Word of The Day for Saturday, October 16, 2010


u•bi•e•ty (yoo-bahy-i-tee) / y-b-t/   n

the property of having a definite location at any given time; state of existing and being localized in space

ubietous, adjective

Related Words: ubiquity

• And so every anecdote in Northern Ireland has to come accompanied by its refutation. One person will tell a story pointing up the ubiety of the sectarian divide, and how both groups can instantly identify one another and then someone else will chime up and say: but what about so-and-so.
• Bishop Pearson, alluding to a difficult question of the place or ubiety of a spirit (that is, how a spirit which is immaterial can have any place — a relation which seems necessarily to imply extension and circumscription qualities which again necessarily imply a material subject), says that the soul, "existing after death, and separated from the body, though of a nature spiritual, is really and truly in some place; if not
by way of circumscription as proper bodies are, yet by way of determination and indistancy; so that it is true to say this is really and truly present here, and not elsewhere".
•Nagle’s Moral Nuisances article, for example, takes as a case study a controversy over a nude beach in Oregon, with visibility of purportedly immoral behavior the issue and spatial separation to control visibility the cure. But if participants in a Kulturkampf insist on ferreting out examples from elsewhere of behavior and legal recognition and concerning themselves with them, then the scale is going to remain aterritorial and global as well as ubietous and local.

The Storyline
With so many turns and reversals in such a short time, Anna felt a bit dizzy, as if she had become bilocated or her ubiety was uncertain.

1665–75;  < L ubi  where? + -ety,  var. (after -i- ) of -ity

Sources: Dictionary.com

Why This Word:
I don't often use the word epistemology in everyday speech, but knowing it enables me to recognize an epistemological question when I see it. Ubiety, I think, falls into that class. It's one of those concepts thoughtful people need to help sort out the world they live in.
In quiddity, we looked at what-ness. With ubiety, we look at where-ness. At first blush, the ubiety of material objects seems rather straightforward and the ubiety of non-corporeal substances a subject of theology. Metaphorical ubiety of conceptual objects is a more fertile area. Bipartisanship is or isn't in a specific place. Or perhaps trying to locate it in a specific political body is a mistake. But either way its ubiety, or lack thereof, is one of the major points of debate surrounding the topic. And at closer inspection, the ubiety of material objects may not be that easily defined. We talk about dislocations or people or groups, but we're all always somewhere. A deracinated person or group may feel place-less because the where that is relevant to them is elsewhere. The difficulty of ubiety in everyday experience stems from the uncertainties over defining place. Is America the geographical entity defined on a map or something else, as seems to be indicated when people refer to the "real America" as some distinct entity? There's a very real sense in which defining where you are defines what you are, and feeling as though you are somewhere is a necessary prerequisite for feeling you can be something. Wars are fought over where people are and what some place is. The long and difficult Israeli-Palestinian conflict stems from conflicting notions of ubiety - where people sense themselves and others to be. Our sense of ubiety and what that means to us is determinative of our sense of quiddity in significant measure.

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