What is a Grammagram?

atkins bookshelf wordsThe word grammagram, coined by lexicologist Richard Lederer, is a word or phrase that is expressed phonetically as a sequence of letters or numbers. (A related term is rebus, a word that is represented by letters, numbers, and drawings or pictograms. So in a sense, a grammagram is a letter rebus.) For example, XS is a grammagram of the word “excess;” 4C is a grammagram of the word “foresee.” Grammagrams are often used in vanity car license plates (eg, 4U2NV = “for you to envy”) and form the basis of many textese words (eg, B4=”before”, BCNU=”be seeing you”, CUL8R=”see you later”). Below is a list of some common grammagrams.

LI: ally

NMNE: anemone

RKDN: arcadian

CD: seedy

DK: decay

DVS: devious

NME: enemy

NVS: envious

NV: envy

SKP: escapee

XL: excel

XS: excess

XCLNC: excellency

XPDNC: expediency

EZ: easy

IOU: I owe you

ODS: odious

OPM: opium

TP: tepee

TDS: tedious

B4: before

B9: benign

4A: foray

6T: sixty



Read related posts: What is the Longest Word in English Language?
Word Oddities: Fun with Vowels

What is an Abecedarian Insult?
Difficult Tongue Twisters
Rare Anatomy Words
What Rhymes with Orange?
What is the Longest English Word Without Repeating Letters?

For further reading: Making the Alphabet Dance by Ross Eckler (1996)
Crazy English by Richard Lederer (1989)


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