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AWADmail Issue 629

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

Sponsor's message: Summer is a verb. So here's a call-to-action for all you bronzed double domes out there, especially this week's Email of the Week winner Patricia Crotty (see below) -- we're offering a beaching deal for word lovers: One Up! -- The party game for people who like to steal. Highways robbery at only $15, and (U.S) shipping is absolutely FREE. Huppy dahntee funglenow!

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

What Makes a Language Attractive?
The Guardian

Word Crimes
YouTube (4 min.)

From: Greg Mitchell (wolf write-brain.net)
Subject: vizard

If you can find it (bonne chance), read "St. George and the Dragon", by Alfred Noyes. It's very short, and the final verse reads something like this:

The creature weighed a ton, at most,
He muttered through his vizard.
I do not feel inclined to boast,
About that puny lizard.

As I was about ten years old when I read that, I assumed Noyes had exercised poetic license with the spelling of "visor" for sake of the rhyme.

Greg Mitchell, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Email of the Week (Courtesy One Up! -- Aren't you tired of playing Canasta with G'ma?)

From: Patricia Crotty (patricia expressolanguageservices.it)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--grogram

"What's your favourite colour?" is a very important question when you're a child. My father would always laughingly respond "grogram grey". We never got any satisfactory response to our "But what COLOUR is that?" Your very welcome word today prompted me to do a little research, and it seems that in Ireland in any case, grogram was used to describe a 'depressing sort of grey'. My father passed away, aged 82, on February 11, on what I will probably now think of as a grogram grey day.

Patricia Crotty, Pesaro, Italy

From: Hiller B. Zobel (honzobe aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--grogram

During Vice-Admiral Edward "grogram" Vernon's Caribbean campaign in 1741-42, Lawrence Washington, a Virginia militia officer, served aboard Vernon's flagship as a marine. Later, when Lawrence inherited the estate known as Little Hunting Creek Plantation, he re-named it Mount Vernon in his former commander's honor. On Lawrence's death, his half-brother George in turn took title to the property, and retained the name.

Hiller B. Zobel, Boston, Massachusetts

From: Marc Williams (msw60223 gmail.com)
Subject: factitious

In medicine one occasionally encounters patients that feign illness as a result of an underlying neuropsychiatric disorder. This is termed Munchausen syndrome after a Baron of the same name. These patients create signs of disease such as factitious fever and factitious hypoglycemia through the manipulation of devices such as thermometers or drugs like insulin. Extremely challenging to diagnose.

Marc Williams, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania

From: M Henri Day (mhenriday gmail.com)
Subject: Re: factitious

Not always easy to distinguish among the four - factitious, facetious, factious, and fractious. ;-)

M Henri Day, Stockholm, Sweden

From: Peirce Hammond (peirceiii yahoo.com)
Subject: Proem

There is a little known category of words that get confused with the words that get confused with well known words. So today's word, proem is readily confused with poem. But consider the word preom, easily taken to be a typo when one surely intended to write proem. That, however, would be an error when one was referring to the technique of rapid free association to clear one's mind just prior to meditation -- preom.

Peirce Hammond, Bethesda, Maryland

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? "Homo" as in "Homo sapiens".

   From: alert notification.messagelabs.com
   To: wsmith wordsmith.org
   Subject: MessageLabs Content Control Service - Diverted Email Notification

   Rule: 2768 Profanity Block inbound with exception
   Reason: lexical match: Homo:homo;body;2;308

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 the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket. -Charles Peguy, poet and essayist (1873-1914)

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