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AWADmail Issue 78

April 29, 2002

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


From: Leonard Abee (leonardaATconninc.com)
Subject: Words from the world of writing

Thanks for doing a series of words on writing. This is especially nice for me, since I have just landed my first writing position with my hometown newspaper. I am 59 years old and worked in a furniture factory most of my working years.

I've dreamed of being a journalist since I was in high school, but rearing a family side-tracked me. I've continued writing as a hobby and have several poems and a short story to my credit, but this job is the ultimate.

    Congratulations! What an inspiring story of following one's dreams. Happy words to you! -Anu


From: Paul Hoffman (phoffmanATproper.com)
Subject: Writing and writers

Here's one of my favorite New Yorker cartoons on writers.


From: Edmond Scotch (easmps1ATaol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--roman a clef

There is an old saying: In history nothing is true but the names and dates. In fiction everything is true but the names and dates.


From: Michael Poole (michaelATcew.melco.co.jp)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--orihon

We actually picked up a dictionary printed in 1845 "afore the Americans come", and that is basically the same as in your picture of an orihon, except that it's stitched along one end to form a book, and is printed on exquisitely fine paper. The folded edges probably explain why there's very little dog-earing, despite its obviously having been well used. Somehow, I suspect it's a series of folded sheets rather than one piece, but I'm not going to dismantle it to find out!


From: Andrew Greene (agreeneATpageflexinc.com)
Subject: Re: orihon

An interesting -- and perhaps surprising -- example of a temporary orihon is the Megillah (scroll) of Esther. When it is read in synagogues on the festival of Purim, it is traditional to unroll the entire scroll and fold it back upon itself as an orihon, then begin reading it, rolling it back up as the reader progresses.


From: Michael Peterson (mipetersonAThesd.k12.ca.us)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--amphigory

Today's word, amphigory, clarified for me the title of a delightfully dark collection of satirical cartoons and poems by Edward Gorey which he somewhat eponymously named "Amphigorey."

    There is a whole site devoted to this creative author and artist's macabre work: goreyography. His black-and-white pencil drawings create the perfect mood to match his writing. -Anu


From: Steve N. Crawford (sncrawfordATdorseyplus.com)
Subject: conspectus question

I have a question about today's word. If a conspectus is a "general survey, synopsis, outline, or digest of something," as you say, then what is a prospectus?

In the investing world, if you contact someone for information about a stock, bond, or mutual fund, they send you a prospectus about the fund. This is a statement of the fund's history, philosophy, and past performance (which sounds like a conspectus).

Are the two synonyms? My first thought was that they would not be, given the "pro" and "con" prefixes. Kinda reminds me of that joke: if pro is the opposite of con, then progress is the opposite of congress.

    Prospectus and conspectus have more or less similar senses. The prefix con- in the word conspectus is a variant of the Latin prefix com- in the sense of "with", "together", "completely", etc. It's not the same con as the one that came from "contra" meaning "against". And that's why "concession" is not opposite of "procession" nor "conduction" of "production". -Anu


From: Ben Eloy (beloyATartifex.org)
Subject: Re: A season of words

Your daily words, and, more importantly, your meaningful quotes have been very important to me over the last few years. I frequently use one of Josť Ortega y Gasset's quotes as a signature:

"I am I plus my surroundings and if I do not preserve the latter, I do not preserve myself."

Which, appropriately, explains why I was glad to contribute to your fundraising campaign.

    Thank you, Ben, and to all who responded to our spring contributing membership drive past week. -Anu


From: Priya Bajpai (priyabajpaiATrediffmail.com)
Subject: Query!

What is a two-humped camel called? Haven't been able to locate an answer hence thought of posting it at Wordsmith.

    Two-humped one is a Bactrian. One humped: a dromedary. How to remember? The letter B has two humps, D has one. For any question about words or just to hang around with like-minded wordlovers, visit the bulletin board. -Anu


From: Eric Shackle (eshackleATozemail.com.au)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--magnum opus

My e-book began life as a parvum opus (small work) but with new stories added every month, it's gradually approaching magnum size. Don't miss Granma Welcomes Jimmy Carter.


I met, not long ago, a young man who aspired to become a novelist. Knowing that I was in the profession, he asked me to tell him how he should set to work to realize his ambition. I did my best to explain. 'The first thing,' I said, 'is to buy quite a lot of paper, a bottle of ink, and a pen. After that you merely have to write.' -Aldous Huxley, novelist (1894-1963)

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