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AWADmail Issue 152

January 22, 2005

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

Corpus Colossal

A Language-Challenged US
LA Times

From: Isabelle Picard (isabelle.picardATamgmedical.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--odium

Again, your newsletter helps me better understand my mother tongue!

See, though this noun's French equivalent (if any) does not seem to roam in francophone conversations, Odieux, the adjective, is very much alive, and can be translated to abject or horribly outrageous, disgraceful. I would never have thought to look this up on my own.

From: Martin Johnson (martin_f_johnsonAThotmail.com)
Subject: Presentism

The word presenteeism is an antonym for absenteeism. It means conspicuous presence, especially in the workplace, in defiance of common sense and decency: attendance at work while self-evidently infectious to others and unable to put in a good day's work anyhow.

The rise of presenteeism and the need for a word for it accompanies the rise in the number of people in the workplace who have no job security or sick-leave benefits.

From: Hiller B. Zobel (honzobeATaol.com)
Subject: Presentism

As a historian/lecturer, I like to remind readers/audiences to beware reading parchment by electric light, because attitudes and definitions change.

From: Charles Coleman (charles_colemanATinnovations.com.au)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--presentism

Thank you for today's word. I have long held the belief that the past is a foreign country with closed borders. It was food for thought.

From: Walter Blume (wbrouhahaATyahoo.com)
Subject: diriment singles

I was curious whether the word diriment was ever used without the accompanying word "impediment". A Google search on diriment yielded a large list of Catholic references to diriment impediments for marriage, but funnily enough, this also had the side effect of displaying an automated advertisement for "sexy diriment singles", presumably for all those people who had just had their marriages nullified.

From: Bill Reynolds (bill_reynATyahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--animus

I found it interesting that animus can mean both hostility and the masculine part of a woman's subconscious. Now we know where the phrase comes from, "Well, if you don't know what's wrong, I'm certainly not going to tell you!"

From: Heather March (ideasofmarchATxtra.co.nz)
Subject: The Water of India (Re: odium)

In the 1950s, an Indian magician called Sorcar toured New Zealand. I very clearly remember the Water of India routine - and Sorcar named part of India before each pouring. When he named Pakistan, the water would not pour. "No longer part of India," he said to the audience apologetically. "But it was once," he added - and the water poured!

From: Dana Law (mindreaderATgmail.com)
Subject: Lota bowl

This is the "Water of India": (image) I am a professional magician and we call this the Lota Bowl. Is "Lota" an Indian word?

    "Lota" is the Hindi word for a water bowl, though some like to explain the term "lota bowl" as holding "a lotta" water. Lota bowl would be a tautology, but understandable along the lines of "chai tea" or "salsa sauce".
    -Anu Garg

From: Elizabeth Creith (hedgehog.ceramicsATsympatico.ca)
Subject: quote about koi (Re: presentism)

Today's quote is about koi. I began keeping koi a year or so ago when my husband brought me my first one as a gift for the twentieth anniversary of our meeting. I now have four. I tell people how large they can get, and how long they can live (the record is 221 years - 70 is not unusual). Unfortunately, pet stock koi usually live to be about 20, and then die. People tend to feed them more in order to get them to grow faster. If they grow more slowly, they live longer. There may be a metaphor in there, too.

From: Carolyn Bryant (carolyn_bryantATavivacanada.com)
Subject: Quote of the Day

While I always enjoy my "Word of the Day", I find I often take particular delight in the little quote buried beneath. Today I took particular pleasure in the quote, "What humbugs we are, who pretend to live for Beauty, and never see the Dawn!. When I was in my footloose 20's my wanderlust took me to work at Chateau Lake Louise in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Guests would request wake up calls so they could watch the sun rise. In June this was only about four hours after the sun had set. More than once I stayed awake to watch both. The brilliant orange reflecting off of the glacier at the end of the lake is a sight there are no words to effectively describe. Thanks for the journey back.

Words are things; and a small drop of ink / Falling like dew upon a thought, produces / That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. -Lord Byron, (1788-1824)

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