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AWADmail Issue 749

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

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

Donald and the Suitor (by yours truly)
Daily Kos

How Economic Gobbledygook Divides Us
The New York Times

New Record: Translations of Universal Declaration of Human Rights Pass 500
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Noam Chomsky and the Bicycle Theory
The New York Times

From: Brad Tinkham (btinkham1209 comcast.net)
Subject: hippology

I don’t want to nag you about horses but your description made me bridle a little. I don’t want to stirrup trouble or saddle you with any avoidance of the mane issue here so I will just pony up a few remarks and then hoof it out of here.

Brad Tinkham, Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania

From: Darren Nash (dnash peeknservices.com.au)
Subject: hipplogy

Being in Australia, I receive these emails late in the day and reserve them to look at first thing the next morning,

To my surprise, today when I read this it just happens to be on the 1st Tuesday of November, which is the day the Melbourne Cup (horse race) is run every year.

Touted as the “race that stops the nation”, most businesses essentially close down for about an hour or so around 3 pm (AEST).

Is this a sign that my luck will change today...

Darren Nash, Sydney, Australia

From: Richard Alexander (alexander triton.net)
Subject: hippo-

Differentiating between the hippocampus and hypothalamus, both parts of the brain’s limbic system, was a stumbling block for some of my Introductory Psychology students. One student came up with a creative solution. She pictured a hippo (hippopotamus, “river horse”) walking around campus, trying to remember what it learned. (The hippocampus’s main functions involve spatial navigation and the consolidation and retrieval of information.)

Richard Alexander, Grand Rapids, Michigan

From: Bruce Reaves (reavesb earthlink.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--hippology

In a hippocracy, do those opposed vote neigh?

Bruce Reaves, Graham, North Carolina

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From: Ann Hiemstra (hiemstra.ann gmail.com)
Subject: hippo

Living on the southern tip of Africa, “hippo”, for Kruger National Park loving me, immediately brings to mind our huge river (fresh) water living and seemingly lazy sunbathing gigantic mammal, the hippopotamus (Hippopotamus amphibius), which by the way, has very little resemblance to any horse I have seen.

In my mother tongue, Afrikaans, this animal is called a “seekoei” (sea cow), to which it also has no resemblance, either in looks or habitation, and our Dutch speaking language “family” call it a “nijlpaard” (Nile horse), which seems a little closer to the real thing.

For some inexplicable reason, the hippopotamus, which is, with the exception of the African elephant, larger than any of “The Big Five” of Africa, the other four being the lion, leopard, rhino, and African buffalo, is not reckoned as one of these big ones.

And note, more people are killed in Africa by hippopotami than all of the other Biggies together, they say. So, do not be misled by the mounds of blubbery sunbathing bodies on the riverbanks of game parks. To add to the “misfit-ness” of this strange creature, and since we have no icebergs in South Africa, the mere tips of unknown trouble we might perceive, are referred to as “just the ears of the hippo” visible above the surface of the (troubled) waters.

Ann Hiemstra, Stilbaai, South Africa

From: Charlotte Russell (ccr6273 verizon.net)
Subject: xerophilic

I’ve always liked dry humor, so I guess I’d like xerophilic comedians.

Charlotte Russell, Littleton, Massachusetts

From: Bob Missing (via online comments)
Subject: xerophilic

Ah! We who live in New Mexico finally are able to define just what we are!

Bob Missing, Rio Rancho, New Mexico

From: Anne Marie McCormack (mccormack.anne-marie gene.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--steganography

I’ve never heard this word before, but I know about the shaved head from you and the dot over the i from A Man Called Intrepid, which was a great read -- and could have been its own “example from history” in this AWAD post.

Anne Marie McCormack, San Francisco, California

From: Michael Simon (michael.simon kornferry.com)
Subject: steganography

A great book that has steganography as its core theme is Sistine Secrets: Michelangelo’s Forbidden Messages in the Heart of the Vatican. As the title suggests, it describes recent work uncovering a host of concealed messages that Michelangelo placed into his paintings within the Chapel, messages subversive to the Roman Catholic Church leadership at the time that went unnoticed for 500 years.

Michael Simon, New York

From: Carter Bancroft (carterb36 yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--steganography

I read with interest your definition of steganography, and particularly your example of putting a secret text on a dot. I thought you might be interested in the attached Nature paper (Hiding messages in DNA microdots) I published some years back. Our paper describes how we used DNA on a microdot attached over the period of an innocuous letter to conceal a secret message. The message was written in DNA language and then hidden steganographically in a great excess of concealing DNA, in such a way that only the intended recipient could recover and read the message.

Carter Bancroft, Huntington, New York

From: Narayani Gupta (narayani.gupta gmail.com)
Subject: nidicolous

In Sanskrit, Hindi, and Bangla “need” means “nest”. Satyajit Ray’s famous film Charulata is based on Tagore’s short story “Nashta Need” (Broken Nest).

Narayani Gupta, Delhi, India

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: hypogeal and xerophilic

As hypogeal denizens of dirt, common earthworms do get down-and-dirty in their slightly bizarro reproductive lives. Although to be fair, in “doing what comes naturally”, intimacy almost always takes place above ground, and in the pitch-blackness of night. Lights out, honey!

Camels, legendary “ships of the desert”, are renowned for their xerophilic attributes, from major fatty deposits in their hump(s) that dissipate body heat, their soft, furry coats that insulate their massive bodies, and most amazingly, their ability to survive weeks without drinking a drop of water. Clearly, the sad-sack, prostrate dromedary in my illustration might need a bit of a tuneup, or more precisely, a lube job. (Note: No animals were harmed in the drawing of this cartoon.)

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

This week’s theme: Words made with combining forms
1. hippology
2. hypogeal
3. xerophilic
4. steganography
5. nidicolous
1. hog horse study
2. below earth
3. pick aridity
4. message in film pixels
5. grown child at home (Pop coos, “Why? Homing pigeon!”)
The text in the right box is an anagram of the text in the left.

Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina

From: Robert Jordan (alfiesdad ymail.com)
Subject: This week’s words anagrammed

1. hippology
2. hypogeal
3. xerophilic
4. steganography
5. nidicolous
1. ethology
2. in soil
3. hardy, popping up
4. lexical cipher
5. goosy (go ah!)

Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand

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

Love of horses requires no apology
say the scholars who study hippology.
Gulliver’s noble Houyhnhnm
have no violence in ‘em.
Can’t say that looking at anthropology.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“She said she was into hippology,”
Said Trump, “so I make no apology.
Below a girl’s waist
Are the parts to my taste
And her hips were the stuff of mythology.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

If that narcissist bully wins out,
And thank heavens there is still some doubt,
I’ll go hypogeal
I’ll bail out if he’ll
Be the one that the voters don’t rout.
-Kathy Deutsch, Melbourne, Australia (kathy deutsch.net.au)

It’s a well-known fact, hypogeal:
Pigs that play in the mud like to squeal.
While life stinks in the sty,
They cannot deny
It’s a stench of great porcine appeal.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodth snet.net)

He lives high in a tower of steel
But belongs in a lair hypogeal.
From under Trump’s rock
He could harmlessly mock
All the rights that he’d like to repeal.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

To the camel the desert’s idyllic.
Global warming has made him sibylic.
He said to the cactus,
“It just won’t impact us;
we’re already quite xerophilic.”
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“The Pharaoh is anti-Semitic,”
Called Moses from high on a hillock.
“Some plagues I’ve brought down
So let’s get out of town,
And we’ll need to become xerophilic.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“The landscape is truly idyllic, “
says realtor. “All xerophilic.”
What she doesn’t disclose
is the fact that all those
flowers and shrubs are acrylic.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

When using invisible ink,
(Spies use this technique to hoodwink),
Your steganography,
Will lead to a laugh, see,
If your ink turns out to be pink.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

An eager Lothario wannabe
Must learn all about steganography.
By knowing the lingo
He may just hit bingo
For “Buy me a drink?” is meant conjug’lly.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Though parents today are meticulous
Increasingly kids are nidiculous
They no longer roam
And refuse to leave home
The term “empty nest” is ridiculous.
-Adam Perl, Ithaca, New York (adam pastimes.com)

I was telling my Russian friend Nicholas:
“There are words in our language that tickle us;
very often we can see in
them Indo-European
roots, as in nidifugous/nidicolous.”
-Ron Diamant, Highland Park, New Jersey (slartibartfastx yahoo.com)

Your kids can afford to be frivolous
By living the good life nidicolous.
“My laundry is dirty,”
Say mine, almost thirty,
I pray that someday they’ll get sick of us.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Graham's Groaners

“I’ve lost the book you lent me on horses. I owe you an hippology.”

If promoters have a cave to hypogeal impress people less than a “wow” will.

Phil Graham says, “My tongue will give that cactus not a single or a double, but a zerophilic.”

Paleontologists’ journals might contain tyrannography or steganography.

That some cuckoos lay their eggs in the nests of other species seems nidicolous.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Language is an anonymous, collective, and unconscious art; the result of the creativity of thousands of generations. -Edward Sapir, anthropologist, linguist (1884-1939)

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