Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



AWADmail Issue 668

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

Sponsor’s Message: “Old’s Cool” sums up our philosophy of life in a nifty little turn of phrase. Look at what this UP-i-tee shirt is saying loud and clear: Common sense. Nerve. Backbone. Self-reliance. Perseverance. Old school with a shot of wry, served neat. So, we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Douglas Rathbun (see below), as well as all AWADers near and far first dibs on The Black Edition -- now you can flaunt your charming lack of political correctness with wit and style, as well as a bit of punk rock to boot.

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

France Gives in to the Hashtag
The New York Times

Adventures in Ellipsis
Language Log

From: Anne Murray (almpsyphd triad.rr.com)
Subject: colophon

As a hand bookbinder, who regularly writes a colophon on the last page of my books, I love today’s word and the theme for the week.

Anne Murray, Winston-Salem, North Carolina

Email of the Week (Old’s Cool is old school -- With a shot of wry, served neat.)

From: Douglas Rathbun (douglas rathbun.net)
Subject: Colophon

Musicians are all aware of the word colophon, but referring to rosin -- particularly when we use foreign-made rosins that have the word on the package. In most European languages the word for rosin is a variant of colophon (colofonia, colophane, Kolophonium), deriving from colophonia resina, i.e. resin from the pine trees of Colophon, an Ionic city situated on the summit of a ridge. The resin is also used for printing inks, among other things.

Douglas Rathbun, Washington, DC (douglas rathbun.net)

From: Thomas Gille (Musetomg gmail.com)
Subject: Colophon

I read the article on book curses linked to today’s entry on colophons. I was amused to read that the fear of Anu was invoked to thwart book vandals:

“He who fears Anu, Enlil, and Ea will return it to the owner’s house the same day”, and “He who fears Anu and Antu will take care of it and respect it.”

Thomas Gille, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin

From: Ray Spring (raylois.spring paradise.net.nz)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--colophon

I lived in HK from 1968 to 1974. One of my friends was a missionary. He had a Wei Tao god printed for his books. Wei Tao protected books against Flood, Fire, and Dishonest Borrowers. The Chinese friends were horrified. Wei Tao! He had to remove the bit of paper, he was invoking Chinese Idols to protect his books. It was serious.

I have needed Wei Tao on a number of occasions. But the books are still gone.

Ray Spring, Christchurch, New Zealand

From: Yitzhak Dar (yitzhakdar gmail.com)
Subject: AWAD

The word “colophon” was new to me. I started reading your explanation, and found the link for the “book curse”. I followed the link and started reading about book curses. While reading I saw the word colophon, so I followed the link to Wikipedia’s article. Upon reaching the word “Pentateuch”, which was familiar, I took the link and found that it is Latin for the Torah (My mother tongue is German, I learned Hebrew in kindergarten and English in school). I returned to the article about colophon and kept reading, till I reached the part were I found referrals of colophons in the Torah. I checked each and read on to the part mentioning Wiseman’s hypothesis. I took this link and read about it. Thanks, again, for sending me A.Word.A.Day, and from there on, pointing the way to find out more and more.

Yitzhak Dar, Haifa, Israel

From: Jim Cosgrove (jcosgrove.law verizon.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--colophon

As to today’s quotation: What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof. -Christopher Hitchens, author and journalist (13 Apr 1949-2011)

I believe that may have originated from (perhaps among other places): Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur. A perhaps more eloquent translation being, “That which is asserted without evidence may be denied without explanation.”

Pax vobiscum,

Jim Cosgrove, Worcester, Massachusetts

From: Roger Lass (lass iafrica.com)
Subject: recto

Latin recto folio means *on* the right hand page, which is why that dative/ablative form is used instead of rectus. It’s a marker of location. And it only applies to manuscripts or books that are written with a number only on the recto, so that in such a work you’d find a blank on the other side (verso), and cite e.g. 23r, 23v.

Roger Lass, Diep River, South Africa

From: Will Rowlands (hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--recto

This is confusing! Reading in English is left to right. I would read page 9 before page 10 and page 63 before 64, for example. So the recto (side to be read first) would always be the left page surely?

Will Rowlands, London, UK

A few other readers wrote about this. I believe the confusion stems from the fact that the illustration shows pages 2 & 3. Please note that in each case, L-R or R-L, page 1 is recto.
-Anu Garg

From: Linda Wexler (linda.wexler nielsen.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bibliogony

Biblioagony: The result of not having time to read ALL of the books one craves.

Linda Wexler, Oldsmar, Florida

From: Fredo Vollmer (fredo.vollmer gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--codex

“Never lend books -- nobody ever returns them; the only books I have in my library are those which people have lent me.” -Anatole France, novelist, essayist, Nobel laureate (16 Apr 1844-1924)

Another thought about the same theme: “There are two kind of fools: those who lend books, and those who return them.”

Fredo Vollmer, Valencia, Spain

From: Sandhya Ramachandran (sandyparthi gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--opisthograph

Perhaps the brave(r) amongst us could remember it by this medical reference.

Sandhya Ramachandran, Puttaparthi, India

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Limericks

After several glasses of wine,
she revealed the tattoo on her spine.
“That’s a colophon. Look,”
she explained, “I’m a book--
it’s a fave alter ego of mine!”

-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

To be a speed reader perfecto
They’ll teach you, “Read only the recto”
At Evelyn Woods
They deliver the goods
Your grasp of things might be a wreck, though.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

In a workshop that’s lined with mahogany
Santa’s elves do their fine bibliogony
“Ho ho ho, books for all!”
He says down at the mall
If you visit him please do not hog a knee.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

If you wish to obtain a rare codex
You may have to part with your Rolex
And after you pay
Avoid sun and spray
On your yacht you should keep it below decks.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

On tombstone read this epitaph,
The opisthograph made me laugh,
Front, it had said,
“Here lies old Fred,”
Back, “Outlived by his better half.”

-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Here is where people, / One frequently finds, / Lower their voices / And raise their minds. -Richard Armour, author, on libraries (1906-1989)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2024 Wordsmith