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AWADmail Issue 423

August 8, 2010

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

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

1066 and all those baby names
BBC News

Secret vault of words rejected by the Oxford English Dictionary uncovered
The Telegraph
[a perfect example of a run-of-the-mill situation sensationalized in a newspaper story]

From: Carol Lashof (clashof gmail.com)
Subject: Troglodyte
Def: 1. Someone who is brutish, reactionary, or primitive. 2. A cave dweller. 3. An animal that lives underground.

I love your theme for this week and this word in particular. When my now 22-year-old daughter was in kindergarten, she was tormented by a boy who teased her and called her names. After some discussion of how to handle this within the parameters of classroom rules, I suggested she call him a troglodyte. It worked. The next day after school, she reported his open-mouthed, dumbfounded reaction. And he didn't bother her much after that.

Email of the Week - (Courtesy One Up! - Are you wicked/smart?)

From: Samprati Gada (samprati gmail.com)
Subject: Comment - troglodyte

Thank you for choosing swear words this week. As you have mentioned that we no longer need to depend on those worn-out terms, the only alternative I had so far was to think of Captain Haddock from Tintin comics and his comic blasphemy to vent out my emotions and feel good. These new words and the 'puzzled' look on the face of recipients is the new feel-good factor that I look forward to.

From: David Mezzera (DaMezz comcast.net)
Subject: troglodyte

Gene Roddenberry was ahead of his time in his terminology. Consider one group of characters in the Star Trek episode The Cloud Minders.

The USS Enterprise comes to the planet Ardana to acquire zienite, a rare mineral, but the zienite is not available because the miner class (called Troglytes) who live in caves are rebelling against the rulers of Ardana, who live in a cloud-city above the planet.

Troglytes? Cave dwellers, miners, reactionaries, primitives? How very close to your word today -- troglodyte. Roddenberry must have known!

From: Ellen Blackstone (ellen 123imagine.net)
Subject: Troglodytes / Troglodytidae

It's always seemed funny to me to think of cavemen and wrens -- the tiny, tuneful songbirds -- as being in any way related. But "Troglodytidae" is the family name for all the wrens, including the familiar House Wren, the Carolina Wren of the Eastern US, the Bewick's Wren of the West, and more. I guess they were so named for their love of foraging and nesting in dark crevices. The Winter Wren may even add a roof of moss to its nest.

From: Jan Smith (forjhsmith gmail.com)
Subject: troglodyte

The French city of Saumur bills itself as having the greatest concentration of troglodyte sites in the Loire Valley.

From: Lekha Warrior (lekhawarrior gmail.com)
Subject: Troglodyte

We visited Amboise in France, where many of the inhabitants have their homes in the rock face or the caves of the area. Unbelievable, until one actually sees it. Amboise is a very pretty place with the river Loire touching it. Its Chateau houses the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci and apparently the region is considered to be the cradle of the Renaissance.

From: Leora Starkey (starkeyleora hotmail.com)
Subject: troglodyte

In the small town of Matmata in Tunisia, you can stay in the Hotel Sidi Driss and experience the troglodyte life. Star Wars fans will recognize it as the setting for Luke Skywalker's childhood home, but it functions as a working hotel.

The local people have developed an unusual architecture to deal with the climate, digging down into the soft rock to make a central courtyard, then outwards to make individual rooms. There is no negative connotation to 'troglodyte' there. It's simply a description of the (very sensible) living arrangements.

From: Linda Owens (lindafowens netzero.net)
Subject: troglodyte

In my long-ago cave-exploring days, when I was enjoying friendships while escaping the drudgery of college studies, I met with a few troglodytes of the non-human variety. I never saw any live cave fish, but once, near a small cave system in New York, not far from Albany, I noticed brown crickets outside the entrance, while there was a gradation of color as the crickets spent more of their lifespan just inside the crawlspace. As I got further into the cave, I saw crickets on the walls that were completely white from lack of sunlight, with vestigial eyes that were pink and did not need to see.

From: Paul Tilley (roo_69 tpg.com.au)
Subject: troglodyte

I'm sure like many of my generation, when I hear or read the word troglodyte I can't help but smile and remember the song of the same name by the Jimmy Castor Bunch, which indicated that between cave men and women, there was a much simpler approach to dating.

From: David Theis (davidtheis earthlink.net)
Subject: Puerile
Def: 1. Immature; silly; childish. 2. Relating to childhood.

A handy phrase for the right occasion: "Pueri pueri erunt" which is Latin for "boys will be boys". Personally I like how "erunt" rhymes with "grunt", given how boys can be.

From: Aditya Oruganti (aditya.oruganti gmail.com)
Subject: Jejune
Def: 1. Dull; insipid. 2. Lacking maturity; juvenile. 3. Lacking in nutrition.

As one of your many readers who is also a longtime fan of Calvin and Hobbes, I first came across the word jejune in a C&H strip about snowmen, where Calvin offers his expert and entirely delightful opinion about high and low snow art. It ends with Hobbes uttering what is one of my favorite lines in the series, "Talent like ours carries such enormous responsibility."

From: Kathy Koons (kathykoons mail.com)
Subject: vainglorious
Def: Filled with, exhibiting, or proceeding from excessive pride, especially in one's achievements or abilities.

It was really neat to see the illustration, "All is Vanity" with the word vainglorious. I recently returned from a trip to Texas, where I visited President Johnson's boyhood home in Johnson City. There I saw this same illustration. Mrs. Johnson (LBJ's mother) had a college degree and wanted her children and all the children in town to have the best education possible. In her parlor, she taught speech to her children and to any interested child from town and used this picture to teach the children that not all is as it first appears. You can even buy a copy from the National Park Service's visitor center.

From: Rudy Rosenberg Sr (RRosenbergSr accuratechemical.com)
Subject: cursing

It was Dr. Goebbels, when generals complained that there was too much obscenities at the German front, replied "Cursing is the bowel movement of the soul."

From: Melanie Sheridan (melanie.sheridan gmail.com)
Subject: swearing

In fact, scientists have proved that swearing also serves a useful part in pain relief.

From: Ellie Depew (SraEllie carolina.rr.com)
Subject: Insults without profanity

About 20 years ago, when my son was in seventh grade, he told another boy,
"You're a massive genetic mistake."
"What's that mean?"
"It means your genes don't fit."

The boy looked down at his jeans and said, "Yes, they do."

From: Paul Kacik (pjkacik yahoo.com)
Subject: Swearing to Vent Anger

My grandfather was an immigrant from Eastern Europe who spoke English with a strong accent. For some reason he found the capital of California a perfect substitute for a curse word. For example if he bumped his head, he wouldn't say "damn" or some other familiar exclamation. He would shout (with a slight roll of the "r"): "Sacramento, California".

From: Jenka Guevara (guevaraj gmail.com)
Subject: Aram Khachaturian

Your comment on four letter words made me think of when I was little and my mother said "Khachaturian!" instead of a bad word. This Russian composer was not very well known in the fifties.

From: Curtis L. Brown (curtisb722 aol.com)
Subject: Everything in moderation

Reminds me of the novice at a monastery, who was advised by his mentor to practice celibacy, but in moderation.

Dictionary: The universe in alphabetical order. -Anatole France, novelist, essayist, Nobel laureate (1844-1924)

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