Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.


From the very beginning of my adventures in language columny, your letters have arrived as daily gifts that inspire ideas for more columns and books. The word inspire, from the Latin inspirare, means “breathe into,” and reading your e-messages breathes life into my ongoing mission of teachership.

In today’s letters, readers respond to my recent column that reminisced about “the words of our youth, the words we’ve left behind. We blink, and they’re gone, evanesced from the landscape and wordscape of our perception, like Mickey Mouse wristwatches, hula hoops, skate keys, candy cigarettes, little wax bottles of colored sugar water and an organ grinder’s monkey.”

Let’s start with a message from a legendary sportscaster who has lived in our town for more than three decades. Did you know that San Diego’s own Dick Enberg is one of only two American broadcasters (along with Curt Gowdy) to have been selected for induction as a broadcaster into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Basketball Hall of Fame and, when he is inducted in July 2015, into the Cooperstown National Baseball Hall of Fame?


All the words and phrases in your column are part of my Michigan farm youth. It was almost as if my Mother and Father were in the room with me this morning, as we had “archaic and ate it, too.”

As you know, I have not totally excused all the “swell” expressions of yesteryear. I have found the time and place for an occasional “Oh my!” and “Hubba Hubba” in our Padres telecasts.

Keep up the good words. I hope to meet you sometime during 2015, perhaps at Petco. All trades point to a terrific season for the Home Nine. Cheers.

— Dick Enberg, Rancho Santa Fe


Where in Timbuktu did you get all that cool word stuff? I’m forever and a day grateful to be able to read your Saturday fun commentaries. They give me goose bumps.

But you, Richard Lederer, all that creative energy. You must be draggin’ your wagon now. Bet you’re gonna hit the hay early tonight and catch some shut-eye.

— Vikky Anders, Pacific Beach


As I do every week, I read your U-T article and enjoyed it. I confess that I did recall the lion’s share of the old words and phrases in the column. I am sure you will probably get a lot of email with other outdated words and phrases. I would just like to share one with you that has relevant, literal meaning:

“Aw, your mudder wears combats boots!” mudder being a Brooklyn version of mother, as I recall it from the Dead-End Kids movies. Nowadays, with military-service women in combat units, many of whom are mothers, the phrase fits.

— Frank Morkunas, San Diego


Loved your column today. Let’s all straighten up and fly right.

On my mom’s side of the family, their name was Berry. I am not making this up. They were invited to a gathering on a military base but were turned down because their name was not on the list, for the MPs. They protested, “But we’re the Berrys!”

The M.P. said, “I don’t care if you’re the bees knees, You’re not getting in!”

— Mary Jo Crowley, La Jolla


Your column on the faded words and expressions that we of a certain age once used struck a chord in me, especially your statement “back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie.” Whenever I see the word moxie, I think about my grandfather, who had moved to California when I was young. Every time he drove back to Maine, he would fill up his trunk with Moxie bottles for the trip back here. I was born and raised in Maine but never acquired the taste for Moxie.

— Joline Ashker, Rancho Bernardo