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Oct 28, 2018
This week’s theme
Words related to the eye

This week’s words
trompe l’oeil

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AWADmail Issue 852

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

Sponsor’s Message: You think you’re pretty intelligent, right? Probably got a college degree, or two. A goodish job. Fairly well-read. Large vocabulary. We could throw ‘recalcitrance’ out there and you might not even flinch. Same here. But we can honestly and definitively say you may be smart but you aren’t wicked smart. Don’t believe us? Then please join this week’s Email of the Week winner, Simon (see below), as well as all the other know-it-alls out there for an old’s cool lesson in enlightenment and humility. Click here, classical liberals >

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

What Is the Best Age to Learn a Language?

Arabic, a Great Language, Has a Low Profile
The Economist

Can the Language of the Vikings Fight off the Invasion of English?
The Guardian

Trump l’oeil

From: Edy (almagarden comcast.net)
Subject: Organ donation

Thanks for using your bully pulpit to support organ donation -- such a worthy cause and it doesn’t cost a penny to the donor.

In California it’s easy -- just stick the “organ donor” dot onto your driver’s license when they send you a new one.

Don Selcer, Oakland, California

From: Fran Goodey (fgoodey hotmail.com)
Subject: Organ donation

Twelve hours from now, I’m setting out to have my lower eyelids elevated, a consequence of Thyroid Eye Disease. The surgeon will graft into my lids the sclera of a donated eyeball (the white part).

My thanks to the generous unknown donor. I’ll take today’s word as a good omen!

Fran Goodey, Brisbane, Australia

From: Marlene Fair-Fischer (via website comments)
Subject: Eye donation

My husband wanted to donate his eyes and during hospice at home he called the Eye Bank and asked for a donation form. The person said she would send out the Decedent Form. He explained that he was not a decedent yet. She didn't understand and kept insisting that the only form was for the decedent to sign.

After much laughter on our side ... the form was sent and received and signed and dated.

A week or so later, he died -- in my arms. I put the packages of frozen peas (his fav!) over his eyes and called the mortuary.

Esophageal cancer killed him - but he had a smile on his face and I could see the tiny marks on his eyelids ... two people could see because of him.

Marlene Fair-Fischer, Vista, California

From: Kathy Root (kathygroot icloud.com)
Subject: Donating organs, etc.

Thanks for the great idea to feature words about the eye this week and also for your introductory paragraphs on eyesight and organ donation.

Eyesight and organ donation are near to the heart for our family because my 85-year-old mother has had SEVEN cornea transplants -- all thanks to those who were generous enough to choose organ donation at death. Eyeballs, of course, cannot be replaced, but the cornea is easily used as a donor “organ” and is needed by many folks. My mother suffers from what is, most ophthalmologic researchers believe, an autoimmune disorder that causes one’s corneas to become ever more pointed until they burst. Keratoconus, as the condition is known, results in extremely poor vision as the cornea changes into a cone shape and, if / when it bursts, eyesight disappears into blindness. The medical “trick”, of course, is to replace the cornea before it again morphs out of shape.

So, for our family, those who donate their eyes (and other organs) are heroes. I myself have what I jokingly refer to as the “eyes of a potato”, but I am fortunate in only being severely nearsighted rather than having keratoconus.

Here in Ohio, when one renews one’s license plates or driver’s license in person at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the clerk will always ask if $1 can be added to the renewal fee to give to Save Our Sight. This program provides eyeglasses to children whose families cannot afford them (Medicaid recipients, etc.). I ALWAYS say “yes” and gladly pay the extra $1 because, as a professional photographer and daughter of a seven-time cornea transplant recipient, I know just how important perfect eyesight (even with corrective lenses) is to every one of us.

I look forward to the rest of the week’s “eye words” and will close this with the tidbit that I’m a member of our church’s annual United Fund spelling-bee team; naturally, we are “Team Presbyopia” from First Presbyterian Church in Norwalk, Ohio. And if you recall my winning entry of some months ago, Norwalk, Ohio, is where “Norwalk virus” (now “norovirus”), the cruise-ship / Chipotle bug, was first discovered ...

Kathy Root, Norwalk, Ohio

From: Judy Fern (jfernrn aol.com)
Subject: donation

As a nurse I am too aware of the need for “leftover” organs, so rather than having them turn to dust, they can save up to six-to-eight lives. And if not life, then vision with cornea transplants. A friend just got a new kidney and will now make it past age 22. Even blood vessels can be used. Another use rarely thought of is medical schools. Wouldn’t you rather see a doctor who has a keen knowledge of the human body from having dissected one?

My instructions upon my demise are to take what can be used and incinerate the rest (clearly, I am not a fan of cemeteries). And then have a party with whatever money is left over. Now if my old body can save or improve lives, anyone’s can.

Judy Fern, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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

Organ donation is a commendable humanitarian act but mostly done posthumously, a kidney being a possible exception. Something most of us can do while still among the living is blood donation. A donated pint has the potential to save as many as three lives. Make it a habit -- a good one.

And while at your nearest donation center, ask about signing on to the national bone marrow donation registry. Bone marrow is another donatable bodily substance we, the living, can freely surrender with no adverse health consequences for ourselves, and life-saving potential for our less-blessed healthwise, fellow life-travelers.

Audie Finnell

From: Ann Skylstad (kakisky sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Body donation

Appreciate your plug for organ donation. I hope you’ll add that if, for some reason, this doesn’t work, there’s also BODY donation.

I’ve worked as an RN and a public school teacher, so am interested in all kinds of education. I’ve helped with autopsies and learned so much more from that than a text. Two husbands, much of my family, and I have donated our bodies to the cadaver lab at the local medical school. It’s so easy to do and it’s a great feeling to be able to help educate medical professionals.

Ann Skylstad, Fort Stockton, Texas

From: Christopher Albertyn (chrisalbertyn me.com)
Subject: organ donations

A thought on organ donations: on the nudge principle, those countries that have the default that your organs are donated unless you opt out have no shortage. Those that require opting in all have insufficient organs for those who need them.

Chris Albertyn, Toronto, Canada

From: Frederick Fanning (fsfanning gmail.com)
Subject: shortsightedness

As a young man, I was surprised to see the use of the word shortsightedness instead of the word nearsightedness to describe a vision problem. Then I discovered that the British use this word in place of nearsightedness. Here in the United States, the word nearsightedness is the only word used to describe the physical vision condition. The term shortsightedness is only used to mean lacking in foresight. So I have learned something else new for me today.

Frederick Steven Fanning, Palm Springs, California

From: Mary Jean Mailloux (marie-jeanne alliance-francaise.ca)
Subject: prosopopeia

In French we give inanimate objects the ability to do things by using reflexive verbs for example “Le livre se place sur la table.” I find it very handy and miss this prosopopeia in English. Sometimes going about one’s business unnoticed is ok but I’ve always liked to be in the limelight. I’ve joined a choir. It’s helping.

Mary Jean Mailloux, Oakville, Canada

From: Lora Kahn (kahnverse78 gmail.com)
Subject: Prosopopeia

The impulse to give human qualities to inanimate objects and abstract ideas goes back to our beginnings as a species. One especially interesting example is the personification of the pronoun “Nobody”. Animating a negative pronoun would seem to be counterintuitive, but it is ideal for satiric purposes. If a character named “Nobody” tries to do something, his actions cannot be attached to a real person. And, of course, everything he does, as he cannot have any agency, is futile.

In the Renaissance play "Nobody and Somebody", Nobody tries to redress the injustices of his society: to save a woman from rape, help wounded soldiers, pay the debts of those in debtors’ prison. His counterpart, Somebody, is his opposite in all respects: warehousing grain, cheating at cards, forging bonds, and stealing the inheritances of the poor. He is determined to destroy Nobody. Playgoers of the time would have been familiar with these crimes and would have been able to identify the real people responsible for them.

Costume plays a part in the humor of the play. How, the playwright must have wondered, do you dress a character who has no physical being. His answer came in a pun. Giving him a costume which extends from his knees to his neck, and visually eliminating his torso, the playwright is signalling that he has “no body”.

Lora Kahn, New York, New York

Email of the Week Old’s Cool is Old School + Wit - Life’s ludic and lovely lessons upside the head.)

From: Simon (simon newcastle.edu.au)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ullage

While ullage is about liquids (or rather, the absence of liquids), it’s also a very useful concept for bookcases. A bookcase with too little ullage discourages the acquisition of additional books. In my household, that’s a signal to build a new bookcase.

Simon, Ourimbah, Australia

From: Stanley W. Brown (stanley.w.brown dartmouth.edu)
Subject: Ullage

Our father, a physics professor and amateur winemaker, lobbied to have the new guest room addition to our house dubbed The Ullage, as in “the space into which extra is poured”.

Stan Brown, West Lebanon, New Hampshire

From: S Venkatarama Iyer (via website comments)
Subject: ullage

Ullage is a word widely used in shipping. Ship’s ullage tables are drawn up, based on the internal volume of a tank measured from some reference point, e.g., the lip of an ullage hole. The reverse of ullage is sounding. ... In oil tankers, ullage is left in order to leave room for expansion when the oil is heated to a higher temperature before discharge.

S Venkatarama Iyer, Bangalore, India

From: Nathaniel Finney (nfinney tju.edu.cn)
Subject: ullage

As a whiskey (or whisky, depending on where you live) enthusiast, I’ve always enjoyed the term, “the angel’s share”.

This is used to describe the loss of whiskey volume due to evaporation during the aging process. (Which I think can be something like 2% by volume per year. Over 20 years? A non-trivial reduction in volume.)

The loss is due to the natural porosity of the wood that the aging casks are made from. The slow flow of liquid through the wood leads to evaporation; think of the wood as a slow lamp-wick: Even without flame, the lamp oil will eventually evaporate. This process also removes some of the undesirable flavor components of the whiskey, because they get selectively “filtered” through the wood.

(I’m just a chemist, not a whiskey expert. Although when I retire ... who knows?)

Nathaniel Finney, Professor, School of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China

From: Peggy Issenman (peggy peggyandco.ca)
Subject: Ullage

I LOVE the word ullage -- I first learned it years ago while figuring out a crossword. I also found out that in Cognac, France, there is a particular fungi that grows abundantly on the town’s walls due to the large amount of evaporation, or ullage, from all the cognac casks. I didn’t know, or remember, that the word derives from the eye.

Peggy Issenman, Halifax, Canada

From: Lorenzo Boido (AgedBeyondPerfection gmail.com)
Subject: ullage

Some rockets employ ullage motors. These are small thrusters that provide a slight acceleration while in zero gravity, thus causing the fuel and oxidizer to move toward the intakes at the “bottom” of their tanks. This ensures that there is proper fluid flow when restarting the main engine.

I have also altered the use of ullage, by referring to a person as having excessive cranial ullage.

Lorenzo Boido, Iron Mountain, Michigan

From: Don Sweeny (sweeny221 yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ullage

Ullage ... so, would its opposite be fullage?

Don Sweeny, Quincy, Massachusetts

From: Karen McHugh (karenmch gmail.com)
Subject: Trompe l’oeil

Years ago I moved into my little house and had bookcases built in the living room. I had put in a gas fireplace, so a large gap was left. I knew a large piece of art to go above it would be prohibitively expensive, so I asked an extraordinarily talented artist friend of mine, Chip Holden, to paint this for me instead, a collection of things dear to me. And it’s on a removable canvas!
Trompe l'oeil

Karen McHugh, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

From: Richard S. Russell (RichardSRussell tds.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--trompe l’oeil

Many years ago I had the pleasure of visiting the then-elderly artist Aaron Bohrod in his studio in Monona, Wisconsin. In it were two easels. On one was a board with various objects affixed to it, a few of them things like matchbook covers with tiny printing. Adjacent to it, on the other, was a half-completed painting that looked exactly like its model -- and I do mean exactly, down to identical colors. “Come on in and tell me what I’m doing wrong,” he invited. “Absolutely nothing, Mr. Bohrod. Absolutely nothing.”

Richard S. Russell, Madison, Wisconsin

From: SarahRose Werner (swerner nbnet.nb.ca)
Subject: Trompe l’oeil

It doesn’t exist anymore, but Portland, Maine, used to have a lovely trompe l’oeil mural of the city hall half a block down Exchange Street from the actual city hall. I was living in Portland and my brother came to visit me. We were walking up Exchange Street. As a joke, I indicated the mural and said, “That’s our city hall.” To my disappointment, his answer was non-committal. But I got the last laugh. We continued to walk and were almost abreast of the mural when my brother did a double-take, obviously realizing only then that the “building” I had indicated was a painting.

SarahRose Werner, Saint John, Canada (Portland, Maine, 1983-1998)

From: Iain Calder (iain.calder sympatico.ca)
Subject: trompe l’oeil

My favourite trompe l’oeil is the unique and awe-inspiring Italian Chapel on the Orkney Islands. During WWII, Italian prisoners were transported to the Orkneys to build the Churchill Barriers, designed to prevent German submarines from entering the key British naval base of Scapa Flow. The workers, however, needed a chapel, so two Nissen huts were joined end-to-end to provide the structure. Among the prisoners was an artist, Domenico Chiocchetti, who transformed the interior from bare plasterboard into what you would swear was a building full of beautiful Italian porcelain tiling.

Iain Calder, Kanata, Canada

From: Doreen Munroe (domunroe cwgsy.net)
Subject: Red-eye

Here in Guernsey, red-eye refers to the first flights out in the morning -- to Manchester at 6.50 and Gatwick at 7.00. You have to get up early to check in at 6.00 -- hence the red-eye.

Doreen Munroe, Guernsey

From: Jennifer Riley (jrrtiger22 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--red-eye

I have appreciated this week’s theme, but today’s word really hit home. It was the lack of red-eye in pictures that prompted us to get an urgent evaluation for my newborn.

She was diagnosed with a congenital cataract, and we embarked on quite the ophthalmological journey. The whole process has made me see my own eyesight in a new way. Not only did I become more aware of how precious vision is, but I also became much more grateful for my own vision.

I have yet to require correction, and that made it considerably easier to track the customized contact lenses my daughter wore until she received an artificial lens at age 5. She has had to do daily eye patching to develop vision in her affected eye, but the value of that hard work is immeasurable.

Jen Riley, Lancaster, Pennsylvania

From: Michael Winter (mikew yorkwater.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--red-eye

A red eye also refers to a drip coffee with a shot of espresso.

Mike Winter, York, Pennsylvania

From: Wes Reynolds (cwr rinsey.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--red-eye

When I was a kid (I’m 73 now), we used to visit my father’s parents in southern Illinois and at family dinners we would be served red-eye gravy. My British wife scorns this and makes her gravy the way her mother did and I quite like it. But red-eye gravy brings back great memories.

Wes Reynolds, Croton, New York

From: Gary Moore (gary_c_moore yahoo.ca)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--red-eye

I’m sure a lot of your Canadian readers, among others, will let you know that a red-eye is also a hangover drink (a bit of the hair of the dog that bit you). The basic ingredients are beer and tomato juice.

As a teenager I lived in Germany while my dad was stationed there with the Royal Canadian Air Force, and he would sometimes take along tomato juice to his favourite gasthaus. The Germans were aghast watching the despoliation of their national drink with addition of tomato juice and a little salt.

Gary Moore, Calgary, Alberta

From: Denis Toll (denis.toll outlook.com)
Subject: red-eye

There are two other meanings of red-eye:

US: Cheap whiskey. (Gimme two fingers of red-eye, bartender).
UK: The rudd. US: The rock bass (the fish, not the musician).

Denis Toll, Aberdeen, Scotland

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: trompe l’oeil and red-eye

In this art gallery scenario, I’ve implied that a majorly enlarged photographic image can sometimes be mistaken for a magic realist style painting. In this instance, for me, this framed colorful, grid-like slice of downtown Artesia, CA (“Little India”), takes on the shallow perspective of, say, a signature Richard Diebenkorn geometrically constructed abstract canvas, or even a Wayne Thiebaud telescoped perspective urbanscape. NOTE: I have to confess that I took this photo a few months ago in Artesia. For me, it was a magic moment that captured my fleeting gaze, stopping me dead in my tracks.
Trompe l'oeil Red-eye
As a longtime avid birder, I’ve always marveled at that special cohort of North American bird species with ruby-red eyes. Here, I’ve introduced a trio of prime exemplars of the the avian “red-eye” phenomenon... a male red-eyed vireo perched atop a male black-crowned night heron, with an American coot looking on. This particular species of vireo even has “red-eye” embedded in its name, highlighting the diagnostic physical feature. Other notable red-eyed birds include the spotted towhee, the phainopepla, our charismatic male wood duck, the cinnamon teal, the canvasback, and the killdeer. So, if one spares the flash in photographing any of these aforementioned species, “red-eye” is still unavoidable. Ha!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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


1. prosopopoeia
2. ullage
3. trompe l’oeil
4. ocellus
5. red-eye
1. emulate people
2. spill, pour
3. a good lie
4. eye
5. rose color
     Words related to the eye
1. prosopopoeia
2. ullage
3. trompe l’oeil
4. ocellus
5. red-eye
1. mere illusory role
2. wee gap
3. oh, so detailed!
4. color eyespot
5. people routed late
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

A White House aide munched sopapilla.
Trump saw him, yelled “Bum! I can see ya!
I see that you ate
From a culture I hate!
(I’m perfect - no prosopopeia).”
-Anna C Johnston, Coarsegold, California (ajohnston13 gmail.com)

Prosopopoeia is something abstract
Whose human form has somehow been sacked.
Are we speaking of Trump?
A quite gullible chump
From his IQ you cannot subtract.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

If walls at the White House could speak,
The press would find answers they seek.
Oh, Mama Mia!
Would give them one heckuva leak.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

In the days of historical Sumaria
God-statues in temples had prosopopeia.
They issued injunctions to obey!
From which the people dared not stray!
Their evident “power” filled the hearers with fear!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

When Donald extols North Korea,
It’s time for some prosopopeia.
I don my pajamas,
And dream the Obamas
Are back, and shout, “Barack, I see ya!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

While drinking, I shuddered to think
There’s ullage in my vodka drink.
Though I have just a few,
Whatever will I do?
My glass isn’t filled to the brink!
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

It requires enormous courage
to blame nature for the huge ullage.
Evaporation the thief?
It’s hard to believe.
More likely it’s “man-made” pilferage.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

A bathtub requires some ullage, Depending, of course, on your tonnage.
Fill it near to the brim
If you’ve been to the gym
And your diet has plenty of roughage.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The Honduran caravan came to a stall
upon seeing The Donald’s new wall.
But they went anyway,
‘twas just a trompe l’oeil,
and really quite nothing at all.
-Duncan C. Turner, Seattle, Washington (dturner badgleymullins.com)

His hairpiece fits like a glove
That’s been sprayed and anchored and shoved.
It’s a trompe l’oeil illusion
Of golden confusion
And his personal labor of love.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

As we watch Mr. Trump slam with joy
Reporters, Democrats, et cetera -- a ploy
To flaunt his status,
Sadly, it’s flatus;
His personal stature’s a true trompe l’oeil.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

“Ze election ve’ll make a trompe l’oeil,”
Plotted Vlad, “vith ze older Trump boy.
For Ivanka’s a Jew,
Much too smart through and through,
But Don Junior is still a dumb goy.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The butterfly was a beauty.
Its markings were a sight to see.
With bold ocellus,
A warning to us,
That says, “Are you looking at me?”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Cyclops had just the one eye
But with that he was able to spy.
It was no ocellus
So that ought to tell us
Odysseus had luck not to die.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

Ocellus on a butterfly’s wings
Is one of the most beautiful things.
Nature is to me
Such pure ecstasy,
Watching a bird as it flies or sings.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

One day as I looked at my trellis,
There was looking right back an ocellus.
“It’s so nice, butterfly,
That you come flutter by,
But your beauty,” I said, “makes me jealous.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I look at my photos, I sigh.
I always appear with red eye.
But, I’m not possessed,
With Devil obsessed.
“I’m really normal,” so said I.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Donald Trump, a most slippery guy,
With agendas our morals defy.
Said to Pence, “Last night’s tweet
To my Vlad was so sweet,
Even though I now have a red-eye.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

A fan of Star Wars might use Jedi.
I’m not one of those, so instead, I
am in quite a bind
attempting to find
another word rhyming with red-eye.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“To observe how you’ve trained as a Jedi,”
Said Kenobi, “I’ve taken a red-eye.”
Answered Luke, “To see Yoda
I drove my Toyota;
A hybrid it is,” he said, head high.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Jocular ocular puns

“Since I love Mexican desserts, honey, just call me prosopopoeia.” (pro-sopapilla)

I told the gas station attendant, “Ullage you fill ‘er up.”

It eludes me how Trompe l’oeilists let him illude them.

When my friend and eye spot the ice cream truck we say, “Ocellus some!”

Just before take-off, the pilot of the overnight flight announced, “Red-eye when you are!”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: Dr. John R. Beyer (jbeyer vvuhsd.org)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day

Just to let you know -- I use A.Word.A.Day as my warm-up for my 7th grade ELA [English Language Arts] students in Cobalt Institute of Math and Science everyday. They find the words very interesting and it helps build their vocabulary in a fun way.

Dr. John R. Beyer, Victorville, California

It is a curious thing that every creed promises a paradise which will be absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste. -Evelyn Waugh, novelist (28 Oct 1903-1966)

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