Saturday, March 28, 2015



901-Which word doesn't belong? acrobat-act-acute-edge-oxygen

902 Discern the convergent word? farm-saw-soap sacred-disease-function line-panty-band

903-What do these words have in common?cursive- position- tension

904- Discern the convergent word? blue-car-rain rod-red-rack pass-pencil-chasing

905- Name an anagrammatic description of a South American fruit

906- Discern the convergent word? alley-pear-purse bot-ides-hide dog-ranch-bell

907- Name an anagrammatic description of a European wetsuit

908- Discern the convergent word? biter-deep-sprain print-nail-green check-come-country

909-Name an anagrammatic description of an illustration for a Transam

910- Discern the convergent word? duck-or-dove supply-or-side dead-on-pot

911-Name a 2 word palindromic phrase that could be a slogan for an anti-acne medication

912- Discern the convergent word? disc-past-east ping-wax-killer in-bit-sex

913-Aside from starting with an A, what do these words have in common? accuse-adios-ague

914- Discern the convergent word? side-see-my bend-replacement-cap fight-iron-pump

915-What do these words have in common? billowy-biopsy-begin

916-Discern the convergent word? wet-egg-head got-bone-let eater-patch-roll

917- Name an anagrammatic description of crying primates

918- Discern the convergent word? red-turn-tail gun-hit-suicide age-sun-over

919- Name an anagrammatic description of the hippest cats

920- Discern the convergent word? wrestle-one-or up-beer-pot out-eye-car

921-What do these words have in common? bloated-enable-slang

922- Discern the convergent word? map-twister-acid off-wash-ports a-wag-less

923- Name an anagrammatic description of wise underwear

924- Discern the convergent word? ability-atlantic-piece only-lemon-owner grey-guitar-sea

925-Name a 2 word palindromic phrase that mean accentuated end courses

926-Discern the convergent word? line-bone-breaker duck-off-about leopard-oil-alive

927--Name a 2 word palindromic phrase that describes Joan Sutherland

928- Discern the convergent word? face-Boston-pizza up-ball-fly flying-urine-leaf

929- Name an anagrammatic description of a dive in the Canadian prairies

930- Discern the convergent word? due-up-see back-Canadian-sandwich favor-paste-powder

931-What do these words have in common? zipper- escalator-stetson

932- Discern the convergent word? bar-priest-stones egg-fool-wet all-trade-cabinet

933-Turn a southwest USA city into a midwest USA city by taking its last letter and moving it to the front.

934- Discern the convergent word? Sand-wheel-by wolf-blood-fox up-eye-led

935-Name a famous museum that features a 3 letter alphabetical string e.g., abc or xyz

936- Discern the convergent word? up-blackberry-pearl he-master-ski tree-hill-bomb

937-What do these words have in common? brand lament -oblate

938- Discern the convergent word? blue-gun-sugar shack-season-bay fever-king-mimic

939- Name an anagrammatic description of a wandering earthling

940- Discern the convergent word? over-I-under ace-head- scoff batting-less-trade

941-Namean 8 letter European city where every letter is worth 1 point in Scrabble

942- Discern the convergent word? locust-dear-well job-case-tier led-golden-sugar

943-What do these words have in common? cummerbund-nabob-pashmina-cushy

944- Discern the convergent word? bone-yellow-cotton check-cool-courts ate-oil-pilot

945-Name a US city that is an anagram of a word that is a synonym for “identify”

946 - Discern the convergent word? a-boy-tom social-madame-net tractor-moth-black

947- -Name a 3 word palindromic phrase that describes Napoleo (alternate spelling)

948-Discern the convergent word? Irish-ball-able ale-biscuit-tea ration-white-money

949- Name an anagrammatic description of the prickliest moralist

950- Discern the convergent word? Christmas-Navy-ant -page-pant-part on-gun-sting

951- Name an anagrammatic description that means gets fortification

952-Discern the convergent word? tree-stem-hare blue-grass-grey a-man-turkey

953- Name an anagrammatic description of an Irish spirit over the hill

954-Discern the convergent word? racing-dung-cigarette sea-all-hunting up-ram-dollar

955- Name an anagrammatic description of a puzzling elfin young woman

956-Discern the convergent word? pus-my -runner lout-beer-phone dew-bee-cake

957-Name an anagrammatic description of a Plains Indians who drive horse-drawn carriages

958- Discern the convergent word? white-gas-on bow-hog-red dress-under-fancy

959- What do these words have in common? devilish-grit-spooned

960- Discern the convergent word? ding-hit-her skills-like-amount her-water-ion

961- Name an anagrammatic descriptionthat describes Teutonic schmatologists

962- Discern the convergent word? watering-bad-ply dance-full-under pay-a-play

963- Name an anagrammatic description of a cushy but unprotected job

964 -Discern the convergent word? foot-willow-riot hand-slip-mad speckled-mud-as

965-Name a northeast US city that becomes the name of a European country in its language when you switch the middle letters

966- Discern the convergent word? raisin-ration-roll ahoy-computer-per knife-cake-blue

967-What do these words have in common? ablution-lased-manic

968-Discern the convergent word? ring-red-leaves soup-dome-green fly-first-passion

969-What do these words have in common? impel-scaly-state

970- Discern the convergent word? leather-come-field palm-pale-type splitting-piece-candy

971--Name a 2 word palindromic phrase for a Brazilian recollection

972-Discern the convergent word? Mormon-bomber-drawers bra-sweater-in bag-print-size

973-Name a 2 word palindromic phrase for a polygraph

974- Discern the convergent word? as-in-pat cold-ball-sure leaf-bite-stick

975-Change a US city to another US city by changing the pair of vowels.

976- Discern the convergent word? nuts-picking-fruit let-chat-per shack-season-bar

977-What do these words have in common? crate-rained-rosary

978- Discern the convergent word? trap-water-bag dust-ere-stalag disc-past-east

979- Name an anagrammatic description that means fought against Brown or Wintour

980- Discern the convergent word? smoked-sweet- white moose-king-cheese a-egg-meal

981- Name a country that is an anagram to a world capital .

982- Discern the convergent word? bath-dis-ward may-seas-town bypass-under-out

983-What do these words have in common? yogurt-tulip-horde

984- Discern the convergent word? cloth-head-board lemon-owner-practitioner juice-root-top

985-Name at least 2 animals of at least 6 letters made up of only odd letters in the alphabet.

986- Discern the convergent word? spiny-electric-basket dips-led-chops blue-night-speckled

987-Name a Hawaiian singer's full name that is an anagram of a nickname of a 60s-70s Celtic great

988- Discern the convergent word? rod-hot-hog woman-car-priest wedding-tea-ball

989-Name a 2 word anagrammatic phrase that describes an Anglo in Nuuk

990- Discern the convergent word? bump-pump-closed symbol-land-felt bone-cap-numb

991-Which place doesn't belong in this grouping? Haifa-Jerusalem-Tel Aviv- United Arab Emirates-Yemen

992- Discern the convergent word? trader-crazy-car cheese-he-herder family-sea-water

993- What do these words have in common? caned-harem-ornate

994- Discern the convergent word? boar-blood- roll nut-green-salt jack-net-stew

995-Name a state capital that doesn't share any let ters with its state.

996-Discern the convergent word? bad-meridian-brother wracking-peripheral-gall srtap-pad-blade

997-Aside from having 11 letters what do these words have in common? amicability-communities-compartment

998 Discern the convergent word? ride-tail-up elk-harass-blood flying-grey-night

999-Name a 2 word anagrammatic phrase that describes the way the language is spoken at a South Carolina military college

1000-Discern the convergent word? barrel-fire-jack bell-salad-shell oil-salted-stand

Friday, March 6, 2015

What came first?

(This article is a version of my March Lexpert article)

What came first, the colour or the fruit?


Howard Richler

Dedicated longtime readers of the Lexpert Words column will no doubt remember that in April 2011 I explained that, lexicographically,at least, there is no debate that the egg preceded the chicken. It arrived in the English langauge in the 9th century whereas chicken only made its debut a century later. Today I will address the equally weighty conundrum of whether the colour orange or the fruit orange deserves first honours.

I posed this question to 15 friends where 80% ( 12 out of 15) believed that the colour came before the fruit and several people based their answer on the colour term being used more often than the fruit one. Although the colour orange is quite common in our vocabulary, this commonality is somewhat recent. In their 1969 book Basic Color Terms , authors Brent Beslin and Paul Kay show how virtually all languages possess a colour sequence that begins with words for black and white ( or light and dark colours), then continues to red, then green and yellow, then blue, then brown and eventually to gray, orange, pink, and purple.

Whereas the earliest citation of orange the fruit is from the beginning of the 15th century, the colour orange only appears more than a hundred years later. Actually, there was no word for the colour orange in Old English and a castle decorator would have had to say geolu-read, “yellow-red” to describe a throne that was orange-coloured.

The orange has enjoyed an exotic etymological odyssey over the millennia. Around 2500 years ago, the orange made a trip to India from southern China. A Sanskrit medical text describes the narangah, valued for its curative powers. It was a bitter orange, often now referred to as a Seville orange, and the word probably derives from one of the Dravidian languages of southern India, such as Malayalam or Tamil, where the term naru meant “fragrant.” Its journey, however, had just on its first leg because from India it travelled to Persia where it was rendered as narang and to Arabia where it was called naranj. In the Middle Ages, Muslim merchants brought this bitter type of orange to Sicily and before long it was available throughout Europe. The sweet variety (sometimes called a China orange) that we associate with this fruit reached Europe fifty years later when Portuguese sailors imported it from India. Sweet oranges were considered a luxury and until the middle of the 19th century a delight enjoyed by mostly the aristocracy.

The Arabic word naranj was swallowed, in some cases, almost whole in several European languages, e.g., Byzantine Greek nerantzion, Italian narancia and Spanish naranja. But the first letter “n” is often changed or removed entirely as in the Portuguese , the Italian arancio, arancia or the late Latin aurantium. The loss of of “n” may have occurred in a linguistic process called rebracketing that gave us English words uncle from nuncle and apron from napron. When preceded by an indefinite article such as a or an in English, or une or uno in Romance languages, the “n” can disappear. The opposite process can also occur; an “n” can be added to a word that didn't originally have one. For example, a “newt” was originally in Middle English rendered as “an eute” and a “nickname) was an “eke name.” The Latin aurantium referenced before was probably also influenced by the word aurum, “gold” since the fruit had a golden colour.

Although we see a progression towards the spelling of “orange” in both English and French, this form of the word is due to a coincidence. In the south of France, there once was a Roman city named Arausio. In Proven├žal, a dialect of the Romance language Occitan, the name of the city morphed into Aurenja which was becominag a centre of the orange trade and Aurenja was nearly identical to the Proven├žal,fruit word auranja. From here it was a small step to orenge and finally orange for both the city and the fruit.

And orange (or should I say Orange) was not finished with its frequent travelling. In the 16th century Philibert de Chalon of Orange was awarded a good chunk of the Netherlands by Emperor Charles V. When he died, his title passed to his German nephew, William of Nassau, Prince of Orange, who established the Dutch Republic and the House of Orange. As William organized Protestants in Holland to struggle against Catholic Spain for independence, both the name and the colour became associated with the Netherlands.

In a couple of generations, however, orangeness would travel once again. William's grandson William III became King of England in the late 17th century. Because he defended the Protestant population of Ireland, the Protestants there became known as the Orangemen in his honour.

Incidentally, an orange’ s colour has nothing to do with its ripeness. Oranges turn orange only as a result of cold weather, which breaks down a membrane protecting their green chlorophyll.

Howard's book Word Play: Arranged & Deranged Wit will be published in 2015.