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AWADmail Issue 195

January 14, 2006

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages


From: Gary Mason (gmasonATntlworld.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--fussbudget

I come from the English Midlands and I noted the derivation of Fussbudget - Fuss + diminutive bag - we were somewhat blunter; such people were, and are, known as "fussbags" and never received the benefit of the diminutive. Henceforth, I will use "fussbudget" for more genteel persons so afflicted.

For a brilliant short story about a fussbudget, read Saki's (a.k.a. H.H. Munro) "The Unrest Cure". Available as a small download from Gutenberg and found in "The Chronicles of Clovis".


From: Aprill Ann (aprillannATyahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--fussbudget

I live in East Texas and we speak English quite differently from the start. However, I've never heard (and therefore never said) "fussbudget". The colloquial cognate I'm more accustomed to is "fussbucket". Perhaps this is because of our preference for "bucket" over "pail". I would never have dreamed it is supposed to be "budget". Strange how foreign our own language can sometimes sound.


From: George Zidbeck (jgzidbeckATtcsn.net)
Subject: feedback: fussbudget

Regarding the quotation "I love mankind. It's the people I can't stand." ... Charles Schultz likely was inspired by The Brothers Karamazov wherein Dostoevsky has this one character say, "The more I like people in general, the more I dislike them in particular."


From: Sherry L Spence (slspenceATspiritone.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--fussbudget

This is one of the my favorite quotations. Are you sure that it originated with Charles Schulz? I thought it was a translation from a comment by a French writer, a woman (Collette?, Francoise Sagan?), "J'adore l'humanite, c'est les gens que je ne peux pas supporter." or some such (pardon the lack of diacritical marks). Of course, I can't find the quotation... I guess this comment makes me a fussbudget, doesn't it?


From: Timothy Pertler (timothypertlerATaol.com)
Subject: Peanuts to you, friends to me!

Good grief! How could you forget Lucille "Lucy" Van Pelt as the most widely read and famous "fussbudget" of all time? Just ask her brothers Linus and/or Rerun, neighbors Sally and/or Charlie Brown (or his dog, Snoopy), Boyfriend Schroeder, other friends Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Patty, Violet, Frieda, Shermy, and last, but not least, Pig Pen.

As Chico Marx says in Duck Soup: Peanuts to you!


From: Rama Kulkarni, MD (ramaa1ATpacbell.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--rident

Risus sardonicus is the medical term to describe a sustained contraction of facial muscles resulting in a "sardonic smile".

This unfortunate appearance is a result of nervous system involvement, as in tetanus and strychnine poisoning.


From: Sandra Hull (cutfromAThullcloth.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--rangy

"It's your word today!" I said to my big brown tabby cat, Jethro Hull, who likes to sit by the keyboard while I check my morning e-mail. I was thinking the first syllable was pronounced as the past tense of "ring". "Rangy" (rhymes with "tangy") is Carny-speak for "worked up, often in a vulgar way" or more simply "rowdy". Jethro sometimes plays a little too rough with his companion cat, Esme, who is about half his size, so I often have to admonish him to "not be rangy with your kitty". Neither definition of "rangy" (rhymes with "mangy") fits Jethro; he is long-limbed but not slim, and by virtue of neutering is not inclined to roam.


From: Lori Renner (lrennerATarcca.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--looby

This word reminded me of that song: Here we go looby lou, here we go looby lie, here we go looby lou, all on a Saturday night. I had thought it was just a bunch of nonsense words, but maybe not?


From: Theodore R. Buddine (trbfromncATaol.com)
Subject: looby/loby/lob

You cite the origin of looby as:
[From Middle English loby, from lob (bumpkin).]

This reminds me that lob is an archaic word meaning spider. I first ran across the word in Tolkien's The Hobbitt. Bilbo successfully fights off a swarm of spiders, then mocks them by singing: Lazy lob and crazy cob... This should remind us that cob, too, is an archaic word for spider. Lob survives in the diminutive form lobster and cob in the word cobweb.


From: Ric Chrislip (chrisliprAThartwick.edu)
Subject: bird flu

I hope I'm not the only one who is amused by all the possibilities for wordplay offered by recent developments in Turkey... Headline from BYU's Daily Universe: "Bird flu strikes Turkey". And the simplest of all the possible puns: "the bird flu" is, in my opinion, one of the best.


The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. -Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher (1889-1951)

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