Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Cool Word Contest

Deb making new friends
I ran across these cool word facts recently and thought you writerly types would appreciate them.

+ "Facetious" and "abstemious" are the only words that contain all the vowels in the correct order.

+ "Almost" is the longest commonly used word in teh English language with all the letters in alphabetical order.

+ "Teh" means "cool" in Thai. It's pronounced "tay." (Now you can tell everyone you meant to do it when you make typos like the one above!)

+ "Fortnight" is a contraction of "fourteen nights," which has been generally replaced by "two weeks" in modern English.(Of course all you Shakespeare groupies already knew this!)

+ If you were a Lone Ranger and Tonto fan, you'll like this one: "Kemo sabe," meaning "all knowing one," is actually a mispronunciation by Native Americans of the Spanish phrase, "quien lo sabe," meaning "one who knows."

+ "Rhythms" is the longest English word without the normal vowels a, e, i, o, or u. 

+ "Ough" can be pronounced in eight different ways. Here's a sentence containing them all: "A rough-coated, dough-faced ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough, coughing and hiccoughing thoughtfully." (Note from Deb: These days we spell it "hiccuping," but this is the acceptable old-world spelling.)

Okay, now for you word geeks, a few for you to figure out (don't cheat by looking them up!):

1. What's the commonly used word that's spelled the same in English, French, German, Swedish, Portuguese, and Dutch? (Hint: Travelers use this word frequently.)

2. What's considered the toughest tongue twister in the English language? (Hint: It has something to do with ill livestock.)

3. Name the only English word that ends in the letters "mt." (Hint: It's something you probably did last night.)

4. What is the only spelled-out numeral whose number of letters in the word equals the number? (If you're observant, I've already given you a really BIG hint!)

5. What's the longest word that can be typed with only the left hand? (Hint: It's the out-of-date plural form of a well known profession.)

E-mail me your answers at and I'll send everyone who gets all five correct an autographed copy of my new book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate.   

Happy wordsmithing!