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Dec 16, 2018
This week’s theme
Words for Hangman

This week’s words
gyve
jinx
klutz
ilka
yclept

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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Index

Next week’s theme
Words that aren’t what they appear to be

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AWADmail Issue 859

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

The Key to Unlocking Ancient Languages?
BBC
Permalink

Scrabble’S Word of Ze Year Is Gender Neutral, and Potentially High Scoring
The Telegraph
Permalink



From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Getting A.Word.A.Day without a computer (Re: AWADmail Issue 858)

Here are some suggestion from our readers in response to another reader’s query on receiving A.Word.A.Day without a computer:

Click2Mail will do it for $0.82 for a one-page letter, she can set it up herself.
-George Pajari, West Vancouver, Canada (george pajari.ca)

If the recipient had a fax machine, you could consider one of these.
-Abhimanyu Sarvagyam, Hong Kong (abhimanyu.sarvagyam gmail.com)

It is possible to email directly to a printer. Some HP printers support it. The recipient does of course need to have access to the Internet, although it could be through a neighbor’s wi-fi.
-Norm Samuelson, Prescott, Arizona (norm.samuelson gmail.com)

For Cynthia Collins and others who wish to share A.Word.A.Day with those without computer access: Print a month’s worth of words, fold them and write on the back, “Open on Monday”, Open on Tuesday”, etc. Then put them all in one envelope and mail at a not-too-outrageous sum. I’m sure the joy they bring will be worth that price.
-Judy Lee, Maitland, Florida (judyklee juno.com)



From: Michael Hannan (mike hannanart.com)
Subject: Hangman

During my four years in the Army Security Agency where we played hangman every day (to keep sharp in our communications intelligence jobs), there was one rule: five-letter words minimum for the very reason Mr. McLoone describes. What fun is it to try a thousand times and have virtually no chance.

Michael Hannan, Tellico Plains, Tennessee



From: Samuel Blank (s.blank northeastern.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gyve

Your description of the most obscure person reminded this mathematician of the proof that there are no uninteresting whole numbers. Why? Because if there were, then of these there would be a smallest uninteresting number. Surely that makes it interesting.

Prof. S.J. Blank, Mathematics Dept., Northeastern University,



From: André Vesse (a.vesse free.fr)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gyve

This word appears on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

André Vesse, Villerest, France



From: Jeb Raitt (jbrmm266 aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gyve

In Hamlet Act II Scene 1, Ophelia speaks in a very disturbed way of a visit from Prince Hamlet in a very unsettled state:

My lord, as I was sewing in my closet,
Lord Hamlet, with his doublet all unbraced;
No hat upon his head; his stockings foul’d,
Ungarter’d, and down-gyved to his ancle;
Pale as his shirt; his knees knocking each other;
And with a look so piteous in purport
As if he had been loosed out of hell
To speak of horrors,--he comes before me.

It may mean that he rolled his stockings down to the ankles, but in any case, it’s pretty clear that he was a mess!

Jeb Raitt, Norfolk, Virginia



From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)
Subject: Emily Dickinson

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Tell all the Truth but tell it slant-- / ... The Truth must dazzle gradually / Or every man be blind. -Emily Dickinson, poet (10 Dec 1830-1886)

When T.S. Eliot says that “humankind cannot bear too much reality,” he is echoing what Dickinson says. Both Eliot and Dickinson saw how many of us cultivate illusions to come to terms with the harsh reality of the human condition. Dickinson’s life is an example of “telling the truth but tell[ing] it slant.” Most of those who knew her knew she was brilliant, but they concluded she was more eccentric than a poetic genius. She was known--believe it or not--for the quality of the bread she baked. Her exterior, the image she showed to the world--though she spent a lot of time by herself--concealed the tumult in her heart and soul. In one poem she says she need not go to Sicily or South America to see a volcano. She has, she says, volcanoes much nearer. She can “contemplate / Vesuvius at home.” “What terror would enthrall the streets” did one “disclose / The subterranean freight / The cellars of the soul.” She thanks God that “the loudest place he made / Is licensed to be still.” No old and time-stained and abandoned house is as haunted as the human heart. One doesn’t have to be a house to be haunted, for “the brain has corridors--surpassing / Material place.” It’s safer to meet a goblin at midnight in a dark forest than “one’s a’self encounter-- / In lonesome place.”

In the below poem she says that even though her exterior looks like a placid and serene plot of grass upon which birds would sit, her interior is seething with turmoil and dark insight. She says that did she “disclose” the roiling volcano churning inside it would astonish the world:

On my volcano grows the Grass
A meditative spot --
An acre for a Bird to choose
Would be the General thought ---

How red the Fire rocks below --
How insecure the sod
Did I disclose
Would populate with awe my solitude.

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina



From: Michael Ham (mikehamca gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--jinx

There’s also the use of “jinx” when one person by coincidence says something simultaneously with another, both uttering the same words, whereupon either can declaim, “Jinx! You owe me a Coke.” Quite common in Oklahoma in the 40s and 50s, certainly, and I’ve heard it since as well (and have said it myself).

Michael Ham, Victoria, Canada



From: Gerald Leonard Cohen (gcohen mst.edu)
Subject: Jinx etymology

Might I draw attention to the following item:

Gerald Cohen: Onomastic origins of ‘jinx’: Towards a compilation --based on information primarily from Barry Popik and Douglas G. Wilson. in: Comments on Etymology, vol. 39, #6-7 (March/April 2010, pp. 7-26).

Gerald Cohen, Rolla, Missouri



From: Ramaswami S (ramaswami.s gmail.com)
Subject: jinx

The Archie Comics include a character named Jinx Malloy, who brings trouble by his very presence. Case in point: a young woman is kissing a man she’s just met, when Jinx passes by and a strong wind blows the man’s wig off.

Ramaswami S, Thanjavur, India



From: Alan Gurevich (algee_73 yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--klutz

Allow me to disagree with today’s definition. Klutz has been in use for much longer than 50 years. It was in use when I was a boy, back on Long Island, in the 50s. And I would guess it goes back considerably further than that.

Alan Gurevich, Seattle, Washington

We list the first documented use of the word in the English language. Antedating of words happens all the time. If you have a citation for an earlier use, please let us know and we’ll update the entry. Thanks.
-Anu Garg



From: Karen Herron (karen.bloggs gmx.net)
Subject: Klotz

Yes, Klotz is the word for a wooden block, ein Holzklotz, in German, also in use for an ill-bred person who is without manners or etiquette, ein ungehobelter Klotz. An unplaned block of wood.

Ein Klotz am Bein (a block tied to the leg) is someone who hinders another to get on swiftly. Like a millstone round his neck.

Schlemiel I know more as a smart alec, rather than a klotz.

Karen Herron, Hamburg, Germany



From: Janet Rizvi (janetrizvi gmail.com)
Subject: Ilka

“Ilka” is specifically a Scotch word. The quotation from James Clerk Maxwelll, himself a Scot, “Ilka problem has its method”, is a clear reference to the traditional song, “Comin’ thro’ the rye”. It’s a happy song, its protagonist a young woman with an eye to the lads:

Ilka lassie has her laddie, / Nane, they say, ha’e I; / But all the lads they smile at me / When comin’ thro’ the rye.

There are many versions of the words, one by Robert Burns (which doesn’t include this particular stanza). Check it out here (videio, 3 min.).

Dr Janet Rizvi, Gurgaon, India



From: Rafi Markus (markus netmedia.net.il)
Subject: ilka

Today’s word ilka is also related to the Dutch word “elk” or “elke”, that both mean “each”. In a speech German chancellor Angela Merkel used a word that has no German equivalent and was borrowed from English: shitstorm. In German, it’s a perfectly decent word, in English it is vulgar. This phenomenon occurs in other languages, as well.

Rafi Markus, Jerusalem, Israel



From: Gigi Gottwald (gottwalds axxess.co.za)
Subject: ilka

Thank you for the word “ilka”. It was unknown to me as an English word. In the Afrikaans language of South Africa, however, “elke” means exactly the same as “ilka”: “each” or “every”.

Gigi Gottwald, Polokwane, South Africa



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

I remember Ilka Chase, an author and actress, who appeared on early TV game shows. I read a book or two by her, biographies, I think. She was sophisticated and very witty.

Sarah S. Sole, Enid, Oklahoma



Email of the Week brought to you by The Official Old’s Cool Education -- Bone Up Now >

From: Chris Wertz (chriswertz hotmail.com)
Subject: yclept

I’ve always been compelled to give nicknames to my friends. I suppose that makes me an ycleptomaniac.

Chris Wertz



From: Meg Ward (margwcurran hotmail.com)
Subject: Yclept

Shades of a Scots childhood derogatory term: clype. It means a “tell tale”, or, as a verb, to gossip, tell tales. Also, clyper, clypie.

Meg Ward, Merimbula, Australia



From: Laura Warren (lwarren parkwayschools.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--yclept

I think it would be too mean to use this word in a game of hangman.

Laura Kuehl Warren, Chesterfield, Missouri



From: Linda Owens (lindafowens netzero.net)
Subject: hangman

In elementary school, and that was more than 50 years ago, we found that YOU was the hardest word, and we even put in the O for guessers, throwing them off completely that a three-letter word could have three vowels.

Linda Owens, Exeter, Rhode Island



From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: klutz and yclept

Perhaps our gobsmacked fly-fisherman should be cut some slack (or fishing line?... Ha!), for his embarrassingly errant cast? Accidents DO happen. But still, his angling snafu, in my view, does rise to the level of a boneheaded, dare I say, klutzy move. By-the-by, I’ve heard that fly-fishing is a difficult endeavor to master... an acquired skill, as it were.

klutz yclept
Inexplicably, when I first contemplated this odd sounding word, “yclept”, meaning “called or named”, the little Scottish rural town, Yetts O’ Muckhart (from the Gaelic... Muc-Ă€ird), Clackmannanshire, popped into my noggin. During my most memorable summer of ’96 golf/touristic maiden adventure to Scotland, while heading for the storied coastal links of The Old Course at St. Andrews, we passed through the wee town of Dollar, which was a bit of a curiosity in itself. (No toll booths. Ha!) But further “doon the rood” we encountered a road sign reading... “Welcome to Yetts O’ Muckhart”. My two golfing companions and I, almost simultaneously, broke out into a gaggle of hearty guffaws, almost immediately struck by the sheer uniqueness, but more so, the hilarity of this village’s quirky appellation. And here we thought Wales had sole claim to the world’s most oddly sounding place names? Well... maybe a lock on the most unpronounceable and most lengthy?

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



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

 
This week’s theme: Words for Hangman
1. gyve
2. jinx
3. klutz
4. ilka
5. yclept
=
1. tight
2. hex, skews luck
3. oaf, jerk (no waltz!)
4. simply everything
5. named
     Words for Hangman
1. gyve
2. jinx
3. klutz
4. ilka
5. yclept
=
1. links; fix
2. jonah
3. try mong; gawk; putz
4. every
5. call’d
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)



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

Though the bachelor was barely alive,
The prognosis was that he’d survive.
Put a girl in his view,
Thoughts of death he’d eschew,
His libido just never would gyve.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

No society possibly thrives
with reporters in fear of their lives,
for as history shows,
a tyrant’s first blows
are a free press in fetters and gyves.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa,Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“They felt like a half-dozen gyves,”
Said Henry the Eighth of his wives.
“Now from heaven I stare,
And see WHO as my heir?
Only Anne Boleyn’s daughter survives!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


His “best people” a cabal of grifting finks,
His complicit trophy wife a “Be Best” minx.
Withstand or impeach?
Oh, Lord, we beseech,
Fickle fingers of fate junking this jinx.
-Charles Harp, Victoria, Canada (texzenpro yahoo.com)

He said, “I’m a genius quite stable,”
As he sat at the head of the table.
But he’s jinxed all our dreams
With his short-sighted schemes.
His ego is hard to disable.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

I knew our project was jinxed when
we postponed the cut-over again.
The team by then judicious,
found a time auspicious
and the hi-tech task went through -- no strain.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

The summer owls that come are my nemesis.
They put a jinx on my hotel premises.
They hoot all night,
And the guests take flight!
“Power of Owls” should be a source for thesis!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

We don’t blink while the USA sinks.
We think of Trump then give a few winks.
We just sit back and smile
While this vile juvenile
Has us all on the brink, he’s a jinx.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

Said Tonya, “That Nancy’s a jinx,
Winning medals on all the top rinks.
But one whack on the knee
And of her I’ll be free,
Take the gold, and buy diamonds and minks.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


I’m such an incurable klutz.
It’s the truth, no ifs ands or buts.
and, oh, how it stinks
to have such a jinx,
enduring mishaps and bruises and cuts.
-Duncan C. Turner, Seattle, Washington (dturner badgleymullins.com)

I have a friend, Jonah, who thinks,
That due to his name, he’s a jinx.
For things happened bad
After his mom and dad
Had dubbed him this name, and it stinks.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“I breed thoroughbred dogs,” said the klutz,
“But my litters turn out to be mutts.
‘A collie and poodle
Will never canoodle,’
I thought, but it seems they’re all sluts.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


After they met her and found out,
Ilka man would gleefully shout,
“She has no shopping gene,
And that could only mean
Spending’s not what she’s all about!”
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

A milkmaid one day, so they tell,
fell asleep, and her cows fled the dell.
Said she as they went, ilka
one, “I will just milk a
bull then”. It didn’t end well!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

In limericks, noun and verbs can shine;
Adjectives are not great favourites of mine,
And when you select
One that’s pure dialect
Like “ilka”, I turn my back and drink wine.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)


Tenzing Norgay he was yclept,
My Sherpa partner most adept.
We achieved a dream
Through work as a team.
I marveled at how much he had schlepped.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Chaps, as my cat was yclept
Died at peace yesterday while he slept.
The mice in the basement
Endorsed this erasement
And toasted the news, but I wept.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

Our leader, “The Donald” yclept,
Was elected while Democrats slept.
Says Bernie, “Although
To my peeps I said, ‘Go!’
To the polls not enough of them schlepped.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Puns worthy of hanging, man

“They released me from prison, no gyve!”

Every morning Tex McCrary greeted Ms. Falkenburg with hijinx.

To catch a football use only your hands; don’t klutz it to your body.

Until fox-hunting was banned in the UK, ilka chased.

The boy was so smart yclept 24 college credits.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma



A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
No one should drive a hard bargain with an artist. -Ludwig Van Beethoven, composer (16 Dec 1770-1827)

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