Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



Dec 30, 2018
This week’s theme
No el

This week’s words

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives

Next week’s theme
Words to describe people

Send a gift that
keeps on giving,
all year long:
A gift subscription of A.Word.A.Day or the gift of books
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share

AWADmail Issue 861

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 a wicked smart way to one up your know-it-all in-laws and annoy the entire family this Christmas? Email of the Week winner, Judi Schimke (see below), as well as wordlovers near and far will love/hate playing our machiavellian game.

From: Steve Warshaw (siw well.com)
Subject: the “no-el” trigger

Long long ago the interior of New York City -- Manhattan, specifically -- was tangled with elevated structures carrying automotive and commercial transport and railway traffic. Much of that is gone -- including a substantial part of the West Side Highway, the Third and Sixth Avenue els, etc. One of the West Side rail carriers was transmogrified into a tourist attraction called the High Line. The elevated auto and rail approaches to the bridges into The Bronx and Queens still remain, as do elevated subway and rail lines over the 125th St. “valley”. So -- in a sense -- NYC has become a partially no-el city.

Steve Warshaw, New York, New York

From: Denny Beck (smokiescat gmail.com)
Subject: No-el?

What the L R U thinking?!

Denny Beck, Sarasota, Florida

From: Sally Stretch (sestretch mweb.co.za)
Subject: no el

I have a friend named Shea (pronounced SHEE-uh.) Her mother once told me she was named after her Aunt Sheila, but they knocked the L out of her when she was little! Fortunately, I was pretty sure then, as I am now, that she was joking!

Sally Stretch, Durban, South Africa

Maybe she was born on Christmas?

From: Denis Toll (denis.toll outlook.com)
Subject: No el

A coupe of songs suitabe for Noe:

Jinge Bes
Anges from the Reams of Gory
The Hoy and the Ivy
Deck the Has with Boughs of Hoy

God Bess you a,

Denis To, Aberdeen, Scotand

No el
Email of the Week brought to you by The Official Old’s Cool Education -- Bone Up Now >

From: Judi Schimke (judithas msn.com)
Subject: No el

I have worn this button for many years during the Christmas season and it sti(ll) manages to confound many!

Judi Schimke, Seattle, Washington

From: Chip Taylor (via website comments)
Subject: No L

It appears to be our duty this week to respond without any appearance of the 12th member of the a*phabet. See how hard that is?

Chip Taylor

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: Thought for Today

Quite frankly I talk about the fact that I’m a feminist as often as I can, and every time I do it gets huge reaction and media reacts and the Twitterverse explodes and things like that, because here I am saying I’m a feminist. I will keep saying that until there is no more reaction to that when I say it, because that’s where we want to get to. -Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada (b. 25 Dec 1971)

Not many people realize that Trudeau’s feminism may have originated with the support he has received from his mother, the former Margaret Sinclair, a feminist and human rights activist herself. Pierre Trudeau’s wife has been instrumental in their son’s getting elected to the highest executive position in Canada.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Stephen Michael Kloss (via website comments)
Subject: Juxtapose

Suppose we never juxtaposed, there would be life beyond compare.

Stephen Michael Kloss

From: Phil Igney (philigney gmail.com)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--juxtapose

I don’t want to be a great leader; I want to be a man who goes around with a little oil can and when he sees a breakdown, offers his help. To me, the man who does that is greater than any holy man in saffron-colored robes. The mechanic with the oilcan: that is my ideal in life. -Baba Amte, social worker and activist (26 Dec 1914-2008)

Really deep thought for the day. If a person wants to carry an oil can, so be it. It certainly doesn’t make him an “activist”. And if he can play his (greasy) cards right, he might get a bit part in a remake of, The Wizard of Oz. Deep indeed.

Phil Igney, Pensacola, Florida

Would you like to learn a bit about him and why I deeply respect him and why I featured his words in A THOUGHT FOR TODAY?

Baba Amte didn’t wear a fancy hat or a black collar or any special clothes. He didn’t call himself a pundit or a bishop or a pope. He didn’t go around telling people how to be closer to Krishna or Jesus or Zeus. He didn’t go on television or put his videos on YouTube. He didn’t get his picture taken with presidents or prime ministers.

He didn’t rail against people who were gay or people who followed a different religion or those who thought differently from him.

Baba Amte devoted his life to serving people with leprosy. His actions were his message. His wife Sadhna served with him. He had two sons, both studied medicine. After completing their studies they too came back to serve with him. Their wives, both doctors, joined the family “business” as well. So with grandsons.

Maybe, if I’m lucky, in my next life I’ll come back and do 0.1% of what Baba Amte did. But there’s no next life. This is the only life we have and it’s up to us to make the best of it. To do my job the best I can and not hurt anyone, that’s my religion.

Baba Amte was an atheist.

-Anu Garg

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Noel and morbidezza

In the spirit of the “No el” theme for the last week of this year, I’ve depicted a boisterous St. Nick giving a hefty black-booted kick to the letter “L”, as his slightly bemused reindeer look on. To all faithful followers of my weekly cartoon offerings, and AWAD-ers all, I wish you folk a most healthful, prosperous, and joyous New Year!

No el morbidezza
When I first laid eyes on this unfamiliar word, “morbidezza”, my initial take was something to do with “morbidity”... connoting negativity, with an Italian-inflected flair... “ezza”, but in quickly checking out the actual definition, i.e., an extreme delicacy and softness, I was heartened by its inherent positivity, imagining two disparate creatures of the vast animal kingdom, who just happen to be blessed with naturally soft coats of hair... to the extreme. Can you say angora and cashmere sweaters, boys and girls? Ha! And who better to judge a morbidezza contest than my animated “Charmin” toilet tissue guy... a real ‘softie’ in his own right? My frog character’s “killing me... softly!” exhortation is a play on the Roberta Flack 1973 bluesy mega-hit love song, “Killing Me Softly (With His Song)”.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. morbidezza
2. vociferate
3. juxtapose
4. hawkshaw
5. quingentenary
= 1. soft jazz
2. bark
3. equate images
4. “Who or when?”
5. Da Vinci (up next year)
     1. warm of tone
2. go; bark
3. wed
4. quizzer; PI
as 5th centennials
Have a “Joyeux
= 1. morbidezza
2. vociferate
3. juxtapose
4. hawkshaw
5. quingentenary
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

Though his fabulous boeuf en brochette’s a
tremendous success, chef regrets the
souffllé pomme de terre.
He declares, “I’m aware
it’s gone flat, and it lacks morbidezza.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

At auction the patron did say,
“For the right painting, I will pay.
Then for me get, sir,
Art, morbidezza.”
He bid on a Monet that day.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

This time of the year, I would vociferate.
“The planet is in a scary, sorry state!”
If we could keep in mind
That it is better to be kind,
The humane-ity of the world would proliferate!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

Oh, there once was a mad Head of State,
Who replied to his wife, “I’m irate.
I am losing my power,
Let’s return to Trump Tower,
Where freely I can vociferate.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Every norm of discourse he obliterates,
When Donald on Twitter vociferates.
His spelling and diction
Are stranger than fiction;
From linguists, great tears he precipitates.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Living seventy years on this planet is cool.
I’ve learned much in the decades since school.
And now I am resigned to this truth:
Juxtaposed to foolishness of youth
There’s no fool quite like an old fool.
-Willem Friesema, Oak Park, Illinois (friesema gmail.com)

Charles Krauthammer, a man I adore!
He was a writer, but so much more.
I would juxtapose
Him against all those
Who can’t claim such a high IQ score.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Quite a study if psych-scholars chose
to Obama and Trump juxtapose:
Super-ego v. Id -
adult v. clueless kid.
“Freud-alentally,” right on the nose.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

It’s easier out of her clothes
To her chest with his wife’s juxtapose.
“Stormy’s bigger on top,
But I guess I won’t swap,”
Donald thinks, “Though she does curl my toes.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The pervasive CCTV camera
is the hawkshaw of the new era.
Cops scanning its footage
seek culprits’ visage,
arm-chair sleuthing, no crawling on the terra.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Joe Friday, the ultimate hawkshaw,
At lunchtime was munching some coleslaw.
His favorite syntax
Was “Please, ma’am, just the facts,”
But bad cabbage that day gave him lockjaw.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

“It doesn’t take much of a hawkshaw,”
Said Jacob, “to figure out Esau.
Just one bowl of pottage
And folks will acknowledge
I’m tops from Miami to Warsaw.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

You have to be someone highly rated
To have a quingentenary celebrated:
Like Galileo, who spent time in jail,
Or Chaucer, who wrote tale after tale,
Or Romeo and Juliet so famously mated.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

When I think of the word quingentenary
‘Twas the time of the king some called Hennery.
His wives were redundant
And his pleasure abundant
While his people lived mostly in penury.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Quingentenaries ought to be
Occasions for much revelry.
At our current rate
We won’t celebrate
Such a great anniversary.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Perhaps at the Trump Quingentenary
They’ll parole him from state penitentiary.
“He’s still just as loopy,”
They’ll say, “but so droopy
That women are safe from his lechery.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: What fresh-outta L can these be?

While my subject is a pæan to Dorothy Parker, my puns may be a pæan elsewhere.

Try not to feel morbidezza downer.

The Nguyens will borrow from the Vociferate can be negotiated.

Juxtapose we could drive a metal rod thru earth’s center antipode axis!

My duty as publicist for “Pygmalion” was to hawkshaw.

When he wants to get drunk, bring Quinn gin -- ten or he gets grumpy.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

In religion, faith is a virtue. In science, faith is a vice. -Jerry Coyne, biology professor (b. 30 Dec 1949)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2024 Wordsmith