Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About | Media | Search | Contact  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ


May 27, 2018
This week’s theme
Eponyms coined after authors

This week’s words
hobbesian
marivaudage
marinism
cervantic
lovecraftian

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives
Index

Next week’s theme
There’s a word for it

Send a gift that
keeps on giving,
all year long:
A gift subscription of A.Word.A.Day or the gift of books
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share

AWADmail Issue 830

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



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

”Summa --- Laude”: Publix Supermarket Censors “Dirty” Word in Graduation Cake
WDAM 7
Permalink

Smart Knows That’s Not English -- How Adland Took a Mallet to the Language
The Guardian
Permalink

Antonin Scalia Was Wrong About the Meaning of “Bear Arms”
The Washington Post
Permalink



From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Authors’ favorites

Identify an author’s favorite food, drink, movie, etc. based on a quotation from their writing -- that was the challenge this week. About 100 readers rose to the challenge. The winners, in no particular order, are:

Q: What was Frederich Nietzsche’s favorite food?
A: Full-strength horseradish. (“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”)
-Libby Pannwitt, Maui, Hawaii (libbypannwitt24 gmail.com)

Q. What’s Nietzsche’s favorite pastime?
A: Watching reality TV. (“gaze into the abyss”)
-Kristian Truelsen, Toronto, Canada (truekk gmail.com)

Q: What is Shakespeare’s favorite meal?
A: Cheap, easy microwave dinners. (“If it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well it were done quickly.”)
-Eric Braun, Renton, Washington (forericbraun gmail.com)

They will receive their choice of a signed copy of any of my books or a copy of the word game One Up!.

Read on for honorable mentions:

Q: What’s George Bernard Shaw’s least favorite TV network?
A: Fox News (“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”)
-Carlina F. Della Pietra, Washington, Connecticut (cfdellapietra gmail.com)

Q: What’s Nietzsche’s favorite way of getting around?
A: By Uber. (He’s an Uber-man)
-Barbara Brown, Anchorage, Alaska (holdthisthought gmail.com)

Q: What was George Orwell’s worst subject in school?
A: Math. (“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”)
-Gary Coggins, Dallas, Texas (garyc isi85.com)

Q. What was Dorothy Parker’s favorite pastime?
A. Horticulture (“You can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think.”)
-Suzan Hamer, Nunspeet, Netherlands (suzanhamer hotmail.com)

Q: What was Harper Lee’s favorite cocktail?
A: A Tequila Mockingbird. (To Kill a Mockingbird)
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

Q: What was Herman Melville’s favorite pastime?
A: Picking up women. (“Call me (Ishmael).”)
-Abhishek Veeraraghavan, Mysore, India (vamosabv gmail.com)

Q: What’s F. Scott Fitzgerald’s favorite sport?
A: Sculling. (“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”)
-Doug Hough, Baltimore, Maryland (douglas.hough jhu.edu) and
-Tim Schuster, Albuquerque, New Mexico (wisetim12000 yahoo.com)


Q. What was Shakespeare’s favourite household chore?
A. Laundry. (“Out, damned spot! Out, I say.”)
-Ted Schipper, Toronto, Ontario (drtedsbraces gmail.com)

Q: What’s J.R.R. Tolkien’s favorite pastime?
A: Geochaching. (“Not all those who wander are lost”)
-Pam Oren, Catawissa, Pennsylvania (moonlightbooks gmail.com)

Q: What was Nietzsche’s favorite spirit?
A: Human. (“Human, All Too Human: A Book for Free Spirits”)
-Eda Ata, Ankara, Turkey (ataeda gmail.com)

Q: What is Charles Dickens’s favorite spice?
A: The best of thymes. (“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”)
-Alex Hoekstra, Boston, Massachusetts (alex.gmu gmail.com)

Q: What’s Charles Dickens’s favorite profession?
A: Economist. (“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”)
-Brian Zack, Princeton, New Jersey (bgzack gmail.com)

Q: How did Voltaire like his apples?
A: Candied. (Candide)
-Alex Hoekstra, Boston, Massachusetts (alex.gmu gmail.com)

Q: What’s Abraham Lincoln’s favourite guilty snack?
A: Four Skors. (“Four score and seven”)
-Brenden Kunimoto, Edmonton, Canada (brenden.kunimoto gmail.com)

Q: What was J.B.S. Haldane’s favorite band?
A: The Beatles. (“An inordinate fondness for beetles”)
-John Tate, Austin, Texas (johnatate sbcglobal.net)

Q: What was the first Roman Emperor’s favorite Rolling Stones song?
A: “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” (“I’d always thought the world was a wish-granting factory.” -Augustus)
-Ken Kirste, Sunnyvale, California (kkkirste sbcglobal.net)

Q. What is Voltaire’s favourite food?
A. Garden produce. (“Il faut cultiver son jardin” (you must cultivate your garden))
-Ian Hugo, Mollans, France (hugo.ian wanadoo.fr)

Q: What is Tom Wolfe’s favorite Thanksgiving food?
A: The right stuffing. (The Right Stuff)
-Betty Brown, Norman, Oklahoma (okbrowns flash.net)

Q: What is Hilary Mantel’s favourite hobby?
A: Gurning! (“Arrange your face” from Wolf Hall)
-Andy Carter, Trondheim, Netherlands (hornthesecond gmail.com)

Q: Which food does Anne Frank feel happiest about eating?
A: Leftovers. (“Think of all the beauty still left around you and feel happy.”)
-Nisha Kapoor, Luxembourg (nisha.kaps gmail.com)

Q: What’s Shakespeare’s favorite movie?
A: Avatar. (“O, wonder! / How many goodly creatures are there here! / How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, / That has such people in’t!”)
-Nancy Bonanno, Alexandria, Virginia (bonanno.nancy gmail.com)

Q: Who was Douglas Adams’s favorite baseball player?
A: Jackie Robinson (his uniform emblazoned with “the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything;” 42)
-Alexander O’Brien, West Lafayette, Indiana (alex.obrien271 gmail.com)

Q: What’s Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s favorite pastime?
A: Watching Stormy Daniels videos in the evening, with the lights turned off. (“It was a dark and stormy night.”)
-Dennis Newman, Chicago, Illinois (dnnewman gmail.com)

Q: What’s H.P. Lovecraft’s least favorite ice-cream flavour?
A: Vanilla (“No new horror can be more terrible than the daily torture of the commonplace.”)
-Catherine Arbour, Gloucester, Canada (catherinearbour3d gmail.com)

Q: What was H.G. Wells’s advice for one-night stands?
A: “It sounds plausible enough tonight, but wait until tomorrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.”
-Joe Ware, San Antonio, Texas (patriot505 aol.com)



From: Tish Webster (twebster brearley.org)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--hobbesian

You wrote:
Q: What was Thomas Hobbes’s favorite drink?
A: A small, unsweetened glass of Nestea. (“nasty, brutish and short”)

I was introduced to Wordsmith this year and enjoy it very much. I wonder if the reference to Nestea in the Hobbesian email was a joke? It was first sold in 1977.

Tish Webster, New York, New York

We are happy to have you here, Tish, but are you serious?

It’s common knowledge that Thomas Hobbes invented Nestea when he was in the middle of writing Leviathan. One afternoon he was online, researching human nature, and his Internet connection broke (these ISPs haven’t improved much in 400 years, have they?). He was solitary and poor and didn’t know what to do. So he went to his “kitchen” and started puttering about. What came out was Nestea and the rest, as they say, is history.

Important clarification: We don’t really know how he spelled the name of his now-famous drink as Nestle’s people snipped off pages of the Leviathan manuscript (if only there were a legitimate state to enforce the social contract back then!). It’s said that those pages with the original recipe are stored in a vault deep underground at the Nestle headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland and it requires two people with two separate keys to open it.

-Anu Garg



From: John Boylan (jfelixb aol.com)
Subject: Hobbes

Many years ago, I was alerted to a howler in, if memory serves, the English publication Notes and Queries. Hobbes’ s description of life as “nasty, brutish and short” was given there as “nasty, british and short”.

Apocryphal? Perhaps, but “se non è veto è ben trovato”.

John Boylan, Hollywood, Florida



From: Helen Colvin (tcolvin sympatico.ca)
Subject: Monday’s word Hobbesian

Hobbes the cat I was amused to read the definition of the word Hobbesian. The photo here is of my cat Hobbes. He was found as one of a pair of abandoned tiny kittens who were named prophetically by the animal adoption agency, Calvin and Hobbes, after the cartoon of the time. Calvin was a sweet grey kitten who went to live with another family. Hobbes, who had temporarily escaped to the outdoors of his dreams in this photo, has been the epitome of Hobbesian principles. Little imagination is needed to guess what was above him, and fortunately the Rose-breasted Grosbeak on the bird feeder flew away when I banged on the window. Maybe all cats are somewhat grim, selfish, and unrestrained etc. as in the definition of Hobbesian. Our feline Hobbes terrorises the other sweet kitty in our household, has shredded walls and cupboards and many parts of the house, but then exercises his life philosophy which is to purr and cajole himself to forgiveness for even his worst and innumerable misdeeds.

Helen Colvin, Mountsberg, Canada



From: Michael Hymers (michael.hymers dal.ca)
Subject: Hobbesian

Amongst historians of philosophy who specialize in the work of Thomas Hobbes, there is another pronunciation of “Hobbesian” from the one that you report. It is “ho-BEE-zhuhn” -- on analogy with “Cartesian”.

Michael Hymers, Department of Philosophy, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada



From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Hobbesian & Lovecraftian

Hobbesian Lovecraftian
It’s been well documented that Donald Trump rarely, if ever, reads a book, unless it’s one about himself with a largely favorable bent. Of course, he’ll read his own autobiographical publications, ghostwritten, like his favorite, The Art of the Deal... a Trumpian classic. Ha! So in this scenario, The Donald is reading British philosopher Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, a dystopian, dog-eat-dog, pessimistic view of the future state of human nature and society, where an omniscient, militaristically-inclined despotic ruler reigns supreme, and the disenchanted masses live lives of quiet desperation and perpetual angst. Hmm... sound familiar?

In this “Lovecraftian” scenario, I’ve pictured author, H.P. Lovecraft, holding a copy of one of his most popular works The Call of Cthulhu, featuring an otherworldly, amphibious creature... part octopus, part dragon... all demonic... the menacing Cthulhu; here, emerging from the open book, having captured my distressed frog character in one of its grasping tentacles. Froggy’s strained exclamation is clearly a play on the author’s curious surname.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



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

1. hobbesian
2. marivaudage
3. marinism
4. cervantic
5. lovecraftian
= 1. vain, animus
2. banter
3. ornate media
4. be chivalric
5. favors magic
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)


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

It seems that philosophy Hobbesian
Spewed vitriol, -- like a well, Artesian.
For me, a Simple Sam,
“I think, therefore I am”
Is my kind of persuasion -- Cartesian!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

They all ran as hard as they could,
to quickly cross the treacherous wood.
Pip at least one to the post,
(the Devil’ll take the hindmost),
was the Hobbesian maxim they pursued.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Hobbesian’s the word for Trump and for Kim,
And oh what a mess the whole world is in,
Birds of a feather,
Don’t play well together,
Please don’t let a race for the Button begin!
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

When a fellow’s behavior is Hobbesian,
I wonder, “What kind of a job’s he in?
A mogul? Their habits
Are like Peter Rabbit’s:
Quite naughty, not Flopsi- or Mopsian.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


As for marivaudage, who’s guilty
Of engaging in it more than me?
It is quite a high
Flirting with a guy
After he’s been complimentary.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

He said, “Stop all this marivaudage!
I am sick of your coy persiflage.
Grow up and get real!
Go and cook me a meal.”
She complied, but she sighed, “Quel dommage!”
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

As if Donald needed more baggage
He’s been hit with much marivaudage
Things are Stormy indeed
And we’ve all now agreed
What started it all was her cleavage.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

He’s warmed her with bold badinage,
He’s charmed her with marivaudage,
Young Romeo’s crooning
Has Juliet swooning,
Aroused by this verbal frottage.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (phyllismorrow1 gmail.com)

If you’re tired of marivaudage,
A lim’rick’s a verbal massage.
So short, perfect flow,
Have a laugh on the go --
Buy my book, in this genre the Taj!
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Think about the books you chose,
Did those books reach the highs and lows
Of extreme diction?
As fact or fiction?
Was Marinism shown in purple prose?
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

It must come as a certain truism
That The Donald has reached such a schism.
“I will always rebuke:
Kim Jong-un should de-nuke,”
Don Trump Tweets with bold marinism.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Writers of good journalism,
Should steer clear of Marinism.
Just keep facts exact,
Or you will be whacked,
With torrents of criticism.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

His use of unshackled marinism
Explains what a Trump voter sees in him.
To me it sounds blunt
Hearing “Slimeball!” “Witch Hunt!”
But my taste doesn’t run to extremism.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The mood became less than romantic
when the prince, in a moment Cervantic,
said, “Cindy, I quit!
It ain’t gonna fit!
This hoof of yours, kid, is gigantic!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“In days of yore antic, romantic,
when knights roamed on errands cervantic,
did windmills need slaying?
That’s all that I’m saying.”
“Oh, shut up! You’re far too pedantic.”
-Laurence McGilvery, La Jolla, California (laurence mcgilvery.com)

In my dreams there’s a man who’s Cervantic,
Possessed by obsessions romantic.
Like a knight he’s so bold
That in spite of the cold
He’d swim nude to me ‘cross the Atlantic.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

Wrote McMaster, “Dear Rex, It’s Cervantic
To be sane when he wants sycophantic.
I’m now following you
To escape the deep blue
As he tweets from the bridge of Titanic.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Common sense has gone for a stroll
With invective so out of control
When he speaks to the nation
With Lovecraftian narration
He tars and feathers our soul.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Wherever he looks, he sees spies
And monsters like Mexican guys.
He amplifies fear
And, it would appear,
Lovecraftian labels applies.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Lovecraftian lore has no appeal.
My world only consists of what’s real.
So many people insist
Alien creatures exist.
‘Til I see one, I don’t buy their spiel.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

While the era of Trump is Lovecraftian,
We’re still hanging on by a ganglion.
This November’s our chance
To make toothless his rants;
Until then, kindly pass me an Ambien.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Epic names yield eponyms

Natural -ly, the baseball manager asked the eye doctor, “How’s Roy Hobbesian these days?”

As a kid, Wills moved so fast that his friends wouldn’t include Marivaudage-ball games.

A Marinism military person.

What caused Miguel to cervantic characters up in his writings?

I don’t like donuts and carafed coffee but I lovecraftian crumpets.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma



A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life -- the sick, the needy and the handicapped. -Hubert Horatio Humphrey, US Vice President (27 May 1911-1978)

We need your help

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

Donate

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

© 1994-2018 Wordsmith