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Feb 4, 2018
This week’s theme
Words that turn into another when a letter is added or removed at the top

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Relative usage over time

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AWADmail Issue 814

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

Sponsor’s Message: What does old school mean to you? “You’re welcome” instead of “No problem”? How about: saddle shoes, white handkerchiefs, and white gloves? A handwritten note. Hitchhiking. Commmon sense. A sense of humor. Let us know whuhchew think -- we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Mary Novik (see below), as well as all you traditionistas out there the chance to tell us what you miss most about the world we are losing or perhaps have already lost. You may even win some of our authentic, ludic loot to boot. The Old’s Cool Contest runs all week, but why don’t you just ENTER NOW.

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

People with Depression Use Language Differently -- Here’s How to Spot It
The Conversation

Language Is Learned in Brain Circuits that Predate Humans
Georgetown University

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

Pecunia non olet” was the phrase attributed to the Roman Emperor Vespasian, who did not shrink from collecting taxes from users of his establishments on the streets of Rome. The healthy custom of erecting public toilets (NB. not johnnies-on-the-spot!) in public places still exists in many parts of the world. You can apply to be custodian of one of these, acquire the high-sounding title of matron, keep the place redolent with fragrance, supply the customers with the necessary accoutrements of post-use ablution, and even augment the normal charges with a fairly sizable gratuity.

There must be worse ways of making a living. (video)

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

Email of the Week: Brought to you by OLD’S COOL -- What does old school mean to you?

From: Mary Novik (mnovik shaw.ca)
Subject: Regarding your quotation from my novel to illustrate fuliginous

“Each morning of her life, the City had been filmed in this airborne soot, a fuliginous mist.”
Mary Novik; Conceit; Doubleday; 2007.

The usage example is from Conceit, a novel I wrote about the daughter of John Donne. What a thrill to be quoted by Anu Garg in A.Word.A.Day! Conceit was longlisted for the Giller Prize in Canada, but was never a huge commercial success. Readers often complain about the difficulty of the vocabulary, although I was deliberately echoing (and sometimes punning on) Donne’s own writing. In fact, I checked words in the OED to make sure they were really in circulation in his time. I had an excellent line-editor at Doubleday who found two words I missed. I must say I was relieved to read for fuliginous, “Earliest documented use: 1574.” Whew.

Mary Novik, Vancouver, Canada

From: Robert Swift (via website comments)
Subject: fuliginous

All UK intellectual property lawyers of my generation were sent to their dictionaries by a judgment on section 4(1)(b) of the old Trade Marks Act 1938 (replaced in 1994). The judge described it as “of inordinate length and fuliginous obscurity.”

Robert Swift, UK

From: Stephanie Sylvester Molchan (stephaniesylvester hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--fuliginous

Latin teacher here. You taught me a new Latin word today: fuligo. It is, no doubt, a cousin of caligo, a murky mist that impairs visibility. When I think of caligo, I picture a lack of clear thinking, as if the citizens are walking with the murky mist of popular culture descending to shoulder height, preventing their minds from an unobstructed view. Thank you for fuligo.

Stephanie Sylvester Molchan, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

From: Jean Duval (jph4600 comcast.net)
Subject: latitudinarian

Interesting definition for latitudinarian, but wouldn’t it be logical then for longitudinarian to mean narrow-minded or rather inflexible (especially in religious matters)?

Jean Duval, Washington, DC

From: Andrew Lloyd (knockroe gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--latitudinarian

latitudinarian → platitudinarian
This one works both ways with atitudinarian always striking a pose, while his bigger cousin comments in clichés.

Andrew Lloyd, Knockroe, Borris, Co Carlow, Ireland

From: Chandran Kalyanam (rckalyanam hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--emesis

“If you feel nauseous, there are emesis bags in the side compartments.”
Alan “DOC” Jamison; Space Force: Alien Treasures; Strategic Book Publishing; 2013.

An “emesis basin” is always in stock at any hospital.

Ironically, the incorrect usage from “DOC” using nauseous in your example would be nauseating to grammatical purists.

Chandran Kalyanam, MD, Columbus, Ohio

From: Mark Blevins (mark_blevins ncsu.edu) Subject: emesis

I checked out the ice-cream purveyor from the emesis entry and found another interesting image (it is near the bottom of this page), which could possibly spark another week of words that could make an adolescent male think of one thing, but mean something very different, in this case a Thai percussion instrument.

Mark Blevins, Gastonia, North Carolina

From: Sam Long (gunputty comcast.net)
Subject: Emesis

Emesis emesis is the scientific name of the falcate metalmark butterfly (see the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies). Why it is so called is not clear (at least to me; Google gives no help), but it is an example of a tautonym -- a scientific name where the names of the genus and the species are identical. More familiar examples are Bison bison, the American buffalo or bison; and Gorilla gorilla (which has a subspecies, Gorilla gorilla gorilla), which is -- surprise! -- the gorilla. In these two cases, the scientific names are the same as the “trivial” or vernacular names in English; but Alces alces is the moose (or North American elk), an example of a tautonym whose trivial name is not the same as the genus or species name. I know of more than 700 tautonyms in the zoological nomenclature; and almost 200 more scientific names where the genus and species names are almost the same: Ajaia ajaja, the roseate spoonbill is one example; Bubalus bubalis, the water buffalo, is another. (BTW, Wikipedia does not list E. emesis, but does list Emesis emesia as the curve-winged metalmark butterfly.)

Sam Long, Springfield, Illinois

From: Jac Dittmar (jac.d48 bigpond.com)
Subject: tautologous

I knew a chap who, when asked for his opinion, invariably commenced with: “I, myself, personally...”

Jac Dittmar, Adelaide, Australia

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

One that drives me nuts (and is very common in the UK) is “6 am in the morning”. I’ve even heard people talking about catching “a very early flight at 5 am in the morning”, which I suppose is a double tautology.

Ossie Bullock, London, UK

From: Robert Lee (jandrlee shaw.ca)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--tautologous

As one who plans ahead (in advance, that is), and has a personal opinion on the matter, I find a little tautologous redundancy is a free gift to the reader when the true facts are presented.

Robert Lee, Calgary, Canada

From: Tim O’Hearn (tjohearn aol.com)
Subject: Re: Tautologous

Here in New Mexico we laugh at the tautologous “Rio Grande River”. But then, most American states are not, by law, bilingual.

Tim O’Hearn, Albuquerque, New Mexico

From: Linda Peace (linda.peace gmail.com)
Subject: tautologous

When I was studying philosophy as part of a Sociology degree about 3000 years ago, we were told that tautology was not simply unnecessary repetition, but where a statement is proved by a circular argument where the elements rely upon each other for proof of themselves.

Linda Peace, Kirklevington, UK

From: Richard W. Burris (r_w_burris comcast.net)
Subject: Tautology

An early 20th-century philosophical school, the British analysts, notably A.J. Ayer and C.L. Stevenson, defined all statements as having one of three truth values. The first are empirical statements, testable by observation or measurement. All science consists of empirical assertions. The second are mathematical statements that are tautologies in the sense that they contain no information other than the axioms from which they are derived. The third are normative statements. Any syllogism concluding with a normative statement must include a statement of belief. Johnny is bad not just because he took someone’s Apple unless I also assert that stealing is bad. This is a distinction that most Americans seem to ignore.

A simple example of the second definition is that variations on Euclid’s parallel line axiom give different, but very useful alternative geometries, spherical and Lobachevskian (saddle-shaped) geometry.

Trained as a physicist, I often point out that, aside from astronomy, the Classical civilizations produced mostly mathematics, but no real science. And they are not the same.

Richard W. Burris, Alexandria, Virginia

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: olid & fuliginous

Olid Fuliginous
Begosh and Begorrah! Something's stinkin' in Donegal. A malevolent Irish trickster magically swapped out the proverbial pot o' gold at the end of the rainbow, for a full, olid chamber pot. Curiously, Dr. Sigmund Freud, in his seminal tome, "The Interpretation of Dreams", posited an association of scatological-themed dream imagery to an overly acquisitive nature in the dreamer/patient, or more pointedly, a strong desire for accumulated wealth.

Two competitive birders grouse over the "ID" of a large, solid-black shorebird, with a predilection for consuming mollusks. Either a Sooty Oystercatcher or a Fuliginous Clam Digger? Well, frankly, the latter species is totally made up. Speaking as an inveterate birder, I'm guessing the lady birder is just messin' with her companion... as some birders are wont to do.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. olid
2. latitudinarian
3. fuliginous
4. emesis
5. tautologous
= 1. foul
2. tuned-in soul
3. soot
4. ills’ urge - aim out!
5. I said it again
= 1. so foul
2. I’m neutral
3. dull
4. it is nauseous
5. I ditto, I go again
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

Phil, the groundhog, olid and brawny
-- who goes by the name Punxsutawney --
was yanked from his lair
amid cheers and fanfare
just to tell us the weather’s not bonny!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

In my yard I heard a disturbing clunk;
I looked out and, lo, and behold, a skunk.
His olid perfume
Left me to assume
He’d been annoyed and was now in a funk!
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

The new house guest was olid and stolid.
He said,” No hors d’oeuvres, I want something solid.”
His girth was rotund.
His flesh moribund.
It was clear that his lifestyle was squalid.
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

When you eat certain foods you feel bloated
And they make you emit breezes olid.
Don’t plan to go dancing
Or do much romancing.
Your girlfriend is not that devoted.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

Choosing an escape route olid,
from a life benumbing and squalid,
this man from Shawshank,
though to high heavens he stank,
gulped down mouthfuls of free air, frenzied.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

“Your shirts, sir, are no longer olid,”
Said Jeeves, “They’ve been washed, pressed, and folded.”
“What ho!” answered Bertie,
“Who knew they were dirty?
No wonder my charms had eroded!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Latitudinarian, Fox is not,
But their reporting just hits the “Right” spot
For voters who’ve viewed
Trump as their dude,
Whatever the “Left” says is rot.
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

I know a veterinarian,
Devout latitudinarian.
I once heard him say,
“However you pray,
We all just end up as carrion.”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Latitudinarian paths are my
Answer to many questions as to “Why?”
I simply cannot embrace
A belief just on its face,
Foretelling what happens the day we die.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

“The doc is no latidud’narian;
His answers don’t seem to be varyin’.
I want to be grounded,
And therefore I’m hounded.
It’s ‘Catch 22’,” said Yossarian.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The road was rough, narrow, vertiginous.
In the stygian darkness fuliginous
we proceeded with care
hoping not to meet there
any oncoming drivers litiginous.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Jeff Sessions says, “I don’t recall
Any meetings or discourse at all.”
He’s not hard of hearing,
With his thoughts disappearing
His fuliginous memory’s awol.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Says Donald, “If coal is fuliginous,
Then why does it come from St. Nicholas?
In their stocking each Trump
Gets a beautiful lump;
It’s so clean and to red states indigenous.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The geezer, in hopes of a geyser,
Asked to double his dosage of Pfizer.
But the chemist, his nemesis,
Warned him that emesis
Wasn’t the way to surprise her.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (phyllismorrow1gmail.com)

Susie’s story goes something like this:
Airplane travel is her nemesis.
When she’s far up in the sky,
No matter how hard she’ll try,
She succumbs to severe emesis.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

No matter the context or premises,
This POTUS inspires me to emesis.
His tweeting and talking
Are all simply shocking.
I do hope he’ll soon meet his nemesis.
-Mary Postellon, Grand Rapids, Michigan (mpostellon hotmail.com)

“If a rival I beat was my nemesis,
I wouldn’t be having such emesis.
You want a brain twister?
My daughter’s my sister.
The Donald is lucky,” said Oedipus.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

(“We will get rid of the redundancy and duplication that wastes your time and your money,” Trump vowed.)
In Trump’s most tautologous tweet
He vowed redundancy to beat.
He’d rid the nation
Of duplication,
But his own ideas he’d repeat.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Cries African beast, hippopotamus,
“Some folks call me corpulent, globulous!
These falsehoods are lies,
fabrications which I
find redundantly wordy, tautologous!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“The reason’s because” is tautologous,
Like saying “large busy metropolis”.
In charge of policing
These fixed rules unceasing
I swear to high heaven I’d stop all this.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Affronting puns

I tried cooking cabbage and olid did was stink up my kitchen.

Visiting Sri Lanka, the neo-Nazi said, “At this latitudinarian is hard to find.”

Bring us just a fuliginous canners will be finished putting up these preserves.

Josephine Lazarus was emesis.

College Algebra tautologous what we’d forgotten since Algebra II.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Poor is the power of the lead that becomes bullets compared to the power of the hot metal that becomes types. -Georg Brandes, critic and scholar (4 Feb 1842-1927)

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