Saturday, May 31, 2008

Longest one-syllable word

I had always heard that "strengths" was the longest one-syllable word in English, with 9 syllables. The other day, I noticed that "straights" also has 9 letters. I wasn't sure if that was a word, but if "gays" is, and if "marrieds" is (I hate that word, definitely a pet peeve of mine), then "straights" should be. A quick google search confirmed that "straights" is indeed a word in semi-popular use, but it also turned up a whole bunch of other one-syllable, 9-letter words, and of course Wikipedia takes the cake with the most comprehensive discussion of the topic, replete with some possible 10- and 11-letterers. Who knew? Also, random question: what are your favorite bits of English word trivia? Or am I the only nerd in that regard?

p.s. I love the Wikipedia "list" articles. They just make me laugh.

1 comment:

  1. Favorite piece of English trivia:

    What words each have two definitions, those definitions being opposite of each other?

    I hope that made sense. I'll just tell you.

    There are two of them.

    The first one:
    Fast, as in to not move at all, or hold fast.
    Fast, as in to move with great speed, i.e. let's get out of here fast!
    The second example:
    Cleave, as in hold to something, a man should cleave to his wife.
    Cleave, as in seperate, like to cleave asunder.

    Cool, right? Those are the only two I know, if you can think of more, let me know.

    An Anecdote:
    An English teacher is expounding the nature of the double negative. "In English, using two negatives in reference to the same thing yields a positive. 'I didn't not go there' means you did go there. In some languages, like Russian, this isn't the case. Two or more negatives often still yeild a negative. But in no language do two positives yield a negative."

    From the back of the room, a student interjects, "Ya, right."