We found the following in this month's (sometime in 99--Glen) Atlantic Monthly Word Watch column in "a selection of terms that have newly been coined, that have recently acquired new currency, or that have taken on new meanings, compiled by the executive editor of the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language": "Zarf, meaning unknown: "Effective immediately the term Zarf will be treated as UNCLASSIFIED when standing alone or in conjunction with a classification marking. This action applied ONLY to the term Zarf. Information protected by the Zarf codeword will continue to require protection (National Security Agency email reprinted in the Washington Post Magazine)" According to the Atlantic Monthly this is not the first time the government has declassified a term without divulging its meaning. The memo declassifying Zarf was obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The National Security Agency has declined to comment. The Atlantic Monthly writes: "Zarf is an anomaly in this space, which generally discusses new words whose definitions are in some way revealing about societal or other trends: Zarf is a new word whose LACK of a definition is revealing." The word lacks an unclassified definition in English. We are curious what the word means in other languages. In Persian, for example, the word means "dish". In Turkish the word means a protective cover or an envelope. Did some National Security Analyst/Linguist snarf this Turkish word and extend its meaning? We would appreciate hearing what the word means in other languages. Karine Megerdoomian Ron Zacharski New Mexico State University Las Cruces, New Mexico

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