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AWADmail Issue 692

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

Languages are Dying, But is the Internet to Blame?

What It’s Like to Be a UN Interpreter

What’s Really Hot on Dating Sites? Proper Grammar
The Wall Street Journal

From: Martha Boone Anderson (via website comments)
Subject: moil

The Cremation of Sam McGee is a wonderful long poem by Robert W. Service. My father used to recite it to his five children when we were small. Many years later I ran across the poem at the library when my son was young and found that I remembered long passages of it. I was easily able to memorize the rest and can recite it to this day. Thank you for the quotation and for the pleasant memories of my father.

Martha Boone Anderson, Tigard, Oregon

From: Mark Kramer (mark.remark gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--moil

I remember my father reading The Cremation of Sam McGee to me when I was a child, prior (I’ve realized while checking him out for this note) to Service’s death in 1958.

I remember asking my dad about ‘moil’ and him laughing -- perhaps because of its secondary meaning -- an orthodox Jew who performs ritual circumcisions. See here.

Mark Kramer, Newton, Massachusetts

From: John Norton (norton.john gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--guff

Guff of Mexico: Mr. Trump’s ideas regarding immigration.

John Norton, Chappaqua, New York

From: Mary Perez (mperez cityoftulsa.org)
Subject: Guff and moil

I often look up the word-of-the-day on the Internet so I can become more familiar with the usage. While looking up this week’s words, I thought it interesting that both guff and moil also have Jewish senses. Guf is supposedly the place where all souls reside before being sent to earth in a baby. Mohel is the guy who circumcises that baby once he’s here. So the moil makes a dint in the guff so to speak.

Mary Perez, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Email of the Week (Courtesy Indian Summer - Buy the American Dream movie now.)

From: Michael Sharman (jmsharman btinternet.com)
Subject: Weft

It might help those who get confused
On which is warp and which is weft.
The warP goes uP and down the cloth.
The weft goes right and left.

Michael Sharman, Ilkley, UK

From: Mark Engel (mark.engel1 mac.com)
Subject: weft

My favorite mnemonic for the difference between warp and weft is that the weft goes weft and wight.

Mark Engel, Ben Lomond, California

From: John C. George (jgeorge gordonstate.edu)
Subject: quaff

The late, great Terry Pratchett described “quaffing” as being “like drinking, but you spill more.”

John C. George, Barnesville, Georgia

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

The activity of “quaffing” has another meaning on Terry Pratchett’s (mayherestinpeace) Discworld. Quoting from L-space:

“Quaffing is a form of social drinking where most of the ale misses the mouth, and the tankard is used not so much as a vessel to drink from, but as something handy to conduct the singing.”

Dwarves are particularly notorious for this.

Jens Kaiser, Rudolstadt, Germany

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

The choice of today’s word is very appropriate since it is the 65th anniversary of the first appearance of the American comic strip Peanuts and the strip’s creator, Charles Schulz, frequently had Snoopy “quaff a few root beers” as part of his WWI pilot persona.

Ken Kirste, Sunnyvale, California

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

Seems like foreigners can’t take a hint
So it’s time that we made use of dint
“Deportation and bombing
I find rather calming”
Says Trump with a scowl and a squint.

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

Take a break from your sweltering moil
to read a good myst’ry by Doyle.
Come in from the hot sun;
help Sherlock and Watson
another enigma uncoil.

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

My Dad never took any guff.
He was strong, he was smart, he was tough.
But truth must be told;
his heart was pure gold
and sweeter than marshmallow fluff.

-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

‘Tis the weft gives the warp its heft.
Tartan’s strong as its weakest weft.
Mind your kilt lad or gladden
the lasses and madden
your mathair, lest she feel bereft.

-Mariana Warner, Asheville, North Carolina (marianaw37 gmail.com)

If ever that Alfred A. Knopf
Were to call me then champagne I’d quaff
The phone, though, is quiet
My poetry diet
Is lentils and brown rice pilaf.

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

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

Thanks, Anu. I dint know there were two spellings.

On Fridays, a mohel doesn’t moil after sundown.

The nanny said, “I’m tired of you three billy goats’ guff.”

They stole my wug and I’m beweft! (Thanks, Gilda Radner.)

This one works best spoken:
Q. What do a drunk and a workaholic hairdresser have in common?
A. They each quaff too much.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Words are also actions, and actions are a kind of words. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

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