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Today's Word



Jul 30, 2018
This week’s theme
Words that appear to be coined by flipping the letter p

This week’s words

Binnacle on a ship
Photo: Peter

Binnacle in a car
Photo: iBSSR

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with Anu Garg

Last June, the management at the restaurant chain IHOP took the bold decision of flipping the P in their name and become IHOb instead. This is the kind of visionary leadership for which they are paid millions of dollars.

They were lucky. The English language in this case offered them an option: Instead of flipping pancakes, now they could flip burgers. They could still be a restaurant.1 You’d think they are grateful to the English language, but no.2

Not all corporations have that luxury. Imagine if the Microsoft management took a similar bold step to flip a letter and reinvent the company as Wicrosoft. What would they make then? Wicker baskets, perhaps. They would have to change their whole product line. But don’t dump your MSFT stock yet. With their long experience in sales and marketing (whether you sell Wicrosoft or Longaberger, you still need to give us a cut), soon 82% of countertops in the world would have a Wicrosoft basket.

What corporations can you help reinvent themselves by flipping a letter in their names? Share it below or write to us at words@wordsmith.org.

While you are doing that, this week we’ll share five words that may appear to have been coined by flipping a p into a b, but are not.

1IHOb lasted less than a month. With their long experience in flipping, they flipped again and went back to being IHOP. This is the kind of visionary flipping for which the management is paid millions of dollars, again and again.

2Their slogan: “We burger as good as we pancake.” The English language called -- it wants this disclaimer added: “but we English not as good.”



noun: A container for housing instruments on a ship’s deck, in a car dashboard, etc.

From Old Portuguese bitácola or Old Spanish bitácula, from Latin habitaculum (dwelling place), from habitare (to inhabit). Ultimately from the Indo-European root ghabh- (to give or to receive), which is also the source of give, gift, able, habit, prohibit, due, duty, adhibit, debenture, habile. Earliest documented use: 1622.

“He scans the jewellike instrument binnacle then finds the start button and presses it. The V8 thunders to life.”
Steve Worland; Quick; Penguin; 2014.

See more usage examples of binnacle in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company in himself. -Emily Bronte, novelist (30 Jul 1818-1848)

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