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AWADmail Issue 671

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

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

Mr, Mrs, or Mx? The Oxford English Dictionary Considering Gender-Neutral Honorific
International Business Times

The Strange Titles World Rulers Give Themselves
The Guardian

The Homophonic World of Chinese Internet Addresses
New Republic

From: Mort Sheinman (mortone aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--scop

Department of Lexiconic Coincidence: This week’s theme -- words that become other words when beheaded -- was also the theme of yesterday’s crossword puzzle in The New York Times Sunday Magazine. The title of the puzzle was “Non-Starters” and the long answers were familiar phrases from which the letter “n” had been beheaded, but which still made sense in terms of the clue. For example: “Arctic hideaway” is the clue. The answer, “A NOOK OF THE NORTH”. derived, of course, from the legendary documentary “Nanook of the North”. Or “Like makers of one-way street signs”. The answer: “ARROW MINDED”.

Mort Sheinman, New York, New York

From: Wot Blowers (dewyew daturas.fslife.co.uk)
Subject: Scop

Until I came to live in West Cumbria I had never heard the word scop. Here, however, it means something completely different, namely, to throw, as in ‘Scop it ower t’wall for t’craas’ (throw it over the wall for the crows). The Cumbrian dialect has a very rich vocabulary which includes words that may well be unique to the area, and while it is sadly dying out, many of its words are still in everyday use, often to the consternation of visitors and ‘offcomers’ (people who have moved in to the area from outside, like me).

Wot Blowers, Co.ckermouth, Cumbria, UK

From: Patty Parsons Andersen (via website comments)
Subject: junto

From Ben Franklin’s autobiography:

I had form’d most of my ingenious acquaintance into a club of mutual improvement, which we called the JUNTO; we met on Friday evenings. The rules that I drew up required that every member, in his turn, should produce one or more queries on any point of Morals, Politics, or Natural Philosophy, to be discuss’d by the company; and once in three months produce and read an essay of his own writing, on any subject he pleased. (ref.)

Patty Parsons Andersen, Avon, Illinois

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: Hauteur

Is it possible that the word auteur results from a beheading of hauteur, given the admittedly imperious attitude of many a cineaste (as even the usage quotation itself suggests)?

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: David Silverman (silverman.david.m gmail.com)
Subject: astringent

Your example of the usage of quince doesn’t jibe with my experience here in Turkey where, astringency notwithstanding, it is a very popular fruit and eaten raw. My wife, who is Turkish, peels and sections the quince (aiwa in Turkish) and places a bowl of the raw fruit in the living room. Our friends prefer it to oranges or apples.

David Silverman, Jacksonville, Florida

From: Matt McNally (mattmcn telkomsa.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--futilitarian

Your usage example paints Dante as a futilitarian, but remember, those words were inscribed above the portal to hell, and I feel sure Dante didn’t want us to go there... I’m sure he hoped we’d each find our own ‘Beatrice’.

Matt McNally, Hobeni, South Africa

Email of the Week (Brought to you by One Up! -- All of life’s lessons in a shiny tin can.)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Puns on the Words of the Week

Percy Shelley was the Supreme scop in the name of love.

“I’m a virgin revolutionary. Please be junto with me.”

An opera diva is often a colorhauteura.

The Neutrogena executive’s horoscope showed his moon to be astringent.

And since ‘futilitarian’ is sort of a pun in itself by being a blended word...

For the under-sized bellhop, lugging my portmanteau was futilitarian.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

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

There once was a brilliant young scop
Whose limericks were frankly, a flop
We know that he can
But they just wouldn’t scan
Because he did not know where the last line should stop.

-Bob Thompson, New Plymouth, New Zealand (bobtee xtra.co.nz)

If you want to be part of a junto
You can’t just be in it with one toe
“This isn’t a hobby
My dear kemosabe
Lone Rangers are full-time,” said Tonto.

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

“Is that lake vodka or gin?”
At Geneva young Wynne asked his twin,
Who replied with hauteur,
“Mais non, c’est wauteur,
And promptly pushed young Wynne in.

-Laurence McGilvery, La Jolla, California (laurence mcgilvery.com)

The barrister’s voice sounds astringent.
“Our winning this case is contingent
on swearing that we
know naught of egregious infringement.”

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

Marion, the librarian,
Was a futilitarian.
Said she, “No denying,
There’s no point in trying,
We’ll soon all end up as just carrion.”

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

From: Dr. Deborah De Vries (deedvee aol.com)
Subject: Thank you!

I assign your positive website for extra credit for my Freshmen English classes for extra credit. My students are enthusiastic about the growth in vocabulary and especially enjoy the quotations. About 80% of my students are first generation English speakers.

Dr. Deborah De Vries, Oxnard, California

All our words are but crumbs that fall down from the feast of the mind. -Kahlil Gibran, poet and artist (1883-1931)

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