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AWADmail Issue 450A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language
From: Harshita Yalamarty (esperante.hash gmail.com)
The song Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered (video) has a line that goes "Couldn't eat/ was dyspeptic/ life was so hard to bear." It was always such a jarring visual (because I just can't dissociate 'dyspepsia' from the bright pink Digene tablets) in a song that was in any case recounting the uncomfortable things about being in love.
I should add the line that rhymes with the above one in the song, it's equally visual and quite hilarious - "Now my heart's antiseptic/ since you moved out of there."
Harshita Yalamarty, New Delhi, India
From: Ranadurjay Talukdar (ranadurjay gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--dyspeptic
Interestingly, Pepsi was originally marketed as a drink to cure dyspepsia, hence the name "Pepsi".
Ranadurjay Talukdar, Kolkata, India
From: Jason Kornelis (jsnkrnls dordt.edu)
The online text-based RPG "Kingdom of Loathing", which treats wit and wordplay as the basic building blocks of the English language, includes "Dyspepsi-Cola" as a usable item.
Jason Kornelis, Sioux Center, Iowa
From: Sonja Gross (SMHeinze2 aol.com)
Seriously, I'd have a coronary if I learned people I work with subscribed to AWAD. If they did, I probably wouldn't be so dyspeptic.
Sonja Gross, Amarillo, Texas
From: Colette Monier-Coughlin (cmonier taggl.com)
Being a Pittsburgher, I've been accused of using "Pittsburghese" when I've used tetchy in a sentence (instead of touchy). It was considered similar to using "chimley" for chimney or "sammich" for sandwich. Nice to be vindicated!
Colette Monier-Coughlin, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
From: Marilyn Waggoner (marilynjo ma.rr.com)
My father's family always used this word in place of "touchy" so I am somewhat perplexed that the origin is not the same as the word "touchy". I always thought they were merely "hickifying" the more recognizable English word. Am I wrong?
Marilyn Waggoner, Terre Haute, Indiana
Many readers wrote about the origins of this word. Some guessed it was from a southern US variant of the word touchy. Others figured it may have come from the Yorkshire dialect of English (northern England). It's one of those words we are not 100% sure about, but indications are that the word touchy is a variant of tetchy (not the other way) under influence from the word touch. The OED lists the earliest recorded use for tetchy from 1597, while touchy is from 1605.
From: M Henri Day (mhenriday gmail.com)
Not, of course, to be confused with "valedictorian". Interesting to note that while the morpheme "vale" confers a sense of "well" to the latter word, to the former it contributes rather the opposite sense of ill, i.e., as health that one is constantly worrying about not possessing.
M Henri Day, Stockholm, Sweden
From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
The "Thought for the Day" in the Feb 6 AWAD issue was a very good one and fitting for our shut-in status caused by all the snow. It was by a man I'd not heard of -- Jerome K. Jerome.
Seeing his name reminded me of Ford Madox Ford and I wondered if there is a word for people whose first and last names are the same. So I googled both persons together. Didn't find a word describing this phenomenon but did find this wonderful poem:
Said Jerome K. Jerome to Ford Madox Ford,
Other than Major Major Major from "Catch 22" and the pianist, Lang Lang, who else (famous) can you think of with repeated first/last names? (William Carlos Williams doesn't quite qualify...)
Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma
The word tautonym is used for the scientific names in which the genus and the species names are the same, e.g. Gorilla gorilla. Why not use the same word for Jerome K. Jerome and Ford M. Ford too?
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Language is not an abstract construction of the learned, or of dictionary makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground. -Noah Webster, lexicographer (1758-1843)