Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About | Media | Search | Contact  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ


Jan 15, 2023
This week’s theme
There’s a word for it

This week’s words
idiolatry
cynanthropy
bolt-hole
hyperacusis
yesternoon

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives
Index

Next week’s theme
Shoes

Like what you see here?
Send a gift subscription

Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share

AWADmail Issue 1072

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

Sponsor’s Message: “Skin yourself a peach and put the fuzz on your pillow.” The Official Old’s Cool Education I, “wondrous bits of snippetry in colorful handbooks,” is the wicked smartest cure for the winter blues and blahs -- huge, bite-sized brave/crazy adventures, poetry, and wit. Trivia too: How do you get down from an elephant? 1 ÷ 0 = ? Triple Dog Dare Special today only. Shop now.



From: John Nugée (john nugee.org.uk)
Subject: Idiolatry

I always like to try to guess what a word means before I read the full explanation, and for idiolatry I guessed “worshipping something or someone foolish”. Then I read the actual meaning -- “Self worship”. And I thought, much the same as my definition then.

John Nugée, London, UK



From: Kenneth Gorelick (pulmon me.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--idiolatry

When I first looked at the word I thought it shared a common root with idiot. But then I read your discussion.

Nonetheless, I think both origins could apply in the sentence, “Donald J. Trump is a seasoned practitioner of idiolatry.”

Kenneth Gorelick, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania



From: Charles F. Chiusano (cfc cchiusano.com)
Subject: Idolatry

I enjoy your site, but today’s definition falls short. It is not self-worship.

Charles F. Chiusano, Fairfield, Connecticut

I was surprised by how many readers sent similar messages. The featured word was idiolatry, not idolatry. It’s easy to miss the i, and one reader even unsubscribed and in the exit survey wrote “Wrong definition”. It’s one of those instances when we should remind ourselves not to be too sure of ourselves.
Speaking of differing by a letter, check out this week of words that have two definitions that differ by a single letter.
-Anu Garg



From: Jeff Holtzman (holtzman.j gmail.com)
Subject: cynanthropy

Interesting word. What is the opposite? I am convinced that my daughter’s dog, a cockapoo, believes she is human.

Jeff Holtzman, Ann Arbor, Michigan



From: Nathaniel Butterfield (flyingturtle me.com)
Subject: cynanthropy

Does this mean my dogs suffer from anthropy? They definitely believe they’re human, too.

Nathaniel Butterfield, Bermuda



From: Irene R. Garcia (iregarcia2 yahoo.com)
Subject: cynanthropy

My guess is the root of cynanthropy comes from being in a preschool class that enjoyed Dan Crow singing Dogs (3 min.) way too often.

Irene R. Garcia, Simi Valley, California



From: Karen McMillan (karenmcmillan hotmail.ca)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--cynanthropy

I’m planning to see this play: Fifteen Dogs.

Karen McMillan, Toronto, Canada



From: Mike Crowley (mcrowley nbcoatings.com)
Subject: cynanthropy

Unfortunately, this will be taken by some as another leftist gender identity and be taken out of context to prove what freaks some people are. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not my take on this. Is this any different from those people who dress up and go to football games and spend their whole lives idolizing their team?

Michael R. Crowley, Kouts, Indiana



From: Glenda Faye Pryor-Johnson (angelglendafaye bellsouth.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bolt-hole

My mother often used this phrase when fussing at her three daughters: but-hole.

Glenda Faye Pryor-Johnson, Memphis, Tennessee



Email of the Week brought to you buy The Official Old’s Cool Education -- “Skin yourself a peach and put the fuzz on your pillow.”

From: Susan Chizeck (chizeck utdallas.edu)
Subject: hyperacusis

I have had hyperacusis after a loud noise ear injury. It is extremely debilitating and every sound feels like knives thrust into your ears. It can be helped, but it took me over a year to find out how. Many people become recluses due to it. The main therapy is modeled after tinnitus retraining therapy. The American Tinnitus Association has resources to refer people to.

It is a brain injury and can be helped but hard to do. Many returning soldiers have it, as well as others, mainly those with loud noise injuries. And yes, I could hear up to dog whistle sounds, and also armed burglar alarms, although hearing high pitched noises are not part of hyperacusis per se.

Susan P. Chizeck, PhD, Dallas, Texas



From: Bob Richmond (rsrichmond gmail.com)
Subject: hyperacusis

I’ve suffered from hyperacusis all my life (my mother told me I had it in the womb), slowly worsening in old age (I’m 83). I can’t be around electrically amplified live music at all -- I see one Peavey, or hear one microphone howl, and I’m outta there.

I rarely have trouble with acoustic music, though - I’m a shape note singer, and in the singing square I happily tolerate sound levels that would make OSHA freak out.

There’s a big subjective component to my hyperacusis. But it’s a very real problem nonetheless.

Bob Richmond, Maryville, Tennessee



Idiolatry Unbound
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Idiolatry and cynanthropy

As POTUS 45, Trump’s outsized self-adoration was on full display. His idiolatry knew no bounds. Nero, another infamous egotist, fiddled as Rome burned, whilst Trump sat glued to his White House HD flat-screen, taking delight in his mob of insurrectionists storming the Capitol.

Day of the Jackal
The ancient Egyptians looked to the animal kingdom for spiritual inspiration and guidance. As a polytheistic culture, most of their gods were depicted as half-animal and half-human. Thoth took on the aspect of both a baboon and ibis, Horus... a falcon, Sobek... a crocodile, Bastet... a cat, Apis... a bull, Sekhmet... a lioness, and finally Anubis... a jackal, a dog by any other name. Although the god Anubis may not fit the strict definition of our word cynanthropy, he’s still a dog at heart. Whether he thinks he’s a canine is another story.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



Anagrams

This week’s theme: There’s a word for it
1. Idiolatry
2. Cynanthropy
3. Bolt-hole
4. Hyperacusis
5. Yesternoon
= 1. Yet he did worship self not shyly
2. I bark, chew shoe
3. Territory I escape to
4. Tone hurt my ear
5. Last noon
= 1. They dote own pretty looks
2. Cite Hοmο canis
3. Hilly retreat
4. Hears tinny whispers
5. 1300 hours day before
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

1. The (rather torrid?) obsession with self
2. Lycanthropy
3. Nook
4. Noise acuity
5. Re the whole p.m. yesterday
= 1. I worship me
2. They think they’re a pet
3. Crouch body there
4. So noisy, will destroy ears
5. Last afternoon
= 1. Hero infatuation
2. Psychosis (try “Heel”)
3. Escape entry
4. Noisy drill work bothers me!
5. Two the other day
-Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com) -Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Limericks

Idiolatry

For election he thinks he might run.
But he knows that when all’s said and done,
his bold idiolatry’s
one of the qualities
voters most likely would shun.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Beauty contests? I won quite a lot
‘Cuz I was a good-looking tot.
As I kept winning those --
Idiolatry rose
But no more, ‘cuz grown up? Not so hot!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“I’m truly ze father of rocketry,”
Said Von Braun, “and zat’s not idiolatry.
I bombed London, and soon
Vill send men to ze moon;
Brains like mine are an Aryan minority.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Cynanthropy

Mum and dad take their walk every night,
As I won’t take them out while it’s light.
This cynanthropy lark
Is no walk in the park.
Even now they’ve turned dog, they still fight.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

I have some cynanthropy, right?
But don’t let it get you uptight.
No cause for alarm.
I mean you no harm.
My bark is much worse than my bite!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“Halloween has come early this year!”
“Is that possible?” “Just lend an ear!
Our neighbor’s gone gaga
Thinks she’s a Chihuahua!”
“Cynanthropy?” “No question, dear!”
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“My spouse thinks he’s a dog,” she did vouch,
As he growled at his wife, in a crouch.
“But the shrink he should see
For his cynanthropy
Won’t allow him to get on the couch!”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

I began to chase cats up a tree,
And bark at the strangers I’d see.
I was human, and yet
Trotted off to the vet,
Who concluded, “It’s cynanthropy.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

If only we all had cynanthropy,
The world would be free of misanthropy.
We would all be best friends,
Sniff each other’s rear ends!
(Although kitties don’t share in this fantasy.)
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Bolt-hole

Every chap, since the days of the cave,
Needs a bolt-hole when feeling less brave.
As when wife’s in shrill voice --
It’s her weapon of choice --
Having caught her man playing the knave.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

“They’re massing along the front gates!
Quick! Hide till the onslaught abates!”
“But where can I go?”
“To that bolt-hole below --
Where we used to make out on our dates!”
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“Today’s not the day for a ride,
For your mount appears fit to be tied.
If you’re hurt on that colt, Cole,
You’ll live in a bolt-hole;
Stay home!” Porter’s wife vainly cried.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Hyperacusis

“Earmuffs in summertime? Why?”
people keep asking the guy.
He replies, “Well, the truth is
I’ve hyperacusis.
They look pretty cute, by-the-by!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“The shouting was awful,” said Brutus,
“And it triggered my hyperacusis.
Such power he’d grabbed
That he had to be stabbed,
But this headache would flummox Confucius!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Yesternoon

I was taking high tea yesternoon,
With the vicar and curate. A spoon
Fell and scalded my knee,
And the cursing from me
Caused the cleric’s apprentice to swoon.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

With yesternoon’s latest details
Of Harry and Meghan’s travails,
Too much has been shared!
We haven’t been spared --
Poor Harry has gone off the rails!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Yesternoon on the phone had a fight
With a friend, who got really uptight.
All I said was: “Hello”.
So how was I to know
That in Tokyo it was three at night?
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

I did something new yesternoon,
going up in a hot air balloon.
I enjoyed all the sights
till my old fear of heights
put an end to my fun much too soon.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

It was woefully short, I’ll admit;
We spoke what the preacher had writ.
And our brief honeymoon
Then took place yesternoon,
After which we decided to split!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“As he made us all laugh yesternoon,
I shall bring back the court jester soon,”
Said the king. But His Grace,
Seeing Mordecai’s face,
Ruled, “No more will he Queen Esther moon.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“As in sin she gave birth yesternoon,
With an ‘A’ we will brand Hester soon,”
Announced Dimmesdale. “We frown
On such things in this town,
Though ‘tis I with this babe blessed her womb.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



Puns

Looking down at the new House of Representatives, Yahweh rushed voters an 11th Commandment, but too late: “Thou shalt not commit idiolatry.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Waving his wand and shouting, “Cynanthropy!” Harry turned Voldemort’s followers half-human, half-billboard.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“I bolt-hole packages of wieners down at once,” bragged the hot dog eating champion.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“While those who are hyperacusis of being phlegmatic, patience and calm are the marks of a true Jedi,” said Yoda.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Our always-tattling sister was guilty of hyperacusis.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Och aye,” said Angus, “I always say yesternoon in a motel room when me secretary’s in the mood.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



The Gaetz of Hell
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: The Gaetz of Hell

With last week’s protracted House speaker vote, Kevin McCarthy finally secured the narrowest of victories.The ultra-right “Freedom (Free-dυmb?) Caucus” hijacked what should have been a done-deal on the first vote. In the end, it took obfuscator Matt Gaetz declaring himself “present”, and not even giving McCarthy the satisfaction of his “yea” vote, to allow McCarthy to secure the speakership. Here, McCarthy has made a Faustian bargain with the devil in the guise of Gaetz. McCarthy agreed to pass a bill that would allow a single House member to call for a floor-vote to oust him.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him. -Martin Luther King, Jr., civil-rights leader (15 Jan 1929-1968)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere

Donate

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2023 Wordsmith