My Wednesday posts are devoted to all things wordy - grammar, etymology, writing, the works.
If it involves language, I'll be talking about it here.
Read up on these extraordinary English words and you'll be ready for any trivia game or cocktail party you might encounter.
Words Without Vowels
- The longest word without vowels in common use is rhythms (in the singular, there are four, six-letter words without vowels: rhythm, spryly, sylphy and syzygy.)
- The longest word without vowels in Modern English is symphysy, a 17th century word meaning "the fusion of two bodies."
- The longest archaic word without vowels is twyndyllyngs, meaning "twins."
- The longest word without vowels or y is tsk-tsks.
Words Without Consonants
- The longest word without consonants is euouae, meaning "a musical cadence," and, if you include hyphenated words, aye-aye, a type of lemur.
Words Containing the Five Vowels, in Order
- Abstemious - "indulging only moderately in food and drink"
- Facetious - "treating serious issues with inappropriate humour"
- The longest technical word in use is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, which is a lung disease.
- The longest non-technical word in major dictionaries is floccinaucinihilipilification, which means "the act of estimating something as worthless."
- A computer study of over a million samples of normal English prose found that the longest word one is likely to encounter on an everyday basis is uncharacteristically, at 20 letters.
A Sampling of Words Added to the Oxford English Dictionary this year
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