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A.Word.A.Daywith Anu Garg
What does a Francophile have in common with a bluestocking or a profligate? Each of these words is made up of letters that are not repeated.
The longest word with no letters repeated was last Friday's word: dermatoglyphics. No two persons have the same fingerprints, and dermatoglyphics with distinct letters is an apt word to describe them. Can you think of another equally long word? Hint: You can't copyright the word. It's "uncopyrightable".
Are these the longest examples of such words? Well, it's possible to extend them with prefixes or suffixes, but then they enter the domain of showcase words -- words formed just to serve as examples.
It's easy to find short examples ("I"), but this week we feature five longer words in which no letter is repeated. Try them in a game of Hangman!
1. A subtle argument, especially on a theological or philosophical issue.
2. A musical medley: a whimsical combination of popular tunes.
ETYMOLOGY:From Latin quodlibetum, from Latin quod (what) + libet (it pleases), meaning "whatever pleases". Earlier the term referred to a mock exercise in discussion. Sense 2 arose from its use in German to refer to a gallimaufry of light-hearted musical compositions.
USAGE:"Someone was sending me a signal. If words are unimportant, punctuation is something even more lowly. Why worry about such quodlibets? When was the last time anyone even noticed?"
Charles R. Larson; Its Academic, Or Is It?; Newsweek (New York); Nov 6, 1995.
"The swirling mist of sound [pianist Joanna MacGregor] made of the end of the penultimate quodlibet was almost shocking."
Rian Evans; Joanna MacGregor: St George's, Bristol; The Guardian (London, UK); Feb 5, 2005.
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Gold in its native state is but dull, unornamental stuff, and only lowborn metals excite the admiration of the ignorant with an ostentatious glitter. However, like the rest of the world, I still go on underrating men of gold and glorifying men of mica. -Mark Twain, author and humorist (1835-1910)
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