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AWADmail Issue 462

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language

This week's Email of the Week is from Stephen Oresman (see below), who will get the Uppityshirt of his choice, and there's a heck of a selection.


From: Serendipity (sandydmd yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--jonah
Def: One believed to bring bad luck.

Surely being swallowed by a large fish and surviving ought to make Jonah lucky?

Sandra de Mornay Davies, Chesham, UK


From: Edna Podell (edna.podell tx.rr.com)
Subject: Jonah

In all my 43 years I have never heard the use of "Jonah" in a negative way! My brother is named "Jonah" because he was named in honor of a deceased family member whose name began with a J. Technically, the name Jonah is of Hebrew origin, and the meaning of Jonah is "dove". It also means "peace" as the dove is a symbol of peace. In the US, Jonah is a somewhat popular first name for men (#980 out of #1220) and also a somewhat popular surname or last name for all people (#83261 out of #88799) in the 1990 US Census. That said, Jonah is viewed as a strong and positive name, at least in the Jewish community.

Edna Podell, Plano, Texas


From: Danielle Handschin (daniellehandschin hotmail.com)
Subject: Etymology of Jezebel
Def: A shameless, wicked, or immoral woman.

Just an addition to your etymology of the term 'Jezebel', Jezebel actually was a murderess, she was actively seeking to murder people who did not worship her god, and later she murdered a man because she wanted his land, and after this she was defenestrated and put to death.

Danielle Handschin, Greenwich, Connecticut


From: David Calder (dvdcalder gmail.com)
Subject: Jezebel

Just as an African proverb has it, "When the lion has his historian, the hunter will no longer be the hero" -- so, too, Jezebel's name is tarnished because the account of her life and death was composed by male writers, whose patriarchal religion came to replace a matriarchal sensitivity in human thought. History belongs to the victors, and Judaism trumped the Phoenician god Baal. Jezebel, great-aunt of Queen Dido of Carthage, has been vilified because the Phoenicia-Israel alliance through her dynastic marriage to Ahab was hated, though it led to the land-locked Israel's reach for the Mediterranean coast.

From Wikipedia: 'In feminist readings of the Bible and of later Jewish and Christian traditions, Jezebel is seen as a strong and assertive woman, who was attacked and finally murdered by the fanatic male representatives of a male-dominated religion. They interpret her memory as vilified for thousands of years for the same reason i.e. "because she was a strong and independent woman who did not let men dominate her, and who continued to defy the aggressive males to her last breath."

David Calder, New Plymouth, New Zealand


From: Gail Rendle (renrdg nep.net)
Subject: Jezebel

Now, go and read the book, The Bible Unearthed, by Finkelstein and Silberman, and you'll find out that Ahab and Jezebel have, in all probability, been cruelly slandered!

Gail Rendle, Nicholson, Pennsylvania


From: Monroe Thomas Clewis (mtc mtclex.com)
Subject: jezebel

Frankie Lane's unforgettable, over-the-top rendition of "Jezebel" complete with brazen hussy should not be missed (see video). I remember well my six-year-old wonderment of "Gee, is this what's it's all about, that mysterious stuff between men and women?" Some years later I found out.

Monroe Thomas Lewis, Los Angeles, California


Email of the Week - (Brought to you by One Up! - Are you wicked/smart?)

From: Stephen Oresman (magpidarct aol.com)
Subject: Jehu
Def: 1. A fast driver. 2. A driver of a cab.

Last Saturday we took the train to New York to go a dinner in downtown Manhattan. We got a cab at Grand Central and the driver took off on a sprint down Fifth Avenue constantly weaving in and out, accelerating instantly to find the smallest opening in another lane and challenging other drivers for running room. I told him we were in no hurry but to no avail so we just hung on for dear life. Arriving breathless at the dinner I was at a loss for a word to describe our driver but now I know he was a Jehu.

Stephen Oresman, Darien, Connecticut


From: Doug Kridler (dougkridler yahoo.com)
Subject: Judas
Def: 1. One who betrays. 2. A peephole.

I don't know whether they still use one, but at the stockyards there was a trained goat called a Judas goat that led the sheep to slaughter. He led the herd through a maze of pens, and just before entering the slaughter house via a single file passage there was a wide place where the Judas Goat would step aside and allow the others to pass.

Doug Kridler, Bonita Springs, Florida


From: Erica Sladky (eksladky gmail.com)
Subject: Judas and Gaga I know this is a silly statement, but I am a HUGE Lady Gaga fan. Today, May 5, the word of the day was "Judas". Today, May 5, also happens to be the world premiere of Lady Gaga's new video, "Judas".

Erica Sladky, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin


From: Yan Christensen (briar9 btinternet.com)
Subject: Judas In Danish "judaspenge" (Judas money) is the name for the plant that is called honesty in English. Probably because the seed pods look a bit like silver coins which refers to Judas's thirty pieces of silver.

Yan Christensen, Berkhamsted, UK


From: Tim Aaronson (taaronson comcast.net)
Subject: Judas

Stalin had Trotsky referred to as "Judas Trotsky" in officially commissioned books. Trotsky observed, "Of Christ's twelve Apostles Judas alone proved to be traitor, but if he had acquired power, he would have represented the other eleven Apostles as traitors, and also all the lesser Apostles whom Luke numbers as seventy."

Tim Aaronson, El Cerrito, California


From: Colleen Weisz (colleenweisz aol.com)
Subject: Judas

I remember "Judas Priest!" [an euphemism for Jesus Christ] being used as an expletive (at least as an OK cuss word for kids) back in the days of my childhood. It was always shouted with an emphasis on the first syllable: "JUD-as Priest!" in a disgusted tone of voice.

Colleen Weisz, Solon, Ohio


From: Barbara Beeton (bnb ams.org)
Subject: Re: jorum
Def: 1. A large drinking vessel or its contents. 2. A great quantity.

A few years ago, I spent some memorable time with a visitor who happened to have studied to be a Biblical scholar. We had a romp through the dictionary looking for words that delineate the sizes of wine bottles. So many of them are names of Biblical kings (or other eminent persons): Jeroboam, Nebuchadnezzar, Methusalah, ... Jorum, specifying a large drinking vessel, seems to be a generalization of the category.

Barbara Beeton, Providence, Rhode Island


From: Enita Torres (enitatorres gmail.com)
Subject: Biblical names

Thank goodness you published these, the Duggar family was running out of "J" names and now they can round up to two dozen.

Enita Torres, Houston, Texas


From: David M. Lieberfarb (dmlieb optonline.net)
Subject: A week of 'J' words

Gee whiz! Or, perhaps more appropriately, jay whiz! You don't have to be a rocket scientist to notice that all of this week's words beginning with the letter J, an otherwise rare letter that's worth 8 points in Scrabble. Despite the fact that they are derived from names, four of the five words are acceptable in Scrabble. The one that wouldn't survive a challenge? Jonah.

David M. Lieberfarb, Edison, New Jersey


From: Daniel Ben-Avraham (qd00 clarkson.edu)
Subject: Biblical characters who became words

The words this week for "Biblical characters who became words" all begin with the letter J! There is, however, a slight imperfection: only four of the words begin with the letter "yod" in the original Hebrew. "Jezebel" begins with "alef". Pity!

Daniel Ben-Avraham, Potsdam, New York


From: Coral Sheridan (coralsh northwestern.edu)
Subject: Letter J in Latin

Technically Latin has no letter "J". It was introduced in the 13th century or thereabouts to differentiate between the vowel "i" and the consonant "i" (which is like our "y"). Until this last century, most printed Latin texts used the "j" to indicate the different sound. Today the "j" is usually replaced with the more classical "i". The oft-painted Latin INRI atop the crucifix stands for Iesus Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews).

Coral Sheridan, Orange, California


From: Don Boylan (inkbottle bellsouth.net)
Subject: Bible

Amen! Did you know the Bible is now being written, using quills, hand ground inks on unblemished calfskin. This is the first time the old methods have been used since the invention of the printing press. As it is commissioned by Saint John's University, in Collegeville, MN, this Bible is the Catholic version and is appropriately called the Saint John's Bible. 7 volumes, $8 million.

Your comments with this week's opening word reflect my own sentiments.

Don Boylan, Woodstock, Georgia


From: Peter Hastings (peter kodiak-web-design.com)
Subject: King James

King James was not King of England. He was the first monarch of the United Kingdom having previously been King of Scots. The widespread use of the term England and English for Britain and British is as offensive to the other members of the United Kingdom who do not live in England as the use of the term Holland is to those members of The Netherlands who do not live in Holland.

Peter Hastings, Edinburgh, Scotland


From: Thomas Abraham (thomasa gmail.com)
Subject: If there is a god...

Just found your comment on what God should be like if he exists, interesting. If there is a God, he must be infinitely superior to you. Then he can't fit into your definition.

Thomas Abraham, Manali, India


From: Arlan L. Rosenbloom (rosenal peds.ufl.edu)
Subject: This week's intro

Your preface to the week's words struck a deeply personal chord, reflecting the philosophy of my paternal grandfather, who died before I was born, conveyed to me by my father. Remarkably, though grandfather was a renowned cantor in synagogues throughout the US, he was opposed to organized religion. He believed that all houses of worship should have the four letters "FEAR" above their entrances and that the only "religion" necessary was goodness, kindness, and honesty.

Arlan L Rosenbloom, Gainesville, Florida


From: Robert Wilson (robwilsonit yahoo.it)
Subject: from the Bible

In your introduction to this week's theme, your question "if there's a god" brings to mind one of your 'thoughts' from a while ago:

"And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence."
-Bertrand Russell

Robert Wilson, Pordenone, Italy


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
You live a new life for every new language you speak. -Czech proverb
May 8, 2011
This week's theme
Biblical characters who became words

This week's words
jonah
jezebel
jehu
judas
jorum

Next week's theme
There is a word for it

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