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Unusual words, etc.

Word(s)/Phrase Explanation
Abracadabra This word was originally intended for the specific purpose of curing hay fever.
Angry and hungry are the only two words that end in "gry".
Abstemious and facetious The only 2 words in the English language with all the vowels in the correct order
Buckfastleigh The Longest English Placename that is spelled without repeating letters
Coin a phrase This phrase came about in the early days of printing. After a phrase was made out of lead typeface, the phrase was "coined". This is a variation of Quoin, meaning a wedge, which was used to hold type in place.
Cushion and fashion The only 2 words in the English language ending in "shion"
Curfew This originates from the days when a law was in existence ordering people to cover their fires at night.
Denim The fabric originally came from Nimes, in France. (de Nimes)
Dreamt and undreamt The only 2 words in the English language ending in "mt"
Dumbell, a piece of apparatus for exercising. This came about because exercising was started by bellringing. Those who could not attend church could use a piece of equipment substituting lead weights for the bells, thus making them 'silent' (ie, dumb) bells.
E=mc2 The most famous equation in the world, discovered by Albert Einstein in 1905.
The E stands for Energy, discoverd my Michael Faraday in the early 1800s.
The m stands for mass, discovered by Antoine Lavoisier who, in the late 1700s, found matter to be transformable between gas, liquid and solid.
The c stands for Celeritas, which is Latin for speed (of light), 2.998*1010cm per second (about 670 million miles per hour), first computed in mid 1800s by Michael Faraday.
2 stands for squared and was first used in the mid 1700s by Emilie du Chatelet, although it took 100 years for it to be accepted as a link between Mass and Energy.
Einstein devised the formula following the efforts of the pioneers in their fields.
Influenza This illness got it's name because people thought it was caused by the evil influence of the stars.
Jiffy is a mearurement of time with different definitions depending on use.
Lollipop is the longest word that is typed with only the right hand.
Lunch or Luncheon Luncheon is a corruption of Nuncheon, a portion of food (usually bread or cheese) eaten at noon. Lunch (or Nunch) is the shortened version.
Moment According to an old English system of time units, this is defined as one and a half minutes.
Morology The technical term for the study of stupidity
P's and Q's This phrase was supposedly started in the early days of "mirror" printing. It refers to lowercase p and q which were very easily to mix up. Hence "mind your p's and q's".
Posh This word is thought to have originated in the 18th century when travellers by sea to India who could afford it booked the more expensive shady side of the ship for the journey - "Port Out, Starboard Home" was the expression used, hence abbreviated to POSH
Queueing The word containing the most consecutive vowels (5) in the English language.
School This word is derived from the Greek for leisure!
Screeched The longest one-syllable word in the English language.
Stewardesses is the longest word that is typed with only the left hand.
Testimony, testify, testament Words derived from the Ancient Roman practice of a man holding his testicles with his right hand while taking an oath.
If proved that his 'testimony' was incorrect he stood to lose them!
therein is the only seven letter word in the English language that contains ten words without rearranging any of its letters
therein, the, there, he, her, here, herein, ere, rein, in.
typewriter Longest English word you can type using only the top row of letters on an English keyboard
uncopyrightable The only 15 letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter
underground Is the only word in the English language that begins and ends with the letters "und."

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This page (unusual.html) was last modified on Sunday 27/01/2013