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AWADmail Issue 59

December 2, 2001

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages

From: Hylla Evans (hyllaevansATaol.com)
Subject: On reflection

Your note about wordpix brought another discussion to mind. Among other artists, I have noted "visual thinking" as discrete from spatial visualization. Many artists experience words as two dimensional images, sometimes a picture of their spelling, sometimes as pictures of images. Similarly, some with mathematical processes at heart experience words as letter patterns. These recognize symmetry in spelling, cadence as a mathematical pattern, and related traits unrelated to the word's meaning. People who experience words this way frequently have extremely good memories for numbers. Musicians have reported analogous 'memory pictures' of words as musical patterns.

From: Peter Zicari (pzicariATplaind.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--procrustean

I have always maintained that Procrustes is the patron saint of newspaper copy editors, who must make it fit or make it fill, and who have cut off more than one good story at the knees.

From: Susan Love, MD (sloveATearthlink.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--pendulous

Pendulous is a term used to literally mean hanging in medicine often. It most often is referring to breasts. Sometimes, however, it refers to abdominal fat or a pendulous panniculus!

From: Diane Saltzberg (dlsaltzbergATearthlink.net)
Subject: Pendulous

Couldn't resist--though I know you can't share this with the vast majority of AWAD subscribers.

I have rather large breasts, and was shattered to learn that the medical description of my chest was "pendulous." I was young then... NOW what would the proper term be?

    Diane sent her rendition of wordpix for the word pendulous. -Anu

From: Brynmore Williams (brynmoreAThotmail.com)
Subject: pendulate

I recently wrote a music review for a local paper and wanted a word to describe how the record had made my hips move from side to side from the very first listen. I chose to make one up: "pendulate" and of course on printing they changed it to "shaking". My question, is pendulate a valid addition to the dictionary?

    Indeed it is. Too bad the newspaper chose to pen-delete the word. The Oxford English Dictionary shows citations from as far back as 1698 though the word seems not to be in much swing these days. Here is a more recent example from an Indian magazine called Plus in a 1999 story about adventure sports: "At the signal of the instructor he releases himself to pendulate or swing under the bridge." -Anu

From: Carolanne Reynolds (carolanne.reynoldsATfaximum.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--kowtow

When I read this I was immediately struck with the fact that that is indeed what the Moslems do to pray! Would guess it's a graphic bending to Allah's will but I've never seen or known of it in any other context. Certainly makes sense separating men and women at prayer then! Burqas too!

From: Chris Johansen (johansenATmain.nc.us)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--inebriety

Another one of those words where the prefix "in" is an intensive, rather than a negative--like "inflammable,"-- inebriety = ebriety!

From: Paul Mondelli (johnbevATatt.net)
Subject: Wordpix

You must continue to creatively depict the words, all the words,from now on, forever more; ad infinitum. Sorry for the PLEONASM; wait, no I'm not. I enjoyed that verbal orgasm. Retropix all the past words: RETROPIX REDUX.

From: Ian Goodhardt (goodhardtATbigpond.com)
Subject: Wordpix

How about this for a wordpix for the word focus.

From: Christine Thresh (christineATwinnowing.com)
Subject: I have a wordpix

My word is appliqué.

From: Eric Shackle (eshackleATozemail.com.au)
Subject: Re: Newspaper names

Thank you for describing my e-book as "an ever-expanding collection of stories that make us think, laugh, and learn." AWAD devotees may like to read Natty Bumppo Reads The Gimlet" in the December issue.

He that uses many words for explaining any subject, doth, like the cuttlefish, hide himself for the most part in his own ink. -John Ray, naturalist (1627-1705)

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