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Dec 2, 2018
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AWADmail Issue 857

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

Sponsor’s Message: Are you looking for the perfect (blue)stocking stuffer? The Official Old’s Cool Education is excellentay for cramming all the illiterates and GED goons in your life’s stockings full of gee whiz, Shakespeare, poetry, soap-making, sports, anecdotes and quotes, Price’s Law, and diamonds and pearls of wisdom, with some spice and attic salt and comedic and Homeric asides sprinkled throughout. We’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Scott Swanson (see below), as well as all discerning and literate AWADers a Buy two, get Three Special through midnight Monday. Gift (and hurry) up!

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

The Small Island Where 500 People Speak Nine Different Languages
The Atlantic

Academic Revives Ancient Babylonian 2,000 Years After Language Died Out
The Daily Telegraph

From: Linda Turczan (lindaturczan earthlink.net)
Subject: Poet Lauris Edmond's quotation displayed for all to see

Thanks to my brother, Ian Pike, who shared Lauris Edmond's quotation, displayed at Wellington Waterfront in New Zealand. (photo)

Linda Turczan, Monrovia, California

From: Richard S. Russell (RichardSRussell tds.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--actuate

As a long-time science-fiction fan, I’ve had more than my share of discussions about the coming cyberapocalypse, in which artificial intelligences take over the world and see no continuing use for us, their creators. I usually point out that, without the proper actuators -- which they need us to supply for them -- all they can do is think, not act. The time to start worrying is not with self-driving cars but with self-firing tanks and self-launching missiles.

Richard S. Russell, Madison, Wisconsin

From: Steve Durst (steve skaion.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--actuate

Though “actuate” isn’t an example, seeing it as today’s word reminded me of a personal peeve, which I often hear in business settings: the use of complicated words when the root suffices and is less grating to boot. For example, “utilize” instead of “use” or “methodology” instead of “method”. (Evoking bureaucracy perfectly, they add complexity without adding value.)

Steve Durst, Arlington, Massachusetts

Email of the Week brought to you by The Official Old’s Cool Education -- Bone Up Now >

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

Wow, thanks for this word! I am an attorney who does many real estate transactions, and I certainly had never heard it before. (Been practicing law for 36 years; if I keep practicing, then maybe one day I’ll figure out how to do it!) I shared “impignorate” with staff at two of the local title companies, and they loved it too. Believe it or not, today I recorded a “Montana Trust Indenture” with the boilerplate modified to read “Grantor hereby irrevocably GRANTS, BARGAINS, SELLS, CONVEYS, WARRANTS, and IMPIGNORATES to Trustee ...”

Scott Swanson, Pendroy, Montana

From: Joel Athey (sparsit aol.com)
Subject: impignorate

I went to the impignorate shop and got $50 for my watch. A good deal except I lost track of time and forgot to pignorate it back.

Joel Athey, West Hollywood, California

From: Douglas Bietsch (adbietsch comcast.net)
Subject: declaim irony

How ironic -- a ballet dancer from an entirely mute art form is used to illustrate a word that means “to speak rhetorically”.

Douglas Bietsch, Shippensburg, Pennsylvania

From: Mary Postellon (mpostellon hotmail.com)
Subject: declaim

Today’s word revived memories of my children’s annual elementary school declamations competition -- apparently the descendant of my father’s compulsory poetry memorization, though our kids were allowed to memorize and declaim prose. Most didn’t, though; verses by Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein tended to predominate. The solemn pomposity with which the smallest declaimers presented their selections fit the definition perfectly!

Mary Postellon, Grand Rapids, Michigan

From: Christine Caroppo (cc-other bell.net)
Subject: Cole Porter’s “declaim”

My fave use of the word declaim is Cole Porter’s “Brush Up Your Shakespeare” lyric from Kiss Me, Kate:
“...Just declaim a few lines from Othella
And they’ll think you’re a hell of a fella
If your blonde won’t respond when you flatter ‘er
Tell her what Tony told Cleopatterer...”
(video, 4.5 min.)

In fact, the whole song is a delight of word use. Probably horribly politically incorrect and #MeToo, now.

Christine Caroppo, Toronto, Canada

From: Tobias Robison (tobyr21 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--declaim

I am trying to persuade my kids to write the following on my gravestone (seriously!):

This stc no verb.

Toby Robison, Princeton, New Jersey

From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)
Subject: A Thought for Today

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world, and moral courage so rare. -Mark Twain, author and humorist (30 Nov 1835-1910)

It’s daunting to quibble with the great Mark Twain’s assertion that physical courage is common but moral courage is rare, but it’s been my experience through life that true physical courage is as rare as costly moral courage. One might, for example, to protest the vile materialistic circus Christmas has become, refuse to put up a Christmas tree. Such an act requires a certain amount of courage but, in truth, these kinds of moral acts are easy to enact, as does, say, marching with thousands of others to protest some injustice. It does, however, require a great deal of courage to take a stand that will result in deleterious physical consequences for the actor. I’d assume that because most soldiers in combat do not earn medals (some studies show that a great many combatants do not fire their weapons when under attack), the ones who do must have shown noteworthy acts of valor. Ergo: physical courage on the battlefield is rare?

I grew up in the rural South, a place prone to sudden violence, a place where one either capitulated or put up one’s fists. A boy fought or he swallowed his pride.The boys who chose to back down, even now as men, still feel the sting of shame, the haunting voice that whispers the word “coward”. I served three years in the U. S. Army infantry. I earned airborne wings. Believe me, physical courage is rare when a man knows his inserting himself into a situation will probably get him beaten within an inch of his life. It’s probably a non sequitur, if not just stupid, but, yes, it does take moral courage to stand up at a school board meeting and condemn bullying, but it takes more courage, the physical kind, to stand up to the bully himself, ready to fight the bastard, prescient enough to know that in the looming fight the bully is going to beat the hell out of the interloper. Again, I have no idea whether it’s true or not, but, in a quick assessment, I think I could endure easier the censure of my neighbor or my ostracizing by my culture than I could taking a vicious beating from a thug that I decided for some reason to accost for his actions or words.

Could I get myself off the hook if I just say that both true moral courage and physical courage are rare, one no more prevalent than the other? We admire both.

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina

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

Inspired by Anu Garg’s positive intro exhortation synthesizing Lauris Edmond’s sage piece of poesy, with his “Life is not about being a spectator, but a participator. To be. To do. Do be do!”, I had to showcase the world-renowned entertainer, Frank Sinatra, who clearly lived his life to the fullest as one of America’s greatest crooners, and not-too-shabby screen actor, to boot. Sinatra’s hip “DO BE DO BE DO” scat riff, ending his song “Strangers in the Night”, unwittingly sums up his zest for life... and music... always doing it “his way”*.
*A play on Old Blue-Eyes’s signature tune, “My Way”, penned by Paul Anka.
Do be do impignorate
I just couldn’t ignore the word fragment, “pig”, embedded in our odd-ball verb, “impignorate”. So hence, this unlikely, yet hopefully amusing scenario, of a naive farmer who thinks he can pawn off his nonplussed pig. The livestock auction block route may have been a better bet in his cashing in on his prized porcine. Oink!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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


1. actuate
2. parley
3. impignorate
4. declaim
5. divaricate
1. impel
2. academic act
3. a guitar loan
4. “I repeat...”
5. Y, divert
1. actuate
2. parley
3. impignorate
4. declaim
5. divaricate
1. activate; animate
2. gab
3. pop
4. lecture; cry; rail; smear
5. divide
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

So hard to believe he’s a grown man
When he actuates daft master plans.
As the scandals are mounting,
The lies we keep counting.
He was finished before he began.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

My robot boss glanced at my code,
“Optimize”: at ten places she wrote.
I, actuated by fear
of a kick in the rear,
pressed the Power button on the remote.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

It is said of people who date,
They hope romance does actuate.
Then after awhile,
A walk down the aisle,
And marriage they will consummate.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Is there a way to actuate Trump’s brain?
His campaign and his reign both insane.
He thinks like a wall plate,
He’s simply a primate,
And his tweets are plain, vain, and mundane.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

“In the land that lies east of the Bering Strait,”
Said the shaman, “Our dreams we will actuate.
It’s years till that bum
Named Columbus will come,
Or till Trump says brown people can’t immigrate.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When I ask for her soup of beef barley,
My wife sits me down for a parley.
“It’s veggies you need,
Like this lovely seaweed,”
She responds, and that’s when I get snarly.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

A surfer whose name was Charlie
Attempted but failed to parley.
As raconteur
He was quite poor --
The one word he knew was “Gnarly!”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

To discuss what they’d found, namely barley,
The cavemen sat down for a parley.
Said Oog, “Good in soup,”
But then Breht told the group,
“Me made beer and it gone. Sorry, Charlie.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Donald Trump, the big Chief Head of State,
Loves to wheel, deal, and impignorate.
“Though my effect is crass,
I am loaded with sass,
Plus my moves with the ladies are great.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

“To get riches and all the world’s glamour
Simply show me good faith”, said the scammer.
“Social Security’s great
To impignorate
The deal.” Now he’s in the slammer.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

Our future we surely impignorate
When we let greenhouse gases proliferate.
Whether black, white, or brown,
On the coasts you may drown,
For the atmosphere doesn’t discriminate.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Mere seduction was ever his aim.
When “Te amo” Don Juan would declaim,
no compunction he felt.
One more notch on his belt ---
that was always the name of his game.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

When Trump talks he seems to declaim,
And his speeches sound quite the same.
I’m certain that you
Agree nothing’s new.
Repetitive phrases so lame.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

A demagogue may wish to inflame
Those followers who admire him and came
To hear him declaim,
Play the political game,
And maunder on about name after name.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

Like a moth that’s attracted to flames,
His own case for “Not Guilty” he maims.
“Very fine Russian folks
Say the witch-hunt’s a hoax!”
Donald loudly on Twitter declaims.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood.
I looked down one, far as I could.
But ‘twas no time to hesitate;
I needed to divaricate,
for to my rear a brown bear stood.
-Duncan C. Turner, Seattle, Washington (dturner badgleymullins.com)

“The forks where roads divaricate,”
says Yogi, “might not be first rate,
but never mind.
A freebie find
is nothing to repudiate!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Said the chef, “I’ve taught you to marinate
A chicken, but now you divaricate!
You’ve jellied a quince
And rolled up a blintz
And today you are baking a carrot cake!”
-Gil Hillman, Madison, Wisconsin (grhillman post.harvard.edu)

“From our course, Mr. Sulu, divaricate,
Raise the shields, and all phaser banks activate,”
Ordered Kirk. “For the script
Which this week has been picked
Says for Klingon attacks we’ll retaliate.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I wanted to buy a new bike, a Harley.
So I went to the pawn shop to parley.
With antique china to actuate,
I wanted cash , i.e. impignorate.
Declaim! “They don’t want China, particularly.”
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Phil’s proVERBial puns

The ringmaster told the lion, “The show can’t go on because of the actuate!”

With or without soup, beef with parley is a great meal.

I tried to pawn my hog. The clerk (an immigrant) declined by saying, “Impignorate.” (Him pig, no rate.)

Arnie’s father had polio as a child and it made Declaim. (M.J. “Deacon” Palmer went by “Deke”.)

Prince William (Duke of Cambridge) said, “Should she dyvaricate in Westminster Abbey.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

The question is whether or not you choose to disturb the world around you, or if you choose to let it go on as if you had never arrived. -Ann Patchett, writer (b. 2 Dec 1963)

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