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AWADmail Issue 754

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

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

When Ex-cons Change Their Vocabulary, They Stay Out of Jail
New York Magazine

Austria’s Word of the Year Has 52 Letters

From: Patricia Hankins (claypath earthlink.net)
Subject: Leah Palmer

Oh thank you for bringing a smile to my face this December!

Pat Hankins, Meansville, Georgia

From: John Mitchell (john.maclennan.mitchell gmail.com)
Subject: Succulent

The word “succulent” generally evokes images of things you can eat, but whenever I come across it I am reminded of the unusual but somehow very apt use as an adjective in the lyrics of David and David’s song Welcome To The Boomtown...

Welcome, welcome to the boomtown
All that money makes such a succulent sound

John Mitchell, Sydney, Australia

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

Also marmar in Persian and Urdu, and in Hindi sangmarmar.

Narayani Gupta, Delhi, India

From: Bill Mattox (wgmattox2 earthlink.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--marmorean

Maamorilik (Greenland) is a small town in northern West Greenland, site for many years of a marble quarry.

Bill Mattox, Meridian, Idaho

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

The Sea of Marmora, far from being smooth as marble (it is a rather tempestuous body of water), takes its name from the Island of Marmara, a source of marble, indispensable in the erection of Ancient Greek temples. In fact in ancient times the adjacent Black Sea was known as the Euxine, a term of propitiation for Poseidon, the sometimes angry god of the seas, in hopes he would quiet the elements and let the Argonauts live another day, until they have managed to procure the elusive Golden Fleece. And who says the appellation “the glory that was Greece” is an exaggeration?

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Linda Owens (lindafowens netzero.net)
Subject: marmoreal

In Rhode Island, where I live, many folks would pronounce this mah-mo-e-al, sorta like memorial, which is what much marble is used for.

Linda Owens, Exeter, Rhode Island

From: Liz Wise (youngwise inlandnet.com)
Subject: marmorean

From the same root, in medicine, cutis marmorata is instead named for resembling the veining in marble.

Liz Wise, Cle Elum, Washington

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From: Eleanor Jackson (elej mindspring.com)
Subject: peregrination

The Peregrinus has been the mascot of the University of Texas Law School since the early nineteenth century. It is a bizarre creature (much weirder than the lovely illustration with today’s word) with a fascinating story, too long to narrate here, of its invention, evolution, and activity through the ensuing years. Its name came from the Latin praeter peregrinus, a traveling Roman law official. Several renditions of it rest today in the Tarlton Law Library Archives and Special Collections Department at UT. Back in the day, the law and engineering students had a quite fervent ongoing rivalry, and the engineers had a mascot named Alec to vie with the Peregrinus. I grew up as a UT (educational psychology, not law) professor’s daughter and knew today’s word from earliest childhood, when such traditions were still quite rampant. Not sure if today’s UT students (other than “laws”) are even aware of Peregrinus.

Eleanor Jackson, Gainesville, Georgia

From: Patrick Span (patrick.span hotmail.com)
Subject: ostentatious

Tacky, gaudy, and ostentatious: fits Trump to a T.

Patrick Span, Buffalo, New York

From: Joel Lis (joellis.jr gmail.com)
Subject: ostentatious

I worked at a restaurant when I was young. One evening a fellow waiter named Peter Boyd used today’s word in a hilarious antic that reduced the serving staff to tears, and had a decidedly less pleasant effect on two palpably haughty patrons.

A man and a woman wearing matching 3/4 length mink coats entered and waited impatiently for the hostess who was on the phone. Peter scooted over and officiously inquired if he might assist them.

His countenance bearing all the hubris of Ozymandias himself, the man stated his staccato orders: “Reservation. Two people, 7:30 pm.” Peter nodded, a peculiar smile playing across his face for just more than a moment. Then he responded, most curtly.

Like a robot whose power supply is running low, each gesture slightly delayed and subtly mechanical, Peter turned to the reservation list, deliberately reading each line aloud. The man glared at him. Our hostess looked like a deer in the headlights. She knew something that probably shouldn’t happen was about to.

“Ah, yes,” Peter imperiously intoned. “Here we are, then. Reservation. Two people. 7:30 pm.” He faced the couple now, wearing a mischievous yet serious smile that might make the famous cat from Cheshire a nobody. That smile shouted “I’ve got you now, you jerk,” and so he did.

Replicating his victim’s tone and bearing all too precisely, and lacing his words with a sobering splash of upper-crust snobbery, Peter pounced.

“Mr. and Mrs. Austin Tatious, I presume?”

Thunderous silence ensued. You can imagine the result of Mr. Boyd’s impertinence (yes, he kept his job, though barely).

Unlike Ozymandias’ impermanent statue, Peter’s live-action demonstration of the power and meaning of today’s word stands yet, victorious and unweathered, ever rooted in the shifting sands of time.

Joel Lis, Toronto, Canada

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: marmorean and ostentatious

Get A Room!
When I read the definition of “marmorean”, I almost immediately thought of the marvelous circa 1890s painting by the brilliant French orientalist/hyper-realist painter, Jean-Léon Gérôme, depicting a critical moment from Ovid’s sensual mythic tale of Cypriot sculptor, Pygmalion, embracing his female creation, Galatea, who magically transforms from cold, hard marble to pliant flesh... a living, breathing, sensate creature.

Graceland USA
At his Graceland estate, Elvis Presley seemed to have tried so hard to create an aura of “materialized” luxury and flagrant opulence. And yet his mishmash (or would that be “mismatch”?) of gaudy interior design choices kind of reflected the unrefined aesthetic of an unsophisticated small-town Southern boy from Tupelo, Mississippi... which, in point of fact, he was.
Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

1. succulent
2. marmorean
3. afflatus
4. peregrination
5. ostentatious
= 1. a full center
2. museum stone
3. inspiration
4. a far tour
5. act on stage
= 1. luscious
2. pure, finest
3. talent
4. roaming afar
5. ornate-cum-no-taste
= 1. allure
2. a cement-face
3. an inspiration
4. struts on foot
5. must argue
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)   -Josiah Winslow, West Allis, Wisconsin (josiah12301 yahoo.com)

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

Said the breeder, “About that old buck you lent
to service our girls? He was truculent,
just kicked up a storm
and refused to perform.
But at lunch, he was lovely -- quite succulent!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“I try not to be quite so truculent,”
Says Donald, “With girls who are succulent.
I charm them with cash,
Then my privates I flash
When I need a Melania supplement.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

There are times when our Muse seems to hate us;
seems to go on extended hiatus.
But after a while
she returns with a smile,
once again our dear Limerick Afflatus.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

If you feel like a grope and you’re rich,
You won’t need to work at your pitch.
When the loo that you pee in
Is sheer marmorean,
There’s many a girl you’ll bewitch.
-Kathy Deutsch, Melbourne, Australia (kathy deutsch.net.au)

Of the future I’d be a historian
Coming home in my custom DeLorean
To a halt having screeched
I’d shout, “Trump gets impeached!”
Oh, they’d carve me in sculptures marmorean.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Though half of the country still hate us,
I’m starting to get an afflatus.
If my lies are outrageous,
They’ll soon be contagious
And they’ll all come to think I’m the greatest.
-Adam Perl, Ithaca, New York (adam pastimes.com)

Some say, when Lord did create us,
It was divine afflatus,
In His heavenly plan,
Said first woman to man,
“Who was the real first blind date? Us!”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

He aspired to become a limericist,
A public speaker and anecdotalist
But they spurned his afflatus,
Destroyed his quo status
And told him to decamp and desist.
-Mike Parsley, Malaga, Spain (slussen2 gmail.com)

Our political peregrination
This year’s been a true revelation
From gentle black scholar
To king of the dollar
And white male supremacist nation.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Regarding the state of the nation
In the hearts of our “Blue” congregation,
Seems there’s now come around
An afflatus profound...
For a Canada peregrination.
-Alan Shoemaker (alan.m.shoemaker gmail.com)

The coquette with manners bodacious
Dressed up to appear ostentatious.
In her diamonds and mink
She would posture and slink,
Men found her behavior salacious.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

We have a president-elect ostentatious,
With an appetite for women voracious.
He plays loose with each fact
And when caught in the act
Tells even more lies most audacious.
-Barry Thomas, Athens, Ohio (thomasb ohio.edu)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)

Subject: Graham’s Grrrrrs

“I’m returning your vacuum. That succulent me doesn’t clean my carpets.”

I find a boxer with a marmoreal than an unblemished one.

“Well, uh, the masochist like took his whip and uh, he afflatus.”

Grenada and Montenegro are a perigrinations.

The capital of our 2nd largest state is ostentatious.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

A great writer is, so to speak, a second government in his country. And for that reason no regime has ever loved great writers, only minor ones. -Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, novelist, Nobel laureate (11 Dec 1918-2008)

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