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Jun 24, 2018
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AWADmail Issue 834

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

Sponsor’s Message: Realing in the years? One of our favorite bands of all time is Steely Dan -- we always loved their cool, ludic, laid-back vibe. Their glib, erudite lyrics and the origin of the name always resonated too, since we’re also a huge fan of William S. Burroughs. Anyway, we recently played One Up! with old’s cool Ray and his friend Jon -- all three of us going at it, hammer and tongs. Ray just squeaked by with the win. Long story, short -- Jon is the guitarist for the band, and he’ll make sure the Scrabble they used to play gathers dust from now on. Ha. Anyway, congrats to Email of the Week winner Lois Mowat (see below) and all the other sarcastic wordy jazzers out there -- you never know when you might become a (sidebar) hero to your hero. Get your own “Stealy Dan” now >

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

Trickle-Down Trumpsters and the Debasement of Language
The New York Times

Koko, the Gorilla Who Mastered Sign Language, Has Died

I Am Raising My Daughter to Speak Three Languages. A Stranger Demanded I “Speak English” to Her
Los Angeles Times

From: Linda Owens (lindafowens netzero.net)
Subject: kinesics

When you have animals living in your household, or you encounter others, you should always check for facial expressions such as snarling, or body language, such as pawing, in case that pet or strange animal is angry at you or fearful. When I had my horse, I checked to see if he was paying attention to my voice by noting which direction his ears faced. We also communicated by sending pictures to each other. One funny dog had a wicked grin however -- hard to read.

Linda Owens, Exeter, Rhode Island

Email of the Week -- Hey, Nineteen -- Buy The Wicked/Smart Word Game here >

From: Lois Mowat (lmowat1810 gmail.com)
Subject: agnostic

Though raised a Catholic, I consider myself an agnostic today. How I got here is an interesting story. When I was 19, I met the man I eventually married. We had sex before we took our vows. Prior to marriage, still practicing Catholicism, I went to confession. Honest to a fault, I said, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned,” then proceeded to tell him about the fornication, adding that I felt no sorrow and would engage in it again. The priest told me he could not absolve my sin. Upon hearing that, I asked what I should do? He told me to go home and pray to feel sorry for my sin. That was the last time I ever went to confession.

Lois Mowat, Orinda, California

From: M Henri Day (mhenriday gmail.com)
Subject: Agnostic

With regard to the distinction between atheist and agnostic, quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur (what can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence). The burden of proof lies with those who make the positive assertion.

M Henri Day, Stockholm, Sweden

From: Lori Provenzano (silk3.14 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: agnostic

Brings to mind this classic joke: Did you hear about the agnostic dyslexic with Insomnia? He stayed awake all night wondering if there really was a dog.

Lori Provenzano, Cranbrook, Canada

From: Chip Taylor (via website comments)
Subject: agnostic

Then there are those who are apathgnostics -- who do not know or care if God exists.

Chip Taylor

From: Oliver Fletcher (mroliverfletcher gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--googol

Googol is infamous in the UK as being the winning answer* to the question “A number one followed by one hundred zeroes is known by what name?” on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? where Army Major Charles Ingram climbed his way to the top £1 million prize in 2001 with the help of his wife and a friend/accomplice who also happened to be a contestant in the opening “Fastest Finger First” round.

Ingram slowly read the possible answers aloud then waited for confirmation by way of a discreet cough or two from his accomplice or wife in the audience when the correct answer was read out. Even host Chris Tarrant was in disbelief when Ingram suggested he knew the answer to certain questions then expressed different logic and changed his mind before confirming the correct answer fifteen times.

Ingram and his wife Diana thought they had pulled off the audacious heist but the production company suspended payout after another contestant and at least one crew member raised suspicion. The case went to court and all three individuals involved were found guilty of “procuring the execution of a valuable security by deception”.

There is a fascinating book by a Daily Mail investigative journalist, Bad Show: The Quiz, The Cough, The Millionaire Major.

*the three other possible answers provided were “Megatron”, “Gigabit”, and “Nonomole”

Oliver Fletcher, Chelmsford, UK

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

The Renaissance sculptor/painter/poet Michelangelo Buonarotti claimed that the statue was already present in the marble, all he did was to chisel away the extraneous surface.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

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

What a great word to end a great week! By the time Burgess coined it, the practice was commonplace and he saw it for the froth it was. The self-congratulation of publishers (“This book will change your life, etc.”) is worthless and a suitable word for it was needed. Blurb fitted the bill in an almost onomatopoeic way.

And what a witty way to introduce it -- top billing for Miss Blurb announcing what she was in the act of doing.

Denis Toll, Aberdeen, UK

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: kinesics and agnostic

Here, in this revisiting of the classic Monty Python pub sketch by the bowler-hatted Terry Jones and the beyond annoying, doggedly prying Eric Idle, we are presented with fertile fodder for kinesics analysis... a decidedly one-sided exchange peppered with serial winks and nudges and mostly one-word queries from the slightly effete Idle, countered by mostly puzzled, and angry facial gestures, and terse retorts from Jones. The quirky body language from Idle, and his naughty line of questioning ultimately devolves into just plain “bawdy” language. “Say no more, say no more.”

Kinesics Agnostic
Only in Hollywood! Both actor Morgan Freeman, and the late actor/comedian, George Burns, can claim to have played the role of “God” on the silver screen... Freeman as the white-suited Holy Father incarnate, with costar Jim Carrey, in Bruce Almighty (2003), and the stogie-chompin’ Burns, opposite singer/actor, John Denver, in “O, God! (1977). As Hindus believe, God can take on many forms and guises. Yet on the face of it, one has to concede that Freeman and Burns appear to be two of the most unlikely earthly incarnations of the Godhead; a perfect excuse, I would argue, to join the burgeoning ranks of ever-skeptical agnostics. Just sayin’.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. kinesics
2. agnostic
3. googol
4. inscape
5. blurb
1. sign
2. sceptic
3. a big #
4. inner soul
5. a cook’s blog
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)
Coined words
1. kinesics
2. agnostic
3. googol
4. inscape
5. blurb
1. use beck, brow - so I nod
2. sceptic
3. gillions
4. organic song
5. ad
    -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

The game of Soccer is today about penalties.
The kinesics of the players, beyond realities.
They fall to the ground,
Utter agonised sound,
But the referee is blind to these “specialties”!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

The bachelor, he had many new tricks
For picking up all the pretty young chicks.
He could tell at a glance
The ones he would entrance,
Simply based on her unique kinesics.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Says the skipper, “I know my kinesics.
Your gait says you’re one of those neat chicks
who likes a good time.”
“No way!” says she.”I’m
just swaying like this ‘cause I’m seasick!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

From observing the Donald’s kinesics,
I get migraines beyond analgesics.
That face and those fingers
Cause pounding that lingers;
I need for my head a prosthesis!
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When young, I was raised a Catholic.
One of my two sons is agnostic.
The older one, who
Is very bright, too,
Identifies as atheistic.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

There are those who solve puzzles acrostic,
doctors skilled in the arts diagnostic,
but philosophers seek
a unique sort of geek,
not quite atheist, not quite agnostic.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

I don’t deny the existence of God,
Though it’s odd that She sometimes seems flawed.
Don’t mean to be caustic,
I’m far from agnostic,
But Donald’s our God? I shall not applaud.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

Persuaded that “god” can’t be known,
still my ethical stance is not blown.
I love Christ and the Buddha,
plus Mohammad and Judah ...
but agnostic’s my firm holystone.
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

Agnosticism is on the rise,
It really comes as no surprise.
Trump breeds so much grief
That one feels a belief
In a just and kind God is unwise.
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

“Towards marriage mah Abner’s agnostic,”
Said Daisy, “Jes’ lahk Fearless Fosdick.
That comic is stoopid!
O where are ya, Cupid?
Mah quest to git hitched is quixotic.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

How many times has Trump been caught
Being appalling in word and thought?
The total amount
Is hard to count:
It’s perhaps not a googol, but it sure is a lot!
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

If the acts of this man out to wow,
irk you much, totally disavow
any interest and rebuff.
Holding him by his neck’s scruff,
a googol times say, no means NO!
-Shyamal Mukherji, Wakefield, Massachusetts (mukherjis hotmail.com)

While chatting with his Uncle Ed,
A young Milton Sirotta said,
“That number’s wild!”
And then he smiled
As “googol” popped into his head.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said McPherson one day to Macdougal,
“You’re a Scotsman, me lad, be more frugal.
To part wi’ a shillin’
Is sin worse than killin’,
Me plan is to die wi’ a googol.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The inscape you should appreciate
Of this limerick I will create.
I’ll do my best to give
You something creative,
But since you’ve read it now, it’s too late.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

With drums for his malice resounding
To seize someone’s child is confounding.
To abduct little lambs
Is a heartbreaking sham.
His inscape is more than astounding.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Though my wife may complain I’m not shipshape,
‘Neath the flab’s an Adonis-like inscape.
Her thinking is garbled;
I’m merely well-marbled.
What’s better, a thick or a thin steak?
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Let’s get this straight from the very first,
Decades from now (the years that are cursed),
No book will say Trump was superb,
He’ll just get a very short blurb:
He tweeted, and he was the worst.
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

Patent medicines boasted a blurb
Using wondrous nouns, mighty verb.
But an honest assessment
Would be “Save your investment
And throw this darn stuff to the curb.”
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

Our leader’s not a well-read man --
He’s got a short attention span.
Despite a book’s blurb
That calls it superb,
He’ll wait for the film if he can.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Let this ditty please serve as a blurb
For my favorite medicinal herb.
When it’s eaten or smoked,
Every grudge is revoked:
A Croatian’s best bro is a Serb.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: I coined-a struggled with these

When wild hogs get in my garden I ask my neighbor, kinesic his dog on ‘em?

My Texas A&M advisor said, “Don’t change your major to Ag... nah, stick to Business.”

It gets the most hits but I doubt “weather” it’ll ever be googoled even a trillion times.

Superman can’t fly unless he’s inscape.

My eyes began to blurb by the 5th martini.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Laughter is a form of internal jogging. -Norman Cousins, editor and author (24 Jun 1915-1990)

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