Archive for the ‘Wordiness’ Category

Quick! Start using these words before they are removed from the dictionary

Monday, October 6th, 2008

The Collins English Dictionary is planning to remove 24 words from their dictionary to “make room for up to 2,000 new entries”, according to Time Magazine’s website. I don’t know if they are removing them from an unabridged version or if perhaps they are cleaning up a pocket-sized dictionary. Removal from an unabridged dictionary seems inappropriate, even if they are extremely uncommon words. In any case, I vilipend the idea.

It also seems the new words are going to be quite short. Removing these 24 words is going to make room for 2,000 new ones.

Here are the words. You decide their fate. If you can use any of these in a sentence, maybe they can be revived.

For those of you who speak Spanish, can you spot the four words that are cognates of Spanish words commonly used today?

  • AbstergentCleansing.
  • AgresticRural.
  • ApodeicticUnquestionably true by virtue of demonstration.
  • CaducityPerishableness.
  • CaliginosityDimness.
  • CompossiblePossible in coexistence with something else.
  • EmbrangleTo confuse.
  • ExuviateTo shed.
  • FatidicalProphetic.
  • FubsySquat.
  • GriseousSomewhat grey.
  • MalisonA curse.
  • MansuetudeGentleness.
  • MuliebrityThe condition of being a woman.
  • NidderingCowardly.
  • NitidBright.
  • OlidFoul-smelling.
  • OppugnantCombative.
  • PeriaptAn amulet.
  • RecrementRefuse.
  • RoborantTending to fortify.
  • SkirrA whirring sound, as of the wings of birds in flight.
  • VaticinateProphesy.
  • VilipendTo treat with contempt.

Did you know any of those before reading the list?


Saturday, December 22nd, 2007

This post was supposed to have run yesterday, December 21, but I wasn't able to post it.

94 years ago today (Dec. 21), in 1913, Arthur Wynne published the first crossword puzzle, called the Word-Cross puzzle, in the New York World.

In remembrance of Mr. Wynne, and to get us into the Chistmas Spirit, I thought I'd give you all a Christmas themed crossword puzzle. The words are all in Spanish, with no accent marks. So enjoy this crucigrama navideño.



  1. una noche que no es mala
  2. uno de los tres regalos
  3. objeto redondo
  4. donde estás ahora
  5. día de regalos en algunos países
  6. quien cuida a las ovejas
  7. mensajero de Dios
  8. uno de los tres regalos
  9. quien nació
  10. un tipo de pan
  11. oveja
  12. árbol de hojas verdes


  1. muchas luces
  2. que se usa para adornar
  3. algo que te dan
  4. los parientes más cercanos
  5. ave que se come
  6. uno de los tres regalos
  7. mamá de Jesús
  8. planta supersticiosa
  9. canción navideña
  10. cobija blanca de la tierra
  11. día de regalos en algunos países
  12. la última noche del año
  13. primer día de enero
  14. pequeña cama
  15. trajeron regalos
  16. bebida caliente
  17. se le pone lucecitas
  18. papá de Jesús

What does Reventón Mean to You?

Monday, December 17th, 2007

2008 Lamborghini Reventón

In 2008 Lamborghini will offer a car called the Reventón to 20 people who can scrape together the million Euros to buy it.

The word reventón has various meanings for Spanish speakers, including party, explosion, burst, flat tire, and blowout. Lamborghini has also made cars called the Espada, Diablo, Murciélago, and Gallardo, but it’s not the only car manufacturer to use Spanish words to name cars.

Ford manufactured the Fiesta, Festiva, Pinto, Granada, Cortina, Sierra, and Bronco. Chevrolet sold the El Camino for a while. Dodge has the Durango, which is also the name of a Mexican state. Hyundai sells the Veracruz (another Mexican State), and the Santa Fe. In Toyota’s lineup are the Corona, Paseo, Premio, and Vista.

Do you know the meaning in Spanish of all the car models named above? Can you think of any more?

Picture credits: Tacoekkel and Zölle.

10 Palabras Contradictorias en Inglés

Friday, December 14th, 2007

Burning down or burning up?

Si pensabas que era fácil aprender inglés, toma nota de las siguientes palabras que, dependiendo del contexto, pueden tener significados que se contradicen entre si.

1. Bill – (a) billete, dinero en efectivo que tienes (b) una factura/nota, dinero que debes.

2. Against – (a) hacia, cerca de “against the wall”, “contra la pared” (b) que se opone “against the wind”, “contra el viento”.

3. Discursive – (a) pasando de tema en tema, sin orden (b) procediendo con mucha coherencia de un tema al que sigue.

4. Cleave – (a) separar “meat cleaver”, “cuchillo para partir carne” (b) mantenerse juntos, no separarse “to cleave to one another”, “no separarse”.

5. Before – (a) en el pasado “I did it before coming here”, “lo hice antes de venir aquí” (b) en el futuro “The future is before us”, “el futuro está ante nosotros”.

6. Blunt – (a) amellado, que no tiene filo (b) hablando de palabras, son palabras agudas que van directo al grano.

7. Either – (a) uno o el otro, “you can choose either of the options”, “puedes escojer uno de las dos opciones”. (b) ambos, los dos, “there are cars parked on either side of the street”, “hay coches estacionados en ambos lados de la calle”.

8. Fast – (a) rápido, algo que se mueve rápido (b) fijado, amarrado firmemente, que no se va a mover.

9. Buckle – (a) asegurar “to buckle your seatbelt”, “abrochar el cinturón de seguridad” (b) vencerse, caerse, desplomarse “the bridge buckled”, “el puente se desplomó”.

10. Oversight – (a) cuando le das atención a un asunto: supervisión, vigilancia (b) cuando no le das atención a un asunto: descuido, equivocación, inadvertencia

¿No te encanta este idioma donde your house can burn down while it’s burning up, your alarm clock comes on when it goes off, and when you fill out a form, you’re actually filling it in?

¿Conoces más palabras contradictorias en inglés o español?

Photo credit: Krawiec. Used under a Creative Commons license.

W00t! Merriam Webster’s Word of the Year is Out

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

The English language is expanding and Merriam Webster tries to make that expansion official. The results are in and w00t is the new 2007 word of the year. It’s a combination of letters and numbers and is used to express joy after winning or for no reason at all. The word is part of what is know as l33t or leetspeak (l33t => leet => elite) used among gamers and computer nerds. W00t was originally an acronym for we owned the other team, and can alternatively be spelled woot. There’s even a website that spreads the joy by offering a speacial deal every day, and when it’s sold out, it’s gone.

Here are Merriam Webster’s top 10 words for 2007 (some new, some old):

1. w00t – expressing joy (it could be after a triumph, or for no reason at all); similar in use to the word “yay”

2. facebook – to use

3. conundrum – a difficult problem, question or riddle that has a conjectural answer, or the answer involves a pun.

4. quixotic – foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals.

5. blamestorm – a meeting or gathering whose purpose is to pass or assign blame to someone.

6. sardoodledom – mechanically contrived plot structure and stereotyped or unrealistic characterization in drama.

7. apathetic – having or showing little or no interest, concern, emotion or feeling.

8. Pecksniffian – unctuously hypocritical.

9. hypocrite – acting in a contradictory fashion to your stated beliefs and feelings.

10. charlatan – someone who makes showy pretenses to knowledge or ability.