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Nov 19, 2023
This week’s theme
Well-traveled words

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Relative usage over time

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Self-referential words

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AWADmail Issue 1116

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

Sponsor’s Message: One Up! -- The Wickedest Word Game in the World. Have a real war of words this Thanksgiving. “Ouch -- you wrecked my family!” Free shipping. Shop now.

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

HORSEFEATHERSES! (New words in the Scrabble dictionary)

Archaeologists Discover Previously Unknown Ancient Language
The Independent

Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy One Up! Ruin Thanksgiving. “A devilish gift.”

From: Louis Phillips (louisprofphillips gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--angary

Angary makes me angry; angaria makes me even angrier.

Louis Phillips, New York, New York

From: Alison M. Fraser (fraserbear pathcom.com)
Subject: Too good to be true

I enjoy your emails every day, but rarely comment upon them. But I couldn’t miss this chance:

angary or angaria
noun: The right of a warring nation to seize the property, for example,
ships, of a neutral country, provided compensation is paid.

Everybody, soon or late, sits down to a banquet of consequences.
-Robert Louis Stevenson, novelist, essayist, and poet (13 Nov 1850-1894)

That says it all!

Alison M. Fraser, Toronto, Canada

From: David Goldenberg (dmg2 sas.upenn.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--angary

The well-traveled word angaria is also found (quite often) in Babylonian Talmudic Aramaic (אנגריא, angaria) with the same meaning (“forced labor, service, esp. seizure for public services or works”). See M. Jastrow’s Dictionary of the Targumim, Talmud Bavli, Talmud Yerushalmi, and Midrashic Literature.

David Goldenberg, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania

From: Claire Ozel (claire.ozel gmail.com)
Subject: Angaria

Angarya has the same roots as today’s word, but only means “drudgery” in Turkish. This is yet another example of how a word’s original meaning can be transformed as it journeys to a new land.

Another transformation is CONTAİNER -- KONTEYNER. The word for the large boxes transported on cargo ships and trucks is TIR in Turkish. This in itself is an acronym of the French “Transports Internationaux Routiers”. After earthquakes such boxes are used as prefab homes for two families. People then say “I live in a Konteyner.”

I love the range of words you offer us.

Claire Ozel, Ankara, Turkiye

From: Amit Cohen (amitcoh gmail.com)
Subject: Zion

In addition to the meanings specified, Zion is also one of the Hebrew names of Jerusalem.

Amit Cohen, Binyamina, Israel

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

In Utah “Zion” gets used a lot in contexts having nothing to do with the country of Israel or the Jewish Zionist movement, owing to the fact that the Mormon settlers liked the name to describe the desert refuge where they were hoping to set up their theocracy in the 1850s. Lots of non-religious things were labeled “Zion”, including the department store chain ZCMI which was originally “Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution”. Zions Bancorporation was started as a Mormon pioneer bank.

And of course, there’s the national park. It was originally named Mukuntuweap by John Wesley Powell (who thought that was its Paiute name), but the Mormon farmer who settled there named it Zion Canyon because he thought it was so heavenly. And the name stuck, probably because Zion was easier for white people to spell than Mukuntuweap.

Marco Davis, Orem, Utah

From: Rowan Rose Adara (rowanrose8 gmail.com)
Subject: Do you support Israel?

Your words so far this week have been Zion and angary. Are you trying to send a covert message in support of Israel? It is important that I know the underlying message here.

Thank you.

Rowan Rose Adara, Santa Fe, New Mexico

We received some other messages like this including subscription cancellations. We prepare words months in advance. These words were selected before the current war started.

To answer your question, we support both Israel and Palestine, the people, not the governments. We highly recommend John Oliver on any topic, especially on the Israel-Hamas War (video, 32 min., and entirely worth watching).
-Anu Garg

From: Terry Stone (cgs7952 bellsouth.net)
Subject: Assassin

In a paper I once wrote for a college history course, I misspelled assassinate as assinate. In class, the professor handed me back my graded work, and I noticed a red line under my error. At the margin, he wrote, “What a way to go!”

Terry Stone, Goldendale, Washington

From: Matthew Brummitt (mistakshappen gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--assassin

I felt inspired to share my association with the word assassin. I often think of the artwork by Kay Rosen, wordplayer extraordinaire, who broke down the line “Assassin in the theatre” as “Ass ass / in in / the the / atre.” An odd thing to cross my mind as often as it does, but cross my mind often nonetheless it does.

The etymology of the word is incredibly fascinating, such a beautiful narrative.

Thank you so much for your work, it is a light in a dark night.

Matthew Brummitt, Montreal, Canada

From: Kevin Service (kservic hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--aprosexia

Way back in the eighties at my first IT job at Confederation Life, we had a guy who would call in sick with this when he just didn’t feel like working that day. He figured that it sounded serious enough that no one would ask what it was.

And no one ever did!

Kevin Service, Toronto, Canada

Stage Fright
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: assassin and seranade

Pres. Abraham Lincoln and his wife Mary were enjoying the play “Our American Cousin”, when Confederate apologist John Wilkes Booth shot Lincoln in the back of the head. His secretary, John Hay, said of Lincoln, “A look of unspeakable peace came upon his features” when he died the following day. Also see, sockdolager.

The Serenader
Inspired by the 18th-century French rococo painter Antoine Watteau’s “The Serenader” (aka “The Chord”), I co-opted his lovesick, guitar-playing troubadour, thought to be based on the commedia dell’arte character Mezzetino. Froggy has assumed the guise of the lovestruck fair damsel, who recites a snippet of a sonnet from William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Well-traveled words
1. Angary
2. Serenade
3. Zion
4. Assassin
5. Aprosexia
= 1. Seize warships in war
2. Love song
3. Homeland
4. Takes away leaders
5. Extra tired senses
= 1. Divine right
2. Sold a sweetheart
3. Paradise
4. War zone slayer
5. Weakness; less on exams
-Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)
= 1. Yes warlords seize, annex assets
2. Waiatas
3. Apogee
4. Shrewd killer
5. Then a mind roves
= 1. Takes on and seizes that vessel
2. Express amor. Wow!
3. Israeli
4. Slayer
5. Wandering head
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.


angary or angaria

When nations are waging a war,
They’ll seize neutral ships on their shore.
But it’s only okay
If they cough up and pay --
“That’s angary!” lawyers will roar.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

You say compensation is paid
But by whom is the valuing made?
I’m suspicious for sure
That the angary you’re
Determining’s way too low-grade!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

At his mountain retreat in Bavaria,
Laughed Adolf to Eva, “Angaria?
Vot I vant I just take,
Und commitments don’t make!
But in bunker at end, dear, I’ll marry ya.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Her true lover declares himself thus:
‘Neath her balcony makes he a fuss.
Words and music cascade
In amour’s serenade --
That he looks very foolish? A plus!
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

I’m still angry and really dismayed
By the lack of good taste you displayed.
No, it wasn’t all right.
I was kept up all night
By your singing that loud serenade.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

He had sung her a sweet serenade,
But his song didn’t quite make the grade.
He was somewhat off-key
And that wrecked things, you see,
So his plans for romance were waylaid.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

As the summer sun started to fade
I sat back with my cool lemonade
And basked in the sound
That rose all around --
The crickets’ late-day serenade!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

A lovable rascal named Hal
Would oft serenade his old gal.
In dusk’s fading light,
She still was a sight;
And the praise upped her flagging morale.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

When Don Juan spied a comely young maid,
He would woo with a sweet serenade.
Next he would seduce,
And make some excuse,
Then be off on new escapade.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Our subliminal mass serenade
Will this Donald, the worst Terran, aid.
Once the flames he has fanned,
Then we Martians will land,
And from lemons we’ll make lemonade.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


There’s a Zion in ev’ryone’s mind,
Where all neighbours are friendly and kind.
Where no gun can exist --
Nor the sword, nor the fist --
And where peace and goodwill are enshrined.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

When the Lord heard the slaves, who were cryin’,
He sent Moses to lead them to Zion.
It took forty years,
Because it appears
That they lacked GPS to rely on.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

A vacation abode he was buyin’.
He had thought, something maybe Hawaiian.
On the beach he would read,
And have all that he’d need.
That would be his idea of pure Zion.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Our savior is WHO?” asked the Mayan.
“It’s a guy who once preached back in Zion.”
“Well, he may be your god,
but it seems rather odd;
Your weird Spanish ideas we’re not buyin’.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


As a regular smoker of pot,
An assassin I’m certainly not.
Man of mellowed-out mind,
I’m sweet-natured and kind,
And I’d probably faint if I shot.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

The assassin just happened to know
That Abe Lincoln he’d find at the show.
So Booth went in his box,
Did a deed that still shocks,
And in history books he would go.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

In 1914 troops were massin’.
“Your seat belts you guys better fasten,”
Said the Allies. The kaiser
Was not any wiser;
War came due to one lone assassin.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Aprosexia? I will explain ...
Or I won’t, as it’s happened again.
It’s no sooner been said
Than I’m losing the thread,
And my thoughts never get to entrain.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

Don’t tell me you’ve got aprosexia
And also contend with dyslexia.
Find a tutor, my dear,
For without one I fear
That these problems are likely to vex ya.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said the witches, “Macbeth, we will hex ya,
And make sure that our evil spell wrecks ya.”
“You’ve cursed me then, is it?”
Said he. Banquo’s visit
Soon caused him severe aprosexia.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The stealing of her favorite singer would angary-ba McEntire so much on The Voice.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“How it make you feel no one buy wheel?” asked Oog’s therapist. “Even worse than when they laugh at me for making fire!” in angary replied.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Klingons are attacking the fleet! Shall I fire a pha-serenade of our sister ship, sir?” asked Sulu.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The use of the deadly gas serenade-d the terrorists in causing fear and panic in the subway.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“So this Manchester United wanker goes, ‘Yeah, an’ who’s gonna make me shut me mouf?’ ‘We Scousers will,’ say-zion me mate.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Warp 8!” Scotty urged the balky Enterprise. “C’mon l-assassin gear now!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Don’t ya go assassin me, you whippersnapper,” his old pappy warned.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Trouble in the boudoir? Let aprosexia!” said the sign in Amsterdam’s red light district.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

One cannot hire a hand; the whole man always comes with it. -Peter Drucker, management consultant, professor, and writer (19 Nov 1909-2005)

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