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Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



AWADmail Issue 298

March 16, 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

A Boy Named Sue, and a Theory of Names:
The New York Times

Pronouncing Names:
The New York Times

Are Women Really Better at Language?
Scientific American

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Wordsmith Chat

Online Chat: Join us in an online chat with Michael Erard, author of "Um...: Slips, Stumbles, and Verbal Blunders, and What They Mean" Mon, Mar 17, 6pm Pacific (GMT -7).

From: Alexandra Halsey (alexandra.s.halsey gmail.com)
Subject: the 14th

Happy Birthday to Wordsmith, Anu!
Wordsmith.org has been a great gift to the world. :)

This week's 14-letter words have been fascinating. And bravo for hewing to the strictness of 14-letter definitions as well.

From: Garrett Hildebrand (gdh uci.edu)
Subject: Re: quadridecennial celebration

Wow. 14 years already. I had left McDonnell Douglas that year to work for a then (and probably still) small company called Paciolan Systems. My job was to get them on the Internet. One of the first things I ran across (and I don't recall how) after I got them online was your A.Word.A.Day and I signed up for the list.

I've enjoyed your emails every day!

From: Alan Gasser (argasser gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--tintinnabulate

Thanks for that fabulous word. I immediately began counting and thinking in 14s: to ring like a bell (oops 15); 2 ring like a bell?

Anyway, that put in my mind the old Malvina Reynolds song, "If I Could Ring Like a Bell".

Oh, if I could ring like a bell!
If I could swing like the clapper on a bell,
To tell the world that the wars are over,
Wouldn't that be the day!

It's such a great song, and cheered me up immensely, just thinking silently about it. Remainder of the lyrics.

Wishing you e-felicitations! That's 14, eh?

From: Lynn Mancini (mancini dtcc.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--tintinnabulate

My favourite use of today's word is in Edgar Allen Poe's onomatopoetic poem The Bells.

From: Barbara Entlova (galanin22 aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--tinctumutation

Although this word sounds more scientific than literary, I was pleased to learn it, since there are countless situations in which one might use it simply as an obiter dictum. It might be particularly useful when a simple "wow" will not suffice; for example, while admiring an incredible composition by the brilliant Art Nouveau painter Gustav Klimt on a Vienna's vernissage full of pretentious people about whom you know nothing and with whom you share nothing in common, except the fancy glass of Joseph Perrier Vintage Champagne in your left hand, the hors d'oeuvre in your right -- and perhaps your height and weight. Thinking about Klimt makes me think of his "Hope II" that's hanging in the finance office of my school ... I often wonder how many people would notice the wall's tinctumutation if I exchanged the picture, after-hours of course, for the Gruyère cheese that -- although not as plentiful in colours but certainly more appetising -- is currently hanging in my kitchen.

From: Steve (scarab1 mindspring.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--circumbendibus

Anyone from London would think "circumbendibus" could be a verb too, as in "I had to circumbendibus to get across the street." In other words, walk around the big bendibus blocking my way.

From: Christa Watters (wattrsedge aol.com)
Subject: feedback: circumbendibus

Circumlocution seems so much more precise, in that talking around a topic is visible right in the word, at least for those of us who took Latin in high school, back in the days when that was still the norm. On the other hand, as a hiker, it occurs to me to ask: Could one instead apply circumbendibus to a physical path around an obstacle, a fallen tree, for example?

Homicide and verbicide -- that is, violent treatment of a word with fatal results to its legitimate meaning, which is its life -- are alike forbidden. -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., poet, novelist, essayist, and physician (1809-1894)

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