Archive for the ‘word play’ Tag

10/31/2022 Word Play   Leave a comment

Languages are interesting. Many books have been written about the use of words, but it seems they appeal to only a small portion of the population. I love learning new words and their odd uses, it’s fun! Let’s get started on some fun for you on this fine Monday morning.

  • Check out these three sentences:

A mad boxer shot a quick, gloved jab to the jaw of his dizzy opponent.

Five or six big jet planes zoomed quickly by the tower.

Now is the time for all quick brown dogs to jump over the lazy lynx.

They each use every letter in the alphabet.

  • The 1939 novel, Gadsby, doesn’t contain a single word with the letter “e”. That quite some accomplishment in a fifty-thousand-word book.
  • The longest palindrome in the Oxford English Dictionary is “tattarrattat”. Coined by James Joyce in his book, Ulysses, as a knock at the door.
  • The word “honorificabilitudinitatibus” at 27 letters is the longest word to appear in a work by Shakespeare from Love’s Labor Lost.
  • The longest palindrome in any language is “saippuakivikakuppias”. It’s 19 letters long and means “soap seller” in Finnish.
  • Poets love to rhyme words but in some cases it’s very difficult or just plain impossible. No words rhyme with orange., silver, elbow, galaxy, and rhythm. The words wasp, purple, and month are also very hard to rhyme.
  • Here are a few more very cool palindromes:

A man, a plan, a cat, a ham, a yak, a yam, a hat, a canal. Panama

Madam, in Eden I’m Adam

Was it a bar or a bat I saw.

THERE’S YOUR ENGLISH LESSON FOR THE WEEK

06/19/2022 “Malaprops”   1 comment

I’m sure some of you know the definition of a malaprop. If not, here it is. A malaprop is the mistaken use of a word in place of a similar sounding one, often with unintentional amusing effect. I really didn’t know the definition or the word myself but while posting yesterday I noticed two entries that amused me. After digging around in my books I discovered the term malaprop and a number of examples I thought you might find interesting and hopefully amusing. Here they are . . .

  • Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address while traveling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope.
  • Although the patient had never been fatally ill before, he woke up dead.
  • William Tell shot an arrow through an apple while standing on his son’s head.
  • The book was so exciting I couldn’t finish it until I put it down.
  • The difference between a king and a president is that king is the son of his father and a president isn’t.
  • The four seasons are salt, pepper, mustard, and vinegar.
  • The Magna Carta provided that no freemen should be hanged twice for the same offense.
  • Most of the houses in France are made of plaster of Paris.
  • The spinal column is a long bunch of bones. Your head sits on the top, and you sit on the bottom.
  • He saw three other people in the restaurant, and half of those were waiters.

Now you know what malaprops are. As I read them, I realized that I’ve seen samples of them many times before but never heard anyone use the term. I’m ambivalent about knowing it now and I’m almost sorry I made you aware of it. I may revisit this subject in the future or maybe not.

HAPPY MONDAY

05/07/2022 Word Play   Leave a comment

The title of the post tells you everything you need to know. I love wordplay, making puns, finding palindromes, and using words that are rarely heard anymore. Word play can be fun and here are a few fun facts for your files.

  • Do you know how to tell the difference between morons, imbeciles, and Idiots? Morons – IQ 51 to 70, Imbeciles – IQ 26 to 50, and Idiots – IQ 0-25.
  • The words tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, and hazardous are the only four words in the modern English language that end in “dous”.
  • There are no words that rhyme with orange.
  • If “off” means to deactivate, what happens when the alarm goes off?
  • Dr. Seuss is credited with the first use of the word “nerd” in print, from his 1950 book If I Ran the Zoo.
  • The word “Mountweazels” concerns spurious entries or fake words used to catch copyright cheaters.
  • The term “Tattarrattat” was coined by James Joyce in his novel Ulysses for a knock on the door. It also happens to be the longest palindrome in the Oxford English Dictionary.
  • “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep is sick” is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language.
  • These six words have no accepted singular forms. Pajamas, Shorts, Jeans, Tights, Trousers, and Glasses.
  • “Floccinaucinihilipilification” is the longest real word (29 letters) in the Oxford English Dictionary.

I’ll keep searching for more of these and as I find them, I’ll post them. Language can be fun in so many ways. How cool is it to use the language properly to insult some clueless person who insists on irritating you and them not realizing what you meant.

ONE OF LIFE’S GUILTY PLEASURES

11-12-2013 Acronyms Are Killing Me   2 comments

What possesses we humans with the need to continuously shorten our language.  LOL, OMG, and others were created primarily because of Twitter and other social networks. 140 characters leave very little space for actual coherent thoughts.  I’d like to take you back a few years to when this craziness really got rolling.  STAT and ASAP are two oldies I learned during hospital visits to see my mother at age 10 or 12 and here are a few more. 

The list is endless but this countries businesses are as responsible for many of the more ridiculous acronyms as anyone.  You have  KISS, UNIVAC, NABISCO, NECCO, WYSIWYG, and MS-DOS just to name a few.  Do you know what they all mean?  I’ll just bet you don’t.

Never let it be said that the government didn’t help the cause.  They’re the worst especially in the armed services.  DEFCON, NORAD, ZIP code, OSHA, NATO, RADAR, SCUBA, SCUD, WAC, AWOL, SAC, SEALS, and literally thousands of others. Anyone whose ever had the opportunity to speak to someone who works in the Pentagon needs an accomplished translator who is trained in Gov-Speak.  SALT, SNAFU, SONAR, AWACS, TNT, and the endless list continues.

You could work for HUD but not before they check your SSN, DOB, and GPA.  On your off time you could join NOW, UNESCO, UNICEF, or get bogged down with other WOMBAT stuff.

Take a flight, OVER, OUT,  ROGER, and WILCO.  Get sick and be subjected to an MRI or EKG. You could end up in the ER or ICU for more serious matters.

You can make yourself crazy just trying to keep up with the ever changing acronyms.  I guess this society is in such a hurry to do everything we don’t have time to say any more complete words than necessary. Before you know it we won’t have a language anymore, we’ll just communicate with nothing but acronyms.  That will be a very sad day. George Orwell was a few years behind the times in many of his predictions in 1984 but some still ring true today.

Here are a few more for your edification:  DNA, RNA, DOA, ETA, EST, INTERPOL, NIMBY, NASA, SONAR, TASER, LASER, and even CANOLA oil.  TV, DVD, DOA, and OMFG.  I’ve got to stop this foolishness immediately, it’s making me crazier than usual. I’ll be happy to supply a list tomorrow of the acronyms used in this posting and we’ll see just how many you know or think you know.

06-11-2013   2 comments

I’m a huge fan of the English language and I can honestly say I’m as surprised as anyone that I would or could ever say that and mean it.  In high school and college I avoided English courses of any kind  when possible.  As the years passed I gained a real appreciation and love for the language and it’s many humorous uses.

I learned along the way that some people’s sense of humor was instrumental in how they named their children, their businesses, and even their pets.  At times I really wondered what was going through the minds of parents who stuck their children with names that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.  Was it just humor or were they intentionally being  mean and nasty?  Here are a few paragraphs of actual names of actual people who probably aren’t all that happy with their parent’s choices.  As you’ll notice there are even a few celebrities included.

Al Dente, Anita Bath, Anne Teek, Armand Hammer, Art Major, Bud Light, Dick Head, Dick Trickle, Donald Duck, Frank Enstein, Gene Poole, Harry Sachs, Jim Shorts, Justin Case, Lewis N. Clark, Marshall Law, Mike Hunt, Mike Rotch, Myles Long, Olive Branch, Paige Turner, Peg Legge, and Polly Ester.

You just can’t make this stuff up.  If I was saddled with any of these names I would have never forgiven my parents.  Let’s continue with a few more.

Ray Gunn, Rick Shaw, Rip Torn, Rod N. Reel, Sal Minella, Seymour Bush, Shanda Lear, Sue Flay, Tanya Hyde, Tess Steckle, Virginia Breach, Wanda Hickey, Warren Peace, Will Power, Will Wynn, Willie Leak, and Willie Stroker.

As bad as some of these names are many people when starting a business do everything in their power to give it a name that will catch the attention of possible new customers.  Here are a few names of drinking establishments that will do just that  and no I haven’t visited them all.

The Ram Inn, The Happy Medium, Drunken Duck, The Elusive Camel, The Hung Drawn And Quartered, Spread Eagle, Dirty Dick’s, and Filthy Mc Nasty’s.

There is no end to the games that can be played with the English language and of course why would I not mention the ability of some of our illustrious strippers who use names that might just increase interest in their many and abundant assets.

Dixie Normas, July Raine, Skyy Bleu, Dalas Star, Mercedes Dawn, Lexus Paige, Shy Lynne, Stormy Wave, Stormy Weather, Candy Bar, Candy Kane, Alotta Fagina, Caramel DDelight, Rosy Hips, Venus Fly Trap, Cin DD, Candy Cox, and Bambi Thumper.

I don’t want you readers to think for a minute that I know theses stripper names from personal experience.  If I really visited those kinds of establishments I probably wouldn’t live long enough to enjoy them.  My better-half may not be the best shot in Maine but what she lacks in accuracy she makes up in the large amount of ammo she has available. 

Just saying. 

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