Language

In a Word

jehu
n. a reckless driver

Rejoinder

Does any English word contain all six vowels?

Unquestionably.

Turnabout

Is this a bad sum?

turnabout

Not in a mirror:

turnabout reversal

Adapted by Martin Gardner from Henry Dudeney.

In a Word

imparlibidinous
adj. pertaining to an unequal state of desire between two people

Zoo Cliques

More nouns of assemblage:

  • a business of ferrets
  • a cartload of chimpanzees
  • a coalition of cheetahs
  • a congress of baboons
  • a gang of elk
  • a huddle of penguins
  • a kaleidoscope of butterflies
  • a labour of moles
  • a prickle of porcupines
  • a quarrel of sparrows
  • a romp of otters
  • a tiding of magpies
  • a tower of giraffes
  • a ubiquity of sparrows
  • a whiteness of swans
  • a zeal of zebras

My sources insist that a group of gnus is called an implausibility. Should I believe them?

What’s in a Name?

In the seventeenth century, André Pujom, finding that his name spelled Pendu à Riom, fulfilled his destiny by cutting somebody’s throat in Auvergne, and was actually hung at Riom, the seat of justice in that province.

— William Dobson, Poetical Ingenuities and Eccentricities, 1882

In a Word

inkle
v. to attend a party to which one has not been invited

Don’t Call Us

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Revilo_p_oliver.jpg

American philologist Revilo P. Oliver had a palindromic name — it reads the same backward and forward. In his family, he said, the name “has been the burden of the eldest or only son for six generations.”

And it cost him — at least one journal rejected his articles as fraudulent.

In a Word

saulie
n. a hired mourner at a funeral

Two in One

GATEMAN, sides reversed, is NAMETAG.

And that sentence is a palindrome.

Letter Shift

letter shift cheer -> jolly

In a Word

dyscallignia
n. the dislike of beautiful women

A Universal Solution

In 1965, Dmitri Borgmann noted that this expression:

11 + 2 – 1 = 12

… is valid also when interpreted as a set of characters:

11 “+ 2″ = 112; 112 “- 1″ = 12

… as a set of Roman numerals:

XI + II = XIII; XIII – I = XII

… and even as a set of letters:

ELEVEN + TWO = ELEVENTWO
ELEVENTWO – ONE = LEVETW (= TWELVE)

A Pretty Symmetry

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Oligoneuron-rigidum.jpg

GOLDENROD-ADORNED LOG is a palindrome.

In a Word

snoutband
n. one who constantly contradicts his companions

Square Deal

In 1994, Leonard Gordon showed that all 37 presidential surnames to date can fit into a 22 × 18 rectangle:

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2304/1877717801_1bd42bdd36_o.png

Inventory

In this sentence there are sixteen words, eighty-one letters, one hyphen, four commas, and one period.

Letter Shift

letter shift irk -> vex

In a Word

apodyopsis
n. the act of imagining a person naked

What’s In a Name?

PIET MONDRIAN is an anagram of I PAINT MODERN.

In a Word

shunpike
n. a side road taken to avoid turnpike tolls or traffic

(Thanks, David.)

In a Word

martext
n. a blundering preacher

Bills of Lading

Devised by Lee Sallows, each of these lists inventories its own contents:

  • fifteen e’s, seven f’s, four g’s, six h’s, eight i’s, four n’s, five o’s, six r’s, eighteen s’s, eight t’s, four u’s, three v’s, two w’s, three x’s
  • sixteen e’s, five f’s, three g’s, six h’s, nine i’s, five n’s, four o’s, six r’s, eighteen s’s, eight t’s, three u’s, three v’s, two w’s, four x’s

Letter Shift

letter shift yes-oui