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Feb 12, 2023
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Misleading words

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AWADmail Issue 1076

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

Sponsor’s Message: “Are you as smart as an 8th grader?” The Wiseacre’s Guide to Life is an absolutely FREE e-book that’ll show you how to say words that are bigger than your head, live an il dolce far niente life, and the difference between a quickhatch and a ratel, a hophornbeam and your mother-in-law’s tongue. Smarten up, for nothing!

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

OMG! Is Swearing Still Taboo?
(“Her toddler turned to her, looked her dead in the eye, and said: ‘Mummy, get me out of this fuckιng highchair.’”)
The Guardian

My Chinese Generation Is Losing the Ability to Express Itself
The New York Times

German Call for English to Be Second Official Language Amid Labour Shortage
The Guardian

From: Michael Stern (mchlcostumes46 gmail.com)
Subject: armipotent

So, it would be fair to say that an all powerful being would be omnipotent armipotent.

Michael Stern, Los Angeles, California

From: Vincent Andrunas (vincent znet.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lipography

You wrote that “whole books have been written without an E, the most used letter in the English language,” including Georges Perec’s novel, La Disparition, and Ernest Vincent Wright’s 1939 novel Gadsby. Of course, that would mean that neither author signed his work.

Vincent Andrunas, San Diego, California

From: Stéphane Vuilleumier (stephane.vuilleumier orange.fr)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lipography

I wish to confirm that La Disparition is a great read on top of being the achievement that it is. Weird-sounding sometimes but never really artificial. In terms of absurdly impossible achievements, one could also mention that Perec owns the record for the longest palindrome in French (1247 words).

And just to be complete, the extra joke with Les Revenentes is that the right spelling of the word -- which exists, and means “those who come back” -- would be “Revenantes”.

Stéphane Vuilleumier, Strasbourg, France

From: Haluk Şardağ (hsardag gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lipography

La Disparition was translated to Turkish as well, also without e.

Haluk Şardağ, Istanbul, Turkey

From: Karen Mueller-Harder (karen praxisworks.org)
Subject: Ella Minnow Pea

For a highly delightful read, I recommend Ella Minnow Pea: a progressively lipogrammatic epistolary fable by Mark Dunn, in which the writings and utterances of a small island community are increasingly proscribed by the ruling council, limiting their ability to use certain letters of the alphabet, with banishment the punishment for disobeying.

Epistolary has no doubt been featured in AWAD in the past: a work in the form of letters: the entire novel consists of letters desperately written by the island dwellers as they try to resist the council’s ridiculous decrees.

If those two elements are not enough to entice you, I should mention that a central theme throughout is the creation of pangrams

Karen Mueller-Harder, Cabot, Vermont

From: Marie Russell (via website comments)
Subject: Lipography

A delightful example is James Thurber’s The Wonderful O.

Marie Russell

From: Christine Fischer Guy (christine christinefischerguy.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lipography

The poet Christian Bök gave himself a great lipographic challenge that resulted in Euonia, in which each chapter’s poems use words limited to a single vowel: univocalics. There’s omission for you. It was inspired by Oulipo, of course.

It won our richest poetry prize that year (2002), the Griffin. Always here to supply the CanCon 😊

Christine Fischer Guy, Toronto, Canada

From: Brady Garrett (bradygarrett hotmail.com)
Subject: Lipography

This term immediately brings to mind Stephen King’s Misery as Paul tries to type the story for Annie on the typewriter with a broken E.

Brady Garrett, Tupelo, Mississippi

Email of the Week brought to you by The Wiseacre’s Guide to Life -- A FREE Wicked/Smart e-book. Learn more.

From: Jonathan Zingman (jzingman pacbell.net)
Subject: Lipography and the alphabet

Years ago, I realized that “thousand” was the first positive integer in English whose name included an “A”. That led to the following puzzle:

What’s the next number in this sequence:

You’d write for a long time to get to the first B: 30+ years at 1/second, and unimaginably long for the first C.

Jonathan Zingman, Oakland, California

From: Baruch Kahana (baruch.kahana yahoo.com)
Subject: Lipography

As an oncologist, I thought that lipography might mean “writing with fat”, similar to lithography, writing with stone.

A liposarcoma is a cancer that arises from fatty tissue, and a lipoma is a benign accumulation of fat, usually subcutaneous (under the skin).

Baruch E. Kahana, MD, Miami Beach, Florida

From: Jim Baumbach (jimb echonyc.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ribald

“I’ve never quibbled, if it was ribald. I would devour where others merely nibbled.”
From the song Smut (4 min.), by Tom Lehrer.

Jim Baumbach, New York, New York

Emerging Zoonoses
From: Andrea Jensen (frostedgroove gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--nosography

I work in a library where this book Emerging Zoonoses is at the end of a stack. I imagine a panda nose from the zoo sniffing around the corner and smile whenever I see it.

Andrea Jensen, Springfield, Virginia

Playby's Dirty Fairy Tales
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: ribald and lipography

Don’t believe those Plαybοy readers who claim they check out the magazine mainly for the articles. In my testosterone-raging youth, aside from appreciating the feminine pulchritude, I was a big fan of the monthly feature, “Ribald Classics”. The retellings of these saucy tales of yore were illustrated by Brad Holland, who imparted an old-world woodcut feel to his titillating graphics. Here, Plαybοy creator and publisher Hugh Hefner checks out Holland putting the finishing touches on one of his ribald offerings.

Lipography Writ Large
In this scenario, Madame Defarge, the scheming villainess of Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, the embodiment of vengefulness and revolutionary zeal, drops her obsessive scarf knitting to sneak off with the letter “W” from the title of one of Dickens’ most beloved novels.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Misleading words
1. Armipotent
2. Legation
3. Lipography
4. Ribald
5. Nosography
= 1. I’m strong in war
2. Diplomat
3. Typo, hole, missing a letter
4. Bawdy (hοοkεr?)
5. Help graphing disease
= 1. Brawny Goth
2. Head diplomat
3. Skip a letter in writing
4. Oh golly gosh improper
5. Name diseases
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)

This week’s theme: Misleading words
1. Armipotent
2. Legation
3. Lipography
4. Ribald
5. Nosography
= 1. Soldier power
2. Minor embassy
3. Er..ok..don’t write “e”
4. That gamy high
5. Hi! Ping illness-data-log app
= 1. Glory with war
2. Polite high diplomat
3. “That’s B-A-N-K-S. No E.
4. Improper; “My God!”
5. Diseases in general
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com) -Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Yes, Sir Lancelot, mightiest knight,
Was armipotent when in a fight:
But his morals were lax,
And his will turned to wax
When Queen Guinevere came into sight.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Regarding today’s spelling bee,
“I ought to have won it,” says she.
“Though I felt quite armipotent,
spelling grandiloquent
proved the undoing of me!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“I will speak in ways creepily sibilant,”
Said the snake, “to fake being armipotent.
Here’s my problem: the gist
Is I can’t make a fist;
Sounding scary will solve that predicament.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The UN assembly, it’s said,
Expected to vote straight ahead.
But the slacker legation
From some unnamed nation
Went out for some egg rolls instead.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

When China’s balloon crossed our nation,
We canceled our scheduled legation.
Said Anthony Blinken,
“Just what were they thinkin’?
This stunt has no sane explanation.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The legation trudged wearily back;
Their mission had gone way off track.
They had set off to save
Young George Santos, that knave
Who kept stabbing himself in the back!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“You Earthlings have many a nation,”
Said the head of the Martian legation.
“So who is your leader?
Choose one and we’ll meet her!
No males, please - they cause such vexation.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Mistakes in a text I detect;
Lipographies I then correct.
When proofreading copy,
One cannot be sloppy --
It’s prfect now, I’ve double-checked!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Is “Lipography Fun” a game yet?
Just think of the uproar you’d get:
Keep one letter apart
“Can’t use “e”, say, and start
Writing lists -- thn dciphr th st!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“Some readers believe it bizarre of me,”
Said Anu, “to toy with lipography.
But each Christmas “No L
Is my theme, so to hell
With their cries of ‘It’s alphabet robbery!’”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“I was Snow White, but drifted,” said Mae,
Who adored having guys ‘round to play.
Ribaldry was her art
With quips witty and tart;
She could double entendre all day.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

I just know that our Tony will write
Something ribald by Saturday night.
It’ll make Sunday’s list,
T, don’t cease or desist;
Racy limericks are a delight!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Some writers of lim’ricks have quibbled,
“A good one? It has to be ribald.”
But try as I may,
To make mine risqué,
It’s only nice clean ones I’ve scribbled.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Each day with a new word he fiddled,
And a limerick rhyming it scribbled.
By AWAD inspired,
Steve Benko, retired,
Loved Trump ones and anything ribald!
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Gran’s nosography sets her apart,
And she knows all her symptoms by heart.
Ailments -- starting at ‘A’ --
Will take most of the day,
So, it’s best if we don’t let her start.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

I went to my doc with a pain,
Expecting that he could explain.
We then did some sonography,
But my doctor’s nosography,
For the most part, was simply inane.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

When older folks gather, alas!
Nosography’s what comes to pass.
We’re often detailing
Each bodily failing --
Our chitchats are hardly a gas.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

My doc’s a world traveler, so
At the drop of a hat, he’ll just go
Where nosography leads him
When some country needs him
To ease an intractable woe.
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“While I live for the art of pοrnοgrαphy,”
Said Stormy, “Doc, here’s some nosography.
For admit it I must:
Pure ennui and disgust
Are my feelings with Donald on top of me.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“A few more classes at Hogwarts and I’ll be ch-armnipotent,” said Harry.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The haughty waiter was rude to everyone. He considered it his snob-legation.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Oh la la, I like legation-ear ze door,” said the Frenchman visiting a Japanese teahouse.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“First the lipographist will map all the fat deposits in your thighs, then I’ll suction them out,” the surgeon explained.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Lipography: the art of writing by holding the pencil in your mouth.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station , New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“I’ll make a woman from your ribald sport,” God tells Adam in the Jay Gatsby Version.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The Trouble with T-ribald-s was my favorite Star Trek episode.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“It’s great fun to ribald people,” thought the comedian trying to get his next nursing home booking.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

Having won Wimbledon, Nadal had a craving for Indian food. He ordered a spinach dish, but the waiter replied, “I am sorry, but today we have nosography-el.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The play Cyrano de Bergerac can be found in the library’s nosography section.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

There is no fundamental difference between man and the lower animals in their mental faculties... The lower animals, like man, manifestly feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery. -Charles Darwin (12 Feb 1809-1882)

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