Home  -  Back Issues  -  The Team  -  Contact Us
     Volume 6 Issue 6 | February 16, 2007 |

   Cover Story
   View from the    Bottom
   Food Security
   Dhaka Diary
   Book Review
   New Flicks
   Chit Bit

   SWM Home


Playing with Words

* The word "Checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah Mat," which means "the king is dead".

* Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order, as does arsenious, meaning "containing arsenic."

* The slash character is called a virgule or solidus. A URL uses slash characters, not back slash characters.

* The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.

* The combination "ough" can be pronounced in nine different ways. The following sentence contains them all: "A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed."

* The word "robot" was created by Karel Capek. It came from Czech/Slovak "robotovat," which means to work very hard.

* The only word that consists of two letters, each used three times is the word "deeded."

* The word "girl" appears only once in the Bible.

* The term, honeymoon, is derived from the Babylonians who declared mead, a honey-flavoured wine, the official wedding drink, stipulating that the bride's parents be required to keep the groom supplied with the drink for the month following the wedding; that month became known as the honeymonth, hence our honeymoon.

* "Rhythm" and "syzygy" are the longest English words without vowels.

* The two longest one-syllable words in the English language are "screeched" and "strengths."

* 'Strengths' is the longest word in the English language with just one vowel.

* The longest place-name still in use is: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu, a New Zealand hill.

* The longest word in the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. It is a pneumoconiosis caused by the inhalation of very fine silicate or quartz dust.

* The second longest word in the Oxford English Dictionary is "floccinaucinihilipilification," which means "the act of estimating as worthless."

* One of the longest English words that can be typed using the top row of a typewriter (allowing multiple uses of letters) is 'typewriter.'

* One out of every eight letters used in written English is an e.

* No words in the English language rhyme with orange, silver, purple or month.

* The words 'sacrilegious' and 'religion' do not share the same etymological root.

* The phrase "sleep tight" originated when mattresses were set upon ropes woven through the bed frame. To remedy sagging ropes, one would use a bed key to tighten the rope.

* "Freelance" comes from a knight whose lance was free for hire, i.e. not pledged to one master.

* The term "devil's advocate" comes from the Roman Catholic church. When deciding if someone should become a saint, a devil's advocate is always appointed to give an alternative view.

* When two words are combined to form a single word (e.g., motor + hotel = motel, breakfast + lunch = brunch) the new word is called a "portmanteau."

* The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.

* There is a word in the English language with only one vowel, which occurs six times: Indivisibility.

* The dot over the letter 'i' is called a tittle.

* "Underground" is the only word in the English language that begins and ends with the letters "und."

* The oldest word in the English language is "town"

* The Old English word for "sneeze" is "fneosan."

* The word "samba" means "to rub navels together."

* The word "set" has more definitions than any other word in the English language.

* The Sanskrit word for "war" means "desire for more cows."

* The word 'byte' is a contraction of 'by eight.'

* The word 'pixel' is a contraction of either 'picture cell' or 'picture element.'

* In Chinese, the words for crisis and opportunity are the same.

* The shortest French word with all five vowels is "oiseau" meaning bird.

* Pinocchio is Italian for "pine head."

* The infinity sign is called a lemniscate.

* The only word in the English language with all five vowels in reverse order is "subcontinental."

Source: Jayp.net and 2201 Fascinating Facts

Copyright (R) thedailystar.net 2006