I recently subscribed to a cool little site that, having now experienced it, I can recommend with confidence.

You may have already noticed the site on the “Book Reviews & Resources” sidebar — Wordsmith.Org: the magic of words. On the home page, you’ll find a “subscribe” option on the right, under the banner, A.Word.A.Day. The New York Times called it, “The most welcomed, most enduring piece of daily mass e-mail in cyberspace.” And who am I to disagree with “The Gray Lady?

Each day you’ll receive a (mercifully) brief email, introducing that day’s word. The words tend to be obscure but, like most words and some people, interesting once you get to know them. I’m enjoying it. Here’s a recent sample of one email:

with Anu Garg


noun: A poem in which the author retracts something said in an earlier poem.

From Greek palinoidia, from palin (again) + oide (song). It’s the same palin that shows up in the word palindrome. Here’s a palindromic web address:

The illustrator and humorist Gelett Burgess (1866-1951) once wrote a poem called The Purple Cow:
I never saw a purple cow,
I never hope to see one;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.

“The more lighthearted palinodes were more successful, such as Geoff Horton’s recantation of his youthful view that a martini should be shaken rather than stirred.”
Jaspitos; I Take It Back; The Spectator (London, UK); Jan 24, 2004.

Let us enrich ourselves with our mutual differences. –Paul Valery, poet and philosopher (1871-1945)


One comment

  1. Ellen Miles says:

    Welcome to Anu’s world! Isn’t it great? I have been a subscriber for years. The weekly mail round-up is terrific, too. It makes you feel as if you’re part of a community that cares about words and their usage.

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