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A.Word.A.Day--walleyed

Pronunciation RealAudio

walleyed (WAWL-eyed) adjective

1. Having walleye (a form of vision disorder in which one or both eyes deviate outward.)

2. Having large staring eyes, like certain fish.

3. Having one or both eyes appearing nearly white due to white or light-colored iris, or white or opaque cornea.

[From Middle English wawil-eyed, from Old Norse vagl-eygr, from vagl (film over the eye) + eygr (eyed).]

"Tony Shalhoub reprises his bit as Jeebs, the walleyed alien with the head that regenerates." Gloria Goodale; The Aliens Are Back in 'Black'; Christian Science Monitor (Boston, Massachusetts); Jul 5, 2002.

"For 35 years, from the Liberation of France until he died in 1980 at the age of 75, the leading actor in this theater whose stage was the cafes of St.-Germain-des-Pres and Montparnasse was a short (5-foot-2), intense, hoarse, pipe-smoking, walleyed writer of novels, plays, essays, biographies and philosophical treatises, a radical magazine editor and sometime lycee teacher named Jean-Paul Sartre." Harry Goldgar; Passions of the Intellect; St. Petersburg Times (Florida); Oct 4, 1987.

In middle school, a fellow in my class had a gift for observation. He would nickname a student Horse and the name would stick. That's because the unfortunate lad had teeth neatly laid out like those of a horse. A teacher was named Express Train for his rapid gait. Another student earned the moniker Camel for who knows what. I was named Four Eyes for the glasses I wore in those days. This namer could be rather ruthless in his labels. Students, teachers, staff, none escaped his attention.

At the time these puerile names appeared funny, but looking back I realize they can be cruel to those on the receiving end. After all, people are more than just boxes to be labeled for a single quality.

This week AWAD features words that describe our fellow humans for what they do, wear, look like, and more. To start with, check out this article (a spoof) on nicknaming in high places.

-Anu Garg

X-Bonus

Once you hear the details of victory, it is hard to distinguish it from a defeat. -Jean-Paul Sartre, writer and philosopher (1905-1980)

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