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AWADmail Issue 709

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

Sponsor’s Message: Old’s Cool sums up our philosophy of life in a nifty little turn of phrase. Look at what this UP-i-tee shirt is saying loud and clear: Common sense. Verve. Spine. Self-reliance. Smarts. Old school with a shot of wry, served neat. And, we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Steve Kirkpatrick (see below), as well as all AWADers near and far, first dibs on The Limited So Long (Sleeve) Edition -- just enter “lagniappe” and save 10%. SHOP NOW.


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

A Dictionary Entry Citing “Rabid Feminist” Doesn’t Just Reflect Prejudice, It Reinforces It
The Guardian
WebCite

How Shakespeare Spoke
BBC
WebCite


From: Michael Klossner (klossner9 aol.com)
Subject: Autolycan

Autolycus, the Prince of Thieves, played with elan by Bruce Campbell, was a recurring character on Xena: Warrior Princess. He was a rogue who loved to steal but was genuinely shocked when people he stole from turned violent.

Michael Klossner, Little Rock, Arkansas


Email of the Week (Old’s Cool = Old School + Wit.) SHOP NOW.

From: Steve Kirkpatrick (stevekirkp comcast.net)
Subject: Herculean products

One dental composite filling material is named Herculite. I’ve told a few patients that the company chose that name because Samsonite was already taken. They laugh, imagining a suitcase where their filling should be.

Herculite is also a brand name for a type of tempered glass, for shatter-resistant doors. I happened to see that type of door tested in the movie The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (2 hrs.). Mr. Greenberg had participated in a short promotional film touting Herculite as a front door to the bank building. He used a baseball bat to hit a baseball against the glass, which didn’t break. If I were to try that, I would want mercurial speed to avoid the rebound of the baseball.

Steve Kirkpatrick, DDS, Olympia, Washington


From: Nalini Sankaranarayanan (nalsanka cisco.com)
Subject: herculean

The word reminded me of Hercule Poirot who chooses to take inspiration from the twelve tasks of his namesake Hercules in The Labours of Hercules. This was my first detailed foray into the Greek mythology. Augean stables and Lernean Hydra taught me to look at alternative ways to solve what appears to be an impossible task.

Nalini Sankaranarayanan, Bangalore, India


From: John D. Laskowski (john.laskowski mothman.org)
Subject: herculean vs Herculean

You use noncapitalized herculean. Why not Herculean since dictionary.com and you both use Augean in discussion of herculean? Shouldn’t it be consistent?

John D. Laskowski, Carsonville, Pennsylvania

Because languages are a reflection of humans who aren’t very consistent. In general, though, as a word becomes more common it gets smoothened. For the same reason, we write the word boycott in lowercase but not the word McCarthyism even though both are derived from someone’s name.
-Anu Garg


From: Sam Dunkin (dunkins centurylink.net)
Subject: Titan

The US Air Force had Titan I and Titan II missiles, the largest missiles they built. The only Titan II launch complex left is now a museum site in Sahuarita, south of Tucson (The Titan Missile Museum).

Sam Dunkin, Astoria, Oregon


From: Rama Kulkarni (drramakulkarni gmail.com)
Subject: siren song

Sirenomelia or mermaid syndrome is a rare congenital developmental disorder in which the legs are partially or completely fused (several other abnormalities also generally being present).

Rama Kulkarni, MD, Santa Clara, California


From: Laura Schulkind (laura.schulkind gmail.com)
Subject: Students

I use AWAD with my third grade GT students. They have fallen in love with new words- and it shows in their writing. Thank you!

Laura Schulkind, Denver, Colorado


From: Dharam Khalsa (dharamkk2 windstream.net)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words


All five words, plus this title, are equal to the one anagram:
1. autolycan
2. herculean
3. titan
4. siren song
5. bacchant
=
1. it relates to thievery
2. strength none can equal
3. substantial, huge
4. I can call a man to a downfall
5. hip carouser

The text in the right box is an anagram of the text in the left.

Dharam Khalsa, Espanola, New Mexico


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

“I love gold!” Midas said. “I’ll make all I can --
And I’m hatching a scheme quite autolycan:
Each Troy ounce that I make
Will cause markets to shake.
Troy’ll fall! Greece’ll rise! What a Euro-plan!”

-Oliver Butterfield, Kelowna, Canada (obutterfield shaw.ca)

Despite effort herculean I
was unable to rhyme it, that’s why
I am using it thus
after many a cuss
and, disgruntled, I say to you, “Fie”!

-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Donald Trump is a would-be world Titan.
Sarah Palin’s his wannabe siren.
Word salads she serves
and gets on our nerves
with her swan song improv Herculean.

-Mariana Warner, Asheville, North Carolina (marianaw37 gmail.com)

Muhammad Ali was a titan
With his rope-a-dope style of fightin’
“The Greatest” was fast
His technique unsurpassed
Till Mike Tyson who pioneered bitin’.

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

A titan does things herculean
Like netting big fish in th’ Aegean.
But often things lesser
Like dusting his dresser
He leaves to the maids who are cleanin’.

-Steven Hight, Bedford, Indiana (stevenehight gmail.com)

Enticed upon hearing sweet siren song,
new tenant, delighted, sang right along.
When the fuses all blew,
temptress bade him adieu.
Seems the house simply had all its wiring wrong.

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

A night as a wild bacchant
Then exams in mathematics and Kant
There’s many a student
Who does things imprudent
Drink coffee and have a croissant.

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


From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Hit and Myth Puns

A shorty can’t hide things on the top shelves, but autolycan.

Allison Fisher? She’s not here but that’s herculean against the wall.”

Uranus got overthrown because he didn’t titan his hold on the heavens.

The unmarried Korean, Song Choi, was accused of sire’n Songs.

“I’d love another drink, bacchant drive as it is!”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Words are loaded pistols. -Jean-Paul Sartre, writer and philosopher (1905-1980)

Jan 31, 2016
This week’s theme
Words from mythology

This week’s words
autolycan
herculean
titan
siren song
bacchant

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives
Index

Next week’s theme
Four-letter words

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