Skip to content

Learned a new word today!

Learned a new word today! published on No Comments on Learned a new word today!

Skeuomorphism is the practice of including features of old technology in new technology, but as design elements, without their old functionality. Examples include folders in the GUI of a computer to click on to access groups of files and the sound effect on my digital camera that sounds like a shutter clicking whenever I take a picture.

I think you could also extend its use metaphorically to cover terms for new technology that use old technology as a basis for comparison. One example of this type of use would be "horsepower" as a skeuomorph referring to the strength of a car’s engine. Another example would be "astronaut"/"cosmonaut" [literally "star-sailor"/ "universe-sailor" according to the Greek roots] for those who travel in outer space.

This is an extremely useful word, applicable in many instances today. I love it!

Incidentally, the word skeuomorphism has as its roots the Greek terms for "tool" ["skeuo-"] and "shape" [morph"]. Literally it means "a thing shaped like a tool" — with the implication that, although it appears to be a tool, it cannot be used exactly as its appearance suggests. Its very existence interrogates the nature of originality and reality. Whoa, dude — that’s so, like, deep!

This entry was originally posted at You can comment here, but I’d prefer it if you’d comment on my DW using OpenID.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Primary Sidebar