Garson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 20 23:32:27 UTC 2011

Here are some examples of "verse" meaning "universe" (or fragment of a
multiverse) that appear to be derived by clipping the prefix "uni" or
multi". A "verse" can also refer to a subjective or quasi-objective
viewpoint. This interpretation depends on the philosophical stance of
the person employing the word.
In reverse chronological order:

Date: 2008 (Google Books Preview)
Title: Memoir - A Creative Journey to Another Universe
Author: James Weinstein
Publisher:, 2008

Max Tegmark a leading cosmologist said: "A common feature of all four
multiverse levels is that the simplest and arguably most elegant
theory involves parallel verses by default. To deny the existence of
those verses, one needs to complicate the theory by adding
experimentally unsupported processes and ad hoc postulates: finite
space, wave function collapse and ontological asymmetry.

Date: 1996 (Google Books Preview)
Title: Beliefs: the heart of healing in families and illness
Authors: Lorraine M. Wright, Wendy L. Watson, Janice M. Bell
Publisher: Basic Books

Maturana has proposed a "multiverse" where many observer "verses"
coexist, each valid in its own right.

Date: (Unverifed - probably circa 1985; Google Books snippet)
Title: The Family therapy networker, Volume 9
Author: Family Therapy Network (Vienna, Va.)
Publisher: Family Therapy Network
[Volume 9 is dated 1985 according to multiple catalog entries]

MATURANA: When one puts objectivity in parenthesis all views, all
verses in the multi-verse are equally valid.

Date: (Unverifed - probably circa 1970; Google Books snippet)
Title: Filmmakers newsletter, Volume 4
Publisher: Suncraft International, inc.
[The University of South Florida catalog has some issues in volume 4
of Filmmakers newsletter. The years given are 1970 and 1971.]

Literate man lived in a uni-verse, not a bi-verse or a multi-verse,
but a verse obedient to a single drummer. "Whether in the Amazonian
forests or on a ridge of the high Andes," wrote von Humboldt, "I was
ever made aware that one breath, from pole to pole, breathes one
single life into stones, plants, and animals and into the swelling
breast of man."

On Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 1:43 PM, Jeff Prucher <jprucher at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Jeff Prucher <jprucher at YAHOO.COM>
> Subject:      Re: verse
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> See Brave New Words and the OED SF Citations project for some work on the suffix
> -verse. Note that in both sources, we have been primarily concerned with only
> two of the various issues you raise -- the word "multiverse" and "-verse" used
> to specify a fictional universe (as in Buffyverse, Marvelverse, etc.). I haven't
> encountered the Firefly "verse" meaning "universe" (or, arguably, outer space)
> outside of the Fireflyverse; the Riddick usage seems (at first gloss) slightly
> different -- specifying one alternate universe out of many. So there's
> definitely a lot going on with this form right now.
> As far as the Daily Wildcat article, I have a hard time parsing that in any way
> other than in the lyrical sense; a "the more things change..." reading seems the
> most straightforward to me. There's nothing in the text to suggest alternate
> timelines that I can see, for example.
> Jeff Prucher
> ----- Original Message ----
>> From: Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
>> Sent: Wed, January 19, 2011 10:21:52 AM
>> Subject: verse
>> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>> Sender:       American Dialect Society  <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>> Poster:        Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM>
>> Subject:        verse
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Has  anyone noticed/commented on the increasing sci-fi usage of txting
>> style  "verse" for "universe"? This appears to be more common in film
>> (Chronicles of  Riddick) and TV (Firefly) than printed books, but it can
>> be found in print  too. There are variations--multiverse, alterverse,
>> metaverse, etc. Or did I  miss some large body of work that has been
>> doing this for  generations?
>> Wiki has an entry for multiverse/metaverse. There is a page  on
>> multiverse theory at the Pomona astronomy department (the theory  has
>> been around at least since the 1920, but the reference to it  as
>> "multiverse" is more recent). There is use of "multi-verse"  in
>> philosophy ( and physics  (
>> There is some question--at least, in my mind--as  to whether the meaning
>> of "verse" in the title of this page is textual or  futuristic:
>> Next verse, same as the  first
>> The context is a projection of what it might be like at the  University
>> of Arizona campus in 125 years. If "first verse" refers to the  first 125
>> years of UA history, then the meaning appears to be more  textual--but
>> the fact that I even need to ask the question is suggestive.  Twenty
>> years ago, I doubt there would be many people who would even  have
>> considered the possibility of alternative meaning.
>> Any kind of  text search would obviously be hampered by the
>> literary/religious/musical  versions of "verse". Obviously, it's not in
>> dictionaries.
>>        VS-)
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> The  American Dialect Society -
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list