Vaughan’s Vocabulary

Don Vaughan provides infrequently used words to strengthen your

On Sundays, just after 7:30 a.m., I am listening to National Public Radio’s “The Puzzle with Will Shortz,” the New York Times puzzle editor. On a recent broadcast Shortz asked listeners to write down five words: aide, heart, tough, gelatin and emanate. “There is something unusual,” Shortz pointed out, “they have in common. What is it? To indicate you have the answer, provide another word that has the same property.” Before going to the next paragraph, do you know the answer?

Each word can be transformed into another word by moving the first letter to the end. For example, when you move the e in aide to the end, you get idea, heart becomes earth, tough becomes ought, gelatin becomes elating, and emanate becomes manatee. Other words are plum, dread, and tangs. Here are some of Shortz’s words in this week’s Vaughan’s Vocabulary.

1. Gigi said that she found her date with Dave elating. Gigi was saying that he

A. was late.

B. makes her feel happier.

C. was obnoxious.

D. was upsetting.

E. was condescending.

2. manatee (MAN-uh-tee)

A. a large flowering deciduous tree

B. an aquatic mammal with a spoon-shaped tail

C. an often-repeated word, formula or phrase

D. an annoying mannerism

No. 1 and No. 2 are B. A under No. 2 is a definition for manatu and C under No. 2 is a definition for mantra.

3. emanatory (EM-uh-nuh-tore-ee)

A. the quality of flowing or arising out of a source

B. not demanding or obligatory

C. menacing

D. None of the Above

Emanatory, the adjective form of emanate, is A. Example: Essays and informative speeches should be emanatory with paraphrased information coming right after a source citation.

4. Which one of the following can be transformed into another word by moving its first letter to the end?

A. yellow

B. elate

C. yonder

D. stove

E. rove

Last week’s mystery word is annus mirabilis.

This week’s mystery word to solve is a noun that means an influence or atmosphere that tends to deplete, corrupt, or obscure. Right in the center of the mystery word is the title of a beautiful song on Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life.” Oh, and No. 4? It’s ellowy (no just kidding; rove becomes over).

Don R. Vaughan, Ph.D., of Eupora is a speech and theater professor at East Mississippi Community College, Golden Triangle. Contact him at