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Dec 12, 2021
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Illustrated words

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AWADmail Issue 1015

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

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

Two Dystopian Novels Explore How Language Can Be Used to Control Us
New Scientist

The Language of Climate Is Evolving, From “Change” to “Catastrophe”
Fast Company

From: Joy Frelinger (joyacey gmail.com)
Subject: Daedal

Leah Palmer Priest is certainly a daedal artist. Her illustration is brilliant.

Joy Frelinger, Tucson, Arizona

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

I’ve known this word for a long time, but not, I’m ashamed to say, its precise meaning. I learnt it from the first line of the paraphrase of a well-known nursery rhyme: Behold the mansion reared by daedal Jack.

Dr Janet Rizvi, Gurgaon, India

Pieter Bruegel de Oude - De val van Icarus.jpg
Landscape with the Fall of Icarus
Art: Pieter Brueghel the Elder
From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: daedal

In the legend, after Daedalus had fashioned wings for his son Icarus, the ambitious boy decided to fly close to the sun, with the result that his wings melted and he fell into the sea and drowned. Brueghel’s painting of this story inspired W.H. Auden to write a poem about man’s indifference to tragedy: Musée des Beaux Arts.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

Involute wheel.gif
Image: Claudio Rocchini / Wikimedia
From: Derek Tabor (derek.tabor gmail.com)
Subject: involute

I didn’t see any examples where this is used in reference to the teeth of gears (There is a usage referring to teeth but no context).

Involute gears use teeth with an involute profile that is mathematically governed to create a constant pressure angle throughout rotation (in reference to spur gears).

Heck, that’s the only usage in my vocabulary (I’m an engineer).

Derek Tabor, Gainesville, Florida

From: André Goodrich (andregoodrich gmail.com)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--xylophilous

I’ve been a professional musician for thirty years and I was today years old when I finally unpacked “xylophone”. Thanks for that.

André Goodrich, Chicago, Illinois

From: Marion Wolf (marionewolf yahoo.com)
Subject: xylophilous

No one can top Ogden Nash on this topic. He wrote a poem called “The Termite”:

Some primal termite knocked on wood
And tasted it, and found it good!
And that is why your Cousin May
Fell through the parlor floor today.

Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey

Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy The Official Old’s Cool Education III -- “A fantastic gift.”

From: SarahRose Werner (swerner nbnet.nb.ca)
Subject: Xylophilous

I saw the word xylophilous in the subject line of today’s email and immediately thought, “Tree hugger!”

SarahRose Werner, Saint John, Canada

From: Herbert Rakatansky (herbert_rakatansky brown.edu)
Subject: quotation

All men should strive to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why. -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (8 Dec 1894-1961)

The “to” and “from” are discoverable. The “why” has spawned multitudes of psychiatrists, philosophers, and authors.

Herbert Rakatansky, MD, Providence, Rhode Island

From: Henry M. Willis (hmw ssdslaw.com)
Subject: Milton’s quotation about those who put out the people’s eyes

Those who put out the people’s eyes, reproach them for their blindness. -John Milton, poet (9 Dec 1608-1674)

Tacitus had something similar to say in his Life of Agricola: “It is human nature to hate the man whom you have hurt.”

Henry Willis, Los Angeles, California

From: Robert Sanford (rhsanford gmail.com)
Subject: Seraphic

This word is part of a Mark Twain routine called, “Speech on Accident Insurance”, which was my doorway into Twain:

I have scarcely seen anything quite as seraphic as the look which comes into a freshly mutilated man’s face when he reaches into his vest pocket with his remaining hand, and finds his accident insurance policy safe and sound.

Robert Sanford, Woodland, Washington

Flights of Fancy
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: daedal and xylophilous

In contemplating our word daedal, I figured why not go to the original Greek mythical source. So I’ve imagined the man himself, master craftsman Daedalus, drawing up the optimal wing configuration for human flight... himself and his son Icarus. Well, we all know how that tale went down, literally, with Icarus plunging to his watery death when he flew too close to the sun, the wax “connective tissue” of his wings melting.

Ducking Out
Our word xylophilous prompted the avid birder in me to zero in on avian species that nest in tree cavities, either naturally formed or the work of industrious woodpeckers. Sometimes other bird species will occupy abandoned woodpecker holes. Bluebirds, smallish owls, swallows, nuthatches, flycatchers, and wood ducks will often nest in woodpecker abodes. Here, classic cartoon character, Woody Woodpecker, takes umbrage at a male wood duck, ducklings in tow, regarding him as a squatter. For me, the male wood duck is the most handsome of all North American duck species.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Illustrated words
1. daedal
2. involute
3. xylophilous
4. seraphic
5. lentic
= 1. skilled hand
2. curvous waxed hoe
3. tich’s tree-house time
4. poised
5. lily: still-water plant
     This week’s theme: Illustrated words
1. daedal
2. involute
3. xylophilous
4. seraphic
5. lentic
= 1. oh, he has easy skills
2. complex; curled
3. lived in wood
4. pure attitude
5. in the still waters
     This week’s theme: Illustrated words
1. daedal
2. involute
3. xylophilous
4. seraphic
5. lentic
= 1. complex, this dude’s unhurt
2. spiraled
3. it lives in the wood
4. holy, celestial
5. lake waters
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)

Make your own anagrams and animations.


Just what can’t she do with her needle?
Those things she creates are just daedal!
And I have to confess.
What they are, I can’t guess.
I suspect they are mostly illegal.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

How daedal the drawings he drew,
Which only a genius could do!
Inventions sublime
Ahead of their time --
Da Vinci designed quite a few.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

My aunt is a whiz with a needle;
Fancy dresses from her I oft wheedle.
What she does with a fabric
Is truly black magic;
Look out, Betsy Ross, for she’s daedal!
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

Though George was a talented Beatle,
John and Paul thought themselves far more daedal.
On his songs you may dote,
But to find what he wrote
Is like searching haystacks for a needle.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

In the face of my latest faux pas,
I’ll withdraw, curling inwards. Ta, ta!
I remain involute,
While the pain is acute,
As my vivre’s been robbed of its joie.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

In fetal position you must
Involute, hold your breath and then trust
The proctologist’s finger,
Although it’s a zinger.
And hope that you won’t be nonplussed.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

She thought her new hairdo was cute,
but hubby just frowned and kept mute.
“Don’t like it, I see.
But no worries,” said she.
“You know that ‘twill soon involute!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The involute tale that you tell
I don’t understand all that well.
So it would be wise
For you to revise,
And please could you learn how to spell?
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

It’s a shame: he just always seems pιssed
Even being rewarded -- or kissed!
He came into this world
With his right hand all curled
So there’s always that involute fist!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Said the panda, “I’m not involute;
All I want is a nice bamboo shoot.
Humans read and do math,
But you’re treading the path
Of the dodo and men’s business suit.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Certain bugs favour living on trees,
So beware when you’re taking your ease.
The xylophilous mite
Has a flesh-eating bite,
And will never say, “May I?” or “Please.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Xylophilous critters all should
Be glad that their homes are of wood.
I think you’d agree
They would probably flee
If glass houses were built in the ‘hood.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Xylophilous creatures are pests,
Destroying my house with their nests.
I’ll happily pay
To have someone spray --
I never invited these guests!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“Of wood let us build our metropolis,”
To Remus one day proposed Romulus.
“Did your mind someone garble?
We need to use marble!”
His twin said. “These bugs? They’re xylophilous!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

With that face and that form so seraphic,
You are poised for career photographic.
But we need in that smile,
If we’re gonna beguile,
Just the teensiest hint pοrnographic.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

With nary a glitch nor a hitch,
she makes inexplicable switch.
One minute seraphic
and even empathic,
the next, she’s a wicked old witch!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Most people take showers, but I
Am lentic. In a hot tub I lie
With a smile that’s seraphic
Without all the traffic
In my bathroom of old days gone by.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

At keeping her cool she excels.
She never gets angry or yells.
She’s calm in bad traffic;
She’s even seraphic,
While others let loose with “Oh, hell”s.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Hypnotized by his seraphic gaze,
Viewers swooned and were in a daze.
They gave in to the guy
And did gladly comply
with the sorcerer’s eccentric ways.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Beneath that seraphic facade
Lurks a devilish person -- it’s odd,
How angelic he looks
‘Cause the mischief he cooks --?
It risks the forbearance of God!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

The morning commute can be tough,
And going home, equally rough.
But, once out of traffic,
Arrival’s seraphic.
Your safe destination’s enough.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

If my car would sprout wings, how seraphic;
We two would fly over the traffic.
We’d get where we’re going
As though made by Boeing,
Or else like a creature Jurassic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

His love for the beach was authentic.
But the ocean (oh dear!) wasn’t lentic.
He wasn’t so brave
When he saw a big wave.
Just what makes those much-muscled men tick?
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

“So as not to get lost,” explains he,
“I stay well away from the sea.”
This turtle is lentic,
a truly authentic
swamp dweller, as safe as can be!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The first lentic things that I thought of
Were fish in a bowl. What’s not to love!
When they want to play,
They swim the whole day,
Then we sprinkle their food from above.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Jungle beasts, so playful and eccentric,
Splashed away in their setting so lentic.
With their crazed water sports:
Uninhibited snorts,
Which were gay and so happ’ly authentic.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Some fish that are lentic are trout.
In lakes they are swimming about.
They’re not in the ocean,
Where there’s too much motion;
In water that’s still they hang out.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

They say waters run deep if they’re lentic.
(I’ve changed it, but still it’s authentic.)
At parties I balk,
You can’t get me to talk;
And yet look at my oeuvres poetic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Was Sandra Daedal in real life? No, she was the life of the party.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

One of Ella Fitzgerald’s top hits in 1940 was daedal dee dum.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

“If you don’t make the mortgage payments, sooner or later the daedal go back to the bank,” Trump’s lawyer tried to explain.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I guess it’s true what they say -- no good daedel go un”pun”ished.
-JW Miller, Rixford, Pennsylvania (jmakalefty yahoo.com)

Said the rodent cult leader, “You will be saved if involute-trust!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“There’s no greater musical sound than little bars being struck by a mallet,” said the xylophilist.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

She liked to cruise in the Pacific or At-lentic Oceans.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Said Daedalus, “Now I’ll never get back the money I lentic.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Pandora's Box
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Pandora Papers

Who’da thunk that li’l old South Dakota would be outed in the now infamous Pandora Papers investigation, exposing it as a clandestine tax haven for oligarchs, drug lords, corporate shysters, crooked politicians, and royals. Yes royals! There’s compelling evidence that King Abdullah II of Jordan has sequestered millions in America’s version of the notorious Cayman Islands tax shelter. An estimated 350 billion to one trillion dollars have been salted away in South Dakota’s hidden economy. Gives a whole new meaning to The Badlands.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work. -Gustave Flaubert, novelist (12 Dec 1821-1880)

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