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Dec 5, 2021
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AWADmail Issue 1014

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

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

BIPOC or POC? Equity or Equality? The Debate Over Language on the Left.
The New York Times

“Alien” Dhumanizes Immigrants. Our Language Must Change.

From: Bruce Reaves (reavesb earthlink.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--polyhistor

Perfect synonym indeed! Hah! My parrot (an African grey) knows his numbers, but knows nothing about the Middle Ages. So he may be a polymath, but he’s no polyhistorian. Polywannacracker?

Bruce Reaves aka Attila the Pun, Gibsonville, North Carolina

Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy The Official Old’s Cool Education III -- A fantastic gift.”

From: Herbert Rakatansky (herbert_rakatansky brown.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--polyhistor

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been. -Madeleine L’Engle, writer (29 Nov 1918-2007)

This quotation applies only to people with intact brain health. One of our great tragedies is the physical survival of people who have lost their “previous ages”.

Herbert Rakatansky, MD, FACP, FACG, Clinical Professor of Medicine emeritus, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island

From: Christopher Scholz (scholz ldeo.columbia.edu)
Subject: bombinate

The genus of the 250 species of bumble bees is Bombus.

Christopher H. Scholz, Palisades, New York

From: Tony Holmes (tony_holmes btconnect.com)
Subject: Echoism in psychotherapy

It would seem that echoism is also a familiar term in psychotherapy, being the opposite of narcissism.

Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK

From: Richard Keane (rakeane eml.cc)
Subject: cynophilist

I personally like this old joke:

Q. What is the noblest dog of all?
A. The hotdog, for it feeds the hand that bites it.

Richard Keane, Croydon, UK

From: Sam Long (gunputty comcast.net)
Subject: underdog

An infracynophilist would be someone who favors the underdog.

Sam Long, Springfield, Illinois

From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)
Subject: A thought for today

There are a few times in life when you leap up and the past that you’d been standing on falls away behind you, and the future you mean to land on is not yet in place, and for a moment you’re suspended knowing nothing and no one, not even yourself. -Ann Patchett, writer (b. 2 Dec 1963)

In his poem “Dover Beach” Matthew Arnold speaks of his loss of religious faith. Once, he notes, “The Sea of Faith / Was... full, and round earth’s shore / ...But now [he] only hear[s] / Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar.” This loss of faith has left him “on a darkling plain / Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, / Where ignorant armies clash by night.”

The stanzas below from his poem “Stanzas From the Grand Charteuse” (see lines 67-90) reveal the dreadful price his loss of religious faith. He finds himself “[w]andering between two worlds, one dead, / The other powerless to be born.”

One might speculate that to become truly educated, zealously to seek the truth, to question all dogma, one reaches a crucial point where an old world is dead and a new one has not yet been born. It is a perplexing time, unsettling. And it’s true that the birth of a new world sometimes, perhaps most of the time, brings no solace, delivers only despair at the intimation that blind fate works its indifferent cruelty and leaves us with the inexplicable thing we call “the Human Predicament”. Who knows: perhaps we still live in a world “Where ignorant armies clash by night.”

For rigorous teachers seized my youth,
And purged its faith, and trimm’d its fire,
Show’d me the high, white star of Truth,
There bade me gaze, and there aspire.
Even now their whispers pierce the gloom:
What dost thou in this living tomb?

Forgive me, masters of the mind!
At whose behest I long ago
So much unlearnt, so much resign’d --
I come not here to be your foe!
I seek these anchorites, not in ruth,
To curse and to deny your truth;

Not as their friend, or child, I speak!
But as, on some far northern strand,
Thinking of his own Gods, a Greek
In pity and mournful awe might stand
Before some fallen Runic stone --
For both were faiths, and both are gone.

Wandering between two worlds, one dead,
The other powerless to be born,
With nowhere yet to rest my head,
Like these, on earth I wait forlorn.
Their faith, my tears, the world deride --
I come to shed them at their side.

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina

From: Ariannah Armstrong (shumiknit gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--timbrology

In spite of the fact that I spent a good 5 to 6 years of my youth obsessed with stamp collecting (mid 70s), I had never heard of this word. Yes, I had heard of philately and used to try to impress people that I had a hobby of philately. I used to live in Victoria, BC, and on Fort Street at the time they had three stamp collecting shops close to each other. I used to pore over those shops for hours before selecting which stamp or stamps I wanted to spend my allowance on. I don’t know if any of those shops still exist, as a quick search yielded nothing on Fort Street (I now live on the opposite coast). But the word flooded me with a myriad of good memories. I still do check out stamps on mail I receive, even though I don’t collect any more.

Ariannah Justinen Armstrong, Halifax, Canada

From: Hazel Singer (hazel.singer gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--timbrology

We went to a postage-stamp-sized restaurant in Paris called Timbre. It was fabulous!

Hazel Singer, Seattle, Washington

From: Lynn Mancini (mancini dtcc.edu)
Subject: timbrology

This word brings to mind what may have been my first bilingual pun. My high school French I textbook illustrated the word timbre with a sketch of a stamp depicting a vaguely canine animal. The class speculated on the precise type of animal it was meant to be. Some thought it a dog, others said it was a coyote. The answer seemed obvious to me: It was a timbre wolf.

Lynn Mancini, Newark, Delaware

Scots/Norse/French Connection
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Scottish nuptials and cynophilist

Prompted by the citing of William of Normandy’s 1066 conquest of England and the resultant absorption of French words into English, I’ve imagined this Scottish nuptial ceremony linking the Fraser and Oliphant clans. The Fraser’s ancestral lands are in the East Highlands’ environs of Inverness. The name Fraser is thought to derive from “fraise”, French for strawberry. (My mum’s maiden name happens to be Fraser.) Clan Oliphant’s ancient home turf lies in the far northern reaches of Scotland, where Viking marauders had ultimately settled.There’s strong evidence that the Norwegian given name Olof (aka Olaf and Olav) is the likely root of Oliphant. Incidentally, one of our most talented editorial American cartoonists is named Pat Oliphant, an Aussie expat... no pun intended. (“Pat”/”expat”... get it?)

For the Love of Dogs
It seems like the world of pet parents (hate the term “pet owners”) is evenly divided between cynophilists and ailurophiles. There are many who love both dogs and cats, but diehard dog lovers insist that pooches give unconditional love, they’re an open book, and what you see is what you get, while cats can be aloof, too independent, and frankly, unknowable.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Perfect synonyms
1. polyhistor
2. bombinate
3. echoism
4. cynophilist
5. timbrology
= Synonymic terms:
1. be big topnotch swot
2. bees’ rhythm
3. it forms noise
4. I like my pooches
5. philately
     This week’s theme: Perfect synonyms
1. polyhistor
2. bombinate
3. echoism
4. cynophilist
5. timbrology
= 1. men of intellect
2. crooner moistly whispers
3. high sonic boom
4. yeti, my pet tyke
5. his hobby: stamps
     This week’s theme: Perfect synonym
1. polyhistor
2. bombinate
3. echoism
4. cynophilist
5. timbrology
= 1. bookish, competent type
2. croon, hiss, soft whine
3. mimicry
4. my mongrel is the best boy!
5. philately
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.


“‘Polyhistors of Note’ is our game.
Some obscure, others not. So, a name?”
“Aristotle!” “Well known.
Give me one of our own.”
“Well, Ben Franklin was foremost, some claim.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Hey, look at that pompous fool, Mister.
He thinks he’s a true polyhistor.
He’s full of hot air
And never would dare
To acknowledge his much smarter sister.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

When the polyhistor caught her eye
She knew right then she would have to try
To initiate
Him wanting a date,
With the hope of marriage by and by.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

He’s a scholar, a real polyhistor;
He tried to teach math to his sister.
But she isn’t inclined,
She has boys on her mind,
Who, despite lack of brains, can’t resist her.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

There once was a great polyhistor,
Who really impressed my dear sister.
His speech she applauded;
His knowledge she lauded,
So after his lecture he kissed her.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Says she, “So you’re making a list, sir,
of every well-known polyhistor?
And yet I don’t see
my name here!” Says he,
“Well, no one could spell that tongue twister!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

When I met her, I couldn’t resist her,
For the girl was a true polyhistor.
Who wants to undress
A dumb blonde in distress?
It’s the 21st century, mister.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Certain bombs bombinated in flight:
Others whistled and screamed to affright.
Irrespective of sound,
Upon hitting the ground,
They’d explode, and if nearby, “Goodnight!”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

“I’m sure this will sound kind of dumb,”
says he, “but you know, sugarplum,
that I truly abominate
hearing you bombinate.
Can’t concentrate when you hum!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

To bombinate just means to buzz,
As any proud bumblebee does.
Who knew that this word
Describes what I heard
When last in the garden I was?
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

‘Twas veggies alone that the Brahmin ate;
Different mantras all day he would bombinate.
His relatives chose
Him a wife; so it goes,
For that’s how to the caste system propagate.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Echoism is caging a noise
In a form which a writer employs
To convey what was heard
To the reader by word
So that both may partake of its joys.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

My cellphone can beep, buzz, and ping.
It even will chirp, burp, and ting.
This echoism’s why
Addicted am I --
Excuse me, for I heard a ring.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Says Anu, “Embrace echoism;
Such words don’t deserve exorcism.
If at susurrate, blubber.
Or cackle you shudder,
That’s language police despotism.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When given a choice of a pet,
Some people know just what they’ll get.
Cynophilists feel
A dog is ideal --
No cat meets the standards they’ve set.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Their date was a total apocalypse
When he turned out to be a cynophilist.
“You’re not into cats?
Then for us no rugrats,”
She exclaimed, “as for sure this is not a tryst!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From the comfort of home and armchair
Me an’ Gran’dad ‘ave seen everywhere.
If a country ‘as stamps,
Then I’ve seen it with Gramps.
Our timbrology tours take us there.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

“I’m done stamp-collecting!” he said.
“It’s time this old hobby was shed.”
Then he went off to college. He
quit his timbrology,
studied young co-eds instead.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Timbrology fascinates me --
Each stamp tells a story, you see.
Philately’s fun
But is it still done
Since emails and texts came to be?
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“Look at them all! Golly gee!
Here’s what they are saying to me --
Timbrology’s neat --
Just one single sheet
Of stamps and you’re somewhere else -- see?”
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Now his hobby was timbrology,
He was quite the collector, you see.
But, his wife, who knew better,
When she posted a letter,
Used his rare stamp, sans apology.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

When you’re old, and no longer good conjugally,
You can still always do your timbrology.
You can say what you think,
And not just to your shrink;
Best of all, no one makes you eat broccoli.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


My pet snake polyhister dissatisfaction when I jokingly offered her a cracker.
-JW Miller, Rixford, Pennsylvania (jmakalefty yahoo.com)

Once my parrot made friends with the cat, Polyhistor head off any time she saw a dog out the window.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Having finished The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne went off to the theater, but the show was a bombinate’s opinion.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Dick Cheney’s usual evening routine was that he finished bombinate dinner and went to bed early.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The explosives manufacturer exclaimed, “Only one bombinate exploded?! That’s an abomination!”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

He hurriedly left, knowing the bombinate minutes would detonate.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

“Greed is Good”: the founding principle of G-echoism.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The Amsterdam window girl handed me her menu and I picked my cynopholist.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“I study the speech patterns of lumberjacks,” said the timbrologist.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Garbage In, Garbage Out
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Garbage in, garbage out

Rebuking fellow Republican Lauren Boebert’s recent racial slur directed at Somali-American legislator IIlan Omar, Adam Kinzinger called Boebert “trash”. Kinzinger is doing what we usually do with trash... dispose of it before it starts to stink up the house.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Can anything be sadder than work left unfinished? Yes, work never begun. -Christina Rossetti, poet (5 Dec 1830-1894)

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