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AWADmail Issue 741A 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)
Alien Interpreters: How Linguists Would Talk to Extraterrestrials
From: Dominique Mellinger (dominiquemellinger yahoo.co.uk)
In French, flagrant is used as some kind of superlative of obvious. Something flagrant is something so obvious that, for example, the eye cannot not see it. ‘There is a difference in colour... C’est flagrant.’ It works also for invisible things. ‘Ils nous mentent, c’est flagrant!’ (They’re lying to us, that’s obvious!)
Dominique Mellinger, Gorze, France
From: Leonore Helder (toddyfox aol.com)
Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Mendacity. “It smells like death.”
Leonore Helder, Lansing, Michigan
From: Alex McCrae (mccrae7474 roadrunner.com)
Subject: mendacious cartoon drawing
This young troublemaker has been stalking birds and frogs with his homemade slingshot. Yet in this pictured scenario, with fingers crossed and sporting a Pinocchio-esque liar’s schnoz, he’s clearly betraying his mendacious, mischievous ways.
Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California
From: Oliver Haffenden (oliver.haffenden bbc.co.uk)
The word feck is used in Irish English as a euphemistic version of the similar word with a u. Although much less strong, it’s incredibly useful: it can be employed in all the same constructions and inflections (feck off, fecking, feck all, etc.) as its more offensive cousin, whilst barely causing a raised eyebrow. It was brought to the attention of the wider English-speaking world by the brilliant comedy series Father Ted. Consequently, today’s word featured in the “Uxbridge English Dictionary” round on BBC Radio 4’s famous panel show “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue”. The new definition of feckless was given as “Irish virgin”.
(Strictly the definition is the wrong part-of-speech, but let’s not nitpick.)
Oliver Haffenden, London, UK
From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Other similar formations are luckless (instead of unlucky) and the peculiar cyber expression lossless, meaning without losing data when compressing it. King John, brother of Richard the Lionheart and victim of the baronial revolt that resulted in his signing of Magna Carta, foundation of British liberties, was variously known as John the Landless or John Lackland. Unsurprisingly, no other British monarch has worn the name since.
Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada
From: Vinay Kashyap (kashyap.vinay gmail.com)
Ha. Flagrant, Mendacious, Venal, and Feckless. Potpourri my foot. Admit it -- this week’s theme is ‘words to describe Donald Trump’, ain’t it?
Vinay Kashyap, Arlington, Massachusetts
From: Joan Perrin (perrinjoan aol.com)
I love that each adjective is also included in the usage example of the next word in this week’s theme of miscellaneous words. It is a veritable example of the world’s most disreputable attorneys, the law firm of Flagrant, Mendacious, Venal, and Feckless!
Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York
From: Dharam Khalsa (dharamkk2 gmail.com)
Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina
From: Robert Jordan (email@example.com)
Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Says banker to debtor, “Your flagrant
The stuff that he says is so flagrant
A camel told stories mendacious
In matters decidedly venal,
The press has been calling him reckless,
Dear God, what a tragical season:
Some think of Donald as feckless.
The political campaigns are mendacious,
From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Lincoln liked Ulysses, generally, but a few times he wanted to flagrant.
Most mendacious, but a few do their skiing at night.
People who accept bribes belong in a venal colony.
Is it true that women are feckless drivers? That lying weatherman said we’d have veritable winds, but there was no breeze at all.
Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Every eighteen months, the minimum IQ necessary to destroy the world drops by one point. -Eliezer S. Yudkowsky, researcher (b. 11 Sep 1979)