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To get a more in-depth description of any term in the Glossary, as well as a list of articles that relate to the term, just click on the term in the list of Terms below. You’ll be taken to a page that contains the Term, the Longer Description, and a list of articles related to that topic.


Ancestors are family members in one's direct line, related by blood, such as parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and the generations before them. Collectively, they are considered one's ancestry.

An autobiography is a written description of the events of one's life. It usually starts with the date and place of birth and continues through the present day.

A Boomer is someone born after World War II, between 1946 and 1964. Because of the delay of births during World War II when men were deployed overseas, pent-up wishes for a family produced the largest bulge in population growth in America. Those in this population boom were named Boomers, or Baby Boomers.

Also see: Boomer

Also see: Boomer

Cancer is a cluster of diseases characterized by fast-growing cells that spread quickly throughout the body, overwhelming its natural defenses. It may be fatal. The various types of cancer are typically named after the part of the body where they first appear.

There is also a staging convention that indicates the severity of cancer, by Stage I, II, III, or IV, depending on whether it is localized to the primary site (Stage I) or in other sites distant from the primary site (Stage IV).

Although research suggests that nutrition is an important factor both in reducing the risk of getting cancer and of surviving it after diagnosis, there is still no definitive diet for cancer patients to follow. Foods that appear to reduce risk include fruits and vegetables with bright colors, such as carrots, sweet potatoes and blueberries. A lower intake of meat and reduced or eliminated alcohol, sugar, and processed meats are also suggested.

Cancer survivors traditionally have been considered those who have survived five years after diagnosis. More recently, the cancer community considers survivors those who have completed treatment.

Recommended amounts of chia seeds to eat a day vary from about three-quarters of a tablespoon (10 grams or one ounce) to two tablespoons (15 grams), according to the livestrong and Dr. Oz sites.

A condolence is an expression of sympathy, usually after the death of a family member or friend. It is usually in the plural, as in, "He offered his condolences to the family."

Cornholing is a popular beach or indoor game for young adults similar to the beanbag toss games popular in the 1950s. Organized and sometimes used to raise money for charities, there are now tournaments. The name is borrowed from a raunchy sexual term.

Also see: Cover Your Cough

Cover Your Cough is what parents used to direct their children to do when they coughed or sneezed, so as not to spread germs to others from the cough. Research since this advice was first promoted to parents suggests that many colds and flu are spread by contact with the hands, so now children are directed to cough or sneeze into their elbow or shoulder.

Cursive writing is script that links letters together without lifting the pen or pencil. It used to be taught starting in the second grade. It is now largely superseded by the use of keyboards, so most children, while they may learn cursive writing in school, largely print when they are writing by hand and not typing on a keyboard or texting on a cellphone.

A drop-side crib, used until 2011, allowed easy access to a crib by allowing parents to lower one side of the crib. Deaths from loose mechanisms, in which babies were caught between the mattress and the side of the crib prompted their being outlawed in 2011. Newer cribs have sides that fold down from the top.

Edible manipulatives are food (edible) that is used to help with education, usually mathematics, by picking it up and holding it (manipulative). Grapes, for instance, can be used to teach counting. Fruits can be used to teach colors.

Family history, like genealogy, may include names, places and dates of birth, and relationships among family members. It may also include more specific information, such as a medical family history, to provide a clearer picture of possible medical risks, such as cancer.
Also see: Genealogy

Flat Stanley was initially a character in a children's story book about a little boy who became flat enough to be mailed. A geography teacher took this concept and invited his students to make life-sized pictures of themselves, then take photos of that life-sized image wherever they traveled.

A Forever Stamp is one printed by the U.S. Post Office that does not change denomination when the cost of mailing a letter changes. It will always be sufficient to mail a letter, even when the cost of postage goes up.

The term "Fun with Grandchildren" refers to activities that bring generations closer together.
Also see: Grandchildren

G-Mom is a cute name for a grandmother.
Also see: Grandma, Name for Grandma

Gen Y, or Generation Y, also called the Millenials, are those born between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s. Many are children of Baby Boomers. For more information, click here:

Genealogy is the study of one's ancestors or family tree. Establishing relationships, names and dates and places of birth, and family history, values and stories are all often included in genealogical research.

Also see: GlamMa

GlamMa is a fun name for Grandma given to Goldie Hawn by her son on the birth of her first grandchild. It is short for Glamorous (Glam) Grandma (Ma).

Grandchildren are the children of a parent's children. That is, the sons and daughters of a woman's son or daughter are her grandchildren.
Also see: Fun with Grandchildren

A grandma, or grandmother, is a woman whose child has had a child. Grandma is usually the shortened, affectionate name for this role.

Grandmother is the formal term for the mother of the mother or father with children. Grandma is the more common, less formal name.
Also see: Grandma

A Grandmother-to-be is a mother who has a son or daughter who is about to become a parent.

Many hospitals offer grandparenting classes to teach grandparents some of the safety issues that have changed since they raised their children.

Grandparents Rights refers to the legal right of grandparents to step in to care for their grandchildren, because the parents are absent or otherwise unable to care for their children.

Hand sanitizers, containing an alcohol-based cleaner that dries quickly, have become common in portable toilets (Jiffy Johns), where running water and paper towels may not be available. You will also see them in places like the entrance to grocery stores or other places where there are large crowds to cut down on the spread of germs, colds and flu. With research showing that a significant number of people do not wash their hands with soap and water after using the bathroom, an even more effective way to cut down on the spread of germs, increased use of hand sanitizers is believed to be a good back-up method.

HTML, which stands for Hypertext Markup Language, is a set of tags that printing or computer display software uses to interpret formatting instructions. Thus, when a user wants to put a word in boldface, using HTML, a tag is inserted before and after the word that software can read to display the word in bold type. Most editing computer systems give writers the choice of composing their documents by seeing the HTML code that is inserted or seeing only the text that will be displayed, with the HTML code in the background. Most computer display systems give users the choice, "View Source" if they want to see the HTML code behind the text displayed. HTML was adopted as a standard text markup language in the 1980s on computerized systems, replacing customized tagging systems that printers were using then.

HTML code, with paragraph and bold tags:

<p><b>Don't</b> touch that!</p> 

The interpretation of the line above:

Don't touch that!

Hyperthermia is overheating. It is used to describe the condition of a child who has been left in a closed car that is not air-conditioned in the summer. It may result in death.


Instant Messaging is a technology by which you can use your computer to send a text message realtime to someone else's computer, if they have the same technology. For more information, click here

A journal is a regular record of events in one's life. Often a daily practice of recording details, it can be turned into a book or used as a resource in writing an autobiography.
Also see: Autobiography, Memoir

Kapla blocks are regularly-shaped rectangles of pine wood used to build models of buildings. The precision of the regular cuts makes it possible to stack the blocks to great heights and design architecturally interesting structures. Invented by someone who wanted to build a model of his own house, they are now popular in schools and playrooms.

A labyrinth is a regularly-shaped design that allows someone to walk a path through the design. Flat, on the ground, usually circular, it is considered soothing, or meditative to walk the path. Some labyrinths have a different path out of the design once someone has walked to the center.

Also see: Landline

What used to be called a phone or telephone is now distinguished as a landline because it plugs into a telephone line in the wall. These lines are laid underground or above ground on telephone poles, continuing until they connect to the house of the person being  called. This is distinct from cell phones that are connected, wirelessly to a cell phone tower that passes signals to another tower, by line of sight, until reaching a tower near the cell phone being  called.

A legacy is what someone leaves behind when they die. It may be money, memories or a place, activity, event or artistic creation for which they were responsible.

Also see: Condolence

A printing convention in which two letters are joined as a single unit. This was generally because two letters joined indicated they were pronounced as a single letter instead of separately and started with scribes who, for speed, joined two letters next to each other with left-facing and right-facing bowls. This convention is largely being dropped in favor of selecting one letter closest to the pronunciation or including both letters separately, leaving readers to learn that they are pronounced distinctively, not phonetically. Examples are amoeba  (the o and e used to be joined in a ligature) and encyclopedia (the second e used to be preceded and joined with an a in a ligature).

Linguistics is the study of language, how it is acquired, especially infants, how it is taught, and the history of the development of the family of languages.

The Mediterranean Diet focuses on fruits and vegetables, a higher proportion of fish over meat, no processed foods, like baloney, no refined sugar or flour. It has been associated with a lower risk of cancer and is recommended by some nutritionists for cancer patients after therapy.

A memoir is a written description of significant events in one's life. In this, it is distinctive from an autobiography, which covers the whole span of a life, but the two terms are often used interchangeably.
Also see: Autobiography

A Mommy Blogger is a mother who writes about her family and her observations of the world in a blog accessible to the public on the Internet. Originally a way to connect isolated Moms, its popularity has attracted professional writers. Now, many bloggers connect in networks of Mommy bloggers to increase their visibility both to their intended audience and to the search engines, potentially aggregating an audience of readers large enough to attract sales to advertisers to pay for the blog in the young mother demographic and to provide a more complex site of varied opinions and observations.

Moral license is the psychological phenomenon of excusing bad behavior that is balanced by good behavior. Thus, a corporate raider who bankrupts a company may excuse the behavior to themselves by contributing heavily to a charity. It is distinct from moral hazard in which a disproportionate weight is given to one side in a dispute because of their power, not the value of their contribution. If a government, for example, supports a business or a country or a political party in a dispute, the business may then act inappropriately because it has the weight of the government's support behind hit.

Also see: Grandma

Also see: Name for Grandma

The term "Names for Grandparents" refers to the honorific by which a grandparent is known to their grandchildren.
Also see: Name for Grandma, Names for Grandma

Also known as: New Grandmas

There is a charming saying, "When a baby is born, so is a Grandma." A new Grandma is simply a mother who is a grandmother for the first time, just like a new Mom is a woman who is a mother for the first time.

A new Mom is a woman who is a mother for the first time, with the birth of her first child.

An obituary is a public notice of someone's death. It generally includes date of death and time and place for funeral arrangements. It usually includes cause of death and the names of close surviving family members. It may include suggestions for donations to a favorite cause in honor of the person who is gone. For celebrities, it is usually written by a newspaper providing the reason for their celebrity. Otherwise, it is written by the funeral home, with the help of the family, or by the family.

Once removed is a family relationship description that refers to the generations separating the family members. Thus, if someone has a first cousin with children, the children are their first cousins, once removed, or removed by one generation from the primary relationship with the first cousin. If the first cousin has grandchildren, the grandchildren are first cousins, twice removed, or two generations removed from the primary relationship of the first cousin.

Also known as: Paper Clip, Paperclips, Red Paperclip, Red Paper Clip

The simple office paperclip has been used in a magic trick with a strip of paper and to demonstrate the magnitude of the Holocaust, when a school classroom collected 6 million paperclips and stored them in a railcar that had been used to transport people to concentration camps in Germany during World War II. It has even been used, one red paperclip, to trade up, to a house.

Parentless parents refers to the situation in which new parents cannot rely on the traditional support of their parents because they are already gone by the time the grandchildren are born.

Phonetic spelling is spelling that is easy to pronounce. That is, the word graph is spelled with a ph that is pronounced as f. If the spelling were changed to graf, it would be phonetic. There are some proponents of revising all spelling to be phonetic so it would be easier to learn how to read, as is the case in Spanish, for instance. However, most linguists and educators recognize that the meaning or historical context associated with non-phonetic spelling is valuable in understanding content.

A brief description of an event, person or emotion. Different from prose, a poem often rhymes, typically has lilting meter and evokes emotion with its spare language.
Also see: Poems

A brief description of an event, person or emotion. Different from prose, a poem often rhymes, typically has lilting meter and evokes emotion with its spare language.
Also see: Poem

Poetry is a type of writing, compared to prose, that is rhythmic, easy to remember and often follows a form, as in the number of lines and number of words or syllables in a line.
Also see: Poems

Polio, a crippling disease that makes it difficult or impossible to walk, was eliminated in the United States after the introduction of a polio vaccine in the 1960s. Now, with the lead of Rotary International and the Gates Foundation, efforts are underway to eliminate polio in the world, just as smallpox was eliminated. There are still only six countries where polio has not yet been eliminated but is being fought vigorously.

Also known as: Quick Response Code

A QR, or Quick Response, Code is a square black and white code, much like a bar code, that is read by a QR-specific code reader, including some cell phones. It encodes a description of the product it is on. To enable updating of these descriptions, it may include a web site address with the most recent description. As businesses try to figure out ways to take advantage of this additional information-delivery method, it is being used on t-shirts and boutique beer bottle labels to take users to a game. More information is available at Wikipedia, here.

Also known as: Quidditch on the Ground

Quidditch is a game introduced in the Harry Potter books.  As the child wizards-in-training in the books could fly on magic brooms, they had developed a game in which they flew their brooms while trying to kick or throw balls through a hoop.

This game has been modified for non-wizards to play on the ground, running with a broom between your legs. Hoops are on the ground to throw or kick a ball through. This game is also called Quidditch on the ground. It started on college campuses in New England and now has national tournaments.

The typewriter keyboard that became the standard is sometimes referred to by the letters across the top left row of the keyboard, just below the numbers, QWERTY. On the right side of the top row, you will see UIP to finish the row, but QWERTY is how this keyboard layout is identified.

Scrapbooking became a verb about the same time it overtook golf in revenues earned a year from the various books, papers and other supplies and tools used to create beautiful scrapbooks. More sophisticated and creative than the scrapbooks of childhood, this is now a hobby enjoyed by many adults seeking to create a book of memories for their families. Digital scrapbooking allows its followers to create their scrapbooks online, with digital backgrounds and photos assembled in digital scrapbooking sites.

A second cousin is the child of one of your parent's cousins. That is, children of cousins are second cousins to each other. Their children are third cousins to each other. This is distinct from removed, which refers to generations removed. Thus, children of cousins, who are second cousins to each other, are second cousins once removed to their cousins' parents or to their second cousins' children.

Also known as: Small Pox

Smallpox was a very contagious disease that caused large boils to arise on the skin and scar it. It was sometimes fatal. It was eliminated from the world with the advent of a smallpox vaccine in the 1950s. Now that it has been eliminated, vaccinations are no longer necessary. However, Boomers are marked by the permanent scar of the vaccination, usually on the left upper arm.

Social entrepreneurship is when the owner of a for-profit business combines that effort to make money with a cause it supports with some of its profits. Tom's Shoes, for instance, donates shoes to poor children. Athena Water contributes to cancer causes.

Socially conscious venture funds invest in companies that support efforts to improve the world. This may be through environmentally-friendly technologies, medical research, or efforts to lift people out of poverty with inexpensive clean water technologies or other, relevant businesses.

A survivor is anyone who lives through a life-threatening event.

Texting is the act of typing a short message and sending it from one phone to another phone that has the technology to send and receive text messages. This is distinct from using a telephone for calling and talking to another person, a voice message. More information on the history of text messaging, or texting, is available here at wikipedia.

Twitter is a free Internet-based service that allows users to type 140 characters at a time, answering the question, "What are you doing now?" Mocked for the boring nature of some people's answer to this question, it has seen widespread use among young people who just want to touch base with friends.  It is now also used by businesses to alert customers to coupons or deals.

Typing was a term designed to describe striking the keys on a typewriter to make them print on a piece of paper. We still use the same term even though children think typewriters are simply old computers. The same QWERTY keyboard layout is used for most computer keyboards. There has been some attempt to substitute the work keyboarding for the word typing, to align more closely with the device being used, but this has not displaced the use of the word typing.

An umlaut is two dots over a letter that mark the fact that it has a different pronunciation than without the two dots. The two dots are actually called a trema, but the word umlaut is more commonly understood to mark letters. The vowels in German are marked to show their pronunciation. The trema is also used to indicate dieresis in English, to show that two vowels next to each other are pronounced separately, such as in cooperate and reenter. The use of markings, the two dots, is falling out of favor for this use in English. For more information, check the Wikipedia description.

UV swimwear is designed to protect against the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays. Research suggests that people are at much greater risk for skin cancer later in life if they were sunburned as children. Thus, children, both boys and girls, are now routinely protected by wearing UV shirts when they go swimming.

Vanity license plates are issued by the state a car is registered in. The difference is that the owner selects the 7 or 8 letters and numbers they want for their license plate and pays an additional fee from $10 to $100, depending on the state, to buy their choice of license plate. States often also allow the choice of a number of different backgrounds on the plate. With the restriction to 7 or 8 letters, numbers and sometimes characters, owners have become very creative at spelling personally meaningful messages, like L8 2 WRK (late to work).

Visualization of information is a way to present a large amount of data in a way that that is easier to understand. Graphs are one of the most common visualization tools, allowing the reader to see trends over time, for instance, for numbers that have been collected daily. Pie charts are another common visualization tool that allow the reader to see quickly what proportion of the pie belongs to a specific category.

Zorbing is a recreational activity. People climb into a life-sized transparent rubber sphere, where they are strapped into a harness and rolled down a hill.