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AWADmail Issue 537

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

Email of the Week -- (Brought to you by Oneupmanship -- Not for children under 13, pikers, whingers, or flinchers.)

From: Kenneth Gorelick (kgorelick gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--inveigh
Def: To complain or protest with great hostility.

It sounds more like the rabbi oy-veyed against the iPhone.

Kenneth Gorelick, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

From: Marek Boym (marekboym walla.com)
Subject: Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

I loved the quotation from Lec! He had a humor column in the Polish weekly "Przkrój" in the 1950s, in rhyme, of course, and I loved it. The nickname "Lec" comes from Hebrew, and means a clown or joker.

Marek Boym, Raanana, Israel

From: Charlotte Stone (charlotte-stone redwoods.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bunbury
Def: noun: An imaginary person whose name is used as an excuse to some purpose, especially to visit a place; verb intr.: To use the name of a fictitious person as an excuse.

When my daughter was about five years old her bunbury was named Dusty. Dusty was often the one responsible for foul play in the house.

Charlotte Stone, Eureka, California

From: Peter Gordon (p.gordon0 googlemail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bunbury

Thank you for this word, as it is also where we live.

Are you aware that the Derby (and presumably all key matches between close enemies) could have been named the Bunbury. A new race was planned to be named after the 12th Earl of Derby or one of his guests, Sir Charles Bunbury. According to legend the decision was made by the toss of a coin, but the inaugural running of the Derby in 1780 was won by Bunbury's Diomed.

Peter Gordon, Bunbury, Cheshire, UK

From: Sam Dunkin (dunkins centurylink.net)
Subject: Bunbury

Much like Alfred Hitchcock's McGuffin, something that sets the plot running.

Sam Dunkin, Astoria, Oregon

From: Dave Fenner (jdfenner aol.com)
Subject: Bunbury

Isn't this like the character created by the Czarist Army Corps to blame for all mistakes? Lt. Kije was also immortalized in Prokofiev's symphony of the same name.

Dave Fenner, Huber Heights, Ohio

From: Peirce Hammond (peirce_hammond ed.gov)
Subject: bunbury

Bunbury sheds light on Harvey, the sometimes visible, sometimes convenient, sometimes inconvenient pooka from the play bearing his name. From the perspective of those who can't "see" Harvey, Elwood P. Dowd is pulling a Bunbury (Bunburying?) when he uses Harvey as his reason/excuse to go drinking, say. But, then, what is he doing when he introduces Harvey to aghast old family friends and the like? That could just be an elaborate deception to keep his cover alive so to speak.

Peirce Hammond, Bethesda, Maryland

From: Bill Miller (wimiller umich.edu)
Subject: bunbury

Bunbury also is a gay joke Wilde is getting by the straights in the audience. The play on words is quite direct.
[Also see this.]

Bill Miller, Ann Arbor, Michigan

From: Anselma Ashley (adolcich nd.edu)
Subject: Feint
Def: noun: A deceptive move, especially in fencing or boxing. verb: To make a deceptive movement.

Harry Potter fans worldwide recognize this word from the 4th volume of JK Rowling's series. The Wronski Feint is a dangerous and exciting bluff performed by the Seeker in a Quidditch match. Pretending to spot the golden Snitch near the ground, the Seeker initiates a dive in an attempt to spur the opposite team's Seeker to do the same. At the last moment prior to crashing into the ground, the Seeker executes the feint by pulling up of the dive, while the opposing Seeker crashes.

Anselma Ashley, South Bend, Indiana

The appropriately beautiful or ugly sound of any word is an illusion wrought on us by what the word connotes. -Max Beerbohm, writer, critic, and caricaturist (1872-1956)

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