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Oct 24, 2021
This week’s theme

This week’s words
cookie monster

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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Words coined after fairy tales and folktales

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AWADmail Issue 1008

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

Sponsor’s Message: Are you sick and tired of the never-ending lockdowns and social distancing? Then try some intellectual distancing instead: Wise Up! -- The Wicked/Smart Party Card Game is “not for the faint of head” -- 100 Question Cards that are chock-a-block full of gee-whiz, Shakespeare, history, literature, sports, wit, and recalcitrance. But wait! There are also 50 devilish Challenge Cards, e.g., Throw this card on the floor and pick it up without using your hands, or Swap shirts with the player to your left. We’re offering a wild, edifying ride and an exclusive AWAD cutthroat bargain: Buy two and get FREE shipping. A fantastic gift.

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

Lost in Translation? The One-Inch Truth About Netflix’s Subtitle Problem
The Guardian

Why You Have an Accent in a Foreign Language
The Economist

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

If you were eponymed, that is, if your name were to become a metaphor and become a part of the English language, what would it be? That’s what I asked our readers this week and they shared their stories. Thank you to all who wrote. Here’s a selection.

To be daviddaviesed: to be asked to repeat the spelling of your name.
-David Davies, Wellington, Canada (ddavies yorku.ca)

I am enthralled by the natural beauty of Sonoma County. Some friends say they are “having a Fran moment” when they too are awed by Mother Nature.
-Fran Danoff, Santa Rosa, California (frandanoff aol.com)

In my 20s I worked as a cake decorator. Every now and then I would make a mistake, like when I put the wrong names on a wedding cake. Eventually the shop owner made a gold medallion pendant that whoever made a mistake would have to wear. It said “I MADE A RIFKIN.”
-Ron Rifkin, Oakland, California (riffkid earthlink.net)

I am an avid reader of Scientific American and have been for so long that I recognize the 50-year-old magazines in the “50, 100 and 150 Years Ago” section of each month’s magazine. Hence, my eponym:
Larrify: To take an everyday subject or observation, such as the weather, the night sky, etc., and discuss it with such great detail and technicality that listeners are bored to tears.
-Larry Tatsch, Ringoes, New Jersey (cltatsch aol.com)

Do a Vivian -- Choose the shortest line at the supermarket but wait 20 minutes while the manager settles a customer problem in front of me.
-Vivian Donaldson, Scottsdale, Arizona (vivied10 aol.com)

The head of the housekeeping team where I work is a remarkable woman named Carmen. Smart, wise, resourceful, tenacious, thorough, caring, and a perfectionist, she is simply the best. When a new trainee is coming on board, they must spend time training with her. Only those who have been successfully “Carmenized” can join her team -- and we are all the better for it!
-Nan Alderson, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (nan441 comcast.net)

Grimsleyed -- overly thrifty. Not me, but my dad and his siblings!
-Ramona Lynn Grimsley, Moncks Corner, South Carolina (ramona.grimsley berkeleycountysc.gov)

From: Joel Mabus (joel.mabus pobox.com)
Subject: Brewster’s Millions

My ears pricked up at the word brewstered. I happen to be one of the million or so descended from William Brewster, Mayflower passenger in the waning days of 1620. I learned of this only a few years ago, and initially was not too thrilled to hear it, given the checkered history of the Pilgrims and later Puritans who “replaced” the natives of Massachusetts. Brewster and his wife Mary are my “8 great” grandparents which means 10 generations back. I would rather hang my cap on the some 50 percent of my DNA that comes from German immigrants in 1850, escaping to America after the failed German revolution. Freethinkers, I like to think. That’s where my odd family name comes from.

But old William Brewster was a good and remarkable man by all accounts. The only passenger on that boatload with a college education, and the recognized elder of the congregation. Not a political leader or minister, but William served as quiet spiritual advisor until their pastor arrived on a later ship. “8 great” grandmother Mary (whose maiden name is anonymous) was one of only four women who survived the passing and that first brutal winter. One of four women who together cooked the Pilgrims’ contribution to their first communal Thanksgiving feast in 1621. 400 years ago this autumn. I’ll quietly thank her as I enjoy my slice of pumpkin pie next month.

By simple binary calculation of 10 generations, William and Mary Brewster were just two out of 1024 people of that generation who gave their DNA to my personal blend. That’s a pretty small slice of my genetic pie chart. One of five hundred grandpas and one of five hundred grandmas. And I am but one of Brewster’s Millions estimated to be living today. One of history’s slightest footnotes, I am brewstered only in thoughts.

Joel Mabus, Portage, Michigan

From: Susan Saunders (susansaunders2004 yahoo.co.uk)
Subject: Brewstered

The word brewster is interesting too. It means a female brewer. -Ster is a feminising suffix, as in spinster, a female spinner. A theme here for a future week’s words?

Susan Saunders, Teddington, UK

From: Rhodri Young (rhodri.young gmail.com)
Subject: Brewstered

I used to manage a wine merchant’s shop and had to regularly attend Brewsters Sessions - the annual meeting of the licensing magistrates (and police) to renew my licence to sell alcohol by retail. The process started in 1729 and was ended by the Licensing Act of 2003.

Rhodri Young, Carmarthen, UK

From: Steve Ettlinger (steve steveettlinger.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--hoover

I lived in France a while ago and was surprised to hear my friends speak, in French, of “passer le Hoover” to mean “vacuuming”! So not just in the UK ...

Steve Ettlinger, New York, New York

From: Denman Maroney (denman denmanmaroney.com)
Subject: Hoover

My father-in-law gave my mother-in-law a hoover for Christmas. She was insulted. “Is that what you think I’m for?” she growled. Evidently she suffered from what Germaine Greer called “the problem that has no name”.

Denman Maroney, Occitanie, France

From: Claude Galinsky (cmgalinsky gmail.com)
Subject: Hoover

Hoover UK was also famous for driving themselves out of business with the single worst sales promotion ever devised: if you bought a $119 vacuum cleaner you could get two roundtrip airfares to the USA.

It ended with a run on cheap vacuums, a lawsuit, 200K+ unfulfilled ticket claims, a glut of used vacuums, a 40 percent drop in market share, and the sale of the UK division for a huge loss.

Claude Galinsky, Westford Massachusetts

Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy Wise Up! -- guaranteed to ruin Thanksgiving.

From: Katie Shea (katieshealane msn.com)
Subject: Hoover

In the early 1980s I worked at our GE company store. We stocked small appliances and light bulbs. Time and again, men would come in to buy their wives a present, but far too often they went for steam irons. It was all I could do to keep from applying the iron upside their heads. I shamed most of them into different gifts.

Katie Shea, Gaithersburg, Maryland

From: David Walker (sixtiescycles yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--hoover

If you’ve never seen this (and I bet you have), you need to watch it. Still one of my favorite comic YouTube videos: The Doghouse (8 min.).

Dave Walker, Limoux, France

From: Kate McLeod (girldriverusa gmail.com)
Subject: Hoover

My late husband gave his “ex” wife a type of hoover as a present once. Perhaps one of the reasons I got to spend an amazing 25 years with him. I believe she picked it up and put it in a trash bin as he watched.

Kate McLeod, New York, New York

From: Dorothy A. Daybell (ddaybell usc.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--hoover

Reminded me of the year my only Christmas gift from my husband was a new whistling teakettle, to replace the one he’d gone off and left on the burner until it went dry and melted, whistling all the way to its death. He did put a note with it, saying “It’s not really fair ...” Good thing he was lovable in many other ways, and therefore our marriage survived.

Dorothy A. Daybell, Wilmington, North Carolina

From: Danielle Austin (danielle13 san.rr.com)
Subject: tools

Your comment on giving a hoover for Christmas reminded me of my mother crying when my father gave her a new vacuum cleaner one year. For Christmas, birthdays, etc., I have asked for a vacuum cleaner, a sewing machine, an electric cordless drill, a rolling tool chest, and more. I am very proud of my tools, although my mother wonders why I don’t ask for perfume (gack), jewelry (gets in the way of the tools), and flowers (short term).

Danielle Austin, San Diego, California

From: Mariana Warner (marianaw6002 gmail.com)
Subject: Hoover

Hoover was the name my daughter’s family chose for their large yellow Labrador retriever. He was a typical Lab, a real chowhound, so his name suited him to a T. He neither hesitated nor needed to be taught to hoover all the crumbs from the floor after her then-small children finished eating.

Smiling local Democrats and liberals in Stanford, Palo Alto, and surrounding areas of California refer to Hoover’s Tower on the Stanford campus, a tourist mecca, as “Hoover’s last erection.” He was a Stanford alumnus. You can get a great view of the surrounding area from the top, and the tower can be seen from afar. But you won’t get humor at the expense of the late conservative Republican President Herbert Hoover, who refused to give direct aid to suffering citizens during the Great Depression, from the staff or from other information you find on the premises there!

Mariana Warner, Asheville, North Carolina

From: Mary Perez (mperez cityoftulsa.org)
Subject: Hoover

Today’s word reminds me of my friend’s three dogs (all Labs), appropriately named: Kirby, Eureka, and Hoover.

Mary Perez, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: Curt Carlson (curt.carlson mac.com)
Subject: Hoover

Swedes call a vacuum cleaner a dammsugare -- literally, a dust sucker -- and have a pastry by the same name because it looks sort of like a canister vacuum cleaner.

Who says Swedes don’t have a sense of humor?

Curt Carlson, Edina, Minnesota

From: Craig Good (clgood me.com)
Subject: cookie monster

Puts me in mind of perhaps the greatest mash-up on YouTube video. (video, 4 min.; lyrics).

Craig Good, Vallejo, California

From: Dudley Taft (dudley dudleytaft.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--cookie monster

Cookie Monster is also an adjective that describes growling vocals in heavy-metal music! (WSJ, Permalink).

Dudley Taft, Cincinnati, Ohio

From: Chris O’Carroll (chrisocarroll yahoo.com)
Subject: Cookie Monster rock

Gotta love the “Sea Is for Cookie” graphic accompanying today’s word. This geological ditty (published earlier this year in Light magazine’s “Poems of the Week”) might be of interest. You can click on the highlighted word “geode” in the first line to see the rock in question.

Chris O’Carroll, Pelham, Massachusetts

From: Jude Anne Cassidy (jcassidy umd.edu)
Subject: marplot

So there’s a word for that! Nearly every episode of the Frasier show involved Frasier being a marplot. In his case, it was his own plans that he was usually torpedoing, and the cause of his interference was that he was so smugly confident that he could make things/do things better than more inferior people could. This theme started with Diane Chambers in Cheers. I think these shows were so popular because it was both so satisfying and so tragic to see these marplots get their comeuppance.

Jude Cassidy, PhD, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland Distinguished Scholar-Teacher, Director, Maryland Child and Family Development Laboratory, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland

From: Ron Betchley (emef hotmail.com)
Subject: marplot

What the word marplot immediately brought to mind was the current political situation in the US involving the Senators from Arizona and West Virginia. However the inclusion of the term “means well” negated that entirely.

Ron Betchley, Yarker, Canada

From: Robert Berend (tactile8888 yahoo.com)
Subject: Marplot examples

Excellent examples of marplot(s) are in the French movie Le Dîner de Cons, which is the original version of the American film Dinner for Schmucks. It’s incredibly funny.

“Losers” are invited to dinner at the home of a rich man who, with his peers, ridicules these men. These men (schmucks in the English version, but a lousy remake) get the rich men’s marriage, taxes, and lives destroyed by their actions and integrity and “good intentions”.

Robert Berend, Boston, Massachusetts

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Cookie monster and hoover

Of the entire cast of Jim Henson’s whacky muppet brigade, I have a special place in my heart (and stomach... Ha!) for Cookie Monster. What can I say? I was a cookie craver for most of my life until roughly a decade ago, when type-2 diabetes caught up with me. Now, unlike Cookie Monster, I may indulge in half an Oreo or oatmeal cookie... my guilty pleasure. Yet Cookie Monster’s appetite for cookies will never be sated. I guess that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

Joey Chestnut: Hotdog Hoover
As a child of the mid-20th century, a bona fide boomer, I was reminded of the most popular vacuum cleaner of that era...the Hoover. Metaphorically, the image of one Joey Chestnut came to mind, recently scarfing down (hoovering?) hotdog-after-hotdog, retaining his World Championship title for consuming the most franks (including buns). Champ Chestnut brings a whole new meaning to the term “pigging out”.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Eponyms
1. brewstered
2. hoover
3. cookie monster
4. marplot
5. Panglossian
= 1. looks rich
2. sweep
3. Sesame Street hog; no manners
4. wet blanket
5. overdo or hype optimism
     This week’s theme: Eponyms
1. brewstered
2. hoover
3. cookie monster
4. marplot
5. Panglossian
= 1. moneybags
2. wet mop port-horns
3. went, over-ate
4. pokes nose
5. Lord! this seems like chimera
     This week’s theme: Eponyms
1. brewstered
2. hoover
3. cookie monster
4. marplot
5. Panglossian
= 1. get so very rich
2. eat
3. “Om nom nom!”
4. oops! spoil or skew plan
5. we see the dreamer thinks best
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)

Make your own anagrams and animations.


Is he brewstered? Oh, baby, and how!
He insists heads of state must kowtow.”
“If they don’t?” “But they do --
And between me an’ you,
They all know if they don’t, they’re dog chow.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

He is brewstered beyond wildest dreams.
The cash in his wallet just screams
That it wants to be spent.
But he won’t pay the rent.
He’ll soon be evicted, it seems.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

“I travel anonymously,
and keep a low profile,” says she,
“so they won’t know I’m brewstered.
If folks on this cruise heard,
my trip would be ruined, you see.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

He’s brewstered but watches his bucks,
Avoiding expenses deluxe.
He’s saved all his life;
Just ask his dear wife,
Who’ll tell you frugality sucks.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

When the wealthy farmer was dead,
They gathered to hear his will read.
His wife, a known shrew heard
The rooster got brewstered.
She cried, “Oh, no. What a bonehead!”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Said Anu, “I’m letting you loose, bird;
With fruit, seeds, and bugs you’ll be brewstered.”
So he opened the cage,
And his finch turned the page;
Joyous song was that day from its roost heard.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“For my birthday! A hoover? How kind.”
“’Twas the ad’ sucked me in -- blew my mind.
How my fancy took flight
That it might not delight
Well, the thought never entered -- I signed.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

In college I learned to be smart.
Philosophy, Science and Art!
I’d hoover them up
And did fill my cup.
But now my old brain fell apart.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

The fact that their house is a mess
causes him terrible stress.
So he buys wife a hoover
in hopes ‘twill improve her
performance. Alas, no success.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

How often does she hoover, you ask?
Well, it’s really an arduous task.
Not lazy, I’d say,
She’d still rather lay
On a beach in the warm sun and bask.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

A most charming young maid from Vancouver
Had a way with a mop and a hoover.
She rid all of the halls
Of unsightly dust balls,
Inside crevices she could maneuver.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

The teenager loves the buffet
And plans his attack, in a way.
With clever maneuvers
The whole spread he hoovers;
The rest’rant goes bankrupt that day.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Now her Christmas gift cost many bucks
For a new vacuum cleaner deluxe.
When she saw the hoover,
It just didn’t move her.
So she snapped that his present sure sucks.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

There once was a girl from Vancouver
Who was famed for a weekly maneuver.
She’d go to the gym,
Look around and say, “Him,”
Then that guy to her bed she would hoover.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Cookie monsters don’t leave any crumbs.
Nor, I fear, do they share with their chums.
All-consuming, their greed
Drives their frenzy to feed,
And there’s always more room in their tums.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

“You’re a mean cookie monster, a louse!
You’ve devoured my gingerbread house.
So, here’s what I’ll do.
Put a curse onto you.
This fairy tale witch won’t just grouse.”
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

She spots wealthy prey at the bar.
Approaching, she cries, “There you are!
I hope you like blondes, sir!”
The sly cookie monster
continues, “We two could go far!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

A real cookie monster is he,
As greedy for sweets as can be.
Those cookies he’ll snatch --
He’ll eat the whole batch!
Now nothing will be there for me.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Babe four, our first girl’s on her way!
And my boys have got something to say:
“Dad, have you noticed how
Mom’s cookie monster now?
Gobbles ‘em up every day!”
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Said a swordfish, “Those trawlers from Gloucester
Are together one big cookie monster.
Our stocks they’ve depleted;
They’re dumb and conceited.”
A cod agreed, “Let ‘em eat lobster.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Yes, the flaw, I now see, was to dream
Without factoring into our scheme
That perennial clot!
That invasive marplot
Who’s undone all our plans -- I could scream!”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

A marplot, just bubbling with froth,
Had pledged to his sweetheart his troth.
He then tried to pitch in
And help in the kitchen.
But too many cooks spoiled the broth.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Thieves thought they would make a fast buck,
but they had unexpected bad luck.
When they got to the car lot,
they found that some marplot
had stolen their targeted truck.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Together our whole team had toiled
Just like a machine that’s well-oiled.
A devious marplot
Devised a bizarre plot,
And all of our efforts were spoiled.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

In DC, the road to progression
Can often seem more like regression
Poor Biden’s great plans
Come to nothing; the man’s
Facing marplots with every suggestion!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

The Gordians tied a bizarre knot,
Believing it safe from a marplot.
But along came a Greek,
At the rope took a peek,
And as golfers would say, under par shot.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Your physician, so buoyant, such zest.”
“When I’m ill, always tells me I’m blessed.
So Panglossian, he,
Just to reassure me,
Says that dying is all for the best.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

He felt optimistically blessed,
and never was bored or depressed.
Observed this Panglossian,
whenever onslaughts he en-
countered, “It’s all for the best!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

No matter how awful the news,
He held to Panglossian views.
“It’s all for the best,”
The man would attest.
“A positive outlook I choose.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

An eternal Panglossian, she
Was sure she’d encounter a he
Who would love her, in spite
Of her weight and her height --
At seven feet, two thirty three!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“I see why you made me Panglossian,
For the villain this time is a naughty one,”
Said James Bond. “Each close scrape
I will surely escape,
But I think you’ve been hitting the sauce, Ian.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The beer maker was pleased to hear that his brewstered up a lot of interest.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

Double, double, toil and trouble,” said the witches, and the brewstered.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The school teacher exclaimed to her rowdy class, “Hoover-balized that obscene remark?”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

“Hoover ze dummies who voted for Trump?” wondered the astonished people of Germany.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

At the shelter, it was the tall homeless man hoover-y quickly grabbed the donation.
-Ray Pasinski, Downers Grove, Illinois (rayomic yahoo.com)

Said the Jamaican chef to his crazy assistant, “You’re cookie monster the sauce.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The bungling couple bought their future resting place at a seaside cemetery and called it their Del marplot.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

Billy buried his chocolate bars in a marsplot, to keep his Halloween candy away from his brother.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Boyo, this great long novel o’ yours needs marplot,” said James Joyce’s editor.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

A sucker for any and every product that might make her lips shinier, she was panglossian.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

CEO in the Headlights
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Facebook CEO in the Headlight; oil spills

Here, former Facebook product manager and now whistleblower, Frances Haugen, confronts CEO Mark Zuckerberg... a deer-in-the-headlights moment. Haugen has amassed internal Facebook research revealing that Facebook targets teens, particularly young girls struggling with body image, depression, and self-esteem issues.

Oil Slick City, USA
Hopefully, the recent oil spill off the coast of Huntington Beach, CA, is a wake-up call, namely, that extracting deep sea crude so close to California’s shores has to end. We can no longer depend on the failing fossil-fuel consumption model if we want to save our ecologically distressed planet. Here, a California surfer gal strides along Huntington Beach, post-oil spill, having stepped into a blob of gooey tar, as an oil-drenched sandpiper looks on.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

You have to hold your audience in writing to the very end -- much more than in talking, when people have to be polite and listen to you. -Brenda Ueland, writer (24 Oct 1891-1985)

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