Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About | Media | Search | Contact  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ


Nov 17, 2019
This week’s theme
Misc. words

This week’s words
froward
listless
indolent
matronly
valorous

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives
Index

Next week’s theme
Words to describe people

Like what you see here?
Send a gift subscription
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share

AWADmail Issue 907

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, Sharon Smith (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

A Plea From 33 Writers: Words Matter. Stop Using “Quid Pro Quo”
The New York Times
Permalink

Bringing up a Bilingual Child Is Hard Work. But Passing on Your Mother Language Is a Gift Beyond Words
ABC News Australia
Permalink

Can Film Save Indigenous Languages?
The New Yorker
Permalink

Do Babies Cry in Different Languages?
The New York Times
Permalink



From: Brian Kalshoven (brian bbca.co.za)
Subject: Your editorial on froward

Your sentence, “We are all connected, in time and place. A thread, however slender, connects us to the rest of the humanity”, on today’s post, struck a chord with me.

The concept of ubuntu (oo-BOON-too) among the southern Africans is one which we South Africans are trying to use to assist us in drawing the peoples of this country together. It basically means the same as your sentence; i.e., we are the sum of our interactions with those with whom we have come into contact, in our lives.

While it is a word which may not be in general use throughout the world, it has certainly entered our vocabulary, here.

Brian Kalshoven, Musina, South Africa



From: Fred Kepler (fkepler me.com)
Subject: froward

Two thoughts as I read your Monday intro: You gave us a profound aphorism: “A thread, however slender, connects us to the rest of the humanity.” But I can’t help thinking that, at this point, that thread is stretched and frayed to its limits. Second, it occurred to me that our current “leader” is both froward and backward.

Thanks for sparking some thought (however trite) in this rickety, old noggin!

Fred Kepler, Vancouver, Washington



From: Romaine Scott (RomaineS haltonhills.ca)
Subject: Froward

Today’s word is a little unsettling. I’m having flashbacks of the little girl growing up in Jamaica who was always argumentative and talking back to adults. “You too fahword!” they would scold. I thought they were saying “forward” but I just realized they meant “froward” and like many other English words, we just pronounced it our way. When people call me difficult now I tell myself it’s as a result of my life experiences, but today I’m convinced that I was just born this way!

Romaine Scott, Halton Hills, Canada



From: Paul Lentz Jr (patptc.tmv gmail.com)
Subject: froward

In Richard III, Act III, scene i, Gloster (the future Richard III) calls his younger nephew froward, although many modern copies of the play have replaced that with “forward”. Shakespeare also uses the word in Henry VI, Part I and uses “toward” to describe Edward, Prince of Wales in Henry VI, Part III. The Google Ngram Viewer suggests that froward has virtually fallen out of use, although I’ve managed to incorporate it in several of my books.

Paul Lentz, Peachtree City, Georgia



From: Joachim van Dijk (joachim.van.dijk gmail.com)
Subject: listless

Amazing how closely related English, Dutch, and German sometimes are. Listless, lusteloos, lustlos, all have the same meaning. The Dutch use the verb lusten to express appreciation of mainly food items. Like “Ik lust koffie.”

Joachim van Dijk, Wiesbaden, Germany



From: Janet Rizvi (janetrizvi gmail.com)
Subject: indolent

It’s also a kangaroo word, containing “idle”.

Dr Janet Rizvi, Gurgaon, India



From: M Henri Day (mhenriday gmail.com)
Subject: Indolent

Today’s word indolent, yesterday’s listless, and that of the day before, froward. At least, I thought, Anu had the grace to characterise these as miscellaneous words, rather than as adjectives describing your humble interlocutor. ;-)

M Henri Day, Stockholm, Sweden



From: Alexander Drysdale (acd1 iprimus.com.au)
Subject: A Thought for Today

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we’re looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn’t test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed, and love of power. -P.J. O’Rourke, writer (b. 14 Nov 1947)

Today’s quotation is probably one of the best I have ever seen in all my years of membership. It is so true and if the tax limit were raised by 1% to provide funds for a free education system then there would be no complaint from me. Stupidity and ignorance lead to greed as a security and this is no good to anyone.

Alexander Drysdale, Lyndhurst, Australia



From: Clare Cross (clare.cross the-jci.org)
Subject: Robin Williams illustrating matronly

I was so sorry to see you used a picture of a man to illustrate this word. I love Robin Williams, but could words about women feature pictures of women? You would not, I hope, use a photo of Fisher Stevens as Ben Jabituya if you needed a picture of an Indian scientist. For “matronly”, I would suggest the amazing Margaret Dumont, an actress who made many appearances as a comic foil in the Marx Brothers films.

Clare Cross, Ann Arbor, Michigan



From: Catherine Cline (cackycline aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--matronly

By now it may be archaic (my mother was born in 1912), but when she went to nursing school, the head of the students’ dorm was called the Matron, and it was an esteemed title, not a dowdy put-down at all.

Catherine Cline, Amelia Island, Florida



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

From: Sharon Smith (mainelyneuropsych gmail.com)
Subject: Wyatt Earp was valorous!

Like so many older people, I have great recall for TV ditties learned in childhood. When I read your definition of today’s word (valorous: “adjective: Courageous; brave; bold”) I found myself singing along:

Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp,
Brave courageous and bold.
Long live his fame and long live his glory
and long may his story be told.
(source)

It struck me that his song’s refrain could be rephrased:

Wyatt Earp, Wyatt Earp,
Cute guy who was always valorous.
Long live his fame and long live his glory
and for him I’ll ever feel amorous!

Well, I’ll feel amorous toward his TV personality, not toward the actual man, who was a lawbreaker, brothel owner, and gambler!

Sharon Smith, Canaan, Maine



From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Listless/indolent and Matronly

Listless or Indolent?
Who’d a thunk it? A cable TV channel that broadcasts a perpetually flickering home-hearth fire that years ago began as a burning yule log looped video telecast, with an intended limited Christmas season timeline. Basically, a test run. Yet due to overwhelming viewership and demand, the video ultimately could be seen 24/7, 365 days a year. It was a bona fide hit! In this cartoon scenario, for our hapless couch potato, life has come down to a pizza-and-beer self-pity party, where the mesmerizing flames of the “forever burning” yule log video have lulled him into a listless slumber. Brings a whole new meaning to the old saying... “Keep the home fires burnin’.”.

Matronly
Dickens’s Ebenezer Scrooge blamed a bit of wormy cheese eaten prior to beddy-byes for his serial spooky spectral visitations, whilst with the ongoing Brexit conundrum weighing heavily on British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s mind, here, he’s conjured up a vision of long-lived, matronly Queen Victoria... in her dotage. She tacitly acknowledges the political pickle into which the portly PM has gotten himself embroiled, i.e., the whole Brexit kerfuffle, suggesting he keep his rather fulsome upper lip all the more stiff, with the UK venturing into uncharted, treacherous territory... The Good Ship Britannia, going forward, navigating ever-choppier political headwaters. Destination, at this juncture... unknown.
Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



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

Misc. words:
1. froward
2. listless
3. indolent
4. matronly
5. valorous
=
1. cross, adverse
2. dull sort
3. slow in drift
4. womanly
5. into morals
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)



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

For all of the lies he has tweeted,
and innocent people he’s cheated
by actions untoward,
we hope that our froward
exec will be duly unseated.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

There once was a young Scottish lassie
Who was tall, somewhat blonde, and real brassy.
He thought her a winner,
Then asked her to dinner;
She was froward in answer, and sassy.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

The boy who was left in her care
Would drive anyone to despair.
A toddler so froward
Repeating the “No” word --
She wanted to tear out her hair.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

When we children were naughty and froward,
At bedtime were stories from Poe heard.
“We’ll be better, we swear!”
We would beg the au pair,
As the razor-sharp pendulum lowered.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Says he, “Can’t believe that my life
is filled with contention and strife.
In addition, my mistress
is apt to be listless.
Perhaps I’ll go back to my wife.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

For some, all is there, right at hand,
And onlookers say, “Must be grand!”
These rich are so bored,
Even when they’re adored,
They are listless, and feel quite unmanned.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

Because it is humid and hot,
Great energy I haven’t got.
In weather that’s hazy,
I’m listless and lazy --
Then poolside’s my favorite spot.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The old goat went to see his mistress,
But he felt rather tired, listless.
When he took her to bed,
“Let’s just sleep,” he then said.
And, so on that long night went tryst-less.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Said the T-Rex, “I’m starving and listless;
How I wish that the asteroid had missed us.”
“With that ash in the sky,
By December we’ll die,”
The triceratops grumbled, “Some Christmas.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Says promoter, “Do not be misled
by copies. Our new patent med
offers aid to the indolent.
Taken, ‘twill implement
vim and ambition, instead!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

There once was an indolent guy.
How long in a lounge he would lie!
“Good grief! Move your butt,
And get the lawn cut!”
His wife in frustration would cry.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

We know that our prez likes to snooze
and sit around watching Fox News.
But when he’s not indolent
he’ll cause a predicament,
so which Donald Trump would you choose?
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

With his indolent nature overt,
His flair, POTUS tries to assert.
But this ponderous man
With the fake orange tan
Now just barely fits into his shirt.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

He was listless, lethargic, and lazy.
His lack of drive drove his wife crazy.
But, she was indulgent,
To his acts indolent,
‘Cause he sure looked like Patrick Swayze.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

She had not for a second been indolent;
Her wedding was planned, and now imminent.
But the groom-to-be fled
Out of fear, it was said,
The bridezilla would render him impotent.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpmarlin456 gmail.com)

Lindsey Graham explains, “Trump is innocent,
For his people are stupid and indolent.
With their brains like a fern,
There’s no cause for concern;
If he gets someone smart, we’ll be vigilant.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“We’ve just met our son’s fiancée,”
his parents observe, with dismay.
“Unless we’re mistaken, she
seemed a bit matronly.
Also, her dress was outré!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The two hadn’t met for ten years,
Each came to the lunch full of fears;
What had those ten years wrought?
Years ago they were hot,
Now they’re matronly mums, fearing jeers.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

His wife was a wonderful cook,
Who soon had a matronly look.
“You’ve changed since we wed,”
Her husband then said,
As off with a young gal he took.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“I’m employed in this business quite gainfully,
For I don’t let myself become matronly,”
Said Stormy. “My motto
Is, ‘Don’t play the lotto;
Find billionaires acting unfaithfully.’”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The valorous troops all were medaled
And then furiously they backpedaled --
They refused to serve more,
Turned their backs on the war
Which meant that it quickly got settled!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

It’s truly valorous to stand
Up and bravely defend this land.
The heroes we know
Will all come and go.
Their sacrifice is beyond grand.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Said Trump, “Though I can be cantankerous,
Not to mention a little bit rancorous,
The truth Is I’m a saint,
Though the Dems think I ain’t;
Did I tell you I’m also quite valorous?”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

They honored the valorous knight,
Who selflessly set off to fight.
This chivalrous man
Encased in a can
Was truly a marvelous sight!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The word for a hero is clamorous -
a concept appealing and glamorous
but a fantasy, ‘cause
even heroes have flaws
be they ever so dashing and valorous.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

His valorous pretense is scary,
As he sings like a manic canary.
He perfected his craft
By avoiding the draft,
Yet he boasts of HIS strong military.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

“That Jesus guy truly is valorous,”
Said Martha, the sister of Lazarus.
“We all nearly flipped
When you rose from the crypt;
Now let’s eat, for you’re looking cadaverous.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: A misc. might be good for a smile

Punsters like to frowards under the bus.

If you’ll stand up straighter you’ll listless.

Before loaning items, check the pockets indolent clothing.

When Actor Marvin’s girlfriend hurriedly left him his buddy said, “Look at your matronly.”

When the knight with the Singing Sword joined the fray the Hun chief said, “Men, it’s Valorous.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma



A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
If you hire only those people you understand, the company will never get people better than you are. Always remember that you often find outstanding people among those you don’t particularly like. -Soichiro Honda, industrialist (17 Nov 1906-1991)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere

Donate

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2019 Wordsmith