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AWADmail Issue 359

May 17, 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: Interesting stories from the net

A Degree in English
The New York Times

Judging Honesty by Words, Not Fidgets
The New York Times

From: Lynn Mancini (mancini dtcc.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--pretermit
Def: 1. To let pass without mention. 2. To suspend or to leave undone.

I won't even mention the related word "preterition", which is the rhetorical act of emphasizing a topic by claiming not to discuss it.

From: Jeff Sconyers (jeff.sconyers seattlechildrens.org)
Subject: Pretermit

In estate planning, we talk about pretermitted heirs. If someone fails to mention a child in her/his will, there can be an assumption that they forgot -- these pretermitted heirs can usually claim a share of the estate. If you want to disinherit somebody, call them by name and specifically leave nothing to them. Cold, but effective. Pretermission is the classic avenue for bastard children to grab a share of the loot.

From: Wilson Fowlie (wfowlie deltastar.ca)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--wend
Def: To travel along a route.

I passed along the Notes about 'wend' to a friend of mine, who said, "Too bad it wasn't from yesterday."

(Get it? It would have been "wend's-day"!)

From: Joe Fleischman (jfleischman wbcm.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--brachiate
Def: To move by swinging from one hold to another by using arms.

It's been said that an intellectual is a person who can hear the William Tell Overture without thinking of the Lone Ranger. While the relevance of that wit has faded with the old television series, those of us of a "certain age" will no doubt see an analogous calling in today's word.

Who among us read the definition of brachiate without thinking of Tarzan?

From: Liza Levy (sparkydoc kyk.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--brachiate

When "Achy Breaky Heart" was a hit, I came up with:

Don't tell my heart, my brachiating heart
My heart that is swinging through the trees
Don't tell my heart, my brachiating heart
That you've made a monkey out of me.

From: Karyn Bitzel (kbitzel hcpss.org)
Subject: Sharing the word

I am a fifth grade teacher in Maryland and enjoy receiving A.Word.A.Day. It is the morning work for my students to copy and discuss each word. There is a quiz after every fifteenth word. All year, teachers and students have found opportunities to discuss words, origins, and in some instances, create our own words.

In a recent classwork assignment about the formation of a tornado, I found notes in the margin that used the word for funnel-shaped! My ten- and eleven-year-old students loved the word "borborygmous" and had quite a discussion about "maritorious". They felt it was a problem to have a word that described a person who was very fond of "your" husband. "What kind of lady is that!

" Just wanted to let you know that there are teachers sharing the wonderful mess that is the English language and that 96 fifth grade students at Waterloo Elementary School are driving their parents crazy with a new vocabulary word each day. Contact me if you'd like the latest quiz!

When I read some of the rules for speaking and writing the English language correctly, -- as that a sentence must never end with a particle, -- and perceive how implicitly even the learned obey it, I think -- Any fool can make a rule And every fool will mind it. -Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

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