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AWADmail Issue 780

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

Trump in Translation: President’s Mangled Language Stumps Interpreters
The Guardian

Saving Endangered Languages in Malaysia
The Straits Times

From: Julie Runion (juliesan2001 hotmail.com)
Subject: noun verbing

Several years ago I had a coworker who, every time I said “texting” or “texted”, would exclaim, “It’s not a verb!” Today I am vindicated!

Julie Runion, Cocoa, Florida

From: Lynn Mancini (mancini dtcc.edu)
Subject: verbing

This week’s theme brings to mind a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon.

I thoroughly enjoyed it when I read it when it first came out, and recalling it has given me pleasure for nearly a quarter of a century.

Lynn Mancini, Newark, Delaware

From: Judi Felber (123judi gmail.com)
Subject: verbs/nouns

Thought you might like this comic.

Judi Felber, Silver Spring, Maryland

From: Eve V Clark (eclark stanford.edu)
Subject: When nouns surface as verbs

You might be interested in this paper, which we published in 1979, on just this topic.

Eve V. Clark, Richard W. Lyman Professor, Emerita & Professor of Linguistics, Department of Linguistics, Stanford University

From: Adriel Watt (watt ub.uni-kiel.de)
Subject: Linguistic purism

I just wanted to respond to the introductory essay of this week’s theme with one thought: The idea of linguistic purity is as repugnant and ill-founded as the idea of racial purity.

Adriel Watt, Kiel, Germany

From: Ken Merena (kmerena2002 yahoo.com)
Subject: verbing nouns

Like fingernails on a chalkboard, there are just some nouns that have morphed into verbs that I will simply never accept. They make my skin crawl. One example is the word “parent”. Watching over and guiding your children is not parenting, it is watching over and guiding your children. Now please excuse me, I have to car to the beach so I can sun myself.

Ken Merena, Bogota, Colombia

From: Richard S. Russell (RichardSRussell tds.net)
Subject: verbing

The one that always used to tick me off more than any other was “quote” instead of “quotation”. I’ve become resigned to it, however, even though I still have a protruding hackle or two every time I hear it.

And that experience has allowed me to view with more equanimity a different trend, the use of active verbs where the passive is clearly intended, as in “The product will ship today.”

Doesn’t mean I like either trend, since ambiguity is the thief of meaning, but I’ve resigned myself, like King Canute, to the inevitability of the tide.

Richard S. Russell, Madison, Wisconsin

From: Pat Perry (lprperry verizon.net)
Subject: verbing of nouns

Don’t forget “helming”. We are being inundated with helmsmen busy helming projects.

Pat Perry, Lexington, Massachusetts

From: Susan Frank (sfrank2 cfl.rr.com)
Subject: beveraging

Years ago, we were told by a hostess in a restaurant that our waitress would be with us shortly. She was beveraging another table.

Susan Frank, Titusville, Florida

From: Georgette Rogers (georgette visionariesevents.com)
Subject: Nouns that became verbs

In the book Mrs. Jack: A Biography of Isabella Stewart Gardner by Louise Hall Tharp, I was introduced to chandeliering. My online dictionary does not recognize the word, but I thought that it was a great notion. It essentially describes someone who is on display and demands the attention of everyone in the vicinity.

Georgette Rogers, Pepperell, Massachusetts

From: Julian Thomas (jt jt-mj.net)
Subject: Nouns to verbs

In a prior existence when I was working for a large corporation with a well-known three-letter abbreviation, I was appalled by management-speak when they said that a particular problem needed to be “solutioned”.

Julian Thomas, Rochester, New York

From: John D. Laskowski (john.laskowski mothman.org)
Subject: Word twisters

My worst example is the substitution of the adjective healthy with the adverb healthily or healthfully. One cannot “eat healthy” -- healthy is not edible!

John D. Laskowski, Carsonville, Pennsylvania

From: Barry Hecht (BarryHecht aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--showboat

I thought a showboat is Donald Trump. Now, it is true that the most recent, famous usage of this term was Trump calling Comey a showboat... but my theory is whatever epithet Trump hurls at another is, in fact, an attribute of which he himself is guilty.

Barry Hecht, Delmar, New York

From: A Joseph Ross (joe attorneyross.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--showboat

And then there was swiftboating from the 2004 US presidential campaign.

A Joseph Ross, Newton, Massachusetts

From: Donald Scott (donscott943 gmail.com)
Subject: gaslight

My Dad worked for the gas company, in Southern California, in the lab. One day in 1943, the lab got a call from MGM. The mixture the studio was using in the gas lamps for the movie was giving Bergman stage blindness. Could they please send someone out to help them discover a new formula that would photograph well but not hurt their star? Dad went to the studio for two weeks and finally developed a proper mix. Ingrid Bergman won her first Oscar for the film; the family thinks Dad -- Barney Scott -- should get partial credit for the win.

Donald Scott, Carson City, Nevada

From: Dean Parker (dean pl.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--degauss

You wrote:

You can friend & defriend and you can magnetize & demagnetize, but you can only degauss, you can’t gauss. You can debunk, but not bunk, and you can defenestrate, but not fenestrate. What other words like this can you think of?

Fenestrate is used by movie scriptwriters. When you adapt a stage play to the screen, you try to let in to its rooms as much fresh air as possible. You fenestrate it.

Dean Parker, Auckland, New Zealand

From: Sharon Goldstein (sharon_goldstein yahoo.com)
Subject: Fenestrate

Actually, in the medical world we fenestrate all of the time. For instance, a skin graft is fenestrated to create holes to allow 1. For a smaller piece of donor skin to be stretched to cover a larger area and 2. To allow for drainage of fluid buildup between the graft and the site being grafted.

Sharon Goldstein, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

From: Eva Kaminski Shaw (ekaminski mdpc.org)
Subject: degauss

You can apply a Gaussian blur in Photoshop. So that’s kiiiiinda gaussing... But the line there is blurry.

Eva Kaminski Shaw, Houston, Texas

From: Lise Rosenthal (lise rakefet.com)
Subject: bunk

Au contraire. It is quite possible to bunk someone. Thanks to fake news, I can count on the fingers of one hand the people I know who are not in an advanced state of bunked-ness.

Lise Rosenthal, Rehovot, Israel

From: Venkataraman Madhavan (venkataraman.madhavan gmail.com)
Subject: bunk

We used to bunk classes in school! Is it a term used only in India and UK?

Venkataraman Madhavan, Wrexham, UK

From: Gigi Gottwald (gottwalds axxess.co.za)
Subject: debunk & bunk

Here in South Africa, students use “to bunk” in the sense of “to skip lectures”, as in “I bunked PSYCH this morning, just too hung-over.” I’ve also heard it used in the sense of sharing quarters, as in “You can bunk with me till you find your own place.”

Gigi Gottwald, Polokwane, South Africa

From: Bill Hans (billh33 verizon.net)
Subject: deify/ify

You can fenestrate or at least your system administrator can. Fenestrate here means installing Microsoft Windows.

You can deify, but you can’t ify. Perhaps this suggestion is a bit too iffy.

Bill Hans, New City, New York

From: Laura Hartman (lh fernauhartman.com)
Subject: fenestrate

You can fenestrate, meaning to figure out where the windows go in a building.

Laura Hartman, Berkeley, California

From: Daniel Miller (milldaniel gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--degauss

Speaking of fenestrate/defenestrate, fenester, as I recall, is the word used for how the boyfriend gets into the bedroom of the girlfriend without her parents “knowing” about it.

Daniel Miller, Laredo, Texas

From: Matt Nash (mattanash live.com)
Subject: decant

As I’m reading this over my coffee and bagel, I bumped my mug, decanting the hot beverage all over. I suppose I could try to recant it, but I can’t cant.

Matt Nash, Oak Harbor, Washington

From: Bob Stein (stein visibone.com)
Subject: de-

I fy the challenge you mention in the NOTES. Should be pretty fficult really. There probably are an arth of them, but if I can just think of one example then I’ll feel feated... Darn, none is coming to my mented and lirious mind. This is all very lightful.

Bob Stein, Lyme, New Hampshire

Email of the Week: Brought to you by Father Knows Best -- Shop for Pop Now >

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

A little tale from my life as a physics grad student: We new students were being shown around a lab by an engineer, and I saw a button on a big machine labelled “Degas”. That seemed to me a rather unexpected reference to the French painter. So I asked the engineer about it, using the French pronunciation of Degas. To which he instantly replied: “That’s de-gas, you idiot!”

Carter Bancroft, Huntington, New York

From: James N Campbell (james.n.campbell gmail.com)
Subject: Degauss, et al

When I was in Vietnam, the phrase for a quick movement from a particular place was to “de-ass the area”. Of course, short for “I got my ass outta there.” No one ever assed anything.

James N Campbell, Aloha, Oregon

From: Chuck Dinsmore (salamanderdoc gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--degauss

A Thought for Today
Truth-tellers are not always palatable. There is a preference for candy bars. -Gwendolyn Brooks, poet (7 Jun 1917-2000)

This “Thought for Today” reminded me of Harry Ashmore’s biography of Robert Maynard Hutchins entitled Unseasonable Truths. Hutchins, a leading mover and shaker -- however controversial -- in educational reform, among many other areas, became President of the University of Chicago by the time he was 31 years old and held that position from 1929-45. Among the numerous unpalatable truths that he proposed during his tenure was that a great American university could build its reputation as an educational institution rather than on the success of its football team or any other nonacademic distraction. The university dropped its intercollegiate football program in 1939 and has done fairly well ever since!

Chuck Dinsmore, Damariscotta, Maine

From: Sharon Wenzel (zingari q.com)
Subject: today’s notes

You can detach, but you can’t tatch. You can defer, but you can’t fer. Thanks for making me think.

Sharon Wenzel, Louisville, Colorado

From: Leslie Cohen (lzenacohen gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--degauss

I’m not sure these are exactly the same kinds of things, but:
you can detonate, but you can’t tonate.
you can denigrate, but you can’t nigrate.
you can depend, but you can’t pend.

Leslie Cohen, Cambridge, Massachusetts

From: Sarah S. Sole (via website comments)
Subject: de-

I have to deny a request sometimes but I don’t think I have ever nyed. Has anyone ever stroyed anything?

Sarah S. Sole, Enid, Oklahoma

From: Aditya Devendra Pathak (apathak tce.co.in)
Subject: Degauss

You can defame, but can’t fame; you can dismantle, but not mantle; you can denounce, but not nounce; you can decry, but not cry; you can demean, but not mean!

Aditya Pathak, Bengaluru, India

From: Craig James (cjames emolecules.com)
Subject: de fecate

You can defecate, but not fecate.

Craig A. James, San Diego, California

From: SarahRose Werner (swerner nbnet.nb.ca)
Subject: Degauss but not gauss

It used to be fairly common for Soviet performers to defect to Western countries while on tour there. However, as far as I know no one has ever fected.

SarahRose Werner, Saint John, Canada

From: Siji Olawumi (omolorun gmail.com)
Subject: delineate

You can delineate, but not lineate.

Siji Olawumi, Ibadan, Nigeria

From: David Streiner (streiner mcmaster.ca)
Subject: Degauss

There are many words beginning with “de” or “in” that don’t have opposites:

You can declare, but not clare
You can be incensed, but not censed
You can be deloused, but not loused
You can decline an invitation, but you can’t cline it.

David L. Streiner, Hamilton, Canada

From: Evan Hazard (eehazard paulbunyan.net)
Subject: degauss

Would defeat count? One can defeat, but not feat.

Evan Hazard, Bemidji, Minnesota

From: ET Sel (eeetsel gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--degauss

You can de-bone a chicken but not bone it,
deplore an incident but ...
denigrate but not nigrate,
discriminate but not criminate,
dispel, but ...
despair, but not pair a situation,
deflate a quarrel, but not flate it,
devastate and not vastate,
dissolute man but no solute one,

Ah ah ah, that is fun!

ET Sel, Nethanya, Israel

From: Nalini Sankaranarayanan (nalsanka cisco.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--degauss

I can think of debar (which is not the opposite of bar), delope (whose opposite is not elope), devolve (antonym is not evolve), decadent, decollate, default, defrock etc. Now, that makes me think was dementor (of Harry Potter fame) meant to be the opposite of mentor?

Nalini Sankaranarayanan, Bangalore, India

From: John E. Ingle (j.ingle verizon.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--degauss

You can deplore and deny, but you cannot plore and ny.

John E. Ingle, Lovettsville, Virginia

From: JB Bryant (knntusmy jbryant.org)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--degauss

You can demand but you can’t mand.

JB Bryant, Marshalltown, Iowa

From: Dave Wilkinson (dave.wilkinson gerdau.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--degauss

One can plane a board to smooth the surface and deplane to disembark an airplane but one cannot deplane a board, or plane to board an airplane.

Dave Wilkinson, Selkirk, Canada

From: Roberto Sáez (robertosaezblanco gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--degauss

You can decorate... but you can’t corate. I think.

Roberto Sáez, Getafe, Spain

From: Robert Rice (ricer si.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--degauss

You can be redundant, but not dundant. However, if being redundant is saying something twice unnecessarily, could not dundant be saying something once unnecessarily?

Robert Rice, Washington, DC

From: Dave Hatfield (ddhatfi verizon.net)
Subject: degauss

We used to have to degauss 6” and 10” magnetic tape reels we used for recording in the Army. We used a large 2'x2' degaussing table. Each tape had to be degaussed 90 days after it was analyzed and the reports were written on their contents, and we could go through anywhere from 30 to 250 in a month. Each tape took about 10 minutes of our turning the reel slowly by hand and flipping it over once during the cycle. Once degaussed, they could be reused. We always had to be quick to remind first-timers to remove their watches lest they fall prey to the Gaussian field!

Dave Hatfield, Severn, Maryland

From: Russell Haussermann (rhaussermann ucdavis.edu)
Subject: Re: Degauss

I can deliver a package. But I don’t liver it, I return it.

Russell Haussermann, Davis, California

From: Jackie Cash (airedalemail comcast.net)
Subject: debacle

I’ve always wondered if you could call success a “bacle” because failure is a debacle.

Jackie Cash, Memphis, Tennessee

From: Larry Bloom (dcnlarry gmail.com)
Subject: desire/sire

One can desire, which could lead one to sire, but I don’t suppose this is what your note refers to.

Larry Bloom, Winthrop, Massachusetts

From: Margaret Mitchell (mitma100 telus.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--degauss

You can dismantle but not mantle!

Margaret Mitchell, Kamloops, Canada

From: Nathan Horwitz (n_horwitz yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--degauss

You can debut, but you can’t but.
A minister can be defrocked, but I’ve never heard of one being frocked.
You can deride, but you can’t ride.

Nathan Horwitz, Slingerlands, New York

From: James D. Rainwater (jdrlaw yahoo.com)
Subject: Degauss

I remember fondly a great line from the TV show MASH. In this episode, Lt. Col. Henry Blake is trying to get the camp prepared for a VIP visit, and it’s in shambles. He orders Corporal O’Reilly to “deshambalize” the camp. To this day I use this made-up word, but I don’t think I would employ the word “shambalize” to convey the notion of making a mess.

James D. Rainwater, Lake City, Minnesota

From: Joel Mabus (jmabusguitar sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Shakespeare

I’ve never heard of Shakespearing before, but in Julius Caesar there is a fair amount of spearshaking.

Joel Mabus, Kalamazoo, Michigan

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

As a Shakespeare lover, I just can’t accept usage of his sacred name as a verb!

Carter Bancroft, Huntington, New York

From: Jacob Katz (JKatz uhy-us.com)
Subject: noun verbing

Good choices for this week, but I was truly hoping that “science” would make the list as made popular by Matt Damon’s character Mark Watney in the film Martian. Good enough for Neil DeGrasse Tyson, good enough for me.

Jacob Katz, Detroit, Michigan

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Shakespeare and prodnose

Pondering the possible etymological root(s) of the surname “Shakespeare”, I immediately conjured up the legendary 19th-century warrior/chief of South Africa’s Zulu Nation, Shaka, recalling his timely invention of a short, potentially lethal thrusting spear. This weapon proved highly effective in close hand-to-hand battlefield combat scenarios. The “Shaka spear”, if you will.

So in my view, the action of wielding, or “shaking” a spear, suggests a spear-chucking military man of yore, and might well be the root of the Bard of Avon’s family name. Just as such familiar Anglo-Saxon names as Baker, Thatcher, Fletcher, Fisher, most likely had their origins in common professions.

My illustration is a kind of action-adventure comic book take on the “Shaka spear” in action... an unfortunate young Brit trooper falling victim to “the unkindest cut of all”.

Picking up on Anu’s origin story for the word “prodnose”, i.e., the name of a recurring character of the prying persuasion, created by “Daily Mail” columnist J.B. Morton (aka “Beachcomber”), I came up with this balmy beach scenario, where my version of scribe Beachcomber’s Prodnose character, with his prominent probing proboscis, is prodnosing a fetching sunbather, seemingly oblivious to his bold aerial intrusion.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

The text in each box is an anagram of the text in other boxes.

1. showboat
2. gaslight
3. degauss
4. shakespeare
5. prodnose
= 1. do what helps ego
2. harass
3. erase disk
4. stage
5. snoop, bug
= 1. swagger
2. as able shape thoughts
3. erase disk
4. do
5. snoop
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

The chances are extremely remote
That I will ever want to showboat
My Mensa membership
With a sharp, witty quip
As there’s surely no reason to gloat.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (loscamil aol.com)

Mr. Trump is the ultimate showboat.
From many of us he gets no vote.
His lack of compassion
He thinks is in fashion.
A golf club he’d build where Thoreau wrote.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpower wowway.com)

If someone takes a slow boat
Down the river on a showboat,
One is bound to feel cocky
If the river bed is rocky
And one gets off in a rowboat.
-Bill Raiford, Thomasville, Georgia (br2002 rose.net)

When Affordable Care got a “no” vote
Our politics hit a new low note.
The dog caught the car,
Now the driving’s bizarre
By Republicans looking to showboat.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Make it great again,” that’s how he’d gaslight.
Some still swallow it, down to the last bite.
But those who foresee
what that future might be,
in despair might make plans for a mass flight.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

She gave the old man quite a fright
With things flickering off in the night.
She wanted to chill him,
Perchance, e’en to kill him,
But succeeded to only gaslight.
-Judith S. Fox, Teaneck, New Jersey (Jsfoxrk aol.com)

“We Koch brothers think it’s our birthright,”
Says David, “the public to gaslight.
We get them salutin’
The Donald and Putin.
Our puppets all give a good sound bite.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

If ever there were such a mouse,
Whose dimensions exceeded god’s house,
‘round the heavens he’d scurry,
Oh, the sound and the fury!
Mother earth, in his wake, he’d degauss.
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

Cried the stripper, “Okay, where’s the louse
who’s remotely controlling my blouse?
The magnetized snaps
that were closing its gaps
he’s managed somehow to degauss!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

His TV he could not degauss.
It made for an unhappy house.
The colors were blurred,
His children demurred,
But ’twas fine for his color-blind spouse.
-Anna C Johnston, Coarsegold, California (ajohnston13 gmail.com)

Your wife will end up with the house
While you flee to the jungles of Laos
If ever an email
You send to a female
And fail to your hard drive degauss.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

She made it abundantly clear
To mate that he must park his rear.
“As you like it, or not,
You must sit through the plot,
Because your wife likes oft to Shakespeare.”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Cole Porter made music we hear,
In which the performers Shakespeare,
In production great,
He called “Kiss Me Kate”,
Which he wrote near the end of career.
-Chris Papa, Colts Neck, New Jersey (doxite32 gmail.com)

“My calling,” I said, “is to Shakespeare.
I’m better than all of the fakes here.
L.A.’s where to be
To book film and TV.
Just ignore the smog, traffic, and quakes, dear.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The girl had a run in her hose,
Which attracted a lurking prodnose.
He ogled this event
With salacious intent,
‘Til she smacked him one hard in the nose.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

To prodnose I never would stoop.
God knows I am not such a snoop.
I only need
My Facebook feed
And the Internet’s latest poop.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“That Comey was such a big prodnose,”
Said the President, striking an odd pose.
“I’m telling you, Vlad,
Though right now it looks bad,
All the stuff that we did only God knows.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Nouns of pretention are worth a pun obscure

If you want something fancier than lime or orange, the rainbow showboat is a sure bet.

Is a small burp gaslight?

De Gauss method isn’t just for eliminating magnetism.

The roofing contractor said, “Your shakespeare to need replacin’.”

“Dusty, start prodnose cattle into separate corrals.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

The great vice of the present day is bravura, an attempt to do something beyond the truth. -John Constable, painter (11 Jun 1776-1837)

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