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AWADmail Issue 795

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

Why Is Linguistics Such a Magnet for Dilettantes and Crackpots?

In New Zealand, a Translated “Moana” Bolsters an Indigenous Language
The New York Times

World’s Best Bookstores

My Mother Speaks Through Me
The New York Times

From: Alfred Epple (af.epple t-online.de)
Subject: Ovine

The first time I came across this word in a hilarious context was in the Monty Python Sketch Flying Sheep (video, 4 min.). There was talk of “ovine aviation”.

Freddy Epple, Bad Saulgau, Germany

From: Judy Paul (ianpaul worldonline.co.za)
Subject: Mashed potatoes

On the topic of mashed potatoes or smashed potatoes, we often have offered in our restaurants crushed potatoes. These appear to be peeled and boiled potatoes, very lightly mashed, with still small lumps of potato evident. Having just googled smashed potatoes, I can’t wait to give them a go too!

Judy Paul, Cape Town, South Africa

From: Ensuque Louis (louisensuque orange.fr)
Subject: Words that result in another word when a single letter is prefixed

Well, I think I’ll enjoy this week’s theme because it’s quite a game and I love playing while learning or learning by playing.

Louis Ensuque, Montpellier, France

From: Charlie Cockey (czechpointcharlie gmail.com)
Subject: From young uberty to...

Once again, add a tin-y letter to this one, and that makes a teen-y difference, becoming puberty.

Charlie Cockey, Brno, Czech Republic

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From: Jeremiah Reedy (reedy macalester.edu)
Subject: Uberty

In the discussion of “uberty” (abundance, fruitfulness) I was surprised that nothing was said about the Latin word uber which means a “woman’s breast” and also gives us “exuberant”. Agri exuberantes in Latin are “fertile fields”. Uber is cognate with English udder, but has nothing to do with German über.

Jeremiah Reedy, PhD, Prof. Emeritus of Classics, Macalester College, Saint Paul, Minnesota

From: Ossie Bullock (via website comments)
Subject: uberty

So no connection, it seems, between German über and Latin uber, but I am amused to find that the equally unconnected uberty and puberty both involve breasts.

Ossie Bullock, London, UK

From: Jim Scarborough (jimes hiwaay.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--rill

The moon has rilles, too. They weren’t caused by water, but rather lava flows long ago.

Jim Scarborough, Cary, North Carolina

From: Bob Richmond (rsrichmond gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--rill

So THAT’s what a rill is. It just occurred to me that I’ve been wondering about that since 1946. For Americans, of course, that word evokes the phrase “I love thy rocks and rills, thy woods and templed hills”, sung to the tune AMERICA, more usually called My country ‘tis of thee or, of course, “God Save the Queen”.

Bob Richmond, Maryville, Tennessee

From: Gavin Kreuiter (kreuiter me.com)
Subject: Otic

I had no trouble finding at least one word that could be made by prefixing a single letter to the other words for this week, but “otic” had me baffled enough that I searched for an answer. The word “lotic” (and its companion “lentic”) were wonderful treasures to add to my word chest. Thank you!

By the way, I rarely disagree with you, but must object to your equating a comparison of smashed and mashed potatoes with a comparison of apples and potatoes. The difference between the former is skin-deep (smashed includes the peel). In the case of the latter, you’re comparing apples with oranges, so to speak.

Gavin Kreuiter, Johannesburg, South Africa

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Ovine and uberty

Inspired by the brilliant Gershwin brothers George and Ira’s 1937 bouncy tune, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off”, from the film “Shall We Dance”, starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, I came up with this “you say ovine... I say bovine” little cartoon ditty. Some film critics and movie historians of the day viewed the playful back-and-forth lyrical sparring demonstrated in the aforementioned song as a reflection of both regional and societal class differences, exemplified by the key wordplay. Tomatoes... ‘tomahtoes’, either... neither, oysters... ‘ersters’, father... pater... it all makes for a fun linguistic exchange, put to melody. Ovine
Uberty Apparently completely skipping puberty, as fully-formed adults, our first humans, Adam and Eve, were commanded by Yahweh* to jump right into a state of blissful uberty... “be fruitful and multiply”. As the narrative goes, it was by their eating of the “forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge” that mankind was forever condemned to mortality, sin, and shame. Alas, there’s the rub. But perhaps the silver lining was humankind’s being granted “free will”?
*Yahweh was the Old Testament, Judaic appellation for what later Christians referenced as God, or Jehovah.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

This week’s theme: Words that result in another word when a single letter is prefixed:
1. ovine
2. uberty
3. lection
4. rill
5. otic

1. ewe-like (thrill the wolves!)
2. riches
3. priest’s selection of noble text
4. thin eroded stream with running water
5. auditory

1. ovine
2. uberty
3. lection
4. rill
5. otic

1. to clone
2. virility
3. cite
4. run
5. lobe
   -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)     -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

I’ve tried pills and I’ve tried wine.
Now for ewes and lambs I pine.
To get to sleep
I’m counting sheep --
A soporific that’s ovine.
-Vara Devaney, Damascus, Maryland (varadevaney att.net)

I grew up drinking milk from a bovine.
Someone said I should try moo juice ovine,
but the cost was quite steepish;
my reaction was sheepish.
“Ewe! I’d better be drinking a fine wine.”
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“I love wearing coats that are ovine,”
Said the girl known as Sweet Adeline,
But found herself loathing
The wolves in sheep’s clothing
Who pawed at her, acting quite asinine.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpower wowway.com)

Her personality shows ovine
Like behavior; her figure bovine.
She’s not the prettiest,
Nor quite the wittiest,
But I love her because she is mine.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (loscamil aol.com)

When I was invited for the weekend dine,
The doc said, “Go ahead, it’s just fine.
This diet isn’t so very strict,
you can sometime stray a wee bit.
But remember! No meat, ovine or bovine.”
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

A beauty contestant must look fine,
Of thought or opinion show no sign.
Not stand up or out,
Not hint at a pout.
The nature that’s perfect is ovine.
-Anna C. Johnston, Coarsegold, California (ajohnston13 gmail.com)

I first thought the Monday word “ovine”
Was going to rhyme nicely with “so keen”.
That doesn’t fit POTUS,
But then I took notice.
It’s perfect! Rhymes just right with “asinine”.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

Said Mary, “My little friend ovine
Has turned my name into a goldmine.
I brought him to school
And now all my friends drool
At my house overlooking the coastline.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Once a young man of some wealth
Was concerned with his sexual health.
Upon reaching puberty
ke strove for great uberty
And had to escape in great stealth.
-Yehezkel Missel, Beit El, Israel (ymissel cisco.com)

If children could read Martin Buber, see,
They’d probably sail through their puberty.
With the I and the Thou
In the now,
They’d know how to restrain their emotional uberty.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (pmorrow alaska.edu)

Trump’s not good at reading and lection,
To the racist he offers protection,
But where he can shine,
Right on down the line,
Is the sad art of skilled misdirection.
-Tom Slakey, Santa Clara, California (tomslimericks gmail.com)

As a child, I read lections in Latin
before priests in their vestments of satin.
Memorized, then recited,
till my brain became blighted ...
soon I fled to “Sin City”, Manhattan!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

In church the most popular lection
Is Paul on love’s precious connection.
But nuclear missiles
Exceed the Epistles
As objects of Donald’s affection.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Down by the old mill was a kill,
Where childhood swims were a thrill.
Bathing suits we would skip,
As we did skinny dip.
I still recall chill of the rill.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

In retrospect, poor Jack and Jill
need not have ascended that hill.
Had they just looked around,
they’d likely have found
the water they sought in a rill.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

A traveller who looks for a holiday thrill
Sensibly avoids a “popular” pill;
Instead makes a choice,
And even gives voice,
To hike, and to hill, to lake and to rill.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

His genius would flow like a rill
When he sat at his desk with a quill.
His sonnets and plays
To this day still amaze.
He’s the Bard, whom his buddies called Will.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

He complained to the ENT
About his otic malady.
“There’s a buzz in my head
Makes me wish I were dead--
I think in my ear there’s a bee!”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The dancer with plié’s exotic
Was challenged with symptoms quite otic.
Her grand moves at the barre
Brought applause near and far,
But her ear tubes: somewhat stenotic.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Obama’s appendages otic
Encompass proportions heroic.
“They fill up the room,”
Complains Donald with gloom,
“And my tiny hands feel claustrophobic.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Buy an AWAD membership... it’s prix fixe’d

Her mutter told Little Bo Peep, “Ovine all you vant, but dey’ll come home.”

Minnesotans loved ‘uberty was LBJ’s VP.

Lection is what Poles do if they don’t like Walesa.

Like a rushing stream, this pun came to me rill quickly.

Can polar bears hear outside the Otic Circle?

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: Marian Herndon (mr593 aol.com)
Subject: The daily word

I have been looking forward each weekday morning, for a couple of years at least, to your words and enjoying them soo much. I just wanted to thank you for sending them. I always forward them to my daughter, who was a Journalism graduate so we both can enjoy them and comment about the words. She enjoys sharing them with her oldest daughter, also a grad, but in the arts. I like the fact that although many are quite familiar, there are many new and interesting ones. Three generations of us look forward to seeing what you will come up with next.

Marian Herndon, Fresno, California

Men are often capable of greater things than they perform. They are sent into the world with bills of credit, and seldom draw to their full extent. -Horace Walpole, novelist and essayist (24 Sep 1717-1797)

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