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Nov 10, 2019
This week’s theme
Words originating in the hand

This week’s words
glad hand
fingerpost
chirocracy
bareknuckle
manumission

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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Misc. words

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AWADmail Issue 906

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

Sponsor’s Message: We’ve finally become our own worst nightmare: a sell-out. Large anonymous corporation gets wind of One Up! -- The Wicked/Smart Word Game and wants to license it worldwide. We say sure, why not? Creativity, principles, artistic integrity, success on our own terms? Right out the window at the first sign of cash we’re happy to say. Seriously, we’re offering all AWADers, including Email of the Week winner, Russell Lott (see below), 50% OFF our Special Dark Edition, while supplies last. Once this limited and lovely version of our best-selling cutthroat IQ contest is gone, it’s gone forever. So, smarten up (on the cheap) RIGHT AWAY >



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

For Quebec, a French Woman May Not Be French Enough
The New York Times
Permalink

Do We Need a Special Language to Talk to Aliens?
Wired
Permalink



From: Galen Denio (denio.galen4 gmail.com)
Subject: Surgeon

Thank you for the etymology of the word surgeon (from the Greek “chirurgeon”). That reminded me of the reassurance my neurosurgeon, Dr. Charles Wilson, gave me as I was wheeled into the operating room for brain surgery 42 years ago. He said, “My knees ache from the marathon I ran this weekend, but my hands are steady and I will be sitting down.”

Galen Denio, Las Vegas, Nevada



From: Dash Jan (jandashinoz gmail.com)
Subject: glad hand

A friend of mine who is originally from the US did a class at Uni in Australia. The first week the tutor said they would hand up the homework on Friday. The friend thought this meant if you had any questions you could put your hand up and ask. In the US the term was “hand in”. All English is not the same!

Dash Jan, Adelaide, Australia



From: Brenda J. Gannam (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)
Subject: Russian hands and Roman fingers

I love this week’s theme -- reminds me of an old saying we had as teenage girls when a fellow got too fresh on a date: He’s got Russian hands and Roman fingers. (“rushing” hands and “roaming” fingers) Or, from their perspective, maybe they were just “glad handing”?

Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York



From: David Parsons (coyo cybermesa.com)
Subject: Hands

Thought you would enjoy seeing a couple of pictures from my carving of hands at the Santa Fe Community College. The title plaque is in sign language, Braille, and English. The panels depict different disciplines taught at the college.

Wood carving by David Parsons, Santa Fe Community College Wood carving by David Parsons, Santa Fe Community College Wood carving by David Parsons, Santa Fe Community College

David Parsons, Santa Fe, New Mexico



From: Marja E. van den Hende (marjavdh rapideng.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--glad hand

When starting a new job one has to become familiar with the lingo. The first job I had out of university was as a Test Engineer at Mack Trucks. Glad hands are also the air-brake connectors supplying pressurized air from the tractor to the trailer.

Marja E. van den Hende, Boulder Creek, California



From: Marc Chelemer (mc2496 att.com)
Subject: Glad pawing

As a cat owner, I take a bit of umbrage at the insinuation that a cat might “glad paw” its owner. Cats are as honest as dogs are; when a cat places its paw on its human owner, it’s not dissembling or being insincere; it wants something. Figuring out what that is may not be easy. I think because cats are, arguably, more complex and certainly less domesticated in evolutionary terms than dogs, they have the reputation of being insincere. My own experience is exactly the opposite. My own cat, M, lovingly caresses my cheek in the early morning because it wants love and attention. I could argue with its sense of timing, but not its honest request.

Marc Chelemer, Tenafly, New Jersey



From: Jane Cleaver Becker (Cleaverbecker gmail.com)
Subject: Cats and glad pawing

Cat lovers unite! No glad pawing as cats would not lower themselves to such an act.

Jane Cleaver Becker, Chautauqua, New York



All roads lead to Salavas
Photo: Hermann Hegner
From: Hermann Hegner (hhegner gmx.ch)
Subject: A special fingerpost from Southern France

A special fingerpost from Southern France. It’s near the village of Salavas in the region of Ardèche gorge. It stands on a hill in a network of hiking trails and all roads lead to Salavas, just around one or the other side of the hill.

Hermann Hegner, Baden, Switzerland



From: Alec Charles (via website comments)
Subject: Where to find Ham Sandwich

A couple of miles south of the town of Sandwich in Kent, England, there is a village by the name of Ham. At a nearby road junction, a noted signpost indicates:

HAM
SANDWICH

I am not making this up!

Alec Charles



From: Dave Fragments (dave.fragments.dc gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--fingerpost

An Instance of the Fingerpost is an erudite 1997 historical mystery novel by Iain Pears set in 17th-century Europe. It is a good novel, a satisfying read. I still have the copy I bought in my library. It is involved and satisfying. Four very different narrators recall a murder from their past and eventually the reader reaches a “fingerpost” that points to the solution.

And here’s a review of the book from the time it was published.

Dave Fragments, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania



Email of the Week brought to you by One Up! -- Play mind games on the cheap NOW >

From: Russell Lott (russellwlott comcast.net)
Subject: bareknuckle

When this week’s theme was announced, I made a mental list of a dozen or so hand-related words that I thought might be featured. So far I’m o-fer. However, I’ve been delighted with each of your entries, today’s in particular, as this year marks the 130th anniversary of the last bareknuckle heavyweight championship fight in the US -- an event that was reported in newspapers around the world -- and it was fought here in south Mississippi, at a site in the Richburg community just two miles from my home in Hattiesburg.

This 2014 entry in a blog devoted to John L. Sullivan details this marathon bout between champion Sullivan (said to be the first professional sportsman to make a million dollars) and challenger Jake Kilrain (who had Bat Masterson in his corner). The description of the fight illustrates just how savage the “gentleman’s sport” of bare-knuckled boxing was -- it’s no wonder it was outlawed.

P.S. Your graphic for today’s word happens to feature an oft-published photo of John L. Sullivan, his handlebar mustache being a dead giveaway.

Russell Lott, Hattiesburg, Mississippi



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

The transliteration of the name Gelfand from Cyrillic to Roman is Helphand. This came in handy when Gelfand arranged the return of Lenin and a handful of other revolutionaries to Russia, who started the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 in Petrograd. Gelfand offered a “helping hand” for this venture, so to say.

In Cyrillic the sound h changes to g (e.g. Hitler becomes Gitler), and the ph is the Greek way of writing the sound f (e.g. in the word philosophy).

In fact, it’s a common name, as for example the name of the former World Chess Championship challenger Boris Gelfand.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada



From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Glad hand and bareknuckle

Glad hand
Perhaps drawing from his secretive past as a Russian KGB operative... OK... spy, in this cartoon scenario, President Vladimir Putin has reprised the old meet-and-greet hand buzzer ruse, zapping clueless Trump, and taking obvious pleasure in his trickery. Almost one year from this very week, Americans will be going to the ballot box in the 2020 general election. The “informed” consensus is that crafty Russian cyber-hackers will once again be up to their dirty tricks, sanctioned and orchestrated by none other than the wily Putin, who would be delighted, beyond measure, to have Le Grand Orange (aka Trump) claim another victory... another four years in the Oval Office. (Perish the thought.) Putin clearly has more tricks up his sleeve beyond his simplistic hand buzzer ploy and appears to have the gullible, pliable egoist, Trump, wrapped in the palm of his hand.

Bareknuckle
Maybe I’m being a tad premature in portraying a defeated Trump sprawled out on the canvas, having just been dealt a crushing one-two knockout “impeachment punch”, delivered by dogged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi? Her stated... “I fight like a girl!” for me, reflects the nascent ethos of the recently fledged #MeToo era girl (woman), who speaks truth to (usually male) power, with principle, civility, and, foremost, righteous conviction in defense of the rights of ALL womankind. Back in the day, to “fight like a woman” had a decidedly negative connotation, re-enforcing the establishment myth that women were the weaker sex... in all respects. For Pelosi, “fighting like a girl” is a positive imperative, and in action, can be an awesome and inspirational thing to behold. You go, girls!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words
1. glad hand
2. fingerpost
3. chirocracy
4. bareknuckle
5. manumission
= 1. diplomacy
2. sign aim
3. strong hand
4. incur force
5. break, unshackle
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)



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

To be fair, though we characterize
our leader as very unwise,
he is swell at glad-handing,
as well as grandstanding,
excels at the telling of lies!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

All the cats say “Let’s strike up the band!
For dog catcher, Kitty Glad Hand!
So on with the show,
All the canines must go;
To give her your vote would be grand!”
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

How our President likes to grandstand!
He’s the first to extend a glad hand.
On a usual whim
To his peeps, Vlad and Kim,
Trump will suck up with gestures so grand.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

To glad-hand a crowd is a chore --
Your hand and your jaw both feel sore.
You put on a smile
And risk all the while
Exposure to microbes galore!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Harold Hill -- glib of tongue, glad of hand
conned the rubes with a bogus brass band,
and his scam he would carry on
until he met Marian.
He’s reformed now, and isn’t love grand!
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

His wisdom is great and unmatched
With the lunatic schemes he has hatched.
With glad-handing the norm,
He stays true to form,
Remaining once more unabashed.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

“With his shirt off, his looks are insane,”
Says Donald, “so suave and urbane.
At the sight of Vlad tanned,
I can’t help but glad-hand;
‘With those abs,’ I say, ‘Look out, Ukraine.’”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


While touring Europe years ago,
The fingerposts I soon would know
Came to be really
Nostalgic to me.
I treasure their memory so!
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Whenever for home my friend pined,
That fingerpost sign she would find.
The place that she missed
Was there on the list --
There’s no place like Nome in her mind.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Until he met ghost after ghost
Scrooge with money was wholly engrossed.
But that Christmas eve
he was forced to believe,
and he heeded their dire fingerpost.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

I went for a drive to the coast,
But missed the turn at the fingerpost.
Now hopelessly lost,
And all my plans tossed,
I cried, “Well, I tried my utmost!”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

They were lost on their way to a weenie roast,
Till at last they encountered a fingerpost.
“This sign points the way;
We’ll have hot dogs today!”
They exclaimed, “It’s our wish innermost.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpmarlin456 gmail.com)

If the polls are today’s fingerpost,
They’re suggesting that Donald is toast.
Late at night in his lair
He dreams Hillary’s there,
And she’s rattling her chains like a ghost.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Recall that cult leader who willed
That his group -- by their own hands -- be killed?
Disguised as theocracy
THAT was chirocracy!
The memory leaves us all chilled!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Donald seems to admire chirocracy,
and he loves and rewards our plutocracy.
Times are scary and grim
‘cause he governs by whim
in this ignorance-fueled adhocracy.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

With his very best brain always working,
He hints that chirocracy’s lurking.
But when conflict alerts him,
Bravery deserts him
As he stands there defiant and smirking.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Her chirocracy rather well-known,
And her anger and rage overblown,
The Red Queen had said,
“Now, off with her head!”
Replied Alice, “Oh, leave me alone.”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The laundry I rule with chirocracy;
From the dryer I snatch every sock I see.
But I fall to defeat
As they vote with their feet,
Disappearing with frightful velocity.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


’Twas the guys’ normal Saturday night.
We had just settled down as we might,
For a game of pinochle
When brawling bareknuckle
Broke out in the bar -- whatta fight!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

She views their dispute with alarm,
then hands each contender a charm.
“Perhaps this good luck ‘ll
prevent a bareknuckle
event. ‘Twill at least do no harm!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

When the allies next meet for a summit,
They won’t share bonhomie; no, far from it.
There’ll be bareknuckle stuff,
It indeed could get rough;
The unfit one may from the heights plummet.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

We’re so used to his fatuous crowing
As he acts like he’s brave and all-knowing.
His bareknuckle pose
Very soon will expose
The amount of hot air that he’s blowing.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

“If I ask him,” thought Oberon, “Puck’ll
Assist in this quarrel bareknuckle.
My pride I won’t bury;
Titania’s contrary,
But soon I shall have the last chuckle.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The word of the day, manumission,
Can refer to a modern condition.
If you’re working for Trump
And he gives you the dump,
You have managed to sidestep perdition!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Sad rabbit beseeched the magician,
“In lieu of preferred manumission
from this habitat,
at least get a hat
that allows me to change my position!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

As a Luddite, I get much derision
For wanting complete manumission
From electronic media
Which includes Wikipedia.
For all that stuff, nuclear fission!
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

George Washington broke with tradition
And granted his slaves manumission.
They’d take a free breath
Just after his death --
For them a most welcome transition.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Now Harriet had an ambition,
After seeking her own manumission.
Tubman helped Blacks to flee,
And to make many free,
Fighting for slavery’s abolition.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Said Mary, “The slaves’ manumission
Has caused me a dark premonition.”
Answered Abe, “Dear, be strong,
Because what could go wrong?
Just enjoy the play. When’s intermission?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Handy dandy(?) puns

The raves about my next-to-last place finish glad-hand my heart.

The horny housewife got caught boff fingerpost man.

When Elvis first appeared on TV people asked, “Didja see that chirocracy possessed?”

I thought a bareknuckle was found on a ship’s hull.

Friends told Alan Sheppard, “Manumission was a great success!”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma



A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips. -Oliver Goldsmith, writer and physician (10 Nov 1730-1774)

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