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AWADmail Issue 788

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

Sponsor’s Message: Life’s a funny old dog, innit? One of our favorite bands of all time is Steely Dan -- always loved their cool, ludic, laid-back vibe. Their glib, erudite and clever lyrics and the origin of the name always resonated too, since we’re also a huge fan of William S. Burroughs. Anyway, we met our buddy Ray at Tusk & Cup the other morning for coffee, and ended up playing One Up! with his friend Jon. We all three went at it, hammer and tongs, and Ray ended up just squeaking by with the win. Long story, short -- Jon is the guitarist for the band, and he’s going to make sure the Scrabble they usually play gathers dust from now on. Ha. Anyway, congrats to Email of the Week winner Kathy Geer Root (see below) and all the other sarcastic wordy music lovers out there -- you never know when you might become a (sidebar) hero to your hero. Read more about “Stealy Dan” here >

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

Can You Bring a Language Back from the Dead?
The Irish Times

Greece’s Disappearing Whistled Language

From: Alan W. Ritch (aritch berkeley.edu)
Subject: Birminghamize and Coventrate

Having grown up on a farm between the cities of Birmingham and Coventry (Brum and Cov in local slang), I was less familiar with Birminghamize than with Coventrate. The latter verb was coined soon after November 1940, when I was two weeks old. The medieval center of Coventry was obliterated by German bombs, and other blitzed cities in the English provinces were said to be Coventrated, after the site of the first and worst destruction. The verb the British coined in horror, the Third Reich adapted in pride: koventreiren.

Alan Ritch, Santa Cruz, California

From: Eric Bymel (ebymel gmail.com)
Subject: Places that could become verbs

I have been living in Haifa for many years. This special not-too-big city symbolizes for me a genuinely tangible co-existence between Arabs and Jews, and I do like and appreciate it. So if these two groups can cohabit, I would gladly offer “cohaifabit”. Why not?

Eric Bymel, Haifa, Israel

From: Lynn Mancini (mancini dtcc.edu)
Subject: To Newark out

When I first moved to Newark, Delaware, I was strongly cautioned to pronounce the city’s name with the emphasis on the second syllable because locals in the Delaware city sometimes get upset if someone puts the emphasis on the first syllable. They might launch into a mini-lecture about how the first-syllable emphasis is the pronunciation of the similarly named (and better known) New Jersey city, and that we are NOT in New Jersey.

So, my nomination for a new place name verb would be “to newark out”, meaning to scold someone about a (perceived) mispronunciation. Sample usage: When Sally mentioned that she was for the “nukular” weapons proliferation treaty, John newarked out on her.

Lynn Mancini, Newark, Delaware

Email of the Week -- Hey, Nineteen -- Shop The Wicked/Smart Word Game here.

From: Kathy Geer Root (kroot accnorwalk.com)
Subject: To be norwalked

Norwalked: Right here in small-town Ohio, we’re “famous” for being where the dreaded “cruise-ship” and “Chipotle” virus was first identified. Yep, that is Norwalk, Ohio -- home of what was first-known and named “Norwalk virus” until just a few years ago, when the name was Latinized to “norovirus” to reflect that it’s not just a single virus but rather a family. “Norwalk virus” was initially identified in the late 1960s by Earl R. McLoney, MD, a family physician (and personal friend) who also served as county health commissioner at the time. The discovery was made when more than 200 children at an elementary school came down with the now well-recognized typical headache, vomiting, and diarrhea that spreads so quickly among cruise-ship populations and has sickened Chipotle customers in two outbreaks.

Thus, the “verb” version of our 16,000 population town could be used: “The Smith family went on its first-ever cruise to the sunny Caribbean and, instead of enjoying the islands, got norwalked and spent five days in their cabin.”

Kathy Geer Root, Norwalk, Ohio

From: Susan Coleman (skcoleman7 gmail.com)
Subject: Coxsackie

Coxsackie (cook-SAH-kee): to present as unique and difficult to pronounce.

Usage: “The Welsh Coxsackie perhaps better than any, with town names such as Cwmystwyth, Bwlchgwyn, and Ysbyty Ystwyth.”

I don’t believe there’s another town anywhere in the world called Coxsackie, and anyone from anywhere other than Coxsackie pronounces it in ways that always lead to giggling and often to some naughty references (see about 3:25 of this video.

Susan Coleman, Coxsackie, New York

From: Alan Webb (kitchen webbweave.com)
Subject: Towns made into verbs

The verb Boulderize has the delightful advantage of being like bowdlerize.

1. Make more liberal, New Age, and hippy.
2. Make more healthy and active.

Alan Webb, Boulder, Colorado

From: Terri Andrews (terrilandrews gmail.com)
Subject: The island of Nevis

On our tiny Caribbean island of Nevis, there is a saying of one being Nevis’d. This is a local description of a person who has come to the island on a totally separate and temporary basis, but who ends up staying permanently. Our island appears to have a profound, almost mystical, effect on many visitors, so beware.

Terri Andrews, Nevis

From: Christy Esmahan de Souza (via website comments)
Subject: Austinize

Austinize: To make it weird and crazy, in a good way.

Christy Esmahan de Souza, Austin, Texas

From: Robert Guyan (rguyan gmail.com)
Subject: Portlandize

Portlandize - to make weird.

There is a slogan in town: Keep Portland weird.

Bob Guyan, Portland, Oregon

From: Ravichander Yoganathan (ravichander.yoganathan ericsson.com)
Subject: Bangalored

Bangalored: After the city Bangalore in India. Bangalored as a verb denoting loss of job to call center/KPO/BPO, etc.

Ravichander Yoganathan, Bangalore, India

From: Aditya Devendra Pathak (apathak tce.co.in)
Subject: City name as a verb

If I were to use “bangalore” as a verb, I would use it to mean “to greenify”, since Bangalore is famously known as the Green City / Garden City of India. E.g., The environmentalist started a campaign of bangaloring his city in an effort to reduce the pollution levels.

Aditya Pathak, Bangalore, India

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: Places that have become verbs

To copenhagen means to deliberately turn a blind eye in order to permit damage to be caused. In the first Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 Admiral Nelson was supposed to receive a signal to stop firing on the Danish ships then in the service of Napoleon’s “continental system”. He, however, placed the telescope, through which he expected to see the signal, to his blind eye and pretended not to have noticed the flag that would indicate the order to desist, before the supposedly neutral ships of Denmark were blown to smithereens.

Kiss me, Hardy, indeed. But that was in another story of another battle (Trafalgar), four years later. And while Nelson triumphed in that one, too, it didn’t end so well for him personally.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Lynne Glasscoe (lynne.glasscoe gmail.com)
Subject: Places that became verbs

Nearby villages:

Coolagown - to dress fashionably
Ballyhooly - to have a great time at the local hop
Knockdromaclogh - to beat the time with a drum
Kilworth - to get rid of the good things in life
Modeligo - to go to hell on a scooter

...and so many others in the wondrous land of Ireland.

Lynne Glasscoe, Blackwater Valley, Ireland

From: Richard Kaplan (r.kaplan ucl.ac.uk)
Subject: places into verbs

M-25itise: to obstruct by delaying, slowing down, or frustrating via foot-dragging. A technique often used by politicians, bureaucrats, and functionaries of any large organisation.

Prof R Kaplan, Farnborough, UK

From: Pamela J. Kaster (pamjkaster yahoo.com)
Subject: New Orleans as a verb

Neworleanize: to infect with love of life and the ability to dance and rejoice spontaneously.

Pamela J. Kaster, New Orleans, Louisiana

From: Catherine Elizabeth Rose (cetrueman btinternet.com)
Subject: Ickwell

Living in a quintessentially English village with a cricket pitch, thatched cottages, a maypole, and no street lighting, I could say I live an ickwellian existence, which would refer to someone who lives something of an old-fashioned life.

Catherine Elizabeth Rose, Ickwell, UK

From: Peggy Issenman (via website comments)
Subject: Haligonianize

Canadians are known to be a polite group. I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where we are known to be extra polite and welcoming. For example, if someone bumps into you on the sidewalk, then we Haligonians automatically say “sorry” even if not our fault. So I guess to be haligonianized would be somewhat akin to killing someone with kindness.

Peggy Issenman, Halifax, Canada

From: Tim Ewbank (timonewbank me.com)
Subject: Pluto

“To be Plutoed” meaning unceremoniously demoted, after Pluto being no longer classified as a planet by the International Astronomical Union.

Tim Ewbank, Cambridge, UK

From: Tali Avishay-Arbel (tal_miqa zahav.net.il)
Subject: jerusalemize

I live in Jerusalem, Israel. There is a syndrome called “The Jerusalem syndrome”, which affects mainly young people, typically Jewish or Christian, and manifests itself as religious madness: disorientation, thinking you are the messiah, wanting (and sometimes trying) to commit violence against sites that you perceive as evil. Typically, after a few weeks hospitalization and treatment there is a complete cure. I would call this phenomenon “to be jerusalemized”.

Tali Avishay-Arbel, Jerusalem, Israel

From: Dave Hatfield (ddhatfi verizon.net)
Subject: GerryMarylander

Mine would have to be: “(v) GerryMarylander = the act of redrawing voting districts in such a way as to favor the dominant state party as to be totally unrecognizable as contiguous portions of the same state. Said by some to resemble a salamander’s forked tongue, but by others only to a salamander’s forked tongue thinly sliced into thousands of pieces and glued back together by a hundred blind men with no hands who couldn’t speak to one another.”

Note: Maryland is famous for being the second most gerrymandered state in the nation, according to Census Bureau data collated by the Washington Post and reported in Rantt News (for the 113th Congress, 2012-2014). North Carolina was the most gerrymandered.

Dave Hatfield, Severn, Maryland

From: Donald C. Blair (dcblair gmail.com)
Subject: Syracuse, NY

To Syracuse: to willingly endure a long, cold, snowy winter as prepayment for a glorious summer and autumn.

Donald Blair, Syracuse, New York

Read more of readers’ thoughts on what their city would be if it became a word in the English language

From: Katherine Chen (klwchen gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--barbados

Excellent timing for this word -- as you may know, many Caribbean countries, including Barbados, celebrate Emancipation Day today; Britain’s Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 came into force on August 1, 1834.

Of course, full emancipation was not achieved for another four years, after which the former slaves faced racist laws and practices designed to keep them from buying property or otherwise fully participating in each island’s economic life, but it was an important first step, all the same.

Katherine Chen, Kingston, Jamaica

From: Anderson Blenman (andybbajan gmail.com)
Subject: Barbados

I have lived in Barbados all my life and had no idea that it was a verb. Thanks for the knowledge! As far as the comment on the origin of the name, it is generally believed here that the “bearded ones” refer to the bearded fig tree. Local knowledge has it that where the Portuguese first landed in the early 17th century, there was an abundance of the trees, giving rise to the name.

Anderson Blenman, Barbados

From: Georgia Morehouse (gmoreho mchsi.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--solecize

What an amusing memory this word conjured! My husband and I were on a road trip through the Appalachians when we needed to refuel, so we pulled into a small filling station. That’s when we noticed the sign on one of the pumps that said:

Georgia Morehouse, Columbia, Missouri

Women'sMarch, New York City
Photo: MRNY
From: Mark Thompson (mark mrny.com)
Subject: James, Justice, and Molly Crabapple

How wonderful to see the James Baldwin quotation about ignorance and power and justice in today’s A.Word.A.Day.

My husband and I had the great pleasure of participating in the Women’s March on NYC in January while carrying a sign with this very quotation above a portrait of Baldwin, created by the gifted artist Molly Crabapple -- and it was so gratifying to have so many people stop us to take a photo of the great James Baldwin depicted by Molly.

Mark Thompson, New York, New York

From: Robert Rietz (dbactuary hotmail.com)
Subject: debunk

As a faithful reader and a Buncombe County resident, I was proud of the witty signs hoisted during the March for Science held in Asheville this spring. My favorite was “You know it’s serious when the nerds start protesting.” The primary theme of the march was to debunk(!) the claims of the climate change deniers.

Robert Rietz, Old Fort, North Carolina

From: Barry Galloway (barry bgalloway.com)
Subject: Debunk

As a small child I experienced a few accidental debunkings from the top tier in the middle of the night. This explains a number of subsequent traits.

Barry Galloway, Springfield, Virginia

From: Richard Coleman (richard.lewis.coleman gmail.com)

To be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. -Barack Obama, 44th US President (b. 4 Aug 1961)

Please stop “politicizing” your thought for the day. One comes here for kefuge, not more sly politics. I have followed you on various email addresses since about 1996. I don’t want to have to stop.

Richard L. Coleman, Capt, USN, (Ret), Alexandria, Virginia

Ask yourself: Would I still disagree with those words, would I still consider them politics (sly or otherwise), if I didn’t know who said them?

We are happy to have you here those 20 years. There must be something you like here. Are you sure you want us to change?

-Anu Garg

From: Bob Freeman (hendon zol.co.zw)
Subject: States of America

It is always irritating to see or hear the words America or American arrogantly used as synonyms for the United States of America. Between Cape Horn and Cape Columbia there are many American countries and many American people.

Bob Freeman, Kadoma, Zimbabwe

While there may be justification in the accusation of arrogance, especially in these times, IMHO the use of the words America or American isn’t.

When we use the word America, we do not, in any way, imply a claim on the continents. You could call this country US, USA, United States, United States of America, States, or America, and no one would insist that you call it America. Same with various words for the nationality.

It’s just that America is a popular short name for what’s officially known as the United States of America.

The country known as South Africa is located in the south of Africa and people hailing from there are called South Africans, but there are many other countries (including Zimbabwe) in the south of Africa. You wouldn’t think it was arrogant of them to call themselves South Africans when a dozen other countries are located in the south of Africa.

Ultimately, language is more about convention and context, less about logic and literal meaning. Words are simply labels. It’s an etymological fallacy to think a word should mean what its roots suggest.

-Anu Garg

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Birminghamize and debunk

Rumor has it that several other towns in the UK are contemplating jumping onto the “Birminghamizing” bandwagon. Shropshirizing, Liverpoolizing, Nottinghamizing, and Glasgowizing for starters. Where will this rush to artificiality end?

Veteran “hocus-pocus” debunker, The “Amazing” (James) Randi, gained huge notoriety through his mission to expose popular Israeli-born mentalist/illusionist and spoon/fork bender, Yuri Geller, as a total charlatan. Needless to say, no love was lost between rivals Randi and Geller over the years.

In my cartoon scenario, ever the consummate showman, Randi adds insult to injury ... a couple of mocking squirts from his “hydrated” faux lapel flower.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

The text in each box is an anagram of the text in other boxes.
1. birminghamize
2. barbados
3. solecize
4. locarnize
5. debunk
= 1. make in China
2. seize
3. social bomb
4. bring order
5. lead buzz
= 1. sham bizzes
2. colonize
3. I blundered
4. bargain
5. bare, I mock
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

“My feet these will birminghamize,”
Said the girl with a look of surprise.
“Do you think I’m a clown?”
Scolded she with a frown,
As the salesman continued his sighs.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpower wowway.com)

Let’s Birminghamize all our functions.
With robots, no need for compunctions.
Let’s heed AI’s call!
No fear! After all,
We no how well deer spell-check functions.
-Anna C Johnston, Coarsegold, California (ajohnston13 gmail.com)

“Though your breasts we can birminghamize,”
Said the surgeon, “These days it’s not wise.
Our Commander-in-Chief
Views them all as his fief
And your assets soon he may nationalize.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When Spicer held his White House post,
I pitied him and was engrossed.
Still I suppose
That’s what he chose--
He surely was not barbadosed.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

What’s lovely Barbados to me?
A paradise of sand and sea.
To another it may
Mean being shipped away
To live a long life of misery.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (loscamil aol.com)

Wrote Helen, “My dear Menelaus,
With Paris I’ve been quite flirtatious.
But not to be coy,
You can find me in Troy.
Many sailors you’ll need to barbados.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When I try my hand at writing verse,
my head is flooded with rhymes diverse.
Absentmindedly I pen my thoughts,
miss crossing the ‘t’s, the ‘i’s sans dots.
Have I solecized....I hear the editor curse?
-Shyamal Mukherji, Wakefield, Massachusetts (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Though you find us okay otherwise,
we poets, you say, solecize.
Yes, there does come a time
when a difficult rhyme
does require a surprise compromise.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Though famous for how he would solecize,
In hindsight he needn’t apologize.
A speech made by Dubya
The wrong way could rub ya,
But look who his office now occupies.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Vlad cut his pal, Don, down to size,
When Trump wanted to locarnize.
Said our Prez in despair,
“This just isn’t fair,
Our bromance can revitalize.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Trump thinks that his Jared, the wise,
The Middle East will locarnize.
Though many have tried,
Peace has been denied.
Don’t think much of family ties.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Our fights we can always locarnize
When my girl looks at me with those tart eyes.
I know I was right,
But one little love bite
And resolve from the depths of my heart flies.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

One needn’t be cloistered, a monk,
To show one can truly debunk
Extravagant claims,
Political games;
To do so’s an easy slam-dunk.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

While Donald sits tweeting his bunkum,
The people are in a blue funk-um.
The country’s adrift.
Will there soon be a rift?
Oh, please, Mueller, debunk that skunk-um!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

When alternative facts you debunk,
You believe we’re now rid of that junk,
Like expelling a ghost
Gives you reason to boast
Until midnight when something goes “clunk”.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Locale desserts

That lecher from Birminghamize every girl who passes.
When the pigs peeked over the hillock, I saw berming ham eyes.

“Barbados conch fritters as if she were starving!” said GHW Bush.

The clerk solecize of shoes that didn’t fit me well.

I bought me a really locarnize planning to race it.

You take the mattress, I’ll sleep on debunk.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: Jim Ertner (ertner alum.mit.edu)
Subject: Places that became verbs

The envious optometrist in Liverpool said he wished he had birminghamize.

A sign on the barbados to come in and have a drink.

The inept cobbler miscalculated his customer’s solecize.

The auto mechanic attributed the sound emanating from the bottom of the vehicle to locarnize.

De drunk sailor went back to de ship and crawled into debunk.

Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina

One of the primary tests of the mood of a society at any given time is whether its comfortable people tend to identify, psychologically, with the power and achievements of the very successful or with the needs and sufferings of the underprivileged. -Richard Hofstadter, historian (6 Aug 1916-1970)

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