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AWADmail Issue 620

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

Sponsor's message: It's Officially Huge. This week's Email of the Week winner, Christiane Chadda (see below) -- as well as all AWADers worldwide -- can now make their own terrific fun word-nerd party for nothing. Introducing our best-selling One Up! -- The Wicked/Smart Word Game as a free PDF download, absolutely gratis. Hurree y'up.


From: Gez Quinn (gezzius gmail.com)
Subject: Ngram

I love AWAD. I also love graphs and charts. I wondered what you might think of including a Google Ngram chart of word usage in the weekly summary to show how how the word usage has changed over time. For example, this week's word chart would like this: ngram graph

Gez Quinn, Sheffield, UK

Thanks for a great suggestion. From now on, we'll include a link for the week's graph in the box on the right.
-Anu Garg


From: Annie Brown (anniembrown hotmail.com)
Subject: Engagement rings

I got engaged per transatlantic phone call in 1960. At the time, in Denmark, both partners wore a simple engagement ring on the right hand. Once married, the rings were switched to henceforth be worn on the left hand. I sent my ring measurement to the US in a letter and later received the ring, had it engraved with the name of my fiance, then put it on. It has stayed on till now.

Annie Brown, Medford, New Jersey


Email of the Week (Brought to you by One Up! -- with our compliments.)

From: Christiane Chadda (cmechadda earthlink.net)
Subject: lazaretto

In WWII my father was chief doctor of a Lazarettzug (train), a fully equipped hospital. It brought back the wounded as well as POWs in need of medical care/surgery. In this case there was no association with infectious disease.

Christiane Chadda, San Jose, California


From: Pamela Keesler (pamelakeesler yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lazaretto

In Hawaii, Michener refers to the leper colony on Molokai as a lazaretto.

Pamela Keesler, Kalamazoo, Michigan


From: Nora Miller (onemiller gmail.com)
Subject: slimsy

What a great morning wakeup to find your message about slimsy in my inbox! I learned this word from my mother, as I learned so many other obscure and delicious words. She regularly used slimsy to cast doubts equally on the quality of a delicate fabric or an ineptly crafted table. She loved reading Georgette Heyer and Trollope and Dorothy Sayers and PD James and shared the wonderful vocabulary she acquired from them with all of her children. I actually made it all the way to college before I discovered that other mothers did not use words or phrases such as argy-bargy and fustian and yes, slimsy! I secretly pity those other children for their deprived childhoods, and share these words whenever I can. Thanks for the opportunity!

Nora Miller, Tucson, Arizona


From: Bill Thielman (billthielman gmail.com)
Subject: Stiction

Back in the 80s, I bought a used PC (my first PC) and found that the small hard disk was 10 megabytes! didn't power up right away, but took about 15 minutes to warm up and then worked OK. After a year or so, it failed completely. Turns out that the hard disk vendor was aware of the problem -- called stiction which resulted from the evaporation of the bearing lubricant in the drive. First time I'd ever heard the word.

Bill Thielman, San Jose, California


From: Sam Dunkin (dunkins centurylink.net)
Subject: Stiction

The shock isolators in Minuteman missile launch control centers are four large pressurized cylinders with a piston in them holding up the floor. Over time, air can leak out, and a corner or side can drop after overcoming the stiction in the cylinder. Leveling the floor after that is also an exercise in overcoming stiction, and a semi-interesting ride.

Sam Dunkin, Astoria, Oregon


From: Amalija Vitezovic (amalijav neobee.net)
Subject: Re: muzzy

Muzzy is also the name of the main character from the BBC's animated cartoon "Muzzy in Gondoland", an educational TV show for kids who are starting to learn English. In my country, it was first aired in 1987 and had several reruns. Muzzy is a big green furry alien with an unusual diet: he likes eating clocks, parking meters, and other metallic objects!

Amalija Vitezovic, Belgrade, Serbia


From: Martine Froget (froget.martine orange.fr)
Subject: portmanteau words

This week's theme with all these portmanteau words is a fantabulous endless source of guesstimation and kidult creative imagination! Twisting and stretching words is one of my favourite games I share with more and more trustwordy friends. I just love them (words and friends)!

Martine Froget, France


From: Sharon Solstice (sharon.solstice ucop.edu)
Subject: Blend words

We used to be buddies with a couple named Mandy (Amanda) and Andrew. We generally just called them Mandrew or, to be formal, Amanadrew.

Sharon Solstice, Walnut Creek, California


From: Mina Matania (mindspace.mina gmail.com)
Subject: This week's blend words

I couldn't resist telling you about a blend word my son came out with many years ago when he was three years old. After a long ride in Richmond Park, London, on the back of his father's bicycle, I asked him how the ride had been. his answer was "it was good Mum, and very 'compuliar'. A perfect blend of 'complicated' and 'peculiar' to describe the ups and downs and winding nature of the terrain. We use the word to this day.

Mina Matania, London, UK


From: Charlie Cockey (czechpointcharlie gmail.com)
Subject: Intro to Lazaretto and the week's words

You mentioned the word 'alphabet' -- I've always loved the forthright transparency of the Czech word for 'alphabet': abeceda -- taking the name one letter further (since C takes the sound TS, this is pronounced ah-beh-tse-dah).

Charlie Cockey, Brno, Czech Republic


From: Irving N. Webster-Berlin (awadreviewsongs gmail.com)
Subject: Song based on this week's words

Here are this week's AWAD Review Songs (words and recordings) for your listening and viewing pleasure.

Irving N. Webster-Berlin, Sacramento, California


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Language is more fashion than science, and matters of usage, spelling, and pronunciation tend to wander around like hemlines. -Bill Bryson, author (b. 1951)
May 18, 2014
This week's theme
Blend words

This week's words
lazaretto
bumptious
slimsy
stiction
muzzy

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives
Index

Next week's theme
Words coined after Shakespearean characters
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