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AWADmail Issue 710

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

Sponsor’s Message: Sometimes the way things were is better than the way things are. We call it “Old's Cool”, and we'd like to invite this week's Email of the Week winner, Laura Brindle (see below), as well as anyone who loves originality, quality, adventure and a few typographical errors every once in a while to come save 40% off everything on our brand new website, today only. Just use coupon code: "oldschool". SHOP NOW.


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

Fury as France Changes 2,000 Spellings and Drops Some Accents
The Guardian
WebCite

Romani Language and People
Pune Mirror
WebCite


Email of the Week (Old's Cool = Old School + Wit)

From: Laura Brindle (lbrindle yahoo.com)
Subject: Four-letter words

More four-letter words: iron, cook, oven, sink.

Laura Brindle, St. Louis, Missouri


From: Lynn Goodman (lrcgoodman gmail.com)
Subject: Four-letter Words

Q. What’s a four-letter word ending in ‘k’ meaning intercourse?
A. No need to fear - it’s TALK.

Lynn Goodman (who can’t wait ‘til the primary next Tue is over! Way too much hoopla!), Hampton, New Hampshire


From: G.D. Zorzanello (zorzanello_gd hotmail.com)
Subject: Four-letter words

Through my life, I have often encountered, with hindsight’s 100% accuracy, seller’s remorse. I lamented the departure of a mid-fifties Chevrolet, a canoe, an old brass Boy Scout compass, and a sweet but ditzy Siberian Husky. Revealing these lamentations to my older son once, he replied, “Dad, for you ‘sell’ is a four-letter word.”

G.D. Zorzanello, Castro Valley, California


From: James Hutchinson (james hutch.org.uk)
Subject: Four-letter words

My favourite four-letter word is ‘time’, because of its great flexibility. It can describe fractions of seconds, minutes, days, years, through to the history of the known universe. It can describe the past, present, and future. It can refer to a specific hour of the day on a clock or watch, an occasion, the number of beats in a bar of music, a period served in prison, or (in the UK) last orders in a bar.

James Hutchinson, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK


From: Jerry Alfred (jerry73 frontier.com)
Subject: yerk

As the Swede said, “I yust learned to say job instead of yob, and now they call it a proyect.”

Jerry Alfred, Bothell, Washington


From: Sunil Badami (sunil sunilbadami.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--unco

I thought I’d add this “Strine-ism” -- in Australia, “unco” also means “unco-ordinated” -- a charge this ball-dropping boy was often guilty of. It’s used as an adjective and an epithet -- “you’re so unco” or “Unco!” (when someone like me drops the ball).

Sunil Badami, Rozelle, Australia


From: Henry Willis (hmw ssdslaw.com)
Subject: Unco

I had always thought that “unco” was a bit of Scottish English found only in Burns’s poetry, but I’m glad to see it out in the wider world. I came across it in Burns’s; Address to the Unco Guid, his denunciation of all those who are not only holier than us, but insist on telling us too. Here are the first few lines for those who don’t know it:

My Son, these maxims make a rule,
An’ lump them aye thegither;
The Rigid Righteous is a fool,
The Rigid Wise another:
The cleanest corn that ere was dight
May hae some pyles o’ caff in;
So ne’er a fellow creature slight
For random fits o’ daffin.

Henry Willis, Los Angeles, California


From: Michael Chirico (michaelchirico4 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--unco

I must admit I laughed out loud at today’s word, given the theme of four letter words that aren’t dirty. In fact unco is a lightly uncouth word in Japanese (うんこ)! When you type it on your phone, one autocomplete suggestion is a certain emoji: 💩

Michael Chirico, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


From: Karen Herron (karen.bloggs gmx.net)
Subject: Four-letter words ‘unco’

I have used the word unco together with guid while translating a German text containing the word Moralapostel (apostle of morals, one who feels himself ranking higher than others owing to his good behaviour).

Unco guid is explained in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary as: those who profess a strict morality.

And a quotation from the LEO forum says:

“unco guid, the Scottish term for those who are professedly strict in matters of morals and religion; unco (an alteration of uncouth) means ‘extremely, remarkably’, and the expression comes from the title of Robert Burns’s ‘Address to the Unco Guid, or the Rigidly Righteous’ (1786).”

Karen Herron, Hamburg, Germany


From: Beth Ullman (bethullman gmail.com)
Subject: alar

Alar was the chemical used primarily on apples (but also peaches, cherries, and other fruits) starting in 1963 to regulate their growth and development. Supposedly safe, it was finally banned in 1989 as being a strong carcinogen.

Beth Ullman, Northridge, California


From: Brett Matheson (bjmatheson earthlink.net)
Subject: alar

The little sausage-shaped part on either side of the lower part of your nose is called the ala. You have a left and a right nasal ala. I’ve never thought this part of the nose much resembled a wing, but obviously early anatomists did. As a skin cancer surgeon I frequently operate on the alar part of the nose, a common site for non-melanoma skin cancer such as basal cell carcinoma.

Brett Matheson, MD, Colorado Springs, Colorado


From: Burt Humburg (humburg.burt gmail.com)
Subject: Ala

This word reminds me of the longest name for a muscle in the human body: Levator labii superioris alaeque nasi. Literally, the “lifter of both the upper lip and of the wing of the nose.” It’s the muscle you use when you flare your nostrils out.

Burt Humburg, Mason City, Iowa


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. yerk
2. unco
3. saga
4. diel
5. alar
=
1. slap, strike at
2. unequaled, rare
3. long heroic tale
4. a full solar day’s time
5. to have a wing

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

Cried the puppet, increasingly irked
by incessant rough handling and yerks,
“It’s becoming so bad
that I’m placing an ad
in the paper for alternate work.”

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

Your riches can truly be unco
In an Internet startup or young co
Sell IPO shares
Before anyone cares
That your scheme was at one time called bunko.

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

His intention was only to blog a
few lines to extol Lady Gaga.
With too much to say,
he got carried away-
wrote a sonnet, an ode, and a saga.

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

This job ain’t exactly genteel.
It’s twenty-four hours at the wheel.
Lotsa coffee and pills,
And just mileage for thrills.
Gotta say, it’s a pretty raw diel.

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

We know Elizabeth Taylor,
Never claimed an angel’s alar.
She was many times wed,
A risqué life, it’s said,
And she cursed, just like a sailor.

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


From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Puns to make YOU say four-letter words

“Does a lama lurk or does a llama yerk in the alley?” (Or does the lama dalai?)

The spy was an unco operative person.

If you drive from Toronto to Hamilton, you’ll miss a saga.

Awaking from a coma, the patient asked, “What’s the diel?”

“Waiter, my date will have a Sierra Nevada. Alar, please.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The meaning of a poem is the outcome of a dialogue between the words on the page and the particular person who happens to be reading it. The interpretation can only be false if the reader does not know the contemporary meaning of the words. -W.H. Auden, poet (1907-1973)

Feb 7, 2016
This week’s theme
Four-letter words

This week’s words
yerk
unco
saga
diel
alar

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives
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Next week’s theme
Eponyms

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