I am reading my assigned paper for this week’s Advanced Perception seminar. It is about developing an optical character recognition (OCR) system capable of reading the majority of hand-addressed mail processed by the postal service. They just used the term “levels of sortation” to refer to how much location detail you can get from an address.

Please tell me that sortation isn’t a word. Please. It was as if millions of linguists cried out in terror… and then were silenced.

At least I can take solace in the fact that “sortation” isn’t in the OS X spell checker…

Nothing Else Matters” from Inquisition Symphony by Apocalyptica


7 responses to “Sortation”

  1. Hey Nick, just responding to your request for exchanging PGP fingerprints… I trust your Livejournal, and I suppose you can trust my livejournal account and my SCCS userpage in combination. You can find all of my PGP key stuff at

    And the fingerprint you should find there is:

    pub 1024D/3DB2E789 2004-02-03 Nelson Pavlosky (Nelson’s first GPG key!)
    Primary key fingerprint: F02F FF8E 08E7 01AE D595 06C8 5D0F F79E 3DB2 E789

  2. From

    sor·ta·tion. n. Sorting, especially when mechanized or automated.

    And when you google “sortation”, you get 23000+ hits, so it’s in common usage. Heck, if “google” can be verbed, “sortation” can be nounified, I guess.

  3. What if you, whoever you may be, not only intercepted the e-mailed request I sent to Nelson’s e-mail, but also gained access to his LiveJournal account? How do I know Nelson isn’t careful about logging out of his LiveJournal, or keeping his passwords somewhere secure?

    I’ve switched to being totally paranoid before signing a key, so that people who trust my key know that I’m being careful about checking keys.

  4. In the case of google, it’s a clear improvement over saying “search online”, “use a search engine”, “use the Google search engine”, etc.

    “sorting” is also a perfectly good word, and it’s shorter than “sortation”. The only added value is the distinction between manual and automated sorting.

    I put “sortation” in the same category with other silly agglomerative uses of affixes, like “ginormous”, “hugantic”, “ricockulous” “ridonkulous”, “nurdage”, and so forth.

  5. Ah, that’s why I included the link to the PGP information on my sccs page, I think it is unlikely that both are compromised. However, if you would like to swing by the SCDC meeting in the SCCS media lounge tonight at 10pm, I could talk to you there, or I’ll call you later.

  6. I agree with you on this one. In my field (math education), the jargon sometimes gets way out of hand. I guess every job has its own vocabulary….

    And is “ricockulous” actually used? I understand its derivation, but I’ve never actually heard it before.

  7. Among some of my friends from high school it is, and I definitely use it when I’m particularly annoyed. Most of the examples I cited I rarely use in writing, but I use all the time in speaking. Or should I say speechification? :oP

Nurd Up!