Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



May 20, 2018
This week’s theme
Words made using combining forms

This week’s words

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives

Next week’s theme
Eponyms coined after authors (and a contest)

Send a gift that
keeps on giving,
all year long:
A gift subscription of A.Word.A.Day or the gift of books
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share

AWADmail Issue 829

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

Sponsor’s Message: “Old’s Cool” sums up our philosophy of life in a neat little turn of phrase -- even though our unofficial motto is “Shamalamading dong the doo dang dee.” Um, but that’s another story. Since father really does know best, we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Shannon O’Hara (see below), as well as all dads, grandfathers, and family men everywhere a complementary One Up! (travel version) -- just be sure to use coupon code “FREESARDINES” -- with any purchase of $26 or more through Father’s Day. Shop for Pop Now >

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

Hey “Speak English” Guy, You Forgot Something

The Lexicon of Tom Wolfe
The Atlantic

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

A version of this compound word is caesaromania. Now which member of the Claudio-Julian dynasty, Julius, Augustus, or Caligula inspired this designation is open to question. Any or all of them would have superbly answered to the definition. Come to think of it, in still earlier times Tarquinius Superbus had ably filled the role.

Silvio Berlusconi, anyone?

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

Email of the Week - Happy OLD’S COOL Father’s Day to all Dads, near and far. Get your authentic on HERE.

From: Shannon O’Hara (sohara28 gmail.com)
Subject: Megalochondria

When, as a child, I experienced my first ice-cream headache, I was convinced that I had a brain tumor. A neighbor child had died of a tumor, and I felt terribly sorry for my parents, who would be losing their precious treasure. As I got older, I experienced many other occasions when I was convinced that I was going to die of something quite minor. I eventually coined the word “megalochondria”. Definition: belief that your illness is far worse than it actually is. You could say I had delusions of grandeur about my illnesses.

Shannon O’Hara, Chicago, Illinois

From: Kay Gunter (kgunter cox.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--leptodermous

This word made me think at first of butterflies -- that “thin” applied to/derived from the filmy wings. But butterflies are lepidoptera [from lepido-: scale], not lepto-anything. Oh well, that’s why it’s always good to verify one’s first thought!

Kay Gunter, Phoenix, Arizona

From: Denis Toll (denis.toll outlook.com)
Subject: leptodermous

I note that the leader of the Pachyderm Party is, like its symbol, bulky, destructive, clumsy, and lacking any finesse but is nonetheless remarkably leptodermous. (I didn’t start this!)

Denis Toll, Aberdeen, UK

From: Chip Krug (via website comments)
Subject: leptodermous

Leptodermous and it’s opposite pachydermous reminded me of two plant genuses: Leptospermum and Pachysandra.

Chip Krug, Redwood City, California

From: Peter Gross (plgrossmd gmail.com)
Subject: Leptodermous

The coverings of the brain and spinal cord, the meninges (from which the word meningitis [inflammation of the meninges] is derived) are divided into the pachymeninges (of which the dura mater or hard mother is the most prominent) and the leptomeninges (of which the pia mater or tender mother is most prominent).

Peter Gross, MD, Falls Church, Virginia

From: Carlos Cueto-Rejas (charlesmccrag1841 outlook.com.pe)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--saprogenic

Life is saprogenic. Just like fresh baked bread that starts spoiling as soon as it is out of the oven, we start spoiling after the moment we are born. Some of us take longer to spoil, but eventually we will all get there to complete decay!

Carlos Cueto, Lima, Peru

From: Joseph Kithinji (njagikithinji gmail.com)
Subject: Carcinogenic

Sometime in 2015, a Kenyan politician, a governor in one of our county governments, in an attempt to pull the wool over our eyes, after being caught with his little hands in the jar through buying $1000 per wheelbarrow claimed they were “non-carcinogenic”. And so the word entered into Kenyan infamy dictionary.

Joseph Kithinji, Nanyuki, Kenya

From: Denis Toll (denis.toll outlook.com)
Subject: Alan Kay

A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points. -Alan Kay, computer scientist (b. 17 May 1940)

Alan Kay was a new name to me but he was the man who came up with the idea for Windows. A better quotation of his was:

“If you don’t fail 80% of the time you’re not aiming high enough.”

I should have told my employers that’s what I was doing.

Denis Toll, Aberdeen, UK

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: leptodermous & carcinogenic

Leptodermous Carcinogenic
POTUS (aka Donald Trump), has proven to be notoriously thin-skinned, seemingly so averse to the slightest direct criticism, invariably taken as personal affronts, that he predictably defensively counters with his nasty, truth-deficient tweet storms. Here, I’ve placed Trump laid out on his dermatologist’s examining table, where, with X-ray-like vision, his skin doctor can plainly observe that transparent POTUS has had a major compassion/empathy bypass.

It seems like every time you turn around these days, yet another popular food item is labelled possibly carcinogenic. A common chemical bi-product in the basic coffee roasting process is the most recent alleged culprit. In my BBQ-ing scenario, blackened, over-grilled hot dogs are the prime suspects. According to some credible cancer researchers, eating charred meats, burnt toast, or even over-done marshmallows can cause cancer. Of course, there’s a major caveat. You would likely have had to consume copious quantities of the aforementioned charred food items, to have The Big “C” come a knockin’ at your door.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. megalomania
2. leptodermous
3. saprogenic
4. ectogenous
5. carcinogenic
= 1. ego campaign
2. a one-cell moss
3. eroding poo
4. outer item
5. causing cancer
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

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

I’m not a megalomaniac.
If fact, I’m just a Brainiac.
I’m certainly not delusional,
In fact, I’m quite unusual.
And that, is simply feedback.
-Mike Wagner, Miami, Florida (mike wildcardvideo.com)

“I have no fantasies of greatness
To imply so is simply outrageous
I’m Donald, your POTUS “
(Though maybe we’ve noticed
Megalomania is what made him famous)
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

“Oy vey, Avram! Such megalomania
Could swallow up Mesopotamia,”
Said Sarai, “By horsin’
Around with your foreskin
A son will emerge from my labia?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I consider myself quite lucky.
Leptodermous does not describe me.
No wound to my heart.
I won’t fall apart.
Words alone can’t make me unhappy.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Though he thinks of himself as gold-plated
those abilities are over-rated.
Bumptious, leptodermous,
his actions confirm us
in feelings completely frustrated.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

A leptodermous guy is he --
His feelings bruise quite easily.
Though others he’ll mock,
He finds it a shock
When he is the butt of mockery.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The leptodermous persons care,
Since they see insults everywhere;
The sad fact is
It’s really a miss --
The insults are not really there!
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

A commander-in-chief leptodermous
On a chocolate-cake high makes me nervous.
That kind of a glutton
With hands on the button
Could turn the world into a furnace.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Catlin was extraordinarily photogenic.
Was in demand for videos and photo-shoots, scenic.
But her indulgence in drugs,
And cohabiting with thugs,
Ended her life in a condition, saprogenic.
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

A trip down history pages worldwide,
showcase many despots we cherish with pride.
Their saprogenic minds,
full of malevolence, reminds:
we ignore Dr Jekyll, prefer Mr Hyde!
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Donald Trump tries to sound most authentic,
As our country becomes saprogenic.
“Believe me,” is his spiel,
Which holds little appeal,
Cause his motives are so pathogenic.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

When assessing a person for voting
you must suss out the lies he is floating.
If his morals be loose,
nay, saprogenic, your goose
will be cooked -- and me you’ll be quoting!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

On stage in a fiber synthetic,
Ophelia smelled quite saprogenic.
“Forsooth, something’s rotten,”
Said Hamlet, “but cotton
Would make this play more hygienic.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Saprogenic tendrils of moral decay,
Are spreading throughout the US of A,
Weeds, rot, and mold,
Are now taking hold,
Drain the swamp once again Election Day.
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

Says mom kangaroo, “It’s incongruous,
extremely unwieldy, and ponderous,
to carry this joey
in pouch, when I know he
is fully matured and ectogenous!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Said Bill, “I’m completely monogamous,
But my willy’s not strongly ectogenous.
When I’m down in the office
To keep myself flawless
It’s kept in an intern’s esophagus.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

As two-time survivor, it’s true,
A healthy life style you do.
Steer clear stress frenetic.
It is carcinogenic,
And you will achieve a breakthrough.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Too many carcinogenic
Foods today can make you quite sick.
You must choose carefully
To stay fit and healthy.
When you eat, take care what you pick.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

To the staff in the Office -- Beware!
Of the carcinogenic orange glare
From the bone spur cadet
With his bed hair rosette
Who proclaims that the world is unfair.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Big government’s truly pathetic;
For more freedom I feel sympathetic.
Child labor and slaves
Are the future’s new waves
And tobacco’s not carcinogenic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: I come whining with these combining-form puns

The Chinese chef said, “If you like noodles I megalomania gotta try!”

Once we’d finished enrolling, the eager housing director leptodermus.

I buy from saprogenic ‘cause Geni has the best maple trees.

The process servers yelled from the porch, “We don’t see how the ectogenous will help your case.”

Talk-show host Johnny was so photographable he was carcinogenic.

AWAD reader Claudia de Secundy is one of my vetters (betters?). She suggested this:
“When the landscape you pass on a road trip is gorgeous, is it carcinogenic?”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury. -John Stuart Mill, philosopher and economist (20 May 1806-1873)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2024 Wordsmith