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AWADmail Issue 755

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

Sponsor’s Message: Backward, and upward! Does “Old’s Cool” sum up your philosophy of life: old school with a little wry, served neat? And where saving a buck or two is in the blood, especially during the holidays? Same here. So, we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Lawrence Crumb (see below), as well as everyone who thinks that frugal ain’t cheap, a YUGE 30% OFF our retro-authentic ludic loot. Jezz use coupon code “canttrumpthis” and win!


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

To Understand Trump, Learn Russian
The New York Times
Permalink

Oxford Dictionaries Launches API for Access to Dictionaries Data
ProgrammableWeb
Permalink

How an Ancient Word About a Bird Became a Slur Used by White Supremacists
Public Radio International
Permalink


From: Michael Varihue (mr.varihue gmail.com)
Subject: this week’s words

And maybe next week can we have words used by some important people who aren’t all old white men?

Michael Varihue, Madison, Wisconsin


From: Felice Shays (missshays gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--behoof

For years I’ve watched these emails -- sometimes everyday, sometimes not; learning, enjoying, forgetting, forwarding, amused, bemused, or bored, but appreciative. So, with that as background, I ask you, were only white men in the running from whom you could choose to quote this week?
And of course, each of these men are far more than simply white and male...but they are, indeed, white and male.

Felice Shays, Brooklyn, New York

That’s because there’s more to choose from old white men. It’s not that others didn’t have worthwhile things to say, it’s just that historically they didn’t have as much opportunity to be heard and published. Thanks for taking the time to raise this issue. We’ll work harder to be more inclusive.
-Anu Garg


From: Russ Darby (rrdarby att.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--behoof

Oh come on... this is how wizards turn their enemies into half-man half-pig (or horse) type creatures. Not to be confused with behoove, which sounds pretty much like the same word in this context.

Russ Darby, Springfield, Illinois


From: G.D. Zorzanello (zorzanello_gd hotmail.com)
Subject: comminute

During one of the recent Middle East conflicts, I purchased ship’s stores (supplies) for cargo vessel operators. Every so often, a component of the vessel had to be reconditioned or replaced. My job was to find the manufacturer and get a replacement device or repair parts. That device aboard a ship which grinds the garbage and sewage solids is known as a comminuter. The Cadillac of comminuters from one manufacturer was known as The Muffin Monster.

G.D. Zorzanello, Castro Valley, California


From: Donald Blair (dcblair gmail.com)
Subject: comminute

In medicine -- orthopedics, to be specific -- a comminuted fracture involves a shattered bone. Not to be confused with a compound fracture, in which the bone pierces the skin. Of course, one could have a compound comminuted fracture, I suppose.

Donald Blair, Jamesville, New York


From: Marge Simon (msimon6206 aol.com)
Subject: comminute

If you live close to where you work, the name for the trip to and from is a comminute.

Marge Simon, Ocala, Florida


Email of the Week - Brought to you by Old’s Cool - Harken back to a happier time, and save. SHOP NOW.

From: Lawrence Crumb (lcrumb uoregon.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--comminute

The walls of books around him, dense with the past, formed a kind of insulation against the present world and its disasters. -Ross Macdonald, novelist (13 Dec 1915-1983)

Your thought for the day reminds me of many clergy offices, including my own, with shelves full of books. One bishop wrote that, when visiting parishes, he liked to look at the dates in the priest’s books to see when his mind died.

Lawrence Crumb, Eugene, Oregon


From: Mervyn Bennun (mebennun icon.co.za)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--maffick

Mahikeng, not Mafikeng. In the new democratic South Africa we’re giving places their correct names as pronounced in the indigenous languages.

It’s the old story. The colonisers could not be bothered to get it right.

That is also why people often have two names. If you come here and meet “John” or “Vivian” or the like, ask them what their mothers call them and use that name instead. Sometimes it’s not easy for native English speakers to get it right, but making the effort is ubuntu...... and so is making the effort to learn an indigenous language.

Incidentally, in Xhosa it’s Mzantsi Afrika. Note the “k”. It cannot be “Africa”, because “c” is one of the clicks. My Xhosa teacher explained it as the sound one makes to denote pity -- “tut tut”.

I live on the slopes of Hoerikwaggo -- “the mountain in the sea”, which is what the indigenous people of the Cape, the Khoisan, called Table Mountain.

Mervyn E. Bennun, Cape Town, South Africa

Thanks for taking the time to send the correction. I see that the name was changed a few years ago (link). We’ve updated the web page for now.
-Anu Garg


From: Andrew Haynes (andrewhaynes live.co.uk)
Subject: maffick

The relief of Mafeking (now officially known as Mahikeng rather than Mafeking or Mafikeng) not only generated much “mafficking” in London but also falsely made a national hero out of the town’s British commander, Colonel Robert Baden-Powell (later the founder of the Scout movement).

History suggests that the event was more of an investment than a siege, since the Boers were probably happier to keep the British forces tied up rather than risk loss of life by invading the town. Baden-Powell seems to have revelled in devising innovative strategies for coping with the supposed siege rather than obeying repeated orders to break out -- even though for much of the 217-day “siege” there were few Boer troops around the town and his British forces could easily have moved out to contribute to the main war effort.

In Britain, misleading news from Mafeking aroused public pressure for an attempted relief. But the Government’s positive response actually aided the Boers by tying up even more British forces.

Andrew Haynes, London, UK


From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Saki & Mark Twain

Illustration: Alex McCrae
Illustration: Alex McCrae
Edwardian era Brit satirical short story scribe HH Munro (aka Saki) clearly had a deep and abiding affection for and curiosity about cats. In fact, felines were often either minor or major players in his observational, cuttingly satiric short stories.

His “Tobermory”, the eponymous name of an astonishingly gifted cat in the piece, speaks “perfectly correct sentences” to a gathering of gobsmacked high-society toffs. The grandiloquent cat doesn’t mince words (or meows) with his faultless elocution, revealing the failings, foibles, and hidden secrets of the stunned attendant upper-crust snobs.

NOTE: I owe a debt of gratitude to the brilliant American illustrator, Charles Dana Gibson, in my borrowing his “hatched line” approach to rendering my illustration. The formally attired gent is Munro himself.

Following up on our USAGE example, I’ve tried to capture writer Mark Twain in a pensive pose, his attempt at sorting out, in that fertile brain of his, the dual meaning of the word “sow”.

The striding sower figure scenario in the thought-cloud is based on a detail from Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, The Sower... one of a handful he painted on this subject.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

1. behoof
2. comminute
3. maffick
4. inhere
5. spavined
= 1. of benefit
2. mash
3. fun romp
4. move in
5. ache (ice, kid!)
= 1. boon
2. fine, mince
3. rave-up, feh!
4. fit
5. maimed hocks
= 1. nice side
2. chomp
3. have fun time
4. I am
5. broken off
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)   -Josiah Winslow, West Allis, Wisconsin (josiah12301 yahoo.com)


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

The Russians gave Trump a behoof,
But he turns on our spies for reproof.
Now the whole CIA
Shouts out, “Yippie-ki-yay!”
When they watch SNL do a spoof.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When writing lim’ricks, my behoof,
Is finding a subject to spoof,
Then I must make it rhyme,
(I do, most of the time,)
Take this verse, a good one as proof.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)


“As always, we must comminute
fenny snake, lizard’s leg, eye of newt,”
sing the witches, “But yumm,
now we’re adding some rum.
This one’s gonna be a real beaut!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

A frog toe and eye of a newt
Do we weird sisters three comminute.
Then boil and bubble
And toil and trouble
And poof! Donald Trump they salute.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The sorority threw parties seraphic,
Which soon became glaringly graphic.
As the evening progressed,
The girls slowly undressed,
The fête went from mundane to maffick.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Office parties see a young demographic
Perhaps prone to get festive and maffick.
It’s not what they’d choose
When inebriation ensues,
But just pray they stay out of the traffic.
-Kathy Deutsch, Melbourne, Australia (kathy deutsch.net.au)


Cries the brewer, “I’m finding it queer,
all your bounding around midst the beer!”
“Do you not realize,”
sly rabbit replies,
“that hops in these potions inhere?”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“In good government budgets austere,”
Said Columbus, “don’t always inhere.
Should Your Highness besmirch
Scientific research
We won’t know if the Earth is a sphere.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


There ought to be laws against labs in
which creatures are kept, stop the grabbin’
of innocent rats
to test this or that --
and prevent their too soon growing spavined.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Every choice signals doom like Poe’s raven.
On the tombstone of hope will be graven:
“The working man’s ‘friend’
treated him in the end
like an old horse afflicted with spavin.”
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Miss Marmaduke, ultra refined,
Was lagging a bit behind.
Sadly, over the hill
If looks could kill,
She’d be voted “Most Spavined”.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)


As one ages, there’s physical proof
Of concomitant decreased behoof.
Spavined bodies will soften;
You’ll maffick less often...
And not prone just to go through the roof.
-Alan Shoemaker (alan.m.shoemaker gmail.com)

In Aleppo -- there’s no maffick inhere
Comminution in Palmyra -- it’s there!
With Mosul in mind
And Raqqa spavined
No behoof -- only fear.
-C.W. Elliott, Setauket, New York (sevenports@msn.com)


From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Famous authors attempt to thwart punster

“In our production of The Farrier, I’ll play horseshoe and you behoof.”

That’s no special salamander. It’s a comminute.

Will mafficks her tubes if pa won’t get a vasectomy?
(Claudia de Secundy, my e-pal and fellow AWADer, wrote that one)

Patting her abdomen, the pregnant woman said, “My baby’s inhere.”

“Is my horse ‘swaybacked’? No, he just spavined to be born that way.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma


A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Art should be like a holiday: something to give a man the opportunity to see things differently and to change his point of view. -Paul Klee, painter (18 Dec 1879-1940)

Dec 18, 2016
This week’s theme
Usage examples from well-known authors

This week’s words
behoof
comminute
maffick
inhere
spavined

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives
Index

Next week’s theme
Words that keep glowing even with a burnt-out letter

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