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Jun 10, 2018
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AWADmail Issue 832

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

Sponsor’s Message: UPDATE: After announcing last week that our long overdue The Official Old’s Cool Handbook was hot off the presses, we immediately sold out. Sorry about that. It’s now back in stock, and even better as a belated Father’s Day gift, for Email of the Week Winner Lise Stone, and any and all smart-alecks looking to wise the old man up. Guaranteed the best ten bucks you’ll ever spend on him. Tickle Grumpy Pink, and Hurry >

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

The Language at the End of the Earth

How the Basque language Has Survived
Public Radio International

From: Ueli Haenni (euricio gmx.ch)
Subject: Verbs

Apropos verb, or be it “werkwoord”, in primary school in the German-speaking part of Switzerland we used to call verbs “Tunwörter” (do-words), which is quite a clever and helpful name because about 95 percent of all the verbs express an activity of some sort -- and not because they work hard, as Anu Garg suggests. Seems the Dutch had the same idea.

Ueli Haenni, Wettingen, Switzerland

From: Pirkko-Liisa Schulman (pirkko-liisa.schulman bydesign.fi)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--elutriate

Also in Finnish we have a Finnish language name for verb, as well as for all grammatical words, though seldom used any more. It is teonsana, which means a word for doing, about the same as the Dutch word werkwoord.

Pirkko-Liisa Schulman, Helsinki, Finland

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From: Lise Stone (stonelise gmail.com)
Subject: Kennedy, Trudeau, and Verbs

Any focus on verbs would be sadly lifeless without recalling the Doonesbury strip parodying Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) for his frequent mashups of politically themed phrases not linked by words that expressed action, state, or occurrence. In the strip, Gary Trudeau depicted Kennedy as tossing off several impressive-sounding yet unlinked phrases, until a reporter interjects, “A verb, Senator, we need a verb.”

Lise Stone, New York, New York

From: Hiller B. Zobel (honzobe aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--elutriate

Here’s a verba: Sidney Verba, distinguished Director of the Harvard University Library emeritus.

Hiller B. Zobel, Boston, Massachusetts

From: Jenifer Grant (j.grant767 sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--elutriate

Great information about verbs as working words. But haven’t you chosen an example of the use of the word as an adjective?

“elutriated members” preceded by an adverb -- “less elutriated”. But then again, I guess we can or should be able to consider a verb as “working” when it gets changed to another part of speech, in this case, an adjective?

Jenifer Grant, Essex, Connecticut

From: David H Mackenzie (davidmackenzie grapevine.net.au)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--elutriate

As a retired scientist, I am fascinated to learn that this verb is used in the field the humanities and is not restricted to chemistry and physics and their many off-shoots. There is quite a terminology deriving from this and similar roots. I’ve not used many of them but here’s an attempt to gather a bunch of them for your readers.

Elutriation (elution) is a widely ranging group of processes used to sort samples comprised of mixtures of different parts into their constituent parts (fractions). Perhaps the simplest of these processes, and one of the earliest, is to take, say, a sample (eluate) of sludge from a mining operation, a mixture of physical parts, and immerse it in a liquid (eluent) in an apparatus known as an elutriator. The constituent parts will begin to settle downwards through the eluent at different velocities depending on their size, shape, and mass, even chemical, properties. If the eluent is pumped upwards against the settling particles, some of the fractions will be carried upward with the eluent flow while others will continue to settle against the flow. The eluted (elutriated) particles thus lifted can be collected from the emerging eluent and effectively separated since they elute at different (discrete) times. If the flow velocity is increased, then fewer parts will be lifted out with the emerging eluent (eluted). Thus, by selecting different eluent velocities the mixture can be separated into its constituent components. Different eluents, including air, can be employed to separate different types of mixtures in different types of elutriators. Elutriation is widely used in research and industry. One of better know techniques of elutriation is chromatography used to separate the constituents of chemical mixtures (e.g. blood) in highly complex elutriators otherwise know as chromatographs. If you have kept up with (and better, understood) me, you have been elutriated from the remainder who gave up at the first paragraph. Apologies to experts in the field for my almost layman’s attempt at simplification.

David H Mackenzie, Canberra, Australia

From: Janice Ife (ife magma.ca)
Subject: Today’s thought for the day by Robert Fulgham

If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you've got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat, and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. One needs to learn the difference. -Robert Fulghum, author (b. 4 Jun 1937)

I first read the quotation by Robert Fulgham many years ago, at a time when I thought I was rather deeply troubled, and I appreciated it so much then I cut it out of the newspaper. I carry it with me to this day. Those troubles have been replaced by others, many much more serious, but still I find a small lesson and some comfort from the words. I’ve used them occasionally to steady family, friends, and students in my life and find they often bring a perspective which has proved useful. Many thanks for the reminder this morning, especially on a day when I just learned an old friend is about to undergo surgery. I’ll quit kvetching about the weather and the arborist who didn’t turn up yesterday now.

Janice Ife, Ottawa, Canada

From: Steve Kirkpatrick (stevekirkp comcast.net)
Subject: demit -- French roots, and the current need

I was attending Stanford-in-France when VP Spiro Agnew resigned October 10, 1973. We weren’t in the habit of watching any TV over there, but that evening a group of us happened to be watching the news. The verb demissioner, to resign, sent us scrambling to our French-English dictionaries.

Certain politicians and government officials could make our country greater by heeding this example set by Spiro Agnew, and later by Richard Nixon.

Steve Kirkpatrick, Olympia, Washington

From: Dylan Reisenberger (dylan reisenberger.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--demit

Kathleen Jamie (a wonderful writer) references “demit” in her essay “Sabbath” in her collection Findings as a metaphor for to pass on (die), in a Scots context.

Meeting the manager of an old people’s care home:

I’d to ask: “Do you have a waiting list, and how long ...?”
“Well,” the woman had said, “when someone demits...”
Demit -- I’d to look it up. A Scots word, it means “relinquish”.

Dylan Reisenberger, Dorset, UK

From: Bob Richmond (via website comments)
Subject: demit

This word is common in Masonic usage. A man is said to demit (rather than resign or leave) from his lodge. Often pronounced dimmitt.

Bob Richmond, Maryville, Tennessee

From: David Streiner (streiner mcmaster.ca)
Subject: Crick’s quotation

The dangerous man is the one who has only one idea, because then he’ll fight and die for it. -Francis Crick, physicist, biologist, neuroscientist, Nobel laureate (8 Jun 1916-2004)

The quotation from Francis Crick sounds very much like the one by Alain (Émile-Auguste Chartier) in his Propos sur la religion (1938) -- “Rien n’est plus dangereux qu’une idée, quand on n’a qu’une idée.” (Nothing is more dangerous than an idea, when you have only one idea.)

David Streiner, Hamilton, Canada

From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)
Subject: On the thought of the day

Below are the concluding lines of stanza xiv of Wallace Stevens’s poem “Esthetique Du Mal”. Stevens, like Crick, envisions the blind damage done by “the lunatic of one idea”. A good example is Captain Ahab in Moby-Dick. How many millions of people died in the twentieth century because of a “lunatic of one idea”? How many will die and suffer in the coming decades?

A promenade amid the grandeurs of the mind,
By a lake, with clouds like lights, among great tombs,
Gives one a blank uneasiness, as if
One might meet Konstantinov, who would interrupt
With his lunacy. He would not be aware of the lake.
He would be the lunatic of one idea
In a world of ideas, who would have all the people
Live, work, suffer, and die in that idea
In a world of ideas. He would not be aware of the clouds,
Lighting the martyrs of logic with white fire.
His extreme of logic would be illogical.

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Verbs & obvert

Inspired by Anu Garg’s word-theme introduction, I’ve gathered a mini league of nationalities, demonstrating their collective, yet individually unique “verbosity”. I’ve never met a verb I didn’t like. Ha!

Verbs Obvert
About face! In this scenario, DC Comics arch-villain, Two-Face,* has obverted towards the viewer, revealing his obverse visage. Yet we can see his seemingly “normal” right profile in the mirrored image. My caption is a play on the Biblical entreaty of “turning the other cheek”.
*Apologies to super-talented cartoonist Bruce Timm. I borrowed his now-iconic version of the Two-Face character that he designed for Warner Bros. BATMAN: The Animated Series, from back in the ‘90s.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. elutriate
2. straiten
3. obvert
4. impend
5. demit
= 1. sieve it
2. limit
3. neat turn
4. bode
5. depart term
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

From: Steve Benko (stevebenko1 gmail.com)
Subject: Words of the week in limericks

It is with a deep sense of satisfaction that this week I submit my 1,000th AWAD limerick without having missed a word since I began in January 2015. (This isn’t quite the same as doing 1,000 AWAD words, as on occasion I submit more than one per word.)

I feel proud and yet at the same time humbled by the knowledge that, even now, I’m less than half way to the records set by Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken for consecutive major league baseball games played. What iron men!

What next? Well, I shall keep going as long as possible, But with this milestone behind me, hopefully with a bit less obsessiveness about keeping the streak going no matter what or achieving a particular goal. I thank all my appreciative readers from the bottom of my heart, and Anu for his kindness in publishing so much of my work, for the purpose and structure my little endeavor has given my life in retirement!

Also, a special thanks to you, Donald J. Trump. I couldn’t have done it without you!

Steve Benko, New York, New York

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

“This swamp I have sworn to elutriate.
I will straiten the swamp-dwellers, small and great.
Wildlife’s next for my axe.
Polar bears pay no tax.”
And thus spake the yellow-haired potentate.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

It’s certainly a new mother’s fate
To spend some time to elutriate
Her little baby’s things,
While she happily sings
About how her life now is so great!
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

“Elutriate” is a word that makes me laugh,
A posh way of saying: Sifting wheat from the chaff,
Or of “Washing out all stains”
So that the pristine remains.
Would that we could elutriate government staff!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

We’d have more control of our fate,
and our need for good governance sate,
if, by feet to the fire
or the threat of our ire,
our leaders we’d elutriate!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

“The encounter with you she’ll repudiate,”
Said the lawyer, “with funds we’ll elutriate.”
Answered Donald, “Great plan!
Michael Cohen, you da man!
Now we’ll win, and the whole world infuriate!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Now that Adolf is gone, Donald’s left
To make innocent people bereft.
He’ll straiten the lives
Of immigrant wives
By taking their babies in theft.
-Lou Gottlieb, Hubbard, Oregon (gottlieb wbcable.net)

With the boss there’s no reason or rhyme
With his foot in his mouth half the time.
He straitens our choice
With his bellowing voice,
While he basks at the scene of each crime.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Straiten, in every sense of the word,
Is something I wish were more often heard
On FOX and all the daily news,
So that Trump cannot air his views.
Please, let’s shut him up and give him the bird.
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

“With my horrible spawn,” declared Satan,
“The American people I’ll straiten.
Into Mrs. Fred Trump
I’ll impregnate a chump
Who’ll be known by hands small and misshapen.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

She wanted a full fledged Adonis, no less!
Her suitor with curls was quick to impress.
But an obverted head,
showing baldness widespread,
had her make a quick egress.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

The good Doctor Jekyll confides,
“If I had my choice, I’d decide
to simply obvert
my mind, and convert
to the side of myself we call Hyde!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“In truth, I’m a born introvert,”
Said the actor, “On stage I obvert.
In this play I love parties,
But later at Sardi’s,
Approach and you’ll find me quite curt.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I always depend on my friend
When terrible things do impend.
Just hearing her voice,
Then can I rejoice,
And all my concerns would soon end.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

When Trump’s Twitter rants are trending
And disaster is impending,
I long for the day
When he’ll go away;
I hope for a happy ending.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

This week G7 meets in Quebec;
What impends this year? A total wreck!
Thank Mr. trump --
Let’s kick his rump,
And restore the peace of alouette.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

“My spirit to Thee I commend,”
Said Jesus, “for Rome I offend.”
Answered God, “We’ll show Caesar
This gig was a teaser,
For son, your return doth impend.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

A man never one to commit,
From relationships always demit,
Met a putative wife
And he ran for his life
To marriage he’d never submit.
-Denis Toll, Aberdeen, UK (denis.toll outlook.com)

All his antics the nation has split.
His performance has not been a hit.
If the man would demit
in a petulant fit,
I would not mind it one little bit.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Though it’s hard for some folks to admit,
They were duped by a flagrant dimwit.
I won’t mention his name,
But it’s truly a shame
That this person just will not demit.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Let’s admit it, Trump is a misfit.
He’s unfit by more than a tidbit.
“Demit while you can,
Move to Yucatan!”
Will Mex pay for his casa? I doubt it.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

“What I did I will never admit,
Or my office I’d have to demit,”
Said the Donald, “I pine
In some ways to resign,
But imagine the SNL skit.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: There’s a verbena flower and each pun below

One termite asked another, “Was that a guitar or elutriate?”

I had three queens but he had a straiten won the pot. Yikes, it’s Marty Feldman. Obvert your eyes!

Our prize bull got loose and we didn’t breathe easy ‘til we got impend again.

When removing food from the oven, wear demit.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: Gini Roney (groney co.humboldt.ca.us)
Subject: a sad goodbye

I must unfortunately unsubscribe today. I will be retiring shortly & I receive your wonderful site at work. It is with great sadness I say goodbye. You have helped me through a very difficult & deplorable, disgraceful political year. God speed & keep up the great work.

Gini Roney, California

If history and science have taught us anything, it is that passion and desire are not the same as truth. The human mind evolved to believe in the gods. It did not evolve to believe in biology. -E.O. Wilson, biologist, naturalist, and author (b. 10 Jun 1929)

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