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AWADmail Issue 34Jun 17, 2001
A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages
From: Dave Kinder (dkinderATservomex.com)
Your use of potato chips as an example of 'friable' brings a smile to my lips. Here in the UK, if your chips crumble then they are somewhat over-cooked. Chips in 'English' English are more akin to fat French fries. What you call chips, we call crisps.
As well as different meanings, I often come up against problems in spelling for US vs. rest of world, i.e. analyser vs. analyzer. Working for a company that makes Gas Analys(z)ers this causes me a lot of problems getting good listings in search engines.
From: Victor Lund (vlundATmahoney-law.com)
The word potatory, in its Latin dative form, appears in a medieval poem about a dedicated drinker and his preferred mode of death, i.e., drinking himself to oblivion. The verse, familiar to many who have studied Latin, reads as follows:
Meum est propositum
From: Aiden Dolan (aiden.m.dolanATaib.ie)
Here in Ireland we have a rather potent, not to mention illegal, tipple known as "poitin", pronounced put-sheen. This is brewed from potato skin in many rural areas, particularly in the North-West of the country, and can be up to 75%!
From: Joan Waltermire (joan.waltermireATvalley.net)
"Sextet" reminded me of a cartoon from a long-ago Playboy mag in which two young women of apparent physical charms, but obviously not subscribers to Word A Day, are discussing the date one of them had the night before. The caption is, "Turns out a sexagenarian is a guy in his sixties."
From: Marcus Hand (mhandAThome.com)
Another one is a quote from the movie, "The Thin Man," where the young son
says, "There's [a... psychological angle] that the police have overlooked
and I think it settles the whole question. You see, my father was a
From: Desiree Nordlund (desiree.nordlundATliber.se)
At first I did not understand what was so special about the word. Then I realised that I had a language mumbo jumbo in my head.
In Swedish the figure six and sex has the same word, sex (from Latin I learned today). That is why I first could not understand why sextet was so special. We have the word sextet in the same meaning as in English. The Six/sex-"misunderstanding" is mostly nothing more than a childish joke here. Then I realized that it should have been "sixtet" in English, and that sex means just sex in English and is no figure 6 at all. Then I could not help smiling.
From: Margaret Schubert (mschubertATtrimeris.com)
As any female who camps, hikes, bikes or canoes can assure you, to be dis-commoded is definitely an inconvenience!
From: Tom Church (borchardtATkvvi.net)
Reading this week's theme, one word in particular comes to mind: sexton. I'll let you take it from there.
From: Lois A. Manning (w2774518ATjuno.com)
How could you possibly have missed the Canton Repository, the newspaper of multiple mistakes. My favorite:
A Correction Notice:
From: Dion Lerman (dionlermanATearthlink.net)
When the Chicago Sun and the Chicago Times were merging they sponsored a contest for a new name for the combined paper. (Their chief rival was -- and is -- the notoriously conservative Tribune). One submission was for "The Truth" - newsboys could then ask customers if they wanted "The Tribune or the Truth?" I don't know why they bothered with the contest. The merged paper is, of course, the "Chicago Sun-Times." Some people have no imagination or sense of humor.
From: Lauren Roberts (jjlrobertsATaol.com)
I enjoyed the week of newspaper names and wanted to add one to your list. My hometown newspaper is called the Waterford Spinal Column, how it got that name I don't know but I've never seen another "spinal column" anywhere, are there more out there? just curious.
From: Barry Downs (bdbATisat.co.za)
Did you spot that Wordlover is an anagram of World-over?
From: Neal Holter (nsholterATpsu.edu)
A friend signed me up as a gift. My initial reaction: great, more junk in my inbox. But now at least there is something that I like to read in my inbox.
Words are loaded pistols. -Jean-Paul Sartre, writer and philosopher (1905-1980)