Words that seem meant for only one other word

Is there any kind of maw other than a ‘gaping’ one?

Are there ides any time other than in ‘March’?

Anything else done in lock-step other than ‘walking’?
Not the end of the world if there’s no bolding/quotes.

Is there a vim without verve, or a verve without vim?

Who ever heard of a cranny without a nook?

Uh, yes. It’s the dating system used by the Romans. There was an Ides in every month.

*Ensues *is a double one. Panic ensues. Hilarity ensues. Almost nothing else does.


Is there ever a kith without a kin?

Is jetsam ever not accompanied by flotsam?

Personally, I only ever see “vim” with “vigor”.

Or with “emacs”, “pico”, or “ed”, but that’s different.

But to continue the game, is there ever havoc without it being cried?

Sometimes havoc gets wreaked.

If they save the ship from sinking, yes.


To paraphrase George Carlin on the phrase “odds and ends”: Say you have 24 odds and ends on a table. You take 23 of them off. What do you have left, an odd or an end?

Is anything ever unmitigated except gall?

(Well, I guess “unmitigated disaster” is pretty common too)

Can anything be described as “fell” besides a “swoop”? And why can there only be one?

It’s a direct quote from Shakespeare, specifically Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 3:

Macduff (after learning that his wife and children have been murdered):

He has no children. All my pretty ones?
Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
At one fell swoop?

Lockstep is derived from walking, but is used metaphorically all the time:

“They raised prices in lockstep with those of foreign competitors.”
“The lockstep Congressional Republican defense of President Donald Trump…”
“Amazon’s shipping and logistics spend remains in lockstep with expectations.”

Any kind of gaggle other than the one for “geese”?

Only collective noun I could find, for this.

Reporters gathering around a politician is sometimes called a “press gaggle”.

Do bagatelles come in forms other than “mere”?

Disaster is the most common noun form collocated with unmitigated as an attributive adjective. Gall is #2, success is #3, failure is #4, and joy is #5.

The OP is looking for exclusive collocations, and in fact, much of language is collocative to various degrees. Unmitigated is somewhat collocative, but not exclusively, as the OP is asking. Some words are highly collocative, such as auspicious (event, moment, occasion).

Many noun forms are highly exclusive in the verbs that will take them as objects. What verbs do we use with suicide, meaning to actually take one’s life? You can’t:

*do suicide
*make suicide
*undertake suicide

What the OP is addressing is probably a lot more common than most people realize.

In linguistics this kind of pair is called a binomial. Some binomials are “irreversible,” in that they are virtually always used with one of the terms first. For example, if someone were to say, *ends and odds, (instead of odds and ends), they might not even be understood. Others may occur reversed to an extent (toss and turn / turn and toss.)

Many binomials are “echoic,” such as cease and desist, which are synonymous, and function as a kind of intensifier. Many are words that rarely occur without the other, such as the OP is calling for. Vim actually occurs more frequently as vim and vigor than vim and verve. In 2006, Time magazine wrote that George W. Bush was “selling himself with with more vim and certitude than at any other time since he was re-elected 15 months ago.” On the today show, Matt Lauer said to Al Roker: “You’re full of you-know-what,” to which Roker answered, “Vim.”

All the welkin ever does is ring, and I’ve never seen a petard that didn’t have someone hoisted on it.

Can you hunker anywhere but down?

“Petards” don’t have anyone hoisted on them – they’re bombs, and (again with the Shakespeare quote) you can be “hoisted” – old usage of that word meaning thrown in the air – by them. I suspect this one is just an obsolete word preserved by a single quotation, not a true binomial. Or are all binomials relics of nearly-obsolete words like that?