Sunday, May 6, 2012

Oh, my goodness: "oculogyrism" has a cousin!

I love my daily e-mail from the OED on-line.  Today's gem is one I've been looking for for ages: a word about eye-rolling. Anyone who has had teenagers will surely understand the need to know this word.  And here it is: nystagmus.

Now, the problem is this: nystagmus refers to involuntary eye movements. So you have to ask yourself: is your favorite teenager's default expression voluntary, or not? It seems that you can argue it either way, most times....

Nystagmus does not replace our old friend oculogyrism, but it does provide an added dimension.