Fascinating facts about words


Well, sort of interesting at the start but by the end you'd have lost the will to live. Still, if you want to write a quiz where no-one in the pub scores a single point, this is the place to start. 

Palindromes to follow if you're not careful.  Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?

Longest Words

Cabbaged and fabaceae, each eight letters long, are the longest words that can be played on a musical instrument. Seven letter words with this property include acceded, baggage, bedface, cabbage, defaced, and effaced.

Aegilops, eight letters long, is the longest word whose letters are arranged in alphabetical order. Seven letter words with this property include beefily and billowy. Six letter words include abhors, accent, access, almost, biopsy, bijoux, billow, chintz, effort, and ghosty.

Spoonfeed, nine letters long, is the longest word whose letters are arranged in reverse alphabetical order. Trollied is an eight letter word with this property. Seven letter words with this property include sponged and wronged.

Cimicic and Cimicid, each seven letters long, are the longest words that are exclusively made up of Roman Numerals.

Nonsupports, eleven letters long, is the longest word in the English language made up of only letters in the second half of the alphabet. Ten letter words include prosupport, soupspoons, and zoosporous.

Overnumerousnesses, eighteen letters long, is the longest English word that consists of only letters that lack ascenders, descenders, and dots in lower case. Overnervousnesses is seventeen letters. Sixteen letter words with this property include curvaceousnesses and overnumerousness. Fifteen letter words with this property include erroneousnesses, nonconcurrences, overnervousness, and verrucosenesses.

Lighttight and lillypilly, each ten letters long, are the longest English words consisting only of letters with ascenders, descenders, or dots in lower case.

Tittifill, nine letters long, is the longest English word consisting only of letters with ascenders or dots in lower case. Eight letter words with this property include libidibi and tikitiki.

The only English words that consist entirely of letters with descenders in lower case are gyp and gyppy.

Honorificabilitudinitatibus, 27 letters long, is the longest English word consisting strictly of alterating consonants and vowels. Eighteen letter words with this property include epicoracohumeraler and myelocytomatosises. A seventeen letter word with this property is hypovitaminosises. Sixteen letter words with this property include aluminosilicates, depolarizability, and supererogatorily. Fifteen letter words with this property include cytomegalovirus, heterozygosises, hexosaminidases, paramyxoviruses, pararosanilines, parasitological, tenosynovitides, tenosynovitises, unimaginatively, and verisimilitudes.

The Rot13 method of encrypting text is performed by rotating the alphabet by thirteen characters. Because there are 26 letters in the alphabet, the decryption process is the same as the encryption. The longest words to form other words when Rot13 encrypted are the seven letter words abjurer and nowhere, which become each other.

Letters

Dermatoglyphics, misconjugatedly, and uncopyrightable, each fifteen letters long, are the longest English words in which no letter appears more than once. Fourteen letter words with this property are ambidextrously, benzhydroxamic, hydromagnetics, hydropneumatic, pseudomythical, schizotrypanum, sulphogermanic, troublemakings, undiscoverably, and vesiculography.

Unprosperousness, sixteen letters long, is the longest word in which each letter occurs at least twice.

Esophagographers, sixteen letters long, is the longest English word in which each of its letters occurs twice. A fourteen word with this property is scintillescent. Twelve letter words with this property include happenchance and shanghaiings. Ten letter words with this property include arraigning, concisions, and horseshoer.

Sestettes is a word in which each of its letters occurs three times.

The word chincherinchee is the only known English word which has one letter occurring once, two letters occurring twice, and three letters occurring three times.

Ultrarevolutionaries is a word in which each of the five main vowels occurs twice.

Eunoia, six letters long, is the shortest word in the English language that contains all five main vowels. Seven letter words with this property include adoulie, douleia, eucosia, eulogia, eunomia, eutopia, miaoued, moineau, sequoia, and suoidea. (The scientific name iouea is a genus of Cretaceous fossil sponges.)

Caesious, eight letters long, is the shortest word in the English language that contains all five main vowels in alphabetical order. Nine letter words with this property are acheilous, acheirous, aerobious, arsenious, arterious, autecious, facetious, and parecious.

Suoidea, seven letters long, is the shortest word in the English language that contains all five main vowels in reverse alphabetical order. Other words with this property are scarce; they include the ten letter words duoliteral and unoriental, the fourteen letter word subcontinental, and the fifteen letter word uncomplimentary.

Twyndyllyngs, twelve letters long, is the longest word in the English language without any of the five main vowels. An eleven letter word with this property is the singular form, twyndyllyng. An eight letter word with this property is symphysy. Seven letter words with this property include gypsyfy, gypsyry, nymphly, and rhythms.

Strengths, nine letters long, is the longest word in the English language with only one vowel.

Defenselessnesses and strengthlessnesses, each seventeen letters long, are the longest words in the English language with only one repeated vowel. Fifteen letter words with this property are their singular forms. A fourteen letter word with this property is degenerescence. Thirteen letter words with this property are degenerescent, disinhibiting, effervescence, handcraftsman, kinnikinnicks, philistinisms, primitivistic, retelemetered, and whipstitching.

Euouae, six letters long, is the longest English word consisting only of vowels, and, also, the English word with the most consecutive vowels. Words with five consecutive vowels include cooeeing and queueing.

Archchronicler, catchphrase, eschscholtzia, latchstring, lengthsman, and postphthisic each have six consonants in a row. Borschts has six consonants in a row in just one syllable. Words with five consecutive consonants include angstrom, angsts, birthplace, dumbstruck, eighths, heartthrob, lengths, postscript, strengths, thumbscrew, twelfths, warmths, and witchcraft.

Hotshots consists of the same four letters repeated. There are other eight letter words with this property, but none are common: caracara, chowchow, couscous, froufrou, greegree, guitguit, kavakava, and lavalava.

Abcaree, Abchalazal, Abcoulomb, crabcake, and drabcloth are among the only words in the English language that contain "abc."

Hydroxyzine is the only word in the English language that contains "xyz."

The longest alphabetic sequences to appear in English words are mnop and rstu. Mnop appears in such words as gymnopaedic, gymnophiona, gymnoplast, limnophilous, prumnopitys, semnopithecus, somnopathy, and thamnophile. Rstu appears in such words as overstudy, overstuff, superstud, and understudy.

You and ewe are pronounced the same but share no letters in common. Eye and I is another such pair. Oh and eau is yet another.

Subbookkeeper is the only English word with four pairs of double letters in a row. Assessee and keelless are the shortest words with three pairs of double letters. Cooee is the shortest word with two double letters.

Typewriters

Aftercataracts and tesseradecades, each fourteen letters long, are the longest words that can be typed using only those letters normally typed with the left hand. Twelve letter words with this property include aftereffects, desegregated, desegregates, reasseverate, reverberated, reverberates, and stewardesses.

Johnny-jump-up and niminy-piminy, twelve letters long, are the longest words that can be typed using only those letters normally typed with the right hand. Eleven letter words with this property include hypolimnion and kinnikinnik. Nine letter words with this property include homophony, homophyly, monophony, nipponium, nonillion, pollinium, and polyonomy.

Leptothricosis and leucocytozoans, each fourteen letters long, are the longest English words that are normally typed using strictly alternating hands. Thirteen letter words with this property include antiendowment, antisudorific, autotoxicosis, dismantlement, leucocytozoan, and neurotoxicity. Twelve letter words with this property include authenticity and suspensorial.

Postmuscular, twelve letters long, is the longest English word that is normally typed by switching hands every two letters.

Pepperroot, pepperwort, pewterwort, pirouetter, prerequire, pretorture, proprietor, repertoire, repetitory, tetterwort, and typewriter, each ten letters long, are the longest English words that can be typed using only those letters in the top row of a typewriter.

Shakalshas, ten letters long, is the longest English word that can be typed using only those letters in the middle row of a typewriter. Nine letter words with this property include flagfalls, hadassahs, and haggadahs. Eight letter words with this property include alfalfas, galagala, galahads, and haskalah.

Deeded, hummum, muhuhu, and muumuu, each six letters long, are the longest English words that are normally typed with just one finger. Five letter words with this property include ceded, mummy, unnun, and yummy.

RinkWorks.com is typed by alternately moving left and right from key to key.

Symmetry

CHECKBOOK, nine letters long, is the longest word in the English language composed entirely of letters with horizontal symmetry in upper case. Eight letter words with this property include BEDECKED, BOOHOOED, CODEBOOK, COOKBOOK, DOBCHICK, EXCEEDED, HOODOOED, and KEBOBBED.

HOMOTAXIA, nine letters long, is the longest word in the English language composed entirely of letters with vertical symmetry in upper case. Eight letter words with this property include AUTOMATA, AUTOTOMY, MOTIVITY, MAHIMAHI, MATAMATA, MYXOMATA, and THATAWAY. Seven letter words with this property include AUTOMAT, MAMMOTH, MAXIMUM, TAXIWAY, WITHOUT, and the proper name TIMOTHY. Hyphenated terms with this property include HOITY-TOITY and MOUTH-TO-MOUTH.

HAH, HOH, HUH, MA'AM, MOM, OHO, TAT, TIT, TOT, TOOT, TUT, and WOW are several words which, when written in upper case letters, have vertical symmetry.

I, OHO, and IHI'IHI are the only words in the English language that, when written in upper case letters, have horizontal and vertical symmetry and consist entirely of letters that have both horizontal and vertical symmetry.

ZOONOSIS, eight letters long, is the longest word in the English language composed of letters with 180 degree rotational symmetry. Eight letter words with this property include SISSOOS and ZOOZOOS. Six letter words with this property include NINONS, ONIONS, and SOZINS.

MOW, SIS, and SWIMS, when written in upper case letters, have 180 degree rotational symmetry.

Anagrams

Conservationalists and conversationalists, each eighteen letters long, are the longest non-scientific English words that are anagrams of each other. Internationalism and interlaminations are sixteen letter anagrams of each other.

Basiparachromatin and marsipobranchiata, each seventeen letters long, are anagrams of each other that have no more than three consecutive letters in common. Thermonastically and hematocrystallin are sixteen letter anagrams of each other that have this same property.

Nitromagnesite and regimentations, each fourteen letters long, are anagrams of each other without any consecutive letters in common.

Interrogatives, reinvestigator, and tergiversation, each fourteen letters long, are the longest three non-scientific English words that are anagrams of each other. They have no more than three consecutive letters in common with each other.

Monday is the only day of the week that has an anagram, which is dynamo. March, April, and May are the only months of the year that have anagrams, which are charm, ripal, and yam.

Earth, having the anagrams hater and heart, and Mars, having the anagrams arms and rams, are the only planets with anagrams.

Contained Words

Thitherwards contains the most other English words spelled consecutively within it: a, ar, ard, ards, er, he, her, hi, hit, hithe, hither, hitherward, hitherwards, I, it, ither, the, thither, thitherward, wa, war, ward, and wards, totaling twenty-three words. Therein, seven letters long, contains twelve words: er, ere, he, her, here, herein, I, in, re, rein, the, and there.

Ushers contains the most personal pronouns spelled consecutively within it: he, her, hers, she, and us, totaling five pronouns.

Syllables

Scraunched and the archaic word strengthed, each ten letters long, are the longest English words that are only one syllable long. Nine letter monosyllabic words are scratched, screeched, scrounged, squelched, straights, and strengths.

Rugged is a two syllable word that can be made one syllable by adding letters to it to make shrugged. The two syllable word ague can be made one syllable by adding letters to make it vague or plague.

Are is a one syllable word that can be made into a three syllable word by adding just one letter to make area. Came, plus one letter, becomes the three syllable word cameo. Gape can become agape. Lien can become alien. Adding a letter to the middle of smile becomes the three syllable simile. Adding a letter in the middle of whine makes it wahine.

Iouea, five letters long, is the shortest four syllable English word. Oceania, oogonia, and oxyopia, each seven letters long, are the shortest five syllable English words.

Chasm, dirndl, massacring, rhythm, sarcasm, and vrbaite have more syllables than pronounced vowels. Contractions and words that end in ism and ithm also have this property. Proper names with this property include Edinburgh and Hamtramck.