1. What is unusual about the word SUBCONTINENTAL? (hint: it is one of four of it's kind in the English language and the answer is related to how the word is written)
2. In the famous sea shanty 'Drunken Sailor', the following line appears;
"Keelhaul him, keelhaul him, Early in the morning."
What does the word Keelhaul mean?
3. What is the Romanian word for 'Son of the devil' or 'Son of the dragon'?
4. What is unusual about the fifty-thousand word book entitled 'Gadsby', written by Ernest Vincent Wright in 1939?
5. There exists only one word in the English language that when it is capitalised, it has a completely different meaning. What is that word?
6. A statistical study of the most commonly misspelled words ocurring in Web-logs (blogs) performed by internet demi-god Google, has produced a list of 25 of the most frequently misspelled words online. Name five of them.
7. There are two words in English (which are not brand names which have been entered into the dictionary due to their common usage,) that have six letters but no vowels. One of the two words is syzygy which refers to the alignment of three celestial objects. What is the other six-letter word missing a vowel?
8. Which words, with exception of "hungry" and "angry" end with the letters "gry"?
9. The longest word to appear in standard English dictionaries is:
spanning a whopping 45 letters. What does this word refer to?
10. The English word 'GAMBRINOUS' means to be full of what?
11. A ROTAVATOR is defined as a machine with a rotating blade for breaking up the soil. What is so unusual about this word?
12. What is interesting about this sentence:
"Serrated Nor'wester sea-breezes caress rambling sea-lion kumquat excursion"?
1. It contains all of the vowels (A, E, I, O, U) in the correct reverse order. The words facetious and abstemious are the only two words with all vowels in the correct order. The four which have the reverse order are: uncomplimentary, unproprietary, unoriental, and of course subcontinental
2. Keelhauling was a severe form of corporal punishment meted out to sailors at sea.The word comes from the Dutch language word kielhalen ('to drag along the keel'). The sailor was tied to a rope that looped beneath the vessel, thrown overboard on one side of the ship, and dragged under the ship's keel to the other side. As the hull was often covered in barnacles and other marine growth, this could result in lacerations and other injuries. This generally happened if the offender was pulled quickly. If pulled slowly, his weight might lower him sufficiently to miss the barnacles but might result in his drowning. If the rope snapped, the Captain could conclude that the punishment was not done properly and order it carried out again. Kielhaling was legally permitted as a punishment in the Dutch Navy. The earliest official mention of kielhaling is a Dutch ordinance of 1560: the practice was not formally abolished until 1853. While not an official punishment, it was reportedly used by some British Royal Navy and merchant marine captains, and has become strongly associated with pirate lore.
3. Dracula.The origins of the name Dracula are well known. Prior to Vlad's birth in 1431, at the request of King Sigismund I of Hungary, his father, also named Vlad, was inducted in the Order of the Dragon, a secret brotherhood of knights with the purpose of protecting and upholding the Christian faith against the Turks. Thus, his nickname, Dracul. Later on, after his death, the name was modifies by adding the diminutive "ulea" which in Romanian means "son of", in reference to Vlad Tepes' name. The word Drac, means "dragon" or "devil", and Dracula, would be literally translated as "the son of the dragon" or "the son of the devil".
4. It does not contain the letter 'E'. The lack of the letter 'e' makes Gadsby a lipogram, or an example of constrained writing. Wright explains in the introduction that he had to tie down the 'E' key of his typewriter to avoid mistakes. The story tells how the main character, John Gadsby, transforms his home town of Branton Hills into a bustling city by tapping the vigour and original thought of youth. As well as having to avoid common words such as 'the', 'he', and 'she', Wright made the task particularly hard for himself by setting Gadsby in the past tense, while avoiding the verb ending '-ed'. He also made valiant attempts to include objects that ordinarily require the letter E, such as a horse-drawn fire engine; he achieved this by describing the object without quite naming it. A Thanksgiving turkey (possessing the letter 'e') is identified by Wright as a 'holiday bird'.
5. Polish, polish - When it is capitalised, it means "relating to or coming from Poland"; when in it's lower-case form, it refers to the stuff one uses to shine cars, furniture, or the art of doing so, and so onAlthough in reality there does exist one more, "Japan", which, in its lower-case form, refers to "a black enamel used to produce a durable, glossy finish" and to "an object decorated with this substance" and it's more familiar version obviously refers to the country - most dictionaries do not include the lower-case version as the word is certainly not common.
6. The full list is here, in the rank order:
2: a lot,
12: no one,
8. Simple answer, there are no others!
9. This is the name of a lung disease suffered by miners
11. It is one of the longest Palendromes in the English language - ie; it can be spelt backwards and still spell the same word. A palindrome is a word, phrase, number or other sequence of units that has the property of reading the same in either direction (the adjustment of punctuation and spaces between words is generally permitted). The word "palindrome" was coined from Greek roots Greek palin "back" and dromos "way, direction" by English writer Ben Jonson in the 1600s. Composing literature in palindromes is an example of constrained writing. The longest palindromic word in the Oxford English Dictionary is tattarrattat, coined by James Joyce in Ulysses for a knock on the door. The Guinness Book of Records gives detartrated, the past tense of detartrate, a somewhat contrived chemical term meaning to remove tartrates.
12. All the words in it were introduced by William Dampier.Dampier is cited over a thousand times in the Oxford Dictionary, also introducing into English the words avocado, barbecue, breadfruit, cashew, chopsticks, petrel, posse, settlement, snapper, soysauce, stilts (as in house supports), subsistence (as in farming), sub-species, swampy, thunder-cloud, (to make) snug and tortilla.