database manager operating within the Windows environment.

This environment uses pull-down menus, scaleable fonts, scrollable lists,

dialog boxes, overlapping windows and most of the other elements common to this

graphical interface. These elements are used to make selections, assemble

sequences of commands from the set of Quartz programming commands and functions

and to define the look and functions of the database application, when

completed. End-users will interact with database applications through layout

windows. While the number of windows in a layout cannot be greater than twelve,

multiple windows may be opened at once. Only the uppermost window is active and

available for data entry. Layout windows can hold a maximum of 120 fields from

up to twelve files, with files being opened when a layout is chosen for data

entry. With most databases, any programming instructions are usually held

separately, often as text files. Omnis Quartz stores the programming

instructions - the sequences - as part of the menu structure. A sequence of

commands can be associated with every menu line - sequences can be up to 5K

long with a storage limit of 30K for each menu. Each of the menu lines has a

number and can also be assigned a name to appear on the menu line. When

"writing" an application, a window opens to show the sequences associated with

each line of the menu. Sequences may be called by other sequences or accessed

from push buttons or menu choices on entry layouts. Quartz comes into its own

for turnkey applications where the advantages of the Windows interface can be

fully exploited.


An ondograph is an instrument for graphically recording oscillatory variations,

as in alternating current.

One and Thirty

One and Thirty was a card game played in England in the 17th century. Each

player is dealt a three-card hand. Face cards count 10 points and pip cards

count face value. Players can draw further cards aiming to get as near 31 as

possible without going over that total.

One Hundred

One Hundred is a card game played with a normal deck of 52 cards for three to

six players. If there are seven or more players two decks are used. Each player

begins with three chips and the object of the game is to be the last player to

have any chips left.

Oneg Shabbat

Oneg Shabbat is a Jewish celebration in honour of the Sabbath that takes place

on Friday evening or Saturday afternoon and usually includes a programme of

songs, a lecture and refreshments.


In philosophy, ontology is the branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature

of being.


An oocyte is an immature female germ cell that gives rise to an ovum after two

meiotic divisions.


Oolong is a kind of dark tea, grown in China, that is partly fermented before

being dried.


An oosphere is a large female gamete produced in the oogonia of algae and fungi.


An oospore is a thick-walled sexual spore that develops from a fertilised

oosphere in some algae and fungi.


An ootheca is a capsule containing eggs that is produced by some insects and



In Zoology, an ootid is an immature female gamete that develops into an ovum.


Opera is a stage entertainment consisting of a play sung to music in its

entirety, with no spoken dialogue at all. Opera originated in Italy around 1600

and has subsequently spread throughout the world.

Opera bouffe

An opera bouffe was a type of light or satirical opera common in France during

the 19th century.

Opera comique

An opera comique was a type of opera, not necessarily comic, current in France

during the 19th century and characterised by spoken dialogue. It originated in

satirical parodies of grand opera.

Operating System

In computing, an operating system (OS) is the foundation software of a machine

that schedules tasks, allocates storage, and presents a default interface to

the user between applications.


The ophicleide was a brass musical instrument, now replaced by the brass tuba.


In the days when CD ROMs were expensive, companies with a NetBIOS compatible

network and a CD ROM application could provide up to 100 network users

simultaneous access to one CD ROM drive with Opti-Net. Opti-Net was installed

on a network workstation and not on a network file server, so there was no

speed degradation of the network. The product was installed as a dedicated CD

ROM server or run as a TSR, with other applications running simultaneously.

Opti-Net supported up to 32 CD ROM drives attached to the CD ROM server. Each

CD ROM drive was accessed as a separate local drive.


The optophone is an instrument invented by Fournier d'Albe, by means of which

the letters of ordinary print are caused to produce characteristic musical

sounds by being projected optically on to a screen composed of a number of

selnium cells connected to an AC electrical source of audio frequency, and to a

loud speaker.


An oratorio is a musical setting of religious incidents scored for an

orchestra, choir, or solo voices on a scale larger and more dramatic than a

cantata. The term originates from the 16th century when the first oratory was

performed in Rome.


see "Oratorio"


An orbit is the path or trajectory of a body through space. A force of

attraction or repulsion from a second body usually causes the path to be

curved. A familiar type of orbit occurs when one body revolves around a second,

strongly attracting body. In the solar system the force of gravity causes the

moon to orbit about the earth and the planets to orbit about the sun, whereas

in an atom electrical forces cause electrons to orbit about the nucleus. In

astronomy, the orbits resulting from gravitational forces are the subject of

the scientific field of celestial mechanics.


Ordeal is a primitive mode of trial of testing the guilt of an accused person

based upon the belief that heaven will protect the innocent and allow the

guilty to suffer. Methods employed include walking barefoot on hot coals,

dipping the hands into boiling water and carrying red hot irons.

Order of the Garter

The Order of the Garter is a dignitary awarded for chivalry. It was implemented

in 1349.


The Ordovician period was the fourth geological period, 375,000,000 years ago.

Orekhovo Klub Sport

see "Dynamo Moscow"

Org Plus

Org Plus is a computer flowcharter program with a single purpose - to help you

draw up and manage the personnel structure within your organisation. Because it

is dedicated to a single job, Org Plus offers a range of options that other

more generalist charting software can't.


In chemistry, the term organic refers to substances which occur naturally as

constituents of organised bodies.

Organic Chemistry

Organic chemistry is the chemistry of the compounds of carbon.

OrgPlus Advanced

OrgPlus Advanced by Banner Blue offers an easy way to create organisation

charts with your PC. The program reduces the time it takes to create and

maintain data for organization charts and helps keep your organisation chart

up-to-date. To create a chart, you begin with the top level and work down. You

can enter names, titles, and comments for each entry, and then define further

branching entries. The product automatically draws and spaces boxes, centres

text, and lays out the connecting lines. There are seven chart styles and eight

box styles to choose from. Each box can contain a name, title, four comments,

and six amount fields. You can customise charts on-screen and print sideways

without additional software. The product lets you create organisation charts

with up to 600 positions, if you have sufficient memory. After OrgPlus Advanced

automatically draws your chart, you can electronically cut and paste it on the

screen. Features include the ability to draw vertical and horizontal lines,

enhance text with bold, underline, or italics, add boxes and notes anywhere on

a chart, make chart titles larger, and move, copy, or delete blocks of



Origami is the art of paper folding.


Orion is a constellation located on the celestial equator east of Taurus. It is

a rectangular configuration with three stars in line near its center. It is

represented on pictorial charts as the figure of Orion, the hunter in Greek

mythology, standing with uplifted club. Three bright stars represent his belt

and three fainter stars aligned south of the belt represent his sword.


Ormolu is an alloy of brass used in making candlesticks, small statues and

other articles. The composition is generally 58 per cent copper, 26 per cent

zinc and 16 per cent tin.


Ornithology is the scientific study of birds.

Orris Root

Orris root is the powdered root of Iris florentina, the common white flowered

iris. It was used in making perfume before the advent of synthetic scents.


An orthicon is a form of television camera tube in which the optical image to

be transmitted is projected on a photo-sensitive mosaic on the far side of a

transparent signal plate, a charge pattern thus being produced on the mosaic.


Ortho-Toluidine is a form of toluidine used in the manufacture of rosaniline.


see "Operating System"


OS/2 was the anointed successor to MS-DOS for Intel 286 and 386 based micros.

Some say it was proof that IBM/Microsoft couldn't get it right the second time,

either. On January the 28th, 1991, Microsoft announced that it was dropping its

OS/2 development to concentrate on Windows, leaving the OS entirely in the

hands of IBM.


Osmiridium (iridosmine) is a naturally occurring alloy of osmium and iridium.


Osmium is a blue-white metal element with the symbol Os. It is volatile and

very poisonous.


In chemistry, osmosis is the passage of fluid from a less concentrated solution

to a more concentrated solution through a semipermeable membrane.


Otis is the world's largest manufacturer of elevators (lifts).

Otto of Roses

see "Attar"


Ottocento is a Tarot game for four players that comes from Bologna. Tarot games

have been played in that city for over 500 years, and the game of Ottocento as

currently played preserves distinct characteristics (both of the games and of

the pack of cards) which go back at least to the 16th century. Ottocento is a

point-trick game, with trumps. The cards have point values individually (as in

other Tarot games) but also score in combinations. There is no bidding, but

players can score by declaring card combinations held in their hands at the

start of play, as well as for combinations taken in tricks. There are four

players, two against two in fixed partnerships. Play is anticlockwise. The pack

is known as the Tarocco Bolognese - the version of the Tarot pack that has been

used at Bologna since the 16th century. This pack is produced and sold by the

main Italian playing-card manufacturers. It is somewhat similar to other

Italian-suited Tarot packs, but omits the two to the five of each plain suit,

and has other peculiarities found only at Bologna.


The ounce is a unit of measurement of the avoirdupois scale equivalent to 16

drams or 28.350 grams.


see "ounce"


In clock and watch making an overcoil is a fixed end of a spiral hairspring,

consisting of an upwardly and inwardly bent continuation of the outermost coil

of the spring and used to offset the asymmetry of the common spiral spring when

tight, which impairs isochronism.

Oxalic acid

Oxalic acid (acid of sugar) is a poison found in rhubarb.


see "Bovate"


Oxidation is the chemical combination of atoms with oxygen atoms to form

oxides. In metals, the process appears as rust, iron rust being iron oxide, a

molecule formed of iron atoms combined with oxygen atoms.


In chemistry, an oxide is a compound of oxygen and some other element.


The term oxidise refers to the chemical reaction of oxidation.


Oxygen is an element that is found free as a colourless, odourless, tasteless

gas in the atmosphere, of which it constitutes 21%. It is found in water, most

rocksand minerals, and in numerous compounds; it is capable of combining with

all of the elements, except for the inert gases; it is active in physiological

processes and especially in combustive processes. It has the symbol O.


Oxytocin is a hormone that stimulates the uterus in late pregnancy to initiate

and sustain labour.


Ozone is a blue gas. The molecules are comprised of three oxygen atoms.

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