1234 Wacky, Witty and Wonderful Words: A collection of curious, fascinating or funny words and their stories by Paul Sloane (1969)

A collection of our favourite fascinating words. It includes cunning curiosities, remarkable rarities, wonderful words and tremendous trivia. All the words are in use or have been in use in the English language. Most of the entries are serious and educational but occasionally we have sprinkled in something unexpected and facetious. Some sample entries: ARNOLD is a boy’s name which has two anagrams which are also boys’ names – ROLAND and RONALD. DESSERTS is the longest word which forms another word when spelled backwards, STRESSED. IGNORAMUS – nowadays, a stupid person, but originally a jury verdict meaning ‘we do not know’ from the Latin ignoramus. OPOSSUM the only North American marsupial gets its name from the native American Powhatan language where it means white dog. Skunk, coyote, raccoon, moose, woodchuck, and caribou are other animals whose names come from native American tongues. QUEEN would be the first word in the dictionary if our alphabet was ordered to match the QWERTY keyboard layout.

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