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AWADmail Issue 624

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 Huge. This week's Email of the Week winner, Jim Tang (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 free PDF download, absolutely gratis. Hurree y'up.

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

Why We Must Save Dying Tongues

English in India
The New York Review of Books

From: David Rubenstein (bulkmail thoughtful-action.com)
Subject: Hiding behind the name Altria

A fascinating article at National Institutes of Health based on Phillip Morris's archives, describes the company's consultant's expectations that the new name offered the possibility of masking the negatives associated with the tobacco business, and improve its image and raise its profile without sacrificing tobacco profits.

According to the article, executives thought a name change would insulate the larger corporation and its other operating companies from the political pressures on tobacco.

David Rubenstein, Washington, DC

From: Claudia De Secundy (cdesec mit.edu)
Subject: Altria

Thank you for mentioning the misanthropic hypocrisy of Altria. When I first saw the name, all I could think was "how cunning (no, Machiavellian) to seduce a poisoned public easily lulled by the right words.

Claudia De Secundy, Cambridge, Massachusetts

From: Jens Kaiser (voodoodoll t-online.de)
Subject: dispositive

Interestingly, German lawyers know the word "dispositiv". It is almost exclusively used to describe a certain type of law ("dispositives Recht"), namely law that can be disposed of if both parties of a contract agree to do so. In fact almost all of the German law of contracts is "dispositiv", which puts a new perspective on our (perceived) desire to regulate anything and everything. The drafters of the BGB intended to create a legal framework on which everyone could fall back in case of conflict, but did not want to stifle commerce by creating rigid, inflexible rules.

The antonym of "dispositives Recht" is "zwingendes Recht" and is usually found in places where one party needs the protection of the law. Imagine the rules of consumer protection being "dispositiv" - every retailer would simply dispose of them within his standard terms!

Jens Kaiser, Rudolstadt, Germany

From: Mary Civille (coquies earthlink.net)
Subject: Holograph

The first time I remember using holograph was when describing my grandmother's will. It was holographic; she had not gone to anyone (or thing), but wrote it out herself.

Mary Civille, Avondale Estates, Georgia

From: Sheree Wilson (sheree.wilson shaw.ca)
Subject: Holograph hologram

Every time I see this word, I remember Holly, the hologram who blew kisses to anyone who walked down the hall in the Physics Building at the University of Western Ontario from which I graduated in 1980 and 1982. Although I was an English major, my mother was a secretary in the Physics Department where I often stopped in, having been blown a kiss by Holly on my way.

Sheree Wilson, Sault Ste. Marie, Canada

From: Debbie Evans (debbie.evans xtra.co.nz)
Subject: Plutarchy

In New Zealand we have a colloquial word 'pluty' which means wealthy or upper class, e.g. 'She speaks with a pluty accent' or 'He lives in a pluty suburb.'

I've never thought about the origin of this word before but it's obvious now that it must be a contraction of 'plutocracy'.

Debbie Evans, Wellington, New Zealand

From: Eric Miller (ericmiller1957 gmail.com)
Subject: Plutarch

Plutarch's name does indeed have a connection to the word "plutarchy", just not as the word's origin. Rather, the word -- or more accurately: its two roots -- is the origin of his name.

Eric Miller, Norwich, Vermont

Email of the Week (Brought to you by One Up! -- with our compliments.)

From: Jim Tang (mauijt aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--plutarchy

Owing to the power of The Hunger Games franchise, this term is probably familiar to more people than you can imagine, even if they don't know what it means. Author Suzanne Collins has accomplished a bit of monkey warfare in her use of Roman names and the allusion to Roman games.

Plutarch Heavensbee (the character portrayed in the latest movie by the late Phillip Seymour Hoffman) is the propaganda chief for the rebels, a renegade member of the ruling class who used to run the game for the Capitol. He is enlightened yet obviously part of the 1% in his demeanor. One of the observations Katniss Everdeen makes about him is that he has no need for ego-boosting credit for the successful individual PR efforts. He has no problem directing the attaboys to his troops. His reward awaits the successful outcome of the revolution. Which, if you think about it, is the true definition of the ruling class.

Jim Tang, Kula, Maui

From: Rob Gray (grayrobe comcast.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--votary

I love that "Thought of the day" quotation and actually reference it in my new book, but I don't believe there is any evidence that Yeats wrote or said it. If you have an accurate citation, I would love to have it.

Rob Gray, Mobile, Alabama

Thanks for catching this. It appears Plutarch is the author of the original quotation "The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting" that is rephrased in a widely attributed quotation to Yeats (details). We have updated this on our website now.
-Anu Garg

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

Words are the small change of thought. -Jules Renard, writer (1864-1910)

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