For a long time. Runcible. In honor of Stephenson. A Runcible is a computer that tutors you through storytelling. It’s essentially an adventure game to teach you how to excel.

In Neal Stephenson’s 1995 novel The Diamond Age, Runcible is a code name for the Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer, an educational computer.

In The Diamond Age, the Runcible is effectively priceless, and while designed for a princess, ends up in the hands of a poor young girl who eventually, due to its tutelage, conducts a Revolution.

RUNCIBLE is also the name of a computer program compiler for an early (late 1950s) programming language. Donald Knuth published the flowchart of the compiler in 1959;[12] this was his first academic paper.

The Straight Dope, while treating “runcible” as a nonsense word with no particular meaning, claims that an unspecified 1920s source connected the word “runcible” etymologically to Roncevaux — the connection being that a runcible spoon’s cutting edge resembles a sword such as was used in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass. The Straight Dope adds that “modern students of runciosity” link the word in a different way to Roncevaux: The obsolete adjective “rouncival”, meaning “gigantic”, also derives from Roncevaux, either by way of a certain large variety of pea grown there, or from a once-current find of gigantic fossilized bones in the region.

“Runcible” is a nonsense word invented by Edward Lear. The word appears several times in his works, most famously as the “runcible spoon”.

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