AWADmail Issue 398
February 14, 2010
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net
Will Americans Really Learn Chinese?
The New York Times
Mother of All Typos:
[See the priceless coin]
This week's Email of the Week is from David Rubenstein (see below), who receives
the ultimate word-lover's Valentine "One Up! Are you game?"
From: Sudhanva D V (sudhanva.d-v capgemini.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--castigate
Def: To criticize or chastise severely.
A nightmarish memory etched in my mind is of the episode with my stern and
severe English lecturer... . She was a devil in the disguise
of a woman. During the first quarter of my 9th Grade, she picked on me
for the synonym of the word 'chastise'. She was from the league of
lecturers who believed every question had but a single unique answer. My
attempts at answering included -- scold, abuse, shout, chide, holler,
reprimand, lambaste, rebuke... With every answer I was given a healthy
dosage from the list above. Finally at the end of the firing, she said
she had expected the word 'castigate'. I'm not too sure she liked me much.
From: Lawrece Schweitzer (poptyrone aol.com)
Varus is not the term for knock-kneed. That's valgus. Varus means
'bow-legged' or bent towards the midline. A fracture or bony deformity
could be described as varus or valgus referring to the direction of the
angulation... towards or away from the midline. As an orthopedic surgeon,
we use these terms routinely.
Medical use of the word varus is, in fact, opposite of the
etymological sense of the word. For a good discussion of
the issue, see this article
From: Sally Stretch (sestretch mweb.co.za)
Def: To divert or amuse (oneself).
My most memorable association with this word is its appearance in a limerick
(one of my favourite forms of poetic expression):
In the Garden of Eden sat Adam
Disporting himself with his madam
She was filled with elation
For in all of creation
There was only one man -- and she had 'im!
[Google the first line to see variations.]
From: Angela Lloyd (alloyd iafrica.com)
Subject: Re: Affranchise
Def: To make or set free.
How suitable to have chosen this word today -- 11th February -- exactly 20
years to the day since Nelson Mandela was set free from prison. However,
I don't think A Long Walk to Affranchisement has quite the same ring as
A Long Walk to Freedom!
Email of the Week (Introducing One Up!
- The Perfectly Civil War of Words.)
From: David Rubenstein (bulkmail thoughtful-action.com)
Subject: obnubilate quotation - provocative phrase
Def: To cloud over, obscure, or darken.
The origin of this use of the "body odour of race" appears in
a poem which seems to spotlight French-Canadians racist feelings
against English-Canadians. In the poem, a rally speaker suggests that
French-Canadians were sending their sons to war while English-Canadians
were dishonorably avoiding their responsibilities.
See the very long and convoluted (one might say obnubilous) explanation
From: Julie Montoya (jbmontoya att.net)
Subject: Thought For The Day
I LOVE your Thoughts For The Day! They give me hope, and affirm my convictions, putting into new words, new nuances of meaning, each day what is so hard for me to articulate.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Time changes all things: there is no reason why language should escape this
universal law. -Ferdinand de Saussure, linguist (1857-1913)