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The Quixotic Engineer

Monday, December 3, 2007

By Popular Request

Don Quixote

Since it's a common question, I thought I'd address it with a quick guide to pronouncing the word quixotic. The confusion is well warranted; while it's derived from the Man of La Mancha, Don Quixote (roughly KEE-HOE-TAY), the word quixotic has an anglicized pronunciation (KWIK-SO-TIC).

I found a few definitions of the word on the net, but I most preferred this one from Wikipedia: "Quixotism is the description of a person or an act that is caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals. It also serves to describe an idealism without regard to practicality." Engineers are practical by definition, but as a nerd who believes in open-source software, video games as art and harnessing nuclear fusion (someday!), I can't help but feel like a dreamer at times.

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