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AWADmail Issue 495

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

From: Jim Scarborough (jimes hiwaay.net)
Subject: callipygous

When the Sir Mix-a-Lot song "Baby Got Back" came out in 1992, I happened across the video on the television. Ordinarily this would have been a passing nuisance, but within, I noticed a ten-foot-high magazine cover that looked like Cosmopolitan magazine, only featuring the rear-end of some woman. The title of the magazine? "Cosmopygian". Delightful.

Jim Scarborough, Cary, North Carolina

Email of the Week (Brought to you by The Official Uppity Handbook)

From: Jeremiah Reedy (reedy macalester.edu)
Subject: Venus/Aphrodite

The word callipygous reminds me of a limerick:

In the annals of ancient historia
'Twas Venus who got all the gloria.
She had a pyge
that was very calle.
'Twas truly an arse amatoria.

The Venus Callipyge (also known as Aphrodite Kallipygos), a Roman copy of a Greek original, is in Naples.

Jeremiah Reedy, Saint Paul, Minnesota

From: John Ellis (drjohnellis att.net)
Subject: callipygous

Interesting coincidence with today's word: SMBC Comics.

John Ellis, Amarillo, Texas

From: John Kimber (jkimber391 aol.com)
Subject: callipygous

The word callipygous, brings back memories of The Limeliters, a folk singing quartet in the sixties who sang a song about Vicky Dugan, who appeared in a backless gown.

Vikki, Baby, you rock me.
Without you I'm bereft.
I'm hypnotized by your crazy eyes,
And that callypygian cleft.

My problem was that I could never figure out that word before cleft. Years later I managed to find the lyrics and smiled once again. Thank you for reminding me.

John Kimber, Thimphu, Bhutan

From: John Sandor (Allante91 aol.com)
Subject: callipygous

I named one of my rescue greyhounds "Calli" in reference to her having very well developed buttock muscles. I also have a current greyhound that is named "Dasy" from the word dasypygal. These words fit the breed perfectly!

John Sandor, Rocky River, Ohio

From: Judy Gates (gateposte gmail.com)
Subject: callipygous

Some years ago, the Financial Times did an article on Imelda Marcos. I think she was running for office. I can't remember the quotation exactly, but the reporter spoke of the stately and "still callipygous" Imelda. I had to look it up -- and chuckled when I discovered its meaning. The image that popped into my mind was of Imelda reading the article and then asking one of her aides what the word meant. Would they tell her? And would she be offended or flattered?

Judy Gates, Mongolia

From: Larry Huber (larry_huber comcast.net)
Subject: Prognathous

You should have had a picture of Bill Cowher, former Pittsburgh Steelers football coach and current NFL commentator. His nickname is The Chin.

Larry Huber, Harleysville, Pennsylvania

From: Rod Hewitt (rodders vrod.co.uk)
Subject: Mammose coincidence

Yesterday morning I was reading North Atlantic Seafood by Alan Davidson. In reference to sturgeon in Delaware and Pennsylvania:

"Legislation had been passed to prevent other fishermen catching or harming young sturgeon (known as mammoses)."

So it's the plural noun rather than the adjective, but that is quite some coincidence.

Rod Hewitt, High Wycombe, UK

A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. -Charles Peguy, poet and essayist (1873-1914)

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