October 14, 2003

Word Oddities

If you have time to burn. And if you are so inclined.
And if knowing that

Dord is a non-existent word entered into the second edition of Webster’s New International Dictionary by mistake,” (It was supposed to be D or d!)

or that “IrReSPONSiBILiTiEs is the longest word that can be spelt entirely using chemical symbols without reusing any element,”

makes you happy.

Well then, this is your lucky day.

Posted by Karen at October 14, 2003 02:05 PM in writing

Ir - iridium
Re - rhenium
S - sulphur
P - phosphorus
O - oxygen
N - nitrogen
Si - silicon
Bi - bismuth
Li - lithium
Ti - titanium
Es - einsteinium

From Kim, clearly the brainy one here, but won’t post a comment if her life depended on it. :)

By the way, what is Einsteinium? What properties does it have? Is it a messy- white-haired atom?

Posted by: Karen at October 15, 2003 01:18 PM

Very intersting read, karen. I especially liked this little excerpt:

EARTHLING is first found in print in 1593. Other surprisingly old words are SPACESHIP (1894), ACID RAIN (1858), ANTACID (1753), HAIRDRESSER (1771), MOLE (in connection with espionage, 1622, by Sir Francis Bacon), FUNK (a strong smell, 1623; a state of panic, 1743), MILKY WAY (ca. 1384, but earlier in Latin) and MS. (used instead of Miss or Mrs., 1949). An earlier use of Ms. is on a 1767 tombstone in Plymouth, Massachusetts: “HERE LIES INTERRD [sic] THE BODY OF MS. SARAH SPOONER.” However, it is considered a likely mistake by the engraver of the tombstone. A 2002 New York Times article points out that John A. Murphy is credited with a 1972 marketing masterstroke with “Lite, a fine Pilsner beer,” but that the OED shows a use of leoht beor in about the year 1000 [Charles Turner, William Safire in Take My Word For It].

Posted by: elijah at October 15, 2003 07:09 PM

There’s a nice little riddle in that article:

There are two words that end with �gry�.
Angry is one and hungry is another.
What is the third word.
Everyone uses it every day and
Everyone knows what it means.
If you have been listening,
I have already told you what the word is.

What is the answer? Anyone?

Posted by: elijah at October 15, 2003 07:28 PM

Someone told me that riddle when i was 12.

Answer is “language”.

BTW, according to Oxford Dictionary, there are 3 other words ending with -gry:

aggry: a glass bead found buried in the earth in Ghana.

puggry: a light scarf wound around a hat or helmet to protect the head from the sun, and

meagry: of meager appearance.

Posted by: jimmy at October 15, 2003 11:15 PM

Sorry, didnt read your version of the riddle properly.

The riddle I know goes “There are 3 words in the English Language …” etc

Answer to your riddle should be “what”, since there isnt a question mark after all!

Posted by: jimmy at October 15, 2003 11:20 PM

Actually, I completely don’t get the riddle.
So “what” is the third word. Third word that what???
Doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, according to Quinon, there are a few more gry words, all obsolete.

Now we sound like a bunch of smarty-pants. I luuurve it!

Posted by: Karen at October 15, 2003 11:30 PM

turns out that only two words are “official”. the rest, like aggry actually doesn’t appear as a single word in most dictionaries. instead it appears as “aggry beads” and is taken as a single entity.

but you’re right on all counts jimmy.

the answer is what. and the answer for the other riddle is language cos it is the third word. but there’s another variation to the riddle. i hope i can find it.

Posted by: Elijah at October 16, 2003 02:26 PM

More oddities via Robot Johnny, which is run by John Martz, who gave us Girls are Weird.

Posted by: Karen at December 2, 2003 08:42 AM

This woodgey link is simply too yummy.

Posted by: Karen at December 9, 2003 10:56 AM

One word is all I need.

Posted by: Karen at December 28, 2003 03:25 AM

ASPHODEL is listed as the most beautiful word, but I think its sounds horrible, maybe I’m pronoucing it wrong :)

Posted by: Riddle Man at March 8, 2004 01:23 PM

“Asphodel” reeks. Something like “Tegucigalpa” is much better.


Posted by: Hrant at March 9, 2004 01:03 AM

How do you pronounce that? What does it mean?

Posted by: Karen at March 9, 2004 01:08 AM

It’s the capital of Honduras. Pronounce it normally, but mind that the “c” is an “s”, not a “tch”.


Posted by: Hrant at March 9, 2004 02:08 AM

More unusual words via I like.

Posted by: Karen at April 19, 2004 06:54 PM


Posted by: Karen at May 2, 2004 01:52 AM

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