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Nov 26, 2017
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Words that have changed

This week’s words
parboil
notorious
vedette
acerate
egregious

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Relative usage over time

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AWADmail Issue 804

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

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Books:
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A Word A Day: A Romp through Some of the Most Unusual and Intriguing Words in English Another Word A Day: An All-new Romp through Some of the Most Unusual and Intriguing Words in English
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From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the Net

What Words Mean
(video, 3 min.)

The New Language of the Lesvos Refugee Camp
The New Statesman
Permalink



From: Eleanor Elizabeth Forman (eefwww yahoo.com)
Subject: parboil

I love parboiled rice. It tastes much more flavorful than regular rice, either brown or white, and if you happen to forget it on the stove, so the water boils away, it resists burning to a crisp. The outside browns, then burns, leaving the inside salvagable. Thus it is ideal for the absentminded.

Eleanor Elizabeth Forman, New York, New York



From: Joel Mabus (joel.mabus pobox.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--notorious

One word with changed meaning comes to mind today with the old perennial Perry Como song that plays on the radio for Thanksgiving and Christmas: There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays. In the bridge is the line that says "From Atlantic to Pacific, gee the traffic is terrific!" where "terrific" is telling us the travel conditions are very bad. Derived from "terror" of course. It reminds me of a family member I knew long ago who would complain "I have a terrific headache!"

That one and other words like it that have flipped in connotation (if not true meaning) lead me to state, if only literally, "Our president has fantastic plans! He has an unbelievable staff, and a terrific foreign policy!"

Joel Mabus, Kalamazoo, Michigan



From: Paul Foerster (foerster idworld.net)
Subject: notorious

Many years ago as a schoolboy in England, I heard that when St Paul's Cathedral in London was completed, King Charles II said that it was "Amusing, artificial, and awful." In 1675, as the story goes, "amusing" meant "amazing", "artificial" meant "artistic", and "awful" meant "awe-inspiring".

Paul A. Foerster, San Antonio, Texas



From: Richard Pallazza (RPallazza38 aol.com)
Subject: vedette

The word vedette was commonly used during the US Civil War to mean an armed forward observer.

Richard Pallazza, Winston-Salem, North Carolina



From: Helen Colvin (tcolvin sympatico.ca)
Subject: Sightseeing Cruise - Vedettes de Paris

This was always my association with the word vedette. The Vedettes de Paris are small riverboats, stars in their own right, I guess, which take visitors on short and still memorable cruises along the River Seine.

Helen Colvin, Mountsberg, Canada



From: Tim Miller (tkmiller000 hotmail.com)
Subject: Leaves falling

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Oh, would that my mind could let fall its dead ideas, as the tree does its withered leaves! -Andre Gide, author, Nobel laureate (22 Nov 1869-1951)

I am reminded of someone, several years ago, who discovered that leaves falling is an active process, where the living tree enzymatically breaks down the attachment between the tree and the dead leaf and the leaf falls. He realized that process when he saw that branches, which had fallen off trees with leaves attached, still hung onto their leaves even when everything was dead. The story always reminds me that I look without seeing, because I never came up with that idea, despite all the dead tree branches I've tripped over in my life.

Tim Miller, Ithaca, New York



Email of the Week brought to you by One Up! -- Steal Christmas >

From: Bruce Adgate (rossgate gmail.com)
Subject: Egregious

When writing letters in Italian, Egregio Signore is the equivalent of Dear Sir. When I first moved to Italy I would get "official" letters from banks or local authorities that always began: Egregio Signore Bruce. And I thought: What have I done that was so egregious? But, of course, Italians are sticking with the original Latin meaning. But then I'd ask: What makes them so sure I'm "remarkably good"?

Bruce Adgate, Spoleto, Italy



From: Tao (t.a.o clix.pt)
Subject: egregious

In Portuguese, although seldom used (or rather, never), egrégio still means awe-inspiring, illustrious, noble, notable, remarkable:

In part, possibly, because it's part of the lyrics to our national anthem:
Dos teus egrégios avós (Of your distinguished forefathers)

Tao, Setúbal, Portugal



From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: notorious and egregious

Notorious Egregious
Sadly, with his untimely death in LA by drive-by assassination on Mar 9, 1997, stellar rap artist "The Notorious B.I.G." (aka Biggie Smalls), became even more "notorious" in the popular music pantheon than his self-ascribed moniker might have implied.
Ironically, his first smash-hit album was titled Ready to Die, and his last, a two-disc album posthumously released just sixteen days after his murder, was Life After Death. It was almost as if Christopher George Latore Wallace (his real name) knew his vast notoriety might lead to his early and ultimate demise. May he RIP.

"Egregious" is one of those words that, on the face of it, sounds like a "toughie", i.e., a bit of a spelling challenge, slightly guttural sounding, with a decided negative inflection. Here, a confident young high school junior National Spelling Bee finalist aces the word, despite its middling degree of difficulty. You go, girl!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



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

1. parboil
2. notorious
3. vedette
4. acerate
5. egregious
= 1. eat egg earlier
2. be overt
3. scout
4. a pointer
5. odious
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)





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

He's befuddled and filled with delusions
As he bleats out psychotic conclusions.
The snafus we're counting,
Our terror is mounting.
He's lost in parboiled confusion.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

I roast and I baste and parboil,
Still it tastes like a dried-out gargoyle.
The secrets of turkey
To me remain murky.
Perhaps I'll ask Art Conan Doyle.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Mr Mugabe is definitely notorious,
Because he rates his legacy as glorious.
If he is not hardboiled,
He's certainly parboiled.
Oh! Let me stop being censorious.
(I was born in Zimbabwe in 1944, and left with my husband in 1985. It was a beauteous country, with a people that were loving, generous, loyal and long-suffering.)
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

Yes, Edward Lear was notorious,
His dog'rel was gloriously storyless.
As a reader, I think, though,
The lim'ricks of Benko
Are more to the point. Less floriferous.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (phyllismorrow1 gmail.com)

As villains, these two were notorious;
Their deeds were both foul and inglorious.
Go check the thesaurus,
Natasha and Boris
Are there under "laughter uproarious".
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

Roy Moore is now notorious,
For with teenage girls he would fuss.
In his thirties, the DA
From the mall was shooed away.
Yet, people still vote for this cuss.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York, (perrinjoan aol.com)

The grande dame had an affect inglorious,
With a mad reputation, notorious.
Though by day she seemed quite
So demure and polite,
Every night she was most amatorious.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

I think all who know me will agree
No one's more notorious than me
When it comes to flirting.
So, I'm only asserting
I'm known to behave outrageously.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

"Zis ignorant moron vainglorious,"
Said Putin, "Ve'll soon make victorious.
Don Junior and Jared
Are morally arid.
Zey’ll fall for our methods notorious.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


She wanted to be a vedette,
As glamorous as one could get.
She grew embittered
And reconsidered
When first Harvey Weinstein she met.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Remember Vivien who played Scarlet,
She was more than just merely a starlet;
She was widely well-met,
More than just a vedette,
And nothing at all like a harlot.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

The grande vedette the other day died.
Many baby boomers would have inaudibly sighed.
A bit embarrassed at a teenage craze,
they would’ve groped the memory’s maze
And that faded infatuation they’d better quickly hide.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

“Your mama ees deep in our debt,”
The Thenardiers chided Cosette.
She replied, “Ze show biz
Calls my story ‘Les Miz’;
Eet will make me one day a vedette.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Belgian belles tat all over the place,
handicrafting the finest of lace.
With their cushions and plate
and instruments acerate,
there’s no one else their lace can ace!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

Pinocchio sighs,”When I fabricate
stories, it seems to exaggerate
the length of my nose,
which would not, I suppose,
be so bad if its tip weren’t acerate.”
-Anne Thomas Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“Young Rocket Man’s ego I’ll lacerate
With tweets condescending and acerate,”
Says Donald, “The bully
Will understand fully.”
(If not, life on Earth may evaporate.)
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Climate change there are leaders denying,
That it’s human-caused boldly decrying.
They use logic egregious.
But under whose aegis?
Their inaction is quite terrifying.
-Kathy Deutsch, Melbourne, Australia (kathy deutsch.net.au)

His supporters their faith were misplacing.
The presidency he’s debasing
with behaviour egregious
that office prestigious.
A frightening future we’re facing.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Things change; a word meaning glorious
Has morphed, now becoming “notorious”.
And not to be tedious,
The same’s true for “egregious”
And for people, which is not meritorious.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

DT is notorious
For his parboiled tweets censorious.
But he’ll be upset
When he’s not a vedette
And he goes down in history as egregiously vainglorious.
-Vara Devaney, Damascus, Maryland (varadevaney att.net)

“If you’re slapped on the cheek, it’s egregious,
But turn him the other,” said Jesus.
Today’s politicians
Proclaim themselves Christians
And act like the Gospel’s facetious.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Words that have (further) changed thru punning

Dad to golfer son: “If you break parboil be proud of you!”

We took our deed to the court clerk and said, “Notorious, please.”

“When do you plan to pay vedette vat you owe me?”

“Soldier, you’ll either take this hypodermic in the acerate a demotion!”

I bribed the judge and egregious to let the matter drop.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma



From: Doug Winston (dlw1296 gmail.com)
Subject: The importance of commas

How the presence or, in this case, absence of commas, can make all the difference in the world:

A friend told me that his three favorite things are eating his family and not using commas.

Doug Winston, Fort Lee, New Jersey



A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Oh to have a lodge in some vast wilderness. Where rumors of oppression and deceit, of unsuccessful and successful wars may never reach me anymore. -William Cowper, poet (26 Nov 1731-1800)

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