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multigenium

multigenium
 n.— «World-changing technologies don’t leap into being overnight. He’s even coined a new word—”multigenium”—for the cumulative, multigenerational exertions that lead to something as complex as the airplane or the printing press. Let’s reserve “invention” for the creative act of a single individual, he writes, and tap “multigenium” to describe “the collective outcome of many of those individual acts—the fruit of the combined genius of the many.”» —“An engineer’s sense of mission” by Fritz Lanham Houston Chronicle (Texas) Aug. 25, 2006. (source: Double-Tongued Dictionary)

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2 comments
  • I think that this term and the concept it embraces can easily devolve into an overwrought usage. I can see its use for things like the space shuttle or any other thing that requires the input of a corporate effort to result in successful goal attainment, but to suggest that the Wright Bros. didn’t invent the airplane is the worst kind of PC revisionism. Taking “found” materials (whether they be raw or value added) and applying them to solve or resolve problems or meet needs IS invention. If someone wants to have a different word for what invention is when executed by more than an individual or duo, well, fine, I suppose, but don’t assume to undo the perfectly proper usage of long-standing terms…especially in favor of a term as graceless as “multigenium”–ugh, it’s almost as bad as “blog”.

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