I’m watching the film *Young Mr. Lincoln *(1939), and due to my cataracts I thought the screenplay was written by “Lamar Trottt.” After moving closer to the tv, I realized that the man’s name was Trotti.
But now I’m wondering: Are there any English-language words, aside from proper nouns, that contain an uninterrupted triple letter? (not counting words in which the 3 consonants are separated by anything, like “shell-like.”)
I thought for sure that I had once seen Cecil use the word “pompeiiify” (or maybe “pompeiiize”) in one of his articles, but I’m not finding it now. Although the Englishitude of that word might be debatable.
That’s what the hyphen in words such as “shell-like” is for: to break up what would otherwise be one letter written thrice. If you count these, there are lots: “full-length,” “well-liked,” and every “—ll-like.” Also “bee-eater,” “free-electron [laser]” and “cross-stitch,” “cross-section,” “process-server,” “buff-fronted [owl],” “egg-glass,” etc. All compounds, but all English words by a reasonable definition. I went to onelook.com and typed in XX-X where * is the wildcard character and X is a random letter. It’s fun.
The wikipedia list linked above, on the other hand, is stupid. Among other flaws, the Welsh place name at the bottom contains -LLLL-, which is (in Welsh) only two letters: LL (a voiceless lateral fricative) twice. Does borrowing another language’s spelling automatically re-parse the number of letters?
Actually, now that I look more closely at the list and your post, I don’t think that should count. Not so much because of the letter thing, but because it’s not what I would consider an English word, being a Welsh place name, and all.
The why is irrelevant*; Welsh counts “ch,” “th,” and “ll” as single letters, English doesn’t. It’s two keyboard strokes each in either case. I think you’re right, though. Spanish counts “ll” as a single letter, too, but when I write “tortilla” in English I consider it eight letters.
*ETA: the second why in your quote, not the first one.
My copy of Pears Word Games by Peter Newby (a noted wordsmith and Scrabble player, I believe) thinks that “seeer” is a word. But I’m not finding a cite for it on-line. I seem to recall that it is supposed to mean “one who sees”, where “sees” has the literal definition of visual perception, as opposed to “seer” which implies some kind of psychic. But perhaps that should really be hyphenated. Anyone with a (full-size) OED care to check it out?
Jeff Miller maintains the website “A collection of word oddities and trivia,” which is my go-to place for questions like this. See this page (scroll down to the triple and quadruple letters sections). Lots of foreign words and foreign place names and a few rare English words like weeest (most wee) and frillless (without a frill).