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May 22, 2022
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Unusual synonyms

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AWADmail Issue 1038

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

Why Do People, Like, Say, “Like” So Much?
The Guardian

In What Language Is a Bilingual or Multilingual Person Most Likely to Dream?
Neuroscience News

Email of the Week -- Brought to you by Old’s Cool Academy -- Viriliter Age. Learn more.

From: Sheldon Burnston (brbart1213 aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ceraceous (synonyms)

This topic is right down my alley. Beginning in High School, I challenged myself when writing term papers or theses to avoid using the same word twice in a paragraph, save for proper nouns or conjunctions. I raised my three children to do the same.

They are all adults now; two graduated from college magna cυm laude and one summa (PBK, as well), and my grandchildren are continuing the tradition of written excellence.

Sheldon Burnston, Teaneck, New Jersey

From: Russell Hollins (flybynyt28 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: ceraceous

A more commonly used derivative of cera is cerumen, the word for earwax. A misnomer as it happens, earwax has nothing to do with wax and is in fact mostly dead skin cells, aka keratin. The waxy nature led to the name.

Russell Hollins, Kingston, Canada

From: Robert Burns (robertburns oblaw.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--hebdomadal

This is a great so-called word if you want to block communication and subvert the laws of English.

Robert Burns, Ocean Beach, California

From: Sylvie Romanowski (s-romanowski northwestern.edu)
Subject: hebdomadal

As a speaker of the French language, I can say that the word hebdomadaire is very ordinary in that language. For example, weekly publications are called hebdomadaires [e.g., Charlie Hebdo]. Interesting that a word in one language is very normal, while its English equivalent is so rare as to be almost unknown -- hebdomadal was certainly unknown to me.

Sylvie Romanowski, Professor emerita of French, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

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

The Hebdomadal Council is the chief executive body for the University of Oxford. I understand it’s sometimes referred to as the Abdominal Council, especially by undergrads who fancy themselves witty.

Sam Long, Springfield, Illinois

From: Kris C. Rourke (lorrett sonic.net)
Subject: Re: 7 days without a pun makes one weak

On the same thread: Never invite more than 287 guests to a party. Just one more would be too gross.

Kris C. Rourke, Berkeley, California

From: Heather Johnson (woj9 cdc.gov)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--piscine

I will always associate this word with Piscine Molitor Patel in the novel The Life of Pi.

Heather Johnson, Atlanta, Georgia

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

If odontalgia is another word for toothache, could nostalgia be an ache of the proboscis?

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Charlie DeWeese (Deweesecc gmail.com)
Subject: abligurition

Another legendary glutton was Pope Martin IV, who expired in 1285 after gorging on eels boiled in Vernaccia wine. In the Divine Comedy, Dante meets him in Purgatory repenting his abligurition, and presumably still trying to digest that last meal.

Charlie DeWeese, Canton, Connecticut

No Small Fry... Scots Sturgeon & Salmond
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Piscine and ceraceous

I couldn’t help taking a deep dive into the briney, noting that current Scottish 1st Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and former 1st Minister, Alex Salmond, their country’s prime movers in Scotland’s push for autonomy, both have distinctive piscine surnames. Considering more pressing global concerns of late, these Scottish pols might have bigger fish to fry than pushing for Scotland’s breakaway from Britain.

Cedar Waxwing
Seeing our word ceraceous, the avid birder in me recalled one of my favorite North American species, the cedar waxwing. These charismatic crested, black-masked, mostly light-brown plumaged birds get their name from their bright red wax-like wing tips. They resemble the wax used to seal documents and letters of olde. Waxwings are almost exclusively frugivores (fruit eaters).

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Karen Folsom (kgfols yahoo.com)
Subject: My illustrations for this week’s words

Here’s my take on abligurition. I read recently about the most expensive hamburger and thought Henry the 8th might be a customer. Close to $6k is a mouthful.

Abligurition Head on a Pike

Head on a Pike is code for Steve Bannon being caught by Trump’s anchor and as always with Trump it’s very fishy.

Karen Folsom, Santa Barbara, California


He picks this week’s words:
1. Ceraceous
2. Hebdomadal
3. Piscine
4. Odontalgia
5. Abligurition
= 1. Slick -- adds gloss
2. A solid cigar each week
3. Round tuna here
4. Is tooth pain
5. Cop & I - we imbibe
     This week’s theme: Unusual synonyms
1. Ceraceous
2. Hebdomadal
3. Piscine
4. Odontalgia
5. Abligurition
= 1. Ceral lube, oleaginous
2. Weekly
3. Ichthyic
4. Tooth pain
5. A gourmand, menus disdain abstemiousness
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)
This week’s theme: Unusual synonyms
1. Ceraceous
2. Hebdomadal
3. Piscine
4. Odontalgia
5. Abligurition
= 1. Greasy
2. All weeklies
3. Ichthyic
4. Dentalgia
5. Enormous, mad sums paid out on haute cuisine, bonbons
     This week’s theme: Unusual synonyms
1. Ceraceous
2. Hebdomadal
3. Piscine
4. Odontalgia
5. Abligurition
= 1. Unctuous, slick
2. Is dependable
3. Similar to albacore
4. Agony in his wisdom teeth
5. A huge menu? Say “No!”
-Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Schemed Iago: “With rumors mendacious --
Fake news of his wife, most fallacious --
I’ll gaslight Othello,
But may have to bellow;
His ear holes are deeply ceraceous.”
-Duncan Howarth, Maidstone, UK (duncanhowarth aol.com)

The exhibits at Madame Tussaud’s
Are all famous -- no Jane or John Does.
Be they shy or audacious,
Expressions ceraceous,
Are fixed in her tasteful tableaus.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

You say that you can’t clearly hear,
Although I am here very near?
Please let me suggest:
It might just be best
That you clean your ceraceous good ear.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

The housewife lamented, “Good gracious!
My floor has a buildup ceraceous.
It’s yellowish, too --
That never will do.
This calls for some scrubbing tenacious!”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said the asteroid in terms quite ungracious,
“I melt planets as though they’re ceraceous.
Say goodbye, dinosaurs!
I will roast you like s’mores!”
And thus ended the era Cretaceous.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


A hebdomadal shower, indeed,
Is all that a body does need.
I simply can’t cope
With wasting much soap.
Frequent bathing is not in my creed.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

“To keep hubby happy,” says she,
“is extremely important to me.
I’m very methodical,
take our hebdomadal
date nights quite seriously!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Hebdomadal meetings he held.
Attendance at these was compelled.
Those meetings we hated --
We left them sedated!
At boring his staff he excelled.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

All the best weeks have orderly days
When one works, when one rests, when one plays.
A hebdomadal plan
Means no catch-as-catch can;
No chaotic, surprise takeaways!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

In a camp close to border fence,
On Mondays there was a buzz intense.
The hebdomadal mail
Would ever without fail
(For each man) a sealed letter dispense.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

“At the end of each time frame hebdomadal
I command you to rest -- it’s canonical,”
Said the Lord. “In six days
I was done. And the gays?
My best work, since you ask -- they’re phenomenal.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“It’s all rather confusing. I mean,
If you’re French and you hear ‘La piscine’
You think pool. Whereas we,
Will think fish. You’ll agree
That it highlights the difference between.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Poseidon’s the god of the sea
And of all piscine waters that be.
What they said about him
Is that he couldn’t swim.
That sounds kinda fishy to me.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

“I’m starting a new enterprise,”
says she, “that will popularize
my skills as a fry queen.
My specialty’s piscine:
fried fish served with pickles and fries.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

She painted a fish on a plate.
Her art teacher said, “This is great!
A still life that’s piscine --
That’s really a nice scene.
For lunch now I hardly can wait.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

There’s a commercial that’s now on TV
Shows a scene that I’m sure couldn’t be!!
This kid takes his fish
To museums! I do wish
They’d do something less piscine -- tee hee!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“Your use of that stuff I find piscine;
It’s poor ecological hygiene.
Foam peanuts and trays
Are a foolhardy craze,”
Scolded Gaia. “No more polystyrene!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Odontalgia,” confided Count D,
“I suffer to dreadful degree:
So sharp are the pangs
Tormenting my fangs
That only fresh blood will soothe me.”
-Duncan Howarth, Maidstone, UK (duncanhowarth aol.com)

“So, let’s list what the options might be.
Rinse with saline?” “It’s hurting!” “Dear me.
A cold compress, perhaps?”
“Do you have any schnapps?”
“Will it cure odontalgia?” “Let’s see.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

How terrible toothaches can be!
I know, for I’ve had two or three.
I feel no nostalgia
For that odontalgia --
I’m happy that now I’m pain-free.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

I know, it’s a mouthful to say
To your dentist: “Odontalgia today!”
But it’s better, I guess --
If your mouth is a mess --
Than just moaning and groaning, “Oy vey!”
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

At the Dentures for Seafarers Gala
The Vikings had faith in Valhalla.
“It’s like walking the plank
When a tooth we must yank,
But up there, there’s no more odontalgia.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Downright abligurition, I say!
And I’d like to know who’s gonna pay?
We could live for a year
On the cost of the beer ...”
“And three more if we bank the buffet.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Disregarding all thoughts of nutrition,
With no guilt and no need for contrition,
He ate like a pig
And got very big.
He was proud of his abligurition.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Whenever the rich man dines out,
He throws lots of money about.
His abligurition,
As per his physician,
Is why he is suffering gout.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The first time I ever went fishin’
I was four! I can well recall wishin’
I’d bring back a mess
(Which means fishing success)
And that night feast with abligurition!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

I know I’m no snob when I eat,
And like my food simple, complete.
I have no ambition,
For abligurition.
To me, mac and cheese can’t be beat.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

A glutton shows no contrition
For his frequent abligurition.
He’ll trade his salary
For one more calorie
And swell his belly to fission.
-Joel Rathfon, Las Cruces, New Mexico (joel.rathfon gmail.com)

‘Tis the end of her abligurition,
For my daughter has wed a musician.
An additional factor
Is that she’s an actor;
For paychecks they’ll always be fishin’.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The Three Stooges’ piscine was a classic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“You should take the advice you got from Norse mythology,” he said, “especially what odontalgia.”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The Slippery Slope
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: The Slippery Slope

McConnell has argued that if the (majorly unpopular) 1989 Supreme Court ruling allowing the burning of the American flag, citing 1st Amendment privilege (“symbolic speech”)* passed muster, in the same breath, he contends that supporting a future SCOTUS decision banning abortion, nationwide, has similar merit (counter the two-thirds of US women wanting Roe to remain as the established law of the land), in my view, is totally ingenuous. He’s clearly pandering to the ultra-conservative/anti-abortion wing of his GOP base. I rest my case.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. -Arthur Conan Doyle, physician and writer (22 May 1859-1930)

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