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Apr 16, 2023
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AWADmail Issue 1085

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 be an old’s cool recalcitrant king, live an il dolce far niente life, and the difference between 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

New Mexico Is Losing a Form of Spanish Spoken Nowhere Else on Earth
The New York Times

Why AI Doesn’t Speak Every Language

Learning to Love My Incomprehensible Kiwi Accent
The New York Times

From: Patricia Posito (dhrakos icloud.com)
Subject: Anastrophe

According to Ella Fitzgerald, The Dipsy Doodle (video, lyrics) causes this. 😺

Patricia Posito, Titusville, Florida

From: Victor Poleshuck (vpoleshuck gmail.com)
Subject: Emoglyphs

Your comment on emojis today reminded me of a fascinating exhibit I saw at the Israel Museum a couple of years ago drawing a line from Egyptian hieroglyphs to emojis. It was extremely well done, and postulated that as emojis became more sophisticated, writing with emojis could be possible. There were examples. A NYTimes write-up here.

Victor A Poleshuck, MD, Rochester, New York

From: Roberta Eisenberg (bobbi alumni.nd.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--apothegm

I never heard of this word before, but I am well acquainted with apothem, which I first learned in geometry class in high school. (I am a retired hs math teacher.)

Roberta M. Eisenberg, Douglaston, New York

From: Alexander Nix (revajnix yahoo.co.uk)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--anacronym

The photo accompanying today’s word reminds of the expression used here as a joke insult when parting ways until after the following Monday: See You Next Tuesday.

Alternatively it can be used in a more descriptive sense: “He’s a complete see you next Tuesday!”

Alexander Nix, Cambridge, UK

From: Susan Saunders (susansaunders2008 btinternet.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--anacronym

My grandchildren created a test, with its own acronym, for their father’s (possibly strategic) deafness: Willful Hearing Attrition Test = WHAT. He often fails the test.

Susan Saunders, Teddington, UK

Email of the Week brought to you by the American Sarcasm Society -- Like we need your support! Join now.

From: Peter Newburger (peter.newburger umassmed.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--anacronym

I’m so glad there’s a word for it! As editor of a medical journal, I often have to deal with copy editors who want every abbreviation or acronym spelled out in an initial definition. However, readers are much more familiar with SARS-CoV-2 than Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 among others.

Peter E. Newburger, MD
Editor, Pediatric Blood & Cancer
Professor of Pediatrics and Molecular, Cell, and Cancer Biology
UMass Chan Medical School
Worcester, Massachusetts

From: Will Hobbs (willhobbs01 hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--anacronym

I have two meanings for common words, that may qualify the original words as anacronyms: NO = No Objection (at least that’s how my kids seemed to interpret that word) and NAG = Necessary Administrative Guidance (a definition I coined to ease the tension when my administrative assistant would apologize for reminding me of something I may have forgotten).

Will Hobbs, Cornelius, Oregon

From: Frank Imhoff (frankimhoff netscape.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--merismus

For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.

Frank Imhoff, Elgin, Illinois

From: Ron Betchley (emef2012 aol.com)
Subject: merismus everwon

Always like to pronounce the word aloud to get a taste for it. As I attempted to vocally formulate merismus the laughable thought was that it sounded like someone totally inebriated attempting to wish others a Merry Christmas.

Ron Betchley, Yarker, Canada

From: Alissa Mower Clough (teleny23 gmail.com)
Subject: merismus

A book title I’ve always loved is The ABC and XYZ of Bee Culture.

Alissa Mower Clough, New Haven, Connecticut

From: Kate Cook (kborst mcn.org)
Subject: merismus

Merismus is a wonderful word. We need this idea broadcast more in our bipolar media and culture. A merismus sounds like a full spectrum to me.

In the US, we have the Left and the Right, which fails to represent the merismus that includes most of us. For centuries we’ve been shoehorned into male and female gender roles, ignoring that male and female is actually a merismus. Black and white should refer to a racial merismus, but we mostly don’t think of it that way. Our tribalistic tendencies keep us in an us-and-them mentality, to our detriment.

Kate Cook, Yorkville, California

From: Claude Galinsky (cmgalinsky gmail.com)
Subject: AWADmail 1084

As a result of your publishing my comment about having a findable name, I got an email from another subscriber who remembered babysitting me and my brother almost 60 years ago.

Claude Galinsky, Westford, Massachusetts

From: Charlie DeWeese (deweesecc gmail.com)
Subject: Re: Mononymous

Through the magic of AWAD I reconnected with an old friend, Claude Galinsky, whom I had not seen or even heard about for 60 years. What an unexpected pleasure! He was quite an engaging and intelligent young fellow, and I was really pleased to reconnect with him after all these years.

Charlie DeWeese, Canton, Connecticut

You may be interested to know that you both subscribed to A.Word.A.Day two days apart back in 2000 when Smithsonian magazine did a story on us.
-Anu Garg

An Apple A Day
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: apothegm and anacronym

I could easily have gone the avian route with our word apothegm, since there are plenty of familiar sayings relating to birds. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, or Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. But this oldie-but-goodie caught my fancy: An apple a day keeps the doctor away. Hmm... down in the tropics it might be a mango, a papaya, or a banana a day. Just sayin’.

Writers' Bloc
PEN fits the definition of our word anacronym, although one would immediately suspect it would somehow have to relate to the act of writing. PEN International was founded in London in 1921 by novelist John Galsworthy, and now has more than 80 PEN Centers around the globe. As an association of poets, playwrights, essayists, editors and novelists, PEN’s prime mission is to promote international literary/cultural exchange and goodwill.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: words about words
1. Anastrophe
2. Auxesis
3. Apothem
4. Anacronym
5. Merismus
= 1. Yoda speaks, mishmash
2. Growth
3. Truism
4. Scuba, to name one
5. Use two word extremes in a phrase
= 1. Change word order
2. (Miss a) hype
3. (Make a) maxim, saw
4. Short names -- put to use in-house
5. Best & worst
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

This week’s theme: Words about words
1. Anastrophe
2. Auxesis
3. Apothegm
4. Anacronym
5. Merismus
= 1. Yoda-speak
2. Absurd as is, with huger amounts
3. Wise phrase
4. Common short name
5. Two extremes
= 1. Yoda’s phrase he muses
2. Resume’s growth
3. Maxim, wit
4. Unknown basis (R.A.T.S.)
5. Compare: head to toe
-Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



“Master Yoda?” “Yes, Yoda is me.”
“Will you teach me this anastrophe?”
“Strange to folk you must sound
When you change words around --
Still like Yoda you’re wanting to be?”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

A poet sometimes will be terse,
By writing his verse in reverse.
Anastrophe ‘tis.
The word order, his,
Is arcane, convoluted, or worse.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Whenever a poem I have penned,
The language I often upend.
Some words I’ve reversed,
So objects come first --
Anastrophe’s handy, my friend!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

In a knot the poor groom’s tongue was tied;
His response did upset his poor bride.
When “I do’” need be said,
Replied, “Do I?” instead.
This anastrophe caused bride to hide.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

In my limericks, use of anastrophe
Often helps to avoid a catastrophe.
How else could I rhyme
Anu’s word every time?
And a lot published get, so don’t hassle me.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“My uncle I hate, loathe, despise!
My feelings I cannot disguise.”
This awful auxesis
Declared by Trump’s niece is
Not really that great a surprise.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Mom and Dad were so prone to auxesis
Mere advice? Bulletins! Each a thesis!
Most inflated? Oh, money!
“You’ll need TONS of that, honey,
You must marry a man rich as Croesus!”
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Trump thinks he’s as rich as old Croesus,
And speaks using heated auxesis.
At all of his rallies,
If you count the tallies,
The number of faithful decreases.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The Wizard’s relentless auxesis
Almost made the four friends fall to pieces.
Yet they got what he asked;
But by Toto unmasked,
He admitted, “My shtick is egregious.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


If I live to a very great age,
I shall write me a book. On each page --
To instruct and advise,
And make foolish men wise --
I’ll pen apothegms witty and sage.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

It’s said that an apple a day
Will keep the physician away.
So, fresh apples I pick,
And still, I get sick.
That apothegm’s just a cliché.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Each day Oscar Wilde would endeavor
To say something witty and clever.
And since we all know
His wondrous bon mots,
His apothegms may last forever!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

If Wordsmith should cease and desist,
I’d giggle much less; Sunday’s list
Oft includes apothegms --
That are sometimes true gems!
Subtle lines that end up with a twist!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

My limericks -- how to encapsule them?
Each one such a masterful apothegm!
Though your eyebrows you raise
At my shameless self-praise,
Would you say you enjoy at least half of them?
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


An anacronym leaves us no clue
To its origins, and very few
Will recall that it came
Into being to name
An invention -- say, radar -- do you?
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Anacronyms frustrate me so!
They’re code words that I do not know.
I simply despise them
And those who devise them --
To hell may those jargonists go!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Her initials were what had attracted him,
For who could resist that anacronym?
“Suzy Evelyn Xavier:
My goddess, my savior!”
He sighed, when in bed she had knackered him.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


See merismus in everyday life,
As, for instance, when taking a wife.
“Having nought, or great wealth;
In disease or good health ...”
Are but two, though examples are rife.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

He dresses in red head and toe,
and then he shouts out “Ho ho ho!”
Each year when it’s Christmas.
Is this a merismus?
It certainly is! Way to go!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“For richer, for poorer,” they said,
The day that the couple was wed.
She vowed this merismus,
But left him by Christmas
To marry a fat cat instead.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“North and South we’ll explore!” (That’s merismus,
As they also included the isthmus),
Said the Spanish. “For gold,
The search never gets old;
So long, natives! Here’s smallpox for Christmas!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The Frozen actress loved Anastrophe a fan had sent her.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The beauty contestant’s upper body failed to impress the judges, but she won anastrophe.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Hired as a pitchman by Procter and Gamble, “Clor-auxesis-trong stain remover!” said Antonio Banderas.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“I swear there are TWO continents across the Atlantic,” said Vespucci. “I’ll sail over and have a look so you can make a m-apothegm.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“We’ll be arriving at Goodyear headquarters anacronym-innently,” announced the Ohio Bus Lines driver.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“I’m afraid your gift of frankincense and merismus-ty,” said Joseph and Mary. “How long has it been sitting in the box?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit. -Peter Ustinov, actor, writer and director (16 Apr 1921-2004)

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