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Jan 29, 2023
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Words borrowed from other languages

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AWADmail Issue 1074

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

Sponsor’s Message: “Just do wit.” This teen on a bicycle skids right in front of me on lower Thames with a rascally grin. He looks down at my OLD’S COOL t-shirt, snickers, and then looks back up at me dead in the eye. “Sensational.” Made in America, 100% cotton truth that fits both recalcitrants and kings to a tee. Exclusive polos and rugbys too. A wicked original gift. Shop Now.

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

Humans Can Understand Apes’ Sign Language, New Study Finds

Preserving Endangered Languages as 3D Shapes

From: Katie Chamberlain Kritikos (kchambs gmail.com)
Subject: Well Wishes from a Long-Time Subscriber

I am writing to tell you how important your A.Word.A.Day email and community have been in my life for the past twenty-five years.

I first subscribed to your mailing list in 1997 at the age of thirteen, when I was a middle-school bookworm in Alabama who loved words. Having an email address was cool and vocabulary words were cooler. The only difference between me and that girl is my age (and wrinkles).

Receiving and reading your email is one of the longest-standing and significant relationships in my life. The only other people with whom I’ve been in daily contact for over two decades are my parents. Your email has joined me on my journey from high school to college to law school and library school, from one bad marriage to a great one, from the Deep South to the Midwest to New England in the United States, from mediocre jobs to motherhood, from the past to the future.

As I’ve aged (and somewhat matured), my appreciation for not just the daily definitions but your introductions, stories, A Thought for Today, and weekly feedback compendiums only grows. Your sense of humor and commitment to diversity was (and remains) a bright spot for me during the Trump presidency and pandemic. Thank you for building a beautiful community. Thank you for inspiring me to keep learning, exploring, and fighting the good fight.

Katie Kritikos, JD, MSLIS, Champaign, Illinois

From: Peter Jennings (peterj benlo.com)
Subject: Ikigai

The Venn diagrams illustrating ikigai brought to mind the brilliant comedy routine (2 min.) by Don McMillan. Longer version (7 min.).

Peter Jennings, St. Catharines, Canada

From: Elizabeth Dimon (bethdimon57 gmail.com)
Subject: Ikigai

My ikigai is my work as a hospice volunteer. It gives me purpose and I find working with people who are nearing the end of life gratifying.

Beth Dimon, West Palm Beach, Florida

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From: Bob Hellrung (bob.cheryl.subs me.com)
Subject: Loving Tenderly

At 78 and 81, my wife and I have spent many hours of our 38 years together encouraging the cultivation of tenderness by couples -- primarily through workshops at marriage enrichment conferences. Our ikigai now is to publish our learnings (we’re still students) as Loving Tenderly: Six Ways to Sweeten and Deepen Your Closeness. Our work in progress is almost complete and can be read online at tenderly.com.

Bob Hellrung, Bourbon, Missouri

From: Carol L. Cleveland (clc6 cornell.edu)
Subject: ikigai

I started adult life with a religious ikigai, to die in grace, but later had to modify that out of all recognition. If I’m honest, my current ikigai is to beat the NYTimes team who publish the weekly Spelling Bee puzzle. They provide a word count for geniuses, and then a higher score their internal team made. My motivation is to beat their total score by at least one word, as well as to get all the perfectly obvious words they found and I missed. Almost every week I get closer to triumph.

Carol Cleveland, Dryden, New York

From: Gary P. Brown (revnor aol.com)
Subject: Ikigai

I’m 78 years old. In 2014, I lost my wife of 47 years to brain cancer. My wife loved dogs, and in the years since my wife’s death, one way I have found ikigai, a new sense of purpose in life, is by joining with an artist friend to self-publish children’s books about dogs. The latest book tells the true story of how my wife rescued a dog and how, after my wife’s death, the rescue dog rescued me, making me get up in the morning, reminding me that we need to eat, and taking me for long walks.

PS: The books are fund-raisers for local non-profit agencies. The first book raised $40,000 for the SPCA (over 1800 books distributed so far), and the new one is for two hospice-related agencies.

Gary P. Brown, Hammondsport, New York

From: Joe Lee (joeparislee gmail.com)
Subject: Ikigai

I am sixty-nine and retired but work part-time as a driver taking residents of a care home on outings. I could never have foreseen that I would find my ikigai after retiring.

Joe Paris Lee, Palmerston North, New Zealand

From: Marty Vasas (marty.vasas gmail.com)
Subject: ikigai

I’m 71 years old. I’ve been devoted to mathematics since high school, and, as I tell my students, I’ve scheduled my retirement from teaching. It’s two day before my funeral. I need one day in between for the retirement party.

My biggest fear is the possibility that my health could force me to stop earlier.

Marty Vasas, Brooklyn, New York

From: Teresa D’Amico (verush aol.com)
Subject: ikigai

I found it long ago, thank goodness, fighting for the rights of animals!

Teresa D’Amico, New York, New York

From: Mary Finelli (MaryFinelli comcast.net)
Subject: ikigai

Yes, my ikigai is advocating for the world’s most vulnerable and abused beings, who also receive the least concern or protection: nonhuman animals. Thank you very much for all of YOUR advocacy for them, Anu. It is very sincerely appreciated.

Mary Finelli, Silver Spring, Maryland

From: Mim McConnell (sitkamim gmail.com)
Subject: ikigai

I found my ikigai forming a community land trust (CLT) in my community. It provides permanently affordable housing. Now I’m moving on to creating a statewide CLT. I’ll be 70 in March.

Mim McConnell, Sitka, Alaska

From: Peter Guarco (paguarco icloud.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ikigai

What Japan makes of ikigai
The Economist

Peter A Guarco, Winooski, Vermont

From: John Jackson (geonjay gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--chaebol

My brain is stuck trying to relate chaebol with cabal, but the etymologies are, seemingly, very different.

John Jackson, Rock Hill, South Carolina

From: Gary Heald (gheald btinternet.com)
Subject: Cosh

Cosh is also a word used in mathematics to denote a hyperbolic cosine function. In fact, I used it during my physics PhD (and many times since) as well as tanh which denotes the hyperbolic tangent. There is also sinh. No prizes for guessing what that denotes. 😊

Prof. G.J. Heald, School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland

From: Ken Williams (kenwilliamsgso gmail.com)
Subject: Math cosh

Now I understand what the math teacher was doing to the students.

Ken Williams, Greensboro, North Carolina

From: Jakob Silas Lund (jakob.s.lund gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ombudsman

As a Danish person, I really would like to claim this wonderful concept and word. The interwebs tells me you may be right when you ascribe it to our neighbors but let it be known that Denmark protests.

Jakob Silas Lund, Danstrup, Denmark

From: David Burdick (david.burdick586 gmail.com)
Subject: ombudsman

When I was in the US Navy we had an ombudsman representing the service members. I recall each command had their own and usually they were the wives of E8 (Senior Chief Petty Officer) or E9 (Master Chief Petty Officer) ranks. Some bases are very large and will have more than one command on the base. Therefore, multiple ombudsmen.

Command Ombudsmen have much power because they can liason on behalf of the service members when the normal chain-of-command doesn’t work.

David L. Burdick, Urbana, Illinois

From: Eric Mills (erics web.ca)
Subject: ombudsman

Maybe a decade ago, just ombud was a way to avoid gender, but it seems to have fallen into disuse.

Eric Mills, Toronto, Canada

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

Never knew what this meant before. The range of Gilbert’s vocabulary never ceases to astound me. See at :51 video.

From The Mikado (Gilbert & Sullivan):

Yum Yum: But as I’m engaged to KoKo
To embrace you thus, con fuoco
Would distinctly be no joke-o
And for yam I would get toco

Nanki Poo: toco
Yum Yum: toco
Nanki Poo: toco
Yum Yum: toco
Both: toco!

Marc Davidson, Ormond, Florida

From: Norma Meyer (nsophm gmail.com)
Subject: toco

For more than seven decades, I was positive it was a nonsense word that W.S. Gilbert fabricated to rhyme with KOKO in The Mikado. Never too old to learn.

Norma Meyer, East China, Michigan

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

A tocometer is a device attached to the abdomen of a woman in labor to measure contractions. [See also tocology]

Kenneth Gorelick, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

Once Upon A Mantra
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: ikigai and cosh

Meditation has been one of the favored Eastern spiritual paths to finding one’s inner peace. In my view, the concept of inner peace and the essence of our word ikigai complement one another, as attaining either (a rare feat) leads to a life of contentment, tranquility, and a state of sheer bliss. Finding either could be a life-long journey. Maybe many lives?

Speak Softly and Carry A Big Stick
For generations, bobby, the British cop-on-the-beat, was solely armed with a cosh (aka billy club). One would surmise that in not “packing heat”, the bobby would be at a disadvantage against a gun-toting adversary. Yet, only in recent years have bobbies taken up arms, factoring in the increase in domestic and foreign terrorism. Here, our clown poses no threat to our stoic bobby. But if that weapon was other than a prop gun, it might be a different, and tragic story?

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Words borrowed from other languages
1. Ikigai
2. Chaebol
3. Cosh
4. Ombudsman
5. Toco
= 1. Who or what life’s about (no more gloom)
2. Big business, Korea
3. Sock; hammer
4. Watchdog
5. Chide & desert
= 1. Ambitions, wishes
2. Conglomerate
3. Gore with wood
4. He has customer feedback
5. Rough blood marks
-Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com) -Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com)

1. Work embodied his/her worth
2. Conglomerate of S. Korea
3. Club to smash some heads
4. Bigwig
5. Toucan
= 1. Work, metier
2. Conglomerate, e.g. Kumho
3. Used to bash
4. Critic
5. Bashing from asshοle/bad sod eh - ow! Ow!!
= 1. Woo! Hoo! She got a war medal
2. E.g. Samsung, Inc.
3. Do sort out workers’ beef
4. Stick
5. Hm...chide, belabor him.
-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.



Viktor Frankl, the therapy guy,
Saw that folks need a purpose, a “why”.
When you live in extremes,
It’s the diff’rence, it seems.
You survive if you have ikigai.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Your worn raison d’etre is why
Your esprit de corps ain’t too high.
Go out, get some sake
With sushi and maki,
And your ikigai surely will fly.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

“To defeat Donald Trump is our ikigai,
For we wish to see no coastal city die,”
Say the experts. “We’re warming,
And floods will be forming
Unless we get rid of that icky guy.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The imperial spirit? It reigns,
And still seeks to make global its gains.
Business empires, today,
Are called chaebols; they prey,
And their emperors still hold the reins.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

When a company’s run by a chaebol,
It is thought that its future is stable.
But, with Twitter and Musk,
Whose style is brusque,
There’s no grown-up who sits at the table.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“This war has been good for my chaebol,”
Said the character played by Clark Gable.
“I’m rich and have Scarlett!
She calls me a varlet,
But sparks beat the heck out of stable.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


You warned me that I shouldn’t nosh,
Or else you just might get a cosh
And give me a beating
To stop me from eating.
You want me to starve? Oh my gosh!
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

He’s nought but a rascal, that guy.
He deserves to be punished, say I.
One crack with my cosh
will put the kibosh
on ‘im, see? ‘Twill be easy as pie!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

On her curds and whey once more she’d nosh,
Although this time was diff’rent, by gosh.
Miss Muffet thought quick;
She picked up a stick,
And the spider she squashed with a cosh.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

In the works of Hieronymus Bosch,
The condemned endure fire and cosh.
Will I suffer that doom
For the carbs I consume
When on bagels or knishes I nosh?
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


When the little guy has a complaint
Against huge corporation, he ain’t
Got to battle alone;
He can pick up the phone,
And the ombudsman takes up his plaint.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

When I grow up I think I shall be
An ombudsman. Why? Because she
Is between and betwixt
What needs to be fixed
And gets credit for doing that, see?
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“You can’t fight City Hall,” people say,
But where there’s a will, there’s a way.
To achieve what you can,
I’m an ombudsman fan,
And quite often, he may save the day.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“This baby is mine,” heard the ombudsman,
And sighed, “It’s a matter for Solomon.
Did the hospital switch
Her at birth? What a pitch!
I feel faint! Nurse, quick! Bring me some oxygen!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


As a boy, I was guilty each day,
And got toco the old-fashioned way.
“You were told not to speak!”
I was thwacked on each cheek.
In those days, cane and slipper held sway.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

You might think that I’m totally loco.
I pretend I’m allergic to cocoa.
So, it filled me with glee
When my mom punished me
With a cup-full. She thought that was toco.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

The kid was a terrible brat.
He called his mom ugly and fat.
“For driving me loco,”
said she, “here’s your toco!”
He quieted down after that.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“I broke up the Beatles? That’s loco!
It wasn’t my fault,” insists Yoko.
“Look at Harry and Meghan
For honesty beggin’,
But tabloids keep dishing out toco.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

If the head of the chaebol’s irate,
Then no ombudsman’s changing your fate.
You’ve a new ikigai.
Evade toco -- smart guy! --
And the man with the cosh? Not your mate.
Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmesbtconnect.com)


Her friend cautioned her not to go out with that ikigai.
-Debbi Dolan, New York, New York (turlan optonline.net)

“For $130,000 I guess I’ll do it, but he sure is an ikigai,” said Stormy.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Guevara’s speeches are a bunch of Chaebol,” said Batista.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Former Tonight Show host Leno is planning to open a string of bowling alleys called Chaebol.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“You must like my brudder best,” whined the little girl, “cosh you hug him more.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

“S-cosh whisky is the besht,” sighed McDougal, the bottle now empty.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Are you SURE we’ve crossed into enemy territory? I don’t wanna b-ombudsman,” said the B-52 pilot to his navigator.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

What do you call the guy who brings the beer to the Buddhist mixer?
The ombudsman.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Please hold still,” said the podiatrist. “If your toco-operates, I’ll have this corn off in no time.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

My Mexican food is so bad, my family refers to it as Taco Toco.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. -Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (29 Jan 1927-1989)

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