“Bankruptcy and repudiation are the spring-boards from which much of our civilization vaults and turns its somersets, but the savage stands on the unelastic plank of famine. Yet the Middlesex Cattle Show goes off here with éclat annually, as if all the joints of the agricultural machine were suent.”
— Henry David Thoreau. “Economy”. Walden. 1854.
Shirley bilby: Here’s a non-breaking space: “”. I’ve been using them for indentation ever since we lost the blockquote tag. (It’s a flimsy substitute therefor, but adequate for short lines that won’t wrap.)
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Do I win? Will you please stop now? Or is this some sort of Bizarro-World book review in which the entire text of a work must appear under the single word that best describes it?
“I do not know,” he began, “if you have ever considered the nature of sound. Suffice to say that it consists of a series of waves moving through the air. Not, however, waves like those on the surface of the sea — oh dear no! Those waves are up and down movements. Sound waves consist of alternate compressions and rarefactions.”
The etymology here appears to refer to division loo (although this wouldn’t be bad terminology for the quite practical arrangement bilby described). I assumed the (currently) more common “loo” was anglicized from l’eau, as in the splendidly historical word gardyloo* (garde à l’eau), but the Online Etymology Dictionary† suggests it’s “probably from Fr. lieux d’aisances, ‘lavatory,’ lit. ‘place of ease’.”
* I am compelled to mention this word, as it was one of many that doomed me to a life of logophilia.
Oh, well done, ruzuzu—now Boston Harbor is full of fish who think they’re British solders, “makings mows” and demanding three centuries of back pay. (I must admit, however, that they are more antic than a Dutch droll.)
Is there a word that describes a phrase or word that, when all of its voiced consonants are replaced with their respective unvoiced counterparts and conversely, continues to be a bona fide phrase or word? For example, “bat” (/bæt/) and “pad” (/pæd/) become one another under this transformation; as do (the General American pronunciations of) “dog” (/dɔɡ/) and “talk” (/tɔk/).
If not, what would be a good neologism to describe this?
Thanks, Dan. It looks like the only other instance your search found with two i's changing to a's is Mimi / mama, so the pattern is rarer than I thought. The only others I know of are ibis, iris, pipi, and titi.
@mollusque: That’s an odd one, but sure, why not? (Beware that I added an invisible Unicode word joiner after each left square-bracket to keep Wordnik from rendering it as a linktoaword, so you’ll have to kill them if you cut-and-paste this.)
Hi Dan, I like your computation on Anadromes. Could you run one that looks for words that remain words if all the a's are changed to i's, e.g., asthma, isthmi; quacksalver, quicksilver. Thanks, Mollusque