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Mar 17, 2019
This week’s theme
Words that have entered the language during the last 25 years

This week’s words

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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Next week’s theme
Words that violate the i-before-e rule

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AWADmail Issue 872

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

Sponsor’s Message: D’yew love your kids more than words? We do. Barely. Kidding: our best-selling One Up! is a no-brainer favorite because it’s devilish fun for quick-witted children, while teaching them a valuable lesson -- stealing gets you ahead in life! Ha. It’s a fact that our cutthroat word game is the best way to get the zombieenagers out of the house ... and into the Ivy League. And it’ll make mom and dad, as well as this week’s Email of the Week winner, Suzanne Fox (see below), happy, and proud too -- while saving beaucoup bucks in the bargain. Get a way better-than-Harvard education cheap >

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: 25th anniversary celebrations update


Logophile’s Paradise
Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Anu Garg Joyfully Recognizes the Power of Words
KPC News

Wordsmith.org Hits 25
Crescenta Valley Weekly

Limericks, Pangrams & the Dazzling Ascent of Wordsmith.org
Linda Lambert


The limerick contest and coin-a-word contest have received a few hundred entries each.

The anagram contest and the pangram contest have received a few dozen each (though there are few good ones in there).

Less than two weeks are left before contests close. If you have been thinking about entering one or more contests do it today:

From: Rick A. Green (rickthepoetwarrior protonmail.com)
Subject: 25th anniversary

Not too many can claim to have affected our lives in such a positive manner. You have brought much joy and entertainment to my friends and me. This is what I had hoped all the internet could provide and you proved it possible. Thank you and your team for all the love you spread.

Rick A. Green, Canada

From: Sanjay Ravindra (sanjayravindra gmail.com)
Subject: Earliest instance of a word or phrase recorded

You said: OMG for “Oh, My God!” has been around since 1917, first recorded in a letter to Winston Churchill.

I’m guessing “WTF” must’ve been first recorded in Churchill’s response to that letter.

Sanjay Ravindra, Sunnyvale, California

Email of the Week brought to you by The Wicked/Smart Word Game -- One Up! Princeton with impunity >

From: Suzanne Fox (suzfox aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--upcycling

The ultimate use of upcycling a bicycle is demonstrated in the movie The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, which is based on the true story of a boy in Malawi who ultimately uses a bicycle to start the pump for water during a severe drought... very inspiring!

Suzanne Fox, El Sobrante, California

From: Mary Postellon (mpostellon hotmail.com)
Subject: upcycling a bicycle

Some might consider it downcycling, I guess: For some reason the deck behind our house was built above the level of the spigot that’s the only place to attach a hose to water the garden. One had to kneel and then reach down even farther to turn the water on or off -- something my old knees did not want to do. I bought a child’s bike at a garage sale, removed the whole front wheel, and with little finagling superglued it where the handle used to be. Now I have a nice rubber tire I can easily rotate with my foot to turn the water on or off.

Mary Postellon, Grand Rapids, Michigan

From: Gita Pearl (gitagerry sympatico.ca)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--upcycling

Since the 60s, our family has been using the phrase “hand me ups” for clothes that children and grandchildren give to their parents and grandparents when they are done with them.

Gita Pearl, Montreal, Canada

From: Robin Opperman (robin umcebodesign.co.za)
Subject: Re: Upcycling

I saw your word was upcycling and we are great upcyclers in Durban, South Africa. Please see our site. We build chandeliers out of recycled plastic and would be very pleased if you could check them out.

Robin Opperman, Durban, South Africa

From: August Cordeiro (via website comments)
Subject: upcycling

I upcycle my old shoes into dog toys.

August Cordeiro, Newport, Rhode Island

From: Sheila Ryan (sheilaeryan gmail.com)
Subject: Selfie

My family and many of my friends live far away. Some even in foreign countries. Selfies help me share my daily life with all of them. I love Selfies. Good word. Says it all.

Sheila Ryan, Sebring, Florida

From: Bruce Adgate (rossgate gmail.com)
Subject: selfie

I recently spent a few months in Sri Lanka and visited Udawalawe Reserve, home to hundreds of elephants. While there I noticed this poster, written in Sinhalese, Tamil, as well as English, telling of an elephant named Watabe at a Safari Park in Worcestershire, England, who took a selfie of himself using a phone dropped by a tourist. My only question after reading this was: Who did he send it to?

Bruce Adgate, Spoleto, Italy

From: LeChonne Wright (seira418 yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--selfie

Personally, I feel that a selfie -- is just that -- a photo by yourself.

If you take a photo with another person -- I call that an USie. I hope my word for it takes off and gets added as an extension of the selfie.

LeChonne Wright, El Cajon, California

From: Brendan Harris (brendan.harris protonmail.com)
Subject: The nadir of Wordsmith (Re: mansplain)

I had subscribed to A.Word.A.Day to increase my knowledge of the English language and to enrich spoken/written conversation. Today, however, I’m certain that there will be a collective loss of brain cells on the part of your subscribers. That you would post a sexist nonword created by feminazis whose unique goal in creating such is to gain the right to silence a man whether or not what he says is true is reprehensible.

Incidentally, sorry for being male, and my deepest, most sincere apologies for any mansplaining that you think I might have done.

Brendan Harris, Quebec, Canada

Clearly, you haven’t experienced someone mansplaining something to you. Maybe the intensity of your outrage on seeing this word is proof enough that this phenomenon doesn’t exist. Maybe ... have you asked people around you? Try mom, sister, daughter, friend, neighbor and see what they say? They might confirm what you already believe. Or they might give you data that’s contrary to your belief system. Either way, you’ll come out ahead -- you’ll have your beliefs strengthened or you’ll be better informed than you were earlier. Let us know how it turns out.
-Anu Garg

From: Bill Young (billsplut gmail.com)
Subject: Mansplain

I think one of the most egregious recent examples of this was at the 2017 World Science Festival. Professor Veronika Hubeny, one of the world’s leading experts on string theory, was invited to an onstage talk.

From ABC:
“As Hubeny began to speak, the moderator, New Yorker contributor and philosopher Jim Holt, continuously interrupted the professor, not letting her speak and instead started describing the theories for her. “Holt continued to mansplain, which is a term used to describe when a man interrupts someone, typically a woman, to explain something which needs no explaining, in a condescending or patronizing manner, until he was interrupted by a woman’s voice in the audience. ‘Let. Her. Speak. Please!’”

Not a single person onstage with her stopped Holt. They were all men.

Bill Young, Vernon, Connecticut

From: Kiko Denzer (potlatch cmug.com)
Subject: Rebecca Solnit

I found it interesting that “the canonical example” of today’s term managed to avoid any direct mention of the (female) author who made it famous.

Kiko Denzer, Blodgett, Oregon

Thanks for catching this. We’ve amended the entry now online.
-Anu Garg

From: Stephen Nycz (stevenycz gmail.com)
Subject: correctile dysfunction

I forget where I saw it in Facebook, but someone suggested replacing mansplaining with “correctile dysfunction”.

Stephen Nycz, Flagstaff, Arizona

From: John Jackson (john jackson-todd.com)
Subject: macsplaining

As a long time Windows user, I consider overlong explanation of the superiority of Apple computers to be macsplaining.

John Jackson, Groton, Massachusetts

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

One thing I’ve noticed in the past decade is the increasing gamification of shopping. It’s always existed to some degree -- I remember my mother collecting “plaid stamps” at the A&P in the 1960s. But now it seems that just about every store offers points, either through their own system or a larger system they’ve enrolled in, such as the so-called air miles. Instead of advertising lower prices on items, stores advertise items on which shoppers can collect more points than usual.

I actually had another shopper stop me one day as I was taking a jar off a shelf to point out that if I bought a different, higher-priced brand, I could take advantage of a special offer for extra points. In my opinion, the whole points system is an attempt to distract shoppers from rising prices.

SarahRose Werner, Saint John, Canada

From: Barry Palevitz (bpclaylover8 gmail.com)
Subject: Gamification

I figured it had something to do with legs. Gams, remember?

Barry A. Palevitz, Athens, Georgia

From: Michael Redepenning (mredepenningjr gmail.com)
Subject: A Thought for Today

It is better to prevent crimes than to punish them. -Cesare Beccaria, philosopher and politician (15 Mar 1738-1794)

This thought is quite relevant as today 49 people were killed in a terror attack here in Christchurch, New Zealand. It would have been infinitely better to prevent this tragedy than it will be to sentence the murderers.

Thank you for your daily words and thoughts.

Michael Redepenning, Amberley, New Zealand

From: Louise Fink Smith (louisesmith698 hotmail.com)
Subject: bingeable

My favorite (and most regrettable) bingeable binge IS AWAD -- I regret having sometimes to binge AWAD since it means I have somehow missed my AWAD daily dose, but I relish the delight of finding AWAD multiples available to binge on when I sort my mail by sender.

Happy 25th!

Louise Fink Smith, Michigan

From: Amy Ho (kidzmusic rogers.com)
Subject: 25 years of Wordsmith.org celebration

I am a new member of AWAD, joined in January 2019, and already got two of my comments on the weekend postings. The last posting of 53 words on “The pain passes, but beauty remains” encouraged me to write a 1000-word essay for submission to the Globe and Mail newspaper in Canada. The essay is about the past twenty years of my life journey with four deaths in my family including my parents, sister, and husband. Writing the long essay was therapeutic and put a closure to all those years of sufferings. Thank you, AWAD. I’ve been learning a lot, not only a new word and thought each day, but also from people’s chat and comment. I especially enjoy Alex McCrae’s comments and cartoons! It is Alex who signed me up for AWAD when he came home (Canada) visiting his mom last Christmas and I was their new neighbor who had just moved in.

Amy Ho, Richmond Hill, Canada

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: selfie and mansplain

In this fanciful scenario I’ve tried to capture the two vanguards of modern psychoanalytic theory and practice, Vienna native-son Sigmund Freud, and Swiss-born psychiatrist/philosopher Carl Jung, projecting them into a distant future, where Herr Freud, selfie-stick in-hand, attempts to snap a selfie, whilst practical jokester, Jung, pops in behind him with a photobomb. Clearly, Jung’s alter ego has gotten the best of him. Ha!
mansplain selfie
Inspired by Anu Garg’s “NOTES” for our word “mansplain”, specifically, the quotation from Bertrand Russell, I co-opted these sage words of wisdom to create this tableau of Trump, dunce-capped and “cornered”, mansplainiing away, as is often his wont, unwittingly giving credence to Russell’s profound pronouncement. Russell, puffing away on his pipe, appears more bemused than amused.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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


1. upcycling
2. selfie
3. mansplain
4. gamification
5. bingeable

1. beautifying
2. face in pic
3. male blame
4. singalong
5. in clips
     Words that have entered the language during the last 25 years
1. upcycling
2. selfie
3. mansplain
4. gamification
5. bingeable
= ... celebrating the 25th AWAD anniversary
1. use again
2. tech age snap
3. he’ll deign to elucidate
4. fun ploy
5. film streaming’s big
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

Upcycling? Discard Trump. He’s a nerd
And a crook, based on what I have heard.
What about a year hence?
Because then we’ve got Pence.
Downcycle is also a word.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

When having to shop, he resisted.
The need to replace stuff persisted.
Time and time again,
He would use his brain
Upcycling old things that existed.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

The unadorned sheet near the fire-exit
(the artist had checked tints and tones on it),
viewers found so avant-garde,
she upcycled the discard,
had it placed as the main exhibit.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

“My children find Mars uninviting,”
Said the Lord, “but it’s due for upcycling.
I’ll make their new leader
A real bottom-feeder;
With Trump, it’s the Earth they’ll find frightening.”
(Author’s note: This could explain why, in Sarah Huckabee Sanders’s words, God wanted Trump to become President.)
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Avarice fondled his stash of pelf,
Gluttony gathered all food to himself,
Envy wept,
Sloth just slept,
And Pride took a selfie of Herself.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

His ego? So hard to subdue it.
His beauty? We just can’t construe it.
Yet he thinks it’s worthwhile
To practise his smile.
He’s got dozens of selfies to prove it.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

It is great to take a selfie in the now!
But a few years hence, when we compare, “Wow!”
Was that how I Iooked before?
Was that my complexion of yore?
It is the camera that is ageing, I vow!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

“You guys must have bats in your belfry,”
Said Moses, “to stop for a selfie.
Our escape from the Pharaoh
Will surely be narrow;
No phones while we’re crossing the Red Sea!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I have the smartest brother ever
And would I question him, never.
But his mansplaining is weak
And with tongue in my cheek
I listen and make him feel clever.
-Jackie Britt Eggers, Overland Park, Kansas (kcconch yahoo.com)

Often gents proceed with great pain,
so many fine points to mansplain.
But should I protest
if my points are the best?
For when a man is a cloud, he will rain!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

“Youse guys got mansplainin’ to do”
Said Matilda, the boss of the crew.
She lit her cigar
Saying “Stay where you are;
I ain’t finished yelling at you.”
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

“It’s OK that Vlad took the Ukraine,”
Goes the President’s happy refrain.
“This’ll soon be the fate o’
All members of NATO;
To Merkel and May, I’ll mansplain.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Said The Donald, “I need a vacation.
All these golf games cause such aggravation.
Every time I tee-off,
I hear somebody scoff,
This old sport needs some gamification.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Here’s a mom’s desperate application
of the tactic of gamification:
Send that Pablum-filled spoon
to her mouth “from the moon!”
to achieve proper alimentation.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Said the botanist, “Gamification
Is the key to cross-fertilization.
For flowers tell bees,
‘Come and play with me, please,’
And the next thing you know? Germination!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

He’s always glued to his TV
For bingeable shows he must see.
He spends all his time
On Amazon Prime --
He looks like a zombie to me.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Kid found TV programs too bingeable.
Mom’s quiet and peace seemed impingeable.
She locked the TV’s
console door, kept the key --
forgetting that doors are unhingeable!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Outlander is my fav’rite show.
Now into “droughtlander” I go.
For withdrawal twinge, a rule,
Prescribe watching bingeable.
It’s the cure that works, I do know.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

To me, life on Earth reached its pinnacle
When shows on TV became bingeable.
No more waiting all week!
Jesus told us the meek
Would inherit, so Netflix is biblical.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: No quarter (century or money) given for these puns

When Cyrus goes climbing, viewers say, “Look upcycling to the rock face.”

If one of your photos is sold through a gallery you’re charged a selfie.

Mike Hammer was the protagonist of that mansplain.

The LGBT community says, “There’s no such thing as gamification. Homosexuality is inborn.”

“Is a Bingeable horn?” “No, it’s only a trumpet.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: James Ertner (jde31459 gmail.com)
Subject: Last Quarter Century Words

After the stock market had a week of cycling downward, it was gratifying to witness some upcycling.

The department store obviously had a charge for buying something, but it seemed odd to have a selfie.

From high up in a stadium, watching a football player kick a ball in a coed game, it was difficult to ascertain whether it was a woman playin’ or a mansplain.

After finally coming out of the proverbial closet, the lesbian looked forward to announcing her gamification.

When asked if she thought all of the passenger’s carry-on belongings would fit in the overhead compartment, the flight attendant replied, “Yes, they are bingeable.”

Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina

We open our mouths and out flow words whose ancestries we do not even know. We are walking lexicons. In a single sentence of idle chatter we preserve Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Norse: we carry a museum inside our heads, each day we commemorate peoples of whom we have never heard. -Penelope Lively, writer (b. 17 Mar 1933)

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