AWADmail Issue 379
October 4, 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
Use It Or Lose It? Study Suggests The Brain Can Remember A 'Forgotten' Language
The New York Times
From: Joel Mabus (joel.mabus pobox.com)
Subject: feet and hands words
I thought for sure this week you would include "chiropodist" -- a word
and profession that employs both feet and hands. Then I could quote my
favorite Groucho Marx joke:
Do you know the song about the Irish chiropodist? "Your feet is in my hands!"
Of course Groucho pronounced "feet" in his best pseudo-Irish brogue as "fate".
From: Lynn Mancini (mancini dtcc.edu)
Subject: This week's theme
My all-time favourite word fits this week's theme...A sesquipedalian is
someone who uses long words. Etymologically speaking, the words are a foot and
a half long. I love the quasi-auto-referentiality of the term. Unfortunately,
one has to be around sesquipedalians in order to use it and expect to be
From: Paul Farrar (paul4r canby.com)
Def: 1. A sleight of hand. 2. Deceitfulness, trickery.
If analog clocks have hands, why don't digital clocks have fingers?
From: Yuliya Krizhanovskaya (krizh2000 yahoo.com)
Def: 1. Situated on the opposite side of the earth. 2. Diametrically opposite or completely opposite.
I've recently moved to London from New York and discovered that the (good)
coffee scene here is dominated by Aussie- and Kiwi-owned (and run) cafes.
The natives of Australia and New Zealand are known as antipodeans, hence
the name of the high quality product they're selling -- antipodean coffee.
From: Joseph Drake (j.f.drake hotmail.com)
A related word to antipodal is antipodeans. Augustine in his "City of God"
agreed with the Greeks that the world was an orb, but said that there could
not be people on the other side because the antipodeans would fall off.
Pre-Newtonian physics. So antipodeans, hold on tight to the earth.
From: Tony Jarrett (tonypbjarrett yahoo.co.uk)
Def: 1. Sleight of hand. 2. A display of skill.
I recall reading that the UK Census of 1919 (or thereabouts) had a final
occupational category, which included Metallurgists, and Professors of
Legerdemain. Times change.
From: Stu Tarlowe (STarlowe earthlink.net)
Def: 1. Consideration of what is advantageous or easy or immediate over what is right. 2. The quality of being suited for a purpose.
I've always liked the army adjective "field-expedient", meaning "improvised"
or "put together from materials at hand", as a more sophisticated way of
saying "jury-rigged", "jerry-rigged", "Okie-rigged", "hillbilly-rigged",
or other variations of same.
From: Joyce Greene (jgreene cs.hmc.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--mortmain
Def: 1. The perpetual ownership of property by institution 2. The stifling influence of the past on the present and the living.
As an attorney, I was aware of the mortmain statutes and was taught that
their purpose was to prevent overreaching by the clergy upon those on
their deathbed. The thought being that if a penitent, dying man turned
over his property to the church, he would be granted leniency upon death
- a small price to pay for a better afterlife. However, such agreements
thwarted the heirs of their rightful inheritance and lands, throwing the
heirs into poverty with no means to sustain themselves. To prevent such
heavy-handed abuse, the statutes were enacted so that the heirs could
attack and nullify such transfers made within a certain period before death.
I just thought you would be interested in knowing the other reason for
these statutes, although I am sure the king was not pleased with so much
land (and tax base) going to the church (a purpose I had not considered).
From: Charles Coleman (charles_coleman innovations.com.au)
Subject: the writer's "boss"
Your statement is the same for musicians. If the "boss" doesn't like
something you've done, be it a song or your behaviour, they can easily
fire you by not being a part of your very public art.
Someone once said to me that we were in control of newspapers because
it is within our power not to buy them. The editors really do owe us,
the public, more than they believe.
From: Filmore Fox (filmore velocity.net)
Feel free to state any opinion at any time even if I don't agree. I will
By the way, I am always right so this is a huge allowance on my part.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
For me, words are a form of action, capable of influencing change. -Ingrid
Bengis, writer and teacher (b. 1944)