Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



AWADmail Issue 563

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: Margie Disque (mdisque comcast.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lex loci

I used the legal binding of "I have to, it's in my contract" or "you have to, it's in your contract" to manage many, many childhood contretemps. Then that boy grew up enough to realize he hadn't signed any contracts and my subterfuge was, well, sunk. Thanks for today's word and back story.

Margie Disque, Albuquerque, New Mexico

From: Peirce Hammond (peirce_hammond ed.gov)
Subject: lex loci

Local, indeed. Hard to get more local than a small sailing vessel, where the captain's word is law, even if s/he makes it up on the spot. My father, who loved to sail, came at the overall phenomenon of local practice both prevailing and varying with the nautical observation, "other ships, other long splices".

Peirce Hammond, Bethesda, Maryland

From: Brian Fahey (brianfahey juno.com)
Subject: suborn

This word is also used in respect to giving one's interest in an item to another. For example, I own property which I'm selling and give my interest in that property to a mortgage company. Why? To facilitate the purchaser in obtaining a mortgage.

My mother once owned over 400 acres which was being converted to a golf course. We had a buyer of substance but they needed an additional mortgage to finish the project. She was asked to suborn her interest in the property to a mortgage company. All went well by doing so.

Brian Fahey, Hunt, New York

From: Georges Pauli (g.pauli tesco.net)
Subject: mens rea

What I recall from my studies of English criminal law is that mens rea had a twin, actus reus, and that the two had to be proved to secure a conviction. You may wish to kill someone -- mens rea -- but it is not until you kill that person -- actus reus -- that you have committed murder. To kill someone without the mens rea amounts to manslaughter, at most.

Georges Pauli, Witham, UK

From: David Micklethwait (micklethwait hotmail.com)
Subject: mens rea

Many years ago, I was challenged to find a rhyme for the word "window". I was just then studying law, and had learned that "mens rea", a guilty mind or criminal intent, was an essential element of certain offences, including murder. I offered this :

A nasty young fellow named Will
Pushed his grandmother over the sill.
Said the judge, "You have sinned o-
nly if from the window
You pushed her, intending to kill."

David Micklethwait, London, UK

From: Christiana Mollin (christiana19119 yahoo.com)
Subject: attorn

My late husband, who was an appellate attorney for years and previously a teacher of languages and philosophy, once gave the definition of "attorney" as one -- not to whom the litigant turns -- but to whom the court turns, inasmuch as the attorney explains things to the court, not to the client. My husband's definition has always seemed right to me, partly because this is what I observed in court, but mostly because my husband was never wrong!

Christiana Mollin, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

From: Curry B Taylor (curry.b.taylor gmail.com)
Subject: "Ignorance of the Law"

Considering the fact that it is physically impossible to even read the millions of laws on the books which apply to any average citizen, much less know and understand them at the spur of the moment in any given real-life situation, ignorance of the law is most definitely a valid excuse.

Curry B Taylor, Hillsboro, Oregon

From: Grant Cribb (word cribb.me.uk)
Subject: Friday's Thought for Today

A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books. -Walt Whitman, poet (1819-1892)

For those familiar with British slang, the image of Walt Whitman with a morning glory at his window is an arresting one indeed!

Grant Cribb, Harlington, UK

From: Mary Britt (mbritt vt.edu)
Subject: medical terms

A.Word.A.Day is a pleasure I share with a number of friends. Thank you. Your current theme -- legal terminology -- inspires another theme, medical terms. My favorite appeared on a wig prescription following chemo: cranial prosthesis.

Mary Britt, Blacksburg, Virginia

No one means all he says, and yet very few say all they mean, for words are slippery and thought is viscous. -Henry Brooks Adams, historian (1838-1918)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2023 Wordsmith