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AWADmail Issue 457

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

This week's Email of the Week is from Helene Larson (see below), who will finally get her well-deserved Comeuppance.


From: Ruth Burns (rbfreelance hotmail.com)
Subject: Gluteus Maximus (Re: accolade

Who was Gluteus Maximus? A character in Asterix cartoons!

Ruth Burns, London, UK


From: Mark McSwain (mpm82 aggienetwork.com)
Subject: Gluteus

For those less-versed in anatomy, it can be a surprise to discover that there are three Glutei, and the naming is based on dimension of the muscles. They are the G. Minimus; G. G. Medialis, and, of course, G. Maximus.

While most people know that hindquarters are G. maximus, it is the other two Glutei which define the shape of the human behind.

Mark McSwain, Bryan, Texas


From: Michael Huston (madmice yahoo.com)
Subject: Gluteus Maximus

Gluteus maximus should be in everybody's fundamental vocabulary.

Michael Huston, Joplin, Missouri


From: Frances Gillespie (gillespi qatar.net.qa)
Subject: elbow grease
Def: Hard work; vigorous exertion.

When I started primary school in 1949 in Cambridge, UK, the first thing we had to do was to polish the lids of our desks -- long, heavy wooden affairs that may well have dated from the late 19th century when the school was built. I can remember trotting home after school and telling my mother, 'The teacher says we have to bring a rag tomorrow and plenty of elbow grease.' When she had finished laughing she took pity on my bewildered expression and explained what it meant.

Frances Gillespie, Qatar


From: David Calder (dvdcalder gmail.com)
Subject: elbow grease

A memory was stimulated by this entry, told to me as a boy by my late father, who studied pharmacy in the 30s when medicines were made up from jars and bottles labeled in Latin. When he was a junior or apprentice, his senior chemist listed some ingredients for an ointment to be made up, concluding with Oleum ulnaris. After a fruitless search for this last, Dad said he asked his boss where the heck the stuff was. The latter smirked as he translated -- literally, 'oil of elbow-bone' -- and Dad realised the crucial ingredient was the labour with mortar and pestle.

David Calder, New Plymouth, New Zealand


Email of the Week - (Sponsored by Comeuppance - Just Desserts in a Can.)

From: Helene Larson (helene.larson gmail.com)
Subject: elbow grease

My dad had a "sports shop" in a small rural town. In addition to the wide range of sports equipment, from roller skates to hunting gear, he had a joke section - which I loved. My first experience with elbow grease was finding a tube of it for sale there. Ah, were it that easy!

Helene Larson, Incline Village, Nevada


From: Claudine Voelcker (claudine.voelcker googlemail.com)
Subject: elbow grease

That's just like in French: huile de coude, or Italian: olio di gomito, or German: Armschmalz (they use the whole arm).

Claudine Voelcker, Munich, Germany


From: Bruce Brashear (BBrashear nflalaw.com)
Subject: Elbow grease

This always makes me think of the old commercial for Ajax cleanser:

You'll stop paying the elbow tax
When you start using Ajax

Bruce Brashear, Gainesville, Florida


From: Jane Meyerding (mjane u.washington.edu)
Subject: cows and horses

March 29 Thought: No cow's like a horse, and no horse like a cow. That's one similarity, anyhow. -Piet Hein, poet and scientist (1905-1996)

Oh, but have you seen this?

Jane Meyerding, Seattle, Washington


From: Robert Galli (rbrt.galli gmail.com)
Subject: bumf
Def: Unwanted or uninteresting printed matter.

One of my all-time favorite words, having dealt with considerable bumf over the years, not only in my profession but continuously in news reports, especially regarding politics! How did it become a favorite? I first learned the word from AWAD when it first appeared in June of '03. I printed and framed the definition and prominently displayed it in my office. Many colleagues agreed it is a most useful word.

Thanks for an exceptional continuum of enjoyment.

Robert Galli, Edison, New Jersey


From: Janice Ritter (jritter53219 aol.com)
Subject: Trivial Pursuit

I love AWAD and not just because it helped my team win a game of Trivial Pursuit! It was the classic battle between the sexes -- the girls against the guys. It was our turn (the girls). We needed one pie wedge to win the game. The question was: "What does 'AWAD' stand for?" I almost jumped through the roof. My brother, the more cerebral of the members of the boys' team, was disgusted. I loved it.

Janice Ritter, Milwaukee, Wisconsin


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Prolonged study of the English language leaves me with a conviction that nearly all the linguistic tendencies of the present day have been displayed in earlier centuries, and it is self-evident that the language has not bled to death through change. Vulgarity finds its antidote; old crudities become softened with time. Distinctions, both those that are useful and those that are burdensome, flourish and die, reflourish and die again. -Robert W. Burchfield, lexicographer (1923-2004)
Apr 3, 2011
This week's theme
Words for body parts used figuratively

This week's words
accolade
elbow grease
pugnacious
dauphin
bumf

Next week's theme
Words borrowed from French

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