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Archives: jalousie

From: Wordsmith (wsmith@wordsmith.org)
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 1994 00:03:11 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--jalousie
X-Bonus: Multitasking allows screwing up several things at once.

jal.ou.sie \'jal-*-se_-\ n : a blind, window, or door with adjustable horizontal slats or louvers for control of light and air

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Notice anything special about the word? it has all the vowels in its spelling. and only once. -Anu

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From: Wordsmith (wsmith@wordsmith.org)
Date: Fri, 15 Jul 1994 09:24:54 -0400
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--jalousie

I didn't intend to send a followup on today's mailing but looking at the volume and enthusiasm of replies, I couldn't keep without sharing them with you.

Many suggested the words facetious, abstemious and arsenious all of which have all the vowels occuring only once and in order. Among those who sent in one or more of these words are: Linguaphiles Martha (albion.edu), Pete Cottrels (umd.edu), Zach (att.com), Marc Picard (concordia.ca), Brian Battles (arrl.org), Mortnsue (aol.com), Garthe Nelson (ucsb.edu), C. Sudhama (mot.com), Evan Robinson (mit.edu), Ullas Gargi (psu.edu), Guy Jacobs (ukans.edu), David Powers (flinders.edu.au) Miriam Shlesinger (biu.ac.il, Israel) and Manojkumar Saranathan (washington.edu). In addition, Saranathan came up with this word with all the vowels in reverse order: duoliteral.

Linguaphile Tim Lee from datapath.co.uk recalled a vacation he took years ago in California, where he saw the giant red-woods, the sequoia trees. He points out that "Not only does 'sequoia' have all the vowels and only once, it also has only two consonants."

Now, how about a crash course in French? Linguaphile Jean Wilmotte hailing from ucl.ac.be ("be" is the country code for Belgium) wrote to inform that jalousie has a second meaning in French -- jealousy. It had me thinking what jealousy had to do with venetian blinds. But I didn't have to wait for long. Manfred Borzechowski of alcatel.de (de = Germany) piped in with the etymology. Here is a peek at the historical roots of the word:

Such blinds served in old Arabic ages to protect from being seen when having an intimate relationship, so that nobody else would become jealous.

Frits Stuurman from ruu.nl (nl = Netherlands, which incidentally, is written as Nederland in Netherlands/Nederland/Holland) was reminded of James Joyce's Ulysses where "there is also something about aeiou = a.e. [initials of one of Joyce's friends, I seem to remember] I owe you;"

Bruce Nevin of lightstream.com greped (grep is computerese for search) in /usr/dict/words and sent a list of 54 words with all the vowels. Did I say all the vowels? A couple of linguaphiles expressed doubt whether I was forgetting `y' when I said the word `jalousie' has all the vowels in it. Garthe of ucsb.edu had probably already thought of it. He wrote: "the most remarkable word of this kind that I've found is `facetious' which not only has all the vowels exactly once but also in alphabetical order. It can even accommodate the `sometimes y' clause with the addition of `ly' to form `facetiously', still in alphabetical order."

On a cool, cloudy morning on the shore of Lake Erie...
Anu

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