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Word of the Year: Equipoise

Heidi Waterhouse
Heidi is a developer advocate at LaunchDarkly. She is passionate about clear communication, humane workplaces, and conference speaking. In her spare time, she sews dresses with pockets.
Originally published at on ・1 min read

Equipoise, the word, in fancy cursive with a circle around it and also little star stamps

When I started thinking about my word of the year, the image I kept returning to was an object at a Lagrange point. That’s one of the five places in the orbits of two celestial bodies where a smaller object is effectively balanced between the competing gravitational forces of the larger objects. It’s related to and part of the solution to the Three-Body Problem (not the book).

I want to work on balance this year, but not a static balance, not equalibrium , which although used as a synonym for equipoise has a connotation of being at rest. Not homeostasis , which is about the internal balance of a living organism. I wanted something that was abut going out and coming back and revolving and being — not unmoved, but in balanced motion, orbiting around math and using tension and glorying in the spaces between.

When I think about all the things that I care about, I don’t want to be standing still and reacting to them, and I don’t want to be sucked into their gravity well to burn up, I want to be in the taut lines of power without being torn apart.

Equipoise. It’s a good word.

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