20 March 2006

A Great Online Source For Word Information

I've just discovered Oxford Dictionaries' online site of Frequently Asked Questions. There are categories here for dictionaries, grammar, spelling, symbols, the English language, usage, words, word origins, and "other things." They offer a list of popular questions, such as the following: - "What is the longest English word?" - "Are there any words that contain the letter 'q' without a 'u' following it?" - "What is the origin of the dollar sign ($)?" I have to confess to being a little surprised to find that "Is a banana a fruit or herb?" is a popular question. It had never occurred to me to wonder about this, but now it appears that enough debates rage about it that the good people at Oxford have included the answer to it here to defuse tension. When I browsed in the "word" category, I saw that they had answers to such questions as these: - "Is there an eight-letter words with five vowels in a row?" - "Is there a term for the study of love?" - "Is there a word like 'siblings' for nephews and nieces collectively?" - "What is the difference between a 'street' and a 'road'?" - "Apart from 'angry' and 'hungry,' what other words end in 'gry'?" - "Can a DNA string be considered the longest word in the English language?" These questions don't keep me up at night, but now that they're raised, I do have to wonder about the answers. Then there is the charming "Is there a word for a baby hedgehog?". Much as I love hedgehogs, I didn't know this was a common enough question to warrant inclusion here. But I'm glad to see that the collective knowledge about hedgehogs is being raised. Via The Millions.

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