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AWADmail Issue 769

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

Sponsor’s Message: Try our smart t-shirts for smarty pants on for size -- they fit recalcitrants to a Tee. Congrats to Email of the Week winner, Richard S. Russell (see below), as well as all AWADers for your love of big words and old’s cool things and humor. Don’t euphemize our wonderful language - use code “lagniappe” and save the wit!


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

Neil Gorsuch, Dictionaries, and “The Case of the Frozen Trucker”
The Web of Language
Permalink
[We side with the trucker; it’s a fallacy to interpret law linguistically instead of humanely.]

A Journey Into the Merriam-Webster Word Factory
Permalink
The New York Times
[Rather, A Journey Into the Merriam-Webster Word Catalog.]


Email of the Week, brought to you by UP-i-tees - Wit you can wear.

From: Richard S. Russell (RichardSRussell tds.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--osmosis

You wrote: Likewise, when two people meet they should have changed as a result of that meeting.

The difference between “cut” and “copy” (not original with me, but highly pertinent here):

I had a dollar. I met a man with a dollar. We exchanged dollars, and when we parted we each still had only a dollar.
I had an idea. I met a man with an idea. We exchanged ideas, and when we parted we each had two ideas.

Richard S. Russell, Madison, Wisconsin


From: Frank Brown (frank.brown travelport.com)
Subject: Osmosis

Entering the classroom for a high school history exam, I made the mistake of telling the teacher that I had studied for the test by sitting on the text book and taking it in through osmosis, which we had just learned about in another class. He was not amused. He was even less amused when I got a B+ on the exam. I had actually studied. It was just a joke. The picture of the cat sleeping on the book reminded me.

Brooklyn Technical High School, 1963, Mr. Wolfson.

Frank Brown, Atlanta, Georgia


From: Richard Stallman (rms gnu.org)
Subject: Osmosis

My father’s late second wife once claimed to be an “osmotic Jew” as a result of having married him. He responded that there was no such thing. She insisted, “Of course there is. Haven’t you heard of Os-moses?”

Dr Richard Stallman, Boston, Massachusetts


From: Michael Sivertz (sivertz bnl.gov)
Subject: caustic

The word caustic has a meaning in astronomy and other optical fields. It can refer to the band of light rays that are bent and focused by a lens. Most recently it has been used to describe the images produced by strong gravitational lensing showing Einstein rings and other unusual optical phenomena.

Michael Sivertz, Upton, New York


From: Sharon Smith (mainelyneuropsych gmail.com)
Subject: bromidic

Today’s word took me right back to the “South Pacific” song, “A Wonderful Guy”:

I’m as trite and as gay as a daisy in May,
A cliché comin’ true!
I’m bromidic and bright
As a moon-happy night
Pourin’ light on the dew!
lyrics, video (3.3 min.)

I bought the album as a young teen and for years assumed “bromidic” was some regional dialect’s way to pronounce “romantic!”

Sharon Smith, Canaan, Maine


From: Lynn Mancini (mancini dtcc.edu)
Subject: re: A.Word.A.Day--bromidic

Today’s word always brings to my mind one of Danny Kaye’s songs: The Babbitt and the Bromide (video, 2.5 min.), (lyrics). In it, two very proper English gentlemen run into each other occasionally over the course of many years and engage in conversations that consist entirely of bromides. It takes a performer as talented as Danny Kaye to make a song with this premise amusing.

Lynn Mancini, Newark, Delaware


From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Chemistry words

golem miscible
Illustrations: Alex McCrae
The golem, a hulking, fantastical creature fashioned from clay and referenced in the Bible (OT), over the centuries has been portrayed as a boogeyman of sorts, whose legend was kept alive by at least two zealous Orthodox rabbis... one from late-16th c. Prague, Bohemia, and another living in late-18th c. Vilnius, Lithuania.

Our USAGE quotation for the word “osmosis”, referencing how the golem may unwittingly absorb human emotions through its interaction with humans, suggests that this creature starts out as a tabula rasa. And over time, by osmosis (and perhaps some mimicry), the golem gains a semblance of humanity... the good, the bad, and the ugly. Or for that matter... the SAD, the MAD, and the GLAD.”

In light of this week’s delightful “Kitty chemist” sidebar gag scenarios, I felt our canine-friendly AWAD-ers out there might appreciate a balancing of the ledger, with a dog-themed cartoon. Woof! OK... admittedly “LAB/ LAB MIX” is a bit of a stretch. Our anthropomorphized Labrador retriever-cum-lab-techie demonstrates the long accepted chemical principle that OIL and WATER are not “miscible”. Brings to mind the idiom “like water off a duck’s back”, where a microscopic film of oil on a duck’s plumage repels water, keeping its feathers dry. A superb natural adaptation for both diving and dabbling duckies.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


From: Larry Parker (snlparker gmail.com)
Subject: miscible

Your definition of miscible is not very satisfying to a chemist (like me). By your definition, sand and sugar would be miscible. To a physical scientist, miscible liquids give a single liquid phase when mixed under given conditions, e.g. ranges of composition, temperature, and pressure. I know of no gasses that are not miscible. Solids often form solid solutions (for example, garnet), but these are not generally described as miscible. Describing them as such would probably not be wrong, just unusual and redundant with describing them as solid solutions.

Larry Parker, Pennington, New Jersey


From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

1. osmosis
2. solvent
3. caustic
4. bromidic
5. miscible
= 1. absorb
2. nice sums
3. victims
4. is old
5. cosmetic oil
= 1. stabilise
2. boil, discuss
3. critic
4. common
5. moves
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Josiah Winslow, West Allis, Wisconsin (josiah12301 yahoo.com)


From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Limericks

Much learning takes place thru osmosis
When we focus on things that engross us.
But if one has a closed mind
One’s likely to find
One just wants to be rich as Croesus.
-Kathy Deutsch, Melbourne, Australia (kathy deutsch.net.au)

Said the gnu to the bat about gnosis:
There are creeds that are grim, yes atrocious!
But whatever our race
The beliefs we embrace
Are generally got by osmosis.
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

Ideas can sink in through osmosis
With tweets that are lies yet engross us.
You don’t need good diction
Just rain down some fiction.
It spreads like a plague sent by Moses.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


When told that his owner’s not solvent,
unable to pay for his stall rent,
Ace Racer cries, “Neigh!
I won yesterday;
you’d better explain where it all went!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

There once was a real estate wiz
Whose two sons took over his biz.
He’d stay solvent
With no involvement--
But what a moral morass this is!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The Frenchman was conspicuously solvent,
Courting women was his main involvement.
Said he, “Ma Cheri,
Je suis Monsieur Henri.”
Said they, “You’re a rogue, gaillardement.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

The budget, how money is spent,
Will not leave the country solvent.
“It’s heartless one feels
To cut Meals On Wheels
And pay for that wall,” I lament.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

You built condos and now you’re not solvent.
You’d like to run off to a convent.
But sales could come gushin’
From oligarchs Russian.
Try tweeting some pro-Putin content.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The Donald may not seem too bright,
Insulting most within sight.
His comments caustic
Will in his foes’ craw stick.
Meanwhile his supporters delight.
-Chris Papa, Colts Neck, New Jersey (doxite verizon.net)

I fear I’ve grown caustic and bitter --
From hearing the tripe that’s on Twitter!
I know I should choose
To turn off the news.
But though I am bruised, I’m no quitter.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

When job descriptions include betrayal
And the rewards are Trumpily palatial,
Limericks get caustic
Among the gnostic
Since a reckoning appears to be glacial.
-Charles Harp, Victoria, Canada (texzenpro yahoo.com)

What was it that made my old boss tick,
Wielding words like some kind of lacrosse stick?
Till like Donald, “You’re fired!”
I said, and retired
And now I write limericks caustic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Trump tweets are so far from bromidic.
They’re scandalous and also acidic.
They lie and deceive.
There’s been no reprieve.
They’re making life quite paralytic.
-Amy Marcus, Victoria, Canada (amarcusx gmail.com)

Dear Donald, I’m not your worst critic
And I’ll try not to sound too bromidic,
But please don’t take orders
From outside our borders
When written in letters Cyrillic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


No way their two lives could be miscible
(though she was incredibly kissable),
since he voted for Trump,
she thought Trump we should dump
and such unions are totally risible.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Rhyming schemes with words like miscible
Pucker up all sweet and kissable.
But beside the point,
The world’s out of joint--
Everything’s altogether hissable.
-Charles Harp, Victoria, Canada (texzenpro yahoo.com)

I rejoice that the races are miscible
and that racial commingling’s permissible!
With my heart and my brain
I revel in rain-
bow -- as folks of all colors are kissable.
-Glenn R. Diamond, Highland Park, New Jersey (slartibartfastx yahoo.com)

These days what you want is permissible
For any two grownups are miscible.
When feelings are tender,
Ignore race and gender
As long as you find their face kissable.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


A solvent I made by osmosis
So miscible it caused ichthyosis.
It wasn’t bromidic
But just a bit caustic,
So I stopped to avoid bad meiosis.
-Mike Young, Sedgefield, South Africa (youmike mweb.co.za)


From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Chemical if not comical

When he seemingly used wizardry to part the Red Sea, the Israelites thought they had an OzMoses.

Perry Mason assisted the bank in solvent “The Case of the Overdrawn Account”.

Did the Watergate Scandal caustic to resign as president?

Ever since my brother became a doctor, I’ve call my bromidic.

For co-branding, Bonne Bell and Dr. Pepper products are ad miscible.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Since Auschwitz we know what man is capable of. And since Hiroshima we know what is at stake. -Viktor Frankl, author, neurologist and psychiatrist, Holocaust survivor (26 Mar 1905-1997)

Mar 26, 2017
This week’s theme
Words from chemistry

This week’s words
osmosis
solvent
caustic
bromidic
miscible

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives
Index

Next week’s theme
When etymology meets entomology

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