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Many words come in natural pairs: father/mother, up/down, and many plus-and-minus pairs like sense/nonsense. But some words look as if they should have a mate, but they lack one. For example, a person can be 'nonchalant', but he cannot be 'chalant'. Perhaps we could call such an unpaired, unmated word an azygous word.
  • azygous – not one of a pair; single; the azygous muscle of the uvula
    [Greek a- lacking + zygon yoke. But mostly medical. I do not know if 'azygous' has been used to describe unpaired words.]
A word with a mate (like a person) should not be allowed to feign being single! Many common words might seem azygous but in fact have mate-words, not well-known. This week we'll give some of those shy, retiring spouses their fair publicity.

cisatlanic – on this side of the atlantic (the mate of 'transatlantic')

quote:
As with any translation, ... rote rendering from US to British English will result in false and needlesss mutation: the New York Underground is just as nonsensical as the New York Métro – or, for that matter, the London Subway. This holds for spelling variations as well: Pearl Harbour, Piers Ploughman, and first draught of a letter are all well-meaning but meaningless attempts at cisatlanic translation.
- R. M. Ritter, The Oxford Guide to Style
 
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well, I would think that if a word was mated to transatlantic it would have to be cisatlantic. also, chalant is a French word meaning "concerned".
 
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Yes, it's definitely cisatlantic. Obviously a typo (either wordcrafter's or his source's).

Chalant may be a French word, but it doesn't exist in English.


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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Remember this poem (full text here)? Big Grin

Despair to my mother was I in my youth,
For I was considered inept and uncouth;
Unkempt and unruly
Was infant Yours Truly.


Kempt, ruly and couth are words with enough status to be in AHD and Webster's on-line, but no word ept is in any of the one-look dictionaries.

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ept - [adj] Used as a deliberate antonym of ‘inept’: adroit, appropriate, effective.

1938 E. B. WHITE Let. Oct. (1976) 183, I am much obliged..to you for your warm, courteous, and ept treatment of a rather weak, skinny subject. 1966 Time 30 Sept. 7/1 With the exception of one or two semantic twisters, I think it is a first-rate jobdefinitely ept, ane and ert. 1976 N.Y. Times Mag. 6 June 15 The obvious answer is summed up by a White House official's sardonic crack: ‘Politically, we're not very ept.’

Hence eptitude; eptly adv.

1967 New Yorker 11 Mar. 133/1 At the start of a season, the custom milliners are always full of ertia and eptitudean attitude that I parage. 1970 Guardian 3 Nov. 11/1 The Foreign Secretary has a deserved reputation for being an accident prone speechmaker, and his eptitudeif that is a wordis sometimes questionable. 1974 New Yorker 29 Apr. 129/1 Five masked instrumentalists visit, play a sort of march, exchange instruments and play it again, necessarily rather less eptly. 1978 Observer 29 Jan. 4/8 The affair..has contributed to what has been called his ‘eptitude problem’: his ability, when he is wrong-footed, to extricate himself cleanly from the resulting mess.
[OED2]

regarding chalant, I merely thought it interesting that it's an actual word, English or no.
 
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Mea culpa! Yesterday's word was cisatlantic, not cisatlanic. Pardon me.
Today's word is the mate of overflow.

ullage – the amount that a container (a bottle, cask, tank, etc.) falls short of being full; also, the amount lost by leakage, evaporation, etc. in shipping or storage.
[ultimately from metaphor that the bunghole is the 'eye' of a cask: O.Fr ouil eye, from L. Question: wouldn't 'mouth' make more sense?]

The word is largely confined to wines and to shipping (plus occasionally in engineering or safety contexts for important vapor pressures in the ullage area). Figurative use is rare; example below.
quote:
An important detail when buying wine at auction is the fill level -- how much of the wine remains in the bottle after ullage, or evaporation. Over many decades, the fill level can drop down the bottle neck, even to the "shoulder."
– T.J. Foderero, Newark (New Jersey) Star-Ledger, May 12, 2004

By and large, the British have handled the end of Empire well, bowing to the inevitable with relatively little fuss. In their gloomier moments, the English tend to think that all that remains of their contribution to the world is a little ullage – the names of a few grand hotels, the international codifications of time and place, fathoms and uniforms, and the fact that English is the language of third millennium.
– Jeremy Paxman, The English: A Portrait of a People (quote edited)
bonus word:
bunkhole
– a hole in a cask, to empty or fill it
 
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In England the term is used equally for beer. Publicans have an allowance for ullage since it is assumed that they will never be able to serve the entire contents of a cask of beer.

And the term for the filling-hole in a cask is "bung-hole" - usually hyphenated. I have never heard "bunk" used in this way.


Richard English
 
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Mea culpa again. Yesterday I ought to have said bunghole, not 'bunkhole'.

pecunious – abounding in money; wealthy; rich
Mate of the better-known impecunious – habitually without money; penniless. Today's quote tells of a virtuous maid who received the blessing of a fairy, who decreed, "Henceforth at every word shall slip / A pearl or ruby from your lip!"
quote:
And so it was, the cheerful blonde / Lived on in joy and bliss,
And grew pecunious, beyond / The dreams of avarice!
And to a nice young man was wed, / And I have often heard it said
No other man who ever walked / Most loved his wife when most she talked!
– Guy Wetmore Carryl, How Rudeness and Kindness were Justly Rewarded
Carryl is echoing Samuel Johnson's remark on the sale of Thrale's Brewery, 1781: "We are not here to sell a parcel of boilers and vats, but the potentiality of growing rich beyond the dreams of avarice. " (avarice – excessive or insatiable desire for wealth)
 
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dystopia– an imagined world in which life is extremelybad (an anti-utopia); also, a work describing such a place or state: dystopias such as "Brave New World"
quote:
The possibilities inherent in the ongoing revolutions in biotechnology swing swiftly between utopian dreams and dystopian nightmares--between worlds of Brobdingnagians with life giving gifts and worlds of Lilliputians whose human nature has been irrevocably shrunken. So will biotechnology result in an Edenic paradise or a "Brave New World"?
– Charles Rousseaux, Biotech Advances and Its Dangers, Washington Times, December 15, 2002

Nostalgia is one of the most powerful of all political forces. … For many, Stalinist Russia was a dystopia, hell on Earth — yet now that is forgotten by many people who "remember" something different, absurdly roseate.
– Simon Sebag Montefiore, Los Angeles Times, May 14, 2004
Bonus words:
edenic – of or like a paradise
roseate – overly optimistic; "viewing the world through rose-colored glasses"
[I'd think that 'roseate' and 'optimic' refer assessing the future, and it is a misuse to apply either word, as in the example above, to a rosy view of the past. Comments?]
 
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P G Wodehouse:
"He spoke with a certain what-is-it in his voice and I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled."

gruntle – to put in a good humor
 
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Richard: In England, publicans have an allowance for ullage since it is assumed that they will never be able to serve the entire contents of a cask of beer. Maybe Richard can answer this, but my question goes to everyone.

Does the word 'ullage' apply only to the empty space in a closeable container, such as a bottle, cask, tank or flask?

Specifically, when you pour yourself a glass of milk or a cup of tea, you don't fill it to the brim, for obvious reasons. Is that empty part at the top called 'ullage,' and if not, does it have a name?
 
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nocent – 1. causing harm; 2. guilty
The two meanings are thus the opposites of innocuous and innocent.
The 'harmful' sense is closer to the Latin root (maxim: Quae nocent docent; That which hurts teaches), but the 1600s usage was 'guilty' (... preserve the innocent, and punish the nocent – Sir Edw. Coke, House of Commons, 28 April 1621). More currently:
quote:
The University of California's plan to abandon the SAT as a basis for admission has sent shock waves through higher education. ... we find it ill advised and potentially nocent to our national security.
– L. Douglas & A. George, The Chronicles of Higher Education, May 10, 2002

This Board does not approve of any public body selectively choosing to hide information which it considers detrimental to its determinations, thereby hampering the ability of any reviewing entity, such as this Board, to accurately and confidently evaluate the matter before it. Whether bolstering or nocent, all evidence presented to or considered by the Budget Commission must be certified to this Board.
– Ohio Bd of Tax Appeals, 2/26/1999, Green Twp. v. Gallia Co. Budget Comm. (excerpted)
Shakespeare used forms of the word 'guilty' over 100 times, but he never used 'nocent', so the word was presumably rare even in his day. Milton used it in Paradise Lost, but only (I submit) because the meter forced it upon him: he wants to say 'innocent' but needs to accent the second syllable rather than the first. The snake in Eden was innocent before the Devil him:
quote:
Not yet in horrid shade or dismal den,
Nor nocent yet; but, on the grassy herb
Fearless unfeared he slept.

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eustress¹ – stress that challenges, exhilarates, and stimulates one to action (counterpart of distress). Example: the enjoyment of competition; 'competitive juices'.
[coined by Hans Selye (1907-1982) to distinguish positive stress (causing joy, exhilaration, a feeling of a job well done) from negative stress or 'distress' (frustration, anger, anxiety, fatigue)]
quote:
We have become sophisticated animals and yet some people adapt their primitive fears by channeling the rush of hormones into their work to produce the eustress of increased focus and productivity.
– Michael Clarkson, Living in fear of other people's opinions; Allodoxaphobia is the No. 1 concern, Toronto Star, April 30, 2004

Why do entrepreneurs abandon their creations just as they're achieving success? … Dr. Steven Berglas says many entrepreneurs are stimulated by "eustress," a more desirable cousin of distress, which energizes people rather than merely upsetting them. And smoothly running companies aren't the best places to find eustress, so the solution for many entrepreneurs is starting new ventures.
– Mark Henricks, Entrepreneur Magazine, August 2001
¹Note: 'Eustress' is frequent in google, but not yet in one-look. There are definitions in Wikipedia, and in Erin McKean's More Weird and Wonderful Words, calling 'eustress' the stress from a positive event, or mixed emotions where joy outweighs stress: a promotion, a new baby, winning the lottery. However, these definitions simply do not match with how the word is used.

Bonus word: allodoxaphobia – fear of other people's opinions

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clement– 1. of persons or behavior: tending to be lenient or merciful. 2. of weather: mild
'Clement is akin to 'clemency'. Our example quotation puns, using the word in both senses.
quote:
Top events like the Olympic Games and Euro 2004 will be hoping that the weather turns out to be more clement than the notoriously fickle insurance market. Major sports events have become multi-billion dollar, profit-making showcase enterprises, making ever more costly financial protection against cancellation a must.
– Agence France Presse, in Channel News Asia, Sports events grapple with costly, real-life insurance market, 30 May 30, 2004
Just as 'clement' has two senses, so does 'inclement'. The familiar meaning is 'inclement weather,' the unfamiliar meaning is 'without mercy; devoid of tenderness,' as an inclement judge.
quote:
Anecdote: A Roman official steadfastly denied a criminal charge against him. The inclement judge, irritated that there was scant evidence for the charge, irritated, turned to the emperor, Julian, and demanded, "Can anyone ever be proved guilty if it is enough just to deny the charge!?" "Can anyone ever be proved innocent," Julian replied, "if it is enough just to accuse him?"
This word is a sad example of how dictionary-sites uncritically copy from each other. If you google the phrase "the harse sentence of an inclement judge," you will find it repeated from one dictionary to another.
 
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It is a little known fact that Jack Winter was not truly speaking of his personal experience when he published "How I Met My Wife" in The New Yorker of July 25, 1994. He rather took the literary license to recount in the first person what was in fact my own experience.

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.

I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.

I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I'd have to make bones about it since I was travelling cognito. Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn't be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.

Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion.

So I decided not to risk it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads or tails of.

I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen. Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated -- as if this were something I was great shakes at -- and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings.

Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d'oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself.

She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savory character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. "What a perfect nomer," I said, advertently. The conversation become more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.
 
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