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Apr 25, 2021
This week’s theme
Nouning verbs and verbing nouns

This week’s words

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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Words made with animal parts

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AWADmail Issue 982

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

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

Groundbreaking Effort Launched to Decode Whale Language
National Geographic

How Did a Self-Taught Linguist Come to Own an Indigenous Language?
The New Yorker

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Verb nouns and vice versa

I invited readers to share the verbing of nouns and nouning of verbs and they delivered. Here’s a sample:

The one that drives me crazy is when newscasters (usually local) say “We are efforting to get more information on that story.”
-Jerry Segrest (segrest99 yahoo.com)

On friending a friend I posted a post and tagged her with a tag. She liked with a like but unliked it afterwards, so I unfriended her again.
-Hilde De Pillecyn, Antwerpen, Belgium (hdepillecyn gmail.com)

When I was a teacher in elementary school, some of the teachers would “bathroom” the children, which is how they put it. It was strange the first few times I heard it. I never cared for it, but those teachers used it quite naturally.
-Linda Mates, East Meadow, New York (roselist51 aol.com)

I’ve verbed some nouns in Portuguese, which I use regularly with friends:
café (coffee) to cafezar (to go grab/have a coffee)
lagarto (lizard) to lagartar (to sit or lie motionless in the sun)
jibóia (boa constrictor) to jiboiar (to rest/lie motionless after a large meal)
-tao, Setúbal, Portugal (kreelah gmail.com)

When students arrive in Boston for the fall semester, there are always instances of moving trucks getting their roofs sheered off by low overpasses on Storrow Drive, although these low ceilings are marked. Being a major thoroughfare, this always causes immense traffic headaches. This year is the first year I heard reports on local news stations of a trucks having been storrowed! Locals knew exactly what had transpired!
-Ann O’Donnell, Boston, Massachusetts (odeo22 aol.com)

Around our household we speak of adulting, as in “I’m so tired of adulting. It’s time for an adult beverage.” (Contradiction noted)
-John Brownson, Oakland, California (jhb johnbrownson.net)

Now with Covid-19, the quarantine, and ZOOM, I often use invite and meet as nouns. “I’ll email you the invite to our meet.”
-Eleni Halepi, Thessaloniki, Greece (halepie yahoo.gr)

When I was a child in small-town Texas, my elders speaking of an inherited farm, a gold pocket watch, or other valuable, commonly said the new owner heired it.
-Helen Pringle, Leander, Texas (justicegd aol.com)

I was amused several years ago when I heard someone say of a purchase, “I will PayPal it.”
-Mark D. Taylor, Wheaton, Illinois (marktaylor tyndale.com)

I’m an art teacher and a visual person, which means I see in pictures instead of words. I often tell my students, “I don’t English. I Art.”
-Danette Newton, Wadsworth, Illinois (dmnewton137 gmail.com)

When our little dog started taking meds, my wife and I would ask “Have you pilled the puppy?”
-Steve Pratt, Springfield, Illinois (StevenLPratt live.com)

My brother used to like saying “Beer me!” We mimicked him by saying “Cheese me!”
-Rebecca Shore, Chicago, Illinois (rshore saic.edu)

One that irritated me greatly occurred during the Olympics when the commentators referred to the athletes medaling.
-Fran Glica, Lansdale, Pennsylvania (fhrg comcast.net)

Years ago, as the hostess seated us at a Denny’s, she said, “Your waitress will be with you shortly. She’s beveraging another table.” -Susan Frank, Titusville, Florida (sfrank2 cfl.rr.com)

There is currently an ad on TV for a brain supplement, “Do you want to brain better?” and it sets my teeth on edge every time, and every time I mutter, “Brain is not a verb.”
-Nancy Rosman, Schwenksville, Pennsylvania (nwrosman comcast.net)

Let’s Hoover the floor. Go outside & Roller-Blade. Vicks your chest for your cough. Band-aid your cut.
-Denzil Feinberg, Ottawa, Canada (denzilfeinberg gmail.com)

My mother used to slam on her brakes if the traffic light was just going to yellow. It was safer to continue on (she used to say “I’ve only been in two wrecks and they both rear ended me!”). Our family called slamming on brakes unnecessarily “Ruthing” or “Don’t Ruth!” We did not say it in front of her. 😄
-Deborah Duncan (debmduncan gmail.com)

Sometimes the MS Word has issues with action as a verb. But as an educator in a role with many agendas, actioning an agenda point is essential, despite the appearance of the outraged wiggly line underneath. No other word will do. Certainly not ‘auctioned’, Ms/Mr Autocorrect!
-Cathy Basiel, London, UK (cathybunt71 gmail.com)

Frasier: We could go antiqueing.
Kate: You know, I’m not one of those people for whom ‘antique’ is a verb.
(Frasier, “It’s Hard to Say Goodbye If You Won’t Leave”)
-Andy Vetromile, Marietta, Georgia (fnordy1 yahoo.com)

When I was little (maybe 7-8 yrs old) my family always had Smart Balance butter substitute, but we just called it margarine. I then coined the term “to margrinate” to refer to spreading the butter substitute on bread!
-Rebecca Margolis, Baltimore, Maryland (rebeccamargolis1 gmail.com)

I thought you might enjoy this Get Fuzzy cartoon. Our family’s favorite cartoon from probably 20 years ago.
-Maggie Scofield, Raleigh, North Carolina (mdscofield gmail.com)

Perhaps not my using it, but the one that sticks out the most because I’ve seen and heard it so frequently in media sources in recent years, is the noun “rubbish”. I never heard it used as a verb growing up. Now it’s used as a term of denial, while at the same time indicating that the accusation being denied is not merely specious but garbage. “John rubbished rumours that his wife was leaving him,” or “EU rubbishes Boris Johnson’s claims that post-Brexit trade is running smoothly.” I know it’s on full use now but I’m still not used to it.
-Melanie Barker, Cape Town, South Africa (mb075630 gmail.com)

I’ll check my cash; I may have to cash a check.
-Nadine Smith, Phoenix, Arizona (ns08836 gmail.com)

One of my favorites that has endured was born when my daughter, at around age 3 or 4, used “leftover” as a verb, as in “Granny, can we leftover the rest of my mac and cheese?”
-Jenny Tynes, Seattle, Washington (public jstynes.com)

This just arrived in my email:
“I specialize in helping women transcend their limiting beliefs and architect a strategic success plan.”
Actually, my computer was a better grammarian than the author, and relegated this to the junk file.
-David L. Streiner, Hamilton, Canada (streiner mcmaster.ca)

Icarus (verb) to attempt to do too many things, especially on a Monday, which results in failure to accomplish anything of value for the rest of the week.
-N Chris Louw, Cape Town, South Africa (whispershout gmail.com)

I was once given a pair of goldfish who were dubbed Bert and Ernie. With no kids the names meant nothing. The fish came in a bag, with no tank, aerator, algae-eating snails or duckweed. So for a $1 gift I laid out $20 or so. Any time since that a small contribution from another has entailed a more significant outlay on our part, we say we have been Bert-and-Ernied. It certainly rolls off the tongue more smoothly than being white-elephanted -- and lacks the intentional impoverishment originally suggested by the latter.
-Michael Bucher, San Mateo, California (zoologuy gmail.com)

In the field of archeterie, which deals with bows for violins and related musical instruments, we have a term that started as a noun, became a verb, acquired a prefix, and then was renominalized. The violin bow is strung with a ribbon of horse hair. To install this on a bow is to “hair” the bow. With use, bow hair wears out, so periodically the bow must be “rehaired”. From the verb “to rehair”, we get rehairers and rehairing. And of course there’s a noun for the product of rehairing: it’s called a “rehair”, as in “This is the best rehair my bow has ever received!”
-Geo Kloppel, West Danby, New York (geokloppel gmail.com)

Long ago as I recall, my education professor, who constantly abused our language, once expressed an important idea thusly: “A teach should teach at every teach moment.” He used the same word as a noun, verb, AND adjective!
-Martin Rudolph, Oceanside, New York (mrudolph57 aol.com)

This lyric from John Mayer’s Come Back To Bed using the word forgive as a noun:
“You know you’re not a quick forgive”
-Jayashree Coutinho, Mumbai, India (jayashree sportzinteractive.net)

Have you nouned an adjective? When my 26-year-old son asked me “Can you do me a solid?”, I first wondered, huh?
-Joe Presley, Long Valley, New Jersey (presley89 comcast.net)

To Vultch, verb. To hang hungrily over someone else’s dinner, picking pieces up to eat. From vulture and my youngest daughter who would do precisely that. (I had a restaurant job, playing the harp, dinner was included, and I would get it to go.) I said, you’re like a little vulture. She said, I am vultching your food!
-Ellen Formanek Tepper, Glenside, Pennsylvania (etepper juno.com)

We live in the small Ohio town where the now-infamous virus that infects cruise ships, Chipotle restaurants, schools, and other places (its original name, Norwalk virus) has become a verb. Even though the medical community felt the need to Latinize (there’s another noun-to-verb example) it into norovirus, here in its hometown, we say, “They got Norwalked.”
-Kathy Geer Root, Norwalk, Ohio (kathygroot icloud.com)

My company makes software to create, manage, and simplify IT workflows. Our latest tagline is “Let’s workflow it!”
-Joe Silber, Leiden, The Netherlands (bishopjoey gmail.com)

As a piano teacher, I use the verb “to metronome” = to use the metronome systematically, gradually increasing the tempo of a piece by moving up one number at a time until the desired tempo is reached with everything under control.
-Marsha Martin, Maynard, Massachusetts (marshamartin yahoo.com)

I have a friend who belongs to the Romeos (Retired Old Men Eating Out), and gets romeoed every week.
-Richard Novick, New York, New York (richard.novick med.nyu.edu)

We volunteers in a small community thrift shop “Chico” overstock, or send to a Chico’s larger charity, when we decide the item needs to be taken two hours down the hill to that bigger community’s charity. So the noun, a town’s name, has become the verb meaning to send. It is so convenient. One word says it all. “Chico it.”
-Sherilyn Schwartz (tsschwartz yahoo.com)

Please credit the brilliant lyricist of “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” Sheldon Mayer Harnick (b. 30 Apr 1924).
-Sidney J. Burgoyne, New York, New York (sjb2nd aol.com)

From: Alison Kerr (alison.kerr gmail.com)
Subject: verbs, nouns, and adjectives

I have a T-shirt that reads, “I’m so adjective, I verb nouns!” and it still makes me laugh, years later. Unfortunately, the folks who sold the T-shirt no longer have it on their website.
Alison Kerr, Lexington, Kentucky

From: Richard Martin (school tellatale.eu)
Subject: Woodshed

For British readers, the word immediately evokes Stella Gibbons’s wonderful novel Cold Comfort Farm. Aunt Ada Doom’s unforgettable phrase “I saw something nasty in the woodshed” has entered the language.

Richard Martin, Darmstadt, Germany

From: Claudine Voelcker (claudine.voelcker googlemail.com)
Subject: Woodshed

The word woodshed brought to my mind this marvelously British (and sadly underappreciated) comedy Cold Comfort Farm and its elderly matriarch. She keeps to her room and the whole family is in gloom because she “saaw something naasty in the woodshed” when she was a kid.

The whole deranged family is mucked about when a poor posh niece is coming to stay. Life returns to the family; one after another, the family members dare to follow their dreams and strangers make their irruption into this very closed world.

An American producer wants to make the son (steamy Rufus Sewell) a Hollywood star. He breaks the grandmother’s incantation that she saw something nasty in the woodshed with an irreverent: “Sure you did, but did it see you, baby?” (video, 2 min.)

A great little must-see movie.

Claudine Voelcker, Munich, Germany

From: Gary Muldoon (gmuldoon kamanesq.com)
Subject: woodshedding

The somewhat more common term in law is horseshedding. Black’s Law Dictionary, 10th ed., defines this as “The instructing of a witness favorable to one’s case (esp. a client) about the proper method of responding to questions while giving testimony. The term often connotes unethical witness-coaching techniques. Cf. sandpapering.” The term comes from a novel by James Fenimore Cooper, c. 1850, quite unreadable.

Gary Muldoon, Rochester, New York

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

When I was part of the women’s barbershop community, woodshedding was commonly used to refer to impromptu musical sessions in which a random mass of people would get together and ad lib sing any songs we thought we all knew, as in, “After the competition, we hung out in the spa just woodshedding till they threw us out.” Sometimes the results were glorious, sometimes ridiculous, but always joyous.

Lynn Hendricks, Carson City, Nevada

From: Jim Rapp (jimrapp juno.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--woodshed

In the world of barbershop harmony, woodshedding is not about practicing, but about improvisation. One singer sings a known melody, while the other three try to find notes that, with the melody note, make pleasing chords. The quartet will, if necessary, go from note to note of the melody, searching for a suitable “ringing” chord. It’s not done in front of audiences; arriving at a good chord can be slow and sound like a cat fight, so it’s only entertaining to those in the woodshed doing the harmonizing.

Jim Rapp, Tucson, Arizona

From: Mairi Kidd (mairi kiddpanoscha.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--woodshed

For drummers, woodshedding also means playing so hard that tiny splinters flake off the drumsticks, collecting on the drummer’s knees and on the floor around the drumset.

Mairi Kidd, Portland, Oregon

From: Richard Koepsel (koepsel charter.net)
Subject: woodshedding

It is lore among jazz musicians that the origin of woodshedding comes from Charlie Parker who went from New York back home to Kansas City where he played Lester Young solos over again and again in his mother’s wood shed. He played them faster and faster and when he returned to New York his fast solos gave birth to bebop.

It can’t possibly be true. He was born in 1920 and by that time the verb woodshed was established in music practice.
-Anu Garg

From: Anastasia Haysler (duchessa swanone.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--woodshed

In the tech world, the term bikeshed is used as a verb to describe a situation in which attention is being paid to trivial matters at the expense of the project actually being accomplished. It’s based on the idea of “What color shall we paint the bikeshed?”, derailing the drawing up of the plans, hiring a contractor, purchasing materials, etc. -- a minor detail (one that often doesn’t yet need to be addressed) derailing the entire project.

Example: The bikeshedding over whether to use medial caps in the product name has occupied more of the team’s time than the discussion of what to do about the fact that the software is not yet complete, and will not be ready in time for the publicized release date.

Anastasia Haysler, Alameda, California

From: Christine Caroppo (cc-other bell.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--balk

Another archaeological reference this week! A baulk is also the strip of soil left intact in a grid method of excavating an archaeological site. This enables the researcher to observe the stratigraphy of the site when the units/squares have been dug down to sterile soil. The baulks are themselves excavated after recording the stratigraphy. More here and here.

Christine Caroppo, Toronto, Canada

From: Tara Bradley-Steck (tara bradleysteck.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--balk

In baseball, a balk occurs when a pitcher makes an illegal motion on the mound that the umpire deems to be deceitful to the runner(s). As a result, any men on base are awarded the next base, and the pitch (if it was thrown in the first place) is waved off for a dead ball.

Tara Bradley-Steck, Gibsonia, Pennsylvania

From: Laura Peebles (lhpeebles aol.com)
Subject: balk

The baseball rulebook (pdf) takes three pages to explain what a balk is, or isn’t, and what should happen should the umpire decide that one had occurred. Fans constantly argue about a specific pitcher’s pitching motion and the very occasional penalty called (“wait, isn’t that a balk?” or “no way that was a balk since the runner wasn’t deceived”). The balk is called less frequently since the umpire known as Balking Bob Davidson retired.

Laura Peebles, Arlington, Virginia

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

From: Donald Scott (donscott943 gmail.com)
Subject: Festoon...A perfect word for today!

As things have turned out, this is a time for fantastic festooning. NASA, as always, has festooned the Perseverance Rover with many interesting things.

Even more, NASA is a STEAM agency that always brings art and history together with science on its missions. So the amazing Ingenuity Helicopter, the first craft to have a successful flight on another world, 117 years after the Wright Brothers’ First Flight, carries a small piece of the original Wright Brothers’ plane on its body.

NASA has even festooned the map of Mars: The research areas for the Rover have been informally named for national parks on Earth. The Ingenuity Copter launches from Wright Field. And the Rover’s landing site is named for the brilliant science fiction writer Octavia Butler.

So here’s to a festooned Mars!

Donald M. Scott, former NPS Ranger, former NASA-AESP Specialist, and lover of words, Carson City, Nevada
AESP: Aerospace Education Services Program, an elementary and secondary education outreach program

From: Christine Caroppo (cc-other bell.net)
Subject: festoon

Here’s an interesting application of the word festoon from archaeology. There is a pottery type called Parker Festooned. It was made by Indigenous peoples in southern Michigan, northern Ohio, and southwestern Ontario in the 14th century. It features rows of incised or applied chevrons or rounded festoons around the rim of the pottery vessel. More here and here.

Christine Caroppo, Toronto, Canada

From: Thomas W. Filardo (twfilardo aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--festoon

Also, a distinguishing characteristic of certain hard tick species, consisting of small rectangular areas separated by grooves along the posterior margin of the dorsum of both males and females.

Thomas W. Filardo, Cincinnati, Ohio

From: Julian Lofts (jalofts xtra.co.nz)
Subject: festoon

A festoon is a medical term used by plastic surgeons and eye doctors to describe crescentic sagging and puffiness of the soft tissues of the lower eyelid due to thinning of the orbicularis oculi muscle, loss of elasticity in the skin with age, and the inevitable effect of gravity.

Beekeepers also use the term festoon to describe the way honeybees link up with each other’s legs to form a dangling chain or lacework between the frames inside a hive. There are several possible reasons given to explain this festooning behavior, including measuring distance, heat generation and wax production. However, scientists have not been able to confirm why bees festoon. A brief discussion about festooning bees is here.

Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand

From: Howard Jack (howard.jack.au gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--festoon

Lots of auto lights use festoon bulbs.

They were used in what we old timers call trafficators, but are used in all sorts of side, stop, and indicator lights, etc. Now, of course, they mainly use LEDs rather than the incandescent wire. One could say my brain is festooned by all sorts of trivia? 😊

Howard Jack, Grafton, Australia

From: Rebecca Eschliman (rebecca.eschliman gmail.com)
Subject: Festoon

I was reminded of a quotation from one of my favorite plays, The Lady’s Not for Burning:

Am I invisible?
Am I inaudible? Do I merely festoon
The room with my presence?

Rebecca Eschliman, Yellow Springs, Ohio

From: Mardy Grothe (drmardy drmardy.com)
Subject: A Thought for Today

In nothing does man, with his grand notions of heaven and charity, show forth his innate, low-bred, wild animalism more clearly than in his treatment of his brother beasts. From the shepherd with his lambs to the red-handed hunter, it is the same; no recognition of rights -- only murder in one form or another. -John Muir, naturalist, explorer, and writer (21 Apr 1838-1914)

Muir was referring to the slaughter of walruses in Alaska in 1881. He preceded the Thought for Today by writing: “These magnificent animals are killed oftentimes for their tusks alone, like buffaloes for their tongues, ostriches for their feathers, or for mere sport and exercise.”

The backstory is also interesting. Muir kept a journal while serving on the USS Corwin during an expedition exploring the massive Glacier Bay in Alaska. Observing a small boat from a nearby schooner approaching a herd of walruses, he is shocked to see three men raising their rifles. His description of the slaughter is chilling: “A puff of smoke now and then, a dull report, and a huge animal rears and falls -- another, and another, as they lie on the ice without showing any alarm, waiting to be killed, like cattle lying in a barnyard! Nearer, we hear the roar, lion-like...from hundreds, like black bundles on the white ice. Then the three men pull off to their schooner, as it is now midnight and time for the other watch to go to work.”

For more quotations on animal rights, go here.

Mardy Grothe, Southern Pines, North Carolina

From: Richard Tarnoff (otootski gmail.com)
Subject: Thought for the day

It is ironic that Muir blames mistreatment of other species on man’s “innate, low-bred, wild animalism”. The notion that our true nature is cruel and anti-social permeates our language and thinking (law of the jungle, dog-eat-dog, etc.) and is used to justify law and order policies, heavy-handed policing and excessive incarceration. Anthropologist Ashley Montague argued years ago that almost all human behaviour is learned.

Richard Tarnoff, Ladysmith, Canada

From: John Mandel (john3602 gmail.com)
Subject: John Muir

Muir was a racist. To quote him about how to treat other beings is absurd.

John Mandel, Culver City, California

Thanks for writing. Googled and learned that there’s more to John Muir. We’re adding a link to your note with the quotation.
-Anu Garg

From: Joe J. Jordan (via website comments)
Subject: bivouac

Greedy ants were our morning alarm clocks on our bivouacs in a hitchhiking trip to Jacksonville, FL, from the University of Illinois in the 1940s.

Joe J. Jordan, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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

My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go. -Shakespeare, poet and dramatist (23 Apr 1564-1616)

The Shakespeare quotation is from Hamlet. It is said by King Claudius as he is praying for God’s mercy for the numerous sins he has committed, notably the murder of his brother. On the way to his mother’s chamber, Hamlet notices him but refrains from killing him then and there for fear that, thanks to his prayer, his uncle’s soul would end up in heaven. “Now might I do it pat / And so I am revenged / This is hire and salary, not revenge.”

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Jamie Diamandopoulos (jdiamandopoulos yahoo.com)
Subject: etymology of savvy

The word savvy made me think of what Tonto occasionally called the Lone Ranger, kemo sabe (sometimes one word). Here are two references (1, 2) that give background on that. In further research, I found that “sabe” had different meanings in different Native American tribes.

Jamie Diamandopoulos, Houston, Texas

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Woodshed and balk

Pique Form
Riffing off the usage example for our word “woodshed” featuring John McEnroe and his implied superb half-volley, my inner punster couldn’t resist coining the homophone “woodshredder”. McEnroe was notorious for his short temper, taking out his ire on the umpire with his oath-laced tirades. But in this instance, Johnny “Mac” smashes his wooden racquet, shredding the gut stringing, and snapping the shaft in two. McEnroe’s career nemesis, Björn Borg, looks on, not surprised at his hotheaded rival totally losing it.

Faux Throw
In baseball, a pitcher can make a number of illegal motions that qualify as a balk. The majority of these intentional ruses usually involve a pitcher feigning a pitch, when he really has no intention of following through. In other words, a fakeout. At least one opposing player has to be on-base to call a balk. If the pitcher is caught in the act, the ump will likely call a balk. Here, it could be argued that I’ve pushed the balking scenario to the brink of absurdity, as the pitcher is well into his throwing motion, and yet the ball is still cradled in his glove. D’oh!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Pangraph (contains all words from this week)

This monster, who was savvy about cheating on his taxes and would balk at nothing to hurt the weak while festooning his office with self-aggrandizing baubles, should be woodshedded by being made to bivouac on the other side of the border until he understands what a hard life really is.
-Ray Wiss, Greater Sudbury, Canada (portray vianet.ca)


This week’s theme: Nouning verbs and verbing nouns
1. woodshed
2. balk
3. festoon
4. bivouac
5. savvy
= 1. study bongos; “no-fun” shack
2. beam; avoid
3. hang/tie velvet ribbon ends
4. survive
5. knowhow, sense
     This week’s theme:
1. woodshed
2. balk
3. festoon
4. bivouac
5. savvy
= 1. be best - do music
2. she vows to avoid
3. show
4. favela
5. ken, kythe
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)

Make your own anagrams and animations.


“I go back to the woodshed, each gig,
An’ I lock myself in -- like a brig.
An’ I practice, oh man,
Jus’ as hard as I can,
So I’ll play like an angel -- you dig?”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

My big concert debut is near due;
Am I ready? I haven’t a clue!
If I woodshed a lot,
I should get to the spot
Where my audience won’t sit and boo!
-Sondra Landin, New York, New York (sunnytravel att.net)

From the window, it seemed pretty clear
that the kids were out back, drinking beer.
“They’re up to no good!” said
their mom. “To the woodshed
they’ll go when their father gets here!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

He woodsheds all day on his cello,
Producing a sound far from mellow.
His loud, screechy labors
Annoy all the neighbors,
Who hate this unmusical fellow.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Unsure if you shouldn’t or should wed?
Choose wisely -- God gave you a good head.
So you’re having a baby;
Get married? Well, maybe;
These days, if you don’t, there’s no woodshed.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Pink shorts worn by men is the talk,
As everyone’s starting to gawk.
For the latest in fashion
I do have a passion.
But wear those? At that I still balk.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

One person’s a dove, one a hawk.
As for me, I cannot help but balk
at such labels inane,
so I think I’ll refrain
from talking, and just take a walk.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

My mule was refusing to walk.
I’d say “Giddy up!” but she’d balk.
That stubborn old ass,
Just nibbled the grass,
And laughed at my lame cowboy talk.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

He did like to talk on his walk.
Distracted he tripped on a balk.
His friends would all laugh,
And point at his gaffe,
While others would simply just gawk.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Said Joan Rivers, “Hey Mom, can we talk?
All my life I’ve been plagued by a balk.
For you liked my sis best,
And I felt like a guest;
At your funeral, now I can squawk.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

“You polio germs hit a balk,”
Covid smirked, “in that dude Jonas Salk.”
“You think yourselves wiser?
Moderna and Pfizer,”
They answered, “will soon make you squawk.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

On the yacht of a condom tycoon --
He a boorish, uncultured buffoon --
Was displayed for all eyes
Prophylactic supplies
Re-arranged as a makeshift festoon.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

On a tropical island marooned,
They made SOS signs they festooned
With cropped tops and bras;
Then yelled loud hurrahs
When the rescuers came -- and they mooned!
-Sondra Landin, New York, New York (sunnytravel att.net)

Beardlike Spanish moss festoons
an old live oak tree that looms,
shading a patchy lawn,
that is home to a fawn.
A croc spies, while a heron grooms.
-Mariana Warner, Asheville, North Carolina (marianaw6002 gmail.com)

Says she, “I’ll be married in June.
I will wear in my hair a festoon
of pretty white lace,
put a smile on my face,
and hope for a nice honeymoon.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

While humming a holiday tune,
He hangs yet another festoon.
The lights are quite bright,
A heckuva sight --
He’ll leave them in place until June.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Their passion to explore obscure towns
Was this time a problem for the Browns.
Dirty rooms festooned
with cobwebs impugned
their choice -- trip’s one of many let-downs.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

We were sure our Ms. Hopeful would swoon
When she saw how we’d wildly festoon
Her campaign HQ
But somehow we knew
From the polls, it was inopportune!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“We’ve captured the wolf! And so soon!
The cottage it’s time to festoon!”
Said Peter. “The duck
In his tummy’s still stuck,”
Observed Grandpa (his part’s the bassoon).
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I’m pregnant. Don’t know what to do.
You’re saying that we are now through.
It wasn’t my fault.
I told you to halt.
Never wanted to bivouac with you.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Every girl on the hike wore her backpack,
Walking miles upon miles ‘fore their first snack,
Through the long dreary day
They just moaned all the way,
‘Til they fin’ally slipped into their bivouac.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

We bivouac far from the city;
The forest I find very pretty.
But camping, I feel,
Is less than ideal --
The lack of a loo is a pity.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said Bugs Bunny to Daffy on bivouac,
“I can’t sleep! Will you please stop your glib quack?”
“I’m protecting you, bud,
From the dread Elmer Fudd,”
The duck answered. “Now open a six-pack.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

He worked hard on the road, was a navvy,
At construction he was super-savvy.
But at night, full of cheer,
He liked women and beer,
When he let down his hair, he got daffy.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Tech-savvy are children today;
They’ve grown up with video-play.
Their elders they tutor
Upon the computer --
And roles are reversed, you might say.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“We’ll hide you all here in the abbey,
For the Nazis are not very savvy,”
Said the nun. “Then you’ll split,
And in film be a hit,
For the way that you sing’s not too shabby.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


When scolded, she woodshed a tear and say she was sorry.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

The puzzled student said to the teacher, “I wish you woodshed more light on the subject.”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

How much wood would a woodshed shed if a woodshed could shed wood?
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The exasperated mother said to her son, “Don’t give me any of your balk talk!”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

“The balk-ans won’t stand in our way,” said the Ottoman emperor.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

At the Daniel Boone star’s guitar playing, his friends joked, “Festoon that instrument!”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

Said Ward Cleaver to June, “Did the Bivouac his head again?”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Said the sunburnt girl, “I feel better with the savvy rubbed on my back.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Pensive Pence

Pensive Pence
STOP THE PRESSES!... Mike Pence signs a seven-figure book deal for his memoir. That should be a real page-turner... not. In Trump World, Pence has now become persona non grata for merely doing his duty as President of the Senate, in officially registering the electoral college votes on that ill-fated day, Jan. 6, ‘21. Pence opted to defy Trump’s demand to somehow muck up the works, one of the rare times that the VP wasn’t marching lockstep with POTUS-45. Here, as Pence works on his first draft, wife Karen reminds him to include the disturbing refrain of the insurrectionist rabble incited by Trump to “Hang Mike Pence!” Hmm... I wonder if Trump will include Pence’s tome in his presidential library?

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

The rain begins with a single drop. -Manal al-Sharif, human rights activist (b. 25 Apr 1979)

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