Why Isn’t it “Ghun ghor Ghoster”

Johnny-on-the-Spot

Back in the day, when we would travel, I’d always pack “Word Jumble” and “Word Find” books.

As I worked on one, I’d make a brief note on the page about the day and time and have some quick reflection on something happening.

We still have many of those books with “puzzles” yet to solve but the comments and such are like small diaries.

Snippets of family history.

Those notes are sorta fun to read.

Today, though, my word game books have been replaced by “Word Cookies” on my phone.

I figure if I have time to kill, I might as well work on expanding my vocabulary with modern technology.

Now, the other day, I made note of the word “tough”.

Strange that it ends in “gh” but sounds like “f”.

However, “gh” on the end of “though” just takes up space because we don’t even pronounce them in that word.

Wierd.

So, I went off in search of of other “strange” words and discovered “cultureconnection.com” and a piece on the “15 Most Unusual Words You’ll Ever Find in English”.

I was intrigued.

Here are the 15 words they listed.

SERENDIPITY…”a happy and unexpected discovery.”

The article says the word appears in numerous lists of ‘untranslatable’ words.

GOBBLEDYGOOK…

A U.S. politicians (Maury Maverick) invented the word in 1944 and used it in a speech to qualify a text with official jargon and complicated sentence structures.

SCRUMPTIOUS…”designates a delicious morsel or dish”.

It’s virtually an ‘onomatopoeia’ (which is an unusual word to use to describe same) that means “the formulation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g. ‘cuckoo’ or “sizzle’)”

AGASTOPIA…”fascination or love for a particular human body part”.

It’s Greek in origin.

HALFPACE…”a small landing at the top of a flight of stairs where you have to run and take another flight of stairs (up or down…it doesn’t matter).

I used to think it might be a stairwell.

Boy!

Was I wrong.

IMPIGNORATE…”pledge, pawn, mortgage”.

Seems like a lot of work to use that word when the definition is shorter than it is.

JENTACULAR…”Anything related to breakfast”.

(So I guess my pita bread peanut butter snack fits the bill along with my small bowl of cold cereal.)

NUDIUSTERIAN…”2 days ago (the day before yesterday)”

I thought it had something to do with naked horse-jumping.

QUIRE

If you wanted to order 24 or 25 sheets of paper, as for one.

But if you already knew that, I’d be preaching to the quire choir.

YARBOROUGH

In bridge, if you hold no card higher than a 9, that’s what you have.

I feel like yelling “Yahtzee!”

And then there’s Glenn Yarbrough, who had the 1965 hit, “Baby, The Rain Must Fall” although he’s missing an “o” in his name that would qualify him as a lousy bridge hand.

TITTYNOPE

My first thought was, “Should I use this in my ‘family-friendly’ article” until I discovered what it meant?

It’s all about the scattering of crumbs left on a plate, or a few grains of rice at the bottom of the bowl or a few drops of a liquid in the glass.

I use the spatula to get the tittynope out of Jif out of my jar of peanut butter.

Tittynope still sound like a piece of medical equipment at the hospital breast imaging center.

(Now you know I HAD to do that!)

WINKLEPICKER

I thought he wrote children’s stories but it’s actually used to describe shoes with such a sharp point that they make you think of devices used to pry things from shells.

I’ll be the mossy green “Cuban heel boots” I owned in the 60’s might qualify as winglepickers.

ULOTRICHOUS

I thought this might have been some obscure Roman ruler but it would have only applied if he had curly hair.

KALKORRHAPHIOPHOBIA

When I noted the last 6 letters, I knew we were dealing with a fear and if the word came up in a spelling bee, it might cover things, since it’s “the fear of failure”.

XERTZ

Any five letter word that beings with an “x” and ends in a “z” should be in a gladiator movie.

But, it actually means “gulping down something in haste”.

My guess is the word is probably followed by a burp or a belch.

All informative and nice reading but I still don’t get why “gh” sounds like “f” on some occasions.

Come to find out “gh” usually means it was pronounced with the “blech” sound in Old English when our way of writing was first developed.

“Blech” is the sound of gagging or used to express disgust or disdain.

Sorta what come to mind while listening to Senate hearings.

I’m just glad someone back then used an “f” for my last name because “Ghoster” looks like something from a 1984 movie with Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramos.

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