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AWADmail Issue 133

August 28, 2004

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages

From: Kevin Petti (kpettiATsdccd.cc.ca.us)
Subject: Concerning Trochal and Human Anatomy

I teach human anatomy which is of course replete with Greek terms. The distal aspect of the humerus (arm) has a landmark named the trochlea. The trochlea articulates with the ulna (elbow and medial forearm) at the trochlear notch. This structure basically forms your elbow joint. Although I was taught that trochlea meant "pulley", I like the "revolving like a wheel" reference. When you flex and extend your elbow joint, the ulna's trochlear notch indeed "revolves" about the trochlea of the humerus.

From: Jim Coats (wjcoatsATucdavis.edu)
Subject: trochal

Two words that are related to today's word, trochal (resembling a wheel): "troche," a sort of a round medical lozenge, and "trochee," one of the metrical "feet" used in poetry, so named I suppose because of its balanced, two-step rhythm. Here's a short verse from Theodore Bernstein's "The Careful Writer" that gives examples of five metrical feet (in capitals), including the trochee:

IAMBUS, King of all the North,
Sucking TROCHEES, ventured forth.
Galloping DACTYLS emerged from their nest,
But he struggled and conquered this ANAPEST.

From: Carolyn Jones Silver (carsilverATjuno.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--stratocracy

I like my coinage better. I'm convinced we are living under a testosterocracy. (Takes a little practice to pronounce, but can be done.)

From: Susan Korrel (korrelATmyaccess.com.au)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--theanthropic

As a patriotic Australian I'm sure there's a typo in this word. Surely it is spelt "theanthorpie" (thee-an-THORP-ie)?

There are many who believe his ability to swim is god like; and yet he is such a down-to-earth bloke.

From: Vernon "John" Gurnther (lcgvcgATaol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--threnody

One of the outstanding musical examples of a threnody is that composed by the excellent Polish composer, Krzysztof Penderecki (pronounced Pendereski), who wrote a most poignant composition, "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima." It gives added meaning and definition of the word "threnody."

From: Bryan P Hayward (bryan.haywardAThs.utc.com)
Subject: Theanthropic tickled a quote

One of my favorite quotes was brought to mind by today's word.

Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child. -Robert Heinlein

So in my mind, there is certainly an ironic twist on the loftiness people using the word wish to confer on the depictee.

On a tangential note, there have been fantasy novels in which a god/dess is actually worth worshipping because they do embody the qualities normally ascribed to deities by their worshippers (loving, caring, involved, tolerant, merciful et al) but oddly I don't think they'd get anywhere if someone started a religion around them. For most people, their god has to have some sort of vengeful trait before they bother paying any attention.

From: Eric Shackle (eshackleATozemail.com.au)
Subject: egg-throwing

Do Greeks have a word for egg-throwing? It's a worldwide sporting activity sadly overlooked in Athens. In 1978, in Texas, Johnie Dell Foley threw a fresh hen egg 323ft 2in (98.51m), and his cousin, Keith Thomas, caught it without mishap. No one has yet broken that record. To learn more about this great sport, see "Let's Throw Eggs at the Olympics," in the September edition of my e-book, http://bdb.co.za/shackle

Words - so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. -Nathaniel Hawthorne, writer (1804-1864)

Answer to last week's puzzle (What word has ST in the middle, IN the beginning, AND the ending?) is 'inkstand'.

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