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Sep 10, 2023
This week’s theme
Misleading words

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AWADmail Issue 1106

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

Sponsor’s Message: “Way better than Wordle.” One Up! is the wickedest word game in the world. “An IQ test in disguise.” Free shipping. Shop now.

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

Yiddish Is Having a Moment
The New York Times

English May Be Science’s Native Language, but It’s Not Native to All Scientists
Scientific American

From: Kent Rhodes (krho1 aol.com)
Subject: Pronation

Dr. Elmer Brown taught Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy at Davidson College some 50+ years ago. To help us remember the difference between pronation and supination he explained, “You hold your soup with your palm up and then you prour it out.” As he said this he slowly rotated his palm from face up to face down. The explanation lived on as I used it when I taught anatomy.

Kent Rhodes, Charlotte, North Carolina

Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy One Up! -- “The best game in the game.” “A devilish gift.”

From: Steven Szalaj (szjsings mac.com)
Subject: Pronation

Pronation of the arm that holds the bow is very much a part of the art of playing any bowed string instrument. I first heard the term at my son’s violin lesson. It is what keeps the bow pressure on the string constant as the player moves the bow toward its tip. Pronation also helps the player in the expressive use of dynamics, timbre, and the various types of bow strokes. It is not one of those things that audiences can see working, but it is a vital part of string technique. My son’s teacher would hold up his bow arm and say, “80%” (meaning the bow arm is 80% of playing the violin).

Steven Szalaj, Crystal Lake, Illinois

From: Chuck Dinsmore (salamanderdoc gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--pronation

Mae West purportedly said, while reclining on a couch: “I’m not prone to philosophize.” But she wasn’t prone; she was supine! :-) An anatomy professor used that comment to make sure none of their medical students ever forgot the difference between pronation and supination!

Chuck Dinsmore, Damariscotta, Maine

From: Liza Levy (sparkydoc3.14159 gmail.com)
Subject: Instar

There is a machine which takes coins and replaces them with paper money, called Coinstar. With my biology background, I always read it as “co instar”.

Liza Levy, Paris, Kentucky

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: diaeresis

The use of diacritical marks in Hungarian almost doubles the number of letters that comprise the English alphabet (44 as opposed to 26). The umlaut characteristic of German orthography exists in Hungarian on top of o (ö) and u (ü). In addition, Hungarian uses other devices that alter the meaning of a word. For instance fül means ear, but fű (with the elongated diaeresis) means grass or lawn.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Robert Nisonger (bnisonger gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--diaeresis

Here in Hawai‘i we use an okina to separate vowels.

Robert Nisonger, Kula, Hawaii

From: Marco Davis (davis.marco gmail.com)
Subject: diaeresis

The New Yorker article you linked to is brilliant, and really provides the only rational reason for using the diaeresis any more: that is, you might drop dead if you stop. Its use in commercial/marketing contexts to make a fake word look “foreign” has cheapened what maybe was elegant in the New Yorker’s younger days, and just makes it now look a bit silly. (Examples, like fake-foreign Häagen-Dazs or the various metal bands like Blue Öyster Cult, Queensrÿche, or Mötley Crüe, put The New Yorker in weird and uncomfortable company... though maybe those fake-foreign diaereses are actually umlauts, letting The New Yorker off the hook?)

Marco Davis, Orem, Utah

That's How Tiger Rolls
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: pronation and funambulism

In contemplating our word pronation, I reflected upon how this simple forearm(s) rotation is such an integral part of a pro golfer’s backswing if done correctly, imparting considerably more club head speed toward the golf ball than if the forearms remain rigid, or locked on the initial takeaway. Tiger Woods has taken a number of pages to heart out of the legendary “Bantam” Ben Hogan’s golf instruction playbook*, particularly his imperative of making sure to pronate the forearms and wrists on the takeaway.
*Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf

A Walk on the Wild Side
Prior to checking out its definition, I tried to figure out the meaning of our word “funambulism”, focusing on the embedded “ambul”, which shows up in the more flowery word for walking, perambulation. Finally, when I did read the definition and discovered that it related to walking on a tight-rope, on-high, I arrived at this daredevilish balancing act scenario.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Misleading words
1. Pronation
2. Militate
3. Instar
4. Diaeresis
5. Funambulism
= 1. Use a firm arm motion
2. Impress
3. Ant in between its molts
4. Used as an edit aid
5. High-wire skill
= 1. Is “manus is medialised”
2. Be detrimental to
3. Morphs into
4. Is trema
5. I shun wire walking feats
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)
= 1. Turn hand
2. I.e. finesses arm-twist
3. Emblem -- add mini star
4. ¨ is on AEIOUs
5. Tightrope walk (simile)
= 1. Feet misalignment
2. Brush aside in insult
3. Time in metamorphosis
4. Raised dots
5. A wire-walk
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com) -Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Were it not for pronation, who knows,
One might struggle with scratching one’s nose.
Inarticulate arms --
Just the thought sounds alarms.
We most certainly didn’t want those!
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

My shoes show some odd wear and tear.
I fear they’re in need of repair.
And this aberration
Is due to pronation --
It’s bad for the sole, I’m aware.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The contortionist caused a sensation,
For her body achieved a rotation.
And although it was crass,
She could kiss her own ass,
Then salute with her palm in pronation.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The podiatrist got an ovation
For her talk on a cure for pronation.
Research for her shoe,
Though, needs one more breakthrough;
To my Zelle account send your donation.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Should a man who is long in the tooth
Become wed to a maid in her youth?
Optimism is pro;
Common sense urges, “No!”
Which one militates most? Come -- the truth!
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

She militates strongly for laws
To regulate gun sales because
Mass shootings are seen
As merely routine --
Our system has numerous flaws.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

As a limerick writer, I militate
In favor of pieces that titillate.
In addition, I urge
Others like me to merge
All our forces to Donald humiliate.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


On the nursery ceiling, night sky.
A full moon, to entrance the babe’s eye.
To complete, I’ll instar,
Add wise men from afar,
And will tell her the tale, by and by.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

All that darkness, God thought, was bizarre.
And so, on day four from afar
Into action He sprang,
And with a Big Bang
The universe He did instar.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

An instar, I think you’ll agree,
Looks nothing at all like a bee.
But nature ensures
That as it matures,
Some day that is just what we’ll see.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said Yahweh, “The sky I’ll instar,
Or else Adam with Eve won’t get far.
Twinkling lights will enhance
The outlook for romance;
If that fails, then a free minibar.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


If a vowel is syllabically stressed --
As the i in naïve has been blessed --
It’s a sign that you’re bound
To distinguish its sound.
Diaeresis commands it’s expressed.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

Said the umlaut with utter disdain,
“You stole my two dots! Please explain!
And you’re what? Let me guess.”
“A dieresis, yes.
And your pedantry gives me a pain.”
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

The dieresis seldom is needed,
Though this dictum not ev’ryone’s heeded.
Those dots can be seen
In one magazine --
The New Yorker has never conceded.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said Charlotte to Anne, “A dieresis
In our surname should not cause a furor, sis.
It’s a way to announce
How ‘Brontë’ we pronounce.”
“Will it work?” Em’ly asked. “Are you sure of this?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


You walk in your sleep, did you say?
I hope you enjoy that. But hey,
Don’t practice funambulism
While doing somnambulism.
You’d fall off that tight-rope, oy vey!
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Funambulists nurture their skills
And offer their viewers some thrills.
They’re amazing to see,
But their job’s not for me,
Because it potentially kills.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Joe Biden’s a master funambulist,
But appears sometimes like a somnambulist.
For that flaw he’s attacked,
But his balancing act
I prefer to some orange misanthropist.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The hawkish senator said that he was totally pronation building.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Och aye, for sure I’m pronation-hood,” said the Scottish separatist.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Samantha was on vacation with Darrin when his boss’s wife had her baby, so she wiggled her nose and in a flash they were home to welcome Militate into the world.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“That phony astrologer is a moon instar’s clothing,” cautioned the palm reader.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Shirley Temple played instar-ring roles since a very young age.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

“Don’t worry, Demeter,” Hippocrates reassured the ailing goddess. “You can’t diaeresis-ter to the immortal Zeus.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“It is so diaeresis monkeys will soon be extinct,” mourned the zoologist.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Driving through red lights with the siren going is such funambulism!” exclaimed the paramedic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Our memories are card indexes consulted and then returned in disorder by authorities whom we do not control. -Cyril Connolly, critic and editor (10 Sep 1903-1974)

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