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AWADmail Issue 615A 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, Heather Johnson (see below) -- as well as all AWADers worldwide -- 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. Hurree y'up.
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
A Tour of the British Isles in Accents
From: Heather Johnson (woj9 cdc.gov)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--belfry
Your cellphie example reminded me of my late German mother-in-law's name for her cell phone: her "celephone" -- it always made me smile when she said that.
Heather Johnson, Atlanta, Georgia
From: Susan Brande (susan.brande gmail.com)
Oh, yes, like wheel-barrel which my husband still says after four decades of gentle correction from me!
Susan Brande, Monroe, New Hampshire
From: Kate Lowe (kate18a dodo.com.au)
Cellfie? Only in America... In Oz we call them mobiles. [Also see words for mobile phones in different countries here.]
Kate Lowe, Fremantle, Australia
From: Martha O'Kennon (mokennon albion.edu)
Lewis Carroll wrote a piece "praising" the new belfry of Christ Church, Oxford:
The word "Belfry" is derived from the French bel, "beautiful, becoming, meet", and from the German frei, "free unfettered, secure, safe". Thus, the word is strictly equivalent to "meat-safe", to which the new Belfry bears a resemblance so perfect as almost to amount to coincidence.
Martha O'Kennon, Albion, Michigan
From: Ken Kirste (kkkirste sbcglobal.net)
Your second definition of belfry as head (as in the phrase to have bats in the belfry) recalled the cleverness of cartoonist Jeff MacNelly, who crafted a US politician for his comic strip "Shoe" named Sen. Batson D. Belfry. See a profile on Shoe's official website here.
Ken Kirste, Sunnyvale, California
From: Kai Rabenstein (k.rabenstein btinternet.com)
In Walloon (Western) Belgium and Picardie/Northern France, these are known as "Beffroy" and are usually associated with town halls rather than churches: Since 2005, the 56 most outstanding examples -- including that of Calais -- are recognised on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Of note, perhaps the most famous (church) belfry is the leaning tower of Pisa, but in the Middle Ages the term was also applied (perhaps sarcastically) to mobile siege engine towers: Presumably their use meant that "the bells were tolling for the city's defenders" ...
Kai Rabenstein, London, UK
From: Jimmie Ellis (msjce1 juno.com)
A delightful word today! In my German class, we learned about that universal gesture -- but, auf Deutsch, instead of saying, "He has bats in his belfry", we say, "Er hat ein vogel auf dem kopf" which translates as "He has a bird in his head." But, it is the same gesture! Isn't that funny?
Jimmie Carol Ellis, Crescent City, California
From: Jeremy Robinson (hmgbird cfw.com)
Perhaps the most famous use of the word:
"There's ne'er a villain dwelling in all Denmark But he's an arrant knave."
A redundancy spoken to Horatio by Hamlet.
Jeremy Robinson, Rockbridge Baths, Virginia
From: Scott Swanson (harview montana.com)
Aha! I was only familiar with this word through my father's often citing Winston Churchill's supposed response to someone who criticized him for ending a sentence with a preposition: "This is the type of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put." I always presumed the word was spelt "errant". Thanks for correcting me!
(My father would correct others who engaged in prepositional sentence-ending by saying "Never end a sentence a preposition with.") [Also see this.]
Scott Swanson, Pendroy, Montana
From: Irving N. Webster-Berlin (awadreviewsongs gmail.com)
Here are this week's AWAD Review Songs (words and recordings) for your listening and viewing pleasure.
Irving N. Webster-Berlin, Sacramento, California
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Language is the amber in which a thousand precious and subtle thoughts have been safely embedded and preserved. -Richard C. Trench, poet (1807-1886)