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AWADmail Issue 263

May 27, 2007

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


From: Wordsmith.org (words wordsmith.org)
Subject: Wordsmith.org online chat with Anne Curzan

Join us in an online chat on the history of English. Our guest will be Anne Curzan, author, editor, and professor of English.

She is the author of "Gender Shifts in the History of English" (2003) and "How English Works: A Linguistic Introduction" (2006) and editor of Journal of English Linguistics.

The event will take place on Tue, June 12, 2007, 6 pm Pacific (GMT -7)


From: Sarah Greek (excelsior.g gmail.com)
Subject: Tocological Trickery

My name is Sarah Greek, and I'm a homeschooled student in Mountain Grove, Missouri, who just graduated from high school. I'm a subscriber of AWAD and just read your latest email and its reference to 'tocological trickery' with interest.

"If only they were reading AWAD"? We were. That's how this happened!

I live in Missouri, and have been working with Senator Loudon and others on midwifery legislation all year. You might be interested to know that I discovered the word 'tocological' as a result of your daily emails. When we were working on midwifery legislation several weeks ago, I remembered the word and informed Senator Loudon. We inserted it into our amendment, resulting in the events that the news article which you referenced narrates.

The whole situation, especially the word tocology, has been all over the Missouri news this week. I spent the week in Jefferson City, and can personally attest to the fact that the word tocology has been in the mouths of nearly every politician all week. It's become the latest inside joke in the Missouri Legislature. I've been called 'a tocological pain'. :)

Thanks to AWAD, midwifery is well on its way to becoming legal in Missouri, and the whole state has added a new word to its vocabulary!

Here are some other news articles on the predicament. Several of them made the front page of Missouri's major newspapers. Not all the facts are correct (AWAD didn't get any credit, unfortunately), but you'll get the general idea.

Fox St. Louis
Riverfront Times
Riverfront Times


From: Angel Martin, Sr. (amartintam aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--peccadillo

Picadillo is a popular dish in Cuba, Mexico, and other Latin American countries. It's prepared with, among other ingredients, ground beef.


From: Yosef Bar-On (jobaron galon.org.il)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--mesa

There's a good old Yiddish joke about mesa: The sentence, "Aqui es una mesa" means "Here is a table" in Spanish. In Yiddish, however, it means, "A cow eats without a knife."


From: Colin Wright (cwright cmc.edu)
Subject: plateau

There is a Butte, Montana and a Mesa, Arizona. Is there a Plateau anywhere?


From: Janet Popish (bearpaul peoplepc.com)
Subject: feedback: mesa

My home town, Grand Junction, in Mesa County, Colorado, sits in the shadow of the world's largest flat-topped mountain, Grand Mesa. Consequently, everywhere you look, you find things named after it: Mesa Mall, Mesa Point Shopping Center, Mesa State College, and 65 other organizations and businesses listed in the phone book. I didn't learn anything from A.Word.A.Day today... but that's a first.


From: Dorothy Patent (doropatent aol.com)
Subject: table and tablet

My husband and I have just returned from Scotland, where tablet has yet another completely different meaning -- it's a delicious sugary candy, somewhere between fudge and just plain crystalline sugar. Yum! We had to sample the tablet everywhere we went while there, to find the best.


From: John Borojevic (john.borojevic dotars.gov.au)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--cabana

In Australia Cabana is a type of soft, thin salami (about a 60cm long thin sausage shape). Its close relative is Cabanossi which is a harder dried and perhaps lightly smoked version of it. Not sure of the origins -- perhaps Italian?

I don't think I've ever heard Australians refer to a cabin, a cottage, or beach shelter as a cabana and it always sounds slightly strange when I hear it used in that sense on American TV or movies.


From: Mack Bell (mackbell coastalnet.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--peccadillo

Do you know what the Ecuadoreans call the equator? La Mitad del Mundo: The Middle of the World.

There is a monument a short distance outside Quito marking the equatorial line. I've been there many times showing visitors the equator. As a Foreign Service Officer, I lived there with my family for five years.


Stability in language is synonymous with rigor mortis. -Ernest Weekley, lexicographer (1865-1954)

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