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AWADmail Issue 277

October 21, 2007

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

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net

Language Gene Not Unique to Humans:
The Seattle Times

Quebec Legislature Bans the Word Weathervane:
Toronto Star

Why We Curse?
The New Republic

The "Monolingual Folks" Weren't Feeling the Love: The Seattle Times

From: Noeline Laccetti (noeline.laccetti dpcdsb.org)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--archon

Ahh, finally, a word I've mulled over -- clearly not enough to look it up in the etymological dictionary -- makes sense. Whenever I strolled around historical buildings in England and marvelled at the ornate relief patterns on the ceilings, I wondered how they could be called bosses. Point number two today makes it all clear. Another word puzzle solved.

From: Phil Curl (philcurl yahoo.com)
Subject: boss (Re: A.Word.A.Day--archon)

Now that I've seen meaning #1 for "boss", many things become clear. That's why I have coworkers at the office! (Although it's never become clear what "orking" is... working to please, maybe?)

From: Stefan Bucek (stefan_bucek cable.comcast.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--archon

The other problem about the word "boss" is that, spelled backwards, it's double-SOB.

From: Edie Bonferraro (edieb mailbug.com)
Subject: Boss Nostalgia Re: A.Word.A.Day--archon

The hippie of yesteryear if fond of the boss would say: "My boss is boss man!"

From: Serdar Isler (serdar.isler unilever.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--pasha

In Turkey pasha is still used as an informal title for generals in the Turkish Armed Forces. It is also used as an adjective meaning well-behaved. Interestingly, the phrase "pasha olmak", that is, "being a pasha" means being excessively drunk. I think that's the way people consider themselves when they drink too much. :)

From: Melissa Current (melissa.current thehartford.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--pasha

My favorite title for my boss (whomever that may be at the time) is El Jefe. Roughly translated, it mean Chief in Spanish. In my world, it means head honcho and top dog.

From: Monica Friedman (littledragonblue yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--pasha

Today's word put a smile on my face, because I have a very important Pasha in my life. My dear friend, a fine Irish-American lad, was dubbed Patrick at birth, but he took a Russian class his first year of college. His class determined that the Russian diminutive of Patrick must be Pasha, a name he embraced. Fifteen years later, even his parents have started calling him Pasha sometimes. We think it suits him.

Strangely enough, when he tried to get a vanity plate, the DMV told us his name raised a red flag on their database of obscene and offensive words. We had always been aware of the dictionary definition you provided, but the DMV insisted it had something to do with promiscuity. We couldn't find any evidence of this slang meaning. Possibly they were having us on, because when we challenged them, they called back to say someone else already had the license plate PASHA.

My friend's solution? Add the Yiddish diminutive to the Russian diminutive of his Irish name: Pashala.

The quality of our thoughts is bordered on all sides by our facility with language. -J. Michael Straczynski, author (b.1954)

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