sectional (and yak-shaving)

Ah, yak-shaving.

I was curious about the use of the word “sectional” in Civil War-era documents; that's not a usage I had encountered before. So here's how looking up a word goes in the modern world, at least for me:

First I Googled [sectional], and got info about sofas. Then I Googled [sectional Civil War] and got pages that used the term but didn't define it or talk about usage.

So I went to merriam-webster.com to look it up. But that site has once again forgotten that I always check the “Remember me” checkbox, so it wants me to log in again. (If I weren't a subscriber, I would've gone to their free dictionary page and gotten the info I wanted immediately.)

So I sent them a tech-support note asking how to get the site to remember me, but first I had to make sure cookies were enabled, which required digging into Chrome settings and then Googling [_utma].

And when I was done with all that, I still had to sign in to the dictionary. But I didn't remember my password, so I went to 1Password. Except the 1Password extension in Chrome had disappeared. So I went to find it in the extensions store. Turns out it was installed, just disabled. So I tried enabling it, but that didn't work. So I looked at my extensions page and clicked Reload, and that worked. So I tried to use the newly re-enabled extension to fill in my username and password. And it gave me an error message saying it couldn't verify the authenticity of my browser and thus couldn't fill in my info.

Here's how the old style of looking up a word works: pick up a physical paper dictionary, find the word, read the definition. Of course, that would require getting out of bed.

PS: It turns out that the relevant definition of “sectional” is “local or regional rather than general in character.” I eventually found it by looking at the free version of the MW website instead of the signed-in version.

PPS: If you haven't encountered the term “yak-shaving” before, wiktionary has a pair of definitions. Though I feel like there's also a third variation in which the connotation is that you should have avoided the whole recursion chain by doing something different at the start.

My favorite example of yak-shaving is a 30-second video clip that I gather is from Malcolm in the Middle.