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Mar 7, 2021
This week’s theme
Words coined after Gulliver’s Travels

This week’s words
lilliput
Laputan
struldbrug
yahoo
Brobdingnag

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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Euryvocalic words

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AWADmail Issue 975

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

Sponsor’s Message: Are you sick and tired of social distancing? Then try some intellectual distancing instead: THE OFFICIAL OLD’S COOL EDUCATION is “The Holy Trinity of wit, knowledge, fun and games”, three pocket-sized handbooks that are chock-a-block full of gee-whiz, Shakespeare, history, how-tos, sports, wit, and recalcitrance. There are also principles (Pareto, Peter), poetry, and trivia: What is Sleeping Beauty’s real name? How many towns are there in America? We’re offering an original call to intellectual adventure, a wild, edifying ride for less than a twenny. Buy Two, Get Three Special while supplies last.



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

Neanderthals Listened to the World Much Like Us
The New York Times
Permalink

It’s National Grammar Day, So Stop Grammar Shaming
The Web of Language
Permalink



From: Wilson Fowlie (curiousphilomath gmail.com)
Subject: Virtual travel (Re: lilliput)

Funny how language changes. Before this past year, the sentence “We can travel virtually any time” would almost certainly have meant “We can travel at virtually any time,” whereas now it means “We can travel virtually at any time”.

Wilson Fowlie, Coquitlam, Canada



From: Helen Pringle (justicegd aol.com)
Subject: Travel...

“There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away ...”
-Emily Dickinson

Helen Pringle, Leander, Texas



From: David Ryder (david.ryder1967 gmail.com)
Subject: Lilliput

On his travels in Ireland, Swift would have spent time in County Westmeath where he got the name Lilliput. A village beside a beautiful lake. There is an adventure park there today, named like the Japanese Park, Lilliput Adventure Park. It is, of course, closed also because of Covid, hopefully to open soon again though as we deal with this giant that has infected our world.

David Ryder, Ballinrobe, Ireland



From: Jean Marshall (babettesfeast1941 gmail.com)
Subject: Lilliputians in England

The word lilliput reminds me of a delightful children’s novel Mistress Masham’s Repose by T.H. White. A 10-year-old girl on a crumbling estate in England discovers some Lilliputians living in a neglected garden who were brought back by Gulliver but escaped. Evidently, it was a Disney project at one time, but quashed by Eisner. Thankfully.

Jean Marshall, Provo, Utah



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

The lilliputians are small in stature but big in ambition, in a parody of the saying “the smaller they are, the heavier they fall.” They enlist the “gigantic” human Gulliver to help them defeat the Blefuscudians by dragging their ships to a Lilliputian harbour. Then he makes the mistake of putting out the fire that threatens to destroy the imperial palace by urinating on it. There is a law against such desecration, however.

One wonders how this would look in real life in some state capitals, or -- horribile dictu -- on a States’ Capitol.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada



From: Caroline Rackley (bisquitrackley gmail.com)
Subject: Laputa

Check out the modern film by Hayao Miyazaki, Laputa: Castle in the Sky. Masterful and highly entertaining.

Caroline Rackley, Sapello, New Mexico



From: Rob Hardy (robhardy3 gmail.com)
Subject: Laputan

My favorite use of this word is in the film Dr. Strangelove, where Major Kong (Slim Pickens), the bomber pilot commander, declares, “Primary target, the ICBM complex at Laputa.

Rob Hardy, Dayton, Ohio



From: Ron Greeney (ritetyper aol.com)
Subject: La Puta

Laputa might be a great name for that enormous island of plastic waste floating in the Pacific, maybe as two words. Can you imagine what the architecture there would look like (the modern day equivalent of a house on sand).

Ron Greeney, Osceola, New York



From: Valerie Wint (vwint51 rogers.com)
Subject: Struldbrug

In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Half Life”, David Ogden Stiers plays a scientist who is prevented from continuing his research because he is about to turn 60 and must prepare for a ritual suicide. According to his culture, at that age one chooses suicide rather than become a burden to the younger generation. I always found that episode sad. Being now significantly older than 60, I know that we have much more to offer in our elder years. I love how Indigenous Canadians (and others) revere their elders.

Valerie Wint, Toronto, Canada



From: Kathleen Tillinghast (mater mac.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--yahoo

Your illustration of yahoos, whatever its provenance, is just fodder for prejudice. My personal stereotype is that yahoos, and, more specifically, domestic terrorists, are youngish, male, but white. The numbers point that way too.

Kathleen Tillinghast, Kirkland, Washington



From: Tom Tyson (ttyson sasd.net)
Subject: Yahoo

Yahoo! Mountain Dew!” (1 min.), a commercial from 1966.

Tom Tyson, Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Thanks for the antedating. We have updated our entry.
-Anu Garg



From: Mark S Michel (mmichel8350 sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Yahoo

Slim Pickens said Yahoo as Major Kong riding a nuclear bomb in Dr. Strangelove, which was released in 1964.

Mark Michel, St. Louis, Missouri

It sounds aahoo (3 min.) to my ears, but one could argue that they are essentially the same word.
-Anu Garg



From: Sharad Mathur (sharad.mathur va.gov)
Subject: Yahoo

The 1961 Bollywood movie Junglee with the song “Yahoo! Chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe”? Would that count as an interjection?

Sharad C. Mathur, MD, Kansas City, Kansas

I wasn’t born when the movie Junglee was released, but I grew up hearing this superhit song (5 min.). At the time I didn’t think much of it, but who knew that one day this song would antedate a word in the English language!

The first line of the lyrics “Yahoo! Chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe” translates to “Yahoo! Even if someone call me wild/ill-mannered!” See the lyrics with translation. Even if you didn’t know any Hindi, it’s easy to see that the actor Shammi Kapoor in the song is acting like a complete yahoo as he and the heroine Saira Banu frolick in the snow.

The English word jungle is, in fact, borrowed from Hindi jungle with the same meaning. The Hindi word junglee is, literally, one who lives in a jungle and, by implication, uncouth or uncivilized.

It’s not clear whether the interjection sense of the word yahoo developed independently in Hindi or was borrowed from English or vice versa. Now I wonder if the word exists in other languages as well. Drop us a line if you have heard it in your language. So far I have been able to find ujujuy (oo-hoo-HOO-ee) in Mexican Spanish.

Who knew that a word could be antedated twice in one week! It can be argued that this use of the word is in Hindi, not in the English language, and since we list the first documented use of a term in the English language, so far we’re going with 1966 as the earliest use, as discussed in the previous message. But stay tuned.

Meanwhile, OED, take note!

-Anu Garg



From: Lindsay Staniforth (lindsaymas googlemail.com)
Subject: Yahoo

I have only once, ever, been to the horse races in my life.

Cheltenham, back in the 1980s. One of the biggest events in the entire racing calendar. They must have had a spare ticket and took me along. “Bet,” they told me. “It’ll be more fun if you bet.” So I learned about putting a fiver on, “each way”, and decided to have a go.

The first race ~ they were all studying the form, and the going, and the odds, and all that expert stuff. I heard one of the men say, “Great horse, that, but the jockey’s a woman, so no use betting on that one.” Where did my first fiver go ? And when she came in first, at long odds, did I do well? Oh, yes!

The big race, the Gold Cup, had a famous horse called Desert Orchid running. We went down to the place where they walk the horses around so that you can have a look at them. Desert Orchid was an ugly horse, with huge forequarters like a hyena, but a lot bigger. It was the favourite, of course.

So I bet on a different one.
Yahoo.

Why? asked the others.
Swift, innit? I answered.

And it was. Came in second.
And I came home with a week’s pay in used notes ... but my beginner’s luck hasn’t tempted me to make a habit of it.

Lindsay Staniforth, Wells, UK



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

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

For many years we owned a travel agency, Gulliver’s Travels, in Madison, WI. Our slogan was “Where all our clients are giants.” Inside the office, though, we added that some were yahoos.

Michael Rothschild, Madison, Wisconsin



From: Aparajita Sihag (aparajitasihag gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Brobdingnag

I came across Brobdingnagian while watching an episode (3 min.) of The Big Bang Theory and immediately fell in love with it. I was delighted to see this word in today’s mail and read about its origins. It’s a shame I don’t get to use this word as often as I’d like to.

Aparajita Sihag, New Delhi, India



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

The Brobdingnagians, opposites of the Lilliputians, suffer from a megalomaniac complex. To them, Gulliver is a miscreant who has to be treated as an inferior curiosity. Anybody who is not a giant, based on the exaggerated self-image of the English gentry in the eighteenth century, simply doesn’t count.

This was because at the time Britannia ruled the waves (or so they thought). Contemporary English writers, such as Henry Fielding and Laurence Sterne, were just as critical of this attitude as was Jonathan Swift.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada



From: Jean Goldsmith (goldsmythj aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Brobdingnag

You wrote: Also, as per the map included in the book, Brobdingnag/Brobdingrag is located off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. Not sure why large mythical creatures are placed in this part of the world. Also see, Bigfoot.

Large creatures were shown in this part of the world after Thomas Jefferson proved to European scientists that much of our wildlife was larger than specimens in the Old World, i.e., the Canadian Moose vs European deer, etc. Before that, the argument had been that theirs was more robust.

Jean Goldsmith, North Salem, New York



From: Bob Richmond (rsrichmond gmail.com)
Subject: Conlangs in Gulliver’s Travels

Swift begins numerous constructed languages (conlangs), but doesn’t go very far with any of them. Probably there’s more text in the language of Balnibarbi than in any other.

Just as the language of Lilliput is soft and pretty, the language of Brobdingnag is harsh and ugly. The (you might say) pretty girl is named Glumdalclitch. A verse with her name in it shows she’s accented on the second syllable, glumDALclitch, with no clue as to the vowel values, which I suppose conform to English orthography, such as it is.

Bob Richmond, Maryville, Tennessee



From: Theodore Amgott (tedamgott75 bellsouth.net)
Subject: Gulliver on Wall Street

You may be a interested in this article from the 1/11/21 The Wall Street Journal (permalink) explaining the term Brobdingnagian Base.

Ted Amgott, Melbourne, Florida



From: Rebecca Andre (rebecca_andre hotmail.com)
Subject: A pandemic word I created

A word I made up during the pandemic. I was fortunate enough to get vaccinated early on and proudly referred to myself as a vaccinati (as in “literati”, etc.).

Rebecca Andre, Orinda, California



From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: brobdingnag and struldbrug

Hummer Meets Smart Car
Springboarding off our “brobdingnag” usage example referencing Ford Motors’ line of plus-sized “E”-vehicles ... the Escape, Expedition, and Explorer, I arrived at this confrontation between a Hummer owner, and a SMART Car driver. A modern day Brobdinagian vs. a Lilliputian. A David and Goliath-esque standoff. Seems like Mr. Hummer isn’t cottoning to Mr. SMART Car’s rules-of-the-road rejoinder.

The Golden Years
In this scenario, a senior-living center manager is giving a client a tour, or more precisely, for the client’s aged parent. The reposing oldster fits the profile of a struldbrug, seemingly on his last legs, but destined to reach the century mark... or even beyond. On a personal note, my dear mum residing near Toronto, Canada, celebrated her 96th birthday a week ago, Feb 28. She’s hardly a struldbrug, but clearly has longevity, thankfully sans the decrepitude. Still as sharp as a tack.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



Pangraph (contains all words from this week)

Article of impeachment:
The struldbrug Brobdingnag buffoon with the lilliput hands conjured up, for the yahoos listening to him, a Laputan excuse for losing the election. -Ray Wiss, Greater Sudbury, Canada (portray vianet.ca)



Anagrams
 
This week’s theme:
1. lilliput
2. laputan
3. struldbrug
4. yahoo
5. brobdingnag
= 1. tiny, little shrimp
2. bah, absurd
3. ageing, old, unwell, kaput
4. boor
5. hugest
This week’s theme: Words coined after Gulliver’s Travels:
1. lilliput
2. laputan
3. struldbrug
4. yahoo
5. brobdingnag
= 1. small, tiny
2. preposterous, absurd
3. old, faltering, but never dies
4. brute; a wild “go!” call
5. high, vast; towering hulk
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Limericks

Now Don Juan was known for his boast,
His organ was bigger than most.
But, the true scuttlebutt,
It was just lilliput,
Or so said the ladies he’d host.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Says the prince,”Without further ado,
let’s see if this pretty glass shoe,
which is so lilliput,
fits your little foot.
Aha! Cinderella, it’s you!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The chair was a bargain online.
I thought that its photo looked fine.
But, boy, I’m surprised!
It’s lilliput-sized --
A seat where a doll can recline!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

For Jack there was trouble with Jill afoot
When inside her he tried to his willy put.
“On this hill I’m your Stormy,”
She said. “But you bore me;
Like Donald, you’re truly a lilliput.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Some theories bizarre he’d concoct;
His research Laputan was mocked.
But notions absurd
Advances have spurred --
Mad scientists shouldn’t be knocked.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“Though ‘Rasputin’ I’ve shortened to ‘Putin’,
My charisma there’s still no disputin’,”
Joked Vlad. “For four years
Was their POTUS all ears
To conspiracy theories Laputan.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


My friend had a very old pug.
She fondly did call him struldbrug.
He was deaf and half blind,
And would drag his behind
All over her gold, antique rug.
Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“You should come to my spa. ‘Twould be wise!”
says masseur. But the oldster replies,
“Phooey and humbug!
You know I’m a struldbrug.
Massages might cause my demise!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

He’s just kind of a worn out old big lug,
Who sits ‘round drinking beer from his tin mug.
A man with a dull life
Filled with boredom and strife,
Whom his friends call a wizened old struldbrug.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

The struldbrugs decrepit debated
The very long lives they’d been fated.
“I hate this,” said one,
“It’s simply no fun --
Longevity’s just overrated.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said the queen of the hive, now a struldbrug,
“My daughter, you’ve been an indulged bug.
But you’ll soon take the throne
And must shag every drone:
Harry, Dick, and, yes, Tom, though you love Doug.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


When yahoos see shows on Broadway,
And lots for their tickets did pay,
They display veneration:
A standing ovation,
No matter how dreadful the play.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

When the cruel Covid crisis is through,
Not just here, but the whole, wide world too.
No more masks celebrate.
We did all vaccinate.
You will hear a great global, “Yahoo!”
Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

How diff’rent two “yahoos” can be!
The one is a measure of glee;
The other’s a lout,
At whom I must shout,
“Please stop spreading mis’ry on me!”
-Sondra Landin, New York, New York (sunnytravel att.net)

There once was a man, a real yahoo;
The people he met said, “He’s cuckoo.”
He insulted them all
And cast a huge pall,
And many went home crying, “Boo-hoo!”
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

March 4, getting under Joe’s skin,
the yahoos were at it again
with threats to revoke
the Dems’ rights to vote
by bashing and doing them in!
-Mariana Warner, Asheville, North Carolina (marianaw6002 gmail.com)

Cries the barkeep, excited, “Yahoo!
Tonight I shall say toodle-oo
to this pitiful place,
disappear with no trace!”
Then he hands everyone a free brew.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

If it’s “yahoo, yahoo” that you hear
Wherever you choose to appear,
Be sure that it’s meant
As a non-compliment.
In fact, it is clear it’s a jeer.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

Vaccination eludes me, it’s true;
It’s the reason I’m feeling so blue.
When I find a slot
And get me that shot,
You can bet that I’ll yell out, “Yahoo!”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)
Author’s note: I got my appointment the day after submitting this!


You’re impossible, Roger, it’s true.
Your behavior belongs in a zoo.
You’re loud and you’re crude,
disruptive and rude.
In short, you’re a total yahoo.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

The fledgling airline had to choose
between low fares and top-flight crews.
When it opted to go cheap,
It could only keep
A ragtag cabin staff of yahoos.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

When this new computer and I
Both finally see eye to eye,
I’ll yell out “Yahoo!”
And brag -- yes, to you!
(And to anyone else who’s nearby!)
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

In Padua, Kate, a bourgeois shrew,
Said “Petruchio? Please! He’s a yahoo!”
But the truth was their love
Fit them both like a glove,
And quite soon, off her panties and bra flew.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


There once was a buxom young lass
Who held some beliefs middle class.
That made it her duty
To share the great beauty
And breadth of her Brobdingnag ass.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

His feet are indeed Brobdingnag.
So whenever he dances the shag,
he steps on her toes.
That’s why, we suppose,
her shoes are becoming ragtag.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

That Brobdingnag man will go far;
He’ll be a great basketball star.
His wife is quite sweet,
A gymnast petite --
Their pairing strikes some as bizarre.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“This Covid relief bill is Brobdingnag;
You Dems have sure filled up your shopping bag,”
Said Mitch. “But each day
That these funds we delay
Means more illness -- we then of your flopping brag.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



Puns

Said Mr. Langtry, “Where in the world did lilliput my shoes?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When the young music student asked what she should do with her stringed instrument after playing it, her teacher curtly replied, “Vio-laputan its proper place.”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

Said President Macron, “At ze summit, Le Donald eenseested on meeting privately weeth Laputan!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The vegan disgustingly chopped up the meat he was served and struldbrug-ers all over the place.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

Struggling with a bad cold, the Pompeii archaeologist told the interviewer, “They walked too slowly. The way they struldbrug calabity on them.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Said the Swede as he answered the phone, “Yahoo is there?”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

Mr. Brobding didn’t appreciate it when Mrs. Brobdingnag-ged him all the time.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

When the worthless old stolen horse was recovered, alive but a bit banged up, the police report read, “Burglar did: A. break into stable, Brobdingnag.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Trump’s Revenge

Trump's Revenge
No love lost between Trump and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell. Even though McConnell lacked the intestinal fortitude to vote to impeach, soon afterwards he addressed his Senate peers, essentially echoing the essence of the Democratic House managers’ solid case against Trump. Then he added that citizen-Trump’s woes (criminal and civil) were far from over, which drew Trump’s ire, eliciting a 626-word screed which included, “Mitch, you’re a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack.”

American Idol
CitizenTrump still commands the fealty and adoration of most Republicans, as shown by the parading out of that kitschy gold-headed sculpture of a Stars-and-Stripes-briefed Trump at the recent CPAC. The cult of Trump is alive and festering. Many in the Party continue to parrot Trump’s “Big Lie”, that Trump won the election. GOP delegate after delegate to the CPAC cult-fest posed with the gaudy Trump statue for photo-ops. They might as well have been posing with the golden calf from Biblical times.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Nature’s laws affirm instead of prohibit. If you violate her laws, you are your own prosecuting attorney, judge, jury, and hangman. -Luther Burbank, horticulturist (7 Mar 1849-1926)

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