Interesting Words — a Collection.

I’m seeking to collect a select and judicious set of words that are (American) English, but meet these requirements:

  1. A word that people think means one thing, but it’s actually the opposite (e.g. nonplussed)

  2. Commonly misunderstood words.

  3. Weird or just plain interesting words. You might not use them in conversation (or might), but they’re compelling or have a uniqueness about them.

  4. Some other 4th thing.

Basically, a selection of words that would make for a compelling collection. Hit me with your favorites (and if you want, why they’re your favorite); I’m thinking of designing a coffee-table type book of 100 words or so, but just want to see what’s out there to mine.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Not to threadshit or anything, but aren’t there a billion threads on this already in the archives?

Perhaps? I’d like to focus this thread on very particular words that people find interesting, and more importantly why.

I know there are a lot of word/language lovers here, so I thought a new thread will help me steer this into part interesting discussion and part research (on top of what’s already in the SD archives).

Futility Closet is a good place for this.

The link takes you to posts tagged ‘Language’; scroll through for posts with the heading ‘In A Word’.

Hey, thanks, postcards!

Any of a group of words which although they purport to represent a distinct time period - may mean an almost opposite time-period, and are therefore guarnteeed to cause difficulties. Bi-weekly (twice per week or every two?) that sort of thing.

My favorite is inflammable which spawned the word flammable, which means the same thing but had to be created because people misconstrued the original word.

(A cite in case you need it.)

My favorite word is hurple

And when I hurple
My lips turn purple.

Perfect. Great example, and falls under my “Some other 4th thing” category. I can’t imagine this aspect of our language would’ve surfaced. Thank you.

Again, just the sort of thing I was looking for. Also, the particular etymology is wonderful for these two words. 1) You would assume “flammable” came first. 2) The idea that inflammable means “fire-proof” is further strengthened by the word “flammable”.

Keep 'em coming! :wink:

That is good. I’ve never even heard it before. Sounds like a fake word, and it’s good to know that something does rhyme with purple.

I got it from The Word Museum, a fabulous collection of forgotton words.

Orange you thinking of a different color? :cool:

Beijing has three consecutive dotted letters
Ujiji (in Tanzania) has four
Pijijiapan (in Mexico) has five
From an earlier thread

Thanks, Annie, I shall take a look. :slight_smile:

Excellent. Reminds me of words like Sequoia which hold all 5 vowels. That one’s pretty common knowledge, but I wonder if there’s more words along such lines.

I knew “orange” doesn’t have a true word that rhymes with it (although door hinge is close, it’s technically not one word), I’ve heard nothing rhymes with “purple” as well, but never really looked into it.

ETA: The pun, she burns us! :wink:

Although not in common use, eunoia has only six letters, while Iouea contains nothing but vowels.

I swear, I’ve seen a word or two that have all the vowels in order (although not consecutive, there are consonants mixed in). How would one go about searching for something like that?

Aha! I googled for words with all five vowels (duh!) and found this – There are lots of them! (Apparently google answers attracts a better class of correspondents than yahoo answers!)

ETA: As you can see, the key to the existence of so many such words lies in suffixes (suffices?) of -ious and even -iously

Word with three consecutive pairs of double letters:

bookkeeper. (Runner-up: beekeeper. Close, but no cciggarr.)

I recently quipped about “gruntled” and got a response from someone with a lot of words like that. Very peccable. In searching SDMB to cite that, I found this thread instead, devoted to that topic: “Never or rarely seen ‘root’ words”

Don’t forget imflammable as well. Just to confuse you.

Some interesting words here: A Collection of Word Oddities and Trivia

My contribution to this thread:
I found this word in Of Human Bondage by Somerset Maugham and at first thought it was a misprint.
“yclept”, meaning “named”. Merriam-Webster says that yclept is the past participle of the transitive verb “clepe”.

e.g. The poster yclept cmyk is a fine upstanding fellow.