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Aug 30, 2020
This week’s theme
Words that appear to be misspellings

This week’s words

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Relative usage over time

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Words with horse-related origins

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AWADmail Issue 948

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

Sponsor’s Message: Coronavirus got you down? Feeling cooped up? Going stir crazy? WISE UP! -- is the perfect cure for cabin fever -- it’s a Wicked/Smart Party Card Game that asks tons of devilishly difficult questions that’ll give you know-it-alls plenty of life lessons in humility, history, sports, science, literature, and geography. And wit. For example: Everyone knows the First and Second Amendments -- what’s the Third? Sleeping Beauty’s real name? How long is a furlong? But beware, there’s also a slew of “challenge” cards that chuck Darwinian physical and mental wrenches into the works, e.g., “Throw this card on the floor and pick it up without using your hands.” Just what the doctor ordered, especially for this week’s Email of the Week Winner, Robert Carleton (see below), and hunkered-down brainiacs everywhere. WISE UP! NOW.

A warm welcome to students from Canterbury School, Fort Wayne, Indiana, who joined this week.

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

Ee-moo?! NPR’s “Absurd” Pronunciation Starts New Emu War in Australia
The Guardian

Language Is a Tool for Shaping Minds, and Miller Knows How to Weaponize It.
The New York Times

Email of the Week -- Brought to you by Wise Up! -- the family that plays together stays together

From: Robert Carleton (enchanted128 outlook.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--cliticize

Words that look like an error raise eyebrows, for sure. Errors that should be eye-catching sometimes evade notice and gain public positions. In Chile, about a dozen years ago, the mint issued a 50-peso coin with “Chile” spelled wrong, i.e. CHIIE. The director of the mint was fired, and several others criticized. The coin remained in circulation.

Bob Carleton, Albuquerque, New Mexico

From: Richard S. Russell (RichardSRussell tds.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--cliticize

You wrote: You’d think that when they print such a large sign they’d look at it a little more closely, and you’d be right. The picture was doctored.

This one wasn’t.

Richard S. Russell, Madison, Wisconsin

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

Clit-icize is almost as bad as anally. Good manners prevent me from serving up other examples, such as FAS (Faculty of Arts and Science), which in Hungarian orthography (where the s sound is spelled as sz) also refers to a body part, in this instance, one of the male body.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Brenda J Gannam (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)
Subject: “communicating in grunts”

Your comment today about “communicating in grunts” made me laugh out loud! When I was growing up in an Arab American family in Georgia, we often used translations of Arabic phrases admixed with Southern English to describe ordinary occurrences. The bathroom was called “the water house,” to urinate was “make water,” and defecate was “grunt”. I regret to say that your suggestion has, in some sense, already come true, as anyone who reads comments on social media can attest!

Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York

From: Diana Bouchard (dianab aei.ca)
Subject: Ordonnance

A couple of French branches of this linguistic tree: Ordonnance in French is also a medical prescription. Ordinateur in French is the everyday word for computer. Puts our affairs in order, supposedly.

Diana Bouchard, Montreal, Canada

From: Mary Jean Mailloux (mmailloux1 cogeco.ca)
Subject: Ordonnance

One competency in French as a second language is one’s ability to “ordonner” the steps of a task say, premièrement, ensuite, etc.

Mary Jean Mailloux, Oakville, Canada

From: Ginny Stahlman Crooks (via website comments)
Subject: cheap jobs

In the new version of the law of supply and demand, jobs are so cheap -- as measured by the pay -- that a worker is encouraged to take on as many of them as she possibly can. -Barbara Ehrenreich, journalist and author (b. 26 Aug 1941)

The thought for today breaks my heart. My husband is a certified fitness trainer, certified by NASM, I’m told the most highly credentialed certification. He has to pay and take classes to maintain his certification every year. And yet he gets a measly $12 an hour at the gym where he works -- some gyms pay people even less (of course right now he’s laid off because of the pandemic). In his earlier life he worked as a commercial artist and designer for ad agencies, sometimes making several thousand dollars a week -- but when the recession hit in 2008, the bottom dropped out and he lost all his work. So he has to cobble together a living teaching privately, taking on commercial design and art work ad hoc, with no job security. If it weren’t for me, he wouldn’t have health insurance. The richest country in the world should have figured out by now how to pay all workers a living wage. In 1973, the minimum wage was equal to over $17 an hour in today’s money -- right now it’s $7.25 -- less than half that! All of the other wealthy countries have figured it out. It’s a shameful stain on the fabric of the USA.

Ginny Stahlman Crooks, Bloomfield, New Jersey

From: Jim Tang (mauijt aol.com)
Subject: exorcise

With all due respect, this hasn’t looked like a misspelled word in almost 50 years, ever since Linda Blair spun her head 360° and ruined split pea soup for an entire generation of moviegoers. The musical theme from The Exorcist (1973) can still trigger nightmares.

About the thought:

When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road. -William Least Heat-Moon, travel writer (b. 27 Aug 1939)

What is most amazing to me is how people in other countries don’t hold our country’s past AND present, not to mention the foreboding future, against us as individuals. (Sadly, it’s a philosophy that a large number of our own citizens are unable to embrace when the situation is reversed.)

Not just lately, either. Our president follows a solid modern precedent. I read about a visitor to Nicaragua during the Contra War, apologizing to the locals for Reagan’s conduct. They blew her off, saying, “It’s okay. We know your president is crazy.”

And, lest we forget, the huge following for the USA-generated website, Sorry Everybody, after George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004. So many gracious international replies for the thousands of mea culpas domestically produced.

It’s almost enough to give you hope. Almost.

Jim Tang, Kula, Hawaii

From: Bob Wilson (wilson math.wisc.edu)
Subject: equipollent

A rather different meaning, here as defined by Wikipedia:

In Euclidean geometry, equipollence is a binary relation between directed line segments. A line segment AB from point A to point B has the opposite direction to line segment BA. Two directed line segments are equipollent when they have the same length and direction.

Your definition of equipollent also fits the mathematical definition of a binary relation. I do wish we did not have so much of the populace saying all claims along the political spectrum were equipollent when too many are simply false.

Bob Wilson, Oregon, Wisconsin

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Exorcise and ordonnance

I invite you to take a leap of faith, a flight of fancy into the this ZOOM scenario, where Father Joe Biden (aka the Democratic candidate for the presidency) is attempting to exorcise the malevolent specter of Trump from the White House, who presents as the clueless emperor-with-no-clothes. Let’s face it, Trump is a shape-shifter of the first order. Biden, a lifelong devout Catholic, I contend, would still cleave to the Old Testament edict... “Love thine enemy.”... even his political arch rival, The Hater-in-Chief.

An Exorcise in Futility? The Elements of Ordonnance
With the word “ordonnance”, my thoughts gravitated towards the concept of order-in-architecture, and specifically, the three major styles of classical Greek columns. They include the simply topped Doric, the curly-cued crowned Ionic, and the richly embellished Corinthian. Here, my Froggy frantically negotiates all three orders of the columns, perched precariously on-high. My caption is a subtle echoing of Strunk and White’s classic guide to writing excellence, The Elements of Style.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Anagrams of This Week’s Words
1. cliticize
2. ordonnance
3. settlor
4. exorcise
5. equipollent
= 1. connect (not so erotic)
2. order
3. citizen
4. expel ill
5. is equal
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)


The Donald would often be criticized,
And then he found out he was cliticized
To supremacists white
With robes in the night;
His brain was declared itty-bitty-sized.
-Lawrence Crumb, Eugene, Oregon (lcrumb uoregon.edu)

I know that I’m cliticized to
My adult sons, who number two.
They still seem to be
Little boys to me.
There’s nothing for them I won’t do.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

“Believe me, I didn’t get cliticized,
For Donald is not even middle-sized,”
Said Stormy, “Who knew
That so little ado
For mere seconds could get so politicized?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Security guys in a row:
Number 38 liked it just so.
He said, “Maintain this ordonnance,
I’ll find Mrs. Ford and dance.
After the ball, we can go.”
-Bob Webb, Central Lake, Michigan (rhw3fl aol.com)

A young poet from old Paris, France,
Composed scenes filled with sizzling romance.
By the Seine he would write,
His words flowed through the night,
In sequential and sweet ordonnance.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

An ordonnance limericks share,
I’m sure that the reader’s aware.
Their pattern is set
And if it’s unmet,
“Disaster!” the critics declare.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

It’s not what you might think at first glance
upon seeing the word ordonnance.
Not about war’s inanities,
it’s about the humanities
and the way the arts all do our lives enhance.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“We got screwed in the avian ordonnance,”
The penguins complained to the cormorants.
“Both our species love fish,
So we’re similar-ish,
But you fly and our wings are just ornaments.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Your trust,” says his Aunty Marie,
“is not what you hoped it might be.”
She continues, “You’d get more
were I not its settlor.
You should have been nicer to me!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The settlor created a trust.
His lawyer advised him he must.
“To think that I’ll die,”
He said with a sigh.
“I guess I’ll just have to adjust.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Buying cat food one day at the pet store,
I decided, “I’ll be Cleo’s settlor.
I’m changing my will,
And she sure fits the bill;
No one else likes me scratching their head more.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Donald Trump clearly wants to be King,
He so craves the control that would bring.
Pray we soon exorcise
This foul Lord of the Lies,
And then “O, Hallelujah!” we’ll sing!
-Bob Webb, Central Lake, Michigan (rhw3fl aol.com)

“They say you can just exorcise
the fat from your belly and thighs,”
says the plump ingenue.
“But I know it’s not true,
‘cause I tried, and they’re still the same size!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The young man, so his shrink would surmise,
Had mad demons he must exorcise.
It took quite a long while,
Of much heartache and trial,
But it worked after various tries.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

It’s urgent we get to the polls
To exorcise Trump from our souls!
For voting him out
There’s simply no doubt
Sits top of the list of our goals.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Of his talent no one had a doubt,
But at crunch times he’d oft chicken out.
In order to exorcise
his mind’s fiends in a trice,
He would follow the shaman’s dark route.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

There are many who think it wise
That the White House they sanitize.
If Biden does win,
Before he moves in,
And Donald’s lies, they exorcise.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“AOC, take me in if you empathize;
From my life both my parents I’ll exorcise,”
Tweeted Kellyanne’s teen,
“My dad’s views are obscene,
And Mom’s alternate facts are pathetic lies.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

To his Cabinet, Trump said, “Tell ya what:
Speak the truth if you feel like it, but
Kellyanne’s got our backs
With ‘alternative facts’.”
Don, they’re not equipollent. Tut, tut.
-Bob Webb, Central Lake, Michigan (rhw3fl aol.com)

Says she, “I’ve decided which beau
I’m going to marry. Although
they seemed equipollent
at first, one’s insolvent.
My chosen is rolling in dough!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Our teens are equipollent today
To parents, by having equal say.
Something I’m not for.
They should live life more
Since experience will pave their way.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

A southern accent’s a real kick!!
Just think Dolly Parton, who’s slick!
E.g., “equipollent”
Could rhyme with, say, “silent”
In the mouth of a real southern chick!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Said the sheriff, “Though y’all are non-vahlent,
We still shoot folks in this heah envah’nment.
While the law gives you rahts
That’s the same as us whahts,
You ain’t yet whatcha call ‘equipollent’.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The optician told me, “Don’t squint through your new mono cliticize open wide that gives the clearest vision.”
-Bob Webb, Central Lake, Michigan (rhw3fl aol.com)

“To complete the sex change operation, we’ll cliticize you,” explained the surgeon.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The little boy demanded to know, “Do ordonnance live in the cracks in the sidewalk?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“We’re still working out our creation myth; it isn’t settlor,” said the patriarch.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

After negotiating for five hours, I took my lawyer aside and told him: “Get this guy to settlor we’re done here.”
-Bob Webb, Central Lake, Michigan (rhw3fl aol.com)

My lover said, “You can have sighs from your exorcise from me, but you can’t have both!”
-Bob Webb, Central Lake, Michigan (rhw3fl aol.com)

The seamstress told her apprentice, who was trying to measure some fabric, “Either mark it with an exorcise it properly.”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

“She says she wants a divorce, but it’d be tough for an exorcise to find a new husband,” thought Jack as he climbed down the beanstalk.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Said the botanist, “That horse just fertilized a flower! I’ve never before seen one get equipollent!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Trump’s Foibles & Follies


Trump’s term in office has been a surreality show/bizarro circus with this clueless ringmaster taking America on an unpredictable joy-ride. (Not much joy, however!) Here, I’ve shown the Manipulator-in-Chief dropping the COVID-19 ball, as he has clearly failed to lead in the battle against this pandemic, as the self-proclaimed “wartime president”. Sorry, can’t use bone spurs as an excuse this time around, Mr. President.


Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy. -Spanish proverb

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