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AWADmail Issue 550

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

Four Copy Editors Killed In Ongoing AP Style, Chicago Manual Gang Violence
The Onion

The Ronseal Phrase
BBC News

From: Lynn Mancini (mancini hopi.dtcc.edu)
Subject: praxis
Def: 1. Practice, as opposed to the theory. 2. Accepted practice or custom. 3. A set of practice exercises.

"Praxis" also means motor planning and execution. It is a word commonly used in physical and occupational therapies, along with the related words "apraxia" and "dyspraxia".

Lynn Mancini, Newark, Delaware

From: Kathy Stokes (kstokes baycrest.org)
Subject: Praxis

In the neurological/neuropsychological world, praxis has a very particular meaning: the ability to sequence movements together in a purposeful way, to perform an act or achieve a goal, such as communication (waving goodbye) or use of a tool (like a hammer). Practice need not have much to do with praxis: the sequencing of unfamiliar movements or of common movements in an unusual way may be a sensitive test of praxic dysfunction or "apraxia".

Kathy Stokes, Toronto, Canada

From: Chris Shea (cshea medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu)
Subject: Praxis

Definition #1 of "praxis" reminded me of the following bon mot: In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but, in practice, there is.

Chris Shea, Chicago, Illinois

Email of the Week (Courtesy One Up! -- The Perfect Cure for Cabin-Fever)

From: Michael Tremberth (michaelt4two googlemail.com)
Subject: conterminous
Def: 1. Having a common boundary. 2. Confined within one common boundary. 3. Having the same scope, in time, meaning, etc.

Your exemplary sentence could also be paraphrased:
"Bob Greene states he has performed in all 48 states in the conterminous United States."
This I think illustrates three distinguishable uses of the word "state/states". I imagine that there could be many more, though I doubt that they would all be conterminous.

Michael Tremberth, St Erth, Cornwall, UK

From: Andrew Holt (andrew.holt hlag.com)
Subject: Cenobite
Def: A member of a religious order living in a monastic community.

Anyone familiar with Clive Barker's film Hellraiser and its many sequels will know the cenobites as hideous rubber-clad demons who have broken through a rift in Hell into our world to claim the souls of those who have summoned them with the aid of an enchanted puzzle box.

Andrew Holt, Durban, South Africa

From: G. D. Zorzanello (zorzanello_gd hotmail.com)
Subject: cogent and other randomly found words

You could call it Brownian motion, browsing the Web, or looking words up in a dictionary.

When this occurs on Wikipedia, it is affectionately referred to as Wiki-walking and can consume a lot of time.

G. D. Zorzanello, Castro Valley, California

From: Lee Anne Thor (thorl michigan.gov)
Subject: This Week's Word Theme

I remember (as a kid) a column I loved to read called "Things I Learned from Looking Up Other Things" by Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986). Harris, in eight words, explained how many writers get their ideas. I looked forward to that column. It was fascinating!

Lee Anne Thor, Plainwell, Michigan

From: Denis Keogh (coyledove yahoo.com)
Subject: looking up words

My daughter identified the practice of randomly following a trail of words in the dictionary, something we often did, as "dictionary thumping", as opposed to "Bible thumping". Rather accurate I thought. To this day, we remain dictionary thumpers.

Denis Keogh, Cordova, Alaska

Dictionary: The universe in alphabetical order. -Anatole France, novelist, essayist, Nobel laureate (1844-1924)

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