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Jun 17, 2018
This week’s theme
Monosyllabic words

This week’s words
wen
skail
slue
dree
wale

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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AWADmail Issue 833

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

Sponsor’s Message: DOGGONE IT! After announcing last week that our long overdue “The Official Old’s Cool Handbook” was back in stock, we immediately sold out again. Ha -- and we always thought we wanted to be popular. It’s now hot off the presses, again, and even better as a (wicked belated) Father’s Day gift, for Email of the Week Winner Thomas Koehler, and any and all wiseacres looking to buck the old man up. Guaranteed the best ten clams you’ll ever spend on him. Tickle Grumpy Pink, even though it’s too late >



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

Another Conquest by the Language That Is Eating the World
The Chronicle
Permalink

Trump Has Turned Words into Weapons. And He's Winning the Linguistic War The Guardian
Permalink



From: Marvin Berkson (bingo1939 sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Wen

Old joke...Hey, what’s that on your nose?

A wen.

Oh yeah, when are you going to pop it?

Marvin Berkson, Foster City, California



From: Jessica Kroposky Fischer (jkroposky comcast.net)
Subject: wen

A wen is also the anatomical term for the crown area (head growth) on a fancy goldfish such as a ranchu or lionhead.

Jessica Kroposky Fischer, Warminster, Pennsylvania



From: Allan Stevenson (via website comments)
Subject: skail

On our farm in Ayrshire in my youth we used “skail” to mean spill or spread. It was used with “sharn” (dung) as in “skailing sharn” -- muck spreading. Skail was different from “tim” which meant empty but also the verb to empty as in, “He timmed the bucket ower his heid.”

Allan Stevenson, Edinburgh, Scotland



Email of the Week - Happy Father’s Day: Nab your Official Dad-Up Manual Now >

From: Thomas Koehler (tvkoehler lakeconnections.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--slue

Fans of Americana tall tales may be familiar with Pecos Bill. His first wife was Slue Foot Sue. Her exploits fit perfectly in the definition of “slue”. I’d often wondered about her name and sort of intuited the meaning from her actions. Sadly, she came to a bad end because of her slue-footedness. The full story is beyond the scope of this venue, but involves hoop skirts, Bill’s horse, and the moon.

Tom Koehler, Two Harbors, Minnesota



From: AJ McPhate (phateful bellsouth.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--slue

In mechanical engineering the spelling is “slew” as in the “tank turret slewed rapidly right.”

AJ McPhate, Baton Rouge, Louisana



From: John Bell (twriter me.com)
Subject: Slue (or slew)

As a hockey fan and former off-ice official, I am familiar with the term slew-foot, which is a penalty.

John Bell, Phoenix, Arizona



From: Audie Finnell (via website comments)
Subject: slue

Hall of Fame pitcher, Dizzy Dean, went on to become a popular broadcaster after his baseball career ended. His frequent butchering of the English language became the source of much humor and some ridicule. Saying “slud” instead of “slid” (“He slud into second.”) is probably the one example of his ineloquence of tongue he’s most remembered for, but apparently he didn’t miss the correct word by much--only one vowel, in fact: slued.

Audie Finnell



From: Joel Mabus (joel.mabus pobox.com)
Subject: dree

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To dree our weird wi’out Trump’s madness
It wad frae monie a blunder free us
An foolish notion

Joel Mabus, Portage, Michigan



From: Lawrence Brown (london86 comcast.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--wale

When I was growing up in the 1930s and 40s, my mother called my corduroy pants my whistle britches, from the sound of the wales crossing each other.

Charlie Brown, Hendersonville, North Carolina



From: Betty Feinberg (bgfeinberg cox.net)
Subject: wale

Speaking of variant pronunciations, when I took my then six-year-old daughter to visit my parents in West Virginia, a neighborhood child came over to play with her. She told my daughter, “I have a wale in my back yard.” My daughter heard “whale” and didn’t believe her. The girl took her home to show the “wale”, which turned out to be a well. Vowels can be shifty in WV.

Betty Feinberg, Tucson, Arizona



From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)
Subject: the longest day must end

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The longest day must have its close -- the gloomiest night will wear on to a morning. An eternal, inexorable lapse of moments is ever hurrying the day of the evil to an eternal night, and the night of the just to an eternal day. -Harriet Beecher Stowe, abolitionist and novelist (14 Jun 1811-1896)

“Come what come may,
Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.”
(Macbeth, act 1, scene 3)

It’s true, no doubt, that as the longest and laziest and most winding river will eventually find its way to the sea, so the longest day, no matter what occurs during its course, must wander eventually into dusk, then twilight, and finally into night. Ms. Stowe, I’d surmise, is here speaking of the monstrous evil of slavery, and if she is speaking of this profane institution, she is right: a war ended the dark night of slavery, but if she means that the abomination of evil will forever, time permitted, give way to the nacreous sunrise of justice, she might be too optimistic. Evil is a perdurable foe, one hard to slay, one as eternal as granite. This world of ours, in many aspects, still labors in the foul darkness of evil, the bright light of dawn still pending. The days come and the days go, the sun rises and the sun sets, and yet the world is not yet saved.

Macbeth, when he hears the witches’ prophecy that he will become Thane of Cawdor and then King, soon finds out that he, indeed, has been named Thane of Cawdor. This news instills a “horrid image” in his mind, it “does unfix [his] hair and makes [his] seated heart knock at [his] ribs.” We know he’s thinking of murder being the easiest way to catch the crown, but, thinking that the title of Thane of Cawdor came to him by chance then he may become king by chance “without [his] stir”. He decides, so the lines below intimate, that he will be patient and wait. He will bide his time. He says aside: “Come what come may, / Time and the hour runs through the roughest day.” We know Macbeth ignored his own advice when he found out that Duncan ordered his, Duncan’s, son, Malcolm, to succeed him.

I am reminded of an old poem, one first put on paper about 950 C.E., though it was sung many years before. It’s titled “Deor’s Lament”. Deor, once the adored court poet, has been pushed aside, driven away, so that another poet may take his place. Time, perhaps, is the great assuager. In the end it all passes. The poem concludes:

My name was Deor.
For many winters I held a fine office,
faithfully serving a just lord. But now Heorrenda
a man skilful in songs, has received the estate
the protector of warriors had promised me.
That passed away; this also may.

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina



From: Stu Tarlowe (stuarttarlowe gmail.com)
Subject: wale

I once had a dog I called Levi. I’d tell people, “He’s called ‘Levi’ because he pants!” On a similar theme, didja hear about the dog called Corduroy? He’s called “Corduroy” because he wails (wales)!

Stu Tarlowe, Rosedale, Kansas



From: Linda Owens (lindafowens netzero.net)
Subject: wale

With four rowdy kids to discipline, my Dad, a Navy veteran, used a lot of threats that sparked our imaginations so we would not want to disobey and perhaps hurt ourselves. Two I could picture vividly were his hanging a racetrack around our eye or giving us a fat lip. But the one I wondered about was the threat of waling the tar out of us.

Linda Owens, Exeter, Rhode Island



From: Glenn Glazer (glenn.glazer gmail.com)
Subject: Monosyllabic words

This week’s theme reminded me that the longest entry in Leo Rosten’s The Joys of Yiddish is the monosyllabic “oy” due to the wide variety of meanings the word can take on depending on the tone the speaker uses.

Glenn Glazer, Felton, California



From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: slue & wen

Can’t explain it, but when I began mulling over the meaning of our word “slue”, the arcane practice of dowsing came almost immediately to mind. These days it is considered as a kind of hocus-pocus pseudoscience, while back in the day deemed by many as a form of black-magic divination. Originally regarded as a slightly bizarro method to locate underground water, certain metals, or gems, a seemingly involuntary downward slue, or twitchy turn of the wishbone-like dowsing rod toward the ground, was a sign to the dowser that they may have struck pay-dirt. My frog character’s comment merely reenforces the wishbone shape parallel, where within both the realm of dowsing and making a wish in a wishbone-tugging dual, “wishful thinking” is the common denominator.

Slue Wen
The plot... in this case, Plotz... thickens. (groan) An anxious Mr. Plotz is majorly concerned about the unsightly, inflamed, protruding growth on his forehead, fearing the worst-case scenario... CANCER. But his dermatologist reassures him that this protuberance is a “wen”, and with minor surgery can be excised... no problem.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



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

This week’s theme: Monosyllabic words
1. wen
2. skail
3. slue
4. dree
5. wale
=
1. no-risk blemish
2. walk away
3. slide
4. endure
5. we see some cloth welts
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)


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

She chided her child of ten,
And told him it was rude again.
“To stare, not good grace,
At growth on man’s face.”
Said her son, “If not now, then wen?”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The national parks and protected lands
Will soon disappear if we don’t take a stand.
Open space? Not a trace,
It will all be replaced
By wens with Trump towers quite grand.
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

The target of words so out of line
Is Prime Minister Trudeau -- he’s OK, he’s fine!
That ill-advised mouth
That lives to the south
Is a wen on the butt -- and not so benign!
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

Growled the witch, “I will say it again.
This thing on my chin isn’t a wen.
I think it looks cute;
it’s the eye of a newt
from a potion I mix now and then.”
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Trying to flee from the wen,
We decided to jump in the Seine.
We surely got wet,
But do not forget
We’ll probably do it again.
-Jan Bosman, Cape Town, South Africa (jbosman media24.com)

“Chicago, Chicago, that toddling town!”
Frank Sinatra certainly got it down.
It is too bad since then
It has become a wen.
Today, wonderful is not how it’s known.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Moscow is the focal wen
For those of the Soccer yen.
Football is first.
The fans all thirst ...
Victory for their nation’s men!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

“Though I’m a virgin, for you I’ve a yen,
And I haven’t a blemish or wen.
I’m a perfect size two,
Tall and blonde, leggy too,”
Murmured Barbie, “Let’s go for it, Ken.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpmarlin456 gmail.com)

“At what time” defines the word “when”
And “where” tells me where I have been.
These two are quite easy,
But I get a bit queasy
When I’m singing “Who knows ware or wen?”
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

Said the lama, “My son, be more Zen,
Or this anger will grow like a wen.”
Answered Trump, “But Trudeau
Makes my blood boil so
With those looks when I watch CNN.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


All day long they’d felt they were jailed.
The school bell then rang and they skailed.
They departed
Quite light-hearted--
Right out the door those teachers they sailed!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

He gets up while the moon is still high,
Skails lies with a gleam in his eye.
Today I’ll offend,
Insult, and upend
And watch naysayers all falling like flies.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

“From this table ye knights will now skail,”
Said King Arthur, “and search for the Grail.
On thy quest, Lancelot,
Guinevere being hot,
The South Pole is the place ye shall sail.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Oh, The Donald and Kim stuck like glue,
Except sadly, our Prez has no clue.
They shook hands, signed a note,
Broke some bread, Trump would dote,
‘Til Kim Jong-un thought it best to slue.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

He boasts like he’s walking the walk
With moot comments replete in his talk.
Claims his faucets are fountains
And his molehills are mountains,
Sluing facts into mad poppycock.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

As our leaders towards tyranny slue,
The reaction from many is, “Moo.”
“Kim Jong Un I can trust;
To his way we’ll adjust,”
Says the Donald, as Fox anchors coo.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


My heart aches for our country.
How much more of Trump can we dree?
While many surmise
He’ll get Nobel Prize.
Canadian war? Wait and see.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The old husband whose marriage was dree,
Told his wife that he longed to be free.
But she took the news well,
And said, “What the hell,”
Then went off on a bachelorette spree.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Ah, whatever Bourdain had to dree
Is really a mystery to me.
I just would have guessed
He knew he was blessed.
From what was he trying to flee?
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Says wannabe princess, “I see
the queen’s sneakily hidden a pea
deep down in my bed.
She’ll believe I’m well-bred
when I say t’was too painful to dree.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

When you are in shackles, unfree,
a fate worse than death to dree,
A glimmer of hope
is long enough rope
to pull you out of your misery!
-Shyamal Mukherji, Wakefield, Massachusetts(mukherjis hotmail.com)

This era of Trump you can dree
With some single-malt Scotch or Chablis.
But if drinking’s no dice,
Take Joyce Kilmer’s advice
And just sit there and stare at a tree.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Poor Comey no longer has any cachet,
The Justice Department just had its say.
Two sides he has failed
And now he’s been waled.
Criminal! said our leader, who would lock him away.
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

“Your practice of self flagellation,”
says she, “is a strange aberration.
Just look at those wales!”
“You should try it. To flail,”
replies he, “affords quite a sensation!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Shouted Ahab, “I’m getting that whale;
It’s the big one with skin deathly pale.
If he turns us to fishmeal,
I’m telling you, Ishmael,
My ghost will thy back turn to wale.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


I must dree all the wales that I slue.
A job that’s not easy to do,
‘Cos I watch them all skail
Then they’re hard to impale,
And my wen doesn’t help matters too!
-Mike Young, Sedgefield, South Africa (youmike mweb.co.za)



From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Opun your mind for these monosyllies

It’s difficult to wen your way through Manila (world’s most densely-populated city).

Passengers left The Titanic in full-skail panic.

At the hoedown, we watched a slue of square-dancers.

When the prisoner asked, “Am I being released?”, his Jamaican jailer said, “Dree, mon!”

The Texan told the man in the corduroy jacket, “You’re lookin’ wale.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma



A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The ultimate sense of security will be when we come to recognize that we are all part of one human race. Our primary allegiance is to the human race and not to one particular color or border. I think the sooner we renounce the sanctity of these many identities and try to identify ourselves with the human race the sooner we will get a better world and a safer world. -Mohamed ElBaradei, diplomat, Nobel laureate (b. 17 Jun 1942)

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