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Feb 10, 2019
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Words made with combining forms

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AWADmail Issue 867

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

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

‘An Insult’: French Writers Outraged by Festival’s Use of ‘Sub-English’ Words
The Guardian

Mistakes Are the Engine of Language’s Evolution
The Economist

Just bought a book from IKEA
Email of the Week -- Brought to you by the wicked/smart word game -- One Up! your love of life >

From: Doris Brown (doodaj aol.com)
Subject: Building blocks

After reading your introduction for mycology this morning, I couldn’t resist making sure you saw it.

Doris Brown, Loveland, Colorado

From: Carin Kuoni (carinkuoni gmail.com)
Subject: Hymn to mycology

Here’s the Hymn to Mycology (with permission of the New York Mycological Society).


Carin Kuoni, New York

From: David Fischer (david.w.fischer59 gmail.com)
Subject: mycology

My son, a physicist, was involved with a research group investigating the pressures involved with spore discharge. Student members of the team coupled ultra-high speed videos (2 min.) of the discharges with music in an amusing video clip. Who says scientists don’t have fun?

David W. Fischer, Kalamazoo, Michigan

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: Mycology

“[R. Gordon Wasson, a vice president of J.P. Morgan’s bank] began spending less time banking and more on mycology, eventually coming to believe that ‘our ancestors worshipped a divine mushroom’.”
Nick Richardson; Revolution in the Head: The Uses and Abuses of Psychedelics; Harper’s Magazine (New York); Jun 2018.

The Usage example brings to mind John Allegro’s 1970 book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross, which discusses how our ancestors worshipped the male reproductive organ as the source of all creation. There must be something to it, though I prefer the counterpart that, to my knowledge, has never been written.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada
PS: Apparently when people talk about Toronto, they mean Metropolitan Toronto, in the Province of Ontario, and not Toronto, Prince Edward Island. Even less do they mean the town of Toronto, Ohio.

From: Jamie Diamandopoulos (jdiamandopoulos yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ailurophile

Using ailuro- to form ailurophile is interesting, but I have not heard ailurous (which implies wild cat or perhaps tom cat in Greek) used in Greek conversation as a general reference to cats. Normally, a cat is called gatos (γατoς - masculine) or gata ( γατα - feminine). Also, while ailurophile sounds prettier -- and the ancient Greeks were all about beauty -- today’s combo might be more recognizable or useful as gatophile or gataphile. Or you could flip the term and instead of cat lover, use love of cats (philogatos - φιλoγατoς) to mimic other Greek terms like philosophy (love of wisdom - φιλoσoφια).

Jamie Diamandopoulos, Houston, Texas

From: Sahir D’Souza (sahiravik gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ailurophile

The opposite of ailurophile could be caninophile too. But then, Carl Van Vechten, an ailurophile if ever there was one, opened his book on cats (The Tiger in the House, 1920) with the lines, “Whenever the subject comes up, and it may be said, speaking with moderation, that it comes up forty times a day, someone invariably declares, ‘No, I don’t like cats, I like dogs.’ The cognate dichotomous remark, which is equally popular, prevalent, and banal, is ‘No, I don’t like Dickens, I like Thackeray.’”

So perhaps, then, ailurophiles and caninophiles (if that is the word) aren’t opposites: they’re merely people of differing tastes. (Of course, it is entirely conceivable that one can be both!)

Sahir Avik D’Souza, Bombay, India

From: Eric Kisch (kischmir917 wowway.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ailurophile

A hungry man is not a free man. -Adlai Stevenson, statesman (5 Feb 1900-1965)

Your Thought for the Day prompted me to remember an older sentiment on the same idea that was a great line in the Threepenny Opera of Brecht/Weill. The line in the original German is

Erst kommt das Fressen, dann die Morale.

As translated idiomatically and brilliantly by Marc Blitzstein, it goes, “First feed our face, then let’s talk right and wrong.”

That has the proper bite, and certainly conveys the German text and idea: Literally “First comes the eating, then morality.”

The brilliance of Brecht in the line is the word Fressen, which in German is generally used to describe the eating/feeding of animals or beasts and can also be taken to imply devouring. The process is anything but polite, if you’ve ever watched a dog or wolf go at a meal. The more polite form for eating, used when referring to humans, is Essen. Starving and malnourished people are not polite eaters but will frequently descend to fressing. And lastly, the term is also a derogatory one for a person. I think the image conjured up by calling someone a fresser is clear.

Eric Kisch, Shaker Heights, Ohio

From: Glenn Glazer (gglazer ucla.edu)
Subject: orogeny

In N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, orogenes are people with a biological mutation who can manipulate geological forces as an exercise of mind and will, the term clearly derived from orogeny.

Glenn Glazer, Felton, California

From: Autumn Labbe-Renault (autumn dcn.org)
Subject: orogenous zones

So the Earth has orogenous zones?

Autumn Labbe-Renault, Davis, California

From: Karin Eckelmeyer (karineck stanford.edu)
Subject: Orogeny

My husband spent his career as a mountaineering geologist, exploring, writing about, and creating geologic maps of the North Cascades and the Olympic Mountains. Over the decades of exploration and field work, whether by backpacking or pack train, one of his favorite treats in camp was -- Oreo cookies. As he’s a born punster, I’m sure he’s jealous of your illustration, but not so much that he’s not forwarding it to his erstwhile geologic colleagues!

Karin Eckelmeyer, Portola Valley, California

From: SarahRose Werner (swerner nbnet.nb.ca)
Subject: Nidifugous

My mother strongly encouraged all five of her children to be nidifugous. Some years after I’d moved out on my own, I was searching for a Mother’s Day card to send her. None of the sweetly sentimental ones seemed to apply to a woman whom I admired not only for her own intelligence, independence, and strength, but for bringing these traits to the fore in her children. I knew I’d found the perfect card when I spotted one that featured a bird addressing her nestling. “Either you choose to discover the joys of flight on your own or ...” (Open card) “... I kick your butt out of this nest!” The card then added the line, “To Mom, for helping me make the hard choices!” That was my mother in a nutshell.

SarahRose Werner, Saint John, Canada

From: Amy Ho (kidzmusic rogers.com)
Subject: On the word nidifugous

The word nidifugous reminds me of a Chinese poem I taught my daughter Robin when she was three years old. The direct translation is:

On the roof there are two love birds ready to start their family. They fly around to gather straw and sticks to build a nest. They give birth to four siblings. The four little birdies grow every day and the two love birds work hard to feed them. It is not an easy job to find worms and it seems that their hunger can never be satisfied. Even though the birds’ claws are tired from searching for worms, they never feel exhausted. They teach the four birdies to sing and brush their feathers. Once their wings are strong, they teach them to fly. As soon as the birdies learn to fly, they fly away without looking back. They are all gone with the wind. Birds, don’t be sad. You should reflect on the day when you did the same thing to your parents. Now you know how much they missed you!

Amy Ho, Toronto, Canada

From: Norman Holler (via website comments)
Subject: nidifugous

I used to (sort of) jokingly say, If parents owe their kids anything it’s to let them go. And if kids owe their parents anything it was to LEAVE. Both, then, could move into their next level of social and personal development. Now, however, given limited affordable housing opportunities in many North American cities, and heavy postsecondary education debt burdens, our fledglings have fewer landing opportunities.

Norman Holler

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: ailurophile & nidifugous

In this feline-inspired scenario I’ve co-opted a page from the Broadway stage, namely, the smash-hit musical, “Cats”, or perhaps a snippet from cosplay* culture, where our rather alluring cat-like ailurophile cuddles up with her for-real pussycat, their tails lovingly entwined to form a furry symbolic heart. Perchance an expression of their mutual affection? *Cosplay is a portmanteau of the words “costume” and “play”. Essentially, a fantasy-based youth subculture where participants gather, dressed up as their favorite animal, comic book, or graphic novel superhero... or villain.
ailurophile nidifugous
Here, a fully-fledged, nidifugous young bird leaves his saddened parents, winging from the cozy confines of his nest into a whole new, expansive world out there. Note the partial eggshell atop his feathery noggin that the departing youngster is sporting... a reminder of the relatively short time between his recent hatching and his maiden flight into the great unknown.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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


1. mycology
2. ailurophile
3. orogeny
4. epigeal
5. nidifugous
1. Fungi
2. I'm pro-lion
3. Hill geology
4. Peas
5. I cue you: Ready? go!
     Words made with combining forms
1. mycology
2. ailurophile
3. orogeny
4. epigeal
5. nidifugous
1. fungology
2. I (my Siamese, I dote on him)
3. way big hill is formed
4. grow upon ground
5. precocial
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

Today's word, the field of mycology,
Seems free of our normal pathology.
We can focus on one who
Makes nice with a mushroom
And avoid anti-Trump terminology.
-Ben Dunham, Marion, Massachusetts (fiddlesr verizon.net)

You know what rhymes with mycology?
It's really a word: garbology
It's the study of refuse
To learn a culture's real clues.
Trump's wig tells it all. No apology
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

An expert on Appalachian mycology
professes at App State: Biology.
She often goes 'shrooming,
though once she went grooming
and married Jeff Collins, a fun guy.
(This limerick, which I wrote this morning after reading AWAD, is true! Coleman McClenaghan, PhD, married Jeffrey Garrett Collins, my nephew, two decades ago. She still loves teaching, and they enjoy life in Boone, NC, where they "spawned" two now-teenaged young adults with gender-ambiguous first names like their mother's: Finley and Shannon.)
-Mariana Warner, Asheville, North Carolina (marianaw6002 gmail.com)

Trump signed for a course on mycology.
Although he got nothing from college he
Desired to look
At nudes in a book.
He thought it was human biology.
-John Willcocks, Indianapolis, Indiana (johnwillcocks comcast.net)

Waving the blue-turned-red litmus,
the mycologist scoffed at us:
the food you eat is junk,
transmute or you are sunk;
spying the chili mushroom she made a fuss.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Kolkata, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

The small-handed guy (no apology!)
Knows nil as to tact or mycology.
He has a degree?
You could have fooled me!
His ignorance borders pathology.
-Anna C Johnston, Coarsegold, California (ajohnston13 gmail.com)

As our leaders ignore climatology,
We'll soon need to master mycology.
Once the EPA paves
Our way back to the caves,
We'll have mushrooms, but nevermore broccoli.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Said the dog, "What is wrong with my mind?
No one else shares my passion, I find.
I’m a hound, through and through,
But also, it’s true,
An ailurophile, one of a kind.”
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

Though I’m a known ailurophile,
and am wont to let cats me beguile,
there’s one sort of cat
-- in a word, he’s a “fat” --
whose misdeeds raise my quotient of bile!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

Dogs are fine in all sizes and styles,
But it’s cats for us ailurophiles.
They won’t take direction
Or offer protection,
But purring beats fetching by miles.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

Some day though decrepit and senile,
I’ll be ever an ailurophile.
No more penning of ditties,
Yet still purring kitties
Will light up my face in a smile.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The man said, “Fathers must teach their progeny:
Boys, these mountains were formed through orogeny.
Girls, you may look too
and admire the view,
I must not be accused of misogyny.”
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

A geologist called Kenny,
Fell in love with a gal named Jenny.
Their love was earthshaking,
Like new mountain-making.
They wed thanks to orogeny.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

When the Earth does a bit of orogeny,
Mother Nature is bringing forth progeny.
Through her labor she makes
Lovely mountains and lakes;
To pollute her’s a form of misogyny.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

In his hissy fit of the hour
He boasted and crowed of his power.
He pretends to be brave,
The epigeal knave.
We wish he’d return to his Tower.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

There was once a young mouse that fell ill
From devouring green plants, epigeal.
He became very weak,
Even losing his squeak,
But recovered from getting his cheese fill.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

The path in the garden is covered with Thyme;
The vista had caused many poets to rhyme;
The epigeal herb
Will never curb
Our pleasure in our aromatic clime.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

Because I am not very tall,
Which means I’m considered small,
Epigeal life, you see,
Is much closer to me,
Nor do I have too far to fall.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

“In Moscow your life’s epigeal,
But for you I’ve a heck of a deal,”
Michael Cohen said to Vlad,
“A free bachelor pad,
Way up high if some emails you steal.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Nidifugous birds find it best
To hatch and then exit the nest.
They have feathers and so
They are ready to go --
They enter the world fully dressed!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Mom’s words to grown kids are acidulous:
“Your lingering here is pestiferous!
Such conduct, you know,
is malapropos.
It’s years since you first turned nidifugous!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Mother bird hoped her son was nidifugous,
But instead he was only nidicolous;
It was always his turn
When she brought home a worm;
Father thought his behavior ridiculous.
-Lawrence Crumb, Eugene, Oregon (lcrumb uoregon.edu)

Evelyne’s father was a drunken drone.
Her mother worked her fingers to the bone!
She became employed
And income enjoyed.
Nidifugous! The young daughter has flown!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

You were hoping for children nidifugous,
But they think leaving home is ridiculous.
They’d be in a quandary
Concerning their laundry,
And elsewhere, rent paying’s ubiquitous.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Talk about out-of-tune combos

I said my degree was cum laude but when I told him mycology sneered.

When a fisherman makes ailurophile is used to smooth it.

Good thing Nadal doesn’t play doubles with Federer orogeny would win every tournament.

Epigeal tell your mule, “turn right”, then a haw’ll tell him to turn left.

On an entrance exam you will probably be de-nidifugous the wrong answers.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: James Ertner (jde31459 gmail.com)
Subject: Words made with combining forms

The radio personality thought that the study of microphones was mycology.

Queen Elizabeth was once asked how she got Prince Phillip to marry her, and she replied, “Ailurophile into my bedroom.”

Some people have difficulty finding their orogeny-ous zone.

The rocket scientist wasn’t a great speller, as he thought epigeal was an adjective form of apogee.
It was “nigh difficult” to make a pun on “nidifugous”.

Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina

I see too plainly custom forms us all. Our thoughts, our morals, our most fixed belief, are consequences of our place of birth. -Aaron Hill, dramatist and writer (10 Feb 1685-1750)

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