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Nov 4, 2018
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AWADmail Issue 853

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

Sponsor’s Message: You think you’re pretty intelligent, right? Probably got a college degree, or two. A goodish job. Fairly well-read. Large vocabulary. We could throw ‘recalcitrance’ out there and you might not even flinch. Same here. But we can honestly and definitively say you may be smart but you aren’t wicked smart. Don’t believe us? Then please join this week’s Email of the Week winner, Eden Johnson (see below), as well as all the other know-it-alls out there for an old’s cool lesson in enlightenment and humility. Click here, classical liberals >

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

A Row Over Mocking Non-Standard French Accents
The Economist

Dutch Language Besieged by English at University

From: Stephen Pearcy (stevemegs hotmail.co.uk)
Subject: eucatastrophe

With regard to the Brexit negotiations: Many people are hoping for a eucatastrophe and many people regard the whole thing to be a EUCatastrophe.

Steve Pearcy, Melrose, Scotland

From: Joyce Mitchell (via website comments)
Subject: eucatastrophe

It is my fondest hope that the results of the coming election will be eucatasprophic; a fitting end to the catastrphic one of 2016.

Joyce Mitchell, New York

From: Joel Mabus (joel.mabus pobox.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--eucatastrophe

Eucatastrophe looks all well and good when you read it, but when pronounced it sounds like “uke catastrophe”. The ukulele is a small and fragile wooden instrument, adored by many and reviled by many more. As a musician, and owner of a very nice Hawaiian-made koa uke, I can envision any number of bad endings for it. Which is why, at a party, I would never lay my ukulele on the floor while freshening my beverage, in fear that a heavy-heeled partyer would recklessly -- or maybe intentionally -- smash my instrument to splinters. That would indeed be a uke catastrophe, and no eucatastrophe.

Joel Mabus, Portage, Michigan

Monchique in Flames
From: BJ Boulter (bj.oxala gmail.com)
Subject: Eucatastrophe - a double meaning, an antonym

Eucatastrophe -- a double meaning, an antonym. J.R.R. Tolkien may not have realised what harm planting a eucalyptus could do. Raging fires out of control in eucalyptus forests planted on hillsides for the pulp trade, where once olive, Quercus fagacaea, Quercus suber (oak and cork oak), arbetus, and cistus grew wild. The eucalyptus starves natural lush green undergrowth; on fire it explodes and sends sparks flying far and wide.

Here’s something I sketched while watching on TV through the night 7-8 August 2018.

BJ Boulter, Algarve, Portugal

From: John Savage (johnnyboy184 ntlworld.com)
Subject: Re: eucatastrophe

I immediately thought: The word shouldn’t contain cata-. Go to the bottom of the class, Mr Tolkien!

John Savage, Woking, UK

From: Steve Brown (via website comments)
Subject: eucatastrophe

Here’s JRRT’s explanation of his word-creation: “I coined the word ‘eucatastrophe’: the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears (which I argued is the highest function of fairy-stories to produce). And I was there led to the view that it produces its peculiar effect because it is a sudden glimpse of Truth, your whole nature chained in material cause and effect, the chain of death, feels a sudden relief as if a major limb out of joint had suddenly snapped back. It perceives -- if the story has literary ‘truth’ on the second plane ... -- that this is indeed how things really do work in the Great World for which our nature is made. And I concluded by saying that the Resurrection was the greatest ‘eucatastrophe’ possible in the greatest Fairy Story -- and produces that essential emotion: Christian joy which produces tears because it is qualitatively so like sorrow, because it comes from those places where Joy and Sorrow are at one, reconciled, as selfishness and altruism are lost in Love.” (reference)

Steve Brown

From: Eric F Plumlee (ericfplumlee hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--eucatastrophe

In German-speaking countries the term “das Happyend” is quite regularly used. “Und wie immer hat das Kinofilm ein Happyend.” (And as always, the movie had a happy ending.)

Eric Plumlee, Niederlenz, Switzerland

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

May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof (White House). -John Adams, 2nd US President, and the first one to live in the White House (30 Oct 1735-1826)

I am surprised that there have not been a series of 9.0+ earthquakes in the last two years with an epicenter of Quincy, Massachusetts, specifically at 1306 Hancock Street (the United First Parish Church).

Chip Taylor

From: Daniel Miller (milldaniel gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--peristeronic

Here are a couple peristeronic palaces for you:

chasing pigeons pigeons
I took these photos when I was once in Egypt, in a semi-rural area south of Cairo.

Daniel Miller, Laredo, Texas

From: Tim Hyland (hyland gmail.com)
Subject: Peristeronic

My whole life I have held a dim view of pigeons and the messes they make. I don’t truly believe they carry disease, but the first words that popped into my head were pestilence and pernicious, as in “The pernicious, pestilent, peristeronic pests perched on a precipice, like rats but with wings.”

Tim Hyland, Palm Springs, California

Email of the Week Old’s Cool is Old School + Wit - Life’s ludic and lovely lessons upside the head.)

From: Eden Johnson (edenjohnson36 gmail.com)
Subject: Tears not shed

Time engraves our faces with all the tears we have not shed. -Natalie Clifford Barney, poet, playwright, and novelist (31 Oct 1876-1972)

The thought for the day is true for me. After my divorce in 1984, I cried a river for three years, walking in lonely cemeteries, singing dirges, listening to the saddest of songs like the George Jones hit, “He Stopped Loving Her Today” (that was how much I had wanted to be loved). I savored lamenting poems. I wanted my grief, anger, and bitterness to be all poured out in three years. I did not want to be like Jacqueline Kennedy, proud, stiff upper-lipped, stoic.

Since then I have not cried another tear. But I am alive at 79 years old, and poor Jackie was dead at 64. I do miss crying very much as I miss laughing very hard and crying and laughing at the same time. The lyrics of “The Twelfth of Never” are very consoling to me and I dedicate the song to Jesus, The Tremendous Lover. The breadth and depth of the love I want only He can give. As an adolescent, I knew somehow that great love songs like “I’ll be Loving You Eternally” were really a desire for the Infinite.

Eden Johnson, Nashville, Tennessee

From: Dominique Mellinger (dominiquemellinger yahoo.co.uk)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--abnegation

Abnegation is a common word in French. It is used in the phrase “elle/il a fait preuve d’une grande abnégation” “il/elle a montré beaucoup d’abnégation”. it means that one has put the common interest before one’s own and has been working/devoting oneself for the common good of a small or bigger group. It usually implies hard work, sometimes taking risks, and especially putting one’s own basic needs aside (sleep, food, security). It’s a phrase still in use and will probably remain so, as long as the notion of putting the common interest before one’s own will, I guess...

Dominique Mellinger, Gorze, France

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: peristeronic & amatorculist

When I noted the meaning of our word peristeronic... “relating to pigeons”, as an ardent birder, I immediately pictured the common pigeon (rock dove), for many around the globe viewed as a chronic urban menace... “a rat with wings”. Then, curiously, the homophonic equivalent, the word “pidgin” came to mind: “pidgin” being a widely varied, informally-used linguistic polyglot, with English at its core, originally rooted in early international trade and business transactions, where disparate cultures would collide, or more fairly, interface. Creole and patois are two closely related terms for these quirky mixed tongues. So, in this cartoon tableau I’ve presented a Nigerian man, speaking in his distinctive native variant of pidgin English, asking his hand-held avian buddy... (in translation)... “You are coming, right?” Frankly, I have no clue if our natty Brit pigeon is coming, or going. Ha!

peristeronic amatorculist
Musing upon the meaning of our word amatorculist, defined as... “a pretend or insignificant lover”, my admittedly polymorphous perverse imaginings conjured up this humorous, but somewhat sad scenario. (You be the judge.) Here, I’ve portrayed perhaps the ultimate “pretend lover”, composed of inflated, sculpted latex in the guise of a female blowup sex-doll. Yet our amorous lover-boy has clearly blurred the defining line between animate and inanimate.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

There’s a word for it
1. eucatastrophe
2. ochlophobia
3. peristeronic
4. amatorculist
5. abnegation
1. happier twist last act
2. horror of hordes
3. pie; toe; coo; blue
4. amourette archaic
5. abstaining; no
-Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

Eucatastrophe is fine with me.
We all want an ending that’s happy.
Now this week’s election
Will not please everyone,
But it shows what it means to be free.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

TGIF! Eucatastrophe!
Happy end to this week’s words I see.
I had a hard time.
None was easy to rhyme.
Better ones for next week is my plea.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

These days world events move too fast for me,
But perhaps we’ll achieve eucatastrophe.
Global warming is real
But could be a good deal,
For nude beaches will spread rather drastically.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

An ochlophobe was heard to say,
“I wish these crowds would go away!
New York’s so pretty
That it’s a pity
I can’t enjoy it Christmas Day!”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

As trains disgorge their peak time loads,
and the seething mass seizes the roads,
ochlophobia grips me,
I search any which way, flee
to a sanctum, far from the madding hordes.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

At weddings I get ochlophobia,
And New Year’s is pure anhedonia.
You can’t fight genetics;
I’d rather watch Netflix
Downstairs in my man-cave utopia.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

A pigeon who was quite moronic
Anointed my car in ways chronic.
This daily affair
Has caused me despair.
“I hate all things peristeronic!”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

In Venice, in St. Mark’s Square
A man with a pail comes out there;
He scatters some seed,
His daily good deed:
A peristeronic display all can share.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

“Though this park is so peristeronic,
I vow not to be histrionic,”
Thought the statue. “My job
Is latrine for the squab;
I could use, though, a large gin and tonic.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

There was once a young man with a long, long list
Of fair ladies he found he could not resist.
So, when one damsel was ready
To become his new steady,
She was simply his next amatorculist.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Observes the ornithologist,
“Though I’m no rigid moralist,
these love-birds here
transgress, I fear,
‘cause one’s an amatorculist!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Is Trump an “insignificant lover”?
Above us this question does hover.
Amatorculist indeed!
Well, Stormy implied she’d
Seen a pumpkin towering above her.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

“While married, a great many girls you kissed,
So you think yourself no amatorculist,”
Said Stormy, “But Donald,
That thing I just fondled,
To see I’d need help from an oculist.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

As he seeks admiration and glory,
Abnegation’s not part of his story.
Upon self-reflection
He sees just perfection
And hears only talk lauditory.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

In a moment of deserved abdignation,
I assessed my own situation.
For now I had felt
quite a strain on my belt,
fallen prey to all-day degustation.
-Duncan C. Turner, Seattle, Washington (dturner badgleymullins.com)

To that guy who’s so full of himself:
Put that ego of yours on the shelf
for the good of the nation.
Try some abegnation.
Tweet no more, you malevolent elf.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Said St. Francis, “Let’s try abnegation,
For I think it’s the way to salvation.”
Thus he founded an order,
Met Clare, and implored her,
“With women, you’d be a sensation!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Just because there’s a word for it doesn’t mean there’s a pun

These AWADs were so difficult to pun that I feel explanations are required. I hate when that happens!

On their first date the girl said, “Eucatastrophe me up but I’d slap you.”
(You could ask to feel)

You ochlophobia mother more often than just on her birthday.
(ought to phone your)

Is an overly-dramatic pigeon high peristeronic?

Martin Luther’s bishop said, “Amatorculist of 95 theses into a curlicue.”
(I might torque your list)

When Abner goes to Tokyo, Abnegation nibble sushi together.
(Ab ‘n a geisha)

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

A king can stand people's fighting, but he can’t last long if people start thinking. -Will Rogers, humorist (4 Nov 1879-1935)

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