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AWADmail Issue 562

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 One Up! -- Letter-perfect fun.)

From: Andre Desnoyers (desnoyers msn.com)
Subject: Same Same but...

There is a somewhat ubiquitous t-shirt in South-East Asia which states
SAME SAME (on the front)
BUT DIFFERENT (on the back).

To which I feel like replying:

And this quotation from Salman Rushdie (in The Enchantress of Florence): "The curse of the human race is not that we are so different from one another, but that we are so alike."

André Desnoyers, Seattle, Washington

From: Jim Cosgrove (jcosgrove.law verizon.net)
Subject: Percipient

In the US legal system "percipient" is a term of art meaning someone with direct knowledge from having seen, heard, smelled, or felt something firsthand, as contrasted with having heard it from someone else. Most often used in the expression "a percipient witness".

Jim Cosgrove, Worcester, Massachusetts

From: Michael Strainic (ufo1 shaw.ca)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--percipient

In the field of Ufology (the scientific study of the UFO Phenomenon -- or Phenomena), 'percipient' is often used to refer to the 'witness' of a UFO or other anomalous event, i.e. "one who has perceived". This is preferred by many ufologists because even after several hundred years of study, we still have no idea as to what exactly is being observed or its true nature.

I won't bore you with endless detail, but UFOs -- for want of a much better term -- seem to have been here since ever, perhaps longer than the human race.

There are cave paintings in Russia scientifically verified to be truly prehistoric which clearly show images of what could be called "Classic 1950s-style Flying Saucers".

For anyone interested in seeing how Science deals with this enigma, drop in to cufos.org.

Michael Strainic, North Vancouver, Canada

From: Keith Younger (kyounger133 msn.com)
Subject: temerarious

The British navy has had five ships named HMS Temeraire. I had wondered about the meaning, now I see it fits in well with HMS Audacious and other such names.

Keith Younger, Milwaukee, Oregon

From: Ian Gordon (awad ipgordon.me.uk)
Subject: temerarious

There is a famous painting by JMW Turner, about the "retirement" of a sailing warship, called The Fighting Temeraire tugged to her last berth to be broken up. The same event is also commemorated in a ballad by Sir Henry Newbolt, titled The Fighting Temeraire.

Ian Gordon, Surrey, UK

From: Monroe Thomas Clewis (mtc265 yahoo.com)
Subject: temerarious

"Timorous" (as in "wee sleekit cow'rin Tim'rous Beastie") is an easily-confused, similar-sounding antonym of "temerarious" made famous by Robert Burns in his poem "To a Mouse". Among the mice "Temerarious Beasties" are hard to find.

Monroe Thomas Clewis, Kunming, China

From: Dominique Mellinger (dominiquemellinger yahoo.co.uk)
Subject: temerarious

"Courageux, mais pas téméraire", we have this phrase in French that we use, often with a smile and a little pause after the word 'courageux', when there is something a bit risky we don't want to do. The conversation can go this way:
- Did you eventually have a picnic at the place where we saw the viper yesterday?
- Ah non! Courageux, mais pas téméraire!

We also use it in a humorous way to comment about someone's actions: if the cat very prudently tries to go out in the rain and comes back almost instantly we may say in a slightly sarcastic way: "courageux/courageuse, mais pas téméraire".

Dominique Mellinger, Gorze, France

From: Michael Tremberth (michaelt4two googlemail.com)
Subject: malapert

Could well be applied to wardrobe malfunctions.

Michael Tremberth, St Erth, Cornwall, UK

A man who uses a great many words to express his meaning is like a bad marksman who, instead of aiming a single stone at an object, takes up a handful and throws at it in hopes he may hit. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)

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