Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fun with Words and Letters

  1. 1. The letters of the alphabet in order of their frequency of use in English are: ETAISONHRDLUCMFWYPGVBKJQXZ. This is useful knowledge for games like Wheel of Fortune, Hangman, etc.
  2. 2. Onomatopoeia is making words based on how the named thing sounds. The word for a dog's bark in Japanese is wan-wan. Spanish cats go guau.
  3. An anagram (same letters rearranged differently) of the name Michael Jordan is Lo! Nice, hard jam!
  4. You've probably been disgruntled at one time or another, but have you ever been gruntled? There are some words that either never had a positive form or their positive form faded from use. Here are some more: debunk, defenestrate, dejected, disconsolate, disheveled, dismayed, feckless, gormless, impetuous, impromptu, inane, incessant, inchoate, incognito, incommunicado, indomitable, ineffable, inept, inert, infernal, inhibited, insidious, insipid, insouciant, intact, invert, misgivings, misnomer, nonchalant, noncommittal, nondescript, nonpareil, nonplussed, unbeknownst, ungainly, unnerved, unswerving, untold, untoward. Some words that do have positive forms, though they are rarely encountered: disarray, disconcerting, immaculate, impeccable, inadvertent, incapacitated, incorrigible, inevitable, innocent, inscrutable, insensate, insufferable, interminable, reckless, unbridled, unflappable, unfurl, unkempt, unmitigated, unrequited, unruly, unthinkable, unwieldy.
  5. What do the words cookie, cosmos, cuckoo, message, museum, quack, sausage, sequoia, squeaky, and wages have in common? They are all comprised of only the odd-numbered letters of the alphabet: a, c, e, g, and so on.
  6. The full name of the city of Los Angeles is El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula.
  7. In 1740, Justice of the Peace Henry Fielding, under the nom de plume Captain Hercules Vinegar, summoned poet laureate Colley Cibber to court for the murder of the English language.
  8. The first letters of the months July through November, in order, spell the name Jason.
  9. The word galaxy comes from the Greek word for milk.
  10. Maine is the only state whose name is just one syllable.
  11. The female name Vanessa is Greek for butterfly.
  12. Aibohphobia is the term for the fear of palindromes - a word that is spelled the same way forward and backward. Go ahead, spell it backwards.
  13. To foreign audiences, the title of the movie There's Something About Mary proved mystifying. So, country by country, the movie was renamed. In Poland, where blonde jokes are popular, the title became For the Love of a Blonde. In France, it was Mary at all Costs. In Thailand, it was My True Love Will Outstand all Outrageous Events.

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