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AWADmail Issue 544

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

This week's Email of the Week is from Sue Wright (see below), who will get to choose an Uppityshirt, and there's a heck of a selection.

Calling all smart, arty vocabularians. Do you think you have a unique, fun, and funny way with words? Well, here's your chance to prove it. Oneupmanship is running a Pull up to the Bumper, Baby Contest and the rules are simple: create an original and it goes without saying, clever bumper sticker, like: "B + 2NA = BANANA", or "AESTHETICS > ETHICS" and send it to us by this Friday. Just about anything goes, but let's make sure we keep the party polite, people. Winner will see his or her (hopefully) witty apercu become an actual bumper sticker; runner-up will get to choose any of our cool, genius loot -- and there's a heck of a selection.
HOW TO ENTER -- Email your magnificent stab to johnnymustard@oneupmanship.com no later than midnight, 12/07/2012. One entry per person. Please include all of your contact information.

From: Pat Hankins (claypath earthlink.net)
Subject: Leah Palmer Preiss

I look forward to AWAD every day but this week was special. I learned about a word, contemplated the Thought and delighted in Leah's imaginative and whimsical illustrations. I look forward to her next contributions. Thank you for making my day.

Pat Hankins, Meansville, Georgia

From: M Henri Day (mhenriday gmail.com)
Subject: bursiform
Def: Shaped like a pouch or a sac.

Interesting to note that the nominal form of this word has inspired the name of the stock exchange in many European countries: bourse, borsa, bolsa, börs, børs, etc., etc. That's what I call concretisation!

M Henri Day, Stockholm, Sweden

From: Brett Beiles (brettb hardyboys.co.za)
Subject: bursiform

A while ago I visited my doctor because of a swelling on an elbow. After examining it, he announced, "You have a barsa."
"Barsa? Don't you mean bursa?" I said.
The doctor knew me well. "A barsa," he explained, is a bursa caused by leaning for too long on a bar counter."

Brett Beiles, Westville, South Africa

From: David Skulski (david.skulski gmail.com)
Subject: lachrymal
Def: Relating to or inducing tears.

This fine word immediately brought to mind a musical work that was an important part of my career in historical music, the Lachrimae, or Seaven Teares in Seaven Passionate Pavanes (London, 1604) by John Dowland (rhymes with "Poland"). Each pavan (a stately dance) is a variant of his famous song, Flow my Tears.

David Skulski, Vancouver, Canada

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

From: Sue Wright (Suelwright aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lachrymal

The word lachrymal brought back a 35-year-old memory. Our only son was doing his sophomore year at his university's Rome campus. Just turned 19, he had left -- my "baby". Imagine my surprise to receive a letter from him saying, "I had the most delightful wine called Lacrima Christi. I hope we can have it again when I come home at Christmas." How six months abroad had matured him. I was positively lacrymose the rest of the day!

Sue Wright, Lakeway, Texas

From: Dorothy S. Stewart (latinlogos austin.rr.com)
Subject: lachrymal

As a Latinist, I am very familiar with this word and its origin. Virgil's lacrimae rerum immediately springs to mind. There is a related word which you might find interesting: lacrimatorium (or tear catcher). In the Middle East, when a husband returns from a journey, his wife presents him with a decorative jar, the mouth of which is shaped like an eye into which she has cried. The amount of her tears represents her love for him. Of course, she could always just put in salted water.

Dorothy S. Stewart, Cedar Park, Texas

From: Sue Frankewicz (suefrankewicz gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lachrymal

You should include the alternate spelling, lacrimal. My team was unfairly eliminated from our community spelling bee earlier this month due to this oversight and received an apology the next day from the official in charge.

Sue Fraser Frankewicz, Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts

From: RGregory (via Wordsmith Talk discussion forum)
Subject: lachrymal

In chemistry, the term for the class of chemicals that includes Mace and tear gas is lachrymator. It is often listed as a hazard for materials that cause tearing and spasms of the eyelids. I got hit with the vapor of phenyl isocyanate once when a safety system failed, and my tears flowed like a river, and my eyes couldn't stay open for more than about a few milliseconds! It was the most unusual experience -- I was fine, it was literally just my eyes.

RGregory, Iowa

From: Richard Pena (rpenaa aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lachrymal

Reminds me of lachrymose that, if I recall correctly, was one of the six stages of drunkenness. They are verbose, jocose, morose, lachrymose, bellicose, and comatose.

Richard Pena, Bonita, California

From: Claudine Voelcker (claudine.voelcker googlemail.com)
Subject: wassail
Def: To toast; To go from house to house singing carols at Christmas.

In Alsace where I grew up, we used to wassail the cows and oxen and horses too just before going to midnight mass on Christmas Eve. They would also get extra provender to thank them for their work over the year and let them know it's Christmas.

Claudine Voelcker, Munich, Germany

From: Rita Bhimani (ritabhimani gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--wassail

I made an invitation card some twenty years ago, with the following limerick for one of my parties. It went thus:

After a long, hot summer of madness
And a season of showy uncladness
I'd like a wassail with you
Like the Anglo Saxon lulu
With bird, bottle, bawd, and undergradness.

Rita Bhimani, Kolkata, India

From: Steve Mansfield (stephen.mansfield nhs.net)
Subject: Wassail

In early January next year we shall be helping to wassail the apple trees of Cookley, just south of Birmingham in the English Midlands.

Toasted bread and streamers will be hung in the trees, shotguns (well, fireworks) will be fired through the branches, speeches will be made, and 'Wassail' will be shouted, dances danced, and the occasional performance-enhancing glass of cider may also be consumed, for purely medicinal purposes of course.

Steve Mansfield, Stockport, UK

From: Kerrie Blennerhassett (k_blennerhassett hotmail.com)
Subject: wassail

We go to a wassail at a cider farm in Sussex. It is considered a pagan festival, where the old spirits are ushered out and new good spirits (or could be good/bad spirits) are welcomed in. It is great fun with a big bonfire, dancing and much merrymaking. Just what you need after the doldrums of Xmas have set in.

Kerrie Blennerhassett, UK

Words are the soul's ambassadors, who go / Abroad upon her errands to and fro. -James Howell, writer (c. 1594-1666)

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