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Oct 16, 2022
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AWADmail Issue 1059

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

Sponsor’s Message “What you make from a tree should be as miraculous as what you cut down.” Well, The Official Old’s Cool Education, three pocket-sized guides to life, are “wicked iconic, and terribly fun.” Shakespeare, history, how-tos, sports, recalcitrance, and wit. Tickly trivia too: What’s Sleeping Beauty’s real name? How is the cow? Wiseacre Special ends at midnight tonight. Shop now.

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

As a Child in Haiti, I Was Taught to Despise My Language and Myself
The New York Times

Racism and Colonialism Embedded in Language of Conservation
The Guardian

From: Chris Economou (ceconomou56 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Copernican

You imply that Trump “stole” nuclear secrets. I doubt that. Your hatred of Trump has, once again, made you ridiculous.

Chris Economou, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: Tin Hoy Hu (via website comments)
Subject: Replacement for Benedict Arnold

Aren’t those taking offense on behalf of the unnamed inadvertently proving Anu Garg’s point that the alternative traitorous eponym will work?

Tin Hoy Hu

From: Martin E Cobern (mecobern cox.net)
Subject: Copernican

In college, my friends used to joke (at least I think they were joking) that there was an alternative model of the universe. In the Cobernican Theory, the universe revolved around me! I still use Cobernicus as a screen name.

Martin E. Cobern, Cheshire, Connecticut

From: Deborah Gressley (deborahg1066 gmail.com)
Subject: Copernican

A long time ago, I thought that a person maturing from adolescence to adulthood, emotionally, is akin to traveling from a Ptolemaic idea of the universe to a Copernican view.

I don’t think Donald Trump ever made that journey. Others haven’t either, but his example is striking.

Deborah Gressley, Brooklyn, New York

From: John C Bender (via website comments)
Subject: Copernican

I’ve seen Copernican used also in science writing referring to the assumption that our position in view of the cosmos isn’t particularly special.

John C Bender, Bemidji, Minnesota

From: Lawrence Crumb (lcrumb uoregon.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Copernican

The English theologian E.L. Mascall wrote humorous verse, including a pair of Christmas carol parodies entitled “Christmas with the demythologizers”. The parody of “Hark, the herald angels sing” includes this stanza:

Let us with a gladsome mind/ Leave the ancient world behind.
Modern man, rejoice with us!/ We have read Copernicus.
While the herald angels sing:/ ‘Bultmann ist ein gutes Ding!’
We respond in simple trust: ‘Demythologize or bust!’

Related is the limerick I wrote:

Said the Pope, “We’ve absolved Galileo
And accepted the scientist’s say-so;
But in Donald Trump’s whim
Earth revolves around him;
Let’s wish him a “Hasta luego.”

Lawrence Crumb, Eugene, Oregon

From: Margaret Breuer (mabreuer0519 gmail.com)
Subject: ritzy

Speaking of ritzy, how about Fred Astaire’s dance Puttin’ on the Ritz? (4 min.)? Pretty ritzy in my opinion.

Margaret Breuer, Sarasota, Florida

From: Peter Armstrong-See (armstrong-see dlgtele.dk)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bacchanalize

A child upon seeing a grand mosque exclaimed, / God, just one of you and such a big house! -Nida Fazli, poet (12 Oct 1938-2016)

Today’s quotation instantly brought back a lovely memory from more than thirty years ago. It was Xmas, and my darling wife and I were visiting good and old friends in Dorset.

The house was filled with Christmas magic and at one point, while my wife was standing with her back to the chimney, our friends’ little daughter, Rachel -- she must have been five years old -- ran up to my wife, hugged her knees and looked up at her face.

Her eyes focused on my darling wife’s figure. She must have felt in awe. For she only managed to utter one single word, after a stunned pause:


Thank you for our daily dose of magic and wisdom. We have been devoted followers for ages.

Peter and Harriet Armstrong-See, Grevinge, Denmark

Email of the Week brought to you buy The Official Old’s Cool Education -- “Thanks for the memories!” -- Keith Richards, Rolling Stone

From: Kenneth Bus (kenbus50 aol.com)
Subject: Overton window

Thank you for giving me a term to describe a phenomenon that I have observed but never had a handle for. When you live for seven plus decades you notice changes in society’s attitudes about certain things. Smoking everywhere was once accepted almost universally. Now it’s verboten almost everywhere. Maybe we’ll see a sea change in the way society views guns some day -- can’t come soon enough!

Kenneth Bus, Peoria, Arizona

From: Carole Small (carolesmall hotmail.com)
Subject: Overton window

I love your service, which I find entertaining and enlightening. I also mostly enjoy the comments by the community of subscribers, who are often very interesting, word-loving people. Being well left of centre on the political scale, I never thought I would take you to task for your positions. But I take exception to your comment that “Today, same-sεx marriage (or equivalent) is legal in most of the civilized world. Only the most bigoted still rail against it.”

I will break that down, however. I do agree that “bigoted” people rail against such human rights. I feel hurt, however, that you imply that most of Africa and Asia are “uncivilized”! Shades of Trump, which I did not expect from you. A more accurate statement would have been that same-sεx marriage is legal in most of the Western world.

Different countries have different cultures and many of the less-developed, affluent countries remain closer to age-old traditions. This Overton window will likely move in time, and the law does not necessarily reflect the views of all the people in any country (that takes time and tends to lag behind social change). Furthermore, I have lived for decades in a West African country (although I was born and raised in Canada) and the views of the educated elite in large cities are not necessary the views of the illiterate or semi-illiterate urban poor, often very attached to their religion as a way of affirming their own identity and worth in a neo-colonial context, nor those of the poor, rural majority (can you imagine that where I live 95% of the people speak a local language, which exists in writing, yet the only official language of the country and the language of education from preschool on is the language of the “former” colonial master, French?). That does not make the country “uncivilized”. The country has issues. But so does the United States.

Carole Small-Diop, Dakar, Senegal

From: Ron Schneider (nowino gmail.com)
Subject: Resistance to change

They’ll tell you you’re too loud, that you need to wait your turn and ask the right people for permission. Do it anyway. -Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, US Congress member (b. Oct 13, 1989)

This is another version of the establishment saying “It’s just not the right time.” But of course it never is.

Ron Schneider, Napa, California

From: Jesse Hellman (jessemhellman gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Copernican

About names of people being lent, note that in Greek history the Spartans at Thermopylae were betrayed by Ephialtes, who showed the Persians how to get around the pass and so attack the Spartans from their rear. Today not only does Ephialtes in Greek indicate traitor, it is the word for nightmare!

Jesse Hellman, Baltimore, Maryland

Ritzy Mitsy Lipchitz
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: ritzy and bacchanalize

To be honest, our word ritzy got me thinking about the popular Ritz cracker, that salty, bite-sized snack that once you’ve eaten one... well, you get my drift. But then the hotel Ritz-Carlton came to mind, inspiring this scenario of homophones and puns, revolving around one Madame Mitzy Lipchitz. She’s a wealthy Lithuanian-American sophisticate with a pet German Spitz named Wolfgang (aka Wolf), whom she feeds Ritz crackers.

Unsated Satyr
Our word bacchanalize conjured up visions of the besotted revelries from Greek and Roman mythology, veritable orgies of excess... sεxual, gastronomical, and libational. In the spirit of the god of the grape, Bacchus, here I’ve captured a satyr indulging a comely maiden. These perpetually horny half-man/half-goat creatures were close companions of Bacchus, often joining him in his romps.
Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Eponyms
1. Copernican
2. Ritzy
3. Bacchanalize
4. Overton window
5. Barmecide
= 1. Radical, new item
2. Posh, Benz
3. Crazy wine mess
4. Accepted behavior
5. Trick one with no money
     This week’s theme: Eponyms
1. Copernican
2. Ritzy
3. Bacchanalize
4. Overton window
5. Barmecide
= 1. Is radical I bet
2. Chic
3. Men booze (whisky), womanize ‘n ‘vamp’
4. “Once was trend” theory
5. Pretence
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)
This week’s theme: Eponyms
1. Copernican
2. Ritzy
3. Bacchanalize
4. Overton window
5. Barmecide
= 1. Drastic
2. Wow! Lavish, chic
3. cc: Paint town red
4. I restrain keen E-meme by mezzo
5. Phoney beano
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



“He/she” I can handle quite well,
But “they” is a much harder sell.
A linguistic rift;
The Copernican shift
To “they” singular -- instant brain swell!
-R. Tharakan, San Jose, California (rytzie gmail.com)

Revolutions in thinking are rare,
Those Copernican shifts that so scare.
For a man? When a wife
Re-arranges his life:
And again, when she’s no longer there.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

“But the Sun orbits me,” said the Earth,
“To deny it’s no matter for mirth;
I’ll bet my attorney can
Sue this Copernican
Mountebank -- take all he’s worth!”
-Duncan Howarth, Maidstone, UK (duncanhowarth aol.com)

“I’ve proven the theory Copernican;
Without doubt, ‘round the sun we are hurdlin’,”
Galileo told peers.
But “This truth the Church fears,”
Cried the Pope, to his mistress unburdenin’.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


A well-endowed woman, quite ritzy,
Wore a suit on the beach rather bitsy.
When a prude did exclaim,
“Why have you no shame?”
She said, “Darling, I like it, it fits me.”
-Gerry Wildenberg, Rochester, New York (gwildenberg sjfc.edu)

A famous film starlet named Mitzi
Stayed at a hotel she thought ritzy.
But it couldn’t be plainer;
“Too small,” said Miss Gaynor,
“I like a big bed; these are bitsy.”
-Chris Sullivan, Kanata, Canada (chris sullvanweb.me)

“There’s no business like it,” claimed Mitzi,
“Show business is glitzy and ritzy.
You’ll succeed if you sing
And can dance with a zing
In a costume that’s quite itsy-bitsy.”
-Duncan Howarth, Maidstone, UK (duncanhowarth aol.com)

Mother tells how a sweet Southern belle
Caught the eye of a Yankee -- a swell.
To lure one so ritzy,
She glammed and played ditzy --
Now she’s stuck in the marriage from hell.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

He dined at establishments ritzy
Where the portions were all itsy-bitsy
Served on huge China plates;
And all of his dates,
Who were hungry, did think he was ditzy.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Her outfit, the latest new fad,
is being appraised by her dad.
“Were it not quite so glitzy,”
says he,” ‘Twould be ritzy.
Perhaps tone it down just a tad?”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

What’s the name of that place? I forget!
But my blind date was so nicely set
At this swanky drive-in --
Waiters skate out and in
Wearing tuxes! Wow, ritzy? You bet!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Said the spider, “Although itsy-bitsy,
I’m famous and rich; my home’s ritzy.
Since I climbed up that spout
And the rain washed me out,
They’ve been singing my song, and life’s glitzy.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

“I give them a lifestyle ritzy,”
Sighed Donald; “Why won’t they be ditzy?
In a marriage to me
There’s one factor that’s key:
To be happy takes brains itsy-bitsy.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Said her son, “It’s a pack of big lies
To say that I bacchanalize.
I like to have fun
And stay up until one,
But my room, Mom, please don’t analyze!”
-R. Tharakan, San Jose, California (rytzie gmail.com)

Win or lose, we will bacchanalize!
Celebration! We’ve taken the prize!
But a loss will require,
Should the awful transpire ...
Raising spirits and drying of eyes.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

She came home all messed up and her clothes
Were wrinkled and torn -- Dad just froze!
“If you bacchanalize
It will be no surprise
If those “boyfriends” aren’t serious beaus!”
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“Once more we see Sodom arise;
See how Democrats bacchanalize!”
Said Ted Cruz in Cancun
Catching rays on a dune;
In the swamp, on the bottom he lies.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Overton window

The Supreme Court, it’s now quite clear cut,
With abortion has gone off their nut.
All women’s rights they
Have taken away,
And the Overton window is shut!
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Going nυde’s in my Overton window,”
Said the Lord; “not original sin, though.”
Adam groaned, “Eve, let’s run,
This One God thing’s no fun;
We should head for Japan, where they’re Shinto.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Every man is a barmecide, who
Romances as if he were true.
Only when you are wed
Does the first note of dread
Sound the knell of your hopes. Ah, poor you!
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

A good first impression he’d make
By offering us coffee and cake.
But the food he supplied
Was a mere Barmecide --
That’s why I cried, “Gimme a break!”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Now Donald Trump, he cannot hide
The tax fraud that he has denied.
It’s all an illusion,
Based on his delusion.
His great wealth is just pure Barmecide.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Opioids were a great Barmecide,
So for years we let Big Pharma slide.
Said the Sacklers, “Addiction?
That’s pure science fiction!”
They’re now on a Big Karma ride.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


I was worried about my kitty, but after a trip to the vet I’m happy to see Co-copernican.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When Bugs Bunny was eating car-ritzy used to say, “What’s up, doc?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Don’t vorry,” Dr. Freud told the patients in his waiting room, “after lunch I vill come bacchanalize you und send you on your vay.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“The scams are so overton window sales that it’s hard to believe homeowners fall for them,” said the consumer affairs reporter.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Don’t worry, Seamus,” said the nurse at the Londonderry fertility clinic, “we’ll set your s-barmecide for a good Catholic girl.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“At the barmecide-kick bought the drinks,” drawled the cowboy.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

The Saudi/Russian Squeeze
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: The Saudi/Russian Squeeze

Recently, OPEC announced a reduction in oil production by 2 million barrels per day. The two prime players in this move, Saudi Arabia and Russia, aim to raise oil prices in the West, particularly negatively impacting the Russian oil/gas-dependent EU. Biden felt betrayed by bin Salman, who previously said that he would not reduce oil production.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it. -Oscar Wilde, writer (16 Oct 1854-1900)

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