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AWADmail Issue 226

September 10, 2006

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

From: Albert Ahara (a.ahara btopenworld.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bromide

In the UK during the 1950s National Servicemen universally believed that their tea was laced with bromide during the ten weeks basic training in which they were confined to barracks.

A.W.A'Hara (Mr) Dundee Scotland.

From: Neal Vonada (nealvon comcast.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bromide

Do you smell something? No? That's carbon monoxide, it is odorless (add your own ending to this joke). Tell this joke in a very cautionary tone.

From: Jamie Diamandopoulos (jdiamandopoulos yahoo.com)
Subject: bromide

"I'm as trite and as gay as a daisy in May,
A cliché comin' true!
I'm bromidic and bright
As a moon-happy night
Pourin' light on the dew!"

from "A Wonderful Guy", from "South Pacific", lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein.

From: Stephen Ross (sross unb.ca)
Subject: Collecting Bromides

I thought you might be amused by these packages (one, two) I saw on display in convenience stores in Japan back in 2003.

I believe that the packages contain photo cards of the ever-renewed teen-pop group "Morning Musume" (morning daughter). I do not understand the "Let's collect Bromides!" caption, neither does my Japanese wife. Yet another of the many mysteries of Japan.

From: Joe Presley (presley worldnet.att.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bromide

In Japanese, a "buromaido", is a photo of a celebrity. It comes from the days when a silver bromide emulsion was used for photography.

From: Subrata Mondal (subratamondal hotmail.com)
Subject: Bromide
Brominated Vegetable Oil (also known as BVO) is banned in soft drinks in India. BVO is used as an emulsifier in soft drinks. Well, look at all the additives we eat. A nice article from
Business week.

From: Charles Stammer (chs4125 charter.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--acidulous

I am a retired chemist with a doctorate in chemistry. Acidulous is not in my, or, to my knowledge, in the lexicon of chemistry. Acidic, yes, acidulous, no. Used the way it is in your example, it sounds fine, a "literary" use in which "acidic" would be inappropriate, I think. Just my humble opinion.

From: V. Balakrishnan (vbalki physics.iitm.ac.in)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--caustic

The word has a third meaning. The term is used in physics, specifically in the subject of optics and wave motion, for certain curves on which the intensity of the light is very high. A common example is the wavy, ever-changing pattern of bright lines one sees on the bottom of a swimming pool when the sun shines on the water. Another example is the bright white pair of curves one sometimes sees on the surface of a glass of milk. These are "caustics".

From: Duncan A Hall (duncan.hall eds.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--caustic

Also in optics: Wikipedia and Wikimedia.

From: John Cooper (cooperjlm yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--miscible

As a chemist I should say that 'miscible' is the ultimate term of solubility -- things that are soluble in all proportions. So your word description is correct but the example is clearly wrong. If lead and water were miscible, the pipes could not hold water. The fact in the example is that some of the lead has dissolved, to its low level of solubility, in standing water.

It's rare to catch you on anything (a testament to your diligence) and I very much enjoy your daily treat. Keep up the good work.

    Thanks for your note. It's more a testament to our copy editors Eric Shackle and Carolanne Reynolds, though we decide to leave errors in from time to time, just to make sure you're reading. (-:
    -Anu Garg

From: Bertrand Fry (bertrand.fry deshaw.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--miscible

"Miscible" puts me in mind of the Four "M"s that outline the secret of Italian espresso. In Italian they are:

  • Miscela (blend)
  • Macinazione (grind)
  • Macchina (machine)
  • Mano (hand; the human element)
The first, miscela, is directly related to miscible. But, of course, for most of us our first coffee of the day is anything but missable.

From: George Gopen (ggopen duke.edu)
Subject: Epithalamion (Re: AWADmail 225)

I have received some 25 responses to that part of my comment on "epithalamion" you printed last week, some of them very interesting indeed. Some asked where the poem can be found on the Internet. Here is a link: bartleby.com.

You perform a wonderful service, which is clearly appreciated by lots of people, everywhere. Thanks so much.

Words are the soul's ambassadors, who go / Abroad upon her errands to and fro. -James Howell, writer (c. 1594-1666)

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