v. to beat black and blue
n. a knockdown blow
There was an old lady from Slough
Who developed a terrible cough.
She drank half a pint
Of warm honey and mint,
But, sadly, she didn’t pull through.
n. the state of being a woman
Sneezes around the world:
- France: Atchoum!
- Finland: Atsiuh!
- Iceland: Atsjú!
- Sweden: Atjo!
- India: Akchhee!
- Denmark: Atju!
- Netherlands: Hatsjoe!
- Lithuania: Apchi!
- Germany: Hatschie!
- Hungary: Hapci!
- Poland: Apsik!
- Russia: Apchkhi!
- Italy: Etciù!
- Spain: ¡Achís!
- Portugal: Atchim!
- Romania: Hapciu!
- Philippines: Hatsing!
- Japan: Hakushon!
- South Korea: Achee!
- Vietnam: Hát-xì!
See also “Lides to Bary Jade.”
Seven ways to pronounce ough:
“If the English language made any sense,” wrote Doug Larson, “lackadaisical would have something to do with a shortage of flowers.”
v. to pare the nails
This verse by Lewis Carroll is remarkable for more than its melancholy:
It can be read both “across” and “down.”
The seven seas contain seven Cs:
What’s unusual about this list of elements?
Assemble their symbols and you get PaRaPrOFeSSiONAlS.
Other long “chemistry words”: HYPoThAlAmICoHYPoPHYSeAlS and PNEuMoCYSTiS CArInII PNEuMoNiAs.
COMMUNICATORIALLY contains COMMUNITY, COUNTRY, COUNTY, and CITY, each in the proper order.
Write the word RAVINE and advance each letter 13 places through the alphabet, and you’ll get RAVINE spelled backward:
n. a lawyer’s mistake
Composed in 390 B.C., Aristophanes’ play Ecclesiazusae concludes with the name of a dish on which the characters plan to feast.
The word is lopadotemachoselachogaleokranioleipsanodrimupotrimmatosilphioliparomelitoaktakexhumeno-kichlepikossuphophattoperisteralektruonoptopiphallidokinklopeleioplagoosiraiobaphetragalopterugon. At 169 letters, it’s still the longest word in the Greek language.
A sentence composed entirely of contractions taken from Robert Burns poems:
E’en th’ flow’rs afiel’ ha’e fac’t heav’n wi’ th’ rightfu’, shinin’ blessin’ that’s prevail’d i’ th’ min’ o’ th’ faithfu’ servan’ an’ th’ mournfu’, wand’ring craz’d o’ th’ worl’: heav’n's pray’rs ha’e honour’d th’ cheerfu’ an’ th’ gen’rous ‘gainst t’other worl’s glib-tongu’d, wither’d pow’r.
When the English poet laureate Alfred Austin unveiled a statue of Burns in 1896, Punch proposed some remarks for him.
“Ye ken I canna mak’ ye a lang speech, bein’ mair a wanchansie mon, ram-feezled wi’ writin’, than a skirlin’, tapetless glib-gabbet,” he was to say. “Burns was nae feckless gowk, sae it’s a pleasure tae me tae unveil this sonsie statue.”
n. speech through gritted teeth
- SISSIES: ··· ·· ··· ··· ·· · ···
- MOTTO: -- --- - - ---
- ENTENTE: · -· - · -· - ·
- TARTAR: - ·- ·-· - ·- ·-·
- POSSESSIVENESS: ·--· --- ··· ··· · ··· ··· ·· ···- · -· · ··· ··· (18 dots in a row)
- SERVOMOTOR: ··· · ·-· ···- --- -- --- - --- ·-· (12 dashes)
INTRANSIGENCE is a palindrome: ·· -· - ·-· ·- -· ··· ·· --· · -· -·-· ·
Prospicimus modo quod durabunt faedera longo
Tempore, nec nobis pax cito diffugiet.
That means “We foresee now that the confederacy shall last a long time, and that peace will not quickly fly away from us.” But reverse it:
Diffugiet cito pax nobis, nec tempore longo
Faedera durabunt, quod modo prospicimus.
and it means “Peace will soon fly away from us, and the covenant shall not last long, which we foresee already.”
See also A Bilingual Palindrome.
LIST and ROLL are synonyms in two different senses.
Both mean to tilt — and both refer to a series of names.
adj. not anonymous
- AURAL means heard; ORAL means spoken.
- RAISE means erect; RAZE means tear down.
- SUCCOR means aid; SUCKER means hoodwink.
- ENUMERABLE means countable; INNUMERABLE means uncountable.
- ERUPT means burst out; IRRUPT means burst in.
- ERADICATE means pull up by the roots; IRRADICATE means root deeply.
- PETALLESS means lacking petals; PETALOUS means having petals.
- RECKLESS means careless; WRECKLESS means careful.
Bible scholar J. Addison Alexander was once asked whether one could write as forcibly in monosyllables as in long words. He responded with a poem:
Think not that strength lies in the big round word,
Or that the brief and plain must needs be weak.
To whom can this be true who once has heard
The cry of help, the words that all men speak
When want or woe or fear is in the throat,
So that each word is gasped out like a shriek
Pressed from the sore heart, or a strange wild note,
Sung by some fay or fiend? There is a strength
Which dies if stretched too far or spun too fine,
Which has more height than breadth, more depth than length.
Let but this force of thought and speech be mine,
And he that will may take the sleek fat phrase,
Which glows and burns not, though it gleam and shine–
Light but not heat–a flash, but not a blaze!
Nor is it mere strength that the short word boasts;
It serves far more than wind or storm can tell.
Or roar of waves that clash on rock-bound coasts,
The crash of tall trees when the wild winds swell,
The roar of guns, the groans of men that die
On blood-stained fields. It has a voice as well
For them that far off on their sick-beds lie;
For them that weep, for them that mourn the dead;
For them that dance and laugh and clap the hand
To joy’s quick step, as well as grief’s slow tread;
The sweet plain words we learn at first keep time,
And though the theme be sad, or gay, or grand,
With each, with all, these may be made to chime,
In thought, or speech, or song, or prose, or rhyme.
adj. pertaining to kissing
In Pig Latin, TRASH becomes ASHTRAY.