Stuff you find in dictionaries (HLD 355)

13 March 2021

I don’t mean to ruin anyone’s excitement or big plans for the day, but the answer to the nine letter word jumble in today’s paper is iterative.

I only knew this was a word, because I’d written in my notes for a possible future HLD post as “iterative/reiterate”. I have no idea when or why I made that note, or what the heck I thought I could come up with, but lo and behold, today it was helpful to know it was a word.

You are possibly all very smart people, and know what it means. I had to look it up, and found “Iteration is the repetition of a process in order to generate an outcome. The sequence will approach some end point or end value. Each repetition of the process is a single iteration, and the outcome of each iteration is then the starting point of the next iteration.”

I’ll just reiterate for you that is not a word that was overly familiar to me. But if we can reiterate something, then we obviously have the ability to iterate something. And that something can be labelled an iteration. And so on.

Fascinating stuff, don’t you think???

While I’m on fascinating stuff, did you know that (according to something I read somewhere that is in no way the definitive or accurate answer) that the word in the dictionary with the most senses, or meanings, is ‘set’. Apparently this can be used 440 different ways.

Again – you should never take stuff you read on the internet as fact. I found this very hard to believe, as I could only come up with 389* ways to use the word.

Some people spend a lot of time studying the English language and our use of words.

The same article that told me about the copious meanings of set also told me that the most commonly used letter in word in our language is the letter E which appears in 11% of words. Q is least common.

Oh – and the most commonly used word is I. Apparently.

If you are old like me, you would have learned touch typing using the sentence “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”. We typed this a lot, because it uses all the letters in the alphabet and trains your fingers where to find the letters on the keyboard. (Nowadays, of course, we only need two thumbs to type). What I didn’t know was that that sort of sentence has a name! A pangram is a sentence that uses every letter of the alphabet. Other examples: ‘My girl wove six dozen plaid jackets before she quit’ or ‘The five boxing wizards jump quickly’.

Other fun facts: Enneacontakaienneagon means a shape with 99 sides.

Oh – and before you nod off completely…

Contronyms!!! I’ve want to talk about these for a while but couldn’t work out how to manage it.

Contronyms are words that have completely opposite meaning. Like:

Clips (join together, or sever)

Weather (wear away, or withstand)

Sanction (to give approval to, or penalise)

Left (remaining but also departed)

Oversight (monitoring, but also failure to monitor)

Fast (quickly, but also stand still, as in holding fast).

And then my other favourite words are ones

that change direction with one letter, like feast and fast.

Isn’t our language interesting?

Have you got any other quirky stuff for me to ponder???

*Don’t believe everything you read on the internet…

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