You might have seen a Facebook post recently about a small typo on one of our best selling pre-printed sticker sets. We were very grateful to an eagle-eyed customer for pointing it out to us, and we’re pleased that our nearly perfect sheets have gone down a storm with you lovely lot. The whole thing got us thinking about the awesome power of words, and inspired us to explore the weird and wonderful world of English. Read on to find out about fneezes, contronyms, and Wicked Bibles.
Due to printing errors in various editions of the dictionary, there are several ‘ghost words’ which appear but have no meaning, e.g. ‘dord’.
There are roughly one million words in the English language (at the moment).
In Middle English, sneeze was originally spelt as ‘fneeze’ (scholars think it was an onomatopoeic spelling which reflected the sound a sneeze makes). It was misread as ‘sneeze’ and eventually the spelling stuck.
A new word is added to the dictionary every two hours.
‘Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo’ is a grammatically correct sentence.
Some words look the same when viewed upside down, such as ‘swims’.
The most frequently used noun in the English language is ‘time’.
William Shakespeare added over 1000 words and phrases to common English, many of which are still used today (including ‘lie low’, ‘wild goose chase’, ‘full circle’, and ‘all of a sudden’).
A contronym is the name for a word which can have two opposite meanings. For example screen, which can mean to hide (as in ‘to screen from view’), and to broadcast (as in ‘to screen a film’).
The so-called ‘Wicked Bible’ is an edition of the Bible which accidentally omitted the word ‘not’ from the commandment, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’.