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Oct 4, 2020
This week’s theme
Rivers

This week’s words
Pactolian
Jedburgh justice
derwenter
palouser
scamander

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Relative usage over time

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Words coined after mythical creatures

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AWADmail Issue 953

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, Steve Juve (see below), and hunkered-down brainiacs everywhere. WISE UP! NOW.



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

Do You Speak Fox?
The Atlantic
Permalink

Nüshu: China’s Secret Female-Only Language
BBC
Permalink

A Study Found the “Single Largest Driver” of Coronavirus Misinformation. It Was the President.
The New York Times
Permalink

Irregardless of Your Agreeance: Language Pedants Are Crying Foul Too Often
The Guardian
Permalink



From: Richard S. Russell (RichardSRussell tds.net)
Subject: Rivers

You’re probably getting to this, but disputes over riparian rights are credited with being the genesis of the occupation of lawyers.

Richard S. Russell, Madison, Wisconsin



From: Andrew Eide (bozzymodo protonmail.com)
Subject: Pactolian

There is a lake and dam in the Black Hills of South Dakota called Pactola Lake. It is picturesque and a popular summer spot to go boating, fishing, and diving. It was so named because of all the gold placers in the area, dating back to its time as a gold-rush mecca for prospectors.

Andrew Eide, Grants Pass, Oregon



From: Lee Entrekin (harpo mindspring.com)
Subject: Quotation

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
There is always more goodness in the world than there appears to be, because goodness is of its very nature modest and retiring. -Evelyn Beatrice Hall, biographer (28 Sep 1868-1956)

I love this quotation, but sometimes I wish goodness would come out from hiding and kick some ass.

Lee Entrekin, Old Fort, North Carolina



From: Sam Long (gunputty comcast.net)
Subject: Jedburgh justice

The King James mentioned in today’s Word was King James VI of Scotland, the son and successor of Mary Queen of Scots. He ascended the throne of England as James I on the death of Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1603, and so is sometimes referred to as James VI & I. He was her first cousin twice removed. He is the monarch for whom the Authorized or King James version of the Bible is named; the translation was made for the Church of England by his command.

Sam Long, Springfield, Illinois



From: Philip Salt (philipsalt2011 gmail.com)
Subject: King James and Jedburgh Justice

Do you mean James I of England?

He’s one and the same as James VI of Scotland. It does get complicated if you have to rely exclusively on imports when you’re replacing rulers. We’ve done it more than once.

America has issues with importing presidents, evidently. Perhaps now is a good time to consider the possibility of change?

Philip Salt, Manchester, from the United (for the time being) Kingdom of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales



From: Duncan MacLaren (duncan maclarens.org)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Jedburgh justice

A similar mistake is often made here in Scotland, where post-boxes have the initials ‘EIIR’ (Queen Elizabeth II) on them. Of course, in Scotland, the current Queen is only Elizabeth I; the “first” Elizabeth of England lived in the 16th century and was only Elizabeth of England, as she predated the Union of the Crowns. Scottish post-boxes have been bombed in the past for this mistake!

Duncan MacLaren, Edinburgh, UK



From: Richard Coleman (richard.lewis.coleman gmail.com)
Subject: Operation Jedburgh

Operation Jedburgh was a clandestine operation during World War II, in which personnel of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE), the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the Free French Bureau Central de Renseignements et d’Action (“Central Bureau of Intelligence and Operations”), and the Dutch and Belgian armies in exile were dropped by parachute into occupied France, the Netherlands, and Belgium to conduct sabotage and guerrilla warfare and to lead the local resistance forces in actions against the Germans. The name of the operation was chosen at random from a Ministry of Defence code book, although several of those who took part in the operation later reflected that the name was apt as the town of Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders was notorious in the late Middle Ages for the activities of the raiders known as the Border Reivers.

Richard L. Coleman, Capt, USN, (Ret), Alexandria, Virginia



From: Don Murray (dallhg aol.com)
Subject: Jedhart justice

I grew up in the Scottish Borders very close to Jedburgh, or “Jedhart” as it is known locally. Every year a particularly brutal ball game is played on the first Thursday in Lent. Legend has it that the game originated from the practice of decapitating captured English raiders whose heads were then placed on a spike and “tried” by the townspeople before being found guilty. The heads were then used by the men of the town to play “Jedhart hand ba’”.

Don Murray, Sheffield, UK



From: Peirce Hammond (peirceah.03.01 gmail.com)
Subject: James I/VI

James was rather sure of himself and, yet, wanted unimpeachable backup. So, though he believed in the “Divine Right of Kings”, he commissioned a Bible to back him up. What’s Magna Carta when the Bible says otherwise?

Peirce Hammond, Bethesda, Maryland



From: Brenda J. Gannam (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)
Subject: Justice

This discussion of justice rendered unjustly reminds me of my own parents’ approach: I had a sister who was more than eight years my senior. As a budding teenager, she wanted a turntable to play records -- and my parents obliged for her birthday.

Years later, when I reached my teens, I wanted a turntable. My parents refused. Their explanation? Your sister took hers to a party and it was stolen. “What if I promise not to take it out of the house?” They still refused. Gotta love those Catholics -- guilt by association! X did it, so Y gets the penalty.

Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York



From: Charles Payne (charlierp gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Derwenter

Surely one of the 100 most obscure words you have ever published.

Some day you should crown THE most obscure word you have ever publicized. Sure to create a firestorm of controversy and raise it from obscurity! A feat not easily accomplished.

Charles Payne, San Jose, California



From: Gus Yearsley (gus hobart.org.au)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Derwenter

And here’s a photo of the Derwent from our house.

Gus Yearsley, Hobart, Australia



From: Wayne Worladge (worladge gmail.com)
Subject: Derwenter

As a former resident of Hobart, I have never heard the term, nor have several ex-pat friends.

My great-great-grandfather was a convict. Derwenters would have been the lesser criminals as the bad ones were sent to the hell-hole of Port Arthur, some distance away from Hobart and the Derwent. Perhaps the term faded away due to the perceived shame attached to it? These days it is quite something to be descended from a convict and even more so to have an ancestor from the First Fleet.

Wayne Worladge, Melbourne, Australia



From: Nancy R Wilson (wilsonna sonic.net)
Subject: Derwenter

This made me think of another River Derwent and Lake Derwentwater in England’s Lake District, likely the inspiration for the name of Tasmania’s River. The 3rd Earl of Derwentwater, young James Radcliffe, was convicted of treason for his part in the 1715 Jacobite Uprising. He was beheaded on Tower Hill in 1716. The story is told that on the day of his death, the Northern Lights were so brilliant that they were known for many years in the north of England as Lord Derwentwater’s Lights.

Nancy R Wilson, Petaluma, California



From: Lisa Nazarenko (lisanazarenko.101 gmail.com)
Subject: palouser

It’s interesting that in the example of usage, “But with the impetus of a palouser ... these fires converged into one and then burned ferociously for two days,” the word palouser could refer to any of the three definitions!

Lisa Nazarenko, Vienna, Austria



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

From: Steve Juve (bonzzo cableone.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--palouser

My Norwegian grandfather moved with his family to a homestead on Little Bear Ridge near Troy, Idaho in the early 1900s. Troy is in the heart of the Palouse.

palouser
When I was 10 years old, he told me that his first bicycle didn’t have any lights on it, so he made a palouser to mount on the handlebars.

He explained that a palouser could be made with a 1/2 pound coffee can. You make a hole in the SIDE of it big enough for a candle to fit through. Fit the candle into the hole, then on the back of the coffee can make nail-sized holes all around the back, leaving the CENTER of the BACK of the can without holes. He explained that the force of the “wind” would not put the candle out, and it would provide some light -- more than you would expect from just one candle (the shiny inside of the coffee can reflecting and amplifying the candle light).

The physics of the plan is that air pressure will build in the coffee can, creating a static state, and the air that moves out of the can will do so relatively slowly, exiting around the candle flame without extinguishing it.

So, I made a palouser, just as grandpa described. I took a lit candle and twirled around with the palouser. Sure enough, the candle remained lit! Indeed, I could not put the candle out no matter how fast I twirled around with the device, so long as it was directly facing in a forward direction, as it would be on the front of a bicycle.

In those days headlights on cars weren’t even standard. Without the power of electricity it was nearly impossible to build a headlight that worked. The very first headlights were acetylene lamps. These contained a small flame, which could withstand some wind and rain.

So, with car headlights being troublesome and likely far away from being available for bicycles, for a young boy in those days, the palouser, though not “high-tech”, might have been “pretty nifty”.

Steve Juve, Clarkston, Washington



From: Deb Burns (deb.burns storey.com)
Subject: Palouse

The homeland of the Palouse people, who bred the magnificent Appaloosa horse.

Deb Burns, Williamstown, Massachusetts



From: Ginger Ferrell (ginger_too msn.com)
Subject: Palouser

I remember this word as la la palouser. Here is one use of this in a headline.

Here is what it seems to have migrated to: lollapalooza.

Ginger Ferrell, Charlottesville, Virginia



From: Bob Wilson (wilson math.wisc.edu)
Subject: Palouser is just half of the story?

All my life I have encountered this word, but only as part of “Lolla Palouser”. I remember my father using it, perhaps to avoid some stronger words that he thought the kids should not hear him say. The combination had the meaning of “large” or “emphatic”, as in that “wind storm was a Lolla Palouser”, but it did not have to apply to winds. So thanks for this added background and extended meaning!

Bob Wilson, Oregon, Wisconsin



From: Joan Perrin (perrinjoan aol.com)
Subject: Scamander

Newt Scamander was the name of a wizard, a famous Magizoologist in the prequel of the Harry Potter books written by J.K. Rowling. He is the author of Fantastic Beasts, and Where to Find Them, a textbook used at Hogwarts. I first thought his name was Newt Salamander, but I think Scamander is fitting because his adventures do take a winding course.

Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York



From: Denny Beck (smokiescat gmail.com)
Subject: Word and Thought Connected

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
When I despair, I remember that all through history, the way of truth and love has always won. There have been murderers and tyrants, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it, always. -Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (2 Oct 1869-1948)

Amidst so much despair these days, thank you for today’s “Thought”. Reminding us that truth and love eventually win underscores Gandhi’s superhuman capacity for patience that never loses hope.

The course to stopping murderers and tyrants is rarely, if ever, a straight one. It scamanders around many obstacles.

Denny Beck, Grand Rapids, Michigan



From: Tom Reel (tom.reel cox.net)
Subject: Rivers

Do words limit our conception of one of nature’s longest rivers? It is ONE long river that begins as the Missouri River and ends as the Mississippi River flowing into the Gulf of Mexico. While the Missouri may be a tributary of the Mississippi (flowing into it despite actually being the longer of the two named rivers), I don’t imagine that Nature much cares what the cartographers or limnologists think. (Yeah, I had to look for that last one -- those who study inland bodies of water.) That North American waterway is one very very long river.

Of course, musicians know that the longest river is The Moldau (by Smetana), running usually 12-14 minutes.

Tom Reel, Norfolk, Virginia



From: Joel Mabus (joel.mabus pobox.com)
Subject: The word for this week

Thanks for that interesting river-full of words we’ve enjoyed. But here on Friday, I think for this week (for America at least) the word we’re all looking for is “hubris”.

Britannica online informs us:

Hubris, Greek hybris, in ancient Athens, the intentional use of violence to humiliate or degrade. The word’s connotation changed over time, and hubris came to be defined as overweening presumption that leads a person to disregard the divinely fixed limits on human action in an ordered cosmos.

Overweening presumption, indeed.

Joel Mabus, Portage, Michigan



From: Michael Rothschild (mlrothschild mac.com)
Subject: Schadenfreude

Hope you don’t miss the opportunity for a very special word of the day. Schadenfreude shouldn’t be missed.

Michael Rothschild, Madison, Wisconsin



Trump, Gelt-y as Charged
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Pactolian & Jedburgh justice

Here, harkening back to the Old Testament commandment ... “Thou shalt have no other gods (idols?) before me”, Trump bows down to a modern-day “golden calf”... the bull-market sculpture outside the New York Stock Exchange. For him, gold/money/gelt makes this lifelong grifter’s world go round. How the stock market rallies, or plunges, is his litmus test on the health of the economy.

No Trial, No Justice
Highland justice? Here a pair of roamin’-in-the-gloamin’ Scots stumble upon a distant grisly sight... a victim of Jedburg justice. No flowing river of tears, here, but rather a resigned acceptance of the then-law of the land. Hardly Scotland, the brave.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



Anagrams of This Week’s Words
Words originating in rivers:
1. pactolian
2. jedburgh justice
3. derwenter
4. palouser
5. scamander
=
1. is golden
2. when issued pre-court
3. jailbird post-incarceration
4. jarring gust
5. waver, meander
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)



Limericks

Trump’s towers Pactolian gleam,
Fulfilling a King Midas dream.
Reporters now say
No tax does Trump pay --
Somehow he succeeds with this scheme.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The staff knew their firm was in the red,
So the luncheon invite had caused dread.
The Pactolian fare
enhanced their pink-slip scare,
But a stock option plan stopped them dead.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

“Of course I wear outfits Pactolian;
I dress for success,” said Napoleon.
“Though it’s true Genghis Khan
Lavish robes didn’t don,
This is Paris, and I’m no Mongolian.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


If Jedburgh justice prevailed
With our laws and our system derailed,
No lawyers, no court,
No trials, in short,
If we lose them we all will have failed.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

“To Egypt I’ll go,” said Augustus,
“Marc and Cleo will get Jedburgh justice.
If a pharaoh’s his thing,
I say ‘Go have a fling,’
But they’re making too much of a ruckus.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


America’s Got Talent recently
Had a Derwenter sing perfectly.
Although he did not win,
He was glad to be in
The competition, as he’s now free.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

A Derwenter newly released
Was planning a post-prison feast.
“The food behind bars
Rates very few stars --
A Big Mac I crave at the least.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

In Florida ex-cons can vote,
When they’ve paid their fines, added note.
A Derwenter poll tax
More voters subtracts,
Which is what the Right does promote.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

For his choice to not be a dissenter,
Roger Stone is now free, a Derwenter.
“Though Black men they choke,”
He says, “Crime is a joke
If like me, you’re a White one-percenter.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


A Palouser in want of a light
Found a nifty Palouser just right.
But the weather turned bad;
The result was quite sad,
A Palouser turned day into night.
-Gordon Tully, Charlottesville, Virginia (gordon.tully gmail.com)

Chicagoans can’t forget how
one evening an old lady’s cow
upset her palouser.
They’ll never excuse ‘er
for burning the town, so they vow.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

A city girl liked a palouser,
Whose country ways sure did amuse her.
They met at a dance;
She hoped for romance.
Perhaps as his partner he’d choose her.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Their passion burned like a palouser,
and she loved him though he was a boozer.
He treated her badly.
The story ends sadly.
Girls, don’t give your heart to a loser.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

There once was a country bumpkin
Who made a lantern from pumpkin.
The palouser’s palouser
Turned out quite a loser,
When a swift palouser blew in.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Said the handsome young Dogpatch palouser,
“Ah could have any girl, but Ah choose her.
Daisy Mae’ll be mine
But Ah’ll sure take mah time;
In this comic strip, no one else woos her.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

From the mouth of an orange-haired schmoozer
Comes hot air like a desert palouser.
“The election’s a lie,”
He says, “Proud Boys, stand by!”
What a sucker, and next month a loser.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

He winks, and advises with candor,
“Hey guys, if you’re gonna philander,
be wise. Hide your tracks
from the old battle-axe.
Wherever you go, just scamander!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The big Head of State, our chief commander,
Who claims to lead with his utmost candor.
Has now hit a bad slump,
“But, hey folks, I’m a Trump,
Like the wind, my germs will soon scamander.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

To racists he’ll frequently pander
In speeches that tend to scamander.
The Proud Boys stand by
So don’t wonder why
I long for a leader who’s blander!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Is it ethical or is it not?
Let’s examine it, see what we’ve got:
To deal with a scoundrel
You have to go ‘round, he’ll
(or she will) scamander a lot!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“I promise I’ll never scamander,”
To the goose vowed the handsome young gander.
“I always will fly
A straight line through the sky.”
He turned out to be lacking in candor.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



Puns

“To become the world’s greatest comedy team was the Pactolian me made,” said Stan.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Would you expect the largest super pactolian left or right?
-Peter Jennings, Stony Lake, Ontario, Canada (peterj benlo.com)

Derwenter is my favorite season of the year.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

Won derwenter replace the batteries in your smoke detectors? Do it every six months.
-Peter Jennings, Stony Lake, Ontario, Canada (peterj benlo.com)

“We’re takin’ Derwenter the Galapagos,” the captain of HMS Beagle announced.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

That last boyfriend of yours was a soup palouser. I’m glad to hear you ditched him.
-Peter Jennings, Stony Lake, Ontario, Canada (peterj benlo.com)

“Is your new friend a winner?” “No, palouser.”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

“Ma, why is he always doing yoga?” “It makes Palouser.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



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

Fearful of Trump, GOP senators Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Mitt Romney have reneged on their pre-2016 election stance, that it was wrong to nominate and confirm a SCOTUS associate justice during an election year. Now, these “Three Amigos” have shifted their stance. Can we say stone-cold hypocrites, boys and girls?
Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
He serves his party best who serves the country best. -Rutherford B. Hayes, 19th US president (4 Oct 1822-1893)

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