The intellectual equivalent of a burst blood vessel

Posted on Sun 17 Nov 2013 @ 8.40am UTC

WE wonder, in moments of idle curiosity, if intellectual faculty by its very nature pushes down one’s qualities as a living, breathing human being.

An intellectual test, straight from the laughing lips of our Facebonk feed, might help to set the context a little:—

specgram re stroke redacted 2013 1117

(Names and faces fudged and smudged to protect you, me and sundry other guilty parties.)

Look at Comment No. 2 (arrowed)

The received wisdom is that intellect has the reputation of being a good thing. Yet having a high intellect doesn’t seem to be a positive asset for some people. It can backfire and become quite the embarrassment — if not altogether a character limitation — at least from what we could discern from this little Facebook escapade.

We’re not an ‘operationally literate’ bunch here at Learn English or Starve, so we can’t say for sure what goes on (or off) inside some people’s brainbox. On first impressions, we’d hazard a guess that it smells like spreading it a bit thick to impress. If not that, then ‘overtrained’ to produce an intellectualised response.

Whichever and whatever the case, it could’ve done with a little less self-pwnage (see pwn in the Glossary).

To induce a stroke??? ‘To stroke’ means what???

LOL, what do you do with a pet?

A very reliable source (a doctor) told us, no, an induced stroke happens only in the movies.

Intuitive meaning? That’s rich coming from the commenter…

Ahhh, yissss…

hand stroking cat getty rf

Tarquin the cat being stroked by a crazed owner (via Naked Science Forum)

Come on, peep’l, word up.

For the verb to stroke, the literal meaning is to rub gently in a soothing or caressing manner, such as to pass the hand or some tool over something with light pressure.

ego stroke

(via BougieLand)

The non-literal meaning is to flatter, as in to promote feelings of approval or self-approval in someone — figuratively caressing someone’s ego, perhaps?

I like to stroke your balls cat. — (Literal: To rub the cat gently)

This cat hates being stroked by strangers. — (Literal)

Good reception comes from words that stroke the listener’s sensibilities. — (Non-literal)

The salesman’s words stroked the customer’s ego. — (Non-literal)

Arghhhh! Nooooo!

The noun stroke (including the gerund stroking) has two dozen meanings, depending on the political and/or linguistic stance of the dictionary you choose to believe in. Look them up in your favourite dictionary.

power stroking flyer culver city ice rink

Superpowered hits where it hurts (via Culver City Ice Rink)

Most dictionaries give the primary meaning as the act or instance of hitting, knocking or striking a thing or someone (with or without a weapon). But this meaning is largely unused nowadays, being replaced in most cases by the more obvious words hit, hitting, strike, striking and the like.

Comment No. 1 in that Facebook thread was very clever, indeed. The comment alluded to this meaning of hitting or striking. The comment is also a hidden reference to an old English expression to strike or to stroke — from an old but apocryphal English phrase “To strike or to stroke means the difference between friend and foe.” Both those senses are linked to another old English expression “Speak softly and carry a big stick” — a meaning perhaps better remembered as President Theodore Roosevelt’s “Big Stick” stance in American foreign policy during the early 20th century.

stroke rowboat wikipedia

A coxless pair in the drive part of a ‘stroke’ in rowing.
The ‘stroke’ rower is closest to the stern (back) of the boat
and rowing ‘strokeside’ (or ‘port’) (via Wikipedia)

Nowadays, by far the commonest meaning of the noun stroke is an act or instance of making a single complete movement (in a series of movements).

The ‘suck—squeeze—bang—blow’ represents one stroke of the internal combustion engine.

The vertical stroke of the handwritten lowercase ‘f’ makes it the longest letter in the alphabet, and the horizontal stroke of ‘w’ the widest.

Some older meanings are still retained:—

A stroke of luck. — (A sudden action or occurrence)

A stroke of genius. — (A brilliant act or feat)

Kick the bucket with it

stroke warning signs

(via Northwest Medical Center)

READ: The Naked Listener’s Weblog‘s crash course on how to identify a stroke.

The word stroke is centuries-old even in medicine.

Without going deep into medical detail, a stroke is an interruption or depletion of blood flow to the brain by any cause.

(The medical purist will consider stroke as depletion of oxygen supply to the brain.)

The medical world classifies strokes under two categories of cause, either by blockage or by haemorrhage. Both are medical emergencies because either can lead to death at the moment of onset or within 24 hours at most.

87%–90% are ischaemic strokes (ee-SKEE-mik, IPA /ɪ′ski mik/)

This is caused by blockage of a blood vessel leading to or inside the brain. The word ischaemia (AmE ischemia) means lack of blood flow. You’ll experience this if blood has stopped going to your fat head.

10%–13% are haemorrhagic strokes (hem-uh-RAJ-ik, IPA /ˌhɛm ə′rædʒ ɪk/)

This is caused by rupture (bursting) of a blood vessel inside the brain. The word haemorrhage (AmE hemorrhage) means to bleed profusely. You’ll experience this if you’re angry enough to burst a blood vessel. Believe it or not, the bursting has the force of a one-kiloton nuclear explosion, according to a BBC TV programme we recall from 1983.

The haemorrhagic stroke was once called apoplexy, but this stopped being a medical term roughly 150 years ago and that word is now mainly found in religious writings.

The previous medical term for any kind of stroke was cerebrovascular accident (CVA), a term modelled on the similar-sounding cardiovascular accident/attack. Clearly someone was trying to sound clever.  Today, medicos are back to using stroke, but specifying ischaemic or haemorrhagic. Amen to that.

As mentioned already, we cannot induce a stroke. However, certain things (for instance, a chiropractic neck manipulation) can lead to a stroke. We suppose a good personal-injury lawyer might argue the stroke had been induced by such an act. Notwithstanding that, Commenter No. 2 clearly watches one too many TV serials.

Interestingly, four Turkish neurosurgeons wrote a paper in 2009 about using hydrogen peroxide to induce a stroke in mice (Kut et al., “Hydrogen peroxide-induced stroke: Elucidation of the mechanism in vivo,” Journal of Neurosurgery, Jan. 2009, volume 110(1), pages 94–100).

Worryingly, a bunch of German scientists (who else?) in 2012 refined a way to bring about a stroke in rats through light rays (Schmidt et al., “Photochemically induced ischemic stroke in rats,” Experimental and Translational Stroke Medicine, 9 Aug. 2012, volume 4(1), page 13).

Perversely, the medical world still uses the expression “a stroke may be interrupted by death,” which (if we think about this carefully) speaks volumes about the attitudes of medicos regarding emergencies.

© Learn English or Starve, 2013. (B13382)

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