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AWADmail Issue 429

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

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

A Dictionary of the Near Future
The New York Times

English as She Is Spoke (and Texted)
The New Yorker

From: Rudy Rosenberg Sr (RRosenbergSr accuratechemical.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--camelot
Def: An idealized time or place, one regarded as enlightened, beautiful, and peaceful.

Camelot in French: a street peddler.
Camelote in French: Rubbish, trash, junk, shoddy.

From: Donald W. Smith (donald.smith cgocable.ca)
Subject: camelot

The word camelot in French Canada means a newspaper carrier (paper boy).

From: Tony Pivetta (apivetta aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--hades
Def: Hell.

I am reminded of The Simpsons' episode in which Homer travels back in time to ancient Greece. While cavorting with the gods on Mt. Olympus, he does something to incur the wrath of Zeus, who sends him hurtling via thunderbolt to Hades. In the next scene, Homer's paddling on the river Styx as the saccharin cacophony of Lady, from the execrable 1970s pop band Styx, blares all around him. "Oh, no!" he screams, jettisoning his oars to cover his ears. "This place really is hell, isn't it?!"

From: John L. Pearlman (jlp tiac.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--hades

Was it by coincidence or on purpose that the word "hades" appeared on the anniversary of Dante's death?

From: Alex Harrison (alex.harrison psc.wa.gov.au)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--never-never land
Def: An idealized imaginary place where everything is perfect.

There is significant reference to the Never-never as an extremely remote part of the Australian landscape, the Outback in Australia has also been termed the Never-Never, more specifically in the Northern Territory. It was referenced in A.J. Boyd's Old Colonials, 1882:

"My soliloquy ends with the inquiry, 'What on earth is to be done in this wretched Never-never country?'"

The Northern Territory government uses it in an advertising slogan:

"You'll Never Never know if you Never Never go."

From: John Burbidge (burbidge centurytel.net)
Subject: Never Never Land

For Australians, the term "Never Never" has a special significance. It first appeared in the late 19th century to refer to the remote Outback, beyond the farthest frontiers of European settlement, almost as a mythical place to which no sane person would ever want to go. But the 1908 publication of Jeannie Gunn's classic Australian novel "We of the Never Never" (made into a film in 1982) gave the term a more positive twist, while acknowledging its earlier, less favorable connotations. She refers to it as a place that those who have lived in and loved never, never want to leave ... "a land of dangers and hardships and privations yet a land as few lands are loved -- a land that bewitches her people with strange spells and mysteries, until they call sweet bitter, and bitter sweet."

From: Tom Priestly (tpriestl shaw.ca)
Subject: Ivory tower
Def: A place or state of privileged seclusion, disconnected from practical matters and harsh realities of life.

In 1872 French novelist Gustave Flaubert wrote, "J'ai toujours tâché de vivre dans une tour d'ivoire; mais une marée de merde en bat les murs, à la faire crouler.[I have always tried to live in an ivory tower; but a huge wave of excrement is beating against its walls, [enough] to make it crumble."] When I was a university professor, this was my motto.

From: Ruth Ryan (vruthryan suddenlink.net)
Subject: La la land
Def: 1. A place or a state of being out of touch with reality. 2. A place known for frivolous activities.

Just a note: after living in LA for many years I know that the term la la land does not ONLY allude to the fictitious nature of Hollywood and the movies, but also to the frequent craziness encountered just by living in a "city" so huge, and sometimes is even a reflection on the choice to live there at all.

From: B. Benson (bbensonfl aol.com)
Subject: la la land

You forgot Ft. La de da derdale, Florida.

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

From: Monroe Thomas Clewis (mtc mtclex.com)
Subject: ditty

Travel Guide

From the Ivory Tower in La La Land
Camelot is close at hand,
But Never-never land
In Hades.

From: Sonja Gross (SMHeinze2 aol.com)
Subject: persnickety

A man on an elevator with me this morning pressed a button to the floor he wanted. The button would not light up until he had pressed it about three times. Trying to make conversation, I said, "that button sure is being persnickety." He said, "persnickety implies intent. It's just being glitchy." I thought, surely this gentleman subscribes to A.Word.A.Day!

A word in earnest is as good as a speech. -Charles Dickens, novelist (1812-1870)

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