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AWADmail Issue 144

November 22, 2004

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

From: Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net

Computers as Authors

When Words Hide the Truth

The Longest Place Name in the US

From: Ryan Bliss (rhino_rebAThotmail.com)
Subject: pushing a loaf, or.... (Re: sylph

Regarding your etymology of "lord", it occurs to me that pushing a stroller could, in some vernacular, be considered "guarding a loaf". ... depending on how you feel about your child.

From: Shanthy (shanthy_tvATyahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--sylph

I like this week's theme already. I can look forward to something special every day this week. Reminds me of the 'Ladies special' busses (reserved for women) that we would look forward to while studying in India.

From: Evelyn Clement (errenATaol.com)
Subject: sylph

Love this word! When my father (a notorious punster) learned I was on a new diet after childbirth, his comment was, "Soon you'll be looking like your old sylph."

From: Dean Kennedy (dnbvkennedyATcs.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--sylph

Isn't it interesting that the words God!, Man!, and Boy! can stand alone as expressions of strong emotion, but the words girl and woman are never used that way? Wonder why...

From: Karen Shelton (shelkATfoster.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--giglet

In these trying times, nobody - alas! - can be said to be giddy and frolicsome anymore except maybe four-year-olds who aren't allowed to watch the evening news. As a veteran parent and grandparent, I suggest that the word "giglet" be resurrected and used to refer to prepubescent girls in the 8-12 age range. Once they reach adolescence they could be called "sullens" instead.

From: Vicky Tarulis (be_well_vickyATyahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--giglet

Here're some real words to describe women:
Sensitive Beautiful
Dented by glass ceilings

From: John Vivier (jvivierATinfionline.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--feme sole

In "feme sole" feme stands for "femme" (notice the double m). Sole stands for "seule" not "soule" (soule means: drunk in French). Why not using "femme seule"? rather than picking a term deformed through oral tradition by a bunch of illiterate peasants.

    Because that's what the term is today. We cannot unchange the term any more than we can undo the Norman Conquest.

    For the same reason that you do not want to ask for "pease soup" today, instead of "pea soup". Long ago, some thought "pease" was a plural, and mistakenly formed the singular "pea". For the same reason you do not omit the article "the" from algebra even though Arabic "al" (the) is already there.

    Getting back to feme, here is a related term: feme covert. No, not one of 007's women. Rather, in legal parlance, it refers to a married woman (literally, a covered or protected woman).
    -Anu Garg

From: Bob Leeds (bleedsATswbell.net)
Subject: Ships passing in the ether

I have enjoyed receiving AWAD for many years now. Last week I opened my weekly feedback email and the first respondent's name looked very familiar to me. A quite unique and uncommon name. The return email address had an Israeli suffix appended. The woman I knew however was a friend from many years back in Houston, Texas. On a whim I sent her an email asking if it is the same woman. Indeed it is, and we have been joyously emailing back and forth all week. Our love of language, my sharp eye, and the wonder that is AWAD has succeeded in bringing two old friends back in touch. Thanks for just one more service you provide!

Men ever had, and ever will have leave, / To coin new words well suited to the age, / Words are like leaves, some wither every year, / And every year a younger race succeeds. -Horace, poet and satirist (65-8 BCE)

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