n. a combination of the good and the beautiful in a person
n. a remarkably beautiful and good woman
This excerpt from Coriolanus contains every letter of the alphabet but Z:
O, a kiss
Long as my exile, sweet as my revenge!
Now, by the jealous queen of heaven, that kiss
I carried from thee, dear; and my true lip
Hath virgin’d it e’er since.
This one, from Milton’s Paradise Lost (from the Z in grazed to the b in Both), contains all of them:
Likening his Maker to the grazed ox,
Jehovah, who, in one night, when he passed
From Egypt marching, equalled with one stroke
Both her first-born and all her bleating gods.
To a dining companion, William Hogarth once sent a card inscribed with a knife, a fork, and these letters:
Η Β Π
It was an invitation to “eta beta pi.”
Exasperated that Nicholas Rowe kept borrowing his snuffbox, Samuel Garth wrote these letters on the lid:
Their friend John Dennis observed, “A man who could make so vile a pun would not scruple to pick a pocket.”
“Lines by an Oxford Don,” from the Globe, June 1805:
My brain was filled with rests of thought,
No more by currying wares distraught,
As lazing dreamily I lay
In my Canoodian canay.
Ah me, methought, how leef were swite
If men could neither wreak nor spite;
No erring bloomers, no more slang,
No tungles then to trip the tang!
No more the undergraddering tits
Would exercise their woolish fits
With tidal ales (and false, I wis)
Of my fame-farred tamethesis!
A sentence that makes equal sense when spoonerized: “I must brush my hat, for it is pouring with rain.”
When George S. Kaufman’s daughter told him a friend had eloped from Vassar, he said, “Ah! She put her heart before the course.”
Obey this command!
n. the act of lying on the ground
DEAD-ENDEDNESSES contains one A, two Ns, three Ss, four Ds, and five Es.
TEMPERAMENTALLY can be separated into a single letter followed by words of 2, 3, 4, and 5 letters: T, EM, PER, AMEN, TALLY.
v. to put in a good humor
A he-toad loved a she-toad
That lived high in a tree.
She was a two-toed tree toad
But a three-toed toad was he.
The three-toed tree toad tried to win
The she-toad’s nuptial nod,
For the three-toed tree toad loved the road
The two-toed tree toad trod.
Hard as the three-toed tree toad tried,
He could not reach her limb.
From her tree-toad bower, with her V-toe power
The she-toad vetoed him.
In Macedonian, Listopad means October.
In Polish and Slovenian, Listopad means November.
In Czech, Srpen means August.
In Croatian, Srpanj means July.
In Croatian, Rujan means September.
In Czech, Říjen means October.
In Polish, Lipiec means July.
In Croatian, Lipanj means June.
In Polish, Kwiecień means April.
In Czech, Květen means May.
Brother Jacques Percher, “a very excellent man of the old time,” had a painting made for his chapel showing that good is the very opposite of evil. At one side was a picture of an angel, with the words “Read the right side and you will be saved.” Under that was this inscription:
Delicias fuge, ne frangaris crimine, verum
Coelica tu quaeras, ne male dispereas,
Respicias tua, non cujusvis quaerito gesta
Carpere, sed laudes, nec preme veridicos.
Judicio fore te praesentem conspice toto
Tempore, nec Christum, te rogo, despicias:
Salvificum pete, nec secteris daemonia; Christum
Dilige, nequaquam tu mala concupito.
Shun pleasures of the flesh, lest you be broken by crime; seek the things of heaven, lest your end be an evil one; consider your own deeds, and do not seek to slander someone else’s, but praise them, and do not suppress those who speak the truth; always realize that you must stand before a judgment; I beg you, do not despise Christ, seek him who gives salvation, and do not follow the devil; love Christ, and do not lust at all after evil.
At the other side was a picture of the devil with the words “Read the wrong side and you will be damned.” Here the first inscription was reversed word for word, producing an entirely different meaning:
Concupito mala tu, nequaquam dilige Christum,
Daemonia secteris, nec pete salvificum;
Despicias, rogo te, Christum, nec tempore toto
Conspice praesentem te fore judicio:
Veridicos preme, nec laudes, sed carpere gesta
Quaerito cujusvis, non tua respicias,
Dispereas male, nec quaeras tu coelica; verum
Crimine frangaris, ne fuge delicias.
Lust after evil, and do not at all love Christ; you follow the devil, do not seek him who gives salvation; despise Christ, I beg you, and realize that never will you stand before a judgment; suppress those who speak the truth, and do not praise the deeds of anyone, but seek to slander them; do not consider your own; let your end be an evil one, do not seek the things of heaven; let yourself be broken by crime, do not shun pleasures of the flesh.
“It must have taken the brother a long time to compose this,” writes George Wakeman, “but he probably did it with a holy purpose, and as a recreation from more onerous duties.”
See also A Bilingual Palindrome.
n. a gift given to a guest
n. a vain man
Exceptions to “I before E …”:
albeit, beige, counterfeit, deity, either, feisty, height, kaleidoscope, leisure, neighbor, obeisance, protein, reveille, seize, veil, weird, zeitgeist
“… except after C”:
ancient, concierge, efficient, financier, glacier, juicier, democracies, species
Will Rogers said, “Nothing you can’t spell will ever work.”
n. a female babbler
The child whom the parents had commissioned a surrogate to deliver had been given no breakfast.
The child the parents had had had had had no breakfast.
See also What?
n. learned persons as a class; intelligentsia
Oxyphenbutazone is a metabolite of phenylbutazone.
It’s also the biggest goldmine in Scrabble — play it across three Triple Word Score squares, joining eight tiles that have already been played and extending seven existing words, and you’ll earn 1,780 points with a single play.
Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” soliloquy, rendered in Newspeak by J.A. Lindon:
Person or unperson. Query.
Unbellyfeel Ingsoc, oldthink, ownthink,
(PLUSUNGOOD THOUGHTCRIME. PENALTY: UNLIFE)
Or Ingsoc foolthink doubleplusungood
Own unlife bellyfeel, make self unlifer,
Unperson, unofficial. (PENALTY: JOYCAMP)
Only unwake: become unlifer. (FOOLTHINK)
Unwake, and thusby unperform our Ingsoc duty
(GOODWISE NOTE: BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU)
Seems goodthink (DOUBLEPLUSUNGOOD THOUGHTCRIME).
Unwake: become unlifer.
Unwake — ungoodwise dream (PLUS-CERTAINFUL
SELF-BRINGED RESULT) –
Yes, there is the unsmoothness –
Correctful treatment in the Miniluv,
Post fail-maked self unlifer with a cord,
Is allsuch stopful — yes, there is the reason
We still goodwise perform our Ingsoc duty
Until we’re vaporized, although (CRIMETHINK)
Unbellyfeeling Ingsoc and Big Brother,
The Junior Anti-Sex League, rationed goods,
Sternness of Inner Party and its just
And ungood “watch and query” note on us,
We seemcould oldthink “free” perhaps become
With a bigneedle. (FOOLTHINK) Who would work,
Prolewise and sweatful, doubleplusunfresh,
For Ingsoc if he bellyfeeled to know
Correctful treatment in the Miniluv
That joyful place from which so few return,
And those how bigwise changed? Plusgooderwise
We live goodthinkful til some Spy reports us,
For IGNORANCE is STRENGTH, FREEDOM is SLAVERY,
And WAR (against the Party) brings NO PEACE
Inside the Miniluv till we become
Unpersons (now OFFICIAL). But unhard!
The clingful and face-crimewise-good-to-see
Ophelia! Joysexful girl, forget
My many faults in your Two Minutes Hate!
adj. wandering from house to house
v. to beat black and blue
n. a knockdown blow