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Sep 3, 2023
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AWADmail Issue 1105

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

Sponsor’s Message: The Wiseacre’s Guide to Life is a FREE e-book that’ll show you how to live like a recalcitrant king (or queen). “Ivy-League.” “Byronic.” Smarten up, for nothing.

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

What’s a University Without a Foreign Language?
Chicago Sun-Times

Searching for the “People’s Spelling Alphabet”
The New York Times

From: Judith Judson (jjudson frontier.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--egrote

Your photographic example reminds me of one of Ogden Nash’s bits of wordplay.

And the first stranger said, “I’m a little sick of corn pone,” and the second stranger, who was tall, tan, and turbaned, said, “Glad to know you, I’m ... a big Sikh of Cawnpore.”
Ogden Nash; Versus, Little, Brown; 1942.

Judith Judson, Pittsford, New York

Email of the Week brought to you by The Wiseacre’s Guide to Life -- A FREE “Ivy-League” e-book. Learn more.

From: Alice Davis (glalice earthlink.net)
Subject: Egrote

Years back we would vacation in an oceanfront rental at the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Venturing out onto the high, big deck to watch the sun rise over the ocean was an early-morning treat. Seagulls would circle above us looking for handouts and we would oblige with pieces of bread. One of the gulls had an injured leg. The poor thing would land on the railing looking for food, teetering on his one good leg. We would make sure this gull got his fill as we felt sorry for him. We called him Peg Leg.

One of the other gulls observed the favoritism Peg Leg was getting. Eventually he pretended to the same malady by landing on the railing and tucking one of his good legs up into his body, feigning a limp. Egrote in birds? It was amazing to witness.

Alice Davis, Blacksburg, Virginia

From: Miriam Schwartz (pieface880 gmail.com)
Subject: egrote

In medical school, my friend would occasionally call in “sick, not sick”. Her go-to illness was always vomiting and diarrhea. She reasoned that no one would take a chance of getting that kind of sick, whereas a mere cold was considered something one should just “man up” and work through. She egroted like a champ.

Miriam Schwartz, Bellingham, Washington

From: Craig Matthiessen (racinut6 gmail.com)
Subject: egrote

My favorite feigned illness excuse is: “I need a day off due to vision problems. I just can’t see coming to work today.”

R.C. Matthiessen, Burke, Virginia

From: Jenny Daniel (jennygu1nver gmail.com)
Subject: egrote

In English universities, a person who was not able to take their final (or other) exams because of illness would be given an aegrotat.

Jenny Daniel, Penzance, UK

From: Anu Garg (words wordsmith.org)
Subject: Words with AI usage examples

This week we featured some rare words for which it was hard to find a good usage example. So we recruited AI to see what it would come up with. The examples were generated in the style of various well-known authors.

Everything was clearly explained. Everything was clearly marked. Yet the made-up usage examples in the style of famous writers displeased some readers. Tobey Hiller of San Rafael, California (tobeyhiller gmail.com) wrote: “I deeply object to your using a fake quote (ChatGPT-generated) from a fake Jane Austen novel. You are, I am sure, deeply familiar with the ways of the online world, and though I see both the humor and the contemporary currency of your intention, surely you now know that soon enough the Jane Austen novel “The Convenient Colds of Highbury” will appear in high school or even college essays all over the country.”

Even though it was clearly stated at the top of the page that the examples were made up, we then added a note right next to the quotations as well, stating that they were AI-generated.

A reader named Lili (who shall otherwise remain anonymous; you’ll see in a second why) canceled her subscription and wrote that using AI to come up with usage examples this week was “akin to digging up corpses to abuse them.”

We respectfully disagree with her simile. But we admire her restraint in not going for “Nαzi”.

We invited readers to come up with their own usage examples of this week’s words as if written by prominent authors. Here’s a small selection.

The secret of egroting can be given in two maxims: stick to the pillow, and whenever you can, snore.
(Egrote in the Style of W. Somerset Maugham)
-Terry J. Stone, Goldendale, Washington (cgs7952 bellsouth.net)

Corsets once caused ladies to egrote
Shapewear now causes ladies to bloat
It’s still distress
(Not quite as precise as Ogden Nash, but that’s what I was going for...)
-Ivy Kaminsky, Pasadena, Texas (ivykaminsky yahoo.com)

may I egrote, said he
i”ll emote, said she
(e.e. cummings)
-Penni Fromm, Boca Raton, Florida (pennifromm yahoo.com)

“I drew my breath and turned toward the open volume gathering dust and broadcasting rhymes toward a ceiling plastered with bourbon stains and offering no sympathy for a lonely philomuse who thought he was ode a debt of gratitude for not being roped into becoming a poet lariat who thinks nothing rhymes with orange when clearly it does not and I can see that even without spectacles seated on my bridge over troubled waters that run deep which I thought were lost and found under my very nose a gift from God as I would never pick it myself even if I were on strike during a time when the iron is hot or when I encounter someone leading a séance with a joyful smile on her face ...”
(My imagined James Joyce quote using “philomuse” written with the hope he wouldn’t mind my PUNching it up a bit.)
-Ken Kirste, Sunnyvale, California (kkkirste sbcglobal.net)

“Are you a quill-driver or a philomuse?” asked Elizabeth. “Or a deliberate delibate? I cannot tell, for your talents seem multivarious, but I have not observed you long enough to discern their depth, or breadth.” “Madam, you can scarcely expect me to proffer you a satisfactory answer,” replied Darcy, “for your aim is surely to compare my talents with those of any accomplished lady.”
“As we had been discussing,” interjected Bingley, with a smile that disarmed the combatants.
Caroline, certain that Elizabeth’s sister was egroting in order to prolong her proximity to Bingley, enjoyed a faint satisfaction at her brother’s engagement with the conversation rather than with the invalid. This satisfaction was tempered, however, by her observation of Darcy and Elizabeth, and she soon drew Darcy away on some pretext, in order to re-position herself as the zenzic fourth member of the two unacknowledged couples.
(I just happened to be re-reading Pride and Prejudice right now; here’s my entry with four of this week’s words!)
-Alexandra Halsey, Seattle, Washington (alexandra.s.halsey gmail.com)

From: Breanne Boland (breanneboland gmail.com)
Subject: AI

I’m a security engineer and have to deal with and advise on a lot of rather silly (or at least superfluous enough to be needlessly risky without sufficient benefit, by my estimate) uses of AI, so I must congratulate you on finding what is, by my estimate, the sixth genuinely appropriate use of this technology I have seen. I’m super cynical about this stuff by both disposition and profession, but this made me smile. Well done, and thank you (as ever) for everything you do!

Breanne Boland, Seattle, Washington

From: Daniel Miller (milldaniel gmail.com)
Subject: Rubiales

The heart of a mother is a deep abyss, at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. -Honore de Balzac, novelist (1799-1850)

For an example of this, look at how Rubiales’ mother is defending his attack on Jennifer Hermoso. She, the mother, is on a hunger strike inside a church and claims that since no one was killed, it’s no big deal, and her son is being unjustly terrorized.

Daniel Miller, Laredo, Texas

From: Bob Freeman (hendon zol.co.zw)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--secundan

In Through the Looking Glass the White Queen offers Alice employment with the perk “jam every other day”. Sadly, that means that there is jam available yesterday and tomorrow, but never today. So, whenever it is today, there is no jam!

One of many little bits of fun Lewis Carroll played with logic statements and double entendres.

Bob Freeman, Kadoma, Zimbabwe

Faking It
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: egrote and delibate

Contemplating our word egrote (feigning illness), I arrived at this confrontational scenario, the irate mom seeing through her son’s attempted ruse. Hmm... just happened to be a final math exam scheduled for that day.

Delibate Debate
Growing up in Canada with deep Scots roots, the phrase “a wee dram” was not foreign to me, often referring to a jigger of single-malt whiskey. I harken back to my summer of 1996 50th-birthday trip to Scotland and my guided tour of the Glenfiddich distillery. At the end of the tour, we were offered a wee dram of their golden elixir. From personal experience, I recommend delibating this potent potable. Yet the macho Scots would insist on downing it in one grand gulp.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

Here’s my take, replete with fainting couch:

Karen Folsom, Santa Barbara, California


This week’s theme: Words with AI usage examples
1. Egrote
2. Zenzic
3. Philomuse
4. Delibate
5. Secundan
= 1. Each sneeze is huge hoax
2. M times M
3. Liked cute stanzas
4. Swallow up
5. Rigid period between these
= 1. I call in sick (thus, I wheeze)
2. Exaggerated number
3. He idolizes poems
4. Wee taste
5. Push Sat, Mon, Wed...
-Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)
This week’s theme: Words with AI usage examples
1. Egrote
2. Zenzic
3. Philomuse
4. Delibate
5. Secundan
= 1. Scam
2. Z x Z
3. Keats, e.e. cummings, Wilde, Poe, Eliot, Hughes
4. We sip, taste
5. Denotes bidiurnal we hear, eh?
= 1. Whew! Malingered, dubious excuse
2. z**2, z: 1,2,3,... etc.
3. He likes Tim’s poems
4. High on a wee sip
5. Alternate dates
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Brilliant sunshine! I leap from my bed.
Then the lightbulb clicks on in my head,
And I sigh. ‘Got to work!’
No, I won’t! I will shirk.
I’ll egrote and go surfing instead.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

To egrote when you are not ill
Will get you attention, but still,
Crying wolf is not wise,
Since there might arise
A real, not a fake, doctor’s bill.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

How many a symptom he’d mention,
For egroting brought him attention!
Dismissed once too often,
He’s now in a coffin --
Not all of it was an invention!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

A modest and shy young she-goat
With her billy would often egrote.
“I’m not ready for kids,
But boy, males sure have ids,”
At wit’s end to Dear Abby she wrote.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


About math I have always been keen.
It’s dependable. Here’s what I mean.
Whatever you do,
It will always be true
That the zenzic of four is sixteen.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Said Sherlock, “Through methods forensic,
I’ve discovered an interesting zenzic.
Add or multiply 2
By itself, and woo hoo!
Same result! Watson, fetch me a medic!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


A Shakespearian sonnet delights,
While a Byronic stanza excites;
But my heart misses beats,
When I spend time with Keats.
For this philomuse, he hits the heights.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

A philomuse whom I once knew,
Did suddenly, out of the blue,
Say that lim’ricks are trash;
And I saw in a flash,
That perhaps his assertion was true.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

The philomuse, ev’ryone knows,
Reads poetry rather than prose.
“A sonnet will do,
An ode or haiku,
A limerick too, I suppose.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said Jack, “On the hill I won’t Jill abuse,
For that wouldn’t appeal to a philomuse.
Being so widely read
I’ll sleep well in my bed,
But I’ll never a Mike Lindell pillow use.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Connoisseurs of all drinks take a nip --
A colloquial term for a sip.
It’s the flavour, you see --
Whether grape, grain, or tea --
Thus, to delibate slowly is hip.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

You never, no never, you hear?
Simply delibate freshly brewed beer.
Don’t drink like a prig!
Take a big healthy swig.
If you belch, that is all right, my dear.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

I’ll delibate some of the stew,
For that’s what the best chefs will do.
I have to admit;
I taste quite a bit --
I like my own cooking, it’s true.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

A two-fisted eater was she
Guests tsk-tsked, saying “Hey, maitre d’
“Can’t you slow that gal down?
Make her delibate?” “How’n
The world can I do that?” Asked he.
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

With chocolate, I try to just delibate;
I start slowly, but soon I accelerate.
All around me they gawk
As I pounce like a hawk.
They’re incredulous: “Look what that fellow ate!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“It’s the Diet Secundan.” “Don’t say?”
“Yes, I eat ev’ry alternate day.”
“And this works -- you’ve lost weight?”
“Not a smidgeon, to date,
As I eat twice as much when I may.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

To my doctor I recently went,
For my bowels gave me frightful torment.
He said, “Number two
Is what you must do
As, at least, a secundan event.”
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

While others will bathe once a day,
He showers secundan, they say.
“From the feedback I’ve had,
I don’t smell all that bad,
And save lots of water this way!”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“You must practice your playing each day.”
So her music professor did say.
But she would not shun fun.
She’d practice secundan.
And at Carnegie Hall, she’d not play.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

A limerick writer from London
Could only compose one secundan.
For he needed downtime
To come up with a rhyme;
His off days were the ones that he punned in.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Me have invented this new way to tell things far,” said the letter from Oog. His brother E-egrote back, “Good! Now we keep in touch!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Donald, zees Electoral College of yours eez non-zenzic-al, vhy don’t you just appoint impostors?” suggested Vlad.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“As Sergeant Bilko, he had us in stitches, but no more will Philomuse us,” said Mrs. Silvers at her husband’s funeral.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The Middle Eastern pastry chef called his new dessert creation a philomuse.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Delibate my hook for me,” Perry Mason asked his personal secretary.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“A sale on pastrami will bring the customers in, it’s great delibate. But then you’ll sell them lox, bagels, chopped liver, and knishes, too,” said Moishe’s marketing director.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“I secundan third the motion to adjourn,” said the bored committee member.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Face-Off

Within hours of the release of The Scowler-in-Chief’s jailhouse mugshot, Trump’s PR minions went into full marketing mode, plastering his grimacing visage on T-shirts and mugs. Within a few days his cult followers bought over $7-million-worth of stuff, putting more cash into the alleged billionaire’s pocket. Here, harkening back to fond memories of swapping baseball cards in my youth, a potential trade may be going down. I took the liberty of fashioning a Rudy Giuliani mugshot-themed T-shirt; he being one of Trump’s 18 indicted co-conspirators.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Form follows function. -Louis Sullivan, architect (3 Sep 1856-1924)

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