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AWADmail Issue 308

May 25, 2008

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


From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net

Lost Parrot Reunited After Telling Its Name and Address :
BBC News

Yours truly was interviewed in this documentary on an anagrammer:
PBS
Make your own anagrams.


From: Rudy Rosenberg Sr (rrosenbergsr accuratechemical.com)
Subject: RE: A.Word.A.Day--cicerone

In French Cicero is written as Ciceron. In France, even though schoolchildren learn about him, he is most famous for a play on words: Cicéron c'est Poincaré (phonetically: Si c'est rond c'est point carré).

If it is round, it is not square.


From: Chips Mackinolty (manbet174 yahoo.com.au)
Subject: cicero

One of this week's words, "Cicero" has a rather more deadly place in history. A revolt against the Angevin French in Sicily began Easter Monday (March 30, 1282) in Palermo after a French soldier insulted a Sicilian woman. As many as 8,000 French were massacred: the test to determine whether a suspect was French or Sicilian was the way in which they pronounced "Cicero". The (non-Sicilian) pronunciation guide in A.Word.A.Day got people killed!


From: Derek Thorn (errantnight gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--cicerone

The word has also been co-opted as a sort of parallel term to sommelier for someone extremely knowledgeable about beer.


From: Mike Contino (contino sbcglobal.net)
Subject: feedback: svengali

As every budding young (or old) magician knows, a Svengali deck is one of the first you learn tricks with. See Wikipedia.


From: Lucinda Masterton (lcmasterton aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lucullan

I was thrilled to see this word. My parents had a small inn in Vermont, where my sisters and I grew up. It was far from everything, about five miles from the nearest tiny town on mostly dirt road. My parents did not have enough money to put in a swimming pool, tennis courts, or a shuffleboard, so they advertised in the Saturday Review that there was "Nothing Whatever to Do", and, the ad always said that they had "Lucullan food". The inn (Blueberry Hill Farm) was quite well known in its day, particularly for the food, which was, indeed lucullan, cooked by my mother, who also wrote several well-respected cookbooks.


From: Shannon O'Hara Subject: Lucullan - a happy memory

I just wanted to write to tell you how happy today's word made me. It wasn't the word, really, it was the fact that I not only knew what it meant, but knew that you had taught it to me.

As soon as I saw the subject line, I thought "Luxurious!", and I remembered that this was a word that I had never heard of before I started getting AWAD. I've only heard or read it a few times since, but seeing it today I was delighted that you have undoubtedly improved my vocabulary.

I started wondering when it was that you had featured this word before, so I checked your archives. It was Jan 20, 1997! I didn't even realize how long you've been a part of my life.

Thank you so much for bringing knowledge and pleasure into my life almost every day for over eleven years. If I might make a suggestion, you might want to annotate your words with the date(s) that they were featured, so that others can experience the same frisson of recognition I experienced.


From: Lynn Kauppi (tomereader842 gmail.com)
Subject: feedback: jeremiah

The vast majority of critical biblical scholars think that Jeremiah did not write Lamentations. Instead Lamentations was written by an unknown poet shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem in 570. Jeremiah's own book of collected prophecies shows that for many people life continued much as it had before. Lamentations, however, suggests, that at least for the upper classes (precisely the ones who were deported to Babylon), the destruction of Jerusalem was an absolutely shattering experience.


From: Liza Levy (sparkydoc kyk.net)
Subject: email addresses

I noticed, with approval, that you had elected to foil address-stealing bots by omitting a universal portion of every correspondent's email address. I wonder if the resultant space might be called a hi@us.


A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used. -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., jurist (1841-1935)

This week's theme
Eponyms

This week's words
cicerone
svengali
lucullan
jeremiah
tartuffe

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