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AWADmail Issue 613

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

Sponsor's message: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Calling all double-domes, especially this week's Email of the Week winner Judith Marks-White (see below) -- we're offering an unbeatable cabin-fever cure for word lovers: One Up! -- The Wicked/Smart Word Game. A real steal at $15; and shipping is absolutely FREE. Quick, snap two up now.

From: Lyz Harvey (lyz.harvey btinternet.com)
Subject: euchre

Decades ago, on holiday, and after a long tiring journey, two of us wandered into a pub in Cornwall. While he attempted to drain the contents of the bar, I was lured into playing euchre with locals. We each made valuable discoveries -- neither of us could keep pace with the locals!

Lyz Harvey, Belbroughton, UK

From: Charlie Cockey (czechpointcharlie gmail.com)
Subject: Vole

I was not aware of "vole" as a verb in English and with the meaning ascribed to it; but there may be a connection to the expression "to take a flier". To vole and to take a flier meaning pretty much the same thing, and "vole" the English verb coming from the French verb "voler", to fly.

Charlie Cockey, Brno, Czech Republic

Email of the Week (Courtesy One Up! -- Blizzard, Schmizzard.)

From: Judith Marks-White (joodth snet.net)
subject: vole

My college English professor at our (then) all female school, used to remind us to "go the vole" meaning to grab every opportunity that was offered to us, and not to stop until we succeeded. A fellow student mispronounced vole as volé with a lilting French accent.

In the middle of her recitation, the Professor stopped, and chided her by saying: "You won't get anywhere if you 'accent aigu' your way through life." Even though he was deadpan serious, we girls had a good laugh.

Today's word "vohl" rekindled that moment, and made me smile. Thanks for the memory.

Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut

From: Ken Kirste (kkkirste sbcglobal.net)
Subject: vole

Reminded me of a joke that circulated after it was disclosed that John Lennon was dyslexic. The gag claimed that Lennon had originally titled the 1967 Beatles' hit as "All You Need Is Vole."

Ken Kirste, Sunnyvale, California

From: Philip Bergan (pjbergan gmail.com)
Subject: vole

In Evelyn Waugh's comic novel Scoop (1938), owing to a misunderstanding, a London newspaper sends John Boot, a nature writer, to cover a war in Africa instead of a well-known travel writer of the same name. As an example of the "particularly high-class style" of the former, Waugh offers: "Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole."

Philip Bergan, New York, New York

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--vole

Curiously, the expression "go the vole" triggered my recalling the episodic TV-rooted term "jump the shark".

Staying in the card game domain, one who may not be familiar with the latter term might think to "jump the shark" could be taken literally as to pounce on the 'card shark' for flagrant cheating. But TV-philes-in-the-know, would recognize "jumping the shark" as a niche term for the point where a long-running, successful sitcom starts going downhill in the ratings, often resorting to some uncharacteristic narrative twist(s) to hold onto their loyal fans, or to hope to increase their audience with newbie viewers.

The term was coined well into the long "Happy Days" run, in an episode where the writers have a leather-jacketed, bathing-suited Fonz waterskiing out here in LA, and at one point jumping over a caged shark... hence "jumping the shark".

You might say the network executives in attempting to "go the vole" by "jumping the shark", destroyed 'the goose that laid the golden egg'.

That's showbiz!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Griselda Mussett (mussetts btinternet.com)
Subject: Spoof

Spoof is also a simple game played in pubs and homes, in which players hold a secret number of coins in one hand behind their backs. Each player guesses the total number of coins. Some people are astonishingly accurate in their estimates.

Griselda Mussett, Faversham, UK

From: M Henri Day (mhenriday gmail.com)
Subject: spoof

What has, alas, now become the most frequent meaning of this word, i.e., the forging of, e.g., email and IP addresses designed to trick recipients into believing that messages come from someone other than the real sender, should also be included in the definition. These particular imitations are hardly light or good-humoured.

M Henri Day, Stockholm, Sweden

From: Graham Hannington (graham_hannington fundi.com.au)
Subject: Spoof

In Australia, the word spoof is slang for the noun "semen" or the verb "ejaculate".

Graham Hannington, Perth, Australia

From: Robin Sutherland (sfsland gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--trump card

And how oxymoronic that this word is associated even tangentially with Donald Trump, one of the very most ineffectual persons that this era affords.

Robin Sutherland, San Francisco, California

From: Chris Cain (chriscain.pjadistributionuk gmail.com)
Subject: A thought for the week

Isn't it obvious how important play is in the human psyche by looking at how many different words and phrases we devise from games? I was reminded of this quotation by this week's words:

"If we hit that bullseye, the rest of the dominoes should fall like a house of cards. Checkmate." -Zapp Brannigan

Chris Cain, Middlesbrough, UK

From: Irving N. Webster-Berlin (awadreviewsongs gmail.com)
Subject: Song based on this week's words

Here are this week's AWAD Review Songs (words and recordings) for your listening and viewing pleasure.

Irving N. Webster-Berlin, Sacramento, California

Words are like money ... it is the stamp of custom alone that gives them circulation or value. -William Hazlitt, essayist (1778-1830)

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