Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



Apr 11, 2021
This week’s theme

This week’s words

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives

Next week’s theme
Miscellaneous words

The gift of words
Send a gift subscription
It takes a minute! It’s free.
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share

AWADmail Issue 980

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

Democrats and Republicans No Longer Speak the Same Language
The New York Times

The Harmful Ableist Language You Unknowingly Use

Making Music Visible: Singing in Sign
The New York Times

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Pause your subscription

It’s pausible now.

Well, it’s now possible to pause your subscription. Click on the Unsubscribe/Pause link at the end of any of our emails (including this one) and you can choose to cancel your subscription or put it on hold.

Of course, we’d rather you stay with us. After all, it’s only a word a day :)

We have been losing subscribers since around 2016 and hopefully this would allow you to take a pause if you have been feeling email overload.

The word of mouth is how the word gets around. If you enjoy our daily email, would you tell people in your circle?

From: Tony Holmes (tony_holmes btconnect.com)
Subject: Apgar

Apgar Acrostic:

Appearance: “I’m glad he’s not mine.”
Pulse: “I think he is eager to dine.”
Grimace: “Looks like his dad.”
Active: “Frisky young lad!”
Respiration: “His breathing’s just fine.”

Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK

From: Andrew Lloyd (knockroe gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Apgar

There are, of course, neonatologists in other countries, who have also learned backronyms.

Portuguese - Aparência, Pulso, Gesticulação, Atividade, Respiração - show how much of our English medical terminology comes through Latin.

German has to reorder the criteria to make them fit:
Appearance (skin color) Aussehen
Pulse (heart rate) Puls
Grimace (reflex irritability) Reflexe
Activity (muscle tone) Grundtonus
Respiration - Atmung

Andrew Lloyd, Borris, Ireland

From: Anne Casey (writan netspeed.com.au)
Subject: Apgar

I jokingly say that my daughter had an Apgar of 11, as she indignantly bellowed at her annoyance of being born for about half an hour. This, of course, only works if people know that there’s only a maximum Apgar of 10, and they’re familiar with the movie Spinal Tap (video, 1 min.).

Anne Casey, Canberra, Australia

Dr. Virginia Apgar postage stamp
From: David Herr (dherr43 gmail.com)
Subject: Apgar

I thought you might be interested in knowing more about the connection between Dr. L. Joseph Butterfield and Dr. Apgar. Dr. Butterfield was a neonatologist at Denver Children’s Hospital and a lifelong fan of Dr. Apgar’s work. After Dr. Apgar’s death in 1974, Dr. Butterfield started a 10-year project of having a US postal stamp created in her honor.

The stamp was issued in 1994. A dedication ceremony for the statement was held in Dallas, TX, at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Music at the dedication was provided by a string quartet of pediatricians playing instruments that had been hand-made by Dr Apgar (in her spare time). All of this was organized and planned by Dr. Butterfield.

David Herr, Grand Junction, Colorado

From: Linda Winston (lindawnstn gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Apgar

My beloved late partner, Stanley Braham, was a colleague of Apgar at Columbia Presbyterian -- if I’m remembering correctly -- and spoke most admiringly about her.

Linda Winston, New York, New York

From: Lynn Hendricks (wordmama yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Apgar

The moving picture of Virginia Apgar startled me when I opened today’s email. Thought for a moment I was in J.K. Rowling’s world of living photographs and half-expected Virginia to get up and leave altogether.

Lynn Hendricks, Carson City, Nevada

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

From: Craig Little (craig.little pearson.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Pinkerton

The Pinkerton Detective Agency has always fascinated me. It’s a trope in historical detective mysteries to have a way to include a detective in stories set before there were such things. Conversely, it also appears in many novels as a derogatory term for strike-breaking thugs because of the infamous Homestead strike. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, it is also used in cozies for female detectives because of Kate Warne, the first female detective. Thus it was even a short-lived TV show.

I also just discovered that because of the despicable Lieutenant BF Pinkerton character in Madame Butterfly, it is also used as a derogatory term for white men with a thing for Asian women and and even as a term for preferential hiring of whites in Asian countries.

Craig Little, Mahwah, New Jersey

From: Max Magee (maxpmagee gmail.com)
Subject: Colorizing images

The MyHeritage algorithm has a problem in that it doesn’t know which particular hues or colors to match. It picks black for almost all men’s suits because on average, sure, why not. In this case, we have historical artifacts and paintings to reference. See the example of a higher-level colorized image commissioned by Time magazine, and executed by Sanna Dullaway.

Max Magee, Madison, Wisconsin

From: Andrew Lloyd (knockroe gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Yarborough

The odds mentioned apply to a 13-card bridge hand. In the standard 52-card deck, there are 32 cards with values 2 through 9. The chance of getting 13 such cards is 32/52 x 31/51 ... 21/41 x 20/40 = 0.00055 = 5.5 chances in 10,000 or, to use a convention common at racecourses, 1827 to 1. A Yarborough poker hand (5 cards; is considerably more likely: 32/52 x 31/51 ... 29/49 x 28 x 48 = 0.077 = 8% or 12 to 1) is a regular occurrence ; and a Yarborough blackjack hand (2 cards; 32/52 x 31/51 = 0.374 = 37% or 2 to 1) happens pretty much every deal if there are a handful of players. It’s unlikely Yarborough himself played contract bridge which didn’t become trendy until after his death; more of a whist man.

Andrew Lloyd, Borris, Ireland

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

Since 1948, many phrases from Orwell’s newspeak have become part of the language. War is peace: there hasn’t been a cessation of war since the end of WWII. Freedom is slavery: if you live in untenable conditions, you are free to drop dead. Ignorance is strength: it’s best if you don’t know what hit you. And Big Brother is definitely watching me, even as I am writing this, through the Internet and smartphone.

As for equality, all animals (i.e. humans) are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. Billionaires make more money in the first morning of the new year than the rest of mankind make all year.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: James Eng (jameseng hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Orwellism

Orwellism. You mean like the phrase, “election integrity” which, coupled with hollow platitudes about honesty and truth, is really being utilized as an underhanded means to rig the next election? Or “cancel culture” as a means to prolong/justify racially insensitive atavisms of a white-dominated society? “Second amendment rights” has become an Orwellism indicating a person’s willingness to ignore commonplace death and destruction in order to overcompensate (via firearms) for deep internal flaws in one’s psyche. For crying out loud, there are a significant number of people who still ardently claim that the Civil War was fought for “states’ rights” and that slavery never factored into the equation!

James Eng, Cypress, Texas

From: David Sanders (davidysanders gmail.com)
Subject: Orwellism

Perhaps it’s inevitable but ironic and a bit sad that Orwell’s name is attached to the very abuse of language he was so ardent and articulate in calling our attention to. Of course, it takes great energy to remain vigilant and aware of how language is used to evade and cover truth. “Good prose is like a window pane,” Orwell said in “Politics and the English Language”. The example he set in keeping that glass unclouded is worthy of emulation.

David Sanders, Pittsford, New York

From: James Courter (je-courter wiu.edu)
Subject: animated photos

They are eerie, weird, and distracting -- not at all the positive touch I suspect you intend.

James Courter, Macomb, Illinois

From: Joyful Faith DiFernando (JoyfulFaithDiFernando gmail.com)
Subject: Memories

My dad signed me up for AWAD years ago when email was first a thing. I was like 10. I’m nearly 40 now. I’ve always loved words. And you guys were a big part of that. Thanks for expanding my vocabulary throughout the years. Dad has dementia now... Shitty. Lachrymose. Anyway, thanks. I continue to share you with new readers. 🧡

Joyful Faith DiFernando, New Mexico

Annie's Got Her Gun
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Oakley and Yarborough

Here, Wild West sharpshooter extraordinaire, Annie Oakley, hits her mark, perchance a ticket to her future eponymous Broadway play, Annie Get Your Gun? A bona fide Oakley!

Know When to Hold 'Em...
Exhibiting more of a worried, than a poker, face, our bow-tied gent is hoping his opponent is holding a rare Yarborough. Chances are slim. But as we can see, against stiff odds, his rival has nary an ace, ten, or face card... it’s a genuine Yarborough. Hmm, the luck, or bad luck, of the draw?

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Pangraph (contains all words from this week)

In his Orwellian world, Matt Gaetz thinks he got dealt a yarborough because his hero, whose Apgars of zero and zero left him with severe brain damage, did not give him an Oakley before the Pinkertons closed in.
-Ray Wiss, Greater Sudbury, Canada (portray vianet.ca)


This week’s theme: Eponyms
1. Apgar
2. Pinkerton
3. Yarborough
4. Orwellism
5. Oakley
= 1. Key to our newborn
2. Like Allan, eh?
3. Whist risk
4. George-type mayhem
5. Promo, pass
     This week’s theme: Eponyms
1. Apgar
2. Pinkerton
3. Yarborough
4. Orwellism
5. Oakley
= My kooky reply -- oh how sleek!
1. rates newborn
2. a P.I.
3. not regal
4. euphemism
5. gratis
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)

Make your own anagrams and animations.


We can’t ask newborns how they are,
But to see if they’re up to par,
One follows guidelines,
Assays vital signs,
And gives babes their own score Apgar.
-C.M. Papa, MD, Colts Neck, New Jersey (doxite32 gmail.com)

I burst forth! They declared me a ten
On the Apgar, but ever since then
I’ve gone slowly downhill,
And today I’m quite ill.
Now it’s only a question of when.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, Cornwall, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Imagine the parents’ great joy
Beholding their smart newborn boy!
“His Apgar’s a ten?
Let’s celebrate then,
And buy an enriching new toy!”
-Sondra Landin, New York, New York (sunnytravel att.net)

After brushing, you’ve rinsed and you’ve gargled,
and your jacket you carefully toggled.
With your pickles all jarred
and your newborns Apgar’d,
you’re on top of your game, not hornswoggled!
-Mariana Warner, Asheville, North Carolina (marianaw6002 gmail.com)

“Hooray! I’ve extended my line!
My wife and the baby are fine!”
says new dad. “Furthermore,
the kid’s Apgar score
is high. We are told it’s a nine!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

All the folks came from near and from quite far,
As they welcomed the Prince, a brand new star.
Bells rang out with much joy
To greet this baby boy,
With his posh pedigree and fine apgar.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

We counted her fingers and toes,
Admired her cute button nose.
Her Apgar was nine,
And that’s mighty fine --
We’re thrilled with our sweet little Rose!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Post birth, Docs used my apgar score,
to pronounce I was good to the core.
Now when I am sixty-five,
To check how long I’d survive,
My GP used that yardstick once more.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Virginia, how special you are.
In natal news you’re a rock star.
For mothers adore
Your newborn’s health score
And pray for a real high Apgar.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Your cub got high scores on her apgar,”
The doctor told ma and pa jaguar.
They replied, “You’re quite lucky,
For had they been yucky,
We’d have you for lunch at the snack bar.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Not as famous as Sherlock.” “Big deal!”
“Nor as Hercule, or Marple.” “Get real!
When you need the job done,
Get a Pinkerton, son!
He will bring your wrongdoer to heel.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

An Irish philosopher’s missing.
He went for a walk, reminiscing.
But the wise thinker’s son
And a smart Pinkerton
Would find him the Blarney Stone kissing.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

He engages a sleuth to pursue
his mate, whom he thinks is untrue.
“I will,” says the Pinkerton,
“catch that li’l stinker, son,
if it’s the last thing I do!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

A Pinkerton, shamus, or dick
Which one of these guys should I pick?
I want a detective
Who’ll be most effective,
As clever as Nora and Nick.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

If you’re shirking your chores by malingerin’,
Your wife has no need of a Pinkerton.
“You’re faking!” she’ll say,
“The lawn’s turning to hay!”
And she’ll grab the remote you’ve been fingerin’.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Just visiting old Market Harborough?”
“Yes.” “Us, too. We flew down from Scarborough.
Five-Card Draw -- that okay?”
“Deal me in and let’s play.
Oh, would you believe it? A Yarborough!”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, Cornwall. UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

My research on poker was thorough.
Through volumes galore I did burrow.
And so, dear Anu
Here’s hoping you knew
Four deuces, one trey’s no yarborough.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

A Yarborough’s what he was dealt.
The odds were against him, he felt.
He managed to bluff,
And then, sure enough,
That card player won all the gelt!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“This deck always gives me a yarborough;
It’s stacked,” Said Miranda to Prospero.
“Being stuck here is tragic,
But don’t abuse magic;
Now conjure me up, Dad, a Marlboro.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The leader we had for four years
has messed with our minds, it appears.
His bold Orwellism
created a schism
’twixt many of us and our peers.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Some Orwellisms we heard first
When Kellyanne Conway conversed.
Her language unique
Was real doublespeak --
“Alternative facts” was the worst.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

While her captor hoped poor Belle’d kiss him,
Be our guest” was the staff’s Orwellism.
Interspecies romance
Hasn’t much of a chance,
But becoming a prince heals the schism.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

They phoned me and said I should run
To claim the great ticket I’d won;
An Oakley to Annie,
Yes, all fine and dandy,
But Hamilton’s really more fun!
-Sondra Landin, New York, New York (sunny travel att.net)

Cry the bears, “We have caught you again!”
Miss Goldilocks answers, “Well, then,
I say okie-dokie,
just give me an Oakley
to stay with you guys in your den!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

An Oakley that I’d really hope for
Is for Keith Urban, whom I adore.
He is one Aussie
Who appeals to me,
His soulful voice causes my heart to soar.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

An Oakley was given to me,
So I was admitted for free.
And how was the show?
Well, if you must know,
It’s worth what it cost me to see.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Don’t be fooled by the gift of an Oakley;
During COVID, attend things remotely.
You can watch from your room!
That’s why God gave us Zoom;
It prevents us from acting ignobly.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The computer geek tried to impress his boss by writing an apgar-nished with bells and whistles.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

“You need more exercise,” said the cat owner. “Get off my l-apgar.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When the pirate heard he would be having his favorite roast donkey meat for dinner, he exclaimed, “Yarborough!”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

Yarborough is acting like the ass that he is.
-Fred Perri, Scituate, Rhode Island (f.b1 verizon.net)

After the lollipop, her baby had a pinkerton-gue than usual.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

“Mommy, Mommy, I want a Pinkerton on my window!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I want you to be aware that knowing y-orwellism-ost important to me.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

The usual suffixes to denote a state of being, area of study, or system of beliefs are, like, -ity, or, y’know, -ology, Orwellism.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The winemaker’s final product tasted Oakley.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

Said the mother tree to her acorn, “It’s time you grew up and started acting more Oakley.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

"Robin" Joe
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: “Robin” Joe

Pres. Biden has recently announced his ambitious infrastructure bill, eclipsing two trillion dollars, the core of which targets America’s deteriorating highways, byways, bridges, airports, and mass transit systems. He’s made it clear that a large portion of it will be paid for by higher taxes on the wealthiest 1%, largely corporate CEOs and venture capitalists.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Kindness is more important than wisdom, and the recognition of this is the beginning of wisdom. -Theodore Rubin, psychiatrist and writer (11 Apr 1923-2019)

We need your help

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


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

© 1994-2024 Wordsmith