Today, 3.14, is International Talk Like a Physicist Day. I talk like a physicist every day, because I’m a physicist. But if you’re not a physicist and you’d like to join in, then there are plenty of tips to be found at talklikeaphysicist.com.
Order of Magnitude: Use terms like “orders of magnitude” to describe significant differences of scale.
Negligible: When something is small, say it is “negligible” non-zero, but negligible.
Infinitesimal: If it is really really small, say it is infinitesimal.
Non-trivial: For a physicist, nothing is ever hard or difficult – it is always “non-trivial”.
First-order approximation : “That is only a first-order approximation to a good cup of coffee”, “The living room is clean. Well … at least to a first order approximation.”
Empirical Data: Any actual personal experience becomes “empirical data.” i.e. a burn on your hand is empirical data that the oven is hot.
Ground State: You’re not being lazy, you are in your ground state.
Extrapolation: A semi-educated guess is an extrapolation.
Ideal Case: You aren’t ignoring details, you are taking the ideal case.
Vanishingly small: A tiny amount is “vanishingly small” or “negligible.” Really small is “infinitesimal”.
Photons: It’s not light, they are photons. Turning on the lamp becomes “emitting photons”.
Exercise to Reader: The rest is history becomes “the rest is left as an exercise to the reader…”.
Not even wrong: Someone is making an argument using assumptions that are known to be wrong, or are making an argument that can’t be falsified.