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AWADmail Issue 1073

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

Lost for Words: Fears of “Catastrophic” Language Loss Due to Rising Seas
The Guardian

ChatGPT Listed as Author on Research Papers: Many Scientists Disapprove

From: Marc Davidson (flueln hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--suede-shoed

I remember an old recording of a raunchy night club comedian saying:

There was an old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.
There was another old woman who lived in a shoe.
She had no children, she knew what to do!

It seems a rather slipshod way of doing things, to me.

Marc Davidson, Ormond, Florida

From: David Clark (ch87820 gmail.com)
Subject: suede-shoed

Another take on that old woman ...

Rhyme and Reason
By Piet Hein

There was an old woman
who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children.
She didn’t know what to do.
But try as she would
she could never detect
which was the cause
and which the effect.

David Clark, Fletcher, Vermont

From: Dermot Grove-White (dermotgw gmail.com)
Subject: Re - There was an old woman who lived in a shoe

Your reference to the Boot House on the hill in Mumbai stirred up some pleasant memories in this one.

My parents were doctors working in Singapore public health and, on the return trip to Ireland and the UK in 1953, the ship docked in then-Bombay (Mumbai).

My mother had a large Asia-wide network of family planning doctor colleagues, one of whom lived there, and she took us off the ship for a day trip.

She drove us up Malabar Hill to Kamala Nehru children’s park (named after the wife of India’s first Prime Minister). There, to the enchantment of this five-year-old, was the “actual” shoe house that “the old woman” had lived in! The trees now surrounding it had not yet grown, so there it stood, magnificent, on top of the hill overlooking the city.

Still a vivid memory.

Dermot Grove-White, Toronto, Canada

From: Jory Bidart (jorybidart gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--suede-shoed

Another fun shoe building is this cobbler shop in my hometown of Bakersfield, California.

Jory Bidart, Bakersfield, California

From: Nancy Griffith (rahijasaad gmail.com)
Subject: Old Woman’s Shoe

In Sacramento, California, we have Fairytale Town where one attraction is The Old Woman’s Shoe. Children can climb a ladder and slide down a slide.

Nancy R. Griffith, Sacramento, California

From: Larry Bathgate (bathlar yahoo.com)
Subject: The Old Woman who lived in a Shoe

This one is from my childhood over 70 years ago, and it is still in use at Children’s Fairyland in Oakland, California.

Larry Bathgate, Mill Valley, California

Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy One Up! -- Stealing is the name of the game.

From: John Norton (norton.john gmail.com)
Subject: Apologies to Margaret Courtney

Be kind to thy father, for when thou wert young, / Who loved thee so fondly as he? / He caught the first accents that fell from thy tongue, / And joined in thy innocent glee. -Margaret Courtney, poet (1822-1862)

Seeing Margaret Courtney’s poem today reminded me of something I wrote more than 20 years ago to amuse my kids wife friends self.

Be kind to thy mother, for when thou wert young,
Who healed thee so often as she,
When you were scraped or bumped, bitten or stung,
By a word or a bug or a bee?

Be kind to thy father, for when thou wert young,
Who’d you puke on so often as he?
His shirts were awash in the drool from thy tongue,
And, if he weren’t careful, with pee.

Be kind to thy mother, for when thou wert young,
Who fed thee so often as she?
With fingers of chicken or egg of foo yung
Cooking with skill that was mostly unsung
And watched you when Brussels of sprouts you both flung
To the dog who would lick them with slobbery tongue,
Then take them and drop them all hidden among
The toys of the cats, ‘neath my chair’s bottom rung,
And when I stepped on ‘em and came all unstrung,
You thought that was great fun to see.

-Dad (1947- )

John Norton, Durham, North Carolina

From: Nicolas Ribet (nickribet gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--saboteur

I am a French person born of French-speaking parents who heard his four French grandparents tell stories of the French resistance sabotaging infrastructures to slow the Nazis during WW2 and I had no idea it came from the famous wooden shoe.

Nick Ribet, Tūranganui-a-Kiwa, Aotearoa/New Zealand

From: Braha Ahilea (bahilea research.haifa.ac.il)
Subject: Sabot

The original meaning of Sabot (in French, for example) is a hoof (of an animal). Wooden shoes probably feel like hooves worn on the feet.

Eliyahu Ahilea, Tel-Aviv, Israel

From: Joe Silber (bishopjoey gmail.com)
Subject: Sneakernet

A concept related to sneakernet is outlined in RFC 1149, Standard for the Transmission of IP Datagrams on Avian Carriers, and is known as CPIP (Carrier Pigeon Internet Protocol).

Sometimes carbon-based delivery is the most useful.

Joe Silber, Leiden, The Netherlands

From: P. Larry Nelson (lnelson illinois.edu)
Subject: Sneakernet

It may well be that the first documented use of sneakernet was 1984, but we in the IT biz were using the term in the 70s.

And it was hauling programs and their input data on 80-column punch cards in boxes across campus to the main computer center to be fed into their big IBM 360/75 mainframe computer or the smaller IBM 1401. One would wait a day or two, then get a phone call that the job(s) had run and to come pick up the cards and printed output.

There was networking, but it was just the big mainframe that was connected to other universities and national labs over DOD’s ARPANET (forerunner of the Internet). There was no campus-wide networking for a few years to come.

Then came floppynet a few years later -- transferring programs/data on floppy disk drives. Thankfully those went extinct. (Although I still have a USB floppy drive, just in case.)

Larry Nelson, Champaign, Illinois

From: Gregory Galperin (grg ai.mit.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--sneakernet

It should be made clear that the “station wagon full of tapes” quip in the “sneakernet” writeup probably did not originate with Tanenbaum; it appears to have been in common usage for a long time before he wrote that classic text.

Although I don’t see an attribution in the book, some credit the book’s quotation to “Dr. Warren Jackson, Director, University of Toronto Computing Services (UTCS) circa 1985)” and frame Tanenbaum’s inclusion as “paraphrasing” Jackson.

This post by a random reddit user claims mid-1970s NASA Jet Propulsion Lab usage.

Steven M. Bellovin (CS prof, USENET originator, IETF leadership, AT&T research fellow) reports hearing it at IBM in 1969 or 1970.

Tanenbaum deserves a huge amount of credit for many contributions, but given Bellovin’s report I find it unlikely that Tanenbaum originated this particular quote. With an origin in the 1960s or 1950s, the source may already have been lost to time. Or perhaps the station wagon with these particular bits is still en route?

Greg Galperin, Cambridge, Massachusetts

From: Vandy Beth Glenn (vandy.beth.glenn gmail.com)
Subject: sneakernet

In addition to his work as a computer science professor, Andrew Tanenbaum is one half of the team at electoral-vote.com, the best political and polling analysis blog on the Internet. I strongly encourage everyone to check it out.

Vandy Beth Glenn, Decatur, Georgia

From: Betty Patton (betty bettyandrichard.com)
Subject: Boot-faced

“Jacqueline Wilson says, ‘Every time you see a librarian in a soap opera it’s a boot-faced woman going ‘Shush!’ I’ve never come across a librarian like that.’”
Jan Dalley; Turning Over a New leaf; Financial Times (London, UK); Sep 30, 2006.

The usage of boot-faced reminded me of my mother, a librarian for her entire adult life. The most memorable thing about that lovely woman was her smile. Her whole face would light up every time someone walked into the library because she knew just the right book for them. Or she was dying to find out how they liked the one they had just finished. So she was never boot-faced.

Betty Patton, Portland, Oregon

Let's Face It
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: boot-faced and well-heeled

In contemplating our word boot-faced, I couldn’t resist taking the word for a sad, angry, or stern visage, literally. In this scenario, I’ve managed to illustrate two of the three aforementioned emotions defining “boot-faced”... stern on the left, and sad on the right... to boot. (groan)

All That Glitters Is Not God
The saying, “as rich as Croesus”, has stood the test of time, signifying the well-heeled individual. These days, the likes of multi-billionaires Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos would fit that select profile. King of ancient Lydia (present-day Asia-Minor), Croesus, ruled from 560-547 BCE, and was the richest man on the planet for his time. His immense wealth included solid-gold coinage, gold jewelry, goblets, urns, and statues. The historian Herodotus claimed Croesus was the first monarch to mint gold and silver coins. Here, Croesus is showing off a mere fraction of his great riches to the Greek statesman and lawgiver, Solon. This event actually transpired.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Karen Folsom (kgfols yahoo.com)
Subject: shoes

Talk about being given the boot
Here’s a well-heeled pair

Karen Folsom, Santa Barbara, California


This week’s theme: Shoes
1. Suede-shoed
2. Saboteur
3. Well-heeled
4. Sneakernet
5. Boot-faced
= 1. A tweeded hoe
2. A bomber
3. We sense he’s loaded
4. Note: He trucks host e-files
5. Sulk, seethe
= 1. Sleek
2. He chose to be a rebel
3. Flush
4. How we send e-data on diskettes
5. Seem dour & seethe
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

1. Esteemed
2. SEeks trouble
3. With a ton of sales
4. The one USB’s headed elsewhere
5. Choked
= 1. Sleek-booted
2. Traitor
3. Oh, he seeks esteem!
4. Send hushed, w/o the Web
5. See sullen facade
= 1. Ooh, too flash, sleek
2. Deemed the Resistance
3. Wealth
4. OK dωεεb used USB
5. Seethe, sneer
-Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



“I’m not fooled,” said the judge with a frown,
“That this crook has turned man about town.
Suit and tie can’t deceive ...
No, I do not believe;
So this suede-shoed pretender goes down.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

The candidate folks liked the best
Was always impeccably dressed.
His suede-shoed appearance
Attracted adherents --
That he was a fraud no one guessed.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Friend Sol, with his suede-shoed demeanor
Needs to hire a date intervenor!
Imagine the look
He got when he took
Me to dine -- and the meal was a wiener!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“As this girl likes a guy who’s suede-shoed,
I’ll play classics: a Chopin prelude,”
Thought her date. “And I’ll speak
Some French words. ‘Magnifique!’
That’ll work! Things’ll soon get très leωd!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The disruption destroyed all our dreams,
The result of a saboteur’s schemes.
He pretended to aid,
But turns out he’d been paid
Just to pull us apart at the seams
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Say the patrons, “We hate to be rude,
but something’s gone wrong with your food.”
Says the restaurateur,
“Looks like some saboteur
has revived an old family feud!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

It happened in occupied France.
The partisans took a bold stance.
They were brave saboteurs,
Those mesdames et messieurs,
Obstructing the Nazi advance.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Cried the Wise Man from France, “’ave some myrrh!
C’est le Christ, and I’m no amateur!
Sacré bleu! Zis babe, Mary,
To Rome weel be scary;
‘J’accuse!’ you weel ‘ear. ‘Saboteur!’”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


At the altar of Mammon he kneeled
And prayed for some bonds with high yield.
In his God he did trust,
But the market went bust;
And no longer is he so well-heeled.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

She was cute, and he liked her a lot,
Were his feelings returned? Not a jot.
If the guy were well-heeled,
he might have appealed
to the girl. But alas, he was not!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The lottery winner revealed,
“I’m glad that I’ve joined the well-heeled.
But I’ve got to admit
That it bugs me a bit --
Mom’s funding requests I must field.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The wish of a pretty young thing,
(as she flitted to fling after fling),
Was a smart well-heeled guy,
Who could well satisfy
Her great hunger for diamonds and bling.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

“Find a man who’s well-heeled, that’s a plus!”
My grandmother oft said to us.
When we’d tell of a crush,
She would urge the bum’s rush
If our date only managed the bus!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Imelda was known for her shoes.
She spent fortunes on them, said the news.
“The reporters,” she squealed,
“Say I’m very well-heeled,
For I can’t decide which pair to choose!”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“The bow we watched William Tell wield,”
Said the villager, “made him well-heeled.
‘Bet on me!’ he would say,
Until one tragic day
‘Twas his child for whom the bell pealed.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


When you’re dealing with data that’s vast,
Using ethernet isn’t so fast.
Cutting edge though it’s not,
Sneakernet hits the spot,
And delivers in ways unsurpassed.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

If data you wish to relay,
Then sneakernets offer a way.
You might use a train,
A truck, boat, or plane --
Or pigeons way back in the day.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

What’s a memory stick? I don’t know,
But sneakernet goes with it, so ...
It’s now part of my lingo;
I’ll try hard, by jingo
To make it a treasured bon mot!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

With treeware and horse as her sneakernet,
“Life without you,” wrote Scarlett, “is bleaker, Rhett.”
So aspiring to marriage,
She climbed in her carriage,
And thought, “He’ll propose; I’m a keeper yet.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Meter maids, above all, must be cruel,
And most strict when applying the rule.
And it’s all to the good
If they’re boot-faced. This should
Be developed by training in school.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

There’s a lovely young woman I met,
And I tried to be friendly, and yet
That gal in her way
Gave me no time of day.
A brief, boot-faced glance I did get.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

To assure that the girl remains chaste,
many suitors of hers have been maced.
Though it’s been a whole year,
To this day the poor dear
is still quiet, and always boot-faced.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Her expression is boot-faced, poor dear,
So no suitor will even come near.
She is not all that cute,
But I hear she’s a hoot --
It is only her look that’s severe.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The groom showed up late, looking boot-faced,
And into his wedding day suit raced.
He’d been to a party
With girls who were tarty,
But freshened his mouth with some toothpaste.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Señorita, can I per-suede-shoed-oo come home weeth me tonight?” asked Don Juan.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“In my Left Bank garret I write stories about Swedish cars,” said the Saboteur.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“The waters of the sacred well-heeled all who came,” recalled Saint Bernadette of Lourdes.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The surreptitious fisherwoman tried to sneakernet into a restricted area.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

“Her parents are prudes, but I’ll sneakernet stockings for her big date,” schemed the teenage girl for her BFF.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When I go butterfly-catching without my sister, I sneakernet out because it’s bigger than mine.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

Bored, she wanted to sneakernet-flix movie on.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

At the podiatrist’s office, the patient took off his boot-faced the doctor, and asked, “Why does my foot hurt?”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

Now married 40 years, their efforts to re-boot-faced many challenges.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The Scottish soldiers a-boot-faced when their commander ordered them to.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Charlatan

Newly-minted House member from New York George Santos won his seat under false pretenses. While campaigning in the 2022 midterms, he claimed he was a graduate of Baruch College, had worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, was a very successful financier who’d founded an animal charity. Also claimed Jewish heritage. Turns out all those claims were bogus. When found out, he confessed, “I may have embellished my resume.” How about outright lying? The Trump apologist and 2020 election denier has been sworn in, and for now, is a sitting member of Congress... yet hardly in good standing.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion. -Francis Bacon, essayist, philosopher, and statesman (1561-1626)

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