Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



AWADmail Issue 730

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

Sponsor’s Message: Hey, Traditionistas -- does “Old’s Cool” sum up your philosophy of life: old school with a little wry, served neat? Where courage, integrity, authenticity and excellence matter? Same here. So, we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Scott Kuhle (see below), as well as all everyone who thinks that the way things were is sometimes better than the way things are 10% off our retro-wicked ludic loot. Jezz use coupon code “SHOPYESTERDAY”.

From: Frank Muller (frank integrow.co.za)
Subject: poecilonym

Eeek! Wordsmith.org was hacked by Synonymous!

Frank Muller, George, South Africa

From: Sherry Miller (sherry sherryart.com)
Subject: nephalism

I am a functioning nephalist because I have gout and can’t drink.

Sherry Miller, Tiburon, California

From: Steeve McCauley (steeve.mccauley+wordsmith gmail.com)
Subject: nephalist

I’ve been a nephalist since last night’s cocktail hour.

Steeve McCauley, Montreal, Canada

From: Sarah S. Sole (via website comments)
Subject: nephalist

I have been a nephalist since my teens as alcohol makes me physically ill. My husband loved to brag that he married me because I was a cheap date!

Sarah S. Sole

From: Chris Carter (ccarter iinet.net.au)
Subject: tachyphylaxis

Strictly, in pharmacology tachyphylaxis means “a rapidly diminishing response to successive doses of a drug” (Shorter OED). The usual example is glyceryl trinitrate, which can become ineffective after several doses in one day. “Tachyphylaxis” has been wrongly used to describe the loss of efficacy of SSRI antidepressants after prolonged use, typically five or ten years. You could describe this as “Bradyphylaxis” (slow resistance), but is there really any need to make up yet another medical term?

Chris Carter, Perth, Australia

From: Bill Sweeney (wsweeney8 comcast.net)
Subject: tachyphylaxis

Your readers might appreciate A.E. Housman’s untitled poem beginning “Terence, this is stupid stuff”. His fanciful, 4th stanza account of Mithridates’s achievement is unforgettable.

Bill Sweeney, North Bennington, Vermont

From: Dee Hunt (dondeehunt gmail.com)
Subject: Marrowsky

My mother and her identical twin sister were lovingly referred to as “the sin twisters”.

Dee Hunt, Fort Myers, Florida

From: Hope Bucher (hopebucher gmail.com)
Subject: Marrowsky

My first experience with marrowsky/spoonerism was when my college literature professor spoke of “Sheets and Kelley”. The entire lecture hall erupted in laughter.

As a mother who enjoyed reading to her son, I encountered it again in Shel Silverstein’s last book “Runny Babbit”:

“Runny Babbit lent to wunch and heard the saitress way, “We have some lovely stabbit rew, our Special for today.”

It was a delightful way to introduce wordplay!

Hope Bucher, Naperville, Illinois

Email of the Week -- Have an OLD’S COOL summer. Get your authentic on HERE.

From: Scott Kuhle (scottkuhle roadrunner.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--marrowsky

Probably my most embarrassing marrowsky was with a group of colleagues, who were reminiscing about a friend who had recently died, and I transposed the s and f when responding to a comment about his sense of humor and meant to say, “Yes, he was a funny sucker.” Or was it a Freudian slip?

PS: Many years ago I sent Cullan, a college friend, a gift subscription to A.Word.A.Day, and this morning I received this message from him:

I don't know if you still get and read Wordsmith every day, Scottie, but I am now happy to know the name of your famous (in the best and fondest of memories) description: sunny f**ker. Those ladies in the office at OLA (if they are still alive) may realize what you said was a marrowsky.

To add to the humor of my marrowsky, Cullan and I were Franciscan friars at the time, and the OLA to which he is referring is Our Lady of Angels Friary in Cleveland. The incident happened about 55 years ago.

Scott Kuhle, Pullman, Washington

From: Roberta M. Eisenberg (bobbi alumni.nd.edu)
Subject: Marrowsky

The masters of these are the Capitol Steps, a DC comedy troupe. More than 30 years ago, they started out as office interns to legislators.

Part of every show they do is called Lirty Dies, which is delivered at a rapid pace thereby making the audience think and concentrate very hard.

Samples of their very funny routines are here.

Roberta M. Eisenberg, New York

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

As usual, the anagram to the right is composed of the
letters in the five words below, and this heading:
1. poecilonym
2. nephalism
3. tachyphylaxis
4. nullifidian
5. marrowsky
1. synonym (weighty, heavy, plump, hog-huge!)
2. dislike of alcohol
3. builds tolerance with a harsh toxin
4. an affirmed atheist
5. spoonerism, did a letter switch (as in, “plaster man”)
The text in the right box is an anagram of the text in the left.

Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina

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

And now Wordmith brings forth poecilonym.
“Reduplicatives” gave me my fill of ‘em.
I slipped my Strunk & White
‘neath my pillow last night.
Words? Please use the run-of-the-mill of ‘em.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

The answer to “’Synonym’ synonym”
In your crossword is surely “poecilonym”.
It’s pretentious, like “tall”
Down at Starbucks means “small”
When you order a latté with cinnamon.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

They side-step a serious schism:
he drinks; she employs nephalism.
To avoid a mixup,
they label their cups:
one HERS and the other one HIS’N.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

While a girl without clothing attracts us,
The problem is tachyphylaxis.
For once she’s a wife
There’s annoyance and strife
And less frequent become our climaxes.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

His eyes are a sparkling viridian,
his hair dark and curly, obsidian.
“Just like a Greek god!”
she exclaims. This seems odd.
(She’s an old, self-proclaimed nullifidian!)
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Though raised as a strict nullifidian,
I’ve nevertheless read my Gideon.
I contemplate stars,
Gaze at Venus and Mars
And think, “this is hardly quotidian.”
-Adam Perl, Ithaca, New York (adam pastimes.com)

He was sitting and having a brewsky,
When the girl sauntered by, va-va-voomsky.
So overt was his leer
That he shouted, “brink deer?”
She smacked him in the marrowsky.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodth snet.net)

Spoonerisms, I love to hear.
I am a fig ban that is clear.
Give me a marrowsky,
I will gluckle with chee.
I thank that old Count most sincere.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Some synfully-bad puns

She thought she’d cleaned her toddler after lunch but there was a black-eyed poecilonym.

Speaking of fluid buildup, a nephalism anything you’d want.

When its medians go unmown, Philadelphia’s Broad Street is a tachyphylaxis.

Pakistanis feel laws are nullifidian legislators propose them.

The Pole seemed sulky and marrowsky, or is that mulky and sarrowsky?

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

A word has its use, / Or, like a man, it will soon have a grave. -Edwin Arlington Robinson, poet (1869-1935)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2018 Wordsmith