AWADmail Issue 369
July 26, 2009
A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net
The New York Times
Mother Tongue Absent in Thousands of Classrooms
Inter Press Service
From: Dr. Howard Miller (hmill80 firewireinternet.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--equanimity
Def: Evenness of temper in all circumstances.
I was pleased to see "equanimity" as the word-of-the-day on July 19 -- my
favorite word in the practice of medicine. When we graduated in 1952 from
medical school (WRU), along with our diplomas we were presented with a book
of essays authored by Sir William Osler, a highly esteemed Canadian physician.
The title of the book is "Aequanimitas and other Addresses". The first
chapter (address) deals with the value of "the essential bodily virtue" i.e.
equanimity, in the practice of medicine. This lesson stayed with me throughout
my years in active practice and guided me through many emergencies and trying
events. It is indeed a critical virtue for a physician to possess.
From: Rudy Rosenberg Sr (RRosenbergSr accuratechemical.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--equanimity
There was this set of twin sisters in Minnesota. Both were nearly 6 footers.
A little fellow stared at them and asked: Do you play basketball?
With equanimity, one replied: No! Do you play miniature golf?
From: Maryann Errico (merrico gpc.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--assiduous
Def: Constant; persistent; industrious.
A few years ago I wrote a letter of praise to the manager of my tennis
club complimenting the new tennis pro for being assiduous in providing
lessons to me and my friends. At the next meeting with my pro, he asked
me what he'd done to displease me. I told him that, on the contrary, I had
written his supervisor singing his praises. It seems that his supervisor,
rather than using a dictionary, called the pro in to admonish him because
one of the clients had called him an ass. I promptly went over to the
manager to correct the misunderstanding.
From: David Boyd (millview kingston.net)
This word acted as a sharp reminder of a stern teacher who believed in
expanding the knowledge of his ten-year-old pupils. Catching me gazing
at the clouds floating beyond the window, he accurately fired a piece
of chalk at my head, capturing my undivided attention. "During recess,
you idler, you will give me 100 lines of this..." he snapped, quickly
scripting the phrase "assiduity is efficacious" on the blackboard.
The forty-something, former Spitfire pilot, darkened my morning while
brightening my vocabulary. It was 1955, in Victoria B.C., Canada.
From: David Smith (dsmith psl.nmsu.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--disinter
Def: 1. To remove from a grave. 2. To bring to light.
'Disinter' reminds me of my favorite pun and limerick, combined, which
I heard recited by Johnny Carson:
An unfortunate fellow named Hyde
fell down an outhouse and died.
By mischance, his brother
fell down another.
And now they're interred side-by-side.
From: Brown, Frank (frank.brown travelport.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--minatory
Def: Threatening or menacing.
Re: A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
"The best armor is to keep out of gunshot." -Francis Bacon, essayist,
philosopher, and statesman (1561-1626)
The person who first introduced Okinawan Karate to Japan in a major way
was Gichin Funakoshi. He developed a set of Twenty Guiding Principles
of Karate or Ninju Kun. The second principle is generally listed in
American Karate Schools as:
There is no first strike in karate (Karate ni sente nashi).
However that was translated to me as "In Karate the first strike is
not there", so I figured it meant that the first defense was not to be
in a situation that required the use of Karate in the first place. .
I had friends who got in fights a lot because they frequented biker bars.
I frequented yuppy restaurants with bars and never got in a fight.
I always thought that meant my self-defense skills were better than theirs.
Apparently Francis Bacon would agree.
From: Joan Morgan (joan slaglemorgan.com)
Subject: Thank you...
A.Word.A.Day is the only daily thing I have specifically invited to
my email box (and those of my staff) for ? five years? ten?! I'm a lawyer,
so careful attention to language is second nature. I like expanding my
vocabulary even if some words only remain in my head, never likely to be
written or spoken by me.
Thought of the day makes everything complete for me. I frequently cut/paste
the quotation into an email Subject line and forward to friends. The best
compliment I can pay is that I always feel enriched after having read
my AWAD. I wish I could remember an AWAD word that is like Thank You so
I'll take a stab at Norwegian: Tusen Tak (thousand thanks?!
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Syllables govern the world. -John Selden, historian and politician (1584-1654)