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AWADmail Issue 634

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 Free. This week's Email of the Week winner, Marc Chelemer (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 downloadable PDF, absolutely gratis. Hurree y'up.


From: Erlinda E. Panlilio (epanlil gmail.com)
Subject: presentiment

This is how the poet Emily Dickinson defines today's word:

Presentiment is that long shadow on the lawn
Indicative that suns go down;
The notice to the startled grass
That darkness is about to pass.

Erlinda Panlilio, Makati City, Philippines


From: Barbara Fix (baafix earthlink.net)
Subject: fungible

Fungible is the word the former dean of Stanford Law School, Bayless Manning, urged an incoming law class to be. He meant that there should be a common level of competency among all lawyers.

Barbara Fix, Santa Fe, New Mexico


From: Art Yaffe (art.yaffe gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--fungible

I have known what 'fungible' means since I was in my 30s and had two water-damaged stock certificates replaced with one certificate where the value was the same as the sum of the lost certificates, but whenever the subject came up I was only able to dissemble my way through the definition. Your description in the notes is the best I've ever seen, and captures exactly what I've understood for decades and could never quite explain. Thank you. Now I hope I don't forget your description before the term comes up again, perhaps in 2017 or so. :-)

Art Yaffe, West Palm Beach, Florida


From: W G Wolf (wwolf sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--deportment

Some 75 years ago, when I was in first grade, our report cards had items such as reading, writing, math, etc. But there was also a space for 'deportment'. Woe was me if I ever received less than a B.

W G Wolf, Bartlesville, Oklahoma


From: Karthik D. (karthikeyan.d gmail.com)
Subject: puissance

I first came across this word in the Indian sports magazine Sportstar, while I was in college. The year was 1990 (I think) and one week, the centrefold featured Boris Becker. The title was "Purveyor of Puissance".

Karthik D., Bangalore, India


From: Orlaith Mannion (orlaithmannion equalitytribunal.ie)
Subject: puissance

Puissance is also the name given to a high-jump competition in the equestrian sport of show jumping. It consists of a short course of fences, ending in the final puissance wall. After the completion of the course, the horse and rider pairs that went clear move on to the next round, where the puissance is raised. As the competition goes on, the jump is built increasingly higher until only one horse clears the wall. (video, 7 min.)

The puissance wall may get taller than seven feet.

Orlaith Mannion, Dublin, Ireland


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

From: Marc Chelemer (mchelemer att.com)
Subject: Puissance

How wonderful that a word can bring back a flood of memories: One of my favorite poems, The Ordinary Women by Wallace Stevens, features these words:

Insinuations of desire,
Puissant speech, alike in each,
Cried quittance
To the wickless halls.

Then from their poverty they rose,
From dry guitars, and to catarrhs
They flitted
Through the palace walls.

I chose this poem for an 11th grade English assignment to understand, present in a unique fashion, and then teach a poem by a selected poet (mine was Stevens) to the class. I remember using a cassette tape recorder to play selected Chopin and Mozart music on the piano, spending hours in the public library selecting slides of castles and empty houses, and then combining all the elements for 10-15 minutes to try to give this man's words and ideas some clarity for my classmates. Thank you for the word of the day, as the memory still thrills me to this day!

Marc Chelemer, Tenafly, New Jersey


From: Steve Kirkpatrick (stevekirkp comcast.net)
Subject: deportment and a common thread for the week

The words this week aren't merely miscellaneous. One could draw a theme, about politicians, especially if one were cynical. Try the following:

It's nearly time for the US Presidential campaigns to begin. I have a presentiment, as to the deportment of candidates. Some will resort to plangent rants, striving to exhibit their political puissance, in order to avoid the appearance of being just another fungible member of the pack.

Steve Kirkpatrick, Olympia, Washington


From: Mark Caywood (markcaywood att.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--puissance

The television, that insidious beast, that Medusa which freezes a billion people to stone every night, staring fixedly, that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little. -Ray Bradbury, science-fiction writer (1920-2012)

Re: Bradbury's quotation on television, one can easily replace that word with the word Internet without losing any meaning or impact.

Mark Caywood, Fort Worth, Texas


From: Don French (dcfrench gmail.com)
Subject: Ray Bradbury and TV

One wonders if Ray Bradbury ever watched Cosmos or The Ascent of Man or Downton Abbey or anything on The Classic Movie Channel. TV has delivered quite well on its promise. You just have to be judicious in what you watch.

Don French, Edina, Minnesota


From: Alan Winson (alan.winson gmail.com)
Subject: Baseball player's word of the day

Hi, Anu. In case you haven't seen this, it made me think of you.

Alan Winson, Emeryville, California


From: Eric Shackle (ericshackle bigpond.com)
Subject: New words

The latest crop of new words added to OxfordDictionaries Online, from amazeballs to zonkey has been making headlines this month. Commentators have been amused, intrigued, and even enraged by the addition of clickbait, side-eye, neckbeard, mansplain, and others.

Eric Shackle, Sydney, Australia


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 like money, without which specific relative values may well exist and be felt, but cannot be reduced to a common denominator. -George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952)
Aug 24, 2014
This week's theme
Miscellaneous words

This week's words
presentiment
fungible
plangent
deportment
puissance

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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Next week's theme
Words that can't be analyzed easily

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