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AWADmail Issue 605

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

Sponsor's Message: Introducing ONEUPMANSHIP -- a beautifully-designed grown-up board game that's not only wicked, cutthroat fun, it's also a witty and irreverent political statement -- which the lucky Email of the Week winner Joshua Saks (see below) will get hot off the press. We're also offering a 10% "Insider Deal" Discount to word-loving Capitalists everywhere -- just use coupon code "lagniappe". Hurr y'up.

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

97 Years Old and Still Tracks Lost Apostrophes
The Daily Express

Jewish Surnames Supposedly Explained
Mosaic magazine

From: Ken Kirste (kkkirste sbcglobal.net)
Subject: bloviate

This word prompted fond memories of growing up with the American comic strip "Our Boarding House". The central character was Maj. Amos B. Hoople, who sported a robust figure, bushy black mustache, and fez. He consistently exaggerated his adventures and articulated get-rich-quick schemes in a highly grandiose style of speaking that epitomizes meaning of today's word. In the daily panels and full Sunday strip, the counter-point to his spiel was provided by his wife (who ran the boarding house) and an array of cynical boarders. For some samples see here.

Ken Kirste, Sunnyvale, California

Email of the Week ("ONEUPMANSHIP is the worst game ever! I love it!")

From: Joshua Saks (joshua.saks gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bloviate

During the Presidential primary campaign of 2012, George Will appeared on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos". The discussion turned to Mitt Romney allying himself with Donald Trump, and George Will questioned the cost to Mitt Romney of appearing with "this bloviating ignoramus" (video, 1 min.). This was my introduction to the word bloviate.

Joshua Saks, Morristown, New Jersey

From: Steve Kirkpatrick (stevekirkp comcast.net)
Subject: forgive us our skulduggery

The Lord's Prayer gets printed in our Lutheran church bulletin in seven different languages on Pentecost, as that is when the Bible verses are read regarding speaking in tongues . With a wandering and inquisitive mind, I saw something etymologically interesting in the Swedish and German versions. Their word for "trespasses" or "sins" appears to be similar to our word skulduggery.

English: and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Swedish: och förlåt oss våra skulder,
såsom ock vi förlåta dem oss skyldiga äro;

German: Und vergib uns unsere Schuld,
Wie auch wir vergeben unseren Schuldigern.

AWAD and my unabridged dictionary say skulduggery comes from Scottish, but one can see there must be a German/Scandinavian common root.

For the English, a different translator (King James Version, 1611) could have written something like:
Forgive us our skulduggery,
As we forgive those who skuldig against us. (I made up skuldig.)

I also recognized frestelse as the Swedish word for temptation. My Swedish-heritage mother introduced me to the story and the recipe for Jansson's Frestelse. Jansson could resist all temptation, except the recipe which called for potatoes, butter, onions, anchovies, bread crumbs, heavy cream and pepper. It's better than Lutefisk, don't ya know.

Steve Kirkpatrick, Olympia, Washington

From: Betty Sanders (betty02052 yahoo.com)
Subject: Lallygag/lollygag

Even though I grew up with the word, whenever I hear it now, my mind goes immediately to the scene in the baseball movie Bull Durham where the coach of the losing minor league team takes the advice of Kevin Costner (the wise old catcher) to scare them. In hilarious fashion he prances about the locker room accusing them of being "Lollygaggers". "You lollygag the ball around the infield, you lollygag your way down to first. You lollygag in and out of the dugout? You know what that makes you? Lollygaggers!" (video, 1.5 min.)

Betty Sanders, Medfield, Massachusetts

From: Marylor Wilson (marylor montana.com)
Subject: bumfuzzle

Where I learned to talk "colorfully" (in Butte, MT), there were the twins, bamboozle and bumfoozle. Everybody at the bar would have smiled and winked if they heard some greenhorn say "bumfuzzle". Ah, those were the days. Many thanks every morning for A.Word.A.Day.

Marylor Wilson, Missoula, Montana

from: Bill Richardson (kymrbill aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bumfuzzle

Bumfuzzled is one of my favorite self-descriptors. At the end of a stressful day, I'll add that my brain feels like it's made of cold grits and Novocain.

Bill Richardson, Orange, California

From: Irving N. Webster-Berlin (awadreviewsongs gmail.com)
Subject: Song based on this week's words

Here are this week's AWAD Review Songs (words and recordings) for your listening and viewing pleasure.

Irving N. Webster-Berlin, Sacramento, California

From: Joan Perrin (perrinjoan aol.com)
Subject: Americanisms

The Americanisms this week were a series of colorful, not often heard words, and although you warned to use them judiciously, I was challenged to incorporate them all into the following limerick.

Bernie Madoff, wouldn't lallygag around,
His skulduggery was certainly profound.
When he bloviated, he'd bumfuzzle.
Unsuspecting marks he'd honeyfuggle.
Locked in prison, this scoundrel is now found.

Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: The pitfalls of mindless filtering

Last week's AWADmail had a word that offended email filters at this organization. What was that dirty word? "Baboon"

   From: "Domain postMaster" (postmaster@luxottica.co.za)
   To: "Wordsmith" (wsmith@wordsmith.org)
   Subject: [Postmaster] Email Bounce Notification

   This is a bounce notification message indicating that an email you
   addressed to email address :
   -- [removed]@luxottica.co.za

   could not be accepted. The problem appears to be :
   -- The message violated one or more content policies

   Additional information follows :
   -- Policy (ExternalWording) found term [1 "baboon"] in body, score is 1

A word after a word after a word is power. -Margaret Atwood, poet and novelist (b. 1939)

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