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Oct 14, 2018
This week’s theme
Blend words

This week’s words

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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Next week’s theme
Words borrowed from Native American languages

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AWADmail Issue 850

A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Tidbits about Words and Language Sponsor’s message: “I never liked Picasso, as a painter or a man, mostly because, as you’ve no doubt already surmised, because I was a shallow twerp and he never wallowed in anything except brilliance and carnality. Don’t worry, there is a character arc to this story, and it will turn out to be a comedy, not a tragedy for those of you bored to tears, or with more important things to do. Which I hope is most. Now is a good time to bail.” For those of you still reading, congrats to Email of the Week winner Mark Chartrand (see below) and all the other word and art lovers out there -- you never know when (or where) you might achieve a sense of enlightenment and wisdom. Find out how I kinda did in “Picasso and Me” >

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

Easing Burdensome Spelling Regulations

Indigenous Languages Are Disappearing -- and It Could Impact Our Perception of the World
The Independent

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

Have you coined a blend word? I asked and many of you responded. Here are selections:

Blividiot: an oblivious idiot; coined ca. 25 years ago while trying to drive through Harvard Square without running over one of the undergrads mindlessly wandering into the street.
-Miriam Paschetto, Passaic, New Jersey (mirotheengineer gmail.com)

My blend word for today, coined to describe Kavanaugh’s tearful rant:
bombfraztic. A combination of bombastic (meaning high-sounding but of little meaning) and frazzled.
-Chip Taylor (via website comments)

Conflusion: I recently used this word in a sermon to mean the state of mind that occurs when church tradition is confused with reasoning based on facts. I had fun.
-Rev. Donna Jarrell, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania (jarrell.donna gmail.com)

Many years ago I started using HUGGLE with my birds: hug and snuggle.
-Bonnie Jay, Rogue River, Oregon (bonnie estarbird.com)

I taught instrumental music for forty years in central Pennsylvania. I also insisted on correct English and helped students to expand their vocabulary. When asked, I simply explained that I wanted them to sound intelligent whether speaking or playing.
I don’t have to tell anyone on AWAD that “like” is used excessively as a filler. At my wit’s end I told one student that she was “likquacious”. I blended “like” and “loquacious” and it made sense to her (an eighth grader) so I continued to use it. I certainly had enough opportunity!
-John R. Kovalchik, Petersburg, Pennsylvania (jkt6tuba aol.com)

Here in Styria, Austria, there is a life-sized iron figure of a moose, which stands overlooking a highway. Some joker painted white vertical stripes on it a few years ago. The German word for moose is Elch, and the German for zebra is Zebra. Since then we call this animal a Zelch.
-Christine Whittlesey, Gleisdorf, Austria (christine.whittlesey aon.at)

Emptybody: an omnivore who would be most healthy eating fruits and vegetables, but has so little capability for empathy that they actually enjoy eating a piece of something hacked off of a very recently living fellow sentient being who felt pain as harshly as they themselves can feel pain.
* Upon returning home from their weekly church service, a family of emptybodies sat down to eat big rare steaks as they laughed and joked with each other.
* On their way to a campaign rally to support their favorite race-baiting candidate, a number of the emptybodies stopped by the fast-food place for a quick hamburger.
* A group of emptybodies took assault rifles into the woods in order to have lots of fun killing wild animals.
-William Eugene Claburn, West Windsor, New Jersey (nowgene gmail.com)

One of my students, years ago, inadvertently created the word flamboisterous, and I still think it is wonderfully expressive.
-Cindy Watter, Napa, California (hedgehogccw gmail.com)

I came up with the word jonning some years ago to describe the kind of movement that comes between running and jogging. It’s a pretty useless word, I realise, because jogging and running have rather porous boundaries, and so there’s no real middle space. But when I’m out running, I’m often trying to define to myself what exactly jonning is -- I’ll be going at a certain pace, and I’ll think that it’s too fast to be called a jog and too slow to be called a run -- it’s the jon, then!
-Sahir Avik D’souza, Mumbai, India (sahiravik gmail.com)

trumpugly: So hideously distortedly sickeningly ugly that the word for what is being described makes the face of the describer grimace in an ugly way to even say it.
Use of the phrase “Trump ugly” from which the word is derived has been used sufficiently frequently by now that turning it into a single permanent English word seems both appropriate and inevitable.
-Eugene Claburn, West Windsor, New Jersey (nowgene gmail.com)

May I offer my own poor contribution? I once worked in an organisation that had a terrible problem dealing with difficult questions. I coined the term postpended from postponed and suspended, to be used whenever we said we’d deal with a tricky question later, but actually everyone knew we’d never deal with it. The organisation eventually folded.
-Oscar Franklin, London, UK (oscar.franklin actionaid.org)

A friend once told me that he and his girlfriend were celebrating their two-month anniversary together. Since anniversary refers to an annual event I suggested that he call it a lunaversary, since it was a monthly event.
-Tom Furgas, Youngstown, Ohio (tofu4879 gmail.com)

I propose idiotyncrasy from idiot + idiosyncrasy. To mean “the way of behavior of an idiot”.
-José Luis Palacios, Albuquerque, New Mexico (jopalal gmail.com)

One of my favourite portmanteaus is from the comic strip 9 Chickweed Lane, used as a disparaging term by its main antagonists for their athletically adroit but academically challenged classmates.
That term is troglojock, a blend of troglodyte and jock. It joined my vocabulary upon my first encounter with it, quite likely because of the empathy I felt for its users, as I and my best friend shared our high school with several instances of what appeared to be anachronisms -- forms of hominins such as Homo Neanderthalensis.
-Craig Dyck, Calgary, Canada (co3dyck gmail.com)

Itch 22: condition where the only cure for an ailment is with another condition of equal misery.
-Howard Kessler, New York, New York, (andyjuil aol.com)

Infosule: a capsule of information.
-Kaneez Zehra Razavi, Bhopal, India (kaneez.razavi gmail.com)

My children often asked what “they were” as they grew up in Nicaragua with two passports, cultures, and identities. While there is a colloquial expression in Spanish, there is not really a popular one in English. Nica-gringo or gringo-nica is what I told them they were and to be proud of it!
-Mary Helen Espinosa, Managua, Nicaragua (maryhelen.espinosa usa.net)

I use the term reptilican to describe the political party formerly known as the Republican Party.
-Wilfred Gladstone, Toronto, Canada (wgladstone sympatico.ca)

Our daughter coined déjà vuitton, which is the feeling you get, while standing at an airport baggage carousel, that you’ve seen this designer bag go around before.
-Michael B. Kahan, Stanford, California (mkahan stanford.edu)

My wife and I have coined a word for the phenomenon of people racing to their local food stores, like locust, upon hearing there’s a blizzard in the forecast. They then go to their neighborhood food store, clearing the shelves of bread, bottles of water, meat, vegetables, etc. We call this phenomenon snoarding (snow + hoarding).
PS: According to Google, the word snoarding exists but only in the context of the recreational activity of snow boarding.
-Russ Schneider, New Rochelle, New York (russell.m.schneider gmail.com)

Club EstroTesto: Any gathering of teenagers.
Teenagers of same sex: EstroEstro / TestoTesto
-Janie Bragg (janebragg728 gmail.com)

I was explaining to someone the other day that our hens had stopped laying due to age and had therefore reached henopause. I felt very clever and original until following your advice and goggled it. Someone else was also clever and original...
-Catherine Dempsey, Newfoundland, Canada (fergusanne hotmail.com)

My son created the word fridgering, a combination of freezing and shivering.
-Eve Rifkah, Worcester, Massachusetts (erifkah48 gmail.com)

Here’s one I coined many years ago: therpopeter. It’s the little plastic device found in grocery store chickens that pops up when the bird is done. It’s a combination of thermometer and pop. (Plus, of course, the pun on “mom” and “pop”.)
-David Director, Media, Pennsylvania (thedirectors verizon.net)

Guanacolía, the title of my 2012 novel, is a term I coined blending melancolía and guanaco--an animal native to South America, close to the llama but, most relevant to this context, also the nickname given to the Salvadorians, pointing to their dedication to work. Guanacolía unfolds over the course of the Salvadorian Civil War (1980-1992) during which Monseñor Óscar Romero was assassinated as he celebrated mass in San Salvador.
-Sylvie Larimore de Lara, Albuquerque, New Mexico (sylvielarimoredelara gmail.com)

Recepted is a combination of received and accepted. Perhaps there is no need to say something has been received if one is accepting it, but I like it. I recepted your challenge.
-Lisa McGrath, Towson, Maryland (mile88lisa me.com)

Hostilipitality: Pushing guests to consume food and/or drink to the point of discomfort.
One day, my brother-in-law (from a culture that highly values hospitality) showed us his new apartment. Once we were in the door, he realized he had nothing to feed us. Alarmed, he thought he would at least offer us something to drink, but they had not yet stocked up on coffee or tea. He checked the refrigerator: no juice. Water? Filter not yet installed! We kept saying it was fine, it was ok, we didn’t need anything, while he desperately searched the cupboards for something -- anything. Finally, he found a bottle of Scotch and insisted we have some. I protested that making us drink Scotch at 10 am was not hospitality. It was... I searched for the word... hosti... And he said, “Hostilipitality!” We use the word to this day.
-Teresa Dybvig, Stony Brook, New York (tdybvig gmail.com)

I refer to those unwanted calls as pham: phone spam.
-Liza Levy, Paris, Kentucky (sparkydoc3.14159 gmail.com)

I actually found this word in an article describing a soap opera wedding: Coronation Street is bringing us the wedding of Tracy Barlow and Steve McDonald this week, and you can bet it’s going to be absolutely disasteriffic.
While it’s a disaster for the characters involved, it makes for terrific viewing.
-Brad Beam, Belle, West Virginia (b.beam suddenlink.net)

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

Anecdote has a rather disdainful twang to it -- the Nativity would never be called the Greatest Anecdote Ever Told, would it? I first heard “anecdotal evidence” in a psychology lecture which implied it as being worthless rather than just a single observation, before going on to describe the double-blind randomised trial.

Denis Toll, Aberdeen, Scotland

From: Will Hobbs (willhobbs01 hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--backronym

My favorite application of turning a word (a name in this case) into an acronym was when New York State Senator Brad Hoylman introduced a bill called the TRUMP Act, which stood for Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public. It would require presidential and vice-presidential candidates to release their tax returns in order to be listed in the voters pamphlet.

Will Hobbs, Cornelius, Oregon

From: Jack Harrington (harrington_nw yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--backronym

Today’s post reminded me of an acronym (backronym?) used by my first employer, a large military contractor, to encourage more productivity by employees as the company started a significant layoff. PRIDE: Personal Responsibility in Daily Effort. Employees sarcastically responded with this: SHAME: Show Half As Much Effort (and keep your job twice as long). The company’s campaign quickly disappeared and, I presume, so did certain employees in the HR motivation department.

Jack Harrington, Hansville, Washington

From: Jane Tuckwell (jane.e.tuckwell gmail.com)
Subject: Aussie backronyms

I work in Canberra government departments, the home of (b)acronyms, for example:
TRIPS: Travel and Immigration Processing System
INTERCEP: Information Network To Enhance Response Control Enforcement and Prevention Techniques

Jane Tuckwell, Canberra, Australia

From: SarahRose Werner (swerner nbnet.nb.ca)
Subject: Another backronym

One of the backronyms for the origin of the term drag as in drag queen is that it comes from the days when women were not allowed on theatre stages. Female roles were played by boys DRessed As Girls.

SarahRose Werner, Saint John, Canada

Email of the Week brought to you by One Up! -- The Wicked/Smart Word Game. And Picasso, and me >

From: Mark Chartrand (mrc mrchartrand.com)
Subject: Anent Acronym/backronym

Working and teaching in any technical field one always is surrounded by acronyms. At the beginning of each course, I always told my students that acronym was an acronym for Absurdly Contrived Row Of Nonsense You Make up, and that at the end of the course they would be able to construct entire sentences containing no real words whatsoever.

Mark Chartrand, Baltimore, Maryland

From: Robert Mac (robert robertmac.com)
Subject: backronym

I always liked “A Concise Rendering Of Names You Memorize” as a backronym of acronym.

Robert Mac, Washington, DC

From: Michael Snaith (michael.snaith mac.com)
Subject: (B)Acronym

Acronym = Awfully Common Really ‘Orrible Name You Make up.

Michael Snaith, Derby, UK

From: Vijay Kumar (akvijaykumar0 gmail.com)
Subject: Backronyms

My favourite backronym is Iacoccoa: I am chairman of Chrysler corporation of America.

Vijay Kumar, Chennai, India

From: Lisa Donahue (donahue.lisam gmail.com)
Subject: Backronym

Upon arrival at my new government job, I was given a copy of SLANG: the Selected Letter and Abbreviated Name Guide. The backronym title gave me a giggle during my first nervous days. It was also a critical reference document for understanding meetings conducted in my agency’s particular dialect of government-ese.

Lisa Donahue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

From: Nina Garrett (cornebg gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--backronym

When I was working in the University of Illinois’s Language Learning Lab in the late 1970s, developing language-learning materials for the highly sophisticated PLATO computer system, I was told of the joke that the name was an acronym for “Programmed Learning for Automated Teaching Operations”, which no one believed.

Nina Garrett, Old Saybrook, Connecticut

From: David Rogers (davidrogersbooks gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--backronym

Seems like a good way to sum up backronyms is revisionist etymology!

David Rogers, Cave City, Kentucky

From: Scott Swanson (harview montana.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--backronym

Check out today’s For Better Or For Worse comic.

Scott Swanson, Pendroy, Montana

From: Clary Binns (clarymbinns gmail.com)
Subject: Backronym

I go to a middle/high school in Boston that is obsessed with acronyms. Most are clunky, like SREPT (Study Research Elective Project Time) and MST (Maths, Science and Technology), while some are oddly elegant, like SHEWASSA (Simple Human Experiment With A Strong Statistical Analysis). However, the only backronyms I know of are MAPS, Mentoring And Peer Support -- a delightful creation, if you ask me, and spawning a whole series of map-themed acronyms and titles; FERDINAND, SYLVESTER, and so on.

Clary Binns, Newton, Massachusetts

From: Todd Lewis (toddelewis verizon.net)
Subject: herstory

There is also a word newly in use, FarmHer. It is the name of a television documentary program.

Todd Lewis

From: Max Silver (captainsilvamord gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--herstory

Theirstory or ourstory would be an even more inclusive term covering the whole of humanity, considering that it is the 21st century and binary systems in most cultures are rather obsolete.

Max Silver, San Francisco, California

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: lunk & herstory

Renowned Brit comedic actors Stan Laurel and Rowan Atkinson, a generation apart, will always be fondly regarded and beloved by their respective legions of fans as portraying “lunks” of the first order... endearing, sympathetic, super-gifted ones, for certain. Of course, lunk Laurel played the hapless goofball opposite his portly, mustachioed comedic foil, Oliver Hardy, in those early B&W slapstick farces, whilst Atkinson, as the anxious, bumbling character, Mr. Bean, master of mime and man of few words, made us all LOL at this natty, yet awkward, clueless schlub, his hilarious actions often exposing the everyman’s very human frailties, fears, and follies.
Lunk Herstory
Beyond her wildest imaginings, the author J.K. Rowling has become über-famous and hugely wealthy with her “Harry Potter” franchise. She essentially rewrote Kid-Lit history for a moment in time with her igniting Potter-mania. Yet, just as significantly, the gifted Rowling rewrote herstory ... a struggling, single-parent, young Scottish mum, leaning on the dole to make ends meet, penning her first Potter manuscript over a period of several months in a neighborhood Edinburgh coffee shop, in so doing, unwittingly crafting the narrative to her own remarkable story. After all the fame and fortune Rowling had garnered from the trials and tribulations of her wizardly Harry & Co., Rowling embarked on yet another chapter in her continuing literary adventure, crafting more works of engaging fiction but under the pseudonym “Robert Galbraith”, a ruse of sorts, meant to trick readers into thinking that she’s writing his-tory. Her ploy was found out in short order. I’d contend, no matter writing under her real name or a nom de plume, this driven, creatively-gifted tale spinner has been telling HER story... herstory, all along. BRAVO!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

This week’s theme: Blend words
1. anecdata
2. workfare
3. backronym
4. lunk
5. herstory
1. reckoned story
2. welfare task
4. blunt thickhead
5. remark by women
     Blend words
1. anecdata
2. workfare
3. backronym
4. lunk
5. herstory
1. a CNN story
2. tasked for much
3. abbr.
4. wanker; dork
5. new lady-lore
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

Ants are hard-working insects, it’s true.
They are company men, through and through.
Anecdata still show
They work hard, but we know
That they go to all picnics. They do.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

I’ve now got enough anecdata
To prove that Trump and Brett are related.
I’m sure you all know
What they grab at with gusto.
From what have those two guys mutated?
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

I hear youse is one majuh ratta
From Sis, which youse must don’t think matta.
That youse was the punk
What left her for junk.
Though ‘course it’s just her anecdata.
-Anna C Johnston, Coarsegold, California (ajohnston13 gmail.com)

If you go from Alpha to Zeta,
But just settle on anecdata,
Your research will be lax,
For without any facts
Your work will be like a third grader.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“We brothers of Delta Phi Theta,”
Said Brett, “don’t accept anecdata.
Hearing, ‘No! Please, please, no!’
Lacks sufficient info
To stop sharing a co-ed pro rata.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The workfare rule of requisite labor
didn’t stop crowds coming for favor.
The chief needing (to serve the horde)
many jobs, with plan B scored:
One guy digs a hole, the next fills it, forever.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

“Some drawback,” says he, “always lurks where-
ever you go. Now take workfare.
They’ll find you a a job
making thingamabobs,
but ‘twill always be lacking in perks there!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Is workfare bad? I do not know --
Those in need seem helpless though.
If work is forced,
Legally endorsed,
Is that help to the helpless? No, that’s low!
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

“The poor are too lazy for workfare,”
Said Donald, relaxed in a deck chair.
His surroundings were swank
On that yacht till the bank
Repossessed it all down to the cookware.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

First I must find a word I have heard
To pen a limerick not absurd,
Showing that I am one
Fit for this occasion.
Why can’t I coin a backronym word!
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

It wasn’t all that long ago:
Math and science for girls was a No,
but now (backronym) STEM
is just great for a femme,
but of course, that’s just my IMO.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

When their leader found land that attracted him,
They marched to the tune of a Saxon hymn.
Like bees in a swarm
They took Britain by storm,
And we now call them WASPs as a backronym.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Who’s nastier, Ted or The Punkin?
Oh Texas, you can’t let that lunk win!
It’s Beto we’ve prayed for,
He rocks and he skateboards.
Ain’t no shame in us voting the hunk in.
-Alex Forbes, New York, New York (alexforbesmusic gmail.com)

She thought she’d found love with a lunk.
Now she’s fallen into a funk.
He was great in bed,
But the things he said
Revealed that his intellect stunk.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

I have oftentimes wondered about
Which epithet’s worse, lunk or lout.
A lout might be first
In this contest of worst,
But they’re both pretty dreadful, no doubt.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

“Judge Kavanaugh lived like a monk!”
Exclaimed Donald, “That woman’s a lunk.
How’d I get there? Don’t know!
And where’s Soros’s dough
For that polygraph test not to flunk?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

During times undeniably gory,
Women rise to a place of proud glory.
Though Trump tries to demean
Since he came on the scene.
The #MeToos help to rewrite herstory.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

It took many years for herstory
To unearth facts of hardship or glory.
Sometimes hushed and restrained,
For years women remained
In an obscure back-seat category.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

A herstory is Helen Keller, blind,
Who managed to free and express her mind.
Then we have Jeanne D’Arc
Who also made her mark!
So many herstories -- they’re not hard to find!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

“The treatment of women’s been cursory,”
Agreed Donald, “We need much more herstory.
They should not hesitate
To their stories relate
Of the kitchen and bedroom and nursery.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Blended Absurds

Using pig latin the magician said, “I need anecdata do this card trick.”
(neck-day = deck)

Those who don’t pull their own weight don’t workfare.

It’s difficult backronym to a parking place.

Trump’s administration has exceeded its lunk capacity.

The misogynist gave the woman’s autobiography only a herstory glance.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. -Dwight D. Eisenhower, US general and 34th president (14 Oct 1890-1969)

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