from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The point at which a slow, reversible change becomes irreversible, often with dramatic consequences.
  • n. The point in time at which some new technology becomes mainstream.


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  • That level of service at which the diner is torn between stiffing the waiter and leaving a gratuity.

    September 8, 2009

  • a "tipping point" is a phrase commonly associated with the position along a continuium where a system will change between states dramatically. Most likely conceived of from the common perception of physical objects that will start falling over if pushed in a given direction far enough--whereas they will otherwise return to their starting position if not pushed to their 'tipping point'. Most modern usage in reference to climate change in which it is hypothesized that various natural systems will change from one stable state to another if pushed too far through climate changes such as the warming of polar regions, etc. at which point a feed-back loop will cause the phenomenon to change into a new stable position--such as triggering an the melting of an ice sheet that causes underlying darker surfaces (as of the ocean surface or land) to be explosed which in turn warms the surface further.

    June 19, 2009