AWADmail Issue 386
November 22, 2009
A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language
From: Govind Mukundan (govind.mukundan gmail.com)
Def: 1. To approve officially. 2. To register a specific model of a motor vehicle.
This must be a stress-inducing verb for many individuals. It certainly
was for me, in my days as a firmware engineer for a German automobile
supplier in Bangalore. At the near end of each (two- to three-year) project,
the electronic control units that we wrote software for would be sent for
homologation tests. Bugs found during homologation were not taken lightly,
and many a sleepless night was spent trying to solve such bugs or prove
they were features!
From: Steve Leone-Ganado (steve.ganado magna.com)
For the first time since I started subscribing to AWAD many years ago,
the "things you most likely don't do every day" does not apply. I spend
my day designing stuff with the intent of getting it homologated for the
European market. The word "homologate" is as common in this office as the
word gingivitis is in a dental office.
The automotive world has a few strange words that outsiders rarely hear
of. Some examples are chmsl (pronounced chimsel), jounce, and gimp.
From: Stu Tarlowe (starlowe earthlink.net)
GTO or Gto is also the abbreviation for the Mexican state of Guanajuato;
I remember seeing lots of license plates there that said GTO, and they
certainly weren't on "Grand Touring" cars!
From: Greg Mitchell (wolf write-brain.net)
You wrote, "The initials GTO listed after some auto names (Ferrari,
Pontiac, etc.) mean 'Gran Turismo Omologato'..." In the early 1960s,
many fans of Pontiac's "Goat" thought GTO stood for gas, tires, and oil --
what it burnt the most.
From: Laura Null (tigerpast verizon.net)
Def: To help to further something.
For a moment I wondered if this word was derived from my field -- service
of process. We "serve" individuals named in suits or subpoenas with the
documents, and then file an affidavit with the court. If we serve the
pleadings on someone else at the same address, who can accept for the
person we are serving, we say we "subserved" the pleadings.
From: Cindy H (charper mail.colgate.edu)
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
One can promise actions, but not feelings, for the latter are involuntary. He
who promises to love forever or hate forever or be forever faithful to
someone is promising something that is not in his power. -Friedrich Wilhelm
Nietzsche, philosopher (1844-1900)
Which brings you to the conclusion -- the promise to love faithfully in
marriage is a promise of an action, not a feeling. And some value that
kind of faithfulness over the easier kind.
From: Betsy Wilson (Elizabeth.Wilson jpl.nasa.gov)
Subject: Subserve vs subverse
Interesting juxtaposition, one is to further something, the other is to
From: Petronella J.C. Elema (pjc.elema planet.nl)
Most people nowadays would use the word "facilitate" for this meaning, I guess.
From: Larch Miller (larch.miller gmail.com)
Subject: grasp the nettle
Def: 1. To irritate. 2. To sting.
When I was young, I was told that grasping a nettle firmly actually makes it
hurt less than if you merely brush it. It still hurts, to be sure, but less.
Thus I've always understood the expression "grasping the nettle" to mean
that an unpleasant task will be less onerous, although still unpleasant,
if you stop dithering and go about your business decisively.
From: J.R. Dingfelder M.D. (Drjimding aol.com)
Subject: nettle (genus Urtica )
Medical types will no doubt see the connection between nettle and genus
Urtica since urticaria means allergic "hives".
From: Jamie Spencer (jspencer stlcc.edu)
Subject: nettle and Hotspur
I suspect that the British/Australian phrase "grasp the nettle" is a direct
borrowing from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part One. In it the rebel Hotspur
claims "from this nettle, danger, we grasp this flower, safety." I bet even
the Brits use it. They know their Shakespeare over there too.
From: Dominique Mellinger (dominiquemellinger yahoo.co.uk)
Subject: How to help Antoinette
When I started exchanging emails with Antoinette thanks to AWADmail, a few years ago, I didn't expect
we would become real friends and that she would email me chapter after chapter
of the novel she has written, partly based on her childhood memories as a
little Jewish girl in occupied France, and partly on her former partner's,
a poor Scottish boy taken from his family. She did so to alleviate my chemo
sessions but I think her novel really deserves being published and deserves
having more than one reader. Here is Antoinette's address : Antoinette C
It would be great if you could help her find a way to get published. I
loved her text and I'm sure many people would like it too. Thanks.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
A word has its use, / Or, like a man, it will soon have a grave. -Edwin
Arlington Robinson, poet (1869-1935)