By Wes McGowan
Be not misled and set your mind at rest about this quiz! This item doesn’t deal with the “art of fixing objectionable” characteristics in a given water supply. Rather, it’s a play on words, dwelling upon a favorite American hobby called “collectibles.” This pastime spans a great spectrum—from collecting valuable coins, stamps, jewelry, china and dolls as well as novelty items as walking canes, baseball cards, men’s caps and even old yardsticks, to name just a few. Add this one to fill a gap in novelty collections with unique uses of the word “water”—mostly as adjectives.
What’s in a word?
In a 1991-93 WC&P article series, “By These Labels…Ye Shall Know Them,” I compiled over 250 types of water definitions. In that collection—or listing—the word “water” was employed grammatically as a noun. “Water” came second or last in the term with such entries as “hot water,” “soft water,” “feed water,” “brackish water” and “city water.”
At the time, it was suggested that an interesting “counter-collection” of terms be put together, using the word “water” to define the state of a substance, a process or phase. In other words, using water first in a phrase or as an adjective. Such a series would include such terms as “water fowl,” “water main,” “water agronomy” and “water oak.” In answer to such a query, I have assembled a comprehensive list to address the issue. At press time, over 390 terms and phrases are assembled demonstrating the myriad uses of water in this manner. For the sake of space and simplicity, we’ll concentrate on the W-B’s in this issue.
A word on words
The gathering, researching and novelty collecting of these terms reached into many technical references, a variety of specialized dictionaries and from my own extensive file. For terms not found in authoritative sources, author’s license was exercised in coining a few new, heretofore unpublished terms. To broaden this concept further and create more prefixes, I’ve made liberal use in hyphenating some common terms, expressions and proper names such as “water-ing” and “Water-town.”
While this collection contains many scientific terms and phrases, it’s primarily intended to render some entertainment value to the audience of the water quality improvement industries. Sorry, completion of this quiz will not go toward CPD credits, but don’t let that stop you. Go to it, water specialists! Plunge in and get your feet wet. Take up the reader’s challenge today in this issue by naming, in the spaces below, at least 10 of the 30 W-B’s (water b’s). To get you brainstorming, we will give you “water bed” and “water bucket.”
How is your water I .Q. today? There’s one way to find out. Take the challenge and see how fast you can come up with 10 responses that match items on my list. Good hunting…and have fun!
WC&P has graciously agreed to run this column periodically and we’ll get to other interesting terms—W-A through W-Z—in future issues. Submit your answer list to Wes McGowan at 6444 17th Ave. Court West, Bradenton, FL 34209-7845. For a copy of the W-B prefixes listed among his water adjectives here, you may request one at the same time or email WC&P for it at email@example.com
About the author
Wes McGowan is president of Wes Max Consulting Ltd. and has over 30 years experience in the field of water processing. McGowan worked at Ionac Chemical/Sybron Corp. for many years as marketing manager for domestic ion exchange and prior to that with Permutit Water Conditioning Inc. Establishing his consulting firm in 1982, he has authored or served as technical editor for several publications for the Water Quality Association including its “Glossary of Terms” and “Residential Water Processing.” He can be contacted via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, (941) 798-8319 or (941) 798-8193 (fax).