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May 4, 2014
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AWADmail Issue 618

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

Sponsor's message: It's Officially Huge. This week's Email of the Week winner, Fran Goodey (see below) -- as well as all AWADers worldwide -- can now make their own terrific fun word-nerd party for nothing. Introducing our best-selling One Up! -- The Wicked/Smart Word Game as a free PDF download, absolutely gratis. Hurree y'up.

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

Bubble Vocabulary

Jamie Foxx Sings Uns_xy Words S_xily
The Tonight Show

From: Eva Van Beek (evavanbeek yahoo.de)
Subject: quiff

Just a little addition to your word quiff that you sent today: In Dutch Tintin is called Kuifje (meaning "tuft" in English) which is very close to the word "quiff".

Eva Van Beek, Travers, Switzerland

From: Kim Schmeits (Schmeits telenet.be)
Subject: quiff

Flemish word, "kuif" means the same: a tuft of hair styled straight up at the forehead. In fact, "Kuifje" which is the diminutive form, is the official Flemish name for Tintin, which, as you know, is a Belgian comic strip.

Kim Schmeits, Sarasota, Florida

Email of the Week (Brought to you by One Up! -- with our compliments.)

From: Fran Goodey (fgoodey hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gird

Australians have a particular interest in the word gird. Our national anthem Advance Australia Fair (written by a Scot) includes its past tense girt. It did not gain its status as the official anthem until 1984, following a plebiscite to choose the national song in 1977.

Australians all let us rejoice
For we are young and free
We've golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea.

The word girt has occasionally been anguished over in the public arena -- there must be a more modern word -- and it has been the subject of some derision. Good thing we're not skirt by ghee. Who's Girt? What about Kurt by sea?

But girt hangs on.

Fran Goodey, Brisbane, Australia

What a coincidence! The American national anthem was also written by a Scott!
-Anu Garg

From: Grant Agnew (ggttwwaa gmail.com)
Subject: Gird

I'm sure many of your Australian subscribers will rush to tell you that our national anthem includes the line "Our home is girt by sea." Half the population doesn't know what this means; many in the other half regard this line as ridiculous and make fun of it. But a national anthem is a national anthem, a ritual to be performed regardless of what the words of it may actually say. Thank heaven we don't take this particular ritual as seriously as some others do.

Grant Agnew, Brisbane, Australia

From: Jay Watterworth (jaywatterworth comcast.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gird

Your Thought for Today, "I don't need time. What I need is a deadline." was what finally prompted me to finish my dissertation and earn my PhD. I had it taped to my monitor as I typed away.

Jay Watterworth, Wheat Ridge, Colorado

From: Evan Hazard (eehazard paulbunyan.net)
Subject: mews

Mews are not just in the UK. See Washington Mews.

Also, MacDougal Alley, just to the west, is a similar bunch of converted stables. See also Patchin Place, again west in the same neighborhood. There's a similar 'inside the block' enclave across the street from PS 3 in Greenwich Village but I cannot dredge up its name. A developer across from Washington DC, in the suburb SE of Arlington, VA, constructed a similar enclave in the middle of the block. I couldn't find it on Streets 98, a tool for locating addresses, then thought what might be wrong. I was right; an employee had decided it must be a typo and had labeled it 'Washington Mdws'. Fun.

Evan Hazard, Bemidji, Minnesota

From: Ej Lizier (ej.lizier mac.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--feral

In local parlance, in Melbourne and much of Australia, feral can also be used to describe people. Its meaning is associated with grubbiness, with uncultured, uncultivated, uncontrolled persons. "That bloke is a seriously feral bogan" translates to "That man is a very uncouth brute."

Ej Lizier, Melbourne, Australia

From: Mike D Finelli (chainman51 gmail.com)
Subject: the word SOUND

In New England Whaling terminology, when a whale dives, for a long time, or deep, they call it sounding. "She sounds!"

Mike D Finelli, Quakertown, Pennsylvania

From: Buff McAllister (fiberbuff earthlink.net)
Subject: Homonyms

I learned in elementary school (many years ago) that homonyms are words that sound the same but are spelled differently, such as "there" and "their". We had a contest in 5th grade to see who could collect the most such pairs (pares?). A few years ago I saw a Richard Lederer column that used the term "homophones" instead. Can you explain? Thanks.

Buff McAllister, Monticello, New York

There are three distinct terms in the English language:
homophones: words having the same pronunciation (heir/air)
homographs: words having the same spelling (polish/Polish)
homonyms: words having same spelling and pronunciation (words from this week)
So two words that are homonyms are also homophones and homographs. Some use the term homonym to indicate either homophone or homograph, but I don't see any need to muddle things up.
-Anu Garg

From: Steve Robinson (spr lawrobinson.com)
Subject: Homonyms "Ad Homonym Attack"

Pearls of wisdom divers
Seldom come up for err
: "I like my mistakes well done, thank you"
... But rare.

Steve Robinson, Glendale, California

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

Cut these words and they would bleed; they are vascular and alive; they walk and run. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

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