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Mar 24, 2019
This week’s theme
Words that violate the i-before-e rule

This week’s words

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Relative usage over time

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People who became verbs

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AWADmail Issue 873

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, Sheila Ryan (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: Interesting stories from the Net

Here’s to Another Quarter Century of Skelfish, Toss-Potting Joy
The Times
(requires free registration)

We Can Thank Agriculture and Soft Food for the ‘F’ Word

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

Less than one week is left to enter the contests: coin a word, pen a limerick, craft a pangram, or devise an anagram, and you might win one of many prizes. There’s no fee to enter.

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

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

Reveille is so much more pleasant now that there is a new word to explore from AWAD each morning. In CT, years ago, my reveille was Bob Crane on morning radio. Alas, that ended when Hollywood beckoned to him. For many years I had nothing to wake me except the smell of fresh coffee, which still happens, but that first cup is followed by my new word, which gets my mind working. I love it.

Sheila Ryan, Sebring, Florida

From: David Ornick (david.ornick ymail.com)
Subject: Reveille

I detest tattoos, but I enjoyed the "CARPE DEIM" example. I think the translation is "Seize the tattoo artist" -- by the throat.

Dave Ornick, Morgantown, West Virginia

Well, I wouldn't hold a customer's spelling against a tattoo artist, but the bigger takeaway here is the need to reform the tattoo curriculum. I don't know how many years of Latin they are teaching in tattoo schools these days, but I'd recommend at least two, not to mention four-to-five years of Chinese.
-Anu Garg

From: Eric Grosshans (ericgrosshans gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--reveille

Smaller than a breadbox, bigger than a TV remote, the average book fits into the human hand with a seductive nestling, a kiss of texture, whether of cover cloth, glazed jacket, or flexible paperback. -John Updike, writer (18 Mar 1932-2009)

My Kindle also fits that description.

Eric Grosshans, Loveland, Colorado

From: Alice Campbell Romano (alicecampbell.romano gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--facies

Who better than Ryan Leighty to take the Freindly picture?

Alice Campbell Romano, Bronxville, New York

From: D Balmk (paging101 hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--facies

It's best to give while your hand is still warm. -Philip Roth, novelist (19 Mar 1933-2018)

Roth: "a misogynist and control freak" -wrote his wife. Last week you featured another vile fellow, Einstein. You covered up his hatred and brutality for his wife. Are you, what's the word for a fame-worshipper, a fanboy? Is that why you don't vet the sayers you promote? Which other erudite, thoroughly odious, possibly criminal, fellow's fancy excerpt (read deceptive posture) you'll print next?

D Balmk, Florida

Your note raises the question: when we feature a quotation under the heading A THOUGHT FOR TODAY, are we sharing some thought-provoking words or condoning a whole biography?

We are open to featuring quotations only from those who have led unassailable lives. So far we have ruled out Gandhi ("Gandhi participated in South African war against the Boers”). Florence Nightingale is out too (“Nightingale was of the opinion that women craved sympathy and were not as capable as men”). Elizabeth Cady Stanton didn’t make the cut either (“[Stanton] lobbied strongly against ratification of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, which granted African American men the right to vote.”).

Please send some names! (About 250 for the rest of this year. More later.)
-Anu Garg

From: Richard Martin (school tellatale.eu)
Subject: Mythopoeic - you chose the right day

What an appropriate word for 20th March: World Storytelling Day. BTW, 2019 is the 16th year.

Cheers from a storyteller,

Richard Martin, Darmstadt, Germany

From: Ann Wild (ann ann-wild.de)
Subject: i before e

We had a slightly different rhyme when I was at school:

I before E, except after C,
When the sound is double E.

I wonder if there are fewer exceptions to that version?

Dr. Ann E. Wild, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany

From: Nelson (nelsonmybalo gmail.com)
Subject: i before e except after c

I’m an American teaching ESL in Viet Nam. A big part of what I focus on is pronunciation, and the only time I’ve ever mentioned the i-before-e-except-after-c rule, which I recognized as a shibboleth way back in high school, was as an example of how common exceptions are in English pronunciation. Out of curiosity I’ve endeavored, unscientifically, to find a pronunciation rule for vowels for which there is not a single exception. I thought I may have found one for the letter ‘u’ at the beginning of a word; a ‘u’ followed by one consonant and then another vowel is a long ‘u’, as in university, while a ‘u’ followed by two or more consonants has a short sound, as in uncle. Alas, I recalled the unusual word ululation (in its verb form, ululate, the preferred pronunciation seems to be a short ‘u’, but a long ‘u’ is okay). I reddened a bit when later I thought of upon. Next I thought that perhaps a vowel before a double consonant, as in summer, may always be a short sound, but shortly after thought of wholly. I’ve since thought of more exceptions. So I continue to ponder the possibilities, while at the same time teaching my students that although there may be no absolute rules, those very same rules remain useful but only as general guidelines.

Nelson, Ha Noi, Viet Nam

From: Peirce Hammond (peirceah.03.01 gmail.com)
Subject: i before e

This rule is modified by successive approximations reaching toward the truth. The “rule” is a primitive first approximation. The second approximation refines it by adding “or when sounded like ‘a’ as in ‘neighbor’ or ‘weigh’.” Then comes a third approximation, contained in the sentence “Neither leisurely foreigner seized the weird height.” Finally, we reach our own weird height, the ultimate exception, my first name.

Peirce Hammond, Bethesda, Maryland

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: reveille and conscientious

Greeting the dawn, this reveille player doesn’t have a frog in his throat, but clearly he has a half-awake, discombobulated croaker in his bugle. You could call it a rude awakening. Ha!
reveille conscientious
“Let conscience be your guide.” Here I’ve opted to amplify the essence of the USAGE example for the word conscientious, hopefully illustrating that the youthful George H.W. Bush and Muhammad Ali, both answering disparate higher callings, perchance weren’t alleged “strange bedfellows” after all. Long before director Spike Lee’s film Do the Right Thing had hit the silver screen, arguably the most famous boxer of his day, Muhammad Ali, felt he was “doing the right thing”... following his conscience, while honoring the precepts of his recently embraced Muslim faith, by refusing to be drafted into the US Army, otherwise, likely destined for combat in Vietnam. “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Viet Cong,” said Ali. He was now officially deemed a “conscientious objector”, soon (Jun 20, 1967) to be convicted by a military tribunal to five years in federal prison, fined $10,000, and barred from boxing for three years after his release. Ali beat the rap... his case thrown out on appeal. He returned to the ring on Oct 26, 1970, KO-ing Jerry Quarry in the 3rd round in Atlanta, GA.

On the other hand, a just-turned-18 George H.W. Bush followed his conscience, and call of duty, enlisting in the US Navy air corps, soon fighting the good fight in the WWII Pacific battle theater against the Japanese foe, as a daring fighter pilot. Unlike Muhammad Ali, young Bush was a “conscientious accepter”, if you will. Out of a strong sense of patriotism, and a daring-do adventurousness, he flew 58 aerial missions, with but one tragic foray, almost costing him his life. But that’s a tale for another day. Bush Sr., future head of the CIA, VP, and the 41st president. Muhammad Ali, arguably the greatest pro boxer to ever strap on a pair of gloves, and in his prime, probably the most widely recognizable individual in the world.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. reveille
2. facies
3. mythopoeic
4. obeisance
5. conscientious
= 1. action cue
2. bone cohesion
3. fictive
4. loyalism
5. see ‘precise’
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

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

A recruit may read the rules and cower;
He knows all ranks above have power.
But most of all
He fears the call
When reveille sounds at an early hour.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

Woken up by the reveille beep,
her despairing groans ceased with a bleep:
she saw it was 4th of Nov,
(Daylight Time had just turned off)
and she had one more hour to sleep.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Said The Donald to Pence, “Look at me,
I’m a wonderful Prez, can’t you see?
Lower taxes? And how!
Building walls? I’m a wow,
And I’m up at the first reveille.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

On weekends your phone leads to revelry,
But come Monday it’s set to play “Reveille”.
Is it master or slave?
Either way, please don’t save
All your texts, for if found they’ll weigh heavily.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I’m a spelling snob, so I abhor
David’s Freindly Market and Liquor”.
But I think I’d be fine
with snobs who sell wine
and have well-spelt facies for shore!
-Mariana Warner, Asheville, North Carolina (marianaw6002 gmail.com)

My taking a selfie is fraught.
My problem? My arms are too short.
A check of my facies,
I smile, and say, “Cheese!”
And pray that I got a great shot.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

At the sight of a brown person’s facies,
Says Donald, “No ‘if’s, ‘and’s, or ‘maybe’s!
Though Congress may stall,
I’m still building my wall,
And till then, we’ll keep grabbing their babies.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

She had a mythopoeic nature.
I soon found it hard to believe her.
Each story that she
Began telling me
Bore many a fairy tale feature.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Cleopatra, fair queen of the Nile,
had a grand, mythopoeic lifestyle,
seduced consul and caesar,
who both strived to please her,
But the asp put an end to her guile.
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

I am trying to write a limerick
Using “a new” word, mythopoeic,
But I can’t find a rhyme
And it’s not the first time.
I guess I ain’t much good at rhetoric.
-Joe Budd Stevens, MD, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

In his lifetime he wasn’t comedic;
His jokes were considered anemic.
But he got the last laugh,
For King Tut’s epitaph
Is Steve Martin’s routine mythopoeic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When he once got pulled over for speeding,
He used obeisance as well as some pleading.
This is all such a scam,
Don’t you know who I am?
‘Cause all I was doing was tweeting.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

There’s a danger in slavish obeisance:
Too much homage can lead to complacence.
Though they bow, genuflect,
show you every respect,
someday people will run out of patience.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

As they swim through the ocean, cetaceans
Give to no other creature obeisance.
One day, Moby Dick
Said, “My skin’s pretty thick,
But with Ahab I’m losing my patience.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The man is lewd and licentious;
He’s also rude and contentious.
I wish he were through;
We need someone who
Is kind and more conscientious.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

In public, he seemed unpretentious
and exceptionally conscientious.
But in private, he bragged
about chicks he had shagged,
was excessively vain and licentious.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom eartlink.net)

My conscientious mind doesn’t comply it
When my scale says go on a diet.
Instead of light kale
I pour a stout ale
And wonder why I even try it.
-Jackie Britt Eggers, Overland Park, Kansas (kcconch yahoo.com)

Said Elvis, “My mansion in Memphis
Is the way I could be conscientious.
Inside I’ll o.d.,
And that way guarantee
My hometown an attraction momentous.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: I-E, E-I, Oh!

Is a poorly-knitted sweater reveille? (That’s not one of my purls.)

Before going on stage the drunk actor said, “I can’t facies people like this.”

At the Miss Kansas pageant the announcer lisped, “From our State Capital... Mythopoeic-a!”

Due to his obeisance Chris Christie falls over when he bows.

“Look at that conscientious her way under the electric fence!”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: James Ertner (jde31459 gmail.com)
Subject: I B4 E words ... not!

As Farrah Fawcett said to her husband Lee Majors, trying to get him to enjoy a party: “Loosen up, have fun, and reveille.”

As Warren Beatty once derogatorily said about Faye Dunaway: “Facies a piece of work!”

After trying to spell Mississippi, the girl with a lisp disgustingly said, “I mythopoeic (I miss a P, ick!).”

A frustrated father exclaimed to his disobedient twin boys, “Obeisance!”

How would one describe a female prisoner’s gradually working her way towards her aim of being released? The conscientious (con she inches) forward to her goal.

Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina

From: Nancy Rayl (cleoparker336 gmail.com)
Subject: A new word: oldsplain

I have a suggestion for a new word. As a woman, I read with interest your mansplain. Finally a name for a longtime irritation. How about oldsplain? I am 86 and still have all my marbles. I am a retired professional. However, people speak to me loudly, slowly, and as though I do not understand. A gentleman came up to me the other day as I was walking along with my iPad. He stopped me and said, “Be careful. If you drop that iPad on the pavement it could break.” Or from a waitress, “Look at you! You ate your whole lunch!”

I suspect your other not-over-the-hill readers have many more examples of “oldsplain”.

Nancy Rayl, Newport Beach, California

Poetry is the shadow cast by our streetlight imaginations. -Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet and painter (b. 24 Mar 1919)

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