Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


About | Media | Search | Contact  


Today's Word

Yesterday's Word



Feb 9, 2020
This week’s theme
Well-traveled words

This week’s words

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

AWADmail archives

Next week’s theme
Words that appear dirty, but aren’t

Like what you see here?
Send a gift subscription
Bookmark and Share Facebook Twitter Digg MySpace Bookmark and Share

AWADmail Issue 919

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

Sponsor’s Message: What are Sleeping Beauty’s two other names? “GED” is an abbreviation for a high school equivalency diploma -- what does it actually stand for? What’s unique about the word “facetiously”? WISE UP! -- The Wicked/Smart Party Card Game asks tons of devilishly difficult questions that’ll give you know-it-alls plenty of life lessons in humility, history, sports, science, literature, and geography. And wit. Here’s another: Everyone knows the First and Second Amendments -- what’s the Third? But beware, there’s also a slew of “challenge” cards that chuck Darwinian physical and mental wrenches into the works. For example: Throw this card on the floor and pick it up without using your hands. So much humbling fun for everyone, including this week’s Email of the Week Winner, Eric Miller (see below). WISE UP! NOW.

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

Africa’s Colonisation of the English Language Continues Apace
The Guardian

She’s the Next President. Wait, Did You Read That Right?
The New York Times

Heart Emoji: The Language of Love in the 21st Century

From: Ric Power (wowricus yahoo.com)
Subject: Moloch

During the multiple and now ongoing gulf wars, the US military was described as a moloch. Frightened and enthusiastic jingoists would sacrifice their children to the moloch whose excrement was corporate imperialism.

Ric Power, Mercer Island, Washington

From: Richard Wells (rwellsrwells gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Moloch

Part two of Allen Ginsberg’s seminal poem, Howl, is a long chant comparing capitalism to Moloch.

Richard Wells, Seattle, Washington

From: Jessie Singer (jessiegsinger gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Moloch

Thought you’d appreciate -- cars were branded “the modern moloch” when they began taking over cities and killing many children in the 1930s.

Jessie Singer

From: Robert Reeves (reeves-robert att.net)
Subject: Moloch

Moloch is also the common name of an Australian lizard, Moloch horridus.

Robert Reeves, Pflugerville, Texas

From: Charles Harp (texzenpro yahoo.com)
Subject: Head-scratchers

If Washington State apples in India are a head-scratcher, consider this. Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of lentils, and India is their biggest customer. Lentils and other pulses (legumes) are an important staple food in India, most commonly in the preparation of dal. Delicious and nutritious, dal is consumed daily by the masses. Most likely those very lentils are grown in the Canadian prairie province of Saskatchewan.

Charles Harp, Victoria, Canada

Email of the Week (Brought to you by the wicked wonderful world of WISE UP! - Yes, you can BUY SMARTS.

From: Eric Miller (ericmiller1957 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Moloch

“The good Washington, not the one that’s currently the home of the orange monster. We are Washington state. That one is Washington, DC.”

To be fair, it should be noted that Washington, DC, had the lowest percentage of votes for the orange monster of anywhere in the US. It’s not the people who live in DC who are the problem; it’s the people whom the rest of the country sends there.

Eric Miller, Norwich, Vermont

From: Nancy Roberts (tangoheads gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Moloch

Love, love, love your story today. We live half the year in Mexico, and every day marvel at things like you speak of.

People think we are crazy (we are three years from becoming citizens), but there are several million of us -- (we, too, were 19 years in Seattle area). Stories are what makes life real.


Nancy Roberts

From: Stephen Page (swp advet.com.au)
Subject: Bezoar

There is even a taxonomy of bezoars -- phytobezoars contain plant material, trichobezoars contain hair (see also Rapunzel Syndrome), lactobezoars contain milk proteins, and a 20th-century addition is the pharmacobezoar that can follow overconsumption of pharmaceutical medications (generally tablets or capsules) (fascinated? See here.)

Stephen Page, Newtown, Australia

From: John D. Laskowski (john.laskowski mothman.org)
Subject: bezoar

When I was a Biology teacher at Penn Manor High School in Millersville, PA, Gus Birchler, an Ag. teacher, had a six-inch diameter bezoar retrieved during butchering a calf. It was very hard but had the surface consistency of a felt hat. It was caused by the neurotic hair licking suffered by the calf. The excess accumulation of swallowed hair contributed to the formation of the bezoar.

John D. Laskowski, Carsonville, Pennsylvania

From: Peter Gross (plgrossmd gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bezoar

Bezoars are often categorized by the material of which they are composed. So a dog that eats plants, particularly grass, as some are prone to do, might develop a phytobezoar. Or would that be a Fidobezoar?

Peter Gross, MD, Falls Church, Virginia

From: Steve Benko (stevebenko1 gmail.com)
Subject: Today’s thought

“There’s a schizoid quality to our relationship with animals, in which sentiment and brutality exist side by side.”

And what of our schizoid relationship with our fellow humans, to whom we preach loving kindness and act accordingly if we believe them to be like us or part of our circle, but brutalize if they don’t share our skin tone, religion, social class, wealth, education, etc.?

Steve Benko, New York, New York

From: Stéphane Vuilleumier (stephane.vuilleumier orange.fr)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--calash

In French calèche (pronounced “calesh”) is still used in the rare instances when such vehicles are chosen for transportation - I suspect “calash” is heard much more in everyday life in France today, but would be written “kalash”, the popular diminutive for the guns in fashion with terrorists, drug dealers, and the like.

Stéphane Vuilleumier, Strasbourg, France

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Bezoar and saber-rattling

For me, rapier flourishing Donald J. Trump and his bellicose North Korean adversary, Kim Jong Un (pictured here), are prime exemplars of saber-rattling, to the extreme. Trump boasts that his US military is by far the most advanced, most powerful on the planet, whilst “Little Rocketman” (Trump’s derisive moniker for the portly North Korean dictator) gleefully laughs at the Donald’s hollow bombast (no pun intended). Kim has demonstrated on numerous occasions that he can deploy all manner of missiles, lethally armed, or otherwise. Here, Trump, straddling the barrel of a now rather dated weapon in the US military arsenal... a tank, gives Kim a piece of his mind (frankly, with not much gray matter to spare), while Kim, perched atop the nose of a monstrous ICBM laughs hysterically at Trump’s threatening bluster. Hopefully, this ongoing tension between the US and North Korean leaders remains solely in the saber-rattling domain. Anything beyond these verbal assaults/insults, and escalating brinkmanship could ultimately prove catastrophic. Frankly, no laughing matter.

In this scenario, a concerned cowpoke is set at ease by his veterinarian. What he’d feared could have been a malignant abdominal mass afflicting his prized steed, turns out to be nothing more than a benign intestinal bezoar, which the vet points out on his MRI monitor. The horse seems slightly non-plussed by all the concern, and somewhat confounded in how he ever got stuffed into that MRI contraption. Folks... that’s called cartoon magic. Ha! Some might argue, just plain suspension of disbelief.
Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words
This week’s words: Well-traveled words
1. moloch
2. bezoar
3. cavalcade
4. saber-rattling
5. calash
1. “A small child? Swell!”
2. antidote
3. cars vs. horse walk (crowd gazed)
4. browbeat
5. a shelter, a cover
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

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

He’s hopelessly smitten, poor guy.

“I’ll give her the stars in the sky --
even Castor and Pollux!
No wish of my Moloch’s
will I overlook or deny!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

His smartphone he finds more than nice;
He worships this hand-held device!
But he understands
What Moloch demands --
His privacy lost is the price.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The cure for all thoughts melancholic
Is a beach where bikini girls frolic.
If only the cops
Let them take off their tops,
I would sacrifice much to a Moloch.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

He hurries to see an MD,
“I’ve got a gut feeling,” says he,
“that it’s some bad disease, or
perhaps a big bezoar!”
Doc listens incredulously.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“I’ve a lump in my tum -- what to do?”
Said sweet little lamb to her ewe;
“It’s just a bezoar,
Don’t fuss and don’t roar.”
The rest of the flock said, “That’s true!”
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

When we go to the teachings of folklore,
There’s a tale of suspense, and of grim gore:
A large stone in the gut
Was the size of a nut.
It saved lives. ‘Twas a magical bezoar.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

“To stroll through that garden and see more,”
Said Alice, “I’d pass through that wee door.
But while shrinking, you see,
I’ve forgotten the key,”
And she cried like a cat with a bezoar.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The Dachshunds, in costumes arrayed,
Were led in a neat cavalcade.
Though their tummies might sag,
Every tail was a-wag
As the pups to their audience played.
-Willo Oswald, Portland, Oregon (willooswald gmail.com)

Just our luck that there’d be a blockade,
For the asphalt was just newly laid
On the very same day
On which heading our way
Was the 4th of July cavalcade!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

At the KC, Missouri, parade,
The school band march was badly delayed.
Seems the sound of a gun
Put a hold on the fun,
Though ‘twas only a fireworks cavalcade.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

The heads of state in a cavalcade
Preached of equitable and fair trade.
But they gave a go-by
to their own tariffs high
that left businessmen hugely dismayed.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

The cavalcade came down the street,
The horses with high-stepping feet.
Behind them I’d trail
With shovel and pail,
Ensuring the route would stay neat.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Sleazy partisanship was displayed
in that shameful and sad cavalcade.
Mitt considered clear evidence.
He voted his conscience.
All the toadies our trust have betrayed.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

To the President’s criminal cavalcade,
The Senate has given its accolade.
No Republican toad
Would see Donald explode,
Although Bolton called Rudy a hand grenade.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

As POTUS smirks on true to form,
The prospects for warfare grow warm.
He won’t quit his prattling
Or shrill saber-rattling;
Now Iran wants a full jihad storm.
-Willo Oswald, Portland, OR (willooswald gmail.com)

To the property each one laid claim.
Territorial feuding soon came
to bold saber-rattling.
But one had a Gatling.
Game ended with threat to take aim!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Men, stop saber-rattling in stealth.
Put your sword back up on the shelf.
It is time to find
That for all mankind,
Living in peace is life’s true wealth.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Over Donald J. Trump we’re still battling,
As he acts out his own saber-rattling.
His fake speech was a mess,
Put us under duress,
We’re fed up with his flowery prattling.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Maintaining the peace with our neighbors
Is part of a diplomat’s labors.
This job’s hard enough --
Then some guys play tough
And foolishly rattle their sabers.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

With truculent words he loves battling.
“Let’s you and him fight,” he keeps prattling,
but Lieutenant Bone-Spurs
evidently prefers
a safe venue for his saber-rattling.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“He would do all this grand saber-rattling,
And then kiss Putin’s butt -- it was baffling.
And Rudy had reams
Of conspiracy schemes,”
Says the book by John Bolton, who’s tattling.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

For a very small output of cash
You can see the whole town in a flash;
If the summer is muggy,
Step into a buggy,
And boast you’ve seen sights by calash.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

The coquette told her maid, “I must dash;
Could you hand me my red silk calash?
My date is so dreamy,
With motives quite steamy.
While you’re at it, please undo my sash.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

The beautiful girl had a passion
For finding the finest in fashion.
She wore a calash
And made a great splash --
Indeed in that hat she looked smashin’!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

He drove through the town in a flash,
To avoid him, people would dash.
When his horse, at last,
Took a turn too fast,
The drunkard had crashed the calash.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

To Scarlett aboard her calash
Spoke Rhett with his roguish mustache.
“By clinging to Ashley,
My dear, you act rashly,”
Said he, but she’d bat no eyelash.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Well-trampled words

“OK, kids, let’s wish Moloch on her job hunt.”

Trump was a rocky student, rarely making bezoar A’s.

Whenever my son, Caden, starts griping I say, “Don’t cavalcade.” (cavil)

The mom told her daughter, “Honey, all your bonnets calash with that dress.”

When Anu sent the term “saber rattling”,
I at first thought that Garg was just prattling.
But my tries at a pun
Make me feel that a gun
Ought be used on him, one like a Gatling.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry. -Thomas Paine, philosopher and writer (9 Feb 1737-1809)

We need your help

Help us continue to spread the magic of words to readers everywhere


Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2024 Wordsmith