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AWADmail Issue 711

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


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

If You Lack Words for Blue and Green, Do You See Them as the Same Color?
Christian Science Monitor
WebCite

Does Meaning Structure Unite Languages?
ScienceDaily
WebCite


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

Many readers were inspired to coin words after themselves, words that range from flattering, honest, funny, and beyond. Here’s a selection from the responses:

Hewitt: Noun Meaning: Someone who wants a word coined after themselves. Etymology: From Dave Hewitt who always wanted a word be named after him. Usage: A.Word.A.Day asked readers what word should be coined after them, resulting in a flood of responses from hewitts.
-Dave Hewitt, Wyoming, Michigan (dahewitt hotmail.com)

My Aunt Frances was a master of the guilt trip, so whenever my sister and I are about to do the same, we warn each other “Don’t pull a Frances.”
-Judith Fritsch, Yonkers, New York (hnjfritsch gmail.com)

My surname is Augarde, and I would want it to mean “old and grumpy”.
-Tony Augarde, Oxford, UK (diddlums gmail.com)

Brooksophobia: a fear of/hatred for someone clipping their fingernails on public transit.
-David Brooks, Toronto, Canada (brooksdr sympatico.ca)

The Urban Dictionary’s top definition for “Nikki” goes as follows: “Quite possibly the cutest, sweetest, and most attractive girl you’ll ever meet.” The same dictionary also claims that “Reino” could be a multibay parking meter. Additionally, the Finnish Slander Dictionary (it really exists) has the following definition for “Reino”: “Stupid”. So by definition, I am a cute, sweet, and attractive but stupid girl and/or parking meter. Fortunately, you now have a word for it.
-Reino Nikki, Helsinki, Finland (via online comments)

If a word were coined after me, as in “That’s so Vivie,” it would signify skeptic, contrarian. Born that way.
-Vivie Donaldson, Scottsdale, Arizona (vivied10 aol.com)

My surname. Since brat means a badly behaved child, I propose “bratt” as a doubly badly behaved child.
-David E Bratt, Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies (dvd_bratt yahoo.com)

My name is Sahir. I feel that a word like sahian would be coined after me: it would be a noun (‘He’s a sahian’) and an adjective (‘I have a sahian urge.’). It would probably refer to grammar nitpicking, because I tend to do a lot of that.
-Sahir Avik D’souza, Mumbai, India (sahiravik gmail.com)

“Russellian” would mean the propensity to completely cover every horizontal surface with books and papers (definitely a family trait). However, I would prefer it to mean “wise and well-informed, with wide-ranging interests”.
-Charlotte Russell, Littleton, Massachusetts (ccr6273 verizon.net)

My last name is Kener, really spelled with two ‘N’s before Grandma lost one over the Atlantic. It means to know, a connoisseur, from Kennen. I have been looking into a word for the space that is created when two circles intersect as in a Venn Diagram and have not been able to find one that meets its knowing status. I have begun to use Kenersphere. It a space where the best of two ideas can come together to create a possibly better one. So let’s start using Kener or Kenersphere to conceive of a world of better ideas!
-David Kener, New York, New York (davidbkener gmail.com)

I already have a (sur)name that has several legitimate meanings: a spice, and a chemical or physical weapon. I do, however, also have a variation -- more a play on words, really -- of that surname that a friend coined in high school (back in the late 1960s) to describe my unique ability to mess up what should be an easy pool shot; he proclaimed it a macecue!
-Andrew S. Mace, East Nassau, New York (herald948 aol.com)

I’m a small-town Midwestern transplant in Washington, DC. A few years ago I was on a contract at the Department of Homeland Security when a woman in my office space who didn’t work with me or the program I supported, said, “Well. Aren’t you chronically cheerful.” It was shocking to hear someone assert that another’s happiness is a condition to be cured. (This never happened when I worked in Chicago or Denver, so I’m figuring many DC folks are miserable people.)
Sticking with the “condition” of being happy, I’d like Leah Hapner to mean “an infectious cheerful energy” as every office that I’ve worked in since moving to DC four years ago has commented on how my happy and positive demeanor has made the office a more pleasant space to be.
-Leah Hapner, Washington, DC (lahapner gmail.com)

Unfortunately for this little thought experiment, every part of my name already has a word: Carolinian, Elizabethan, Blanc, Blanche, etc. Even my initials are taken: CB. As my only hope is to put a new ending on an existing root name, I’ll go with: Lynnian - reworked, reimagined, or spun-off.
-Carolyn Blanco, Findlay, Ohio (carolynblanc marathonpetroleum.com)

However egotistical this sounds, I have always been amused that my name, Tessa, spelt backwards is ‘asset’ -- so perhaps I am to some.
-Tessa Rosier van Rooyen, Cape Town, South Africa (tessnic iburst.co.za)

After deciding I really wasn’t the best for the job I’d been advanced to, I resigned it, took a pay cut, and returned to doing what I liked. Indeed, did that twice in my career at that office. Heard someone referring to such an action as “doing a Mimi”.
-Miriam (Mimi) Mueller, San Francisco, California (via online comments)

My name has been used by friends in two different ways. Example one: “Everyone needs a Marianne “, meaning an organized person who will tidy up your place. Example two: “You threw/I threw a Marianne”, meaning getting a 13 in 5 pin bowling (having only the 2 pin standing on your first throw). In the first example, I do not offer that service much anymore and, in the second, until I stop throwing so many 13s, I guess that one will stick!
-Marianne Donovan, Peterborough, Canada (madonovan11 yahoo.ca)


From: Murray McMillan (mcmunch telus.net)
Subject: Maecenas

Like many an opera- or concert-goer, I regularly turn to the (usually) back pages of the program to read the hierarchical lists of those patrons with pockets far deeper than mine who have dug deep to generously help make the event happen. In France, those programs always offer a grand merci to “les mécenes”. Thus the word and its meaning were well-etched in my head, but thanks to you, I now know its origin. So, a grand merci to A.Word.A.Day -- may your mécenes be generous next time you pass the proverbial hat.

Murray McMillan, Vancouver, Canada


From: Art Funkhouser (art funkhouser.ch)
Subject: Maecenas

The German word Mäzen means “patron of the arts” and is derived from Maecenas.

Art Funkhouser, Bern, Switzerland


Email of the Week (Old’s Cool is Old School - with a shot of wry, served neat.)

From: Andre Paul (via online comments)
Subject: Maecenas

Maecenas was indeed generous. Look at the painting by C.F. Jalabert. What is in the hand of Horace? A new gift of a tablet! Must have cost many MMMMMs of sestertii.

Andre Paul


From: Veena Mathurin (vmathurin oecs.org)
Subject: John Ruskin quotation about weather

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather. -John Ruskin, author, art critic, and social reformer (8 Feb 1819-1900)

I like the positivity of John Ruskin in the Thought for Today; however, I think those who have suffered from flooding in their houses, or have had their roofs blown off in a hurricane/typhoon, or have lost family and house in a landslide would beg to differ, don’t you think?

Veena Mathurin, St Lucia


From: Richard Swan (richardswan2 gmail.com)
Subject: Guy Fawkes

My claim to fame: I went to the same school as Guy Fawkes, from 1998-2007 (St. Peter’s School, York, England). The school was founded in 627 CE and is one of the oldest schools in Europe. In the assembly hall there was an enormous portrait of him on the wall with his years of attendance, and on 5th November we did not burn his effigy on a bonfire like the rest of the country because he was an Old Boy!

Richard Swan, London, UK


From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: Gongorism

Hungary’s greatest poet of the early 20th century, Attila Jozsef, had little patience with poets of baroque hyperbolae, satirizing them in lines like this. “I am a poet; what do I care / for the art of poetry as such / once risen up in the sky, the star / of the night’s river’s not worth much.” The entire poem about his poetic creed Ars poetica is replete with bombastic imagery, mercilessly lampooning such idle self-indulgence. Mentioning Attila in this connection might accord with the Hungarian theme of today’s message that appears in the thought of the day.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada


From: Max Montel (maxmontel yahoo.com)
Subject: gongorism

My Spanish is more conversational than fluent, and maybe there’s a poetic nuance I’m missing, but those translations strike me as a bit tone-deaf, or else simply antiquated. Even a literal translation feels better:

Life is a wounded stag, whose arrows give it wings
and
For battles of love, a field of feathers

Max Montel, Los Angeles, California

Maybe it’s the translators (1, 2) who deserve to have such a word coined after them.
-Anu Garg


From: John Thomas Egan (via online comments)
Subject: Addisonian

The ambiguous eponym probably happens often with our society and language, but since this one is so entrenched in all medical personnel, I think it’s worth adding to the definition recognized today.

I’d previously only known the term Addisonian to describe the symptoms and physical features of adrenal insufficiency, also called Addison’s disease (named after Thomas Addison, a British physician). JFK remains the most famous case of Addison’s, though he was not the most Addisonian due, in part, to good medical care. In addition to fatigue, lightheadedness, weakness, and weight loss, symptoms include anxiety, GI upset, headache, and darkening of the skin -- especially in places not typical for sun exposure, like the creases of the hands.

John Thomas Egan, Minneapolis, Minnesota


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. maecenas
2. guy
3. victorian
4. gongorism
5. addisonian
=
1. giving to art
2. a man
3. prudish; a lavish curio, a common sofa
4. eloquent writing style
5. elegant; re: a nodal disease

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

Is it possible Carly Fiorina’s
Campaign will produce a Maecenas?
Trump might say to Cruz:
“We’d better not snooze,
‘Cause with funding, she’ll sneak in between us.”

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

Having seen how those mating would die,
boy spider decides, “No, not I!”
To the ladies’ regret,
he remains celibate-
and alive. What a wise little guy!

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

As an old Anglophile historian,
I fancy the era Victorian
It’s there I’d drop by
Just like Marty McFly
In my “Back to the Future” DeLorean.

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

Some authors receive criticism,
When writings embrace gongorism.
Too florid their style,
For them it’s worthwhile,
Engage in colloquialism.

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

To speak in a way Addisonian
Won’t win an address Washingtonian
In DC the truth
Is considered uncouth
Though they might put you in the Smithsonian.

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


From: Steve Benko (stevebenko1 gmail.com)
Subject: Zelda Dvoretsky

Fellow AWAD limericist Zelda and I have become correspondents. She is 84 years old. This week she did not submit because she was hit by a car crossing the street and lies in the hospital with broken bones and bruises.

Readers wanting to wish her a speedy recovery can email her daughter Becca at (bingkristovsky yahoo.com). Thank you.

Steve Benko, New York, New York


From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Puns on TOUGH words

I doubt that we can walk past that mirror without maecenas.

After watching her secure the TV tower, I asked a man, “Did you see that lady guy, guy?”

“In your fight with Mr. Ortiz, Victoria new one, didn’t he?”

In an orchestra, is the gongorism instrument?

“You have Panasonic and Toshiba TVs. Addisonian you’ll have three from Japan.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The appropriately beautiful or ugly sound of any word is an illusion wrought on us by what the word connotes. -Max Beerbohm, writer, critic, and caricaturist (1872-1956)

Feb 14, 2016
This week’s theme
Eponyms

This week’s words
maecenas
guy
victorian
gongorism
Addisonian

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives
Index

Next week’s theme
Words formed in error

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