Posted by: episystechpubs | May 21, 2015

Editor’s Corner: Tick, tock, tacit

Today’s question was asked (and answered) by one of our credit union readers at Ent FCU. Thanks for joining in on the word fun and search for knowledge!

Dear Editrix,

Is there a word used for knowledge gained through experience (vs. book knowledge)? One of our employees recalls learning this word in the past, but can’t think of it.

From R.T. at Ent

Immediately following this email was another from R.T., which said:

Tacit knowledge!”

Indeed, she and her co-worker were right. I looked up tacit, and then wondered if it was related to tactile. I was thinking of “knowledge through experience” and “hands-on learning,” which is why I thought tactile could be related. I was wrong—the two words aren’t related. Here is the definition of tacit from Merriam-Webster, and the etymologies of both words from the Online Etymology Dictionary:

Definition of tacit:

1: expressed or carried on without words or speech <the blush was a tacit answer—Bram Stoker>

2: implied or indicated (as by an act or by silence) but not actually expressed <tacit consent> <tacit admission of guilt>

Etymology of tacit:

c. 1600, "silent, unspoken," from French tacite and directly from Latin tacitus "that is passed over in silence, done without words, assumed as a matter of course, silent," past participle of tacere "be silent, not speak."

Etymology of tactile:

1610s, "perceptible to touch," from French tactile (16c.) and directly from Latin tactilis "tangible, that may be touched," from tactus, past participle of tangere "to touch" (see tangent [adj.]). Meaning "of or pertaining to the sense of touch" is attested from 1650s.

This will date me, but this talk about tactile has a jingle stuck in my head from an old Bell Telephone commercial. Remember, back in the day when they advertised home phones and you could finally go to a Phone Center Store and buy a phone in some crazy color like red or yellow? Yes, the ‘70s were exciting times. Reach out, reach out and touch someone.

Kara Church

Technical Editor, Advisory

619-542-6773 | Ext: 766773

Symitar Documentation Services

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