Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



Jun 9, 2024
This week’s theme
Words to describe people

This week’s words

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives

Next week’s theme
Misc words

Spread the Magic
The magic of words
Send a gift subscription. It’s free.
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share

AWADmail Issue 1145

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

Sponsor’s Message: Are you smarter than an 8th grader? Wise Up! is the wickedest party card game in the universe. “Untrivial pursuit.” A great gift. Free shipping. Shop now >

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

English-Language Books Are Filling Europe’s Bookstores
The New York Times

From: Brett Pruit (brett.a.pruit gmail.com)
Subject: Words to characterize individuals

“Perp” is another moniker now owned by Trump, America’s greatest fraudster.

Brett A. Pruit, San Antonio, Texas

Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy Wise Up! -- A terribly fun party card game.

From: Nancy Meyer (antares11 juno.com)
Subject: Perp

When the previous US President -- aka Don’T -- unveiled his goofy gold sneakers for sale, I was astonished that no one else mocked them with what seemed the most obvious nickname: Perp Walkers.

Nancy Meyer, Mundelein, Illinois

From: Margaret Mitchell (mitma100 telus.net)
Subject: Perp

It amazes me that a perp can stand for election for the highest office in the land... President of the United States of America. Surely a crime is being perpetrated here against the decency and integrity of all your country stands for.

Margaret Mitchell, Kamloops, Canada

From: Joel Schick (joel familygorilla.com)
Subject: Perp Walk

I thought you might enjoy this song of mine: Do The Perp Walk (3 min.).

It comes from a somewhat earlier time, when executives and politicians showed signs of shame when they were arrested. Outdated concept, I suppose, and we don’t see people Doin’ the Perp Walk anymore.

Joel Schick, Novato, California

From: Kenneth Kirste (kkkirste sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Perp

If the GOP selects Trump this Jul, will he run for President as a RePERPlican?

Ken Kirste, Sunnyvale, California

From: Conrad Smit (consatsa hotmail.com)
Subject: perp

Jacob Zuma is a perp.
Google him - South Africa.

Conrad Smit, Durban, South Africa

From: Peter Wigley (wigleygrandparents hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--perp

Perp (generally used in the plural) is also a term used in bricklaying, at least in the UK, referring to the perpendicular mortar joints between bricks. In inspecting brickwork, one of the first things to check is whether the perps are in a straight vertical line.

Peter Wigley, UK

From: Bill Venables (bill.venables gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--perp

In mathematics perp is also used for the perpendicular operator, i.e. the process of forming some entity at right angles to another, in some sense. This is often signalled by attaching an operator to the original symbol for the entity. Another more usual word for perpendicular in mathematics is “orthogonal” and the set of entities all or which are orthogonal to each member of another set is called “the orthogonal complement”.

Gee you pick up fascinating stuff if you hang around here long enough, eh?

Bill Venables, Cleveland, Australia

From: Keith Schwarz (zrawhcs.htiek gmail.com)
Subject: pejorist

The word pejorist reminded me of the wonderful and underappreciated words agathist and agathism. Agathism is the belief that we might not live in the best of all possible worlds, but things generally are getting better.

Keith Schwarz, Cupertino, California

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

What a wonderful word is Gaberlunzie! Tradition has it that King James V of Scotland wrote a poem called The Gaberlunzie Man. It is a typical sort of ballad -- the scalawag raggedy man knocks at the door and asks for shelter -- woos the daughter of the house, and they run away with some of the household goods. “The wife was wood, and out o’her wit” to find that her daughter was “aff with the gaberlunzie man,” and sent servants in pursuit, but the two “snug in a glen, where nane could see,/ the twa, with kindlie sport and glee/Cut frae a new cheese a whang” -- which is a lovely word obviously meaning a good large chunk! The remaining verses consist of the two naughty ones praising one another and the happy life they will live together ...

This ballad is a sort of variant on the famous song of the Raggle Taggle Gypsies -- which has many closer versions, as do most of the old ballads -- but few are credited as having been written by a king! James V’s mother was Margaret Tudor, elder sister to Henry VIII, and it is therefore through that descent that his daughter Mary Queen of Scots had a legitimate claim to the English throne.

Judith Judson, Pittsford, New York

From: Helen Colvin (tcolvin sympatico.ca)
Subject: Words to describe people

This week’s theme brought back a few memories. As a mother of four boys, I became accustomed to hearing a variety of words, many of them less repeatable.

My solution was to ask them to invent words which they could use to enlarge the vocabulary of those to whom the words were directed. We did get a little beyond saying, “Oh, you nincompoop,” etc., although they loved that one due to the last four letters.

I wish that I had known some of this week’s words, as calling someone a gaberlunzie, a dandiprat, or a logodaedalus, shouted in a suitably disgusted voice, would have dissipated much of the frustration without resorting to most young people’s favourite word beginning with the sixth letter of the alphabet.

Sometimes my children unintentionally mispronounced words, leading to amusing situations. We still laugh at memories of our youngest son, just a determined three-year-old at the time. When the security officer at Heathrow insisted on putting his stuffed panda through the X-ray, he stomped along the long echoing hallway on the way to the departure lounge, shouting, “Ship, ship, oh ship,” at the top of his voice, and accompanied by suitable foot stamping, much to the amusement of other passengers. He added in “Duck!” as well, as it was still those sweet years before that was replaced with the cruder exclamation so many people use these days.

Perhaps it would have been much more satisfying to have shouted, “What a gaberlunzie!”

Helen Colvin, Mountsberg, Canada


This week’s theme: Words to describe people
1. Perp
2. Pejorist
3. Gaberlunzie
4. Dandiprat
5. Logodaedalus
= 1. Police imposed jail
2. Deep-seated wet blanket
3. Authorized beggar
4. Shorter person
5. Supplied words
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

= 1. Reprobate
2. Antipath
3. Pauperized
4. Kid, peewee, plus Jr. (LOL)
5. Obsessed Garg - coolest wordsmith indeed
= 1. Break law, pledge
2. Deteriorationist spec jelled
3. Authorised pauper
4. Bozo
5. E.g. Wordsmith’s pen sped
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



When into the courtroom he came,
The perp you might think would feel shame.
But that son-of-a-gun
Experienced none --
On Biden he cast all the blame.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Caught red-handed, the guilty perp wailed,
“A frame up! My foes have me nailed!”
But his alibi was thin,
And cops quickly moved in;
The consensus was, “He must be jailed.”
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

“I have done nothing wrong,” said the perp,
“And the judge was corrupt. What a twerp!
But it’s all for the best,
For I’ll tell you -- no jest --
That from losers more money I’ll slurp.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


A poor gaberlunzie was he,
Who begged from Loch Ness to Dundee.
And it was okay
To get by this way,
For he had a license, you see.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“I’m not just a beggar,” groused Freddy.
“I’m licensed, so that name is petty.
A true gaberlunzie,
I wander. That’s fun, see,
And profit is still pretty steady.”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“I’m a licensed and proud gaberlunzie;
I have standards, and mustn’t look grungy,”
Said the beggar. “My schtick
Is to lay it on thick;
With this smile, I’ll never go hungry.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The pejorist’s outlook is bleak:
“The climate grows worse as we speak!”
Alarms he will sound,
Because he has found
The world’s headed straight up the creek.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

To her family, her friends, and her therapist,
“The world’s going to pot,” moaned the pejorist.
“What a prophet of doom!”
They said, leaving the room;
“You’re the champ, a true buzz-kill gold medalist.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


When you’re out walking down any street,
A dandiprat you’re sure to meet.
In stature he’ll be
Quite short, you can see;
But his smarts can’t be measured in feet.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

The dandiprat we all ignored
A coup by some means now has scored.
We paid him no mind
But then came to find
This nobody’s chair of the board.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

He’s a dandiprat, let’s let it ride,
Not worthy of bringing inside.
He’s dull and he’s mirthless
In other words, worthless
And worst of all, self-satisfied!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

PT Barnum was feeling quite glum.
Up he longed for a new act to drum.
Then he had a nice chat
With a young dandiprat,
And he dubbed the small fellow Tom Thumb.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“I’m lost and alone, fancy that;
With you gone, I’m a mere dandiprat.
I sent you away,
But please come back and stay!”
Barry Manilow sang Mandy that.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


A superb logodaedalus wrote
Many humorous verses of note.
And they were so clever
That now and forever,
Nash’s verses we frequently quote!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Without him, our troop would be leaderless;
He’s our hero, a true logodaedalus.
Anu shows us the way!
Language changes each day,
And to cling to the past would enfeeble us!
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Hate lim’ricks? Don’t bother to needle us;
Perhaps you have strange tastes, like Oedipus.
For we’re all in the zone:
Rudy, Marion, Joan,
Bindy too; each a true logodaedalus!
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“We will be studying perp-endicular lines today,” the math teacher told the class.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

“I love violets. Perp-le is my favorite color.” gushed Violet.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“This time I’ll win the perp-le states. Then I’ll stay in office perp-etually. I’ll do it by selling bulls**t to my own followers at thousands of dollars perp-ound,” said the convict running for President. “Ha!” chuckled the kowtowing Republican leadership in answer. “None of us could get away with a tenth of what you do, bro. It’s really perp-lexing.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“You’re no gaberlunzie-s ees for sure,” said the frustrated Nazi at Ilsa’s silence about Victor’s activities with the Resistance.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“My decision is that Vesuvius poses no threat and the town needn’t be evacuated,” declared the Pom-pejorist, pounding his gavel.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Chevy Chase sure does dandiprat-falls,” laughed the SNL fan.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“These wings we made are amazing! To help sell them I’ve designed a really cool logodaedalus,” said Icarus.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Live and let live, be and let be, / Hear and let hear, see and let see, / Sing and let sing, dance and let dance. ... Live and let live and remember this line: / “Your bus’ness is your bus’ness and my bus’ness is mine.” -Cole Porter, composer and songwriter (9 Jun 1893-1964)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2024 Wordsmith