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AWADmail Issue 478A 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)
After 1960, Omaha city experienced rapid growth. Once known for the world's largest stockyards, they were closed, as meat was processed more and more where the cattle were. People moved out in droves to suburbs, and many people became the "newly rich". Yet the rich here for generations were less inclined to accept them on equal terms. The area of the city where I live was a cornfield when I was in high school, and it rapidly became the center of the city, which has since moved farther west by miles. I remember many discussions and newspaper articles about this so it is very interesting to me.
LukeJavan8, Omaha, Nebraska
From: Nathan Ginsbury (nathan nr-ginsbury.com)
Thank you for the definition (2) of nubile.
The text of the verse in Isaiah 7:14 is commonly mistranslated as "A virgin shall conceive and ..." The original Hebrew rendered as "virgin" actually means "young woman of marriageable age but not yet married", without reference to her virginity (or otherwise).
The mistranslation is usually attributed to the lack of a suitable word in Greek/Latin and hence into English.
A better translation might, therefore, be "nubile young woman".
Nathan Ginsbury, Netanya, Israel
From: Robert Wilson (robwilsonit yahoo.it)
The Italian word for an unmarried lady is nubile, though this is no longer politically correct on ID cards, where they now write libera (free).
Robert Wilson, Pordenone, Italy
From: Candy (via Wordsmith Talk bulletin board)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--mountebank
Def: An unscrupulous pretender; a quack.
You might need a chair for this procedure...
When searching Mountebank I came across this Italian masterpiece, for sale at Christie's: A Mountebank Dentist.
It has an inscription 'Il mondo è tondo... Chi non fa navigar va al fondo' [The world is round, those who cannot float sink to the bottom] in the upper left.
Candy, Queensland, Australia
From: Edie Bonferraro (edieb mailbug.com)
Mountebank, CT was where the bigots lived in the movie, Auntie Mame.
Edie Bonferraro, Rochester, New York
From: Rudy Rosenberg Sr (RRosenbergSr accuratechemical.com)
There was this young girl in Beverly Hills telling a friend about a family that was really penurious:
They were so poor,
Rudy Rosenberg Sr., Westbury, New York
From: Susan Blake (myblakesregistry gmail.com)
When my son was in school (1980s) I would have him do dictionary work (Webster's Unabridged) after homework. Pick three words at random, read and write out the descriptions, phonetics, all of it... then three more chosen from each of the first three. He has a wonderful vocabulary, and knows how to use it. When A.Word.A.Day appeared on my computer, I immediately sent the link to my son for his two boys to start using (8 and 5), never too young to start! Grazie mille!
And a silly sort of made up word can be very effective, ie: Warmderful, the knitted garments made of donated yarn for the less fortunate in life.
Susan Blake, Napa, California
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:English usage is sometimes more than mere taste, judgment, and education -- sometimes it's sheer luck, like getting across the street. -E.B. White, writer (1899-1985)