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Jun 2, 2024
This week’s theme
Terms formed from names

This week’s words
Hooray Henry
nervous Nelly
flash Harry
Aunt Sally
good-time Charlie

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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Next week’s theme
Words to describe people

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AWADmail Issue 1144

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 real world. “It’s mental!” Free shipping. Steal this >

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

Found in Translation: Asian Languages Onscreen
The New York Times

US Judge Makes “Unthinkable” Pitch to Use AI to Interpret Legal Texts

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: names

If a term could be coined after your name, what would it be? I asked this of our readers this week. Here’s a selection from the responses.

I plant and harvest far more vegetables than my husband and I can use, so in the late summer I fill a small wheelbarrow and push it up and down the streets of our 55+ community, offering the extras to neighbors. Sometimes I explain, “I’m Sharon-share-alike.”
-Sharon Smith, Canaan, Maine (mainelyneuropsych gmail.com)

Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy One Up! -- “Uniquely portable travel magic.”

I was notorious among my postdoctoral students and junior faculty for the rigor of my manuscript editing, often returning a draft to the author “dripping blood” as they said, referring to dense editorial comments in red ink. They might say a manuscript had been Hunterized -- reduced 30-50% in length, with spelling, grammar, and logic flow shipshape.
-Hunter Heath, MD, Zionsville, Indiana (calciophile gmail.com)

Because of my name, the Honeydew List in our house has morphed into a Ken-Do List. While I always carefully cross off each item that I complete, I have also been known to just strike one out by adding the note “Sorry, No Ken Do!”
-Ken Kirste, Sunnyvale, California (kkkirste sbcglobal.net)

At work, I was the generalist on a large program. People knew I could answer many questions, or direct them to the right person if I couldn’t. If they needed to learn about a different part of the system than they were familiar with, they would knock at my office and say “Do you have time for a Charlie Chat?”
-Charlie Livingston, Plano, Texas (cliv verizon.net)

For close to 40 years now, my email name has been lucidlucille. I wouldn’t have it any other way! I enjoy alliteration, and more than that, as a former educator (and even to this day) it is imperative that I express myself with clarity/lucidity to be understood. I felt that setting an example would help my students.
-Lucille Dass, Penang, Malaysia (lucidlucille gmail.com)

Sometimes, the term Stormin’ Norman has been applied to me, usually associated with my inclination to cause disturbances. Initially, I did not like the term, however, I’ve become accustomed to it and sometimes appreciate it.
-Norman E Porath, Denton, Nebraska (porathne gmail.com)

A verb from my name: To Scotkruz is to take and state a position on some important current events issue, with the moral and intellectual conviction that all intelligent, reasonable, mature adults must agree with it.
-Scott Kruize, Tukwila, Washington (scotkruize yahoo.com)

I have often moved from one house to another, always lugging about the same heritage furniture, photos in distinctive frames, bookshelves laden with far too many volumes to ever read again -- all the stuff that makes a house a home, so to speak. One of my former students, who usually shows up before I relocate, checks it out and pronounces the look Davidian. Since it’s all about me, of course, I have embraced the term.
-Dave Campbell, Dayton, Washington (museumofdave gmail.com)

There already is one about my name and I am none too happy about it: lukewarm. It is an affront to hot Lukes the world over.
-Luke Hughett, Brooklyn, New York (luke.hughett gmail.com)

Because I have a lot of physical pain which I have learned to endure (though less so in my eighties when it has increased), I have wondered if I am a masochist. No, I am not. I prefer to make up mazeauchist, a person who likes to dwell in her heart rather than focus on physical travails.
-Dominique Mazeaud, Santa Fe, New Mexico (heartistdm gmail.com)

If I were to make a term out of my name, I can only think of a melodious voice, as that of Shreya Ghoshal - singing Shreyatonically. Or if someone tends to give out TMI, they may be called a Sharing-Shreya.
-Shreya Singhal, New Delhi, India (shreya.singhal10 gmail.com)

If someone were to make a term out of my name, it would be Erstwhile Eric, which means the way one used to be before vastly improving oneself. For me, it meant going from being a person so intent on my own thoughts that I would walk down a hallway of colleagues, not hearing the greetings directed at me, to one so outgoing with goodwill that a neighbor called me “the most positive person I ever met!”
-Eric Warner, Hyde Park, New York (eric.warner825 gmail.com)

Bee Barbara: A person who has reached her/his prime, who is totally herself/himself, uncompromising. Bee sounds as Be -- as in Be yourself -- and also connects to queen bee.
-Barbara Trimbach, Paris, France (barbara.trimbach laposte.net)

Trumpledge: A promise based on a lie that even if it materializes, makes the situation worse than the lie made it out to be.
-Milo Grika, St. Paul, Minnesota (milo grika.com)

Dangerous Donald
Terrible Trump

-Dave Horsfall, North Gosford, Australia (dave horsfall.org)

My husband, Greg, is reading a book I gave him for his birthday: The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman. Greg mentioned that in the book, Batuman mentions a study finding that in the US, people have a tendency to choose careers similar to their first names (p. 16, paperback edition). For example, the name Dennis is overrepresented among dentists.
-Miriam Berkman, Spokane, Washington (namkrebem gmail.com)

From: John Craw (thecrawh gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--flash Harry

I’d not heard of this term. Growing up on the US East Coast, Guido was the term applied to overdressed men -- originally from the Italian-American subculture. It’s what I think the TV show Jersey Shore is about.

John Craw, Glenford, Ohio

From: Henry-Lewis Blount (hlb.write-angle hotmail.fr)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--flash Harry

Flash Harry (aka Harry Flashman) is also the main character in the Flashman series of books by George McDonald Fraser. Well worth the read.

Henry Blount, Paris, France

From: Peggy Harger-Allen (dpmallen52 gmail.com)
Subject: Aunt Sally

You need Aunt Sally for the order of operations in math:

“Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.” Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract.

Peggy Harger-Allen, Whitestown, Indiana

From: Dan Schubart (danneau danneau.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--good-time Charlie

As a student just finishing high school in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of attending a concert at Winterland where James Cotton and associates played a show for the ages. I had seen them several times previously (oh! the $2 tickets...), but this instance stood out. Home and listening with friends the next day, this song (3 min.) was on the turntable.

Dan Schubart, Port Alberni, Canada

From: Laura Burns (laurab12 sbcglobal.net)
Subject: good-time Charlie

Good-time Charlie can have his sad moments: Danny O’keefe ~ Good Time Charlie’s Got The Blues (3 min.)

Laura Burns, Galveston, Texas

From: Charlie Cockey (czechpointcharlie gmail.com)
Subject: Good-time Charlie

Roughly coeval with Good-time Charlie there was the more alliterative Champagne Charlie (supposedly originated in reference to Charles Heidsieck of champagne fame), to the point that the blues master Blind Blake recorded a song Champagne Charlie is My Name (3 min.).

Charlie Cockey, Bilovice nad Svitavou, Czech Republic

From: Higgs Merino (fourcleancorners aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--good-time Charlie

A painting titled Good Times Charlie.

Higgs Merino, Santa Monica, California

From: Andrew Causey (drewland512 gmail.com)
Subject: Usage?

You’ve been posting a second usage example but the second one has no relevance to the particular definition. It just uses the two words next to each other.

Wondering why you are doing this... Is this one of your clever games, or has AI taken over?

Andrew Causey, Evanston, Illinois

“No AI. After five examples, it should be plain,” Jane said, “that we are doing it on purpose.”

“Simply having fun with words. Why all this doubting?” Thomas said.

“We spent so much time finding these examples. We’re not doing it anew,” Garg said.

From: Richard S. Russell (RichardSRussell tds.net)
Subject: popularity of names

You’d love seeing how they rise and fall in popularity over time. And you CAN, right here.

My own name, Richard, has a profile like Mont Blanc, rose steadily until the year I was born (1944), then fell just as steadily thereafter. I always considered my mother’s name, Amelia, to be really beautiful, but for most of my life it was in decline, considered old-fashioned. Lately, though, it’s made a comeback. I’m sorry to say that Anu doesn’t register at all. 8^(

Richard S. Russell, Madison, Wisconsin

The Tramp
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: good-time Charlie and flash Harry

Despite Charlie Chaplin gaining fame with his hapless film character, “The Tramp”, and rising above an impoverished upbringing on the mean streets of South London, his unparalleled success as one of the premier entertainers of the 20th century meant he had to be a bona fide good-time Charlie.

Mr Showmanship
At the height of his popularity from the 1950s-1970s, Liberace was the highest paid entertainer on the planet. His over-the-top stage persona was quintessential Hollywood glitz and glam with his sequin-studded capes and fur coats in flashy pinks, accented with notes of gold, costume jewelry, or rhinestones. One Chicago Times music critic said, “He makes like Chopin one minute and then turns on a Chico Marx bit, the next.” Liberace truly earned his self-coined moniker, “Mr. Showmanship”.

I am leaving for vacation in Belgium and Sri Lanka. Back in Aug with more illustrations!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Terms formed from names
1. Hooray Henry
2. Nervous Nelly
3. Flash Harry
4. Aunt Sally
5. Good-time Charlie
= 1. He has wealth shamelessly
2. They’re in terror
3. Vulgar, almost naked
4. Condemn her for mayhem
5. Sorry, my life is too fun
= 1. Loud hotshot, Ivy man. Money, eh?
2. Fear-infused girl
3. Showy feller
4. Schoolmarm; the analysts sneer at her
5. Merrymaker
-Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)
= 1. Sloane Ranger sets trend, try rah
2. Hmm.. very timid, shy
3. Felonious, showy hunk
4. Ah, easy meat, fool
5. Carefree loller hmm?
= 1. Moneyed man - he shows off
2. Tense server
3. Ostentatiously arrayed
4. Lin her fall guy - harsh
5. Hmm... make merry, root, chill
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.


hooray Henry

A true Hooray Henry is he.
Obnoxious at times he may be,
And pretentious and loud;
But it makes me feel proud,
That my son really takes after me.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

A young Hooray Henry I met --
So rich and so handsome and yet
When on board his yacht,
He was such a big snot
That our outing I’d rather forget.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“You’re a crass Hooray Henry,” she said,
“And you won’t find a gal you can wed.
An obnoxious, sad bloke,
Women find just a joke.”
“Well, I’ll not marry you!” sneered back Fred.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Cinderella, once found by her prince,
Quickly realized his ways made her wince.
“You’re a real Hooray Henry,
And not even friendly.
Get lost! I don’t do subtle hints.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

nervous Nelly

The bride was a meek nervous Nelly.
Her spine, as they say, turned to jelly.
She was right, as you see --
Her groom would soon be
A mean, modern day Machiavelli.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

“A fluttering felt in the belly,
And knees that are turning to jelly?
From the symptoms you’ve shared,”
The expert declared,
“I’d say you’re a real nervous Nellie.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

If I tried to enact any scam
I doubt that I could ‘cause I am
Such a poor nervous Nelly.
My knees would be jelly
Or knocking! They’d scream “It’s flim-flam”!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

When we first saw the girl on the telly,
Looking timid, a real nervous Nelly,
She could just barely squeak
When the prompter said “Speak”,
For her knees had both turned into jelly.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Now Nan was nicknamed nervous Nelly,
For butterflies flew in her belly.
If pressed, she would quake.
Her body would shake,
And any resolve turn to jelly.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

While flying from New York to Delhi,
Little Jane was a real nervous Nelly.
She lamented, “I worry
They’ll only have curry.
I need peanut butter and jelly!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

flash Harry

He tried to impress her with bling,
But she said that was never her thing;
That she never would marry
A vulgar flash Harry.
She wanted a real diamond ring.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

He dressed like a mobster, I’d say,
And claimed he got women that way.
Though I’d never marry
A vulgar flash Harry,
Some ladies adore such display.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Ma, don’t say that you want me to marry
That jerk down the road -- a flash Harry.
The diamond he sports
Among his cohorts
Is probably glass -- I am wary!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

The groom was a well-known flash Harry,
And bride had the handle, brash Mary.
But the bride ran away,
On the very same day.
She left with his brother, cash Carey
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“This is Sex and the City,” said Carrie,
“I’ve got class and will bed no flash Harry.
I quite often indulge,
And can see your pants bulge,
But the thrust of your sword I shall parry.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Aunt Sally

The flag that flew over his house
Alito has blamed on his spouse.
An Aunt Sally’s his wife
Who caused all this strife --
He scapegoats her now like a louse.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

At the Proud Boys and KKK rally,
They had all different kinds of Aunt Sally.
“If you’re Brown or you’re Black
Or a Jew, we’ll attack!”
“What fine people!” said Donald, “Don’t dally!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

good-time Charlie

He was randy, this can’t be denied --
A fun-loving rake full of pride
For his bike, a new Harley.
This young, good-time Charlie
Took all of his gals for a ride.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Ebenezer, you’re no good-time Charlie;
You should smile more,” said Jacob Marley.
“Tonight you’ll see ghosts,
Then we’ll all drink some toasts
When tomorrow you aren’t so snarly!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Hip hip hooray Henry Higgins. You did it!” Colonel Pickering sang in My Fair Lady.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Hooray Henry!” said Anne Boleyn when he finally announced he was splitting from the Roman church and getting a divorce.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“If you’re nervous Nelly don’t accept the assignment to travel around the world the fastest,” Ms. Bly’s editor chided.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Your investigative reports are great, but the risks you take really un-nervous Nelly,” said Ms. Bly’s editors.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“When he went to the park to flash Harry wore a trench coat with nothing underneath. I knew then it was over between us,” said Sally.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Here’s a news flash Harry. I’m leaving you!” cried his furious wife.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“You made good-time Charlie getting here,” the tuna fish’s pals remarked.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“We had a good-time Charlie and Lamb Chop, didn’t we?” said Shari Lewis to her puppets at the end of their show.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Always tru-aunt Sally never did graduate High School.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“When my aunt sally’s down to my uncle’s man cave, he knows he’s in trouble,” said their little nephew.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The business of the poet and the novelist is to show the sorriness underlying the grandest things and the grandeur underlying the sorriest things. -Thomas Hardy, novelist and poet (2 Jun 1840-1928)

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