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Nov 15, 2020
This week’s theme
Words having all five vowels and in order

This week’s words

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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Words derived from body

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AWADmail Issue 959

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

Sponsor’s Message: Coronavirus got you down? Feeling cooped up? Going stir crazy? WISE UP! -- is the perfect cure for cabin fever -- it’s a Wicked/Smart Party Card Game that 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. For example: Everyone knows the First and Second Amendments -- what’s the Third? Sleeping Beauty’s real name? How long is a furlong? But beware, there’s also a slew of “challenge” cards that chuck Darwinian physical and mental wrenches into the works, e.g., “Throw this card on the floor and pick it up without using your hands.” Just what the doctor ordered, especially for this week’s Email of the Week Winner, Liz Wise (see below), and hunkered-down brainiacs everywhere. WISE UP! NOW.

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

Oxford Dictionaries Amends “Sexist” Definitions of the Word “Woman”
The Guardian

The English Word That Hasn’t Changed in Sound or Meaning in 8,000 Years

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

I invited readers to share the phrases that use all the five vowels in order. Here’s a selection from the responses:

Not a common, but a topical phrase using the vowels in order: Face it; go, Trump!
-Doug Hastings, Seattle, Washington (amal.doug comcast.net)

Take it, dofus!
-tao, Setúbal, Portugal (kreelah gmail.com)

Dance with no buddy!
-Gary Glasser, Burbank, California (gt.glasser gmail.com)

Make it count.
-Helen Dumbleton, Mold, UK (via website comments)

Are girls so ugly?
-Scott Swanson, Pendroy, Montana (harview montana.com)

A French girl from Hull??
-Janine Cloarec, Noisy-le-Grand, France (jane56cloarec gmail.com)

That’s tedious.
-Vikram Hukmani, Baltimore, Maryland (vikhuk engineer.com)

Naw, seriously?
-Catherine Masters, Oak Park, Illinois (masters.catherine gmail.com)

Spaghettiously (as in “I’m hankering for an Italian meal tonight,” she said spaghettiously!)
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

Hamlet is not lucky.
A hex is not funny.
A few is not much.
Made with tofu.
Aw, she is so cuddly!
That smell is so funky.
Blame it on us.
Pandemic downturn.
Bake with flour.
-Tim Buchowski, Austin, Texas (timbuchowski hotmail.com)

Play every inning, sports nuts!
-Danielle Austin, San Diego, California (danielle13 san.rr.com)

From: Todd Derr (todd.derr gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--anemious

Theme music: State Of The Art (A.E.I.O.U.) (video, 5 min.).

Todd Derr, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

From: Jeffrey W Percival (via online comments)
Subject: Words matter

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. -Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (9 Nov 1934-1996)

Regarding the thought for today: When a psychopath murders from East to West, we call him Attila the Hun. When a psychopath murders from West to East, we call him Alexander the Great. Words matter.

Jeffrey W Percival, Wisconsin

Email of the Week -- Brought to you by Wise Up! -- the family that plays together stays together

From: Liz Wise (YoungWise inlandnet.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--adventitious

In medicine, the phrase “adventitious breath sounds” is used to refer to any sounds other than normal breath sounds -- wheezes, rales, stridor. This doesn’t quite seem to fit any of the meanings you list.

On the other hand, I would be happy to call an accessory spleen adventitious, but I don’t think anyone does.

PS: Accessory spleen: An accessory spleen is a small nodule of splenic tissue found apart from the main body of the spleen. Accessory spleens are found in approximately 10 percent of the population and are typically around 1 centimetre in diameter. They may resemble a lymph node or a small spleen. They form either by the result of developmental anomalies or trauma. They are medically significant in that they may result in interpretation errors in diagnostic imaging or continued symptoms after therapeutic splenectomy. Polysplenia is the presence of multiple accessory spleens rather than one normal spleen.

PPS: When I was in med school on my pediatrics rotation, an infant with persistent hypoglycemia had surgery to do a partial pancreatectomy to fix that problem, at which time what was thought to be an accessory spleen was also removed. This turned out on pathology to actually be an insulinoma, (adventitious pancreas), and simply removing this would have cured the problem without the long-term likelihood of diabetes he faced by now having less pancreas. This was long before MRIs but I don’t know if this would have made a difference. This case ended up in the New England Journal of Medicine. Have you addressed the meaning of zebra in medical contexts? “When you hear hoofbeats, it’s probably a horse, not a zebra” -- common things are common, so much more likely to be the answer than rare things. But this turned out to be a zebra.

Liz Wise, Cle Elum, Washington

From: Vic Neilson (vneilson mweb.co.za)
Subject: A Thought for Today -- Auguste Rodin

Patience is also a form of action. -Auguste Rodin, sculptor (12 Nov 1840-1917)

This brings to mind lines from Rudyard Kipling’s “If you can wait and not be tired by waiting”, and from John Milton’s poem written when he was going blind “They also serve who only stand and wait.”

Both poems are worth revisiting.

Vic Neilson, Himeville, South Africa

From: Glenn Glazer (glenn.glazer gmail.com)
Subject: Patience

Patience may be a form of action, but the line between it and procrastination or paralytic fear can be very thin at times.

You can choose a ready guide
In some celestial voice
If you choose not to decide
You still have made a choice
(“Freewill”, Rush)

Glenn Glazer, Felton, California

From: Carolyn C Martin (carokei msn.com)
Subject: caesious

caesious is a blue/green/gray color
caseus is both Latin and French for cheese
caseous is a disease found in sheep
caseious is a back cover for a mobile phone

Carolyn C Martin, Litchfield, Connecticut

From: Bob Wilson (wilson math.wisc.edu)
Subject: Which are the vowels?

Just like those who were upset by the demotion of the ex-planet Pluto, I react to listing the vowels as just a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y. When I was in elementary school (around 1950) we were taught that the vowels in English were/are a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y and sometimes w.

There are several words where w really has to be a vowel, e.g. cwm unless you want to make c or m a vowel or forget the rule that every syllable needs a vowel.

Bob Wilson, Oregon, Wisconsin

Salad Daze!
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: caesious & annelidous

The word caesious reminded me of Caesar, as in Caesar salad. I came up with this displeased customer scenario where there’s been some confusion regarding his salad order. Granted, a caesious salad is purely a figment of my foodie imaginings. But it does make for a fun, yet slightly awkward, cartoony twist.

Dog Days Afternoon
Playing off our usage example for the word annelidous, relating to worms, quoted from Charles Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle, I came up with angler Darwin, dangling his worm-baited hook, accompanied by his trusty beagle, Galapagos. Not sure if Darwin’s research vessel, HMS Beagle, got its moniker from his pooch. Ha! Curiously, it was Darwin’s meticulous study of the variety of Galapagos finches that proved the key to his theory of natural selection and his broader theory of evolution. Here, in an alternate universe, Darwin is spending his time fishing, observing worms and fishes, contemplating how their varied species may have evolved.
Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Anagrams of This Week’s Words
Words having all five vowels and in order:
1. anemious
2. acedious
3. adventitious
4. caesious
5. annelidous
1. assiduous, as onions survive in wind
2. idle, aloof diva
3. uninvited cause
4. toad green
5. worm, also a leech
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)


Says the landscaper, “Wind storms severe
and destructive will often appear.
So to plants homogeneous,
hardy, anemious,
local folks mostly adhere.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Anemious is what I know
Since I grew up near Chicago.
It’s definitely
A windy city.
I remember how it would blow.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

The weather can vary a lot;
Anemious, freezing, or hot.
And then when it snows,
You’re freezing your toes
And your nose exudes dribbles of snot.
-Gordon Tully, Charlottesville, Virginia (gordon.tully gmail.com)

Politicos full of hot air
Their long-winded speeches will share.
Just go to DC --
I bet there will be
Anemious plants growing there.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Houseplants showcased in the living room,
Though nutrient rich and in full bloom,
Eyed quite envious,
sunny weeds anemious
And longed to cut and run from their doom.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Well, look here: Chicago’s my beat!
And I live on a wind-tunnel street!
The kids, don’tcha know,
Thrive! Yes, it is so --
Anemiously, from head to feet!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

I went for a walk yesterday.
Then the trees, they began to sway.
A breeze, anemious,
Turned quite “mischievous”,
And it blew my new hat away.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“To bring fire to Earth,” said Prometheus,
“Towards Zeus I was just a bit devious.
You can use it to cook,
To get warm, read a book;
But be careful -- outdoors, it’s anemious.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Says she, “I have found a new honey!
Not handsome, nor clever, nor funny,
he’s quite an acedious,
woefully tedious
guy. But he’s loaded with money!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

He yawned and complained, “Life is tedious!
No wonder I’m feeling acedious.”
But Mom said, “Oh, pooh!
There’s lots you could do --
Enough of your comments egregious!”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

I would argue that “slothful” is trite.
“Apathetic” just doesn’t have bite.
“Lazy” may be OK
In an indolent way,
But “acedious” sounds about right.
-Gordon Tully, Charlottesville, Virginia (gordon.tully gmail.com)

Corona makes life grim and tedious.
Each day we get tidings tragedious.
It’s hard to get moving.
Things aren’t improving.
No wonder we’re getting so acedious.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“I can’t wait to each day be obsequious,”
Said Mike Pence, “The job never gets tedious.
But it’s time to say ‘ciao’
And head home with my frau
Where on Jesus, I’ll dote -- how acedious.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Their meeting was quite adventitious
And the young woman’s looks were delicious.
But she totaled his car
After leaving a bar.
An event that was most unpropitious.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

Donald Trump had big dreams most ambitious,
Hoping for some support adventitious.
“I’ll take all of their votes,
Jam them down the Dems’ throats,
‘Cause,” he said, “I can be so litigious.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

The baker had made a mistake
And doubled the rum in the cake.
With luck adventitious,
It came out delicious,
And now it’s her favorite to make.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The outcome is highly auspicious,
and certainly not adventitious,
but the loser, really riled
is behaving like a child
and his motives are patently malicious.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

In the fridge I discovered a treat,
Some leftovers that I shouldn’t eat.
This find, adventitious,
Was oh, so delicious,
And on my diet, I would cheat.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Said his pa, “Your idea’s adventitious;
Renouncing your wealth, Aloysius?”
The boy answered, “Don’t faint;
Dad, they’ll make me a saint,
And you have to admit, that’s ambitious.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

His face was a caesious shade,
‘Gainst the fates he’d ever upbraid;
But each fact was on track,
And there’s no turning back
From results for which we’d all prayed.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

“Which gown would be best for the ball?”
she inquires, as she models them all.
He frowns, “Not the previous
one. It’s too caesious!
As for the rest, it’s your call.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

This statement the botanist made:
“The leaves are a caesious shade.
They are poisonous, too,
So whatever you do,
Don’t touch them or you’ll need first aid.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said the Minotaur, “Bring it on, Theseus;
When I’m done, your pink skin will be caesious.”
But he lost to our hero
By 20 to zero,
Yet claimed to have won -- my, how tedious.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“We dive in the dumpsters, you see,
for treasures among the debris.
Though some find the smell of us
foul and annelidous,
others don’t mind it,” says he.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Annelidous creatures -- oh, yuck! --
Come slithering out of the muck.
Although I recoil,
They’re good for the soil --
My gardening friends are in luck.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“Not so close to the sun!” shouted Daedalus,
“Or with cancerous spots it will speckle us.”
“I used lotion, relax,”
Said his son; but -- the wax!
Now he’s food for sea creatures annelidous.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


A fruit that is full of tiny grains is acedious.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

The four weeks before Christmas is an adventitious time of the year.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

“When naughty we are, not blind is Santa,” cautioned Yoda; “knows he us, caesious.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Said one of the victims in a horror movie, “If we’re not careful, the monster will caesious and carry us away!”
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

Said Ado Annie to Laurie, “Even mah gunslinger uncle cain’t shoot like yer annelidous.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)
(the reference being to the character Aunt Eller in the musical Oklahoma!)

A Scrabble game in German, French, and English
From: Richard Martin (school tellatale.eu)
Subject: Zarf in Scrabble

I was delighted to see last week’s excellent Scrabble word, one I had not known before. But to find last night that I could use it in my very next game -- amazing!

As you see, my wife and I play using German (Ar = 100 sq. m. in Swiss German), French (ou), and English.

My thanks again for your wonderful work,

Richard Martin, Darmstadt, Germany

Culture is the widening of the mind and of the spirit. It is never a narrowing of the mind or a restriction of the human spirit or the country’s spirit. -Jawaharlal Nehru, freedom fighter and the first Prime Minister of India (14 Nov 1889-1964)

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