The Neatest Little Paper Ever Read ®

Issue No: 1296

First Story of the Week
Second Story of the Week
Third Story of the Week
Dr. Ron Ross’s Lexicon of Life-lifting Words

Trivia Pop Quiz


A one-dollar bill met a twenty-dollar bill and said, “Hey, where have you been? I haven’t seen you around here much.”

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Second Story of the Week
  • Eighty percent of English words are not spelled phonetically. That is, they are not written as they sound.
  • ‘Manslaughter’ and ‘man’s laughter’ are spelled exactly the same. So are ‘fatherless’ and ‘fat her less.’
  • The letter combination of ‘ough’ has more pronunciations than any other combinations: bough, bought, cough, dough, hiccough, rough, thoroughbred, through, and trough.
  • The word ‘queue’ is the only word which retains its original pronunciation even when the last four letters are dropped.
  • ‘Strengths’ is the longest word with only one vowel. ‘Latchstring’ has six consonants in a row. Beijing, Fiji, and hijinks have the most dots in a row. ‘Set’ has the most different meanings, with ‘run’ running a close second.
  • George Bernard Shaw, who tried unsuccessfully to will his fortune to anyone who could invent a better alphabet, declared it was possible to spell fish ‘ghoti’ by using gh as in enough; o as in women; and ti as in nation. But there are many ways to spell fish. For instance: Phusi- as in physics / busy / pension. FFess- as in off / pretty / issue. Ughyce- as in augh / hymn / ocean. The list is endless.
  • ‘Floccinaucinihilipilification’ is the longest word in the Oxford English Dictionary. The word is unusual not only because it dates back to 1741; not only because it has 29 letters with 9 i’s and no e’s, but also because it means to classify something as worthless or trivial.
  • Amaze your friends by dropping these words into the conversation: Foozle: a bungling golf stroke. Groak: to stare hopefully at other’s food. Schizocarps: the pinwheels that grow on maple trees. Vomer: the slender bone separating the nostrils
  • In the Shan language of Burma, inflection and tone means a great deal. With the proper inflection, the sentence, “Ma ma ma ma ma” means “Help the horse, a mad dog is coming.”
  • In America, Rice Krispies say “snap crackle and pop” but in Sweden they say “piff paff puff” and in South Africa they say “knap knaetter knak” and in Germany “knisper knasper knusper.”
  • The Russian word for hurry is “bystro.” When Russian soldiers occupying Paris in 1814 sat down in French bars, they’d shout out “Bystro! Bystro!” Eventually bistro came to mean a small tavern or bar.


  • Makrama is the Turkish word meaning a fringed napkin and gives us macrame.
  • In the South Seas the word tattaw means to knock or to strike and gave us the word tattoo.
  • The chess term checkmate comes from the Persian shah mat meaning “the king is dead.”
  • When Bradley, Voorhees, and Day formed an underwear company in 1876, they called their product BVDs.
  • The Hollywood stereotype of an Indian saying “How!” is based on the traditional Indian A-Hau meaning “Peace with you” or “All is well.”
  • The ancient Greeks used a resin called ‘mumia’ or ‘momie’ to preserve bodies, giving us mummies.
  • The word tip is an abbreviation for “to insure promptness.”
  • The German word frau means wife. It is a contraction of two German words, froh meaning joy, and weh meaning woe.
  • The word potpourri originally meant a stew. In French it literally means “putrid pot.”