= S =
smoot /smoot/ n.
[MIT] A unit of length equal five
feet seven inches. The length of the Harvard Bridge in Boston is
famously 364.4 smoots plus or minus an ear (the ear stands for
epsilon). This legend began with a fraternity prank in 1958
during which the body length of Oliver Smoot (class of '62) was
actually used to measure out that distance. It is commemorated by
smoot marks that MIT students repaint every few years; the
tradition even survived the demolition and rebuilding of the bridge
in the late 1980s. The Boston police have been known to use smoot
markers to indicate accident locations on the bridge.
--The Jargon File version 4.3.1, ed. ESR, autonoded by rescdsk.