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Centre point


Being a relatively old and grumpy and male, but always an engineer trying to take a broad interest, I continue to mourn the sad loss of 'epicentre'. Once a proud specialist technical word, it has been misunderstood by the media (and adopted by everyone else) until it is now no more than a smart-sounding synonym for 'centre'.

The battle must now be truly lost since even you said in your 13 October issue that 'The [Pakistan] quake's epicentre was 10km below ground'. I know language must move on, but to enrich not to devalue.

Does it make me sad- Yes. Is it important- Not in comparison with the tragic natural events it accompanies. Will I stop getting aggrieved about it- Not at my age.

Jon Balley (M) jonballey@tiscali. co. uk Editor's note: Thank you Mr Balley. Epicentre means the point on the Earth's surface directly above the focus of an earthquake. The word we should have used was hypocentre - the point within the earth that is the centre of an earthquake.

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