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AWADmail Issue 733A 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)
From: Steven Isacowitz (stevenzok icon.co.za)
This explains the saying “The exception which proves the rule.” How does an exception prove a rule? It doesn’t, it tests a rule. This is an archaic meaning of the word prove.
Steven Isacowitz, Cape Town, South Africa
From: Nick Blitz (nick blitz.me.uk)
Go back more than thirty years, prior to the Big Bang when trading in equities became an electronic business and when dealings were done man-to-man and effected on the Stock Exchange Floor.
Back then, a stockjobber was a ‘gentleman’ in The City (of London) who facilitated trading between stockbrokers.
Being known personally to those in the market, apart from wearing an expensive three-piece suit, he would wear a black bowler hat (in US, a derby) ... so gave every appearance of being a gentleman. The London Stock Market: spivs NOT welcome, doncha know!
Nick Blitz, York, UK
From: Michael Chiu (chiumich gmail.com)
Up until now I imagined that jobbery came from a creative combination of job & robbery, as in someone who robs the public through his/her position at work.
If only etymology were this easy.
Michael Chiu, Kaohsiung, Taiwan
From: Bob Stewart (via website comments)
The Boston College fight song (my sister’s alma mater) contains the line, “'Tis wisdom’s earthly fane.”
As a Notre Dame grad, I’m not so sure about that, now that I know what it means, but I did always wonder what a “fane” was!
Bob Stewart, Eugene, Oregon
From: Paul A Graefe (paul.a.graefe wilmu.edu)
There is a Christian hymn called “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” that contains the line “I fane would take my stand.”
I thought that “fane” in that context meant gladly or happily. However, in looking for an alternate definition online, I could only find references to the definition you provided.
Do you know if there are, in fact, other meanings for fane besides a place of worship? I’m having a difficult time figuring out how that definition of fane would make sense in the lyrics of this hymn.
Paul A Graefe, Folsom, Pennsylvania
You’re looking for the word fain.
From: Mary Bowrin (marybowrin gmail.com)
The word arable brought back a precious memory of my father saying he was glad he had arable land. I am 91, it was during the Depression and times were tough. I really didn’t understand at the time, I was just glad my daddy was happy.
Mary Helen Bowrin, Kemptville, Canada
From: Jonathan Harms (harmsjb slu.edu)
I first encountered this word in Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, in which Arable was the surname of the main human characters, who lived, appropriately enough, on a farm. My second-grade teacher read a portion of the book to the class every day, an experience I still treasure. I was enchanted by the story, which was well suited for reading aloud. At some point she explained that the name was also a word that meant something on its own.
Seeing the word today prompted me to look up the teacher’s name to see where she might be. Unfortunately, I discovered that she had died in 2010 -- apparently still a teacher. I now realize what a gift she gave by reading to us, and I wish I could have thanked her while she was still alive.
Jonathan Harms, St. Louis, Missouri
From: Dharam Khalsa (dharamkk2 gmail.com)
Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Republicans -- illness dissociative?
Now lawyers like Matlock do give
This election leaves me with regret.
The Clintons, a couple ostensible,
On the corner of Olde Worship Lane,
Though Jesus spoke often in parable,
From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Adam was no probative serpently fixed that.
Holding the hypo in order to jobbery said, “This may hurt.”
“Ostensible was a’chasin’ me!”
German monks often die in fane.
Jews in Israel don’t feel the land should be Arable.
Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Words are like leaves; and where they most abound / Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found. -Alexander Pope, poet (1688-1744)