Word Oddities

alex atkins bookshelf wordsWith more than a million words, the English language is full of fascinating oddities — words that have truly unique characteristics. Below is a list of some of the fascinating word oddities lurking in your English dictionary:

SWIMS is the longest word that reads the same way right-side up and upside down.

Princes is the only plural word that can be turned into a singular word by adding an “s.” Princes becomes princess. 

There is only one common word that has five vowels in a row: queueing

There is only one common word that has three dotted letters in a row: hijinks

The only word that has three consecutive doubled letters: bookkeeper

Words that are pronounced exactly the same but do not share any letters: ewe, you; eye, I; ox, auks; oh/eau (as in “eau de cologne”)

The only words that begin and end with “und”: underground and underfund

The only words the end in “gry”: angry and hungry

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Read related posts: Rare Anatomy Words
Words Oddities: Fun with Vowels
What Rhymes with Orange

Rare Anatomy Words

Kim Kardashian’s ubiquitous presence in the world has created two entrenched camps: the loyal fans that love her and the growing legion of critics that lampoon her (not to mention an industry that has developed around her — reality shows, tabloids, paparazzi, endorsement deals, etc.) Following in the footsteps of Heidi Montag (despite being attractive at the age of 23, Montag underwent 10 plastic-surgery procedures in one day), Kim Kardashian stepped into the limelight in late 2012, after “having some work done” — providing fresh fodder for the media, and encouraging concerned discussions about narcissism and body dysmorphia. In the spirit of Senator James Watson’s famous line “If you can’t lick em, join em!” logophiles should not miss an opportunity for a teachable moment — dusting off some very rare, but colorful, anatomical words that might describe the always entertaining bathycolpous reality star as well as other people in the limelight:

Bathycolpous: having large breasts
Bathycolpian: having large breasts or deep cleavage
Bourdonnement: the sloshing, gurgling sound that breast implants make during their break-in period
Callipygian: having beautiful buttocks
Kakopyge: having ugly buttocks
Daspygal: having hairy buttocks
Hermipygic: possessing only one buttock
Steatopygic: having extreme accumulation of fat on the buttocks
Amphirhine: having two nostrils
Zygomatic bone: the cheekbone
Gonion: the points on each side of the jaw as it turns up toward the ears
Vermilion Border: where the skin meets the lips
Cupid’s Bow: the slight dip in the middle of the upper lip
Stomion: the middle of the mouth, where the two lips meet
Canthus: the place where the upper and lower eyelid come together
Retrousee: a turned up nose
Philtrum: the depression below the nose running to the top of the mouth
Nasion: the point where the bridge of the nose meets the forehead
Mentolabial Sulcus: the slight depression below the lower lip and chin
Leptorrhine: having a long narrow nose
Gnathion: the  lowest point on the chin

Read related posts: How Long Does it Take to Read a Million Words?
How Many Words in the English Language?
How Many Words Does the Average Person Speak in a Lifetime?

Word Oddities: Fun with Vowels
What Rhymes with Orange
Obscure Scrabble Words

For further reading: Carnal Knowledge: A Navel Gazer’s Dictionary of Anatomy, Etymology and Trivia by Charles Hodgson, St. Martin’s Griffen (2007); The Logodaedalian’s Dictionary of Interesting and Unusual Words by George Saussy, University of Southern Caroline Press (1989).
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/14/heidi-montags-10-plastic_n_423855.html. http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20336472,00.html