The language that we know and love is full of quirks. Some are recusing, others are amusing and a few are downright confusing. Most words are familiar to us, or they at least follow familiar patterns. Things get interesting when the patterns are broken, and the outliers take on new and convoluted meanings.
Here we will take a peek at some words that are totally unique in the English language.
Vowels are the letters that give words their sounds. The true vowels are a, e, i, o and u. Almost every word in English contains at least one of these letters. In fact, 11% of the English language is just the letter e!
For the rebellious words that don’t want any true vowels, a y is shoehorned in there so we have a chance of pronouncing them.
The longest word in English without any true vowels is rhythm.
At the other end of the spectrum, queueing is the only word that pulls off an impressive five consecutive vowels.
Additionally, there are four words that contain all five true vowels in alphabetical order.
They are: facetious (using humor in serious situations), abstemious (having good self-control), annelidous (similar to earthworms) and arsenious (related to the chemical arsenic).
Another alphabetical anomaly is in the word hydroxyzine (a medication), which contains x, y and z — in that order.
There are only four English words with a double u. No, not a w, but two consecutive letter u’s.
The more popular ones are heavily used in science and sci-fi: vacuum (as in the vacuum of space) and continuum (like the space-time continuum).
Less famous are residuum (similar to residue) and the double-double u muumuu (a loose-fitting dress, often with a floral pattern).
If you’re a typing purist, you should keep your hands in the correct position. That means the left index finger should rest on the f key, and its right-sided counterpart sits on j. All the while, both thumbs get to hang out on the spacebar.
From this position, the longest word that can be typed entirely with the left hand is stewardesses, while the word that takes this honor on the right hand is polyphony.
There are only two words in the entire language that have three consecutive double letters (although it’s almost cheating because they are quite similar).
The two words in question are bookkeeping and bookkeeper. Even LeBron would be proud of triple-doubles like those.
Can you spot what’s special about uncopyrightable? It’s the longest word we have that doesn’t contain any repeated letters.