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AWADmail Issue 700

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

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The Gift of Words

This holiday season, why not make a gift of words? Here are a few suggestions:

“A delightful, quirky collection.”
-The New York Times

A Word A Day: A Romp through Some of the Most Unusual and Intriguing Words in English Another Word A Day: An All-new Romp through Some of the Most Unusual and Intriguing Words in English
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“The most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass email in cyberspace.”
-The New York Times

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

How to Save an Ancient Language Before it Disappears Forever
The Week

Tokyo’s Airport Using Megaphone to Translate into Three Languages on the Fly
Daily Mail

From: Sriram Vaidyanathan (srivaidyanathan gmail.com)
Subject: stridulous

In medicine, stridor is a serious obstruction of the upper airway (larynx and trachea). This results in a harsh grating noise. In textbooks it is also described as a high-pitched musical noise. It usually occurs when the patient takes a breath in (inspires). Such breathing pattern is described as stridulous and prompts doctors to urgently establish an airway.

Sriram Vaidyanathan, Dundee, UK

From: Dominique Mellinger (dominiquemellinger yahoo.co.uk)
Subject: fastuous

In French, fastueux (with the pronunciation very similar to fastuous, without the final s no longer pronounced in the singular) means something grand, very impressive and very beautiful. A decor can be fastueux, and fêtes at château de Versailles can be fastueuses and of course a buffet and a Thanksgiving lunch or dinner can be absolutely fastueux, even the vegetarian version without a turkey. Some famous American actress’s wedding around Paris was very fastueux too, I heard, though it didn’t seem to be a good omen for the lasting of the marriage. Fastueux mais pas durable (fastuous but not sustainable), alas a symbol of our western lifestyle that, unless we evolve it into frugal urgently, will bury us under its gilded grandeur.

Dominique Mellinger, Gorze, France

From: Ignacio Fernández de Bobadilla (canmayans gmail.com)
Subject: impertinent

Spanish being my native language, I enjoy looking for similarities in both languages in the words proposed by Anu. In this case they are practically coincident, in all the meanings and nuances. After all, both came originally from a common source, Indo-European.

But “impertinentes”, as a noun and always in the plural, has an additional and funny meaning in Spanish, though I have not been able to trace its origin: lorgnette, those eye-glasses with a handle used by our grandmothers and great-grandmothers ages ago.

Ignacio Fernández de Bobadilla, Seville, Spain

From: Eric Hoy (eric.hoy utsouthwestern.edu)
Subject: bibulous

When I began my training in Laboratory Medicine, I was introduced to bibulous paper, a thick absorbent blotting paper that is used to remove excess water from freshly stained microscope slides. The instructor asked if anyone knew what “bibulous” meant. Due to my high school training in Latin, I was the only one in the class who knew the source of the term.

Eric Hoy, Dallas, Texas

Email of the Week (Grit. Integrity. Courage. Authenticity. Old School + Wit = Old’s Cool).

From: Steve Kirkpatrick (stevekirkp comcast.net)
Subject: bibulous

From the same Latin root as bibulous came the name of the Michelin tire character, Bibendum, or Bib.

The original 1898 poster showed a character composed of Michelin tires, holding aloft a drinking glass of broken glass, nails, and other road hazards. To the puny-looking tire characters seated near him, he boldly proposed a toast: Nunc est bibendum, which can translate to “Now is the time for drinking” or “Now is the time for us to drink.” The quotation is from Horace’s Odes.

Steve Kirkpatrick, DDS, Olympia, Washington

From: Peter Charlesworth (peter charlesworth.nz)
Subject: Indo-European root

I have been receiving the daily email for several years, and continue to be attracted by the interest of words. One thing that I have often wondered about, but until today have not thought to request clarification, is the matter of the “Indo-European root”. I have frequently noted that, just as in today’s word from the Latin “bibere”, the IE root seems to bear no obvious visible relationship to it, and likewise, therefore, the resulting series of associated English words do not resemble the Latin.

Could you direct me to an explanation of what the IE root actually means, and how it comes to result in a derivation of words so different from the “original” one?

Peter Charlesworth, Auckland, New Zealand

Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the name linguists have given to the language that was the ancestor to about half of the languages spoken today. PIE was spoken around 5000 years ago. That’s a long time to give birth to languages as different as English, Persian, French, Hindi, and thousands of others that are derived from this common tongue. A good source of Indo-European roots is The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.
-Anu Garg

From: Dharam Khalsa (dharamkk2 windstream.net)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

Anagram containing the words of the week:
1. stridulous
2. torpid
3. fastuous
4. impertinent
5. bibulous
= 1. with awful grating
2. monotonous; apathetic
3. pretentious
4. is rude
5. old drunk, if misuse; absorbent
The text in the right box is an anagram of the text in the left.
Dharam Khalsa, Espanola, New Mexico

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

Her voice is quite stridulous. “Bibulous,
libidinous, also perfidious,”
in anger she cries.
“Ridiculous! Why
must you always use words so ambiguous?”

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

A day trader, both lazy and torpid
told his son, “seems I can’t anymore bid
on the stocks that I sought
or sell some I had bought.
My computer is down. That’s the score, kid.

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

As a wizard at physics and calculus
Your view of yourself is miraculous
Receive a Nobel
Sing like Patti LaBelle
But you’ll never escape being fastuous.

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

He asks her, for sake of divertissement,
to dress as a maid, act subservient.
His hopeful suggestion
provokes her rejection.
“You, sir,” she avers, “are impertinent!”

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

A girl who sounds nasal and stridulous
Can make your poor tummy acidulous
But if she’s Fran Drescher
Like cats who are Cheshire
You’ll smile and feel rather bibulous.

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

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: A WAD of puns

Many found Elaine’s voice to be Stritchulous.

James Joyce novels are difficult to intorpid.

After those slow roller skates, our first bicycles seemed fastuous.

What you say is important may be impertinent to me.

“You’re a sloppy drunk, so wear a bibulousty dame!”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Thought is the blossom; language the bud; action the fruit behind it. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

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