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AWADmail Issue 678

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

Sponsor’s Message:
Do you think the way things were is better than the way things are? No doubt you do. Which is why we’re giving this week’s Email of the Week winner, Carolyn E. B lanco (see below), as well as all old schoolers everywhere first dibs on our unapologetically exclusive OLD’S COOL rugby shirt -- so wicked original and well-made you’ll be handing it down to your children’s children. We’ve also announced the 100 Common Cents Questions Quiz and EGONYM Contest winners, and you’ll have IQ envy, for sure. Indian Summer, the perfect gentleman’s movie, is still very on sale. Put on your smarty/party pants NOW.

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

Welsh Is Considered a Model for Language Revitalization, But Its Fate Is Still Uncertain
Public Radio International

Talking in the Real World
The Economist

Prisoners’ Dictionary Explains How Words Change Meaning Behind Bars
St. Louis Public Radio

Email of the Week (Enjoy Indian Summer TODAY -- There are no cowboys in this movie.)

From: Carolyn E. Blanco (carolynblanc marathonpetroleum.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--enervate

J.K. Rowling used this word as the incantation for a rejuvenating/revival spell. Her spell does exactly the opposite of what the word means.

Carolyn Blanco, Findlay, Ohio

From: Dorothy Hodges (ddhodges205 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--enervate

I have been misusing this word for 80 years, thinking that if I am enervated (energized), I am eager to jump to whatever needs attention. Now I must change that definition -- or just cross that word off my “usage list” and stick with energize.

Dorothy Hodges, Charlotte, North Carolina

From: Richard B. Jacobson (rbj rbjassociates.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--enervate

In medical usage, enervate refers to nerves entering an area or part of the body. The limbs of the right hand are enervated by...(name the nerve).

Richard B. Jacobson, Madison, Wisconsin

Update: You may be thinking of the word innervate.

From: Deanna Harrison (via website comments)
Subject: Headlines

In the spirit of Musetto’s economy, there’s the headline for Jerry Garcia’s obit: Head DeadHead Dead.

Deanna Harrison

From: Thomas B. Allen (tballen tballen.com)
Subject: Headlines

While working at the New York Daily News in the 1950s, I heard a frustrated headline writer (copy editor) shout: “Does anyone know a short word for hit?”

Tom Allen, Bethesda, Maryland

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Limericks

A precipitous fall from grace
Followed hard on the pie in Fred’s face
That was hurled by a girl
He knew only as Pearl
And had often compared to dead plaice.

-Laurence McGilvery, La Jolla, California (laurence mcgilvery.com)

Small voice from inside the cocoon:
Lepidopterist, sir, I oppugn
your premature urging.
I won’t be emerging.
You know very well it’s too soon!”

-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The lizard’s a tough little vertebrate.
You’ll find him not easy to enervate.
His tail you may sever,
but lizard is clever.
A tail he knows how to regenerate.

-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Your lover’s expression splenetic
Is better than one apathetic
When they’re mad, don’t despair
Whereas if they don’t care,
Then it’s time to be peripatetic.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

He was such a great debater,
Or so thought the moderator,
Opponents he’d debate,
He would just eviscerate,
Was dubbed the exterminator.

-Joan Perrin Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Puns on Words of the Week

The mountain climber unscrewed his canteen’s lid precipitously.

“Oppugn nose with a rubber hose,” said John Travolta on Welcome Back, Kotter.

Cutting Samson’s hair was an enervative idea.

Daniel’s ill-tempered widow had the funeral in Danbury, Spleneticut.

“Eve is a rate good abdominal surgeon,” bragged her Irish father.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, “It depends.” And what it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is. -Kenneth G. Wilson, author and professor (1923-2003)

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