It’s 4AM, there’s a thunderstorm, and the dogs are restless. So, here I am on the blog trying to think of things that are entertaining. I can’t guarantee that any of this will be entertaining, it being 4AM and all, and the dogs are no help at all in determining this one way or the other, so, if it’s boring, at least it’s something that isn’t just for math geeks. So. Here we go!
In the standard game of Scrabble, there is one, and only one, word in the English language which cannot be played. It is razzmatazz. This is because there is only one Z and two blanks. You might think that pizzazz would also fit into this category, and you’d be right, except that there is a recognized alternative spelling, that being pizazz, which is perfectly acceptable to play in Scrabble, although I don’t think I’d waste two blanks when pizza is just as good and twice as tasty.
There are several 7 letter words which can be played if another word is on the board. My favorite is abSQUATulate. My grandmother’s favorite was chrysANTHEMum.
The words Kaiser, Tsar and Czar derive from the word Caesar and are attributed to Julius C. On the other hand, the words for king in Czech (kral), Polish (krol), and Russian (korol) are all derivations of the name Charles and are attributed to Charlemagne, who is Charles I of France, Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.
The word pococurante is defined as indifferent or nonchalant but actually means someone with a small head.
The word cretin comes from Crete, where there were severe iodine deficiencies. Iodine deficiency leads to many problems, including a drop in the IQ typically in the range of 10-15 points.
Also, for you geeks out there, the word awk comes from the authors of the language, Aho, Weinberger and Kernighan. Also, yacc is an abbreviation for “yet another compiler compiler”, which, at 4AM, just seems pretty funny.