It has come to my attention that the word astasia refers to both

a. a colorless euglenoid that does not have plastids or a light-sensing spot


b. a lack of motor coordination which leaves the patient unable to stand or walk unassisted.

Where is the doggerel that plays off this double meaning? Where are the ironic little vignettes in which the hero (or heroine) is led charmingly astray through the confusion of one meaning with the other?

It’s not like the literary potential of other English double meanings has gone unexploited. (Think “pussy”.) Here is your opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a whole new subgenre. Give me your best astasia wordplay!

(Extra credit: Which chapter of The Big Questions inspired me to look up the word astasia?)

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11 Responses to “Wordplay”

  1. 1 1 Bennett Haselton

    Astasia befell poor young Astrid
    Her feet trod no ground, but her ass did
    Even this fate so sad
    Would still not be so bad
    If she weren’t also missing a plastid

  2. 2 2 Ryan

    My astasia is so bad that I am moved to self-flagellate?

  3. 3 3 John

    All it takes is someone to refer to astasia early in a movie as pond scum and then the protagonist calls some drunk later in the movie astasiac (is that the right spelling?) and the drunk says he can still stand/walk. Something along those lines would make me laugh.

  4. 4 4 dave

    you cheated. i cant stop thinking about pussy. steve martin would own this im sure.

    astasia : the only diagnosis a zombie dr. will ever need.

    (page 3)
    cyber-worm attacks u.k! china to blame! popular websites paralyzed!

    ex credit: chap 12. i cant believe its not butter.

  5. 5 5 dave

    i wonder if there is some reason that my original intent was to make a joke based on the alaskan word ‘westconsin’. pigs originated in south ‘astasia’.
    from chaos cometh order and to chaos it will go.

  6. 6 6 sconstant

    A biologist working in Asia
    Said “Hunching in ponds for ten days ya’
    Have a find in your hand
    But then find you can’t stand
    In our field its called ‘Double Astasia.’”

    They mobbed the little flagellate –
    “As queen of Russia you’ll be so great” –
    She refused to stand
    As queen of that land
    “I’m an astasia, how many times must I restate?”

  7. 7 7 Thomas Bayes

    Congratulations. You are the top return on Google:


    Throughout the history of the english language, I wonder how many times the words ‘astasia’ and ‘doggerel’ have been used in the same sentence. You may have missed a chance to be the first. Could it be that I did it for the first time?

  8. 8 8 Loweeel

    “We’ve always been at war with astasia.”

  9. 9 9 Douglas Bennett

    “Anastasia! There’s a speck of pondscum on one of these patients!”

    “There’s an astasia on an astasia?”

    “Yes, the Asian one!”

    “I’ll be there shortly!”

    “Hurry up, there’s a very astasian asian covered in an astasia, Anastasia!”

    I doubt that made grammatical sense, but it sure was fun to say.

  10. 10 10 Tim

    The Russian princess, Anastasia
    suffered sometimes an astasia.
    Though she swam in the water
    when unsteadiness got ‘er
    she hated to touch an astasia.

  11. 11 11 Fenn

    next up: fun with “yearn”, “you’re in”, and “urine.”

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