23. Word records

Posted: 2013 年 12 月 28 日 in Logology

Some English words are noteworthy not because of their meaings but because of their structure. For example, the word supererogatorily (which means “in a manner that is beyond the call of duty”) contain alternating consonants and vowels. Such words set word records that go beyond expectations.

  1. abhors, almost, begins, biopsy, chimps, chinos, chintz = some of the few six-letter words composed of letters that occur in alphabetical order without repetition

  2. abracadabra = the longest common word with the most repeats of the letter A.

  3. abstemious, facetious = the two most common words containing the five regular vowels in alphabetical order

  4. adieu, aerie, audio, eerie, queue = the longest common words with only one consonant

  5. aftereffects, desegregated, desegregates, reverberated, stewardesses = some of the longest words that can be typed using only those letters normally typed with the left hand

  6. ambidextrously = the longest common word that doesn’t repeat any letters (isogram)

  7. antiskepticism = the longest uncommon word with typewriter letters from alternating hands

  8. bookkeeper = the best-known word with the most consecutive letter pairs

  9. CHECKBOOK = the longest word composed entirely of letters with horizontal symmetry in uppercase

  10. encourage = the longest common word in which changing one letter radically changes its pronunciation (encourage→entourage)

  11. four = the only number word whose quantity of letters matches the number it denotes

  12. HOMOTAXIA = possibly the longest word composed entirely of letters with vertical symmetry in uppercase

  13. honorificabilitudinitatibus = the longest word consisting of alternating consonants and vowels. Others are aluminosilicates, parasitological, verisimilitudes, supererogatorily

  14. hydroxyzine = the only word containing the letters XYZ

  15. jinni = the word, another spelling of genie, becomes plural not by adding any letter but by removing the last letter: jinn

  16. johnny-jump-up, niminy-piminy = the longest words that would normally be typed with only the right hand using standard keyboarding

  17. kine = the archaic plural of cow shares none of its letters

  18. meet-her-in-the-entry-kiss-her-in-the-buttery = besides being the longest nontechnical plant name, the entry is one of the few English words with nine hyphens

  19. ough-, -ough, -ough- = the combinatino ough can be pronounced in nine different ways: A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful plough-man strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed.

  20. strengths = the longest word with exactly one nonrepeated vowel

  21. ushers = the only English word with five personal pronouns in succession–namely, us, she, he, her, and hers

  22. widow = the only female form in English that is shorter than the corresponding male term, widower




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