Word Elements
Monmouth College
List of Important Terms

Be prepared to DEFINE or IDENTIFY each of the following terms (based on Richard Lederer's Word Circus). Where appropriate, give a linguistic example.

grammagram: (pg. 4) Words that when they are pronounced, consist entirely of letter sounds. Ex.: SA = essay
homophone: (pg. 7) Words that are pronounced alike but are spelled differently and with different meanings. Ex.: isle/ aisle. 
heteronyms: (pg. 17) words with the same spelling as other words with different pronunciations and meanings. Ex.: content (adj.) and content (n.).
capitonym: (pg. 23)
a word that changes pronunciation and meaning when it is capitalized. Ex. Colon and colon.

anagram: (pg. 28) the rearrangement of all the letters in a familiar word, phrase, or name to form another word, phrase, or name. Ex. shore and horse.
aptagram: (pg. 32) a rearrangement of all the letters in a familiar word, phrase, or name to form anothe rword phrase, or name which has a meaningful arrangment to the original. Ex. aboard/abroad 

antigram: (pg. 41) The converse of the aptagram is the antigram, in which a word or phrase gets rejuggled into another word or phrase that bears a meaning opposite to that of the base. Ex. : teacher/cheater
looping anagrams (or looper): (pg. 44) words in which the first letter can be moved from frontword to backword to produce another word. Ex.: evil/vile.

palindrome: (pg. 49) A word, a word row, a sentence, or a longer statement that communicates the same message when the letters of which it is composed are read in reverse order. Ex.: "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!"
semordnilap: (pg. 68) While a palindromic word conveys the same message left to right and right to left, a semordnipal becomes a new word when spelled in reverse order. Ex.: bats/stab.

charade word:  (pg. 92) a word in which a larger word can be divided into smaller parts that are themselves words. Ex.: mustache / must ache

beheadment: (pg 110) The chopping off of the first letter of a word to create a second word.  Examples: bone/one, cache/ache, devil/evil, potter/otter
curtailments: (pg. 115) Words in which the last letter or letters may be removed and still remain words (examples: brass/bass, suite/suit, pearl/pear/pea).

kangaroo words: (pf. 128) words which conceal within their letters smaller versions of themselves. Ex.: clue and cue in disclosure.

acrobat words: (pg. 144) Words in which the change of a single letter causes a dramatic shift in the meaning. Ex.: poison/prison
spoonerism: (pg. 158) switching letters and syllables between words to create slips of the tongue; i.e., bartender and tar bender, tollbooth and bowl tooth, ghost town and toast gown

abstemious words: (pg. 164). Word which lack any major vowel. "With tongue firmly planted in cheek, some call these vowel-less words “abstemious” words, a facetious label since abstemious (along with facetious) is fraught with every major vowel, and in sequence. Ex.: by, cry, cyst, etc.
mirror words: (pg. 166) Words which are composed entirely of letters which read the same way in a mirror. Ex.: mouth-to-mouth.
pangram: (pg. 169) A sentence which contains every letter in the alphabet at least once.  The shortest known pangram in English is "Mr. Jock, TV quiz Ph.D, bags few lynx." (26 letters!)
pyramid word: A word that contains one occurrence of one letter, two occurrences of a second letter, and so on. Ex. In "banana" there are one b, two n’s, and three a’s.
isogram: (pg. 191) a single word in which no letter of the alphabet appears more than once. The longest example in English is "uncopyrightable."

acrostic: (pg. 198) a composition, usually a poem, in which the first letter of each line spells out a hidden word or message.
lipogram: (pg. 199) a statement or poem from which a key letter has been excluded

logology: (pg. 210) the study of words

This material was placed on the web by Professor Tom Sienkewicz for his students at Monmouth College Monmouth, Illinois. If you have any questions, you can contact him at toms@monm.edu.

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