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Mar 25, 2018
This week’s theme
Words to describe people

This week’s words

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Relative usage over time

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Words described using their anagrams

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AWADmail Issue 821

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

Sponsor’s Message: Hey, Vernal Equinoxers! When was the last time you gave an Easter gift to the cleverheads in your life that actually funned them into submission? Email of the Week winner, Elsi Dodge (see below), as well as all AWADers, can frustrate and fascinate their brainy family/frenemies for the rest of the year with our wicked smart word game One Up! -- The Gift That Keeps on Unforgiving. Start the flummoxing HERE >

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

The Dangers of English as Lingua Franca of Journals
Inside Higher Ed

American English is Truer to Tradition Than the British Like to Think
Financial Times

From: Elizabeth McAllister (fiberbuff earthlink.net)
Subject: Nuanced words

It’s great to have a big vocabulary to be able to convey one’s thoughts with precision, etc., but what if the person you’re talking to doesn’t grasp your nuances? It can be discouraging. I guess I just need to give a few more gift subscriptions! Love the site.

Elizabeth McAllister, Monticello, New York

From: Ken Merena (kmerena2002 yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ambivalent

This has always been an important part of my lexicon, but about 40 years ago, a lady friend taught me a nuance I had never heard before. I told her I was ambivalent about something we were discussing and she asked me if I was “equally ambivalent”. She went on to explain that often, when people are ambivalent about something, one side or the other of the issues being weighed or discussed took on greater weight and would determine a direction that person would take in resolving a decision regarding the things they were ambivalent about. This has stuck with me ever since.

Ken Merena, Bogota, Colombia

Email of the Week brought to you BUY One Up! -- Every Smart Aleck’s Delight/Doom.

From: Elsi Dodge (elsidodge me.com)
Subject: Ambivalent

I work with disabled kids and their families. One of the most powerful lessons I teach is the word ambivalent. I offer the word to children dealing with a move, retention in school, all sorts of things. There is such comfort to them to know their confused feelings are common to all people, common enough that there’s a really-for-true word for them! It’s a blessing!

Elsi Dodge, Boulder, Colorado

From: Michael Hobbs (birdmarymoor frontier.com)
Subject: ambivalent

I’ve always placed “ambivalent” somewhere between “torn” and “meh”, with “torn” indicating a true whiplashing of competing feelings, and “meh” indicating an apathetic response. “Ambivalent”, I’ve thought, would imply that the competing feelings are valid and important, but with an acceptance that there may be no way to resolve the issue, and that either path would be tolerable.

Michael Hobbs, Kirkland, Washington

From: William Chapco (william.chapco uregina.ca)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--stridulant

Some organisms communicate by “stridulation”. See here. For example, members of the grasshopper subfamily Gomphocerinae “sing” by rubbing leg (with pegs) against wing.

William Chapco, Regina, Canada

From: Marge Simon (msimon6206 aol.com)
Subject: Speeding along at the typewriter

One day I was speeding along at the typewriter, and my daughter -- who was a child at the time -- asked me, “Daddy, why are you writing so fast?” And I replied, “Because I want to see how the story turns out!” -Louis L’Amour, novelist (22 Mar 1908-1988)

I wonder what L’Amour’s little daughter thought when her father told her why he was writing so fast. When I was her age, I might have thought that stories came out of the typewriter and you had to type fast to keep up with them!

Marge Simon, Ocala, Florida

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: ambivalent & stridulant

ambivalent stridulant
Young love, or more likely, early infatuation, is often wrought with emotional ambivalence, and uncertainty, where expression and body language can be interpreted in opposing ways. Harkening back to my pubescent, “early-boomer” days, I recall the “He (or she) loves me... he (or she) loves me not” flower petal-plucking game of chance where that last remaining petal hopefully comes up “He (or she) loves me.” Spin-the-bottle is a whole other risky proposition. Ha!

A raucous kookaburra, native to Australia and Papua New Guinea, faces off with a voluble raven in a dual of stridulant calls. As an avid birder, I’ve always marveled at the distinctive, almost comical gurgling/croaking/cackling vocalizations of ravens and their close corvid cousins, crows. Although frankly, I’d have to give the cheeky, loudmouth kookaburra a decided edge in any beak-to-beak chatter contest.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Kath O’Sullivan (pudsyduck gmail.com)

Your thoughts for the day are like the beam from a lighthouse during a storm. Thank you. May you continue to print them.

Kath O’Sullivan, Auckland, New Zealand

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

1. ambivalent
2. trencherman
3. stridulant
4. mondain
5. artless
= 1. variant
2. man can eat!
3. shriller
4. mod man; I set trends
5. blunt
= 1. torn (as in dilemma)
2. luncher
3. blatant
4. smart (trends)
5. naive
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

Henry VIII, about his wives was ambivalent.
For him, a brain, bawd, or 50/50 equivalent?
If his spouse him outsmarted,
His mega ego smarted.
Result! Henry’s “ex-wives” became rather prevalent!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

“The chances were roughly equivalent
As to who put me in this predicament,”
Said the girl. “Should I marry?
There’s no time to tarry,
And yet towards all three I’m ambivalent.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

My opinion is hardly ambivalent
regarding today’s West Wing resident:
Petty, selfish, vindictive --
his bluster is fictive.
Nero was his old Roman equivalent.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

With ambivalent conduct appalling,
Cadet Bone Spur has found a new calling.
I demand a parade!
He whined to an aide,
Plus a crown for his head he’s eyeballing.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

“When it comes to the wrong kind of immigrant,”
Says Donald, “We’ve got to be vigilant.
Please send more from Norway,
They’re so good at foreplay.
A Muslim girl acts all ambivalent.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The insatiable geisha would clench her fan,
as she watched her rikishi clean out the pan.
Sumo squatting, he’d eat --
Was he never replete?
How she hungered to wrestle this trencherman.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (phyllismorrow1 gmail.com)

Stormy Daniels and her accusation
Are tough for the head of our nation.
Trump, the trencherman / POTUS
Is annoying the FLOTUS.
He’s philandered to find satiation.
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

As his fame as a trencherman grew,
the dinner invites fell to a few.
But on all feast days,
by the food laden trays,
his hobby he could again pursue.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

“Forty-seven percent are just trenchermen,”
On a camping trip Mitt was heard venturin’.
“My theory’s now proven:
Your worth as a human
Depends on the size of the tent you’re in.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The noise that’s expelled by the president
Is bigoted, nasty, and stridulant.
There’s no middle ground.
Either you hate that sound
Or you’re one of his elephant sycophants.
-Claude Galinsky, Boxborough, Massachusetts (cmgalinsky gmail.com)

Since chiding us earns them emolument,
The clergy are apt to be stridulant.
They require the Jews
To eschew leavened foods,
And make Catholics endure a Fish-Friday Lent.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (phyllismorrow1 gmail.com)

Quoth Poe, “Its voice, incipient,
was subtle. Now ‘tis stridulant.
And evermore,
above my door,
still sits the raven, vigilant!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“Melania’s voice has grown stridulant,”
Said Donald, “I need a new stimulant.
So Karen and Stormy,
Your bodies just floor me;
Now hush and you’ll find me munificent.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

A witty man, suave and urbane,
Her ideal mate was this mondain.
So handsome and strong...
What? You heard me wrong;
George Clooney is far from mundane.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

I don’t know whether you were livin’
During the time of David Niven.
He was so mondain,
He’ll always remain
A gentleman quite manner driven.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Says Donald, “I’m such a mondain
That the lettuce I eat is romaine.
Foreign food like a taco
To me is just socko
And girls who I grab don’t complain.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Yes, it’s true, heartless and artless are rhymes
And Trump makes mistakes often/sometimes.
And now we’ve got Bolton,
And yes, he’s revoltin’
(Makes me miss the Bush days, the old times).
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

There was once a young man who was heartless,
Made each woman believe she’s a goddess.
His brash maneuvers though
Seeming patient and slow,
Were in truth just so glaringly artless.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Salieri’s music was artless.
His jealousy was quite heartless.
For Wolfgang’s great fame,
He was quick to blame,
And wished world would be Mozart less.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

If you find that your own words are artless,
Try “Familiar Quotations” from Bartlett’s.
It’s got Shakespeare and Twain,
Every Churchill refrain,
And “You’re fired!” from Trump for the heartless.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

A gross trencherman, artless and vain,
Told his friends he was thought a mondain.
No ambivalent views
Met receipt of this news,
Just the stridulant cry “You’re insane!”
-Brian Bocking, Cork, Ireland (bockingbrian gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Feeble people descriptors

When colorful player Roy G. Biv went on loan to a rival team, fans stammered, “Why ambivalent?”

The unhappy wife saw a crevasse while skiing and decided to trencherman.

“The Swedish relatives are coming, dear. You’ll dread Gunnar’s arrival but (A)stridulant icipate.”
(That came from friend and AWADer Robin Sutherland of SF.)

After marrying in Copenhagen the Frenchwoman said, “Allow me to introduce mondain.”

The Quaker told the milquetoast, “Thou artless meek than I.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it. -Flannery O’Connor, writer (25 Mar 1925-1964)

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