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Dec 22, 2019
This week’s theme
Adverb? Not!

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AWADmail Issue 912

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, Enita Torres (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 >

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From: Judy Purvis (judypurvis921 gmail.com)
Subject: Adverbs

Somewhere I have a recording of a college a capella group singing parodies of the grammar songs (e.g., “Conjunction Junction, what’s your Function?”). In the song about adverbs they explain that you can make an adverb by starting with adjectives such as strong, nice, and Bruce, producing, of course, strongly, nicely, and... . Groan!

Judy Purvis, Durham, North Carolina

From: Dr. Dominick Amato (dominick.amato sinaihealth.ca)
Subject: Adverbs

The medical term for an enlarged spleen is splenomegaly. In the last few years, some trainees have been spelling it with a double l. So I’ve put a note on the blackboard in my office: “Splenomegaly is not an adverb.”

The -megaly suffix is applicable to other organs as well: hepatomegaly, cardiomegaly, etc.

Dominick Amato, MD, Toronto, Canada

From: Vivienne Trenner (joiede.viv virgin.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--logodaedaly

This week’s theme reminds me that I was diagnosed with acromegaly some time ago: not an adverb, of course. You will be pleased to know that an operation sorted that out!

As far as I remember (we are going back 20 years now!), it is an over-secretion of growth hormone by the pituitary gland. Actually, it did result in my feet and hands getting a bit bigger in my case, and I think the medics were worried that it might be causing internal organs to get too big too. I see it is sometimes known as gigantism. Sounds like I had a lucky escape!

Seasons’ greetings (yes, I put the apostrophe there deliberately!)

Vivienne Trenner, London, UK

From: Charlotte R. Mitchell (rosebud horizonview.net)
Subject: My new -ly adjective

I have seen a certain photo of a famous person quite a few times, and I think it is the perfect picture to describe the word “smug”. However, I also think of the word “ugly” when I see that photo and recall some very mean things that person has done. So I have decided this word does not need to be only an adverb but can also be an adjective. The word: smugly.

Charlotte R. Mitchell, Chillicothe, Ohio

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

Here is an example of the reaction a homily may provoke (in this case, from the redoubtable Mr. Bean of Rowan Atkinson). (video, 5 min.)

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: David Schraa (davidschraa gmail.com)
Subject: Homily

The given definition may be one for some people (or churches), but in my church a homily is just a shorter sermon for a less-formal occasion. It is grossly unfair to imply it must necessarily be tedious and trite. Many homilies and sermons in my church are, in fact, learned, well argued, informative, and interesting. The academic discipline of homiletics is designed to train clergy to make them that way. At least in the Anglican-Episcopalian tradition, in my experience, good homilies and sermons vastly outweigh bad ones.

David Schraa, New York, New York

Good to hear that homilies in your church are interesting. When we defined the word, we didn’t focus on your church, or churches in general. We defined it based on how it’s used in day-to-day English language. Today, in the English language, the word homily has a very definite negative sense, as illustrated by the usage example.

-Anu Garg

PS: Also, to set the record straight, we didn’t say that a homily ”must necessarily be tedious and trite” as you write, rather that it is “usually tedious and trite”.

From: Paul G Ross (paul.g.ross.gszh statefarm.com)
Subject: homily

Having listened to thousands of homilies in Catholic churches, I envy those of you who hear ones that are not “tedious and trite”. I used to go skiing and hiking with the parish priest, yet he was still boring as heck come Sunday.

Paul G Ross, Pembroke Pines, Florida

From: Lawrence Crumb (lcrumb uoregon.edu)
Subject: RE: A.Word.A.Day--homily

In all my 58 years as a minister in the Episcopal Church, I have never heard the word used in that sense. In church circles, it is used to mean a sermon, usually a short one. Byron may have had your meaning in mind when he wrote, in Don Juan:

Some women use their tongues -- she look’d a lecture,
Each eye a sermon, and her brow a homily,
An all-in-all sufficient self-director,
Like the lamented late Sir Samuel Romilly

Lawrence Crumb, Eugene, Oregon

From: Michael Shpizner (mjshpiz gmail.com)
Subject: homily

I really like the idea for this reader interaction. It’s like Tom Swifties on steroids. Example:
“I need a pencil sharpener!” Tom said, bluntly.

How’s this for today’s challenge:
“How do you say ‘man’ in French?” he asked homily.

Michael Shpizner, San Francisco, California

From: Geoffrey Sanders (h.g.sanders gmail.com)
Subject: Homily pun

Do Southern preachers serve homily grits at breakfast?

Geoffrey Sanders, Bend, Oregon

From: Michael Shpizner (mjshpiz gmail.com)
Subject: Raguly

I realize that this is a pretty cheap one, but here goes: “I love meat sauce on my pasta,” Tom said raguly.

Michael Shpizner, San Francisco, California

From: James Hodgson (j_hodgson hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--raguly

The row of notches is a tally stick. It was used in England’s Treasury for hundreds of years. Never mind heraldry!

James Hodgson

From: Charlotte Russell (ccr6273 verizon.net)
Subject: Family coat of arms

It doesn’t matter what my family coat of arms looks like, because it will never be seen == it’s buried under an enormous pile of books, magazines, and clippings to be read “when I have time”. (There is, however, a distinctive pattern of interlocking rings left over from mugs of tea.)

Charlotte Russell, Littleton, Massachusetts

Coat of arms of Glenda Torrence's family
From: Glenda Torrence (ogtorrence gmail.com)
Subject: Family crest

I married into this family. Roughly translated (middle school Latin) I don’t know. I don’t care. I’m not doing that. Rivers is the surname of my spouse. She is quite taken with bears. Our son created this family crest for her while studying Latin in middle school.

Glenda Torrence, Austin, Texas

Boot camp coat of arms
From: Mike Zim (mikewzim gmail.com)
Subject: Marines boot camp coat of arms

In 1930, at 17, my father enlisted in the Marines, after an underage stint in the Army. He was inspired at boot camp to make a coat of arms, featuring the tools of his trade: a boot, backpack, rifle, target practice targets, and campaign cover (hat).

It included the equipment for maintaining the Marines’ spit-and-polish reputation. For groundskeeping, sickles, and a pick and shovel. For the barracks, a bucket, mop, broom, and brass polish.

And for ever-enjoyable latrine duty: toilet paper, plunger, soap, and scrub brush.

Mike Zim, Columbus, Ohio

From: Carol Dunne (pyxel1 outlook.com)
Subject: Coat of arms

Back in the 1990s, when I worked for a company which published theatre and concert programmes, the resident illustrator drew me a coat of arms with a theme of sleepiness. It included some sheep, pillows, and the dormouse in the teapot from Alice in Wonderland. I chose a motto lampooning that of my old school, “Servire est regnare” (To serve is to reign). Mine is “Suspire est dormire.”

Carol Dunne, Launceston, Australia

McCaskey family coat of arms
From: Nancy McCaskey (mccaskn nettally.com)
Subject: McCaskey canting (punning) coat of arms

You asked for it! Here’s a coat of arms I designed with a play on the family name -- it has a cask and a key. The rest of the elements are just because I like them.

Nancy McCaskey, Tallahassee, Florida

From: Glenn Glazer (glenn.glazer gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--raguly

My family doesn’t have a coat of arms, but when I was in the Society for Creative Anachronism, this was my heraldic device.

I chose it because black and red are my favorite colors and the design because it stood out on the field of battle.

Glenn Glazer aka Glynn Llan-y-Rhyllwyn, Felton, California

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

From: Enita Torres (enitatorres gmail.com)
Subject: my coat of arms

I’ve wanted to draw my own coat of arms for some time -- your suggestion came during a rare period when I had the time (my first grandchild is almost a week late, so one must pass the time!). Here it is and the explanation.

Enita Torres's coat of arms Explanation of Enita Torres's coat of arms

Enita Torres, Houston, Texas

From: Sara Hutchinson (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)
Subject: coat of arms

My friend Paul Schwartzbaum got a letter years ago from a heraldry company which advertised: “Now the Schwartzbaum family can have a coat of arms”, and Paul said to me, “The operative word there is ‘now’.”

Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware

From: Lindsey Brandt (lindsey.brandt state.co.us)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--raguly

Botanists have lots of words to describe edges, usually of leaves (or “margins” as we call them), words such as: crenate, serrate, dentate, entire, involute, erose, sinuate, etc.

There is a fun book called Plant Identification Terminology, and Illustrated Glossary for folks who are interested in this kind of thing.

Lindsey Brandt, Denver, Colorado

From: Nadia Beccaria (nadia.beccaria libero.it)
Subject: raguly

The word describes exactly what you need to draw for making snow flakes from folded paper too ;))

Nadia Beccaria, Piemonte, Italy

From: Bob Richmond (rsrichmond gmail.com)
Subject: blazonry

Raguly, the first word I’ve seen in AWAD taken from blazon, the language of blazonry, the art of creating a blazon. This coat of arms would be blazoned: argent and gules, per pale raguly. The Wikipedia article is informative, and the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) page on the subject is also worth reading.

Blazon is so precise and regular that it’s been described as “the world’s first programming language”, and indeed computer programs have been written that can take a shield’s blazon and translate it into a graphic.

The names of colors, metals, and furs are all peculiar to blazon, and derived from French: thus white is argent and red is gules in the example.

Bob Richmond, Maryville, Tennessee

From: Paul G Ross (paul.g.ross.gszh statefarm.com)
Subject: logodaedaly

Along the lines of “You are what you eat”, if you can use this word, you are this word...

Paul G Ross, Pembroke Pines, Florida

From: John Kilmarx (jkilly iup.edu)
Subject: Eutrapely

One of many great bits of dialog in The Maltese Falcon: “I tell you right out, I’m a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk.” (video, 4 sec.)

John Kilmarx, Indiana, Pennsylvania

From: Bob Richmond (rsrichmond gmail.com)
Subject: Eutrapely

Eutrapely seems to be a rare and archaic form of the word, more usually seen in its native Greek form eutrapelia. Aristotle describes eutrapelia as one of eleven or twelve virtues in his Nicomachean Ethics, where it seems to mean something like “wittiness”. It appears in the Bible once (Ephesians 5:4), where St. Paul uses it disparagingly to mean something like “telling dirty jokes”. The medieval philosophers are said to have restored it to its earlier positive sense.

Bob Richmond, Maryville, Tennessee

From: Richard Uznanski (richuz aol.com)
Subject: dystrapely

So I would have the gift of dystrapely?

Richard Uznanski, Middlefield, Connecticut

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: empanoply and logodaedaly

Playing off our word “empanoply”, the climactic death scene from revered director Akira Kurosawa’s 1957 B&W epic historical drama, Throne of Blood, flashed into my noggin. Here, lead actor, the legendary Toshiro Mifune, as Shakespeare’s Macbeth surrogate, Lord Washizu, is caught in a unyielding hail of arrows... from his own mutinous legion of archers, no less. Enwrapped in a typical lacquered-leather/iron-plated suit of samurai armor, a few lethal arrows have found their mark, and pretender to the throne, Washizu, is doomed. The aforementioned Bard of Avon gets another nod with my samurai-garbed Froggy character’s aside from Act III, Sc. 1, of Hamlet.

One could argue that iconic British statesman, and stoggie-smoking UK Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, was a bit of a polymath... or at least... “a man for all seasons”, having worn many “hats” over his fulfilling, lengthy career in public service to his homeland. From decorated military man in his youth, to wily politico and parliamentarian, to acclaimed historian, to assuming the heavy mantle of Prime Minister at Britain’s gravest hour, he marshaled his nation’s true mettle, in the final reckoning. Churchill’s creative inclinations were largely sated through his historical writings, and painting... an avid, accomplished en plein air painter he was, leaving a substantial body of charming works. Above all, “Winnie” was a consummate wordsmith (his logodaedaly), whose periodic forceful, gravely-voiced flights of moving oration galvanized an entire nation, leaving their indelible impress on the annals of 20th-century history.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words
This week’s theme: Adverb? Not!
1. homily
2. raguly
3. empanoply
4. logodaedaly
5. eutrapely
1. hokey ‘hell’ story - the moral?
2. bumpy edge
3. apply metal
4. invent a word
5. easy dialogue
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

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

Oh yes, he performed just phenomenally
When he delivered his usual homily.
But he put a foot wrong
When he burst into song!
Which was quite an egregious anomaly!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Parishioners hoped his long homily
was simply a one-time anomaly.
On learning ‘twas not,
they declared, “We have got
to replace this loquacious new dominie!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

His homily focused on sin,
And how it would do us all in.
But when he was done,
Sin sounded like fun --
I sensed there a positive spin.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

His sermons were not very deep,
And congregants would fall asleep,
But this week’s homily
Was an anomaly,
So compliments the priest did reap.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

In church it’s a downright anomaly
To find me awake for the homily.
I wish that the pastor
Would get through it faster,
Or lighten it up with some comedy.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I defy anyone to rhyme “raguly”.
Well, Steve Benko will do it, irreguly.
But I will be damned
If my brain will be scammed,
So excuse me for this one, I beg of thee.
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Suggested my dentist, “This style
will give you a fabulous smile.”
But the new dentures raguly
altered me radic’lly,
turned me to durn crocodile!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The carpenter works, he sets firmly his jaw,
He measures dimensions according to law.
He’s manly, no maiden;
His tool kit is laden
With awl and with auger and raguly saw.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

My assault rifle’s handle is raguly,
For by liberals, under attack are we.
When they come to my door
Scorning weapons of war,
I’ve a spot for ‘em under the apple tree.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Please wait,” says the wise hermit crab,
“just a moment until I can grab
a shell to empanoply
me. What anatomy
lacks is supplied by prefab!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Some onlookers booed and some of them hissed,
Some late to the games were afraid they had missed;
It was holiday time,
And to miss was a crime,
As empanoplied warriors entered the list.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

She deduced that she had been seeing
A man empanoply his being.
However hard she tried
She couldn’t get inside,
Resulting in her simply fleeing.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

I vow to defend what is right!
Dear Sancho, prepare me to fight.
Empanoply me
For all men to see
That here is a very good knight!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“His ego we have to empanoply,”
Said Mike Pence, every hour more frantically.
“A rapid acquittal
Would make him less brittle;
For Christmas, Mitch, this is my Santa plea.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

A chicken that talks! How unique!
We patiently wait. Will she speak?
No, her famed logodaedaly
henny keeps greedily
tucked in a taciturn beak.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Logodaedaly’s practiced by some;
From thin air their cool coinages come.
The words thus invented
Are here then presented
For dear Anu to say where they’re from.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

It’s a gift to express oneself easily;
to explain or to make a point speedily.
In the battle of words
medals go to the nerds
and the readers -- well-armed logodaedaly.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

A writer of lim’ricks is one
Who hopes when her writing is done,
Has shown logodaedaly,
But not knowing piddly,
Has given her readers some fun.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

As your lackeys have great logodaedaly,
There’s no need, Mr. Trump, for a guilty plea.
Put victims on trial!
Call witnesses vile!
Then flit to new crimes like a honey bee!
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

My sentences mostly go snappily,
For I practice the art of eutrapely.
But without some caffeine
I may blur what I mean
And then wind up conversing just crappily.
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

The talkativeness of his wife
is causing some serious strife.
He tells her, “Unhappily,
dear, your eutrapely
steals all the peace from my life.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

There was once a young girl from far Napoli,
Who would breeze through her life oh-so-happily.
The men flocked far and wide
Just to be at her side,
She possessed the great gift of eutrapely.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Ms Parker was blessed with eutrapely
And sat at the table most happily.
Just one of the guys,
This dame would crack wise,
Her bon mots delivered quite snappily.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

It’s so great when an answer comes snappily;
when people converse with eutrapely,
when knowledge, ability,
mental agility
permit discourse that always ends happily.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

By engaging the boss with eutrapely,
You hope your review will go happily.
He gives you a smile,
Then writes in your file,
“Much talking but doesn’t work snappily.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: And why doesn’t doubtless end in ‘ly’?

I don’t know homily weeks I can keep making these puns.

You should check your ratchet winch for rust raguly.

Spectators often went to Judge Parker’s court just to hear empanoply for mercy.

If I ask the county registrar to logodaedaly do it in a timely manner?

“Dammit, Trump, eutrapely constitution into the dirt whenever you speak!”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other? -George Eliot (pen name of Mary Ann Evans), novelist (22 Nov 1819-1880)

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