The Lighter Side
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Heaven!
In honor of the feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the esteemed Doctor of the Church and a master of many languages, we bring you some tidbits on the English language today with strange etimologies and observations that can truly make it a fractured tongue. And, by the way the beautiful hymn the great Dominican Thomas composed was "Tantum Ergo" not "Tonto, erh - go" - the latter was what the Lone Ranger stuttered when he dispatched his faithful Indian sidekick on a mission! Anyway, below are a few observations not even Webster knew about! Enjoy.
Obvious and not-so-obvious oblique observations of oblivion
- Pinocchio is Italian for "pine head."
- The word "Checkmate" in chess comes from the Persian phrase "Shah Mat," which means "the king is dead".
- The abbreviation for pound, "lb.," comes from the astrological sign Libra, meaning balance, and symbolized by scales.
- The verb "cleave" is the only English word with two synonyms that are antonyms of each other: adhere and separate.
- The only fifteen-letter word that can be spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.
- The word "queueing" is the only English word with five consecutive vowels.
- The name Jeep came from the abbreviation used in the army for the
"General Purpose" vehicle, G.P.
- The two longest one-syllable words in the English language are "screeched" and "strengths."
- The longest word in the Oxford English Dictionary is "floccinaucinihilipilification," which means "the act of estimating as worthless."
- The Chinese ideogram for "trouble" symbolizes "two women living under one roof".
- In Chinese, the words for crisis and opportunity are the same.
- No word in the English language rhymes with month.
January 28, 1998 volume 9, no. 20   DAILY CATHOLIC - The Lighter Side