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AWADmail Issue 86

September 8, 2002

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages

From: Brian Stains (brianATbstains.com)
Subject: About words with the vowels (Re: armigerous)

Regarding words with vowels all of the vowels once, I can think of only two that have them in their proper order: abstemious and facetious. I'm hoping that you'll know if there are any others.

    To see a week of words that have the vowels aeiou once and only once, exactly in that order or in reverse order, see AWAD archives for Oct 1997.

From: Al Hartman (ohioalhartmanATaol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--armigerous

Today's word, armigerous, moved me to write a caution to the uninformed: There are companies which advertise that they will, for a fee, provide one's family coat of arms. Don't believe them. They will send you a coat of arms traceable to a family whose name is the same as, or similar to yours. To establish whether there is an actual familial connection can be difficult or impossible and normally involves far more time and expense than these companies are prepared to incur. Remember, there are many times more families today which are not heirs to coats of arms of old, than those which are. There is, however, nothing to prevent one's designing one's own heraldic ensign. Several years ago, friends designed a coat of arms for me: a red and white checkerboard field on which is centered a dinner plate surrounded by knife, fork and spoon.

From: Daniel O'Malley (daniel.o'malleyATmercermc.com)
Subject: RE: A.Word.A.Day--inquorate

I work in consulting, an industry replete with the worst jargon of the business world that is at best a poor substitute for existing words and at worst downright confusing. Personally, I think "consultantese" is a verbal crutch.

The only way that I can deal with the consulting patois is to find especially sharp, concise words appropriate for work situations. Preferably ones that most other people don't know (because, I'll admit, I'm snotty about words). It's my way of letting people know that they have plenty of good words at their disposal without inventing new ones.

Now, instead of having to listen to people prate about, "the consensus-building session not getting bandwidth from enough decision-makers," I can simply declare the meeting inquorate.

From: John F. Judge (john.f.judge.jrATcensus.gov)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ossuary

This week's theme is supposed to be "words that contain the vowels aeiou once and only once." The plural of ossuary, ossuaries, certainly does. But the word as presented, "ossuary," does not. Bad form!

    Plural form! -Anu

From: George Brock (gbrockATux1.cso.uiuc.edu)
Subject: ossuary

One of the most famous ossuaries in Europe is in Kutna Hora, Czech Republic. Kutna Hora is the home town of one of my pen pals. When I visited him, we went to see it. The ossuary looks just like any other historical church on the outside but inside human bones and skulls are used to construct alters and hung like Christmas garlands. If you stay very long it can be overwhelming. The story is told that during the plague many people wanted to be buried here. When they ran out of space they started using the inside of the church to accommodate the wishes of the parishioners.

From: Manjula Bhat (manju_AThotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--uvarovite

I'm sure curious readers would like these:


Yup, anyone could've found this from a search engine, but it'd have been good to link to it directly.

Thank you for a steady supply of gems of vocabulary! :)

From: Ken Schafer (schafer_kenneth_aATlilly.com)
Subject: aeiou

The theme this week reminds me of a joke I saw somewhere: The teacher asked the class if there are any words that contained all the vowels. Little Johnny raised his hand and replied, "Unquestionably". Here, little Johnny, although using some vowels more than once, included the "y" as well.

From: Rick Wyckoff (rick.wyckoffATseattle.gov)
Subject: Welcome to Seattle

Hi Anu - welcome to Seattle.

You might be interested to learn - if you haven't already - that a Seattle resident of my Wallingford neighborhood has displayed a "Word of the Week" sign in front of their house for maybe 20 years. I have enjoyed their sign as I ride the bus to work downtown, and even noted with pleasure that there was once an essay about them in the Christian Science Monitor.

If you want to check them out, their house is now on Meridian, just south of N 43rd street in Wallingford. You are certainly partners in word enjoyment. Their words tend to be more obscure than yours, but don't offer the accompanying quote of the day or the richness of other people's emails to comment on words and other things made possible by the www.

Language is the only homeland. -Czeslaw Milosz, writer, Nobel laureate (1911- )

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