Wordsmith.Org: The Magic of Words: The Magic of Words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



AWADmail Issue 139

October 10, 2004

From: Ann Love (aloveATloveandcompany.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lassitude

It reminds me of a cartoon in Medical Economics magazine many decades ago, where the psychiatrist's receptionist is speaking on the phone to someone calling for an appointment:

"The doctor can treat lassitude and ennui, but he can't touch torpor."

From: Mary Feeney (mmfeeneyATaol.com)
Subject: Lassitude

This word brings to mind the poet Stéphane Mallarmé's famous verse, "La chair est triste, hélas! et j'ai lu tous les livres," literally translated as "Alas, the flesh is weary, and I have read all the books." The "hélas" deftly mirrors the adjective "las" or weary, though they would be pronounced differently. Once again, AWAD inspires a new perspective.

From: Stephen Wong (stephenb.wongATbmonb.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--calefacient

This word reminds me of a column I read way back in The Philippine Star. The columnist was visiting a South American country and was staying at a hotel. Tired from travel and just wanting to relax, he undressed to take a shower. He started to fiddle with the hot and cold faucets to get to just the right temperature. But not wanting to get scalded, he turned the "cold" one first, only to get scalded.

Then he realised it. "Caliente" in Spanish means "H"ot, not "C"old, and that the letter "H" on the knob probably stood for "Helado" -- "Icy". There was nothing wrong with the plumbing.

From: Art Darwinu (blandartAThci.net)
Subject: AWAD-calefacient

I never associated today's word with 'nonchalant', but I once had a clue. In the dark ages I worked as a typesetter for a printing company. One hot morning an apprentice sauntered is as teeners do. I asked him why seem so nonchalant. His reply: "Too hot to act chalant."

From: Mark Perpall (perpalmATclemson.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--calefacient

This word is particularly relevant this week, as the American Chemical Society's webpage http://www.chemistry.org/portal/a/c/s/1/home.html has named Camphor as it's chemical of the week. Camphor is a very recognizable calefacient. To quote, "Camphor is a pungent white crystalline substance obtained from the Cinnamonum camphora tree or made synthetically. It is readily absorbed through the skin, and it produces a warm sensation and a slight local anesthesia. Because large amounts can cause adverse neurological effects, the FDA has set a limit of 11% camphor in consumer products."

From: James Evans (jamesd.evansATbigpond.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--boffin

My father's wartime scrap book appears to claim that the term Boffin was first coined by the RAF's Fighter Interception Unit (F.I.U.) in 1942.

Top left in the attachment is an extract from the London Daily Telegraph's Peterborough Column, 4th February 1942. The missing words are: "Sir Henry Tizard, the chief scientific adviser to the Ministry of Aircraft Production, had to admit in his speech to yesterday's lunch of ...." My father has noted "The term was an F.I.U. product" on the side.

The poem "Here lies a Boffin" was penned by Ken Davidson, a colleague of my fathers in the F.I.U.

From: Paula Colwell (paula.timATmail.telepac.pt)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--armillary

An armillary is the most prominent feature on the Portuguese flag. It is on the flag to honor all those who participated in the greatest epoch in Portuguese history - The Age of Discoveries. This is the time period when people such as Vasco de Gama and Henry the Navigator extended Portuguese influence around the globe.

From: Bryan P Hayward (bryan.haywardAThs.utc.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--salubrious

My father has always loved this word. His favorite use was approaching a coffee pot, saying "Aaahhh! Time for a cup of the salubrious bean." Ironically, as a chemist, he was always tweaking formulations. He does so with coffee, taking a sip, adding water and milk, taking a sip, adding coffee...it is usually a 5 minute ritual of the most arcane gyrations. The ritual gives him a lot of pleasure, so I can't gainsay it.

A word is dead / When it is said, / Some say. / I say it just / Begins to live / That day. -Emily Dickinson, poet (1830-1886)

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