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AWADmail Issue 350

Mar 15, 2009

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

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Define the words contest

Last week's contest to define the words in 15 letters generated tremendous enthusiasm. Many teachers discussed the contest in their classes and shared definitions from their students. More than 2000 readers sent one or more entries filled with creativity, humor, and lateral thinking.

It wasn't easy to select the winners from so many outstanding suggestions. Listed below are the winning entries which have each gained an autographed copy of one of my books.



An idea alluded to. -Karyl Davis (karyl.davis lackland.af.mil)

Honorable mentions:

Don't say it. I get it. -Virginia Davidson (vdavidson50 hotmail.com)
Kenned sotto voce. -Chiron (chiron godhammer.com)
You should know it. -Susan Frost (richandsuzi yahoo.com)
Virtually stated. -Albert D. (filiquark yahoo.com)
Obvio sin decirlo. -Steven Fuller (sfuller garfieldre2.org)
Ca va sans dire - duh! -Margaret Cox (mocox1 cox.net)
No words required. (Anu Garg's worst nightmare!) -Monica Porterfield (mporterfield mltvacations.com)
Obvious ergo mute. -Paul B. Calico (pbcalico strausstroy.com)
Read my lips, dummy. -Jonathan Danilowitz (jon-dan 013.net)
Under the liminal. -Daniel Pesta (towardus comcast.net)
Doesn't need sayin'. -David Honigmann (david_honigmann mckinsey.com)
Said but not aloud. -Jonathan Weiss (jweiss1999 aol.com)
Feel it in my bones. -Edie Bonferraro (edieb mailbug.com)
A tacit knowledge -Rachel Blau DuPlessis (rdupless temple.edu), Geoff Giller (geoffsjg gmail.com)
Shhh. I understand. -Justin Peniston (moose0225 aol.com)
I get your message. -Judith Henderson (judyframehend aol.com)
I comprehend. *Wink* -Dan Marlowe (sisyphus42 gmail.com)
No need to mention. -Julie Southern (southernbookworm hotmail.com)
You know, I know, shh! -Liza Levy (sparkydoc kyk.net)
Inferred w/o a word. -Jeff Miller (jdmiller milligan.edu)
Don't need to say it. -Gabby Kissane (gkissane gmail.com)
The ways of a woman. -gordon havens (gordonhavens hotmail.com)

Many readers sent these suggestions:

Between the lines
Not said, but known.
Don't tell me - I know!
Not said, yet known.
Implicitly known.
Heard but not said.
Ya know what I mean.
Known sans speech.



To see life flit by. -Julie Paschkis (jpaschkis comcast.net)

Honorable mentions:

Life after cocoon. -Edie Bonferraro (edieb mailbug.com)
Study of flitters. -Rebecca Haaland (rebecca emsp.no)
About winged bugs. -Vaishali Kamath (vaishalikamath hotmail.com)
Flitterers study. -John A. Olmsted (jolmsted exchange.fullerton.edu)
Study live jewels. -Kate Daniel (writerkate earthlink.net)
What cute insects! -David M. Lieberfarb (dmlieb optonline.net)
Nabokov's leisure. -Stephen Schwartz (hillendari hotmail.com)
Study of farfalle. -Riccardo Fragnoli (riccardo.fragnoli mpsa.com)
i.e. Geek moth-ology. -James Miller (millnjam yahoo.com)
Focus: Flutterers. -Don Recker (dlrecker nwinfo.net)
On gossamer wings. -Uwe Stichert (info language-coaching.net
Splendor impaled. -Zack Fisher (zackipooh gmail.com) [He adds: While this is not the actual definition of lepidopterology, I remember thinking just that the first time I saw a butterfly collection, as a child.]
Buttermothology. -Judi Jones (judith.jones pncbank.com)
Science a-flutter. -Nyree Sharp (nyree_sharp yahoo.com)
Wee wing scrutiny. -Daniel Watson (dwatson illustratus.com)
Etude de papillon. -Gabby Kissane (gkissane gmail.com)
Re Papilionoidea. -Joe Dickey (joetdickey yahoo.com)
Study of cute bugs. -Terence Singh (terencesi nedbank.co.za)
Winged bugs study. -Jonathan Osborne (jono fullemployment.org)
Ciencia Mariposa. -John Connors (john.connors cengage.com)
Of the mothly crew. -Vicki Boyd (vickeeb gmail.com)
Volar bug studies. -Stephanie Hollenback (stephanietraylor hotmail.com)
Look! On the flower! / Look! Near the lamp! -Jeanne Landkamer (jeanne.landkamer metc.state.mn.us)
Moth examination. -Laura Richens (lrichens tulane.edu)

Many readers sent these:

Fluttery studies.
Butterflies et al.
Moth scholarship.
Moth and kin study.



2nd rate math geek. -Greg Foster (lokesman gmail.com)

Honorable mentions:

Ramanujan manque. -Eric Towne (etowne bates.edu)
A minor math major. -Howard Distelzweig (howard_distelzweig pall.com)
He divides by zero. -Peirce Hammond (Peirce.Hammond ed.gov)
Rounds pi to three. -Joselyne Gonzalez (joselyne yahoo.com)
Uneven math maven. -Catherine Masters (cmasters schiffhardin.com)
He's no Pythagoras. -Jacquie L Lowell (jlowell.improv juno.com), Dave Zobel (dzobel alumni.caltech.edu)
Two plus two's five. -R. Ganesh (r.ganesh iflexsolutions.com)
No Euclid or Gauss. -Devika Nair (devikanair1979 hotmail.com)
Digits: all thumbs. -Jason Morgan (aeelectra yahoo.com)
In-add-equatician. -Brendon L. Etter (better carleton.edu)
Can do two plus two. -Matt Schmidt (mschmidt hussoninc.com)
Math challenged. (I could have made it "maths challenged" but I prefer the irony of the above.) -Alan Broom (alan.broom macquarie.com)
Numbers Are Not Us. -Colleen (argonauta4 aol.com)
IQ's greater than pi. -Bill Ward (bill wards.net)
Bank executive, e.g. (not a timeless definition, but it works currently). -Aaron Long (aarondavidlong hotmail.com)
Just a calculator. -Tal Cohen (tal forum2.org)
One does not add up. -Mike Freedman (mike freedthinkers.com)
A nonplussed soul. -K. F. Turtletaub (doctorkf verizon.net)
Calculably unfit. -John Hudspeth (johnhudspeth windstream.net)
Big sum, small mind. -(ckmurphy54 hotmail.com)
An amateur at math. -John P. Marhin (john.p.marhin mainroads.qld.gov.au)
0 < x < a math savant. -Greg Foster (lokesman gmail.com)
99 percent of folk. -Kassy Daggett (kdaggett efn.org)
rkathleendillon. -R Kathleen Dillon (rkdillon verizon.net)
Math isn't my forte. -Kevin Ogburn (kevin.ogburn co.hennepin.mn.us)
Calculating Risk. -David Lehner-Smith (david.lehner-smith target.com)
Small-time mathmo. -Owen Biesel (owenbiesel gmail.com)

Many readers sent:

Number numbskull.
Math geek wannabe.
No good at numbers.
A numbers bumbler.
A numbers fumbler.



Digital printout. -Judith Bill (jgb22 comcast.net)

Honorable mentions:

How callous are we? -Will Whetzel (wwhetzel mssadvisors.com)
Palm/foot reading. -Jeff Miller (jdmiller milligan.edu)
Epidermis scrawl -Kathleen (stidmama yahoo.com)
Digital imagings. -Jason Nabi (jhn8d virginia.edu) and Wendi Dumbroff (penelopey aol.com)
Unique digital ID. -Ian Hoffman (Ian.Hoffman usdoj.gov)
Skin cartography. -k sahasranaman (k.sahasranaman gmail.com)
No hands are alike. -Sophia S. 6th grader, Community Middle School [sent by James Eng (james.eng ww-p.org) who encouraged his class to try this week's contest and shared their many entries]
Skin crop-circles. -Matthew Planchak (panqike gmail.com), Alexis Abraham (cawaaahome aol.com)
No two are the same. -Mike Hansen (mfh papermc.com)
The skin's pattern. -Carly, 4th grader [in Erin Allen's class (eallen howell.k12.nj.us)]
Study of skin ruts. -Peter Kidwell (peter.kidwell cox.net)
Skin's hills, dales. -Noël Lee (noellee free.fr)
Palmar, plantar ID. -Lisa Hyatt Cooper (lhcooper verizon.net)
Skin deep studies. -Kenneth Kirste (kkkirste sbcglobal.net)
Think whorl piece. -Matt Schuette (schuette79 hotmail.com)
What OJ fears most. -Analiese van den Dikkenberg (sandad hotmail.com)

Many readers sent:

Hand- or footprint.
Extremity prints.
Finger, toe prints.
Skin ridges study.


I had not asked for 15-letter definitions for Monday's word, but some readers sent them nonetheless. Here are a few selections:

Tapered like a 3-D V. -Louis P. Nappen (nappen comcast.net)
Just like a conoid. -Julie Davis (julie.davis ssa.gov)
Tornado-ish shape. -Mike Riley (mr.mikeriley gmail.com)
Swirls into point. -Susan Frost (richandsuzi yahoo.com)
Hourglass halved. -Don Recker (dlrecker nwinfo.net)
It's funnelicious! -Keith Parsons (khp38120 aol.com)
Smaller at one end. -Joe Trivers (joe_trivers amat.com)

Many subscribers sent their congratulations (a 15-letter word) in exactly 15 letters:

A Happy Fifteenth. -Mike Weinert (weinert.mike bls.gov)
I wish you the best. -Michel Cornelissen (mjm.cornelissen gmail.com)
Best wishes to all. -BranShea (via Wordsmith Talk bulletin board)

Thank you for participating and for your kind words.

From: Dharam Khalsa (dharamkk dishmail.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--infundibuliform
Def: Funnel-shaped.

Anagram of

I build in fun form

From: Ed Baker (ebaker coral.gso.uri.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--infundibuliform

With an imponderable volume of water pouring in and out of the Bay of Fundy twice a day, it seems likely the name is derived from Latin fundere (to pour). Here are some other attempts at explaining the origin of the name Fundy.

From: Owen Roberts (owen.roberts lmco.com)
Subject: infundibuliform

This word brings to mind a word that Kurt Vonnegut invented in his book Sirens of Titan. The word is chronosynclastic infindibulum. He defined it a place/time in the universe where people from different parts could agree on the nature of reality. At other times/places, these views of reality would be completely incompatible with one another.

From: Günther Deutinger (guenther.deutinger gmx.de)
Subject: infundibuliform

The German word for infundibuliform is trichterförmig which, if you translate the "ö" as usual to an oe, has 15 letters as well!

From: Jose Luis Martinez (jlmdeviaje hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--infundibuliform

In Mexico, a very popular name for convenience stores or cantinas, still found in rural villages, is "Las Quince Letras" (literally, "the fifteen letters") which, does have that number of letters. So, there it goes... in celebration of your "quinceañera" anniversary... in full gown, as is done here.

From: Vaishali Kamath (vaishalikamath hotmail.com)
Subject: Subintelligitur
Def: Something that is not stated but understood.

While my younger sister and I were growing up, there was a subintelligitur that our father was the final authority in enforcing discipline (the only area where he enjoyed final authority!). Although it was never really discussed, we knew that all complaints against us would finally be conveyed to him. In contrast, in my family I enjoy that privilege (too!). It is, however, not, something unspoken. My four-year-old daughter knows it and she vocalises it too. Sometimes I miss the aspect of mystery in relationships that I observed during childhood.

From: Bill Kapp (bill-kapp uiowa.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--mathematicaster
Def: A minor or incompetent mathematician.

See another definition of a mathematicaster.

From: Paul Benvenuto (paul.benvenuto yahoo.com)
Subject: math

I studied math in college, with visions of becoming an actuary. I worked briefly as a mathematician at an actuarial firm, however the job was about as exciting as watching paint dry. I subsequently chose to fly for the Navy.

It was there, during flight ops in the Persian Gulf shortly after Desert Storm, that my two worlds collided. I managed to use the quadratic equation with much success to plan a simulated multi-axis missile strike on an enemy carrier. All those years of schooling had finally paid off.

I left the Navy after six years and made the transition to government service, where I have worked for the past 12 years. Several years ago, I discovered your site while reading the Wall Street Journal. I have been hooked ever since.

From: Randy Hancock (randy.hancock mnp.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--dermatoglyphics
Def: 1. The ridge patterns of skin of the hands and feet.

When I first saw the word I thought it was a highfalutin word for tattoos!

From: Daryl Cobranchi (daryl cobranchi.com)
Subject: quindecennial Why is 15 years not sesquidecennial? And, assuming I can count correctly, it even satisfies the 15-letter rule.

The word makes perfect sense although it is not listed in any dictionary.
-Anu Garg

From: Dean Hedman (hedmand csdcso.on.ca)
Subject: Quindecennial

Did you notice that there are fifteen letters in www.wordsmith.org?

From: Emma Richards (emma.richards bondpearce.com)
Subject: Re: 15-letter words

Thank you thank you thank you!

My workplace has instigated a new computer security policy that means we have to have passwords which are (at least) 15 characters long and are changed every 60 days. This week's words will keep me in passwords for the forthcoming year.

From: Doug Sundseth (doug.sundseth ericsson.com)
Subject: Snakes and Ladders

Regarding your Friday quotation: "Snakes and ladders: the game of organized religions", it might be helpful to note that "Snakes and Ladders" (the board game) was originally written as a tool for teaching righteous conduct. Each ladder was labeled with some virtue or virtuous act and each snake was labeled with some sin or sinful act. The point of the game was to avoid the sins and embrace the virtues to win.

Interestingly, the actions of the player have nothing to do with gameplay, since movement in this game is entirely random. Perhaps it was designed by a Calvinist? 8-) Doug Sundseth Sometime editor of Games Annual Magazine

Words differently arranged have different meanings, and meanings differently arranged have a different effect. -Blaise Pascal, philosopher and mathematician (1623-1662)

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