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AWADmail Issue 722

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

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From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the Net

Weeding the Worst Library Books
The New Yorker
WebCite

Merriam-Webster Adds More Gender-Inclusive Words to Dictionary
WBAL
WebCite

Neuroscientists Create ‘Atlas’ Showing How Words are Organised in the Brain
The Guardian
WebCite

It’s Not Easy to Destroy a Book (video, 4.5 min.)
YouTube


From: Dave Shelles (writesdave gmail.com)
Subject: Truculent

Today’s word calls to mind one of the great relationships in sports -- broadcaster Howard Cosell, who never met a word he didn’t like, and Muhammad Ali, who had a gift of gab of his own. One interview produced this exchange:

Cosell: You’re being extremely truculent.
Ali: Whatever truculent means, if that’s good, I’m that. (video, 20 sec.)

Shelles, Cheyenne, Wyoming


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From: Joe Coughlin (coughlin_joe comcast.net)
Subject: Truculent

Several months ago Tom Bodett told this story on “Wait, wait ... Don’t Tell Me”. Tom Bodett and Howard Cosell were in a broadcast booth, broadcasting a sporting event and were “on the air”. Cosell commented how “truculent” a participant was. Cosell paused and then speculated, out loud, that Bodett didn’t know what he meant when he used the word “truculent”. Bodett protested, saying that he did know. Bodett then said, “Used in a sentence I might say, ‘As soon as I’m done with it, I’ll return the truck you lent.’”

Joe Coughlin, San Jose, California


From: Dominique Mellinger (dominiquemellinger yahoo.co.uk)
Subject: Truculent

Strangely enough, the word truculent in French, same word, is a very positive word applied to people larger than life, with a great ability with words and the language in general. A lot of Shakespeare characters can be seen as truculents in the French sense, a storyteller often is, Gérard Depardieu can be at times and in real life too. It describes someone who takes a lot of space, speaks with wit and laughs aloud, shows a lot of panache and tells impressive stories, some kind of big-hearted lion without the cruelty nor the claws.
[dictionary definitions for the French truculent: colorful, earthy]

Dominique Mellinger, Gorze, France


From: Karen Larson (cache.seeker gmail.com)
Subject: Unctuous

Just yesterday, while watching Simply Ming, I heard that word used as a description of pasta sauce he made. Didn’t sound right. Got out my old Webster’s Dictionary. Decided I didn’t want to make that recipe...

Karen Larson, Jamul, California


From: Lora Walker (bookabrick aol.com)
Subject: veracious perception

When I first saw the word, I imagined it meant “having an insatiable appetite for truth.” I imagine that personal connotation will always be in the background for me, even though I now know it simply means truthful.

Lora Walker, Tacoma, Washington


From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--doughty

For a nano-second there I confused today’s word “doughty” with “dowdy”, but on reading its meaning... “brave; courageous; determined”, I immediately realized these two descriptive words were miles apart in terms of definition... the former having a decidedly positive meaning, whilst the latter, far from it. They aren’t even pronounced similarly.

“Dowdy”, more often describing the sartorial image projected by an “older” woman, means old-fashioned, or lacking stylishness... in sum, unattractive, or shabby looking. Hardly reflective of a doughty individual. But the two character traits are not necessarily mutually exclusive in a singular person. Disheveled, old-school absent-minded profs come to mind.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


From: Dharam Khalsa (dharamkk2 gmail.com)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

The anagram to the right is comprised of the letters in the five words below, plus this heading:
1. truculent
2. unctuous
3. irresolute
4. veracious
5. doughty
=
1. eager to fight; might hurt us with his heel impact!
2. would pretend earnestness, or oily on touch
3. indecisive, lost
4. truthful, trusted
5. brave, courageous
The text in the right box is an anagram of the text in the left.

Dharam Khalsa, Espanola, New Mexico


From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Limericks

“No wonder that Ted is so truculent,”
Said Trump, “for my wife is more succulent.
Check out Mrs. Cruz,
I’d need plenty of booze
If we swapped, and a little blue supplement.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The slippery-smooth Dapper Dan,
Sucks up to whomever he can.
But those in the know
See through his bon mots
As an unctuous and slick also-ran.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodth snet.net)

Groaned Samson, “When I was hirsute,
I wasn’t so irresolute.
With a haircut and shave
To Delilah I’m slave
And I hate this damn necktie and suit.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

In politics, being veracious
Is nowhere believed efficacious.
The head of Japan
Caught inside his sedan
Said “I didn’t have sex with these geishas.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The Knight though courageous and doughty
Was an “enfant terrible” rather haughty.
He could slaughter and slay
With maneuvers tres gai,
And yet was alarmingly naughty.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodth snet.net)


From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: AWAD of puns

I’m angry! That truculent me has no brakes!

“What made our unctuous out?,” wondered Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

Sorry I broke your guitar. Irresolute -- you can play it instead.

“Considering his blindness, Mrs. Charles, why did you ha’veracious down that ski slope?”

I doughty was ever afraid of anything.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma


From: Mary Helen Bowrin (marybowrin gmail.com)
Subject: This week’s words

Oh, what a magical week meeting old friends. Spice of life meeting new ones. Words are dear friends but as my old autograph book in high school had written in it, “Make new friends but keep the old, one is silver, the other gold.” Love you, Anu.

Mary Helen Bowrin, Kemptville, Canada


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
High is our calling, Friend! -- Creative Art / (Whether the instrument of words she use, Or pencil pregnant with ethereal hues,) / Demands the service of a mind and heart. -William Wordsworth, poet (1770-1850)

May 1, 2016
This week’s theme
Words to describe people

This week’s words
truculent
unctuous
irresolute
veracious
doughty

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives
Index

Next week’s theme
Words that appear misspelled

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