plasma or plasm?

Whodunit

Senior Member
Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
What's the difference between "plasm" and "plasma", except for the pronunciation? I'm sure they have exactly the same meaning, but I more often happen to see "plasma" (at least this is my illusion, since in German we only know thois variant). Judging from my experience, I'd infer that "plasma" is used to refer to technical things, whereas "plasm" might be a terminology of biology. However, to err is human, so I'd like to hear your opinions. :)

Thanks in advance.
 
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Unless you are talking about the living matter within a cell, which most of us don't do all that often, plasma is the word you want. Mind you, most of us didn't have much need to talk about plasma either until flat-screen TV made it a high-street word.
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    panjandrum said:
    Unless you are talking about the living matter within a cell, which most of us don't do all that often, plasma is the word you want. Mind you, most of us didn't have much need to talk about plasma either until flat-screen TV made it a high-street word.

    Ok, I understand. So, you would not say "plasm TV set", but "plasma TV set"? And does "plasm" exclusively describe the "gut" of a cell? :)
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I've had a look around for confirmation - as I suggested, this is not familiar territory for me:) - and it seems that in modern usage, plasm is specifically the living matter within a cell, the protoplasm as distinct from the nucleus.

    In any context where I might have used plasma myself - the plasma screen, plasma ray-guns, blood plasma - I would never think of plasm, and would read plasm as a mistake. However, it seems that plasm may be used by some people in those contexts as well.
     
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