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AWADmail Issue 632

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, Gary Muldoon (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)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net

Scrabble Adds 5,000 Words to Players' Dictionary
The Independent

Gaza and the Language of Modern War
The Guardian

From: Gary B. Mason (garybmason gmail.com)
Subject: Stalagmite

There is an "ants in the pants" method to remember which is a stalagmite and which is a stalactite: When the mites go up the tights come down.

Gary B. Mason, Tucson, Arizona

From: Steve Lerner (lernez yahoo.com)
Subject: Stalagmite

My junior high school science teacher told us an easy way to remember stalagmite/stalactite: When the "tights" go down, the "mights" go up.

Steve Lerner, Los Angeles, California

From: Christine Tack (christinetack hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--stalagmite

Remembering which is which is even easier in French stalagMite (monter = rise) and stalacTite (tomber=fall).

Christine Tack, Brussels, Belgium

From: Ron Hann. (snablats2003 yahoo.com.au)
Subject: Stalag---,s

When I was youngster, mumble, mumble years ago, we were told that one of the easiest ways to remember the differences was that 'A stalagmight reach the roof and a stalagtight has to hang on tight'.

Ron Hann, Christchurch, New Zealand

From: Jenne Beauvais (jennifer.beauvais mitchell.com)
Subject: Stalagmite vs. stalactite

I was taught that stalagmites stand mighty and stalactites hang tightly.

Jenne Beauvais, San Diego, California

From: Rogers George (rogers.george gmail.com)
Subject: Stalagmite

When I was a kid I thought up my own mnemonic. Down in the Mud: stalagMite, up on Top: stalacTite. I'm 69 and I still use it.

Rogers George, Newark, Delaware

From: Eliz Crowley (crowleytech gmail.com)
Subject: stalagmite, stalactite

I found it easy to remember these words using the visual image of a T hanging from the ceiling, or an M pushing up from the floor. StalacTite, stalagMite.

Eliz Crowley, Boston, Massachusetts

From: Antonia Matthew (antonia.matthew gmail.com)
Subject: stalagmite

Your way of identifying between stalactite and stalagmite is very clear but I still like the one taught to me in my English childhood by my stepfather: When you are mighty, you go up. When you are tight [drunk] you fall down.

Antonia Matthew, Bloomington, Indiana

From: J Hansen (jrhindsh gmail.com)
Subject: stalagmites

One picture's worth a thousand words: this week's Bizarro. The timing was perfect, anyway.

J Hansen, New Hartford, Connecticut

From: Catharina Van Leeuwen (cathariv gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--stalagmite

There's more to this: a stalagmite is always sticking out (opposed to hanging (down), like a nose. Miti=nose in Greek (μυτη).

Catharina Van Leeuwen, Arles-sur-Tech, France

From: Gavin Maitland (gavin.maitland boomcom.com)
Subject: stroppy

As a graduate of an austere British boarding school in the 1980s (read: juvenile detention center or borstal), the vulgarism "stroppy" was universally applied to a junior (anyone aged less than 14 years old) who talked back or was generally impudent to a senior (anyone 15 to 18 years old). The adjective was not applied the other way around: a senior couldn't be "stroppy" to a junior, so there was a seniority twist to the word's usage too.

Gavin Maitland, Boulder, Colorado

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

The Swedish word stropp, cognate with the English strop or strap, has been used here for a person (almost always a man) whose estimate of his own importance is not shared by others since at least the first year of the last century. The connexion to the original meaning is that to be that of being stiff and uptight.

I can still remember my father using his strop to sharpen his straight razor before shaving....

M Henri Day, Stockholm, Sweden

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

I'm guessing that today's word reminded most comic strip fans of the petty, unscrupulous lawyer in "The Wizard of Id" who is named Larsen E. Pettifogger. Not only does the character look like the vaudeville/film comedian W. C. Fields, the comic strip's creators (Johnny Hart and Brant Parker) based their larceny pun on a character name Fields used frequently on radio and in his 1939 film "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man" -- Larson E. Whipsnade.

Ken Kirste, Sunnyvale, California

Email of the Week, brought to you by One Up! -- with our compliments.

From: Gary Muldoon (gmuldoon muldoongetz.com)
Subject: pettifogger and Philadelphia lawyer

This week's words contained two names for lawyers, one disparaging, the other arguably so. A rather comprehensive list, with explanations, is found in Garner's Dictionary of Legal Usage, 3rd edition. Along with the usual ambulance chaser, mouthpiece, and shark, also are listed more than 50 less frequently encountered ones: Blackstone lawyer, Court Street lawyer, Tombs lawyer, and pelican (i.e., appellate) lawyer. See also, Lawtalk, by Clapp, et al.

Gary Muldoon (Esq.), Fairport, New York

From: Steve Price (sdprice510 mac.com)
Subject: Philadelphia lawyer

"Philadelphia Lawyer" is the title of a Woody Guthrie song, the subject of which wasn't clever enough to escape the wrath of a jealous rival: lyrics (video, 2.5 min.)

Steve Price, New York, New York

From: Michael Poole (michaelpoole paradise.net.nz)
Subject: Bailiwick

Today's word is of interest to me because I used to live in a bailiwick: Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, England. In 1539, Henry VIII granted the town a charter (enabling it to hold a market) and placed his bailiff in authority over it. Until the 1974 local government changes abolished the Borough of Hemel Hempstead (formerly the Bailiwick of Hemel Hempstead), of which my mother was a member of the last Council, the mayor's formal title was "Mayor and Bailiff".

Michael Poole, Paraparaumu, New Zealand

From: Russell Jones (russell jones.wattle.id.au)
Subject: Bailiwick

A bailiwick is also a term used for the British Crown dependencies of the Channel Islands. They are are officially known as "The Bailiwick of Guernsey" and "The Bailiwick of Jersey", and both are headed by a bailiff.

Russell Jones, Perth, Australia

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 l istening and viewing pleasure.

Irving N. Webster-Berlin, Sacramento, California

Arguments over grammar and style are often as fierce as those over Windows versus Mac, and as fruitless as Coke versus Pepsi or boxers versus briefs. -Jack Lynch, English professor, author (b. 1967)

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