Lacuna - a word for when something is missing

August 16, 2016

 

Lacuna - Word of the Week

One of the joys of the English language is stumbling upon a concise word that expresses an entire, precise thought. Lacuna is one of these. A “lacuna” is a gap or missing part of a text. For example, if an ancient manuscript was damaged so that you could not read a few words in the middle, this would be a lacuna.

 

Or let’s say you had a nearly compete collection of The Amazing Spiderman comic book series Vol. 1 from the 1960s, but were missing two of the 79 in the set. If your missing comics were consecutive–say #18 and #19–they would form one lacuna where you missed the iconic story of the evil villain Sandman. If they were separated in order–say you were missing #17 and #39–they would be two lacunae, in this case both featuring the Green Goblin.

 

A bit more informally, the word can also be used to express a missing piece of knowledge that makes a full and complete understanding difficult or impossible. You know ... if you think about it, most of social media is one great big lacuna. But I digress. 

 

 

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