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AWADmail Issue 718A 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)
From: Janet Blixt (j.blixt lsc.edu)
An apricot is a sun you can hold in your hand.
Janet Blixt, Duluth, Minnesota
From: John van Rosendale (j.van.rosendale gmail.com)
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)
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.
From: Jane Freeman (wordplayjane yahoo.com)
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)
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
From: Tony Pivetta (apivetta aol.com)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Dharam Khalsa, Espanola, New Mexico
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
“To be clear,” said the wife, “this is no clarigation --
Mr. Trump feels the glow of apricity
Y’all bein’ wed in today’s punalua,
To run for a seat legislative
When matters turn to the optic,
From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
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
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:To reason with poorly chosen words is like using a pair of scales with inaccurate weights. -André Maurois, author (1885-1967)