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Feb 26, 2023
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AWADmail Issue 1078

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 Old’s Cool Wiseacre’s Guide to Life is one of three absolutely FREE e-books 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 javelin and a javelina, 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

Endangered Verses: Can Poetry Help Save a Language?
El País

Don’t Lose Your Accent!
The New York Times

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

From: Daniel T. Whiteman (whitemandt gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--memoriter

The preacher was not that far off base. The good book also tells us to clothe the nαkεd.

Daniel T. Whiteman, Summerville, South Carolina

From: Peter N (ptn.email907 gmail.com)
Subject: Preaching at the beach

If the preacher was telling only the congregation to be modest or feeding only the believers, you’d accuse him of being unchristian, wouldn’t you? Go back and reread what you wrote, it is biased.

Peter N

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

I’ve never heard the word memoriter in my 84 years, though its meaning was quite transparent to me. The suffix -iter forms adverbs productively in Latin. The iter by itself means “way” or “path” (think “reiterate”).

The only -iter word I can think of in English is the legal term obiter dictum.

Two other common -iter words in Latin are celeriter “swiftly” and fortiter “strongly”. Fans of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana may remember the fate of the roasted swan, ustus (roasted) fortiter.

Bob Richmond, Maryville, Tennessee

From: Les Jacobson (lesterjake comcast.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--memoriter

If the road to hell is paved with adverbs, then that’s where J.K. Rowling is headed. As Stephen King said, Rowling “never met an adverb she didn’t like.”

Les Jacobson, Evanston, Illinois

From: Bruce Reaves (reavesb earthlink.net)
Subject: adverbs

My father was in college during WWII, in a short course leading to a commission in the Navy. His English professor emphasized the -ly rule. He said it made the difference between looking at a woman sternly and looking at her stern.

Bruce Reaves, Gibsonville, North Carolina

From: Ron Pierce (ronpierceco2 aol.com)
Subject: Sinistrad

In eye care, the left eye is abbreviated as OS, standing for oculus sinister. The right is OD, for oculus dexter. The OS is the “evil eye”.

Ron Pierce, Fort Myers, Florida

From: Amy Kite (amykite3 mac.com)
Subject: A blog about Wordsmith

I wrote a blog about my 20th anniversary with Wordsmith, and I want to share it with you. Many of my readers told me they signed up after reading it!

Amy Kite, Chicago, Illinois

Leaning to the Left
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: sinistrad and astern

When I was ruminating over the definition of our word sinistrad, I thought about its possible use in the context of political ideology... right-wing, centrist, and left-wing. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders came to mind as exemplifying our word sinistrad (left-leaning). He would likely eschew putting a label on his core political persuasion. But his GOP rivals love to put him in the “leftie/socialist” box.

Rockin' the Boat
One of the key considerations in boarding any small boat is the proper distribution of weight, i.e., where any onboard cargo should be situated and where the passengers should sit relative to one another. It stands to reason that a big no-no would be seating a morbidly obese person astern, particularly if the other boaters are relative lightweights. Here, the situation looks dire. A splash in the briney appears to be in the offing.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Karen Folsom (kgfols yahoo.com)
subject: Astern

Karen Folsom, Santa Barbara, California


This week’s theme: Adverbs
1. Memoriter
2. Astern
3. Sinistrad
4. Agley
5. Gratis
= 1. Rote time-- by heart
2. Vessel’s rear
3. Nigh
4. Mired, askew
5. Sans $, Tim digs treat
= 1. Right in mind
2. Reverse
3. Westerly
4. A big mistake
5. Treat shared to masses
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com) -Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com)

This week’s theme: Adverbs
1. Memoriter
2. Astern
3. Sinistrad
4. Agley
5. Gratis
= 1. By heart
2. Rearward
3. Nigh side
4. Seems amiss
5. Giver settles it, not market
= 1. By heart
2. Steer rear seaward
3. Isn’t right, skelm
4. Amiss
5. Some get invited
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Repeatedly pacing the corridor,
He learned all his speeches memoriter.
He’d stay up all night
To get the words right --
How much I admired that orator!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“What she said I weel tell you memoriter:
Eet was ‘Let zem eat cake!’” said the courtier.
The crowd answered, “Bien sûr!
And zis year’s haute couture
Ees no ‘ead. ‘er new look weel be sportier!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Having drunken my fill of Sauternes,
And thus feeling a lack of concern,
I was somewhat surprised
To be rudely apprised
That my progress, in fact, was astern.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Satchel Paige was a sage; one of few.
The advice that he gave still holds true.
You should not look astern,
Or else you might learn
That something is gaining on you.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

The tourists all set out to sea
And sailed where some whales tend to be.
The folks turned astern
And there did discern
No creatures -- just poor, seasick me.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

A cowardly sailor named Vern
Would take his small boat for a turn.
Should danger appear,
He’d advance to the rear,
And direct his old craft full astern.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Case dismissed, and this court I adjourn,”
Said the judge, “The election’s astern.
Your arguments, Rudy,
Are totally fruity;
Perhaps through disbarment you’ll learn.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The policeman approached and was kind.
“Brits abroad?” We admitted. “You’ll find,
If you drive sinistrad
Other drivers get mad,
As their whole way of life’s undermined.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

The husband declared at the light,
“I know I must turn to the right.”
His wife said, “My dear,
Go sinistrad here!”
And now they’ve been fighting all night.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

She dated a young man named Brad.
His politics made her dad sad.
“Which way does he lean:
Right, left, in-between?”
“He’s sinistrad, but just a tad.”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“With my hyperacusis, this din is bad;
There’s a more remote spot a bit sinistrad,”
Said the frog. “Those damn boaters!
I curse outboard motors!
Let’s hop to a quieter lily pad.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


At my wedding, the song “Perfect Day”
Was still played, though all plans went agley.
I was left in the lurch
At the door of the church
When the groom and best man ran away.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

She’s trying a new recipe,
when something goes badly agley.
Alas, there’s no salt!
“It isn’t my fault
that the dish tastes so flat!” declares she.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

To speak English goodly today
Without no mistakes, you must pay
Attention to adverbs.
They describe good and bad words,
Or your grammar will go quick agley.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

How often it happens to me!
The plan that I’ve made goes agley.
But rather than cry,
I simply rely
On backup that I call “Plan B!”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Poor Mavis was terribly shy,
Had no luck in securing a guy.
Said a friend of her plight,
“You will find Mr. Right.”
But she only met Mr. Agley.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Her boyfriend got down on one knee,
But that’s when it all went agley.
For the pronoun he chose
Wasn’t quite on the nose;
The reply? “It’s now him, his, and he.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Working gratis -- pro bono -- for you
Is that thing lawyers simply don’t do --
Not unless there’s a chance
Their careers will advance,
In which case, “Yes, of course, we will sue.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

The dentistry’s offered for free.
It’s gratis; there’s never a fee.
I am frugal and feel
It’s a fabulous deal --
Those students can practice on me.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“I have altered my celibate status,”
Maria confessed to the abbess.
“I told Captain Von Trapp,
‘Put a ring on it.’ Zap!
See my rock? I did not shag him gratis.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Said Mrs. Thatcher’s driver on their way back to Delhi airport, “It was truly a rousing speech, Memoriter.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Quiet down and get in your seats,” said the teacher in astern voice.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

“There’s ample precedent, Your Honor. It’s the world’s oldest profession. To sinistrad-itional,” argued Ms Fleiss’s lawyer.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“A show about agley club?” The TV executive scoffed.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“I can’t get no gratis-faction!” sang the rock star about having to pay for female companionship.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Toxic Shock
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Toxic Shock

In a recent PBS documentary on the world’s most toxic plants, the flowering shrub oleander was featured. Curiously, I found out the hard way how extremely toxic it was, back in the mid-’80s, when I decided to carve a thick branch of oleander, figuring I’d sculpt “native style”, firmly anchoring the wood between my knees. It was a very hot, humid August day, so I opted to carve indoors. Bottom-line, the next day I awoke with a rash on both legs, similar to a poison oak outbreak. It didn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to realize that my chunk of oleander was the culprit. I soon learned that it’s one of the most toxic plants on the planet. Even fatal, if its leaves are ingested.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

A compliment is something like a kiss through a veil. -Victor Hugo, author (26 Feb 1802-1885)

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