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Mar 15, 2020
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AWADmail Issue 924

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

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

Broadway Is Closed. Write Poems Instead.
The New York Times

”Evolutionary History” of Sign Language Uncovered
Science Focus

How Do You Say Quidditch in Yiddish?

From: K.C. Rourke (lorrett fantasymakers.com)
Subject: 26th anniversary of Wordsmith.org

Congratulations and many thanks for 26 years of keeping our eyes bright and our heads full of crunchy words!

Kris C. Rourke, Berkeley, California

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Yours to discover

What was common among the five polysyllabic words featured last week? You had to discover on your own and win prizes in our 26th anniversary contest. Here’s the answer: Each word scores 26 points in a game of Scrabble.

The first person to send the correct answer, the morning the first word went out, was

Lynn Mancini of Newark, Delaware (mancini dtcc.edu)

About 400 readers participated in the contest. Out of those, 16 readers sent the correct answer. A winner randomly selected from these:

Mary Wood of Lausanne, Switzerland (maryhwood gmail.com)

They win their choice of: Wise Up!, a game, courtesy of Old’s Cool Company
A signed copy of any of my books.

Congrats to the winners and thanks to all readers who participated. Read on for a few selections from the answers received this week.

MON: quidditative

Most popular answer:
Words related to the Harry Potter series.
-Elinor Lowry, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) (elinorlowry gmail.com)
[Sent by many readers. A variation: words that sound like they are from Harry Potter.]

Other popular answers:
Words related to currencies.
Who, what, when, where, and how.

Most creative:
Random guess: 12 (2*6) letter words.
-Mike Weber, California (mikeweber gmail.com)

Most curious:
Boris Johnson’s additional spending on extra babies from his mistresses.
-Deborah Booth, Galicia, Spain (debsandmerv42 yahoo.com)

Most obvious:
Words to describe someone or something.
-A reader who shall remain anonymous

TUE: microcephalic

Most common guess:
Words related to Donald Trump? He’s definitely microcephalic!
-Ben Jenks, Galena, Illinois (benjenks gmail.com) and many others

This week’s words contain all the vowels but one. “Quidditative” doesn’t have an “o”, and “microcephalic” doesn’t have a “u”.
-Luke Sherwood, Westminster, Colorado (lr_sher5 hotmail.com)

WED: chrysocracy

Sounds like you’re trying to describe our criminal or rather emperor in chief!! That’s the common denominator that I see, thus far.
-Betsy Fowler, Alamo, California (betzenart aol.com)

Most creative:
My guess is that the theme of the week is related to coins.
quidditative - coins are the essence of currency, notes are just promissory for a sum of coins
microcephalic - coins feature small heads
chrysocracy - ruling through owning a large amount of coins
-Camila Guadalupe Cortea, Tokyo, Japan (cami.scout gmail.com)

Most uninspired:
Words with more than 10 letters.
-A reader who shall remain anonymous

THU: lachrymogenic

The essence of this person, so far, is that he/she is small minded, rules by wealth, and can drive someone to tears. Without waiting until tomorrow I’m going to say the theme is Trump.
-Tom Henesy, Long Island, New York (henesy rcn.com)

FRI: pleniloquence

So close:
Words you can’t possibly form in Scrabble.
-Carole Small-Diop, Dakar, Senegal (carolesmall hotmail.com)

They all have the K sound, but no letter K.
-Anil Madan, Charlestown, Massachusetts (bwana madans.com)

It is quidditative that America is a chrysocracy, being led presently by a lachrymogenic microcephalic suffering from pleniloquence.
-JD Fitz, Tacoma, Washington (jdfdoc gmail.com)

Donald Trump is the answer! For the only time in his life!
-Helen Aldridge, Leigh-on-sea, UK (tabbyclouds btinternet.com)

From: Peter Weston (pviw att.net)
Subject: 26th anniversary

You wrote: I started something on March 14, 1994, that became Wordsmith.org and this week we’re celebrating the 26th anniversary. Dictionaries do not list a word for a 26th anniversary but we can coin one: sexvicennial, from Latin sex (six) + vicennial (20th anniversary).

How about “sexyscore”?

Peter V. Weston, Houston, Texas

From: Robert McDonald (mcdo.robert gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--quidditative

As long as I can remember, I have been privileged to read and learn from your daily insights into the English language. As you mention today, we manage, in English, to do without a word to designate “26th”.
Interestingly, this is not a problem if you use Spanish in which we use “vigésimo sexto” (26th) along with other expressions such as “vig├ęsimo primero” (21st), “vigésimo segundo” (22nd), “trigésimo septimo” (37th), etc., which also have their feminine and plural forms. Useful, but not as quick as “26th”.

¡Feliz vigésimo sexto cumpleaños!

Robert McDonald, Gatineau, Canada

From: Jeb Raitt (jbrmm266 aol.com)
Subject: Re: microencephalic

Some years ago I coined a term, a very uncomplimentary one: coprencephalic.

It’s safe in a way, because by and large only people in the medical profession recognize it, and I don’t use it very freely because it is SO derogatory.

The prefix copr- or copro- refers to, ahem, excreted matter.

Jeb Raitt, Norfolk, Virginia

From: R Kathleen Dillon (rkdillon verizon.net)
Subject: chrysocracy

Another favorite chrys- word of mine is chryselephantine which means ivory inlaid with gold but if it were coined today using “elephantine” as in the animal it might describe our president.

Kathleen Dillon, Brooklyn, New York

From: David Burke (davidburke tuamherald.ie)
Subject: lachrymogenic

It reminds me of my first visit to France as a schoolboy in 1968 after “les evenements de mai”. The police used “gaz lachrymogene” on the rioters -- so I was always able to write in French about the subsequent “troubles” in Northern Ireland when tear gas canisters flew.

David Burke, Tuam, Ireland

From: Mary Jean Mailloux (mmailloux1 cogeco.ca)
Subject: lachrymogenic

Lachryma Christi I believe is a hymn I used to sing as a child. Brings back a memory of my love for words and the sound they make when spoken. The Facebook thing is not working at least on my iPad. This makes me somewhat lachrymose.

Mary Jean Mailloux, Oakville, Canada

From: Chandran Kalyanam (rckalyanam hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lachrymogenic

Seeing this word immediately reminded me of a term that a social worker and I coined. Namely, some patients not in acute or primary distress want to cry as a way of conveying their plight, but tears are not forthcoming. Hence, alachrymogenesis.

Chandran Kalyanam, MD, Columbus, Ohio

From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)
Subject: Thought for Today

It is the hardest thing in the world to be in love, and yet attend to business. A gentleman asked me this morning, ‘What news from Lisbon?’ and I answered, ‘She is exquisitely handsome.’ -Richard Steele, writer and politician (bap. 12 Mar 1672-1729)

In his essay “Recollections”, Steele, withal a gregarious fellow, goes to his “closet” where he “resolve[s] to be sorrowful” for the “loss of so many of his friends over the years.” He prepares “to spend an hour or two sacred to sorrow and their memory, while I run over all the melancholy circumstances of this kind which have occurred to me in my whole life.” He tells us that the first sorrow he experienced was the death of his father when he, Richard Steele, “was not yet five years old.” He admits that he was not old enough to grieve fully for his father, but the grief of his mother, her deep sorrow in his presence, “seized my very soul, and has made me pity the weakness of my heart ever since.”

Steele, whom Wordsmith, in Thought of the Day, quotes about love, tells us that death claimed the first love of his life. Before death claimed her, much too young obviously, Steele speaks of her “beauty and innocence.” He poignantly writes that in one week he “saw her dressed for a ball, and in a shroud.” The memory of the premature death of his first love was set to ignite a “large train of disasters ... coming [into] my memory.”

About the time he is to tumble into an abyss of sorrow, his servant knocks at the door. The servant has a hamper of wine (I don’t know how much a “hamper” is; I assume it’s sufficient to satisfy a hardy wine imbiber). Upon receipt of the wine, he sends for three of his friends, friends with whom he is “so intimate, that we can be company in whatever state of mind we meet, and can entertain each other without expecting always to rejoice.” (The emphasis is mine. I think the phrase the gravamen of the essay.)

The friends, soothed by the wine, found themselves not so much jovial, as one might expect from four young men drinking, as they are cheerful. The talk and the wine, says Steele “revived the spirits, without firing the blood.” I suppose the men, really close friends, could talk about life and death, serious topics, without self-consciousness and without slipping into a sappy sentimentality. We might guess that the conversation, though deep and thoughtful, was somehow delightful, a victory for life perhaps. They drank until two in the morning, each man consuming two bottles of wine. The next day when the four friends met, says Steele, “we had much more reason to recollect than forget what had passed the night before.”

I suppose Steele is saying that we certainly must grieve for the deaths of loved ones but we must not give our sorrow more than it has earned. I think of the lines the old peddler speaks in Wordsworth’s narrative poem “The Ruined Cottage.” Seeing a young man overcome with sorrow, the peddler says to him:

My friend, enough to sorrow you have given,
The purposes of wisdom ask no more;
Be wise and cheerful, and no longer read
The form of things with an unworthy eye.

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina

From: Carolina Hansell (carolina.hansell jefferson.edu)
Subject: Query about quarantine

May I ask you, why they are using the word quarantine and the person is quarantined for 15 days. Isn’t the word quarantine means 40 days? Can you please explain this to me?

Carolina Perez-Hansell, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

For the same reason that the word “decimate” does not mean: to kill one out of ten, even though that’s the origin. It’s an etymological fallacy to insist that a word should mean the same as when it was coined (quarantine, about 600 years ago; decimate about 400 years ago).
-Anu Garg

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Microcephalic and chrysocracy

First off, for me to even imagine the sculpted head of Donald Trump appearing on the granite rock-face that is sacred Mt. Rushmore is a monumental stretch (no pun intended) that sticks deep in my craw. But alas, I do suffer for my art. Ha! Clinically speaking, Trump does not have microcephalia... an unnaturally tiny head. (Hands... a totally different story.) Although, on the other hand, many astute politics-watchers would argue that Trump has a decidedly florid, large, bulbous noggin, reflecting, perchance, his out-sized ego, i.e., a swell-head. Small minded? He most certainly is, exhibited in his countless acts of pettiness, his penchant for nick-naming his adversaries, and his retaliatory paybacks against those whom he has deemed disloyal or have in some way done him wrong. He NEVER apologizes. In my cartoon, I’m echoing the title of a 1989 comedic film, “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”, starring Ric Moranis. He appears less disturbed in seeing Trump’s smug mug on Mt. Rushmore, per se, than seemingly being more puzzled by its diminutive size, relative to the massive visages of Washington, Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lincoln. Perhaps the sculptor wanted to make a political statement... that size does matter, and that the down-sized Trump could not hold a candle... or an executive order, to the illustrious foursome, here, deservedly honored.

Prompted by the selected usage quotation from The Daily Telegraph’s Judith Woods’s article, “Class vs. Trash”, for our word “chrysocracy”, with her astute observation ... “the British aristocracy have been well and truly supplanted by the international chrysocracy”, I came up with this admittedly hyperbolic scenario, featuring none-other-than the social media/infotainment pop-royal icon... the bold, bawdy, and bodacious, Kim Kardashian. With one mighty thrust of her more than ample derriere, she’s managed to oust a not-so-pleased, now airborne, Queen Elizabeth II. Now, hardly any way to treat a Brit royal of a certain advanced age, and lengthy tenure... 60 years on the throne and counting. (Note Queen Kim’s ermine trimmed, royal-purple bikini. Not too, too trashy, eh?)

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words
This week’s theme: Yours to discover
1. quidditative
2. microcephalic
3. chrysocracy
4. lachrymogenic
5. pleniloquence
1. the essence
2. quite small-minded
3. plutocracy, rich over poor
4. which makes one cry
5. loquacity; his edgy critic voice
     This week’s theme is yours to discover
1. quidditative
2. microcephalic
3. chrysocracy
4. lachrymogenic
5. pleniloquence
= 26th Wordsmith.org anniversary
1. key quality
2. myopic
3. conceited rich clique’s rule
4. mace is
5. speech choice - lots voiced
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

“She’s done it again!” cries Pa Bear.
There must be some something, somewhere,
that would be mitigative
of this quidditative
behavior by Miss Yellowhair!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Two friends, being pickpockets both,
Seen embracing to seal a new troth,
Quidditatively scoped
For a wallet and hoped
That their buddy would not flout his oath.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

She had met the suitor online,
On a site that she thought was fine.
Bad vibes quidditative
Did her new date give,
Which she took as a warning sign.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Said Noah, “Before we embark,
I must warn you how God made the shark.
Their traits quidditative
Could ruin the fate of
Your species, so stay on the ark.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

It’s high time we’re saying good-bye
to that vain, egotistical guy.
He’s microcephalic.
His only vocalic
is (yes, you have guessed it) an I!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

There once was a young man named Alec,
Who would always write in italic.
His thinking, right leaning,
Was petty, demeaning,
And his views all microcephalic.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

When I think about actors named Alec,
It’s Guinness for whom I’m nostalgic.
But Baldwin will do
On the SNL crew
As a President microcephalic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Supplanting the Brits’ aristocracy,
In theory we’ve chosen democracy.
But the simple fact is
We go nuts for show biz,
Which has led us to cheer for chrysocracy!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

If ever we get a good look
at his taxes, his goose we might cook.
We’ll not for chrysocracy,
but for hypocrisy
book him, and prove he’s a crook!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Why, our President’s full of hypocrisy,
When he thinks that he runs a democracy.
The world of Don Trump
Puts us all in a slump.
Oh, his playbook is built on chrysocracy.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

“Chrysocracy’s great!” Bloomberg thought,
And then higher office he sought.
Great sums did he spend
But found in the end
That precious few votes had he bought.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

When Homer was writing the Odyssey,
The world was still safe for chrysocracy.
You could kill your wife’s suitors,
Then hang out at Hooters,
And no one would call it hypocrisy.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

In college, we “Greeks” (pan-Hellenic)
Competed for “Most photogenic”
Which naturally led
To frustration instead --
And results that were lachrymogenic.
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

She finds the bouquet allergenic --
perhaps even lachrymogenic.
He offers his hanky.
Declining, “No thanks,” she
declares. “It is not hygienic!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Said Zeus, “In tradition Hellenic,
Towards mere mortals we’re lachrymogenic.
Heracles, you’re my boy;
Now go forth and sack Troy
With the strength of your breeding eugenic.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

He reveled in new-found omnipotence,
till, plugging their ears, his constituents
voted him out.
They’d had just about
enough unproductive pleniloquence.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Someone cursed with pleniloquence
Won’t let you get in one sentence.
Not letting you speak
Will soon reach a peak;
Avoiding them, the consequence.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

I once took a long flight to Spain.
My seatmate was really a pain.
She yammered and yapped,
And there I was trapped --
Pleniloquence drives me insane.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

He’s the criterion of pleniloquence,
using bombast to cover his ignorance.
If he’s speaking he’s lying.
He fibs without trying
and then conceals it with grandiloquence.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“Ze reason you suffer vith impotence,”
Said Freud, “is your girlfriend’s pleniloquence.
Her body is hot,
But ze talking is not,”
He explained, “Zis is cognitive dissonance.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Yours to dis (cover your eyes)

I tried learning Latin but quidditative case.

Among my black bird statuettes do you think microcephalic symbol?

Wanting an Evert souvenir I peeked in her locker and gasped, “Is that chrysocracy?”

Finding only Kleenex I asked the clerk, “Do you lachrymogenic brand?” (generic)

Which jam would you prefer with your scone -- chocolate fig or pleniloquence?

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you. -Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court (b. 15 Mar 1933)

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