In 1951 James Thurber’s friend Mitchell challenged him to think of an English word that contains the four consecutive letters SGRA. Lying in bed that night, Thurber came up with these:
kissgranny. A man who seeks the company of older women, especially older women with money; a designing fellow, a fortune hunter.
blessgravy. A minister or cleric; the head of a family; one who says grace.
hossgrace. Innate or native dignity, similar to that of the thoroughbred hoss.
bussgranite. Literally, a stonekisser; a man who persists in trying to win the favor or attention of cold, indifferent, or capricious women.
tossgravel. A male human being who tosses gravel, usually at night, at the window of a female human being’s bedroom, usually that of a young virgin; hence, a lover, a male sweetheart, and an eloper.
Unfortunately, none of these is in the dictionary. What word was Mitchell thinking of?