Mark A. Mandel Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Tue Mar 27 20:25:48 UTC 2001

Today's Word of the Day from Merriam-Webster reminded me of the subject
word. First, M-W:


The Word of the Day for March 27 is:

transpontine   \transs-PAHN-tyne\   (adjective)
    *1 : situated on the farther side of a bridge
     2 British : situated on the south side of the Thames

Example sentence:
     Bella recommended a transpontine restaurant for our evening
so we took a cab across the East River from our hotel in Manhattan and met
her in Queens.

Did you know?
     Usually the prefix "trans-," meaning "across," allows for a reciprocal
perspective. Whether you're in Europe or America, for example, transoceanic
countries are countries across the ocean from where you are. But that's not
the way it works with "transpontine" -- at least, it didn't originally. The
"pont-" in "transpontine" is from the Latin "pons," meaning "bridge," and
the bridge in this case was, at first, any bridge that crossed the River
Thames in the city of London. "Across the bridge" meant on one side of the
river only -- the south side. That's where the theaters that featured
populist melodrama were located, and Victorian Londoners first used
"transpontine" to distinguish them from their more respectable "cispontine"

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

Brought to you by Merriam-Webster Inc.

(c) 2001 by Merriam-Webster, Incorporated


"Transpondian" is used on at least one email list I subscribe to whose
membership is mostly in the UK. My naive first impression was to connect it
with "transponder", but it means 'on the other side of the Pond', i.e., of
the Atlantic. Since it's mostly (only?) used in the UK, its reference
should be unambiguously to the US, or at least the Americas... but after
having it explained to me, I used "cispondian" to mean 'on this side...',
meaning specifically 'in the US'. One list member liked it, but I'm not
sure he took the same meaning from it that I meant to put into it.

And I think I'll pass this exchange on to that list for their comments.

   Mark A. Mandel : Dragon Systems, a Lernout & Hauspie company
          Mark_Mandel at : Senior Linguist
 320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02460, USA :

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