Anagramming coreligionists

Two very brief digressions from yesterday’s posting “The SIN and GUILT of a LINGUIST” that wander far afield, even for me: on what I called there “the lit(t)eral magic of anagramming”, one type of letter-based magical thinking; and on words for someone who shares some group membership with you, as John Wells (the reporter of the anagram SIN + GUILT = LINGUIST) does with me, several times over.

Revelatory anagrams and their cousins. Anagrams function primarily in our culture as language play, in various forms. But occasionally, someone sees them as revealing deeper truths (a linguist really is steeped in guilt and sin?), and occasionally anagram names are devised with this in mind: the Tales of the City character ANNA MADRIGAL, who is A MAN AND A GIRL.

On the model of numerology —

noun numerology: the branch of knowledge that deals with the occult significance of numbers. (NOAD)

you might call assigning occult significance to anagrams anagrammatology.

Meanwhile, there are several traditions of what you might call alphabetic numerology: assigning numerical values to the letters of an alphabet and so to words, names, and ideas.

Coreligionists and their cousins. John Wells and I share membership in several socioculturally significant groups: we are (at least) both (cis) men, both Anglophones, both (some brand of) white person of European ancestry, both academic linguists, both homosexual / gay / queer, and both in our 80s (so of the generation in between the generation that fought WWII and the boomers, and also of the plague generation, the generation of gay men that was devastated by AIDS). I can, of course, refer to these shared memberships by naming the specific groups we both belong to, as I have done in the previous sentence — though I note that these delineations tend to be complex and wordy.

For many purposes, it would be sufficient to note that we share a category, rather than going into the details of stipulating what that category is. For one category — religion — there is such a term: coreligionist (also spelled co-religionist). From NOAD:

noun coreligionist: an adherent of the same religion as another person: it is very sad that these people call themselves my co-religionists.

Earlier in our lives, John Wells and I were indeed coreligionists: specifically, Protestant Christians of the Anglican persuasion. I believe John has maintained this identity, but I have fallen away and am now a nonbeliever (though the church that I don’t belong to is a socially liberal Episcopal church, so John and I still share some shred of coreligionism).

It would be useful to have similar terms for people sharing race, ethnicity, nationality, occupation, sexual orientation, generation, or geographical region (and probably more categories I haven’t considered), but as far as I can see, English has none of them. Some of them you could devise on the model of coreligionist: co-occupationist, co-orientationist, cogenerationist (all applying to John and me), but others would clearly require a different model (co-racist and co-nationalist, given existing racist and nationalist).

[Added 2/8, from NOAD: noun compatriot: a fellow citizen or national of a country: Stich defeated his compatriot Boris Becker in the quarterfinals.]

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