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Sep 30, 2018
This week’s theme
Tosspot words

This week’s words
spitfire
shuteye
rotgut
clutchfist
fusspot

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Relative usage over time

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AWADmail Issue 848

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

Sponsor’s Message: One Up! is wicked smarter than Scrabble. No board. No complicated rules. 20 or so sweaty fun cutthroat minutes. Rinse (off your brain), and repeat. Congrats to Email of the Week winner, Nathan Schiff (see below), as well as all AWADers -- you can get 1,000,000 worlds and worlds in your pocket for less than the cost of a couple of coffees. Caffeine your cranium up now >



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

Alaska Declares Emergency for Native American Languages
The Guardian
Permalink

How Translation Apps Iron Out Embarrassing Gaffes
BBC
Permalink

Take My Word for it, the English Language Is Facing Destruction
The Independent
Permalink

You Can Play ‘Sheeple’ in Scrabble Now. Over 300 Other New Words, Too.
The New York Times
Permalink



From: Joel Mabus (joel.mabus pobox.com)
Subject: tosspot words

The tosspot word that occurs to me this Thursday is ramrod. Maybe with a capital R for Republican.

Joel Mabus, Portage, Michigan



From: Steve Benko (stevebenko1 gmail.com)
Subject: Two tosspots

Wavedong: An Ivy League frat boy who indulges in loutish, drunken behavior towards young women at parties as a form of networking with his buddies in furtherance of a future legal career.

Burnbridge: someone who tends to be their own worst enemy.

Steve Benko, New York, New York



From: Richard S. Russell (RichardSRussell tds.net)
Subject: drainswamp

This isn’t yet a real word and may never be: drainswamp.

Richard S. Russell, Madison, Wisconsin



From: Scott Morrison (jscottmorrison77 gmail.com)
Subject: Clutchpearls

A friend, no fan of the current administration and its spineless Republican congress, refers to a certain southern Senator who regularly calls Democrats “shocking” or worse, as Senatrix Clutchpearls.

Scott Morrison, Middlebury, Vermont



From: Ken Levin (ken edmunds.com)
Subject: tosspots

Hugh Lofting did better than “Dolittle” among his tosspot creations: pushmi-pullyu.

Kenneth Levin, Santa Monica, California



From: Mary Treder (mct919 hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--spitfire

Spitfire brought back fond memories of my grandmother, pictured here in 1918 flaunting conventions of the day and displaying her pregnant belly containing my mother. Grandma used to tell stories of her wild times and how all the boys called her Spitfire because she had an answer for everything.

Thank you for that!

Mary Treder, Parker, Colorado



From: Clay Commons (ccommons gmail.com)
Subject: Spitfire

During the Napoleonic Wars, there was a Spanish warship nicknamed Cacafuego, which translates as Shitfire.

Clay Commons, Portsmouth, Rhode Island



From: Ann Hiemstra (hiemstra.ann gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--spitfire

Having married into a full-blooded passionate “flying family”, the first that comes to mind when I hear the word spitfire is an aircraft, which also literally spat fire. From Wikipedia:

The Supermarine Spitfire is a British single-seat fighter aircraft used by the Royal Air Force and which fulfilled several roles, including interceptor, photo-reconnaissance, fighter-bomber and trainer, and it continued to serve in these roles until the 1950s.
First flight: 5 March 1936, Designer: R.J. Mitchell, Number built: 20,351.

Ann Hiemstra, Stilbaai, South Africa



From: Sacie Lambertson (sacie.lambertson gmail.com)
Subject: Spitfire

And of course there is that iconic lovely British car, the Triumph Spitfire. We owned one for fifty years before finally giving it to our local PBS station this year. Its engine was so simple that even I could work on it once upon a time. And, boy, was it fun to drive. Once upon a time ...

Sacie Lambertson, Winchester, Kansas



Email of the Week brought to you by One Up! -- A way better bargain than Bananagrams.

From: Nathan Schiff (nschiff fs.fed.us)
Subject: Spitfire

In Australia, Sawfly larvae of the family Pergidae are known as spitfires. Sawflies are primitive Hymenoptera (wasps) with caterpillar-like (eruciform) larvae. They feed on eucalyptus leaves and when attacked defend themselves by spitting drops of eucalyptus oil (liquid fire) at their attackers. They even have unusual group behaviors (called cycloalexy) where the caterpillars all form a circle with their heads facing out. This way they are all protected from all directions by “spitting fire”.

Nathan Schiff, PhD, Research Entomologist, US Forest Service, Stoneville, Mississippi



From: Peter Baker (petersbaker outlook.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--shuteye

According to Orson Welles, there is another meaning: (video, 4 min.).

Peter Baker, Ascot, UK



From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)
Subject: Rotgut

Years ago I worked with a man who was a heavy drinker. He drank bourbon. He bought the most inexpensive brand he could find in a large discount liquor store. When it was time for a trip to the liquor store for his quota of rotgut, he’d say to me, “It’s time for me to go pick up another bottle of Old Tennis Shoe.”

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina



From: Melanie Farmer (melanie.farmer gmail.com)
Subject: fussbudget

This word brings tears to my eyes. It reminds me of my mother calling me a “fussbudget” and a “mother hen” and other hurtful names when I was a little girl (pre-teen, some 60 years ago). She was laid-back and pokey, making me anxious that we kids wouldn’t be ready when the bus came. I would make sandwiches for our lunches, help the younger ones get breakfast and dressed, and do various other tasks that should have been done my her.

Melanie Farmer, Temple, Maine



From: Mina Jo Payson (minandave charter.net)
Subject: Clutchfist

I got a chuckle from the picture for clutchfist. I have to admit that I use tea bags until all I get is light brown water. No sense in wasting all that good tea!

Mina Jo Payson, Richland, Washington



From: Ossie Bullock (via website comments)
Subject: Clutchfist

I am deeply insulted by your picture of tea bags being recycled. I often have three or four cups of tea a day (well, I am English), and freely admit that I plonk the bags on a saucer after use...and then make the third or fourth cup from two or three previously-used ones. This means I use 25-33% fewer tea bags than I might. Assuming an average daily consumption of, say, 3.5 tea bags, and an average saving of 29% of them by re-use, this means I save around 370 bags a year. It’s true that the last cup tastes pretty disgusting, and that 370 tea bags only cost about £4.40 ($5.75)...but imagine how virtuous I feel (especially when I empty the twice-used leaves out of the bags on to my compost heap).

All right, all right, I’m a clutchfist.

Ossie Bullock, London, UK



From: Douglas Heidenreich (douglas.heidenreich mitchellhamline.edu)
Subject: Clutchfist

For years I accused an old friend of being a gripsou because, though generous with his friends, he was very “careful” (cheap) in other ways. I don’t believe that I ever heard anyone called clutchfist, but penny-pincher was commonly used as a synonym for miser.

Douglas Heidenreich, St. Paul, Minnesota



From: Aislinge Kellogg (aislinge.kellogg icloud.com)
Subject: Tosspot Words

My own name is Kellogg, which is from Cornwall, in southwest England, where all surnames begin with Tre, Tri, Pol, Pel, Kol or Kil. So Killhog was the local butcher: Kill-hog.

No, my name is okay, but I knew a guy named Mr. Drinkwater, for whom I worked in a Sam Goode’s (I’m dating myself now -- 50!), and that was the immediate thing that came to mind. It will always be the first thing that comes to mind.

Aislínge Kellogg de Gómez, Parsippany, New Jersey



From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: shuteye & spitfire

Author Washington Irving’s fairytale character Rip Van Winkle is a prime exemplar of shuteye carried to the extreme. During Colonial America times, the humble Dutch-American villager falls into a deep sleep in the bucolic Catskill Mountains of Upstate New York, awakening some twenty years later, having no clue that he’d slept through the entire Revolutionary War era. Many literary scholars are of the opinion that Irving drew on earlier folktales of long-slumbering characters, awakening befuddled, finding themselves in another world, so to speak. Similar yarns have come to us from ancient Greek, Germanic, Irish, Scots, Native American, and Talmudic lore.
shuteye spitfire
“The little plane that could!”... the British short-range, high-performance, “interceptor” fighter aircraft, the Royal Air Force’s Spitfire, flown with such distinction and effectiveness in midair combat sorties during and after WWII, more than stood up to its lofty moniker. Designed in the 1930s by R.J. Mitchell, chief designer at the UK-based Supermarine Aviation Works, this workhorse of the RAF fighter brigade went through multiple variants over the years, mostly design tweaks to the wing configuration, and alterations in surface camouflaging. As the post-Battle of Britain backbone of the RAF dominance of the warring skies, the Spitfire fought in many theaters of combat, including Europe, the Mediterranean, the Pacific, and South-East Asia.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



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

 
1. spitfire
2. shuteye
3. rotgut
4. fusspot
5. clutchfist
= 1. feisty
2. rest
3. puts out foul hiccups!
4. frets
5. tight
     1. spitfire
2. shuteye
3. rotgut
4. fusspot
5. clutchfist
= 1. tigress
2. feet up
3. lusty hootch cut
4. purist
5. stiff
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)




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

For me, the Spifire is the gallant little plane
That for the German war effort was the bane!
They did literally spit fire
Bringing retribution dire.
For the war machine, very apt was the name!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

Perhaps I’m becoming a bit dire
When I define Donald as spitfire.
Quick-tempered, outspoken,
Is he even housebroken?
My dog is, and he’s not a liar.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

There once was a young corporate spitfire
Whose goal for that “ladder” -- get higher!
She leaned on caffeine
To make the big scene,
But the coffee beans fueled her own pyre.
-Anna C. Johnston, Coarsegold, California (ajohnston13 gmail.com)

“Though your wife Guinevere is a spitfire,
With no knight has the queen crossed a tripwire,”
Sir Cochran declared.
“Lancelot must be spared;
The adulterer’s glove doth not fit, Sire.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Get busy! There’s calves to be sired!”
said farmer to bull he had hired.
“But first some shuteye.
I can’t fructify
your girls,” said the bull, “when I’m tired!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Somnolence all thru my life I fought,
a must-win battle or so I thought.
Then the new management speak,
gave simple shuteye a tweak.
Christened power nap, noon time peace it brought!
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

When Rip van Winkle had his sleep.
The world advanced leap by leap.
It is not wise,
When time flies,
To have shuteye so long and deep.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

Dreamed Donald while getting some shuteye,
“I’ve obtained world respect as a tough guy.”
He’d been lulled off to sleep
By some Fox and Friends creep
All alone in his bed with no ally.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Not a typical wine connoisseur
or collector of classic liqueur,
if you’re gulping down rotgut
the reason is clear-cut;
You just want to get hammered, you boor.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

At parties when rotgut was served,
My husband would say we deserved
Much better to drink
And so he would think
Jack Daniels kept his taste preserved.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

“Those acorns you’re eating are rotgut,”
Said the squirrel. “Come here, try this walnut.”
And he ripped off his bro
For he’d learned like a pro
From a man with a big orange haircut.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


A great miser was Scrooge Mcduck.
He was very tight with a buck.
This noted clutchfist
Would always insist
If you want a loan, it’s “No luck!”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

A young man whom the girls can’t resist
Likes to have the occasional tryst.
Though exceedingly rich,
There is one glaring glitch:
In all truth, he’s a flagrant clutchfist.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Said Marley to Scrooge, “You old clutchfist;
It’s at Christmas you choose to be toughest?
Three spirits will come;
To their charms you’ll succumb,
Spread your wealth, and by bimbos be much kissed.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


The fusspot wants sauce on the side
And no extra pepper applied.
“Make it gluten free,
With no MSG” --
It’s seldom this guy’s satisfied.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Most of his rants have no meaning.
They’re absurd and often demeaning.
The old fusspot’s swagger
Shows a brazen sandbagger
On a path of unstable careening.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Said Brett to his buddy, eyes bloodshot,
“That Christine was sure some kind of fusspot.”
Answered Mark, “If I’m asked,
You will not be unmasked;
I’ll go hide at the beach, that’s the upshot.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Tosspot tinkerings

On his honeymoon the groom said, “We’ll use spitfire Vaseline runs out.”

When I discovered the tavern was shuteye went home to bed.

Nursing my roommate’s hangover, I asked, “Rotgut into you last night?”

“Your boyfriend wouldn’t clutchfist tongue didn’t get caught in your braces.”

I cried when he died, fusspot had been my favorite dog.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma



A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
It’s kind of selfish to say that you’re only going to fight for a victory that you will live to see. -Ta-Nehisi Coates, writer and journalist (b. 30 Sep 1975)

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