by Paul Niquette
Copyright ©1996 Resource Books All rights reserved.
holomorph n. Entire form. Most commonly, "holomorphic analysis" a substitute expression for "systems analysis," a study of overall operational requirements of a system. Unused neologism.
What word in the English Language has the most definitions?
Hints: The word (r) has three letters, (u) claims at least 55 distinct meanings, and (n) takes up as much as a page in any worthwhile dictionary.
There ought to be some limit, don't you think?

As human knowledge expands, old words take on new meanings and new words appear -- but rarely (see computer science).  Some old words get loaded up mighty heavy with meanings.  The more that occurs, the more you must depend on context to figure out which particular meaning is intended.  Enough of that, and you don't need the word at all!

Why doesn't somebody come along and do something?

For what it's worth, someone tried once.
The problem he encounterd was with the word "systems" (with an "s" on each end), which has a wide range of definitions.  Dictionaries give about a dozen.  Through most of the 1970's, his work in a corporate "brain-trust" brought him in contact with at least another dozen informal meanings.
A lot was at stake.  Or so he thought.
Top management had made a long-range assignment to the "Kitchen Cabinet."  Its new leader retained outside consultants for some advice about the future.   World markets, according to the experts, were moving away from "products" toward "systems."  Maintaining leadership meant that the company, a "multinational" with more than 100,000 employees, would have to make quite a few changes.  The sentiment was breathed in closed meetings with the "Corporate Staff."  A worrisome signal traveled to the far reaches of the enterprise at full rumor-speed, which rivals the velocity of light.  Management at all levels took action.
  • Soon every division had a systems department, every  department a systems section, every section a systems  group.
  • Within each organizational unit, there appeared systems specialists, systems analysts, systems engineers.
  • Imagine the blizzard of plans and proposals for systems selling, systems pricing, systems support.
The conventional instruments of business received new names:
  • configuration management became systems integration,
  • production control became manufacturing systems,
  • data processing became management systems,
  • policies and procedures became systems and procedures.
Oh yes, and all the company's products curiously transmogrified into systems.

The leader of the Kitchen Cabinet was sent forth to make sense of the systems business, an assignment which took him all over the world, holding meetings and reviewing operations.  He was amazed to learn, the disruptions were minimal.  There were no massive dislocations, few slipped schedules, only a little screwed up self-awareness.

The worldwide study afforded him a unique opportunity to observe a linguistic phenomenon, the definitional overload of the word "systems."  In his initial report he suggested partitioning the diverse meanings of systems and invented two terms to pick up some of them, "holomorph" and "polykut."

Neither word caught on.  That really bums me out.
Apparently nobody wanted to become a "holomorphic analyst."  Or be responsible for building "poykuts."

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