Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Cartocacoethes

Steve, the best maintenance man ever employed by my library, is currently repainting my department. The walls in this room have not been painted since the department was created, nearly twenty years ago. That dark red, dark blue and grey have always seemed a bit gloomy and we are being cheered by the fresh shades of blue and green on our walls. First, he works around the trim before attacking the larger areas with the roller... but wait! Is that a map of Ohio I see?



Cartocacoethes is a word coined to describe "a mania, uncontrollable urge, compulsion or itch to see maps everywhere." Yeah, that sounds like me.

I don't know if it is a real word. I cannot find it in the Oxford English Dictionary. The only reference I can find to it is on other map blogs, and has been discussed, at length, on Making Maps and Strange Maps. If someone has a citation to an actual medical dictionary reference to this word, please send it my way.

UPDATE:
jb krygier said...

Of course it is a real word, I know because I made it up. I was reading up on the Catalhoyuk map and working on an essay with Denis W. about the actual absence of maps prior to 1500 (very few and far between) and it dawned on me that most "prehistoric maps" are not really maps, and there is a mania among modern cartographic historians (and others) to cast our modern sense of mapping back into prehistory, to prove maps have always been with us. Anyhow, the Catal. map is a prime example of seeing maps where there are none, and it is not just a passive thing, but an active mania. So cacoethes made sense, and carto tagged onto it led to a word that sounded like it should exist, so there you are.

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7 Comments:

At Tuesday, September 15, 2009 , Blogger Dug said...

I think that's actually a population cartogram of Ohio with the Northeast metro areas and I-71 corridor grotesquely enlarged!

 
At Wednesday, September 16, 2009 , Blogger jb krygier said...

Of course it is a real word, I know because I made it up. I was reading up on the Catalhoyuk map and working on an essay with Denis W. about the actual absence of maps prior to 1500 (very few and far between) and it dawned on me that most "prehistoric maps" are not really maps, and there is a mania among modern cartographic historians (and others) to cast our modern sense of mapping back into prehistory, to prove maps have always been with us. Anyhow, the Catal. map is a prime example of seeing maps where there are none, and it is not just a passive thing, but an active mania. So cacoethes made sense, and carto tagged onto it led to a word that sounded like it should exist, so there you are.

john k.

 
At Wednesday, September 16, 2009 , Blogger Cartophiliac said...

Thanks for coming clean, John. But I agree, it is a great word. I predict it will be in the dictionary within a decade.

 
At Wednesday, September 16, 2009 , Blogger Shawna Gambol Woodard said...

I see that Ohio has gobbled up a few counties in the Pittsburgh and Ohio Valley areas. So are the Steelers now an Ohio team?

 
At Wednesday, September 16, 2009 , Blogger Cartophiliac said...

Those would be fighting words in some parts of Ohio...

 
At Sunday, September 20, 2009 , Blogger sgenius said...

I don't know; seems more like a vertically elongated South Africa to me...

I've had cartocacoethes since I was very little. I'm so relieved there's now a word for that! Now I'll have to look for an spanish translation...

 
At Monday, September 28, 2009 , Blogger Michael5000 said...

The northern panhandle of West Virginia is pretty darn visible...

 

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