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AWADmail Issue 718

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

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

Who’s ‘They’?
The New York Times

Are You a Grammar Pedant? This Might Be Why
The Guardian

Vanishing Languages, Reincarnated as Music
The New York Times

From: Janet Blixt (j.blixt lsc.edu)
Subject: apricity

An apricot is a sun you can hold in your hand.

Janet Blixt, Duluth, Minnesota

From: John van Rosendale (j.van.rosendale gmail.com)
Subject: apricity

There’s a charming French term, lézarder ... to bask in the sun like a lizard.

John van Rosendale, Poquoson, Virginia

From: Richard Katzman (rdkatzman gmail.com)
Subject: Apricity & my dad’s eulogy

I’ve been an A.Word.A.Day subscriber for a decade and a big fan of your site. When I opened Tuesday’s email, though, it sent a chill down my spine.

My dad passed away over the weekend and the funeral was Tuesday. I had stayed up late Monday night pouring through photos and writing a eulogy. He had accumulated 5000 photos in slide carousels we had digitized and going through that whole archive of 93 years of highlights was very moving. The last line I wrote for the eulogy was “One element that really touched me was how many photos show our dad just soaking up the sunshine. One of my last memories of him was a few days ago when he just wanted to sit by the window and have the sun on his face while he rested.”

We went straight from the cemetery to my brother’s house for shiva so I didn’t see your email until late that night. I had never heard the word apricity before but now I’ll never forget it. Just curious- when did you actually select that word for A.Word.A.Day?

Thanks for creating such a wonderful stream of daily words and the occasional cosmic coincidence.

Richard Katzman, New York, New York

Sorry to hear about your loss. Amazing how just a few syllables can evoke so much meaning in the right context. It’s hard to pack 90+ years of memories in one word, but now you have it.
Words are selected approx. a couple of weeks in advance.
-Anu Garg

From: Jane Freeman (wordplayjane yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--apricity

The word apricity paired with Amelia Barr’s quotation in A THOUGHT FOR TODAY was serendipitous, since I read that she died from complications due to sunstroke.

Jane Freeman, New York, New York

From: Cleve Callison (cleve thecallisongroup.com)
Subject: Wordstock/wordhoard

In your post of 3/29/16, you referred to “our wordstock”. May I suggest an alternative, the great Anglo-Saxon “wordhoard”, as in the following line from Beowulf: “That noblest of men answered him; the leader of the warrior band unlocked his wordhoard.”

Cleve Callison, Cincinnati, Ohio

Email of the Week brought to you by One Up! - A way better buy than Bananagrams.)

From: Tony Pivetta (apivetta aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--punalua

The purest punalua occurs when identical twin brothers marry identical twin sisters. The wife of a college buddy of mine is a punaluan daughter. We had always wondered why she looked so much like her cousin. It turns out they’re as closely related as siblings.

Tony Pivetta, Royal Oak, Michigan

From: Ann Smith (a.smith netspeed.com.au)
Subject: punalua

Now I have the group noun for my three uncles, brothers who married my father’s three sisters. It all happened before I was even thought of.

Ann Smith, Canberra, Australia

From: Rosie Perera (rosiep sprynet.com)
Subject: punalua

We had a punalua in my family tree. Two brothers married two sisters, their first cousins. One of the wives died, and her widower married yet another sister from that same family. (No Hawaiian ancestry.)

Rosie Perera, Vancouver, Canada

From: Anne Blankenship (alohaipu cox.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--punalua

My recollection of the meaning of Punalua is a little different. Here it is from the Pukui-Elbert Hawaiian Dictionary. The concept of marriage, particularly monogamous marriage, wasn’t part of the Hawaiian culture until after 1820. In Hawai’i one has to be careful not to “talk stink” about anyone, because chances are you are saying it to a relative.

Anne Blankenship, San Diego, California

From: Andrew MacRae (amacrae macrae.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--punalua

Quite apropos, considering Patty Duke’s recent demise. After all, the premise of The Patty Duke Show was that identical twin brothers had married identical twin sisters, resulting, of course, in identical twin cousins!

Andrew MacRae, Fremont, California

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--punalua

With today’s word punalua I almost immediately recalled the 1954 movie-musical set in the wilds of Oregon in the 1850s, namely “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”. Granted, the narrative of this film doesn’t strictly fit the definition of our word, in that these seven brides were not siblings.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Steve Kirkpatrick (stevekirkp comcast.net)
Subject: entoptic

Though the occasional “floater” is innocuous, here’s a quick Public Service Announcement about other entoptic issues:

1) Immediately seek attention by an eye care professional (or ER) if you have a sudden shower of floaters and flashes of light. There may be a problem with the vitreous gel or retina.

2) Flashes of light (photopsia) may be one symptom of hematological conditions, such as too many platelets or too many red blood cells, which can lead to stroke. Your primary care provider (or ER) might start with a complete blood count (CBC).

Steve Kirkpatrick, DDS, Olympia, Washington

From: Suzanne Crisci (schyrokyj verizon.net)
Subject: Entoptic

The word of the day, entoptic, resonated with me as during the month between Dec 14, 2015 when I had a vitreous hemorrhage in my left eye and my vitrectomy surgery on Jan 11, 2016, I became very familiar with looking at the strands of black blood that filled my eye and, for the most part, prevented me from seeing anything but occasional bright lights out of the affected eye. It saw only itself. I couldn’t even make out a finger held up in front of my eye. From time to time, I would get a small window through the blood and a tantalizing glimpse of the real world would fleetingly appear for a few seconds of visual clarity before the blood covered over the unexpected vision once more. Fortunately,the surgery, unpleasant as it was, restored my eyesight, and I can now happily read your words of the day along with my books and magazines with both eyes.

Suzanne Crisci, Newton, Massachusetts

From: Dave Williams (daveonthepath gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--entoptic

I’ve heard it said that those floaters were sealed into the aqueous humor when we were embryos in the womb. If so, it’s kind of comforting to know about those lifelong companions, and a little creepy as well.

Dave Williams, Ithaca, New York

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

The anagram to the right is comprised of using all the letters in the five words below, plus this line:
1. clarigation
2. apricity
3. punalua
4. constative
5. entoptic
1. political appeal an upcoming war pivots on
2. sunlight
3. collective brothers hitched to sisters (in Hawaii)
4. true/false statement
5. eye thing (dirt, floater)
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

“To be clear,” said the wife, “this is no clarigation --
Just a simple and straight-forward asseveration:
Don’t help with these dishes --
Your own bedtime wishes
Will be met with conjugal relations-truncation.”
-Oliver Butterfield, Kelowna, Canada (obutterfield shaw.ca)

Mr. Trump feels the glow of apricity
When he thinks about banning ethnicity.
“Become Anglo-Saxon
Just like Michael Jackson!”
He shouts, and gets lots of publicity.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Y’all bein’ wed in today’s punalua,
Come to the altar; I’ll read yer vows to yuh.
Now sisters and brothers,
Forsaking all others --
Don’t let yer spouse woo yer siblings in lieu o’ yuh.
-Oliver Butterfield, Kelowna, Canada (obutterfield shaw.ca)

To run for a seat legislative
Avoid making statements constative.
You’d best keep it vague
For the truth’s like a plague
So just promise to be innovative.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When matters turn to the optic,
I have a problem entoptic.
I’ve floaters in my eye,
That just keep passing by.
I’m hoping that it will stop quick.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: These comPUNctions of mine

The Japanese lawyer was able to clarigation girl of all charges.

Walking past with tanned nose in the air, I was apricity couldn’t ignore.

Americans have soap-on-a-rope. Brits leave punalua.

True or False: The emperor Constative was a Christian.

Entoptic competitions, epilepsy and Tourette’s place 1-2.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

To reason with poorly chosen words is like using a pair of scales with inaccurate weights. -André Maurois, author (1885-1967)

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