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Jan 20, 2019
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AWADmail Issue 864

Sponsor’s Message: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Already got cabin fever? One Up! is wicked smarter than Scrabble. And way better than Bananagrams. No board. No complicated rules. 20 or so fast and sweaty cutthroat minutes. Rinse (off your IQ), and repeat. Congrats to Email of the Week winner, Kathleen Cain (see below), as well as all AWADers -- you can wise your family time up right now >

From: Andrew Green (andyegreen gmail.com)
Subject: Find a pair of awesome

Saw the same billboard when in Mumbai over the holidays. My first thought, though, was shouldn’t it be awesomes? This is why I subscribe to your newsletter -- to think a little more deeply about words!

Andrew Green, Raleigh, North Carolina

From: Henny Ram (hennyram comcast.net)
Subject: Adjectives

A phrase I hear (which makes me apologetic to the English language) is “My Bad.”

Hendrika Ram McDowell, Gaithersburg, Maryland

Email of the Week brought to you by One Up! -- Play hard >

From: Kathleen Cain (kc caincreative.com)
Subject: The adjective is the new noun

I’m a writer. I have worked as a journalist and I also spent 20 years in the advertising business. So you would think that by now I would be inured to the many ways in which language is mangled in service to commerce. But I’m not. I’ll never get used to it. I still grind my teeth whenever I remember that Apple slogan, Think Different. And New Balance, a company that I’ve done work for, proudly used the slogan Let’s Make Excellent Happen. Yikes! And really, if Jockey wanted to drag out that tired old advertising trope, you would think they might at least have come up with a better word to abuse than poor overworked awesome. Allicient would have been more fun: Acquire a Pair of Allicient.

Keep up the good work and don’t forget to Flaunt Your Allicient.

Kathleen Cain, Cain Creative, Seattle, Washington

From: Simon (simon newcastle.edu.au)
Subject: Adjectives as nouns

My employer, the University of Newcastle, Australia, has decided to call itself NEW, and churns out phases such as “The world needs new”, “Find your new”, “Welcome to new”, and so on. In protest, my email footer reads “The world needs universities that know the difference between nouns and adjectives.” I rather enjoy explaining it to intrigued colleagues from around the world.

Simon, School of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Newcastle, Ourimbah, Australia

From: Annie Brown (anniembrown hotmail.com)
Subject: Adjective as noun

Broad. As in slang for woman.

Annie Brown, Medford, New Jersey

From: Sanjay Ravindra (sanjayravindra gmail.com)
Subject: The adjective is the new noun

How about: The noun is the new verb? Also in India: “Let’s Football.”

Sanjay Ravindra, Sunnyvale, California

From: Robert Yuhasz (pisti ptd.net)
Subject: adjectives as nouns

The long-running drug ad (video, 1 min.) that has its actor/user claiming that he chooses it “to activate my within” irritates more than my ears. I guess the drug manufacturer can’t tell us about what that “within” really is. It may be proprietary. Each time it’s aired, it gets us to wondering whether we, too, have a “within”.

Robert Yuhasz, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

From: Patti Wicksteed (patti.wicksteed gmail.com)
Subject: Awesome

Somewhat related: Georgette Heyer introduced me to the word inexpressibles for male trousers in Regency times. Always made me smile.

Patti Wicksteed, Thames, New Zealand

From: Joan Erlanger (joanandchester gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--cernuous

There is a lovely ornamental grass named Scirpus cernuus.

Joan Erlanger, Lincoln City, Oregon

From: Fred Monroe (fredmonroe aol.com)
Subject: cernuous

Here’s my favorite cernuous plant: Fritillaria pudica. The name pudica means “shy”.

Fred Monroe, Charlotte, North Carolina

From: Carolyn E. Blanco (carolynblanc marathonpetroleum.com)
Subject: Nouning an adjective

English : Nouning adjectives and verbing nouns since 1393.

Stop Englishing those poor parts of speech!

Carolyn E. Blanco, Findlay, Ohio

From: Carl Santiago (cms616 aol.com)
Subject: Adjectives as nouns

The Romans did as much, too: Boni (the good men), bonae (the good women), bona (the good deeds), facta (the deeds).


Carl Santiago, Instructor of Latin, Saint Joseph High School, Metuchen, New Jersey

From: Dixie Santana (jsantana up.edu.mx)
Subject: allicient as a noun

When I saw the word on the subject line, I immediately thought “aliciente” in Spanish. What a surprise to see the topic was adjectives! In Spanish, aliciente is a noun meaning incentive or attraction.

Dra. Josefina C. Santana, Universidad Panamericana, Campus Guadalajara, Escuela de Comunicación, Profesor-Investigador, Mexico

From: Bartomeu Riera Rodriguez (bartomeu.riera ibsalut.es)
Subject: RE: A.Word.A.Day--allicient

The word allicient reminded me of a quite surprising olive-oil TV ad (video, 20 sec.) seen in Spain many years ago. Here are the lyrics:
“La Masía. Aceite puro de oliva. ¿Quién utiliza La Masía? El cocinero eficiente, las mamás inteligentes y muy gustosamente, ¡gente exigente! Tiene muchos alicientes. La Masía, el aceite de casa”

Rough translation: “La Masía. Pure olive oil. Who uses La Masía? The efficient cook, smart moms and, willingly, demanding people! It has many allicients. La Masía, the home oil”

Tomeu Riera, Manacor, Balearic Islands, Spain

From: Melissa Yates (yatesreads gmail.com)
Subject: Nouning

In Pennsylvania Dutch communities it is common to use “all” for “all gone”, as in “The detergent is all.”

Melissa Yates, Perkasie, Pennsylvania

From: Davi-Ellen Chabner (daviellenchabner gmail.com)
Subject: Medical terms

Medical terms as adjectives and nouns: opioid, antiseptic, antibiotic, and more!

Davi-Ellen Chabner, author, The Language of Medicine, 11th edition, Newton, Massachusetts

From: Susan Gabbay (sdgabbay comcast.net)
Subject: adjectives as nouns

Some adjectives that have been nouns for a while: funeral (rites); dress blues, a uniform; more recently, remote (control device).

Sue Gabbay, Warrenton, Virginia

From: Eleni Halepi (halepie yahoo.gr)
Subject: Allicient

Who is that new allicient in the office?

Eleni Halepi, Thessaloniki, Greece

From: Charles Peek (cpeek.cp gmail.com)
Subject: cernuous

His lover liked to prolong the pleasure, but his cernuous was simply not up to it.

Charles Peek, Kearney, Nebraska

From: Dilys Daraheart (daraheart hotmail.com)
Subject: cernuous

The Latin professor jokingly named Dr. Doddard “Cernuous of the Year” for how often he nodded off during faculty meetings.

Sharron Crowson, Seabrook, Texas

From: Craig Good (clgood me.com)
Subject: xanthic

Pass me a pat of xanthic to spread on my Maillard.

Craig Good, Vallejo, California

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

Today’s picture makes me feel like I’m being accused of a crime I didn’t commit or I’m an unsuccessful candidate on The Apprentice being fired by The Donald. Either way I feel antagonized rather than exhorted and would want to join the army less not more. Things were different in 1915 I suppose.

Denis Toll, Aberdeen, Scotland

From: Anna Johnston (ajohnston13 gmail.com)
Subject: adjectives for nouns

Although the rake preferred allicient, he found beneficent more likely to pay his bills.

Anna Johnston, Coarsegold, California

From: Janet Moursund (janetmoursund gmail.com)
Subject: adjectives --> nouns

He walked into the singles’ bar and his eyes widened at the number of allicients crowding the dance floor.

Janet Moursund, Eugene, Oregon

From: Elisabeth Curtis (granda.curtis gmail.com)
Subject: adjectives as noun

There goes Allicient Smith. We were in second grade together, and I never thought she’d grow up to be so enticing.

Elisabeth Curtis, Carrboro, North Carolina

From: Marlene (casebratpack aol.com)
Subject: allicient

When the allicient walked onto the football field, the entire team stopped in the middle of a play to feast upon her attributes.

Perhaps the Chicago Bears should have tried this against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Marlene Case, Superior, Wisconsin

From: Aston Clulow (leukorrivore gmail.com)
Subject: fat/fatty

Speaking of inflection, it always struck me that “fat” is a noun and “fatty” is an adjective, except when talking about people, in which case it’s the other way around.

Aston Clulow, Sydney, Australia

From: Vincent Bazile (vbazile outlook.com)
Subject: To do a solid

In a movie called Upgrade that I watched last night, the protagonist, faking motor disability and sitting in a wheel chair, orders a drink at a bar. Problem is he can’t reach the glass, so he asks a fellow customer to “do him a solid”, implying (I assume) a solid favor. Seems the adjective was the new noun indeed!

Vincent Bazile, Montpellier, France

From: R Kathleen Dillon (rkdillon verizon.net)
Subject: Adjectives

A friend of mine posted on FB today that he’d just heard “and the overwhelm can be too much” on the radio. Someone else contributed “This is how to holiday” and I also heard a newscaster tell the audience of the 10 o’clock news that there were only three sleeps until something.

R Kathleen Dillon, Brooklyn, New York

From: Steve Kirkpatrick (stevekirkp comcast.net)
Subject: This week’s words

This week’s words might seem unusual, at first. However, many Americans have become hortative, that a predaceous, xanthic demagogue is turning our once-allicient democracy into something cernuous, and worse.

Steve Kirkpatrick, Olympia, Washington

From: Denis Toll (denis.toll outlook.com)
Subject: Adjective to noun

Teacher: What career appeals to you?
Boy: I’m quite creative so I’d like to be a creative.

Teacher: A creative what?
Boy: Just a creative.

Teacher: How about an operative?
Boy: I’d sooner be an operator.

Teacher: Or a representative?
Boy: That’s my kind of language.

Denis Toll, Aberdeen, Scotland

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Allicient & cernuous

In this beachside scenario, an over-zealous gent has clearly gone completely gaga over the bikini-clad lass, doing what we aficionados of classic cartoon animation would describe as a signature Tex Avery googly-eyes, horn-dog take, where eyeballs literally pop out of the skull. Avery was one of the pioneers of studio-generated animated cartoons, having worked for the likes of MGM, Walter Lantz Studios, Warner Bros., and Hanna-Barbera, over a career spanning some five decades. He created such iconic cartoon characters as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Droopy. A blast from pro tennis’s past! Here I’ve revisited a once very familiar scenario, capturing a young John McEnroe berating a stunned umpire with his ... “You cannot be cernuous!”, a play on Johnny Mac’s infamous signature outburst from a hotly contested 1981 major’s singles match, namely the retort “You cannot be serious!” In this particular depiction, the presiding official is clearly “cernuous” as he leans well forward, receiving the brunt of McEnroe’s out-of-bounds pique. Interestingly, McEnroe’s co-authored 2002 memoir, with an assist from writer James Kaplan, was aptly titled You Cannot Be Serious. Thankfully, the former enfant terrible has mellowed with age, still competing on the senior pro circuit, while establishing himself as a premier pro tennis TV commentator.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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


1. allicient
2. cernuous
3. xanthic
4. predaceous
5. hortative
1. cute
2. such in annuals
3. ochre
4. exploitative
5. a director
1. allicient
2. cernuous
3. xanthic
4. predaceous
5. hortative
1. aesthetic; just divine
2. declivous
3. an ecru
4. raptorial
5. thence coax
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

How lovely to be an allicient!
That title would be quite sufficient.
I’d dance and attract
Everyone with my act
Much better than to be an efficient.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

Though he pictures himself quite allicient,
Trump’s charm is most badly deficient.
He imagines he’s handsome,
Holds the government ransom,
And at lying is truly proficient.
-Lou Gottlieb, Hubbard, Oregon (gottlieb wbcable.net)

If we could just conjure allicient
when our charming goes lacking, deficient,
we’d need not endure
the despair, or its cure,
for our amorous would be self-sufficient!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

Stormy was the Donald’s allicient.
Indeed he was not very prescient,
throwing gold by the stack
for a roll in the sack,
vainly hoping to keep her quiescient.
-Mariana Warner, Asheville, North Carolina (marianaw6002 gmail.com)

In men, a good nature’s allicient,
But not, I’m afraid, quite sufficient.
A girl needs a thrill
To some romance instill;
What I mean is, in bed not deficient.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

“Though Melania’s pair is allicient,”
Says Donald, “Two’s never sufficient.
To keep my mood chipper
Takes her and a stripper;
My willy on this is insistent.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Cry the farmers, “Our crops become cernuous.
Of course, it’s source of concern to us.
This drought is a curse --
but perhaps even worse
could be flooding, when rainfall returns to us!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

We meet by turns at one another’s place,
to listen to the host’s poems; to praise.
Soon cernuous heads sway
as the poet has his say,
then come, raison d’etre, food-laden trays.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

The folks around Trump are all cernuous,
Their drive is to think what will earn us.
The edicts he passes
With all these kiss asses
Should really confound and concern us.
-John Willcocks, Indianapolis, Indiana (johnwillcocks comcast.net)

If the life that you live isn’t virtuous,
You’ll be guarded in Hades by Cerberus.
Old men, mend your ways,
And avoid Satan’s blaze:
Throw away that Via gra! Be cernuous!
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Her dreams of a night romantic
Descended to one pedantic.
When blind date said, “Hello,”
She thought oh, no, no, no!
His teeth were missing or xanthic.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Since Nabakov used the word “xanthic”,
My dog walks are far less romantic.
And the discoloured snow
With its illuminate glow
Turned my limericks far too pedantic.
-John Hudson, Halifax, Nova Scotia (jdehudson gmail.com)

On meeting the Queen one day
The Xanthic used two cans of spray.
There wasn’t a trace
Of a hair out of place
As perfection he sought to display.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

In the storm as poor Jonah turned xanthic,
The others on board became frantic.
Said the crew, “Run from God
And be food for the cod,”
Which in Hebrew sounds really sarcastic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Reptiles during the long Cretaceous
Proved to be quite predaceous
‘til the Yucatan blast
Killed them en masse,
So say the scientists sagacious.
-Chip Taylor (via website comments)

Any sane person must notice
Vlad’s predaceous actions toward POTUS.
To Vlad, Don defers
As, cat-like, Vlad purrs
Denials we all know are bogus.
-Mary Rice, Greenville, Illinois (merice2010 gmail.com)

If, my dear, you are sagacious,
You’ll steer clear of men predaceous.
Their love they’ll declare,
But you should beware,
For some are merely mendacious.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

At the end of the era Cretaceous,
You were quite out of luck if predaceous.
For a meteorite
Every T-Rex would smite;
Now we fear Trumposaurus Mendacious.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Acting hortative was his dad’s aim
When he was playing a baseball game.
“You can do it, Son.
Just hit that home run!”
Dad was hoping he would attain fame.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

It’s a mess that we all simply can’t forgive:
He’s a President highly pejorative.
And he is, as we know,
Just propelled by ego,
As he spews his mad verbiage, hortative.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

“Should I lie?” the lawyer, in shock, asked.
The businessman said, “The truth must be masked!
I’ll pay your fee,
And you’ll lie for me,”
Said the hortative guy as his lawyer he tasked.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

When he’s told that a woman is “hortative”,
Says Donald, “That word sounds pejorative.
It’s time-honored work
And a TV star’s perk,
For an hour with one is restorative.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: When in the course of making puns

When a suspect is on foot, the K-9 officer hooks up his dog and goes on allicient.

“When you moved to Geneva and got hired by cernuous just out of college? Amazing!”

When his big sister, Ann, contracted hepatitis the boy lisped, “Why Xanthic?”

When did Colorado ski lift tickets begin costing more than $100 predaceous? (per day shuss)

When I watched All About Eve I was shocked by the hortative became.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: James Ertner (jde31459 gmail.com)
Subject: Renouned adjectives

As the duck said, “Allicient what it’s quacked up to be.”

“Did Sir John know you guys?” “Yes, cernuous.”

“Have you seen our friend Ann? Is xanthic or thin?”

Did you hear about the guy who was adept at extracting information from people? You might say he was predaceous.

If a person who silently changes one’s behavior is mutative, then is someone who wants to become promiscuous hortative?

Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina

All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster’s autobiography. -Federico Fellini, film director, and writer (20 Jan 1920-1993)

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