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The dictionary meaning of nonce word is "a word coined for one single occasion only." In the patent world, nonce words are better understood as generic terms that do not conjure any definite structure on their own. Examples of nonce words used in the patent world are means, module, mechanism, element, and device. 

Nautilus, Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, Inc., 572 U.S. ______ (2014) brings to light conflicting views on how to interpret the requirement of 35 USC 112, second paragraph, also known as the definiteness requirement. 35 USC 112, second paragraph, states that “[T]he specification shall conclude with one or more claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which the applicant regards as the invention.”