CABBAGE, BAGGAGE, DEFACED, EFFACED, and FEEDBAG are seven-letter words
be played on a musical instrument. CABBAGED is an eight-letter one.
ADCOMSUBORDCOMPHIBSPAC is the
longest acronym in the 1965 edition of the Acronyms, Initialisms, and
Abbreviations Dictionary. It is a Navy term standing for Administrative
Command, Amphibious Forces, Pacific Fleet Subordinate Command
[Dickson]. Another acronym, PUMCODOXPURSACOMLOPAR, stands for
"pulse-modulated coherent Doppler-effect X-band pulse-repetition
synthetic-array pulse compression lobe planar array"
(alternate spelling of egilops, an ulcer in a part of the eye) is
longest word in W2 which consists of letters in alphabetical order.
word is not in W3. CHILLLOSS (the opposite of a heatloss) has its
in alphabetical order, although this word may not be in any dictionary
[Word Ways]. The title of the film EFIK MOVY was written
to show the alphabetical-order property. BEEFILY and BILLOWY are the
such words in OSPD2+.
Six-letter words with their
letters in alphabetical order include: ABBESS, ABHORS, ACCENT, ACCEPT,
ACCOST, ADDERS, AFFLUX, ALMOST, BEGINS, BELLOW, BIJOUX, BIOPSY, CHILLY,
CHIMPS, CHINTZ, CHIPPY, CHITTY, CHIVVY, CHOOSY, CHOPPY, EFFLUX, EFFORT,
FLOORS, FLOPPY, FLOSSY, GHOSTY, GLOSSY, and KNOTTY
Lew points out that BEVY not only has its letters in alphabetical order
is also symmetrical in its distribution over the alphabet (that is, B
Y are equidistant from the center; likewise E and V). BY and LO also
ASTHMA and ISTHMI (alternate
plural of isthmus) are perhaps the only six-letter words that begin and
end with a vowel and have no other vowels between.
becomes a one-syllable word by adding a
letter or letters. Other examples: AGUE/PLAGUE, RUGGED/SHRUGGED,
Some common words which change
from one to three syllables upon the addition of just one letter are:
ARE/AREA, CAME/CAMEO, CRIME/CRIMEA, GAPE/AGAPE, HOSE/HOSEA, JUDE/JUDEA,
LIEN/ALIEN, OLE/OLEO, RODE/RODEO, ROME/ROMEO, and SMILE/SIMILE. There
other examples involving more obscure words.
Some words which change from one
to two syllables when letters are removed are: SOURCE/SOUR, BOAT/BOA,
HAVE/AVE, CAVE/AVE (etc.), WHOLE/OLE, SOLE/OLE (etc.)
is one answer to the question, "What's the other word besides 'angry'
'hungry' that ends in 'gry'?" This is the most frequently asked
of the editors of Merriam-Webster. Actually, "angry" and "hungry" are
only two words in common use ending in -gry, but quite a few obsolete
obscure words can be found in unabridged dictionaries. Among them are
used by Shakespeare, and AGGRY BEAD, both of which are in W3. The only
words in RHUD2 are ANGRY, HUNGRY, HALF-ANGRY, OVERANGRY, and UNANGRY.
has AGGRY (an adjective describing certain ancient West African beads)
AHUNGRY (oppressed with hunger). OSPD has PUGGRY (a variant form of the
more usual PUGGAREE, a scarf wrapped around a sun helmet). The OED has
an-hungry, begry, conyngry, gry, higry pigry, hungry, iggry, meagry,
nangry, podagry, skugry, unangry.
[An alternate solution this
question is the word "language." The person actually says, "Think of
words ending in -gry. Hungry and angry are 2 of them. There are three
words in the english language. What is the third? You use it everyday.
If you paid attention we have already told you the answer." More on the
-gry question can be found at
http://www.quinion.com/words/articles/gry.htm and at
Beijing has three dotted
letters in a row (in lower case). Other words with multiple dotted
remijia, bogijiab, pirijiri, kharijite (which are all in W2), gaijin
OSPD3), Fiji, Hajji, hijinks, Ujiji (where Stanley found Livingstone in
1871), Ajijic and Pijijiapan (cities in Mexico) jinjili,
(Nauruan for the adjective "lean," and Nauruan is a palindrome!),
Niijima and Iijima are Japanese
last names; Minoru Niijima is the artist who drew the cover graphic for
Edward R. Tufte's book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
In Dutch, there are jij (you),
pijjekker (pea-jacket), schrooiijzer (upstanding cutting iron for bars,
rods), Sjiiet (follower of the Shia), snijijzer (cutting iron),
uitdijing (expansion), and zijig (silky)
In Lithuanian, jiji is an archaic
Lithuanian form of "him" consisting exclusively of dotted letters, and
is archaic for "staining with blood"
In Swahili, jiji means "city" and
kijiji means a small city or village .
A property development company in
Canadian territory of Nunavut is the Katujjijiit Development
Corporation, with six consecutive dotted letters
earliest known use of CATENARY in English is by President Thomas
earliest known use of MILEAGE is by Benjamin Franklin.
catercorner, cater-cornered, catacorner,
cata-cornered, catty-corner, catty-cornered, kitty-corner, and
dictionary has cater-corner.
translations of Hebrew to English there are 16 spellings
for HANUKKAH (in alphabetical order): Channuka, Channukah, Chanuka,
Chanukah, Chanuko, Hannuka, Hannukah, Hanuka, Hanukah, Hanukkah,
Kanukkah, Khannuka, Khannukah, Khanuka, Khanukah, and Khanukkah.
The name Muammar Khadafi has over
variants according to the Library of Congress.
The only countries in the world
with one syllable in their names are CHAD, FRANCE, GREECE, and SPAIN
CHINCHERINCHEE, which the OED2
describes as a common variant of chinkerinchee, has one letter
occurring once, two letters occurring twice, and three letters
occurring three times.
Among words consisting only of
Roman numeral letters, the "highest scoring" Roman numeral words in
English (e.g. MerCy = 1100) are MIMIC (2,102) and IMMIX (2012).
If U is
allowed in Roman numeral words, there are ILLUVIUM, DILUVIUM (a coarse
deposit), MILLILUX (1/1000th of a lux), ILLICIUM (a genus of evergreen
trees), and CULICID (mosquito family).
non-scientific transposal (words which are
anagrams of each other), according to Guinness. Another transposal is
INTERNATIONALISM/INTERLAMINATIONS (16 letters).
The longest "well-mixed"
transposals (no more than three consecutive letters in common) are
BASIPARACHROMATIN/MARSIPOBRANCHIATA (17 letters) and
THERMONASTICALLY/HEMATOCRYSTALLIN (16 letters).
The longest three-way well-mixed
transposal is INTERROGATIVES/REINVESTIGATOR/TERGIVERSATION (14 letters).
The longest "perfectly mixed"
transposals (no consecutive letter combinations) are
and ROTUNDIFOLIATE/TITANOFLUORIDE (both 14 letters)
CWM (a glacial hollow on a
hillside) has the rare W as a vowel, as does CRWTH (a type of stringed
instrument). Both words are in MWCD10. They are pronounced "koom" and
"krooth" (rhyming with room and truth). Other such words, not in
MWCD10, are TWP (stupid), AWDL (an ode written in the strict
alliterative meters), and LLWCHWR (a
city-district in Wales). These words are of Welsh origin. The OED
numerous archaic spellings in which W or V is a vowel.
(a small bird) is among the very few words that contain ABC. Some
ABCOULOMB, ABCHALAZAL, ABCAREE, CRABCAKE, DRABCLOTH. Allowing
punctuation, there is SAB-CAT (a saboteur) in W2 and W3 [Susan Thorpe
WordsWorth]. Proper nouns include BABCOCK, ABCOUDE (city in the
and ZABCIKVILLE (city in Texas). There are also ABCHASICA, ABCHASICUM,
and ABCHASICUS, all three of which are botanical names for Paeonia
found in the Caucasus
DEEDED, GEGGEE (the victim of a
hoax) and SESTETTES have each of their letters appearing three times.
A list of words that are
only of repetitive identically spelled syllables or syllable groups:
ANGANG-ANGANG (a type of Javanese gong), BERBER, BERIBERI, BULBUL
(Persian songbird), CANCAN, CHA-CHA, COCO, DODO, DUMDUM, GAGA,
GOODY-GOODY, GRIS-GRIS, IHI'IHI, JUJU, LULU, MAHI MAHI, MAU MAU,
MURMUR, MUUMUU, POM-POM, POOH-POOH, SING
SING, SO-SO, TAM-TAM (tuned gong),TARTAR, TOM-TOM, TUK-TUK (3-wheeled
transport), TUTU, KUKUKUKU (the name of a people in eastern New Guinea,
in W3), PIPIPI (a small black Hawaiian bivalve).
Six-letter repeaters: ATLATL,
BEEBEE, BONBON, BOOBOO, BOUBOU, BULBUL, CANCAN, CHICHI, COOCOO, CUSCUS,
DUMDUM, FURFUR, GRIGRI, GRUGRU, MOTMOT, MURMUR, MUUMUU, PALPAL, PAWPAW,
POMPOM, SARSAR, TARTAR, TSETSE, TSKTSK, TZATZA, VALVAL, WEEWEE.
names with the same property include: BADEN-BADEN (in Germany), BELLA
BELLA (coastal town in British Columbia, Canada), BORA BORA (an island
in French Polynesia), BUBUBUBU (a stream in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo), FOFO FOFO
(a town in Papua), KIRAKIRA (Solomon Islands), LOMALOMA (Fiji),
(Fr. Polynesia), PAGO PAGO (Am. Samoa), PAOPAO (Fr. Polynesia), PUAPUA
Samoa), PUEPUE (Solomon Islands), PUKAPUKA (Cook Islands), RABA RABA
New Guinea), REKAREKA (Fr. Polynesia), SAVUSAVU (Fiji), SOMOSOMO
WALLA WALLA (U. S.), and WAGGA WAGGA (Australia)
There are many scientific
for which the genus and species are the same; these are called
a 1 followed by 100 zeros. Mathematician Edward Kasner supposedly asked
his nephew Milton Sirotta to suggest a name for the number, and he came
up with this word, which is now found in many dictionaries. The
billion, trillion, quadrillion system skips over this number. A
is 1 followed by a googol of zeros.
The three-syllable word
HIDEOUS, with the change of a single consonant, becomes a two-syllable
no vowel sounds in common: HIDEOUT
is an obvious redundancy, since the "v" stands for "virus." Some other
common redundancies which include an abbreviation are ATM MACHINE, SALT
START TALKS, VIN NUMBER, PIN NUMBER, AC CURRENT, DC CURRENT, ISBN
DOS OPERATING SYSTEM, ABS BRAKING SYSTEM, and LCD DISPLAY
the longest word consisting entirely of alternating vowels and
(For information on this word, see the long words section.) Other such
words are ALUMINOSILICATES, CYTOMEGALOVIRUS, DEPOLARIZABILITY,
EPICORACOHUMERALER, HETEROZYGOSISES, HEXOSAMINIDASES,
PARAMYXOVIRUSES, PARAROSANILINES, PARASITOLOGICAL, SUPEREROGATORILY,
IMMUNOHEMATOLOGIC contains 8
pairs of alternating vowels and consonants.
Some words containing 7 pairs of
alternating vowels and consonants are: ALUMINOSILICATE,
AUTOMANIPULATIVE, DELIBERATIVENESS, GELATINIZABILITY, HYPEROXYGENIZES,
IMAGINATIVENESS, INERADICABILITY, INOPERATIVENESS, MEGALOPOLITANISM,
PHENOMENOLOGICAL, PHOTOPOLYMERIZATION, PRECIPITINOGENIC,
PREFIGURATIVENESS, REMUNERATIVENESS, SEMIMINERALIZED, UNAPOLOGETICALLY,
UNILATERALIZATION, UNILATERALIZES, VERISIMILITUDINOUS.
IVANESEVIC (a top tennis player) may be the longest name of a
relatively famous person that alternates consonants and vowels.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES is the
longest name of a country consisting of alternating vowels and
HYPoThAlAmICoHYPoPHYSeAlS is the
longest word that can be spelled using chemical symbols. Other such
words include NONRePReSeNTaTiONAlISmS, BrONCHOEsOPHAgOSCOPIEs,
HYPSIBRaCHYCePHAlISm, HYPErPHOSPHOReSCeNCe, SUPErCoNdUCTiVITiEs,
HYDROXYZINE (a prescription drug)
the only word in RHUD2 and the only word in OED2 containing XYZ.
Allowing scientific names in biology, there is XYZZORS (a nematode
Kidd]. XYZAL (Levocetirizine) is a prescription drug introduced in
The most commonly used words
spoken English are I, YOU, THE, and A.
The most commonly used words in
written English, according to the 1971 American Heritage Word Frequency
Book are: the, of, and, a, to, in, is, you, that, it, he, for, was, on,
with, his, they at, be, this, from, I, have, or, by, one, had, not,
what, all, were, when, we there, can, an, your, which, their, said, if,
The most commonly occurring words
Shakespeare's plays and poetry (with frequencies) are: the 29854, and
I 23357, to 21075, of 18520, a 15523, you 14264, my 12964, that 11955,
11842, is 9734, not 8871, with 8269, s 8160, for 8100, it 8080, me
8059, 7357 his, 7228 be, 7120 he. In Shakespeare, 8598 words
(abaissiez, abash, abatements, abates, abbeys, ..., zo, zodiac,
zodiacs, zone, zwaggered)
are used only once.
The most commonly occurring sound
spoken English is the sound of a in alone, followed by e as in key, t
in top, and d as in dip.
words with horizontal symmetry (they reflect themselves across a
horizontal line) are: BEDECKED, BOOHOOED, CEBID (a type of monkey),
CHECKBOOK, CHOICE, CODEBOOK, COOKBOOK, DECIDED, DIOXIDE, DOBCHICK,
EXCEEDED, HIDE, HOODOOED, ICEBOX,
KEBOBBED, OBOE, OKEECHOBEE.
Some words with vertical symmetry
MOM, WOW, OTTO, MAAM, MA'AM, TOOT, AHA, AA, AHA, AIA, AMA, AVA, AWA,
HOH, HUH, MAM, MIM, MM, MUM, OHO, OO, OXO, TAT, TIT, TOT, TUT, UTU,
All of the letters of these words
vertical symmetry: AUTOMATA, AUTOTOMY, HIMATIA, HOITY-TOITY, HOMOTAXIA,
MAHATMA, MAHIMAHI, MAMMATI, MAMMOTH, MATAMATA, MOTIVITY,
MOUTH-TO-MOUTH, MYOMATA, MYXOMATA, OUTWAIT, TATOUAY, TAXIWAY, THATAWAY,
TOWAWAY, WITHOUT, YAWATAHAMA (a city in Japan), and YOUTH.
SWIMS has 180-degree
symmetry. If written in lower-case cursive, chump comes very close to
180-degree rotational symmetry.
These words with 6 or more
letters have all letters rotationally symmetrical: NINONS, ONIONS,
SISSOOS, SOZINS, ZOONOSIS, ZOOZOOS.
All of the letters of these words
have both horizontal and vertical symmetry: HI, OH, IO, OHIO, OHO, and
IHI'IHI (rare Hawaiian fern that now exists only in three populations,
two of which are inside volcanoes).
IFF is a
word invented to mean "if and only if." According to MWCD10, it can be
pronounced three ways: "if and only if," like "if," and like "if" but
with a prolonged "F." There are 118 conjunctions in MWCD10; IFF is the
only "new" conjunction, first seen in print in 1955.
The following words have 75%
their letters the same: IIWI (a Hawaiian bird), BIBB, FAFF, LALL, LILL,
LOLL, LULL, MUMM, SASS, SESS, SISS, SOSS, TATT, ZIZZ,
ÉÉPÉÉE (a fencing sword), and SUSS ("Suss
out" is British slang for "figure out").
IMPETICOS is an example of a
nonce word (a word which has been found to have been used only once).
The word is spoken by the clown in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. W2 says
it means "impocket."
NINE, TEN, THIRTEEN, THIRTY,
THIRTY-NINE, EIGHTY, EIGHTY-NINE, NINETY, and NINETY-EIGHT.
INTESTINES has each of its
letters occurring twice. Some other such words: APPEASES, ARRAIGNING,
BILABIAL, CAUCASUS, CHOWCHOW, CONCISIONS, COUSCOUS, ESOPHAGOGRAPHERS,
GENSENGS, GREEGREE, GUITGUIT, HAPPENCHANCE, HORSESHOER, HOTSHOTS,
MAHIMAHI, MESOSOME, MILLIEME, MIMETITE, RAPPAREE, REAPPEAR,
SHAMMASH, SHANGHAIINGS, TEAMMATE, UNSUFFICIENCES, VETITIVE.
The shortest word with six letters appearing at least twice is
IO (an interjection in Chambers
and one of the moons of Jupiter), AI (the three-toed sloth), EO, OK,
(rough volcanic rock) seem to be the shortest two-syllable words.
IRAQ is one of the very few words
ending in Q. Obscure words ending in Q are: SHOQ, PONTACQ, INUPIAQ (an
Eskimo people), SUQ, ZAQAZIQ (or ZAGAZIG, a city in Egypt), ZIA-UL-HAQ
(a proper name),
and N'ASTALIQ. Chambers has TALAQ and TZADDIQ (which can also be
TSADDIQ). OSPD has TRANQ although this word is not in W2 or W3.
is an Inuit village in Quebec. KUUJJUAQ is a Canadian city. UMIAQ is
apparently a variant spellling of UMIAK, an Eskimo boat, which is in W2
and W3.) SADIQ is a city in India. ABQAIQ is a city in Saudi Arabia.
found in withhold, bathhouse, beachhead, bushhammer, fishhawk,
fishhook, highhanded, hitchhike, roughhouse, washhouse, watchhouse,
aarrghh, hashhead, roughhew, fleshhood, roughhewn, touchhole,
youthhood, youthhead, sleuthhound, Pochhammer symbol, the German cities
Forchheim and Lauchhammer, Hohhot in eastern
Inner Mongolia, and the Machhu River in India.
JJ is found in AVIJJA, ZU'L-HIJJAH or DHU'L-HIJJAH (the twelfth month
of the Muslim calendar), HAJJ (the Muslim pilgrimage), HAJJI, UJJAIN
(one of the holy cities of India), CRIGLER-NAJJAR SYNDROME, KUUJJUAQ
(Canadian city), and KANGIQSUALUJJUAQ (an Inuit village in Quebec).
QQ appears in HOOQQA (variant of
hookah in the OED), HUQQA (a water pipe for smoking tobacco), RIQQ (an
Egyptian tambourine) SAQQARA (a village in Egypt), ZAQQUM (a tree with
bitter fruit, mentioned in the Koran), ZIQQURAT (an alternate spelling
of zikkurat or
ziggurat used in past editions of Guinness), BURUQQU (town in India),
and QQUERO (place names in Peru)
UU occurs in carduus, continuum, duumvir,
duumviral, duumvirate, equuleus, Equus, ignus fatuus, individuum,
intermenstruum, lituus, menstruum, mutuum, muumuu, obliquus,
praecipuum, residuum, sadalsuud, semicontinuum, Smectymnuus, squush(y),
triduum, vacuum, weltanschauung,
UU is very common in Dutch and in
Polynesian place names.
VV. The complete list from the UKACD: civvy, divvy, navvy, savvy,
bovver, chivvy, luvvie, revved, skivvy, spivvy, chivved, civvies,
divvied, divvies, flivver, luvvies, navvied, navvies, revving, savvied,
chivvied, chivvies, chivving, divvying, flivvers, navvying, savvying,
skivvies, bovver boy, chivvying, bovver boys, steam-navvy, bovver
civvy street, improvvisatore. Other words with a double V not in that
are bivvy (slang for bivouac) and bivver (a variant of bever). Chambers
has devvel, bevvy, bivvy, and crivvens.
WW occurs in arrowweed, arrowwood,
arrowworm, bowwoman, bowwood, bowwow, cowweed, cowwheat, dewworm,
glowworm, lowwood, mallowwort, meadowwort, pillowwork, plowwise,
plowwoman, plowwright, powwow, powwower, powwowism, rainbowweed,
sawway, sawworker, sawwort, screwwise, screwworm, shawwal, showworm,
showworthy, skewwhiff, skewwise, slowworm, sparrowwort, squawweed,
strawwalker, strawweight, strawworm, swallowwort, tallowweed,
throwwort, viewworthy, whitlowwort, willowware, willowweed,
willowworm, willowwort, windowward, windowwards, windowwise, yawweed,
yellowweed, yellowwood, yellowwort, Cirkewwa (city in Malta), and
(city in Canada), Oewwgger (island in Indonesia).
XX does not occur in any words found in ordinary dictionaries. However,
W3 has XX-DISEASE and the OED has WAXXEN (an old form of the verb, to
wax, to increase in size). Proper nouns containing xx include EXXON,
FOXX, MAXXAM, BEXXAR (a therapeutic antibody), and LEXXEL and VIOXX
drugs). ZAXXON was a popular arcade game in the 1980s [Fred Schneider].
According to an article in Time, the name Exxon was chosen partly
it meant nothing in any language and the article reported researchers
that XX occurs in no language. However, the double X is common in the
YY occurs in AL FAYYUM, AL-UBAYYID,
AYYUBID, CUBBYYEW, DUBAYY, FAYYUM, GAYYOU, GROZNYY (variant of Grozny),
IYYAR (an alternate spelling of Iyar, a month in the Jewish calendar),
JABIR IBN HAYYAN, KHAYYAM, KRYVYY RIH, KRYVYY ROG (a city in Ukraine),
MAYYALI, NABEREZHNYYE CHELNY (an alternate spelling for the name of a
port), OMAYYAD or UMAYYAD, PIYYUT (a liturgical poem in Judaism),
(a descendant of Muhammad through Hussein), SNARLEYYOW (slang for
found in W2), YABLONOVYY (a Russian mountain range), and ZAKIYYA (an
spelling for a female given name.)
In addition, in the American
Heritage Dictionary on CD-ROM, BODYBUILDER is misspelled as
The word "honcho" comes from a
Japanese word meaning "squad leader" and first came into usage in the
English language during the American occupation of Japan following
World War II.
The word "set" has the highest number of
separate definitions in the English Language (192 definitions according
to the Oxford English Dictionary.)
The word "assassination" was invented by Shakespeare.
The word "coach" is derived from the
village of Kocs, Hungary, where coaches were invented and first used.
The word "karate" means "empty hand."
The word "samba" means "to rub navels
The word gargoyle comes down from the Old French: gargouille, meaning
throat or gullet. This is also the origin of the word gargle. The word
describes the sound produced as water passes the throat and mixes with
air. In early architecture, gargoyles were decorative creatures on the
drains of cathedrals.
The word 'news' did not come about because
it was the plural of 'new.' It came from the first letters of the words
North, East, West and South. This was because information was being
from all different directions.
The word quisling comes from the name of Major Vidkun Quisling, a
Norwegian who collaborated with the Germans during their occupation of
Norway. The word now means "traitor."
The world's largest alphabet is Cambodian,
with 74 letters.
The world's most widely spoken language is the Mandarin dialect of
Chinese, with 500 million speakers.
therapy" is a term coined by French chemist Renéé Maurice
Gattefosséé in the 1920's to describe the practice of
using essential oils taken from plants, flowers roots, seeds, etc., in
"Kemo Sabe" means "soggy
the tooth," meaning "old," was originally used to describe horses. As
horses age, their gums recede, giving the impression that their teeth
are growing. The longer the teeth look, the older the horse.
"Ough" can be pronounced in
eight different ways. The following sentence contains them all: "A
rough-coated, dough-faced ploughman strode through the streets of
Scarborough, coughing and hiccoughing thoughtfully.
"Second string," meaning
"replacement or backup," comes from the middle ages. An archer always
carried a second string in case the one on his bow broke.
No word in
the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, and purple.