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AWADmail Issue 235

November 12, 2006

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages


From: Anu Garg (garg wordsmith.org)
Subject: Subscriber stats; live chat

Subscriber demographics:
Here are the latest stats on the subscribers and what countries they come from.

If you run a mailing list, you can generate similar stats for your list.

Wordsmith chat:
Don't forget the online chat on American dialects this Tuesday, Nov 14, 6 pm Pacific (GMT -8).


From: Lee Anne Bowie (bowie.la gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bodacious

I am so disappointed! I had secretly hoped that somehow bodacious was in honor of Boadicea, the warrior queen of ancient Britain who led her tribe against Roman invaders in 60 A.D. If anyone should be called bodacious, it was her: She "took her revenge on Roman soldiers [who had raped her daughters] by slaughtering an entire legion; but an overwhelming number of reinforcements were sent to quell the revolt..., and Boadicea killed herself to avoid capture and disgrace." -from The Woman's Encylcopedia of Myths and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker, originally from Tacitus.


From: Ben Glanton (beng ednet.co.uk)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--jounce

Jounce is also a technical term in engineering, although perhaps not in the widest standing. Some fairground ride designers make use of it.

If velocity is the change in distance over time, then acceleration is the change in velocity over time. Jounce is defined as the change in acceleration over time - think in terms of how much pressure the driver applies to the pedals.

It turns out that human animals really, really enjoy jounce, so long as it's kept to a healthy level.


From: Steve Yates (lovekick tesco.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--jounce

There's a BBC Open University Maths programme broadcast in the wee small UK hours called "Designer Rides -- The Jerk And The Jounce". A 1994 recording of Open U. profs in what is, at best, 1980s garb, we see discussion and investigation of the effects of theme park rides on their users. It turns out, after much graphing of results, that the excitement you feel on a ride is not so much to do with the speed of the ride as the acceleration - how fast the speed is changing. And it's not so much even that, more how fast the acceleration is changing -- the 'jerk'. And, lo and behold, it's even more to do with how fast the jerk is changing -- the 'jounce'. So if it's value for money you're after at your theme park, it's less about the pound, more about the jounce.


From: William Garabrant (w.garabrant t-online.de)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--tween

"Tween" is also a job title from the animation world. The lead artists create the important, key frames and the tweeners do the fill-in work, ie, they draw the frames between the major frames, creating the illusion of motion. Computerized animation programs have a function called tweening which does essentially the same thing, though without the expertise of a real artist.


From: Lin (lljt1031 aol.com)
Subject: tween

An alternate definition was provided by JRR Tolkien (a linguaphile himself) in his "Fellowship of the Ring", discussing his created race, the hobbits: "tweens [were what] the hobbits called the irresponsible twenties between childhood and coming of age at thirty-three".


From: Melissa Belliard (melissa_belliard eri.eisai.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--tween

I was just at a convention where the speaker, Sir Ken Robinson, called them "screenagers". My kids, 10 and 12, truly are never far away from a screen of one sort or another (computer, iPod, Gameboy, etc.).


From: Julie Sturgeon (binder_binder_binder hotmail.com)
Subject: Tweens or Lack Thereof

For your records, the word "tween" is not widely accepted by the people who fall into this category. I used to be a "tween" myself, and I HATED that word with an unrivalled passion. I thought this was just another annoying buzz word created by adults in an attempt to "understand" the younger generation. Therefore, I suggest that someone coin a new word for the adults between the ages of 40 and dead, agnerant, a combination of "aged" and "ignorant". It's not great, but it's a start.


From: Richard Hargreaves (hargreaves virgilio.it)
Subject: Re: tween

Tween as in tweendecks is also used to describe the area below decks on one of the wooden warships.


From: Jim Goodrum (coachjim lwol.com)
Subject: portmanteau

I had just read today's word and went on to my next email which was about a condition called cankle. It is a slang term for when your calf melds into your foot and the ankle basically disappears. The article raises concerns about long periods of air travel for endurance athletes and the pooling of blood and body fluids in the lower extremities. Endurance athletes with their lower resting blood pressure and heart rates are especially susceptible. Possible results may be clotting and the chance of pulmonary embolisms. Hence the use of calf and ankle. Words are just plain fun or maybe plun.


From: Brooke Andres (bandres plls.com)
Subject: portmanteau

My favorite portmanteau is the canned-meat product SPAM (spiced + ham). Here in Seattle, we host the annual World Spam Carving Championships. (No chainsaws allowed!)


From: Michael Tremberth (michaelt42 tiscali.co.uk)
Subject: portmanteau words

Recently, in a discussion, heard on Radio 4 of the BBC in UK, about the restrictions on the content of handbaggage carried by passengers on to aircraft, a broadcaster in a slip of the tongue used the word cabbage (cabin + baggage) for hand baggage carried on to the aircraft. Presumably such items do not have to be green!


From: Florence Ames (florenceames yahoo.com)
Subject: portmanteau

A friend of mine often used the word "meamble" as a portmanteau word made by combining "meander" and "amble". I always thought it had a nice ring to it.


From: Joseph Spenner (joseph85750 yahoo.com)
Subject: blend words

This is a word I find amusing and try to use whenever I can:

accidue: (n), the broken up pieces of glass, metal, and plastic on the road left over from an accident (combination of accident and residue).


From: Ellen Harland (harland erols.com)
Subject: Blend words

I think every family has words peculiar to itself that never appear in any dictionary. My personal favorites that fit this week's category are clousy and grismal to describe an unpleasant and depressing day.


From: Richard Bland (rbland2 earthlink.net)
Subject: Blended words

This week's theme reminded me of John Lennon's obscure little book entitled "In His Own Write". The former Beatle has quite a merry time in the book blending, creating, and mangling words to hilarious effect. My friend and I discovered the book in the late 1960s and would take turns reading aloud from it, because the hearing of the words was even funnier than seeing them. We also had fun creating our own blended words, and my friend invented one that we and many of our friends still use today:

Astoundaghast: the condition of being both astounded and aghast simultaneously.


Who will consider that no dictionary of a living tongue ever can be perfect, since, while it is hastening to publication, some words are budding, and some falling away; that a whole life cannot be spent upon syntax and etymology, and that even a whole life would not be sufficient; that he, whose design includes whatever language can express, must often speak of what he does not understand. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)

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