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AWADmail Issue 155

March 6, 2005

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

From: Rose Wilson (rwilsonATaaasouth.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bibacious

So that's why I'm like this...

When God was handing out character traits, I must have thought he said "Who wants to be vivacious?", so I said "I do!"

From: Drew Pidkameny (drewATarea42.com)
Subject: This week's theme

This week's AWAD theme was "Words related to eating and drinking". Were you aware that this week is also National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

From: Dorothy Patent (doropatentATaol.com)
Subject: restaurant names and menu listings

I laughed at your menu listings this day. We've been to China many times and have found some restaurants with "interesting" names. One, which sadly exists no more, was called "Semicolon". Apparently, it was the branch of another nearby restaurant and when the owners looked up the Chinese word for this sort of branch, the dictionary listed the first meaning as 'semicolon'. Now, near where Semicolon once stood, is a newer restaurant called "Famed Restaurant for Rinse and Grill Meat". The restaurant specializes in Mongolian hot pot, and I can at least imagine how meat immersed in liquid could come out as 'rinse'.

From: Berthold Wulff (berthold.wulffATgmx.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--sitophobia

The word sitophobia reminded me of a book about the luxuries indulged in by the ancient Greeks. Siton is the staple food (e. g. bread), opson is the tasty things that go with it. Opsophagia (excessive eating of luxury items) was considered a dangerous vice by wise men. Opson, and its extension, opsarion, increasingly assumed the meaning of fish and seafood, as the Mediterranean Sea contains many species of excellent food fish, but is not overly rich as fishing grounds go. That is why, in modern Greek, fish as food is psaro (I do not know the gender) and not ichthys.

From: William S. Haubrich, MD (willhaubATaol.com)
Subject: Re: sitophobia

In medicine, sitophobia (aversion to eating) differs from other phobias in that it does not signify a mental quirk but rather a reluctance to eat because any attempt to ingest food causes abdominal pain or distress. Impaired arterial blood supply to the intestine is a typical setting. A patient so afflicted may be ravenously hungry, yet refuses to eat in order to avoid pain. The result can be grave nutritional deficiency.

From: Scott Andrews (scott.andrewsATdisney.com)
Subject: sitophobia

I went to lunch with some co-workers. One woman ordered fish. When it was delivered to her it still had a head, tail, eyes, skin, etc. She had a significant panic attack with sweat, shaking and ashen face. Someone next to her cut the fish up for her removing all bones and recognizable body parts. Once that was done, she went right back to normal and ate the white meat as if the incident had never happened. In fact she seemed to forget it happened. Apparently she reacts the same way if she is served any meat with bones in it... even a chicken drumstick.

This seems to be related to sitophobia but is a variant. Do you or your readers have a word for this? Has anyone heard of it before? To me it seemed a very odd reaction and even more odd was the quick transition back to normal and apparent amnesia/obliviousness to what had taken place.

From: William S. Haubrich, MD (willhaubATaol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--postprandial

Medical patients will often see the initials p.c. or a.c. on their prescriptions. Spelled out, they mean "after meals" and "before meals" as instructions for when to take medications. The initials represent the Latin post, "after" + cibum, "food" and ante, "before" + cibum.

From: Wayne Hathaway (wayneATdiamondsandjeans.com)
Subject: Re: Argentina

My wife and I were in Buenos Aires just last month, on our way to Ushuaia and on to Antarctica. However, I need to dispute that Argentina is South America's southernmost country. It is true that Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, but we stood there looking south across the Beagle Channel at islands owned by Chile. By my figuring, that makes Chile the southernmost country, no?

    Thanks for the correction. Note to myself: consult a detailed regional map, rather than a world map, before making assertion about boundaries. -Anu Garg

From: Lucia Berg-Camponovo (newfieldATt-online.de)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--mano a mano

"Mano a mano" or "a mano a mano" is also an Italian adverb, which means: successively, or gradually.

From: Sergio Felperin (sfelperinATtenaris.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--mano a mano

I would like to add some local flavor to it. To be "mano a mano" with someone also means (in porteño Spanish, of course) to be even with someone, to have cancelled a debt. The most famous example of the use of this expression is in the tango "Mano a Mano" itself, which says "nada debo agradecerte/mano a mano hemos quedao/(...) los favores recibidos creo habertelos pagado" (which means something like "I have nothing to thank you for, we are now even (...) I believe I've already paid off all your favours").

From: Julia C. Lagoc (lagocAThargray.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--incommunicado

This word reminds me how children learn what they live. At the onset of Martial Law in the Philippines, my children--ages 12, 11, 9, and 7--fully understood the meaning of "incommunicado". For them, it was enough that their Daddy was not "incommunicado" in the more than six months he spent in the Marcos detention cell. They could visit and talk with their father unlike those detained in solitary confinement. My husband, a lawyer, acted as counsel to the student activists who were hauled to court rebelling against the excesses of the Marcos government.

From: Matthew T. Nussbaum (matthewATtassociates.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--hoosegow

Thank you. My father died about 6 years ago and "hoosegow" was one of his favorite words - a place he always threatened to send me if I wasn't home on time or didn't get my grades up!!! When I saw this in my email this morning you took me back to some great memories; and just for a moment, he was in the doorway, smiling.

From: Eric Shackle (eshackleATozemail.com.au)
Subject: Spanish words

The word solar is the same in both Spanish and English. I found an interesting article, Torre solar en Australia, in a 2002 issue of the international science webzine Tendencias Científicas, a few days after I'd written an updated story on the same subject. It's about a solar tower a mind-boggling one kilometre (3280 feet) high - nearly twice the height of the world's tallest building - planned to be built in a remote part of Australia. The story's told in the March edition of my e-book.

A word after a word after a word is power. -Margaret Atwood, poet and novelist (1939- )

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