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Jun 3, 2018
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AWADmail Issue 831

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

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

A Texas Wild Card Wins Spelling Bee With “Koinonia”
The New York Times

Trump Sent a Retired Teacher a Letter about Gun Policy. She Fixed the Grammar and Sent It Back.
The Washington Post

The Elevation of Imprecision
The New York Times

The Babel Proclamation: Celebrating a Century of Banning Foreign Languages in America
The Web of Language

Tibetan Activist Who Promoted His Native Language Is Sentenced to Prison
The New York Times

John the Baptist as "The Harbinger", holding a scroll that says metanoeite, 'repent ye'
From: Bob Richmond (rsrichmond gmail.com)
Subject: metanoia

According to online Bible helps, various forms of the word (metanoeo) occur 34 times in the New Testament, most notably perhaps in John the Baptist’s thunderous (metanoeite) “Repent ye” (Mk 1:15 and Mt 3:2).

Metanoia as the goddess of regret goes back to the ancient world.

John the Baptist as “The Harbinger”, holding a scroll that says metanoeite, “Repent ye.” Block print (woodcut or linocut), 55 x 30 cm. By Greek Orthodox icon writer Diamantis J. Cassis (1934-2015), Houston TX, 1972. I’ve owned two copies of this print, published in an edition of 20.

Bob Richmond, Maryville, Tennessee

From: Jon Stovell (jon stovell.info)
Subkect: Metanoia

Metanoia is the Greek word in the New Testament usually translated into English as “repentance”. But whereas “repentance” usually has a strictly ethical sense in English (as in, feeling sorry for your past actions and deciding to act differently henceforth), the original Greek meaning at that time carried the richer sense of coming to see things differently, gaining a new perspective on the world, and thus adjusting one’s way of engaging with the world (including ethical choices, but also much more) accordingly.

Jon Stovell, Calgary, Canada

From: Doug Bowen (doug.bowen rcc.edu)
Subject: metanoia

Thank you for today’s word. I was recently trying to explain to a friend how I feel profoundly changed after recovering from a double-bypass heart surgery, and this word was all I needed!

Doug Bowen, Riverside, California

From: Lynn Huber (MeryPopinz comcast.net)
Subject: metanoia

Metanoia (pronounced MET-uh-NOY-uh) is a self-correction. It’s when a writer or speaker deliberately goes back and modifies a statement that they just made, usually either to strengthen it or soften it in some way.

Metanoia involves correcting a statement just made -- when an author corrects a much earlier statement, it isn’t metanoia. For example, when a newspaper prints a correction to an inaccurate story printed the previous day, this is just a correction, not an example of metanoia. Also, a metanoia is not simply an additional statement. Sentences introduced with phrases such as “however” or “moreover” are not metanoia because they are additions to the first statement, rather than corrections.

Epanorthosis is another word for metanoia. (source)

Lynn Huber, Beverly, Massachusetts

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From: Skip Gilbrech (skip gilbrech.com)
Subject: cremnophobia

I’m a pilot and not at all afraid of heights when within an airplane. I’m also not that scared of heights for myself, but I can’t stand seeing others (particularly, but not exclusively, those I love) standing on a place where they could fall with just one false move...

When I’m on a hike with my kids, they’ve been known to taunt me since they know of my fear. They back down when I beg since they aren’t really trying to hurt me.

This is a real phobia, shared by a good friend who’s a doctor. Not sure I’m alone in this.

Skip Gilbrech, Montvale, New Jersey

From: Michael Aman (michaelaman274 gmail.com)
Subject: enantiodromia

Enantiodromia. Like visiting the church I grew up in 60 years ago and seeing them morally bankrupt and in lock step with the Republicans and tRump.

Michael Aman, Syracuse, New York

From: M Henri Day (mhenriday gmail.com)
Subject: Walt Whitman quotation

I never would believe that Providence had sent a few men into the world, ready booted and spurred to ride, and millions ready saddled and bridled to be ridden. -Walt Whitman, poet (31 May 1819-1892)

The earliest expression of the sentiment attributed to Walt Whitman (with which he would surely have agreed) with which I am familiar is from Richard Rumbold’s speech on the gallows, in 1685: “I may say this is a deluded generation, veiled with ignorance, that tho popery and slavery be riding in upon them, do not perceive it; tho I am sure there was no man born marked of God above another, for none comes into the world with a saddle on his back, neither any booted and spurred to ride him.”

This sentiment was famously echoed by Thomas Jefferson in his last letter, to Roger Weightman, of 24 June 1826: “The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God.”

M Henri Day, Stockholm, Sweden

Thanks for the correction. We’ve updated the website now.
-Anu Garg

From: Harold Fish (hmlfish carolina.rr.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--obverse

The word obverse reminded me of the cartoon I received not too long back. If the usual view of Mt. Rushmore is the obverse side, then take a look at the reverse side. (video, 30 sec.)

Harold Fish

From: Paul Wolfson (pwolfson wcupa.edu)
Subject: obverse

“But the conviction that the truth must be mathematically elegant can easily lead to a false obverse: that what is mathematically elegant must be true.”
No GUTs, No Glory; The Economist (London, UK); Jan 13, 2018.

The example quoted to illustrate usage of the word “obverse” certainly fits the third part of the definition given, namely “counterpart”. The writer might have used a more precise word, however: “converse”. In fact, the writer is pointing out what in logic is often called “the fallacy of the converse”.

Paul Wolfson, West Chester, Pennsylvania

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject cremnophobia & enantiodromia

In Australia’s Northern Territory, an Anangu tribesman, with his son, directs his gaze towards the sacred, ancient sandstone monolith, Uluru, or as the early Brit “interlopers” had named it, Ayers Rock. Papa is testing his son’s nascent cremnophobia, knowing full well that this 1,142-foot-high geological wonder, in the tradition of the Anangu people, is much-hallowed ground... a prime marker on the infinite Dreamtime spiritual continuum, that must never be climbed by any tribe member. Since 1987, the centerpiece of a UNESCO World Heritage site, Uluru has become a virtual tourist magnet, where those who dare, have permission to climb to its very peak, much to the chagrin of the native aboriginals. Yet by next year, scaling Urulu will be officially verboten to all... a great boon to the Arangu, restoring full sanctity to this formidable mount.

One of the quintessential fictive literary exemplars of “enantiodromia” is Robert Louis Stevenson’s engrossing tale of split-personality writ large, “Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde”. Here I’ve visualized Dr. Jekyll haunted by his chemically-animated, malevolent alter ego, the hideous Mr. Hyde.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. metanoia
2. cremnophobia
3. ochlocracy
4. enantiodromia
5. obverse
= 1. ‘aha’ choice
2. not common in aerie
3. by a mob
4. road reversal
5. coin top
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

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

I am certainly not even a lawyer
who could offer someone metanoia,
especially our POTUS,
who’s eaten the lotus
and resulted in mass paranoia.
-Bill Raiford, Thomasville, Georgia (br2002 rose.net)

A radical re-think -- that’s metanoia.
When done repeatedly in fear it’s paranoia.
If I were constantly to look back
And indicate that it is confidence I lack,
In time it would be sure to annoy ya!
-Del de Souza, Mumbai, India (deldesouza hotmail.com)

With regard to our planet, Gaia,
We need a complete metanoia.
Earth’s resources are for conserving.
Her beauteous places for preserving,
Like a precious painting, by, say, Goya!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

At first, that artist named Goya
Made etchings designed to annoy ya.
Then came the the two Maja
With looks saying hi ya,
Give thanks for this metanoia.
-Ron Rosier, Columbia, Maryland (rosier georgetown.edu)

When his best tenor fled to La Jolla,
Rudolf Bing diagnosed paranoia.
Said the boss of the Met,
“Oh, we all get upset,
But you can’t let the old Met annoy ya.”
-Jim Armstrong, Mill Valley, California (jameslowellarmstrong gmail.com)

At the top of a giant sequoia,
You’d surely achieve metanoia.
From so high you would see
All the way to DC,
And come down with severe paranoia.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

In the town that I live in called Sedgefield
A cremnophobe too near the cliff edge reeled.
The outcome is known.
He fell like a stone.
So his friends gathered round and a pledge sealed.
-Mike Young, Sedgefield, South Africa (youmike mweb.co.za)

Cremnophobia is my new state,
A recently acquired trait.
I have told my therapist
The whole world’s a precipice,
The only cure: Trump, abdicate!
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

Upon reaching Everest’s top,
Sir Hillary, tired, did stop.
“It’s quite lucky, I say,”
He told Sherpa Norgay,
“With no cremnophobia drop.”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

In a job search from here to Mongolia,
Craigslist Acapulco will sober ya.
No buts, ands, or ifs,
You’ll be diving from cliffs;
Don’t apply if you’ve got cremnophobia.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Raised in a suburb of Chicago,
Ochlocracy is something I know.
Al Capone was his name
And he played the mob game,
Even in a town called Cicero.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Ochlocracy? “Government’s mob rule”.
Trump’s brain? “A teeny tiny nodule”.
Put those two together
And tie with a tether.
The swamp is now drained by an dumb fool.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

Seems that Rudy believes in ochlocracy.
He’s abetting a move to autocracy
by inciting mob rule.
He’s just Forty-Five’s tool.
If they win wave goodbye to democracy.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Cried the French, “We shall end aristocracy!”
But democracy turned to ochlocracy.
The mob’s angry heart
Soon embraced Bonaparte;
Mes amis, let’s not make the same odyssey.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

A few subscribers have taken offence;
Opposing views, they think, are dense;
From support to its lack,
They turn their back:
it’s enantiodromia, not good sense.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

Enantiodromia is rife and apparent
With decisions that seem flawed and errant.
In words meant to smear
Every speech makes it clear
That his brain waves are warped and transparent.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Enantiodromia’s the bane of our lives,
as confirmed by both husbands and wives,
who once loved with passion,
their affections now ration,
and sweet nothings might as well be knives!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

Is he Jekyll today? Is he Hyde?
Trump’s diplomacy flows with the tide.
If he’s wanting encomia,
Won’t get the world on our side.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (phyllismorrow1gmail.com)

Said Jeff of enantiodromia,
“It’s as fine as a purty magnolia.
The lie Ah’ve been gushin’,
‘Ah met with no Russian,’
Is true now, cuz that pictuh’s rosiuh.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

On the obverse of the penny
Is a man admired by many.
Though Lincoln was great,
This coin we all hate.
Its value? It hasn’t any!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

When I visit Madame Tussauds,
I wonder, do the many demigods
with the noblest obverse, shout
when the lights are out,
at each other, completely at odds?
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

She tried the new swimsuit, and cursed
as her mirror revealed its obverse
image. But cried
when she saw the back side,
for it clearly appeared even worse.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Oh, there once was a woman, quite terse
Who carried a coin in her purse.
When she played heads or tails
She emitted loud wails,
If her penny did not land obverse.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

When a coin flip could win you a purse,
Calling “heads” is unhelpfully terse.
Your opponent won’t know
That you lost, if it’s so,
If instead you call out, “The obverse!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: The I’s have it

During Act I of Tosca my date got up to leave. I whispered, “What’s wrong? Metanoia?”

I’m unafraid of the very best. Yes, of the crème de la cremnophobia.

When things are this bad ochlocracy a revolt occur... wouldn’t you?

That crazy caricaturist! When I would ask for enantiodromia uncle.

I’d love to try that position but my wife is obverse to it.

Phil didn’t set out to include a self-reference in each of these, but once he’d finished with obverse, he realized he had. Hence the subject line.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

There is nothing more dangerous than a government of the many controlled by the few. -Lawrence Lessig, professor and political activist (b. 3 Jun 1961)

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