English is the greatest language in the world in terms of the sheer number of words, with the Oxford Dictionary containing 615,000 entries, and it being an official language in seventy-nine countries and territories. It is also full of inventions, borrowings, strange words, alterations, and words you never even knew you’ll ever need.
Let’s take a look at some often unheard of facts about this fascinating language.
- The part of a wall between two windows is called the interfenestration.
- Ahecatompedon is a building measuring precisely 100ft × 100ft.
- The opposite of déjà-vu is called jamais-vu: it describes the odd feeling that something very familiar is actually completely new.
- Oysterhoodmeans “reclusiveness,” or “an overwhelming desire to stay at home.”
- The bowl formed by cupping your hands together is called a gowpen.
- A repdigit is a number comprised of a series of repeated numbers, like 9,999.
- Sermocination is the proper name for posing a question and then immediately answering it yourself.
- Whipper-tooties are pointless misgivings or groundless excuses for not trying to do something.
- Mochas are named after a port in Yemen, from where coffee was exported to Europe in the 18th century.
- In the 18th century, teachers were nicknamed “haberdashers of pronouns.”
- The following sentence contains seven different spellings of the sound “ee”: ‘He believed Caesar could see people seizing the seas’.
- The first English dictionary was written in 1755.
- If you write any number in words (English), count the number of letters, write this new number in words and so on, you’ll always end with number 4.
- ‘Subdermatoglyphic’ is the longest English word that can be written without repeating any letters. It has 17 letters in it, and it’s the medical name for the layer of skin beneath the fingertips.
- Facetious and abstemious contain all the vowels in the correct order, as does arsenious, meaning “containing arsenic.”
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