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Jan 9, 2022
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Words for people

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AWADmail Issue 1019

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

FBI Arrests Man Accused of Stealing Unpublished Book Manuscripts
The New York Times

Can Animals Learn Language Like Humans Do?

From: Bill Young (billsplut gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--neoist

I have a good friend who used to be a neoist. He always got the newest version of Windows, every time. He even got Windows ME. And three months later, he'd complain that they hadn't debugged it and wished he'd never downloaded it. Well, that's what you're there for--as an unpaid beta tester.

He once told me how excited he was about a new invention coming out. "The inventor says it will revolutionize how we travel! We'll have to redesign our cities around it! I'll bet it's anti-gravity!"

Then the invention's big reveal came. He emailed me the same afternoon: "Are you kidding me?! This (expletive) thing is a JOKE!"

The invention was the Segway. A scooter with a motor. Even the world's fastest man and the second worst president failed at it. He no longer buys the newest Windows when it comes out. Now he's more of a ... Is there a word for wait-and-see-ist?

Bill Young, Vernon, Connecticut

Email of the Week -- Brought to you Buy The Official Old’s Cool Education III -- “Way more knowledge than college.”

From: Peter V. Weston, MD (pvweston2 gmail.com)
Subject: Rounder

Could "syncopation" be considered a synonym for "rounder"?

Syncopation has been defined as irregular movement from bar to bar.

Peter V. Weston, Houston, Texas

From: Griselda Mussett (griseldacmussett gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--rounder

We have a bat-and-ball game in the British Isles not unlike baseball called rounders, played by children or young people in two teams. There are four bases to run to.

Griselda Mussett, Faversham, UK

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: rounder

Apparently, the game of rounders is the forerunner of both baseball and cricket. This may be due either to the equipment used or the rounding action on the field.

Of course, policemen can be rounders, too, when they round up suspects.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Richard Schmitt (raschmitt icloud.com)
Subject: Rounder

My family members on my mother's side were mostly railroad people -- going back to the 1860s. To my grandmother (born 1889), a rounder was a denizen of a roundhouse. A roundhouse was not only a turntable to reverse an engine, but a large round building with radial stalls used to repair engines, cars, or whatever else rolled on a track. The roundhouse also had showers, bunks, lunch tables, and a table for a good game of poker -- my granddad was known to run a killer poker game at a roundhouse on the Santa Fe line. Hence, he was known as a good old rounder.

Richard Schmitt, Nampa, Idaho

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

There's the famous song about the American locomotive engineer (British: train driver) John Luther "Casey" Jones (1863-1900), who was killed when the passenger train he was driving collided with a stalled freight train just outside Vaughn, Mississippi. The song begins:

O come, all you rounders, for I want you to hear
The story told of a brave engineer.
Casey Jones was the rounder's name;
On a heavy six-eight wheeler he rode to fame.

Sam Long, Springfield, Illinois

From: Ron Hinch (ron.hinch2 gmail.com)
Subject: Rounder

There is another meaning for "rounder". It is sometimes used in certain criminal circles to refer to someone who has no particular criminal line, but rather is an "all around" generalist, hence a "rounder", doing whatever is needed or comes their way to make a buck.

Ron Hinch, Oshawa, Canada

From: Laura Burns (laurab12 sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Rounder

I immediately thought of this verse from "When the Idle Poor Become the Idle Rich" from "Finian's Rainbow".

When a rich man chases after dames
He's a man about town, oh yes, a man about town
But when a poor man chases after dames
He's a bounder, he's a rounder
He's a rotter and a lot of dirty names.
(video, 5 min)

Laura Burns, Galveston, Texas

From: F.J. Bergmann (demiurge fibitz.com)
Subject: rounder

You forgot the adjective! As in, "For some reason I am much rounder after the holidays."

F.J. Bergmann, Madison, Wisconsin

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: hotspur

The famously successful English Premier League football club Tottenham Hotspurs was indeed named after Sir Henry Percy (better known as Harry Hotspur). The Tottenham part comes from its being situated in the town of Tottenham in north London.

The club's emblem is a cockerel standing on a football, with the Latin inscription Audere est facere (To dare is to do). Incidentally, the implied defiance has not saved the players from significant exposure to COVID-19 and postponement of several of its matches in the current season.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Michael Poxon (mikethestarman gmail.com)
Subject: hotspur

I am a football fan and a lifelong supporter of Tottenham Hotspur (affectionately known as Spurs). I was visiting the Big Island of Hawai'i for an astrophysics conference and needed to overnight in the Honolulu airport. I was wearing my Spurs baseball cap and, at about 2 am, whilst wandering around, there was a call behind me: "You're wearing the wrong hat!" But it had nothing to do with (British) football. Apparently, there is a US "football" team also nicknamed the Spurs, and he thought I was one of theirs. My reply with a smile: "Sorry mate. Wrong continent, wrong sport!"

As an addition, I was also at university with one of the Percy family (as in Shakespeare). Very nice but rather unworldly (and unworldly is, I admit, stretching things a bit coming from an astronomer!)

Michael Poxon, Norwich, UK

From: David Gillespie (dh.gillespie btinternet.com)
Subject: Blellum

I'm delighted that you have included blellum, just a couple of weeks before Burns Night. In the UK, over recent years we have suffered a lot of blustering from a blellum in high office.

First published in Burns’s epic poem "Tam o' Shanter. A Tale"

She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum,
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum;

Blellum has a wonderful ring to it, onomatopoeic perhaps, and I can almost hear Kate's scolding voice, giving poor(?) Tam a piece of her mind.

David Gillespie, Penicuik, Scotland

Daring Divas
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: neoist and blellum

When I pondered our word neoist, I gravitated to three of the most sartorially splendiferous divas. Grace Jones, with her deep Jamaican roots, dazzled the pop culture universe with huge assists from French designer Jean-Paul Goude, who created some of her most bizzaro constructs, occasionally pushing haute couture into the realm of living architecture. Here, in my illo, Grace is wearing a Goude-designed "maternity dress" that covers up her baby bump. Lady Gaga's flair for far-out fashion ensembles is exhibited in her video performances and parading on the red carpet. This trio of divas has truly eclipsed the bounds of haute couture.

Parroting the Big Lie
Our word "blellum" brought to mind the popular talking doll, Chatty Cathy, from the 1950s. Pull the chord on her back and she'd utter pre-recorded sentences. Here, I've pictured puppet master Trump pulling chatterbox Majorie Tayor Greene's string, as she repeats his Big Lie. Another outrageous retort would be "Kyle Rittenhouse should be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor." (Greene actually said that.) Along with fellow GOP House provocateurs Lauren Boebart, Matt Gaetz, and Paul Gosar, Greene is part of the wacko radical-right Republican fringe, who make it hard for most Americans to take their party seriously. Of course, the ever-Trumpers love these whackjobs.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week's theme: Words for people
1. neoist
2. rounder
3. hotspur
4. blellum
5. pot-valiant
= 1. sponsor the new
2. tosspot, lout
3. rash temper
4. loud, impolite
5. feel brave while drunk
     This week's theme: words for
1. neoist
2. rounder
3. hotspur
4. blellum
5. pot-valiant
= people
1. first endorse the new
2. loutish twat
3. rash
4. or most voluble
5. I'm drunk
     This week's theme: Words for people
1. neoist
2. rounder
3. hotspur
4. blellum
5. pot-valiant
= 1. promotes new ethos
2. the tippler
3. short fuse
4. impale voluble wit
5. loon's drunk dare
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.


In searching for something that's new,
A neoist might, just like you,
Forget that what's old
Might be worth more than gold.
Especially a comfortable shoe.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Says professor, "Be sure to take care
not to mix up this similar pair.
A person who's neoist
won't be a nihilist.
Nothing alike whatsoe'er!"
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Anu, whatever would I do
Without a neoist like you?
It's true that I seek
Wordsmith every week
Simply to learn a word that's new.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

The neoist scoffs at tradition;
A novel approach is his mission.
The methods he tries
All tend to surprise
The patients who see this physician.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

"Mom, what did you used to be like?"
"Ha! A neoist! Omigod, Mike!
Wholeheartedly wallowing --
Full-throatedly swallowing
Whatever new came down the pike!"
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Now that we're in twenty-twenty-two,
And find that we've plenty to do,
We need a neoist
Whose views are the freest.
It's out with old. In with the new.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Hey, I'm only a jazz pianist;
Don't know what they mean, 'neoist',"
Said Thelonius Monk.
"When a keyboard I plunk,
I just play, man, I'm no theorist."
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

To McDonald's he stumbled, that rounder,
To order a big Quarter Pounder.
He was too drunk to know
He was all out of dough,
And in paying the bill he did flounder.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

We thought it would surely astound her
to learn her new beau was a rounder.
Already aware,
said she, "I don't care.
It's better than being a bounder!"
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Regarding her new fiancé,
There's really a lot one could say.
The fellow's a rounder,
A bum, and a bounder.
But other than that, he's okay.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

She thought her new beau was a bounder.
A real reprobate, and a rounder
She cried out, "Egad,
I must lose this cad!"
For his wayward ways did astound her.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

When my daughter went missing I found her
Hanging out with the same scruffy rounder.
The guy was a loser
As well as a boozer;
Were Katie a car, I'd impound her.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

"My husband's turned into a rounder,"
Said Ariel one day to Flounder.
"And his mom? OMG!
If I'd known how she'd be
When I still had my tail, I'd have drowned her."
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Sir Percy as "Hotspur" was known,
A name he loved more than his own.
But that great sobriquet
Has new meanings today,
And quite an opprobrious tone.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

The actor we see currently
isn't nice, as he once used to be.
Since winning that Oscar
for playing a hotspur,
he practices brash ribaldry.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

He looked at the hair on her head
And saw it was bright, flaming red.
He asked if this meant
Her temper she'd vent.
"A hotspur I'm not, sir," she said.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

What a marriage! It sure didn't work!
Cause her husband could be such a jerk!
Were the marital knots fer
That mangy old hotspur
"I take thee and still go berserk"?
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

"Though Herod may be a big hotspur,
Let us bring to the new son of God myrrh,"
Said the Wise Man. "And gents,
We should add frankincense,
But he's Jewish -- no shrimp, pork, or lobster."
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

At the company meeting this week
hardly any of us got to speak.
The new boss is a blellum,
and no one can tell 'im
a thing. Our morale's looking bleak.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The man was a foolish old blellum,
And nobody knew how to quell 'im.
He jabbered and gabbled
And blathered and babbled
Until laryngitis befell 'im.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

We all know a person who'll tell some
Long, boring, sad story that's, well, dumb.
They seem to rejoice,
In the sound of their voice.
Do try to avoid this bland blellum.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

There once was a lady from Pelham
Whose husband groaned, "Oh, what a blellum."
When her friends would drop by
He would give her the eye
When details of his manhood she'd tell 'em.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Folks differ when hitting the booze.
Some sadden, start singing the blues,
while others get pot-valiant,
even recalcitrant.
Me, all I want is to snooze.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

A pot-valiant at every bar
Will usually take it too far.
The bartender will think,
"No more for you to drink!"
Watching him stumble out to his car.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

A pot-valiant boozehound I knew
Would stir up some trouble, it's true.
The very next day
For damage he'd pay
And foolish decisions he'd rue.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

"I can tell you, Joe Biden the tally bent!"
Said Donald -- he sounded pot-valiant.
So he gathered his troops
And like Tennyson -- oops!
On Jan 6 his brigade to the valley sent.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Poor Fred, his neoist twisted from a fall while skiing.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

"Elbow is to ribs as Neoist-to A. hair B. face C. toe D. groin," said the SAT question.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

"A rounder waist, she wore a Mother Hubbard." The old song goes.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

As the farmer shouted to his ranch hand after his prize horse escaped from the corral: "Rounder up, boys!"
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

He wrapped his body a-rounder. They were in love.
-Ray Pasinski, Downers Grove, Illinois (rayomic yahoo.com)

"Isn't Earth flat like a pancake?" asked Isabella and Ferdinand. "Nah, it's rounder," answered Columbus.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

"Don't make a hotspur of the moment decision regarding your future," his mother warned.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The street vendor said, "The red hotspur-chased here are all beef."
-Ray Pasinski, Downers Grove, Illinois (rayomic yahoo.com)

His temper got hotspur-ring him to argue even more!
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Said the tomcat to the tabby, "Any time you have the hotspur and I'll come running."
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Long, boring stories about the South before the Civil War are called ante-blellum.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station , New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

He offered the young Prince some weed. "Pot-valiant?" He asked.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Said Aleta of the Misty Isles to the non-committal prince, "Either s___ or get off the pot-Valiant."
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Sequoyah Meets Sequoias
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Sequoyah Meets Sequoias

Here, I've placed the creator of the Cherokee syllabary, Sequoyah https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sequoyah (1775-1843) amidst his namesake giant redwoods, saddened by the deaths-by-wildfire of these majestic trees. The most recent Windy Fire, caused by a lightning strike, swept through Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, killing more than 1000 of these trees, some over 2000 years old. Last year's Complex Fire also decimated thousands of sequoias along the Pacific Rim. Ironically, giant sequoias and other redwoods need fire to release seeds from their cones and also wood ash to enrich surrounding soil to ensure optimal seedling growth.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

The easiest kind of relationship for me is with ten thousand people. The hardest is with one. -Joan Baez, musician (b. 9 Jan 1941)

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