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Archives: decalcomania

From: Wordsmith (wsmith@wordsmith.org)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--decalcomania
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 1994 00:03:09 -0400 (EDT)

de.cal.co.ma.nia \di-.kal-k*-'ma_--ne_--*\ n : a transferring (as to glass) of designs from specially prepared paper; also : a design prepared for such transferring

All those who guessed it was some kind of mania, raise your hands. -Anu (-;

From: Wordsmith (wsmith@wordsmith.org)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--decalcomania
Date: Thu, 16 Jun 1994 21:25:21 -0400 (EDT)

As it turns out, decalcomania is a mania -- or at least it used to be! Alert linguaphile Mike Lake from uiuc.edu informed:

Uh, it was some kind of mania. Apparently it was all the rage in the 1860's in Europe. From decalquer (to copy) and mania (madness, craze).

Noland D., yet another alert linguaphile, whose mail carries the stamp of uncwil.edu, reported, "It IS a mania; OEDI's entry implies a mid-19th century French one."

It seems the word touched a creative vein in the subscribers. Stanton McCandlish at eff.org guessed it was obsessive sticker collecting. Milind R. Agarwal from msu.edu figured it was "something to do with a person who was afraid of breaking his bones, due to poor calcium levels in the body. And Michael G. Koopman of ctc.com suggested:

de.cal.cola.ma.nia \di-.kal-k*-la-'ma_--ne_--*\ n : fear of diet cola drinks

I'd take this opportunity to introduce a very creative subscriber in our list. Debbie Burhans from buffalo.edu uses the word from A.Word.A.Day to write a limerick -- kind of A.Limerick.A.Day. (-: Here is what she penned for today:

If you're into decalcomania
When you tell folks they say, please explania
Does it make you depressed
To be decal obsessed?
And they look at you like you're insania

Finally, all of you with raised hands may put them down. you were right after all. Or used to be.


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