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AWADmail Issue 73

March 25, 2002

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages


From: Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net

Terror Slang:
Washington Post

Anglo-Saxon vs. Latin:
Denver Post


From: David B. Rice (driceATunity.ncsu.edu)
Subject: Uriah Heep

Re: March 18's word of the day: Uriah Heep is also the name of a fairly bad 1970s British rock band that still makes the rounds, albeit with only the lead guitar player surviving from the original lineup.


From: Lorrie (lorriedeckATmsn.com)
Subject: Uriah Heep

I follow the American tradition of naming my cars. Several years ago, I bought a Jeep Cherokee. It was the first vehicle I gave a masculine name. I named it Uriah Jeep. Obviously, I thought that was humorous. What was not so funny was how often I had to explain to others who Uriah Heep was. And even more pathetic was that most people, while not familiar with the Dickens character, were familiar with a rock band from the 70's with the same name.


From: Mike Masin (nemesis258ATmchsi.com)
Subject: Re: Uriah Heep

I still hold a rather vivid picture, in my mind, of Uriah Heep, from my first reading of David Copperfield some fifty years ago. I feel that the words unctuous and shifty would be better measures of him than hypocritical.


From: Lauren Collins (lauren.collinsATuticanational.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--circe

Circe is indeed the goddess who lured sailors to her island and then turned them into swine. However, she did finally relent and give them directions to get home. No doubt this was the genesis of men being afraid to stop for directions.


From: K.C. Rourke (lorrettATfantasymakers.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--circe

I know a number of women (I count myself one of them) who I refer to as "Reverse Circes". We go through life attempting to turn the swine back into men!


From: Mike Pope (mpopeATmicrosoft.com)
Subject: Re: Methuselah

Surely the great age of the original Methuselah was never more memorably invoked than by Ira Gershwin in the song "It Ain't Necessarily So":

Methuselah lived nine hundred years
Methuselah lived nine hundred years
But who calls that livin'
When no gal will give in
To no man what's nine hundred years


From: Stewart Gordon (smjgATiname.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--methuselah

You also get methuselahs in John Conway's so-called Game of Life. It's a pattern of just a few cells that grows and then stabilises after many generations. Some outstanding examples are known as the "r-pentomino", "acorn" and "bunnies".


From: Rob Gordon (rgordonATmec.ca)
Subject: Re: Mogul

I love AWAD, and am always impressed by both your creativity in selecting words and your thoroughness in defining them. So I was surprised that in your definition of 'mogul' you did not mention one of the word's most common colloquial uses: to skiers, moguls are the bumps in a downhill run created by the continuous 'S' pattern of linked turns that are made in the snow. As a hill becomes skied-in by many skiers, the S-shapes become deep ruts, and the mounds of snow between the ruts become moguls. More skilled and daring skiers then have fun by skiing OVER the bumps, or moguls. "Moguls" is now a sanctioned discipline and an official medal sport in the winter Olympics.


A word in a dictionary is very much like a car in a mammoth motorshow - full of potential, but temporarily inactive. -Anthony Burgess, author (1917-1993)

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