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AWADmail Issue 733

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

Sponsor’s Message: Hey, Traditionistas -- does “Old’s Cool” sum up your philosophy of life: old school with a little wry, served neat? Where courage, integrity, authenticity, and excellence matter? Same here. So, we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Jonathan Harms (see below), as well as all everyone who thinks that the way things were is sometimes better than the way things are 10% off our retro-wicked ludic loot. Jezz use coupon code “SHOPYESTERDAY”.

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

In Praise of the C-Word
The Guardian

When Everyone Can Be Queer, Is Anyone?
The New York Times

From: Steven Isacowitz (stevenzok icon.co.za)
Subject: Probative

This explains the saying “The exception which proves the rule.” How does an exception prove a rule? It doesn’t, it tests a rule. This is an archaic meaning of the word prove.

Steven Isacowitz, Cape Town, South Africa

From: Nick Blitz (nick blitz.me.uk)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--jobbery

Go back more than thirty years, prior to the Big Bang when trading in equities became an electronic business and when dealings were done man-to-man and effected on the Stock Exchange Floor.

Back then, a stockjobber was a ‘gentleman’ in The City (of London) who facilitated trading between stockbrokers.

Being known personally to those in the market, apart from wearing an expensive three-piece suit, he would wear a black bowler hat (in US, a derby) ... so gave every appearance of being a gentleman. The London Stock Market: spivs NOT welcome, doncha know!

Nick Blitz, York, UK

From: Michael Chiu (chiumich gmail.com)
Subject: Jobbery’s etymology

Up until now I imagined that jobbery came from a creative combination of job & robbery, as in someone who robs the public through his/her position at work.

If only etymology were this easy.

Michael Chiu, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

From: Bob Stewart (via website comments)
Subject: fane

The Boston College fight song (my sister’s alma mater) contains the line, “'Tis wisdom’s earthly fane.”

As a Notre Dame grad, I’m not so sure about that, now that I know what it means, but I did always wonder what a “fane” was!

Bob Stewart, Eugene, Oregon

From: Paul A Graefe (paul.a.graefe wilmu.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--fane

There is a Christian hymn called “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” that contains the line “I fane would take my stand.”

I thought that “fane” in that context meant gladly or happily. However, in looking for an alternate definition online, I could only find references to the definition you provided.

Do you know if there are, in fact, other meanings for fane besides a place of worship? I’m having a difficult time figuring out how that definition of fane would make sense in the lyrics of this hymn.

Paul A Graefe, Folsom, Pennsylvania

You’re looking for the word fain.
-Anu Garg

From: Mary Bowrin (marybowrin gmail.com)
Subject: arable

The word arable brought back a precious memory of my father saying he was glad he had arable land. I am 91, it was during the Depression and times were tough. I really didn’t understand at the time, I was just glad my daddy was happy.

Mary Helen Bowrin, Kemptville, Canada

Email of the Week - Have an OLD’S COOL summer. Get your authentic on HERE.

From: Jonathan Harms (harmsjb slu.edu)
Subject: arable

I first encountered this word in Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, in which Arable was the surname of the main human characters, who lived, appropriately enough, on a farm. My second-grade teacher read a portion of the book to the class every day, an experience I still treasure. I was enchanted by the story, which was well suited for reading aloud. At some point she explained that the name was also a word that meant something on its own.

Seeing the word today prompted me to look up the teacher’s name to see where she might be. Unfortunately, I discovered that she had died in 2010 -- apparently still a teacher. I now realize what a gift she gave by reading to us, and I wish I could have thanked her while she was still alive.

Jonathan Harms, St. Louis, Missouri

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

The anagram to the right is composed of all the letters in the five words below, plus this heading:
1. probative
2. jobbery
3. ostensible
4. fane
5. arable
1. testing with goal to provide proof
2. corruptness within the job (i.e., embassy)
3. alleged, believable
4. shrine
5. best land to base the farm (Ah, the flora!)
The text in the right box is an anagram of the text in the left.
Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina

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

Republicans -- illness dissociative?
The whole party I wouldn’t suppose it of
But out of each mouth
And the hole further south
The same noises are heard, which is probative.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Now lawyers like Matlock do give
Ways to make their case probative.
With easy folksy charm,
The jurors he’ll disarm,
And innocent clients will live.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

With Nixon he felt such cam’raderie
That Checkers the dog got all slobbery.
“Please don’t give me back,”
Cried the pooch, “You’re on track
For historical greatness in jobbery!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

This election leaves me with regret.
Alas, I can say it’s a safe bet,
Donald Trump’s jobbery,
‘Tis highway robbery,
For he’s in it for all he can get.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Now some of his ostensible
supporters find it sensible
to turn away.
They reason, “Hey,
his conduct’s indefensible.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The Clintons, a couple ostensible,
Are utterly incomprehensible.
Says Chelsea, “My Dad
Is a terrible cad
But he’s charming and Mom is susceptible.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

At a right-wing evangelist fane
They prefer that you not use your brain.
But “Science and reason
To Jesus are treason?”
That’s taking the Lord’s name in vain.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

On the corner of Olde Worship Lane,
Stands an eerie medieval fane.
It is open all day,
For those wishing to pray,
And for some, to get out of the rain.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodth snet.net)

He inherited acreage arable,
but he found farming almost unbearable.
Country living he spurned
til at last he returned
like the Prodigal Son in the parable.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Though Jesus spoke often in parable,
When speaking of land that is arable
It’s best you not ponder a
Double entendre
Lest all of your crops turn out terrible.
-Adam Perl, Ithaca, New York (adam pastimes.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: More miscs, fewer hits

Adam was no probative serpently fixed that.

Holding the hypo in order to jobbery said, “This may hurt.”

“Ostensible was a’chasin’ me!”

German monks often die in fane.

Jews in Israel don’t feel the land should be Arable.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Words are like leaves; and where they most abound / Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found. -Alexander Pope, poet (1688-1744)

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