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AWADmail Issue 614

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

Sponsor's message: It's Officially Free. This week's Email of the Week winner, Irving N. Webster-Berlin (see below) -- as well as all AWADers near and far -- can now make their own terrific fun word nerd party for nothing. Introducing our best-selling One Up! -- The Wicked/Smart Word Game as a downloadable PDF, absolutely gratis. Y'up.

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

Germans Try to Get Their Tongues Around Gender-Neutral Language
The Guardian

We Need to Talk About Indeterminate Masculine Pronouns
The Guardian

58% Of World's Japanese Speakers White 23-Year-Old American Males (satire)
The Onion

Presidents Use Bully Pulpit To Shape American Language

From: Andre Goodrich (andregoodrich yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--interregnum

For Seattle Mariners fans, interregnum has come to mean the five or so days between games started by Felix Hernandez.

Andre Goodrich, Chicago, Illinois

From: Nathan Ginsbury (nathan nr-ginsbury.com)
Subject: The time period between wives

The word interregnum prompts me to ask if my usage of "interuxorem" is acceptable to describe the time a person is between wives?

Nathan Ginsbury, Netanya, Israel

From: George Reynolds (georger1998 yahoo.com)
Subject: Principal vs the other one

My father was a principal when I was growing up (let's just say: not fun) and he liked to point out that the way to remember the difference was that the princiPAL was your PAL. Not everyone agreed but spelling distinction stuck.

George Reynolds, Whately, Massachusetts

From: Holiday Houck (HolidayH aol.com)
Subject: principal/principle

In grammar school I learned how to remember which word to use: principal royal; principle rule.

Holiday Houck, Boston, Massachusetts

From: W G Wolf (wwolf sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--interregnum

With your mention of a school principal, I am reminded of the hoary joke from my childhood, "It's not the school I dislike, it's the principal of the thing."

W G Wolf, Bartlesville, Oklahoma

From: Peirce Hammond (peirce_hammond ed.gov)
Subject: Kingdom come

An equivalent phrase is "until the cows come home", which, if you venerate the bovine, amounts to the same thing.

Peirce Hammond, Bethesda, Maryland

From: Steve Swift (steve.j.swift gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--royal road

My favourite use of the term "royal road" comes from an example of how to handle inappropriate requests for loans:
"Lending money is the right royal road to losing friends. Here, have a fiver."

Steve Swift, Alton, UK

From: Clara Holly (kelala sierratel.com)
Subject: royal road

When I was a child and misbehaved, my mother would say I was on a royal road to a spanking.

Clara Holly, Mariposa, California

From: Ann Andrusyszyn (ann.andrusyszyn kpl.org)
Subject: royal road

The definition of the term (royal road) immediately made me wonder if that is why Canada's original military college carried that name. Royal Roads Military College (RRMC) was established in 1940 on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, taking over the beautiful Hatley Castle after the Dunsmuir family sold that property to the Government of Canada. RRMC operated until 1995, when it was closed due to cutbacks in our Department of National Defence. Ownership shifted to the provincial government of British Columbia and RRMC became Royal Roads University, opening its doors to everyone.

As a military family we were always cognisant of Royal Roads Military College, and for 34 years I have wondered why it had such an odd name. Perhaps you have finally supplied the answer!

Ann Andrusyszyn, Barrie, Canada

From: Michael Sharman (jmsharman btinternet.com)
Subject: Royalty

You are perfectly at liberty to consider royalty and kingship as unnecessary, though I would disagree with you. But you have no right to use the word 'antiquated' which implies as a fact, not merely as an opinion, that the concept of royalty is no longer valid, or 'thankfully' which claims that what you say is right and anyone with a contrary view is wrong. J. Michael Sharman, Ilkley, UK

Here's what I had said: "The antiquated custom of royalty, with inherited offices, divine rights, and privy purses is thankfully becoming rare." (See full text here.) Also, "thankfully" doesn't imply, as far as I know, that "what I say is right and anyone with a contrary view is wrong."
-Anu Garg

From: John Kane (judgekane earthlink.net)
subject: royalty

As an Irish-American I am delighted to learn that rectum and regent have the same root. That fairly well sums up my cultural feelings about royalty.

John Kane, Denver, Colorado

From: Kathleen Dempsey (kdemps yahoo.com)
subject: Your 20th anniversary

Overdue congratulations are in order.

I remember when I first became aware of AWAD, Anu; it was probably close to the beginning; there were not a lot of subscribers.

A friend at work (faa.gov) came across A.Word.A.Day and phoned me to tell me about it. We both subscribed right away. You used to include a histogram showing the AWAD subscriber distribution by domain name extension, and I would watch the number of ".gov" subscribers grow. Then I started seeing country codes that I knew, and watched those grow. Even email was still fairly new to us then, so watching the slow explosion of subscribers was amazing. It's been long enough that your children are probably not children anymore, but I remember your letting drop snippets about her/ them in your weekly AWADmail. When you started adding the quotations at the end, I too started adding quotations at the end of my emails. Usually they were from the large store of AWAD bonus quotations, that I kept in a draft email until one day it had vanished.

Since 1994, I have moved and changed jobs several times, watched my children go out into the world, retired, travelled, and still there was AWAD. Good job well done.

Kathleen Dempsey, Yorklyn, Delaware

Thanks for your note, Kathleen. You have been with us since Sep 1994. We are glad to have you here.
-Anu Garg

Email of the Week (Courtesy One Up! -- 171,476 different words to have a hoot with.)

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

A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged, it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and the time in which it is used. -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., jurist (1841-1935)

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