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AWADmail Issue 602

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

Sponsor's Message: Don't believe the hyperbole: Email of the Week winner Tom Wilson (see below) has only won ONEUPMANSHIP, a lame, me-too money game that's trying to shamelessly capitalize on the whole Occupy Wall Street phenomenon. Which is so over by now, isn't it?

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net

Nine Bizarre Sentences That Are Perfectly Accurate
Business Insider

It's Time to Challenge the Notion That There is Only One Way to Speak English
The Guardian

From: Sheila Corcoran (barsheil1 yahoo.com.au)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--repletion

I first heard the word replete as a nine-year-old having Boxing Day lunch in my Yorkshire home with an uncle who was a Monsignor! This yearly ritual was disliked by my three older brothers and me. After a delicious lunch prepared by mum for her brother, where we were seen and not heard as he pontificated, I think the devil whispered, "Say it." I was a polite child, but this day I blurted out, "I'm full to busting!" In the 1950s this was terrible. The lunch guest looked down his big nose and boomed, "You mean you're replete!' I actually dared to disagree and repeated my first announcement.

Sheila Corcoran, Buderim, Australia

From: Amy Doyle (amd1708 yahoo.com)
Subject: Ponderous

I can't ever hear the word "ponderous" without thinking of Jacob Marley in Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol":

"I wear the chain I forged in life," replied the Ghost. "I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?"
Scrooge trembled more and more.
"Or would you know," pursued the Ghost, "the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!"

Amy Doyle, Cincinnati, Ohio

From: Todd Warren (t-warren northwestern.edu)
Subject: ponderous

Seeing that word reminded me of this song from the early '90s...but then the horns came in, and my shoes began to squeak... (video, 3.5 min)

Todd Warren, Seattle, Washington

From: Tom Fitzmorris (tom nomenu.com) Subject: Quondam

Your quotation illustrating "quondam" today refers to the War of 1812, whose final, decisive battle occurred on this date 199 years ago. The Battle of New Orleans is still noted widely among those of us who live in the Big Easy. Big anniversary next year.

Tom Fitzmorris, New Orleans, Louisiana

Email of the Week (Sponsored by ONEUPMANSHIP with cold, hard cash.)

From: Tom Wilson (tomw canalalliance.org)
Subject: quondum

I was wondering... since Click and Clack, The Tappet Brothers are no longer working on cars, are they quondam mechanics?

Corte Madera, Fairfax, California

From: Jim Phillips (jimphillips icfconsulting.com)
Subject: Quondam

And what did today's word evoke? "Hic iacet Arthurus, rex quondam, rexque futurus" (which may be translated as "Here lies Arthur, the once and future king"). According to Malory, these are the words carved on the tomb of King Arthur. And this is the inspiration for T.H. White's novel The Once and Future King (which inspired the musical "Camelot").

Jim Phillips, San Francisco, California

From: Phyllis Lindsay (phidlin mchsi.com)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day

Your Wordsmith feature is a high point in my days. I'm the widow of a beloved math professor at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. My field isn't numbers; it's words. Besides enjoying word derivation in my native English I speak and privately teach French, as well as interacting in and loving Spanish. I met my husband-to-be on the Queen Mary bound for France and we were married months later at a French Protestant church in Paris. You can see why I'm so appreciative of your morning Wordsmith pick-me-up.

Phyllis Lindsay, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Words are like money; there is nothing so useless, unless when in actual use. -Samuel Butler, writer (1835-1902)

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