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AWADmail Issue 724

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

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

Artist Manchan Magan is Preserving the Irish Language, One Word at a Time
The Washington Post

The Donald’s Cleverest Trick is Sounding Stupid
The Australian

Singapore Terms Join Oxford English Dictionary

Email of the Week -- Created for you by Old’s Cool -- Where authentic fits you to a Tee.

From: Michael Jordan (mykolai msn.com)
Subject: licit

This word reminds me of a visit to Bryn Athyn Cathedral in Pennsylvania. Over a beautiful entranceway were the words “Nunc licet” -- “now it is permitted” -- from the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. I grasped the handle: the door was locked.

Michael Jordan, New York Mills, New York

From: Mervyn Bennun (mebennun icon.co.za)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--licit

I recall, many years ago when I was still young and beautiful, reading about an incident involving New York’s mayor “Fiorella” La Guardia. Apparently (I’m not an American lawyer), as mayor he had some ex-officio criminal jurisdiction. The story goes that he was on the bench when a destitute elderly woman was brought before the court charged with stealing bread from a shopkeeper. Her defence was that she was desperate as her daughter’s husband had abandoned his family, her daughter was too ill to work, and she and her grandchildren were starving. Having determined that these matters were true and that the shopkeeper from whom she stole the loaf would not drop the charge, La Guardia convicted her, fined her $10, announced that he would pay the fine himself, fined everyone in the room for living in a city where one had to steal to eat, and then remitted the fines to the defendant.

The tale may be apocryphal, but in later years while I was an academic in the Law Faculty at Exeter University I used to use it in my seminars with my students in exploring the limits and purposes of the criminal sanction and the defence of necessity.

Mervyn E. Bennun, Cape Town, South Africa

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

There have been 14 popes (and three anti-popes) named Clement, according to Wikipedia.

Michael Klossner, Little Rock, Arkansas

From: Nancy Charlton (charltonwordorder1 gmail.com)
Subject: Effable

Of course, one thinks of T.S. Eliot, “The Naming of Cats”. Every cat has three names: the one the family uses daily, the more formal one, and the one known only to himself. So he sits, looking to be asleep, but he is actually contemplating his “ineffable effable effanineffable deep and inscrutable singular NAME.”

And a friend’s son, when he was little, thought “effable” meant “capable of being effed”.

Nancy Charlton, Portland, Oregon

From: Susan Dunn (dunn4 me.com)
Subject: An Impeccable response to the word of the day...

These sticky notes are made by Knock Knock and make me laugh every time I use them. Of course, I thought of them today.

Susan Dunn, Montclair, New Jersey

From: Pauline Walker (ianpauline usa.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--effable

Your list of words brought a smile to my face this week. Whenever my father was ready to go out after performing his ablutions in the morning he used to say: “I’m couth, ept, and shevelled.”

Pauline Walker, Johannesburg, South Africa

From: Robert Martin (rfkmartin gmail.com)
Subject: Forgotten positives

A passage from Jasper Fforde’s One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing:

“I moved quietly to the French windows and stepped out into the garden to release the Lost Positives that the Lady of Shalott had given me. She had a soft spot for the orphaned prefixless words and thought they had more chance to thrive in Fiction than in Poetry. I let the defatigable scamps out of their box. They were kempt and sheveled but their behavior was peccable if not mildly gruntled. They started acting petuously and ran around in circles in a very toward manner.”

This comes from a great series of books with lots of creative wordplay and puns.

Robert Martin, Orono, Minnesota

From: Penny Dixon (pdixon voanews.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--peccable

There was a wonderful piece by Jack Winter in The New Yorker of July 25, 1994, “How I Met My Wife” which used “positives” -- some of which likely have never appeared on their own before. The first sentence: “It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consulate.”

There is also a poem by J.H. Parker “A Very Descript Man”.

Penny Dixon, Washington, DC

From: Ken Doran (kendoran execpc.com)
Subject: disappearing prefixes

This week’s theme reminds of this poem, Gloss, remembered from a high school English class.

Ken Doran, Madison, Wisconsin

From: James Hutchinson (james hutch.org.uk)
Subject: Negative prefixes

This week’s words were all ‘forgotten’ positives, shorn of their negative prefixes. Here is a list of (generally) positive words which include negative prefixes:


James Hutchinson, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

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

The anagram to the right is comprised of the letters in the five words below, plus this heading:
1. licit
2. peccable
3. clement
4. effable
5. scrutable
1. lawful, straight; the right choice
2. imperfect, having flaws
3. soft, mild; lenient to the spared
4. able to be uttered
5. comprehensible, accessible
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

Say Amsterdam girls when you visit,
“You like what you see? Come and kiss it!”
Go out window shopping,
Your eyes’ll be popping,
And bro, it’s all perfectly licit!
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

If we’re peccable beings indeed,
and from birth a bad seed, the wild weed;
if original sin
is the state that we’re in,
that’s a very discouraging creed.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Said the judge to the murder defendant,
“You really did something unpleasant.
But using a gun
Must have been lots of fun.
Since we’re both NRA, I’ll be clement.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Miss Daisy, the flirt, was quite effable,
Her manner, aloof and yet affable.
She had a yen
To toy with men,
Who found her to be indefatigable.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodth snet.net)

If you wish to be thought of as scrutable,
you should always choose words that are suitable.
If they’re too high-flown
your readers will groan
and your writings will never be “quootable.”
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

The scarab, clement, viewed the jay, scrutable --
The scarab’s plight being gravely effable.
Worshiped by priests,
Now a licit feast,
The jay judged the sacred beetle peccable.
-Rohn Price, Pennwynne, Pennsylvania (rohn rohn.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: What hath Phil rot?

I won’t commit perjury ‘licit helps me get exonerated.

When she pursed her lips, the girl seemed peccable.

I enjoy clement moore and more each Christmas. He tried and tried but his date wasn’t effable.

In other words, she wasn’t scrutable.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

He that uses many words for explaining any subject, doth, like the cuttlefish, hide himself for the most part in his own ink. -John Ray, naturalist (1627-1705)

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