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AWADmail Issue 297

March 9, 2008

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

Nigeria's Ornate Brand of English:
International Herald Tribune

Idiom Shortage Leaves Nation All Sewed Up In Horse Pies:
The Onion

And a couple of stories related to this week's words:

More Expensive Placebos Bring More Relief:
The New York Times

Popular Italian Catholic saint exhumed 40 years on:

From: WM (web.master cyberservices.com)
Subject: Postcautionary/this week's words (Re: prepone)

Postcautionary may fit with this week's words.

From: Michael Herbst, MD (mmherbst earthlink.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--prepone

In medicine, we sometimes use the interesting term "prehabilitation" to refer to the process of preparing a patient for a treatment, e.g. joint replacement, that will also require rehabilitation.

From: Susan Marr (susan.marr mainepers.org)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--prepone

I have lived in New England all of my life and in the winter am always familiar with the inclement weather policy of my employer and the various organizations to which I belong. You never know when the weather will be too foul to go to work or for a particular event to be held. My husband, being the clever fellow that he is, has decided that in addition to an inclement weather policy, one must have a clement weather policy where the weather is just too fine to be in work that particular day or to hold that particular event.

From: Linda Bevard (lindab qadas.com)
Subject: Prepone

I'd never heard "prepone", but my grandmother, Ruth Knowlton Woodis, used a similar word in her diary. (I've always figured she coined it.)

She said on September 12, 1913: "Wrote Clark about anteponing our wedding."

Four days later she wrote: "Clark agreeable to having our wedding Oct. 8 and suggests Denver as the place."

On October 5, Clark reported: "Tend to be sick all day."

They were married in Denver by a Universalist minister and soon afterward had pitched their tent on Colorado's eastern plains, where they set about proving up her father's homestead claim.

    The Oxford English Dictionary shows the first citation of this word ("to put or set before, to prefer") from 1656.
    -Anu Garg

From: Fin Po (fipo optonline.net)
Subject: feedback: prepone

A friend of mine is the manager of an amateur radio traffic net. So he has instructions for the several amateurs who run the net. He has a PREAMBLE to explain how to start and run the net and he has a POSTAMBLE to explain how to close the net after all traffic has been passed. Why is POSTAMBLE not an accepted word?

    It is; first citation from 1978.
    -Anu Garg

From: Sendhil Revuluri (sendhil revuluri.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--dystopia

According to the Penguin paperback edition of Utopia I read way back in high school, More intended the word to be glossable in two ways: both as ou + topia (non-place) but also as eu + topia (good-place).

From: Vaughn Hathaway (pastorveh cs.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--inhume

Actually, the failure to use inhume may be because there is another word that Americans use most frequently -- the word inter.

American funeral parlors (mortuaries) use the word interment in information bulletins made available at funeral services to direct mourners to the burial site following a formal memorial service in a church or at a funeral parlor. E.g. Interment will be at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery.

From: F.J. Bergmann (demiurge fibitz.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--inhume

Terry Pratchett, my absolute favorite author of all time, uses the word "inhume" as the official term of the Assassins' Guild, in his Discworld novels, for having someone murdered. My favorite: "to inhume with extreme prejudice".

From: Frederick Armstrong (frederick-armstrong terra.com.mx)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--nocebo

The word nocivo (pronounced the same as "nocebo") in Spanish means a substance that is actually harmful to you.

From: Joseph Spenner (joseph85750 yahoo.com)
Subject: counterpart

These counterpart words have always interested me. One of my favorites is "Progress", whose counterpart is "Congress".

Language is the only homeland. -Czeslaw Milosz, writer, Nobel laureate (b. 1911)

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