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Balderdash

Jun 18, 2011 3:20:39 PM - thesundayleader.lk

Tongue Exercises

This week I have decided to heap you with more useless information. I just learned that the longest officially declared word in the English dictionary is pneumonoultra micro scopicsilico volcano koniosis.
I will generously share its meaning with you: “a lung disease caused by the inhalation of very fine silica dust, causing inflammation in the lungs.” No need to thank me, I’m quite nice like that. After all, you never know when this information might be needed, like in the following instance.
A woman arrived at the Gates of Heaven. While she was waiting for Saint Peter to greet her. She peeked through the gates and saw a beautiful banquet table. Sitting all around, were her parents and all the other people she had loved and who had died before her. They saw her and began calling greetings to her, “Hello, how are you? We’ve been waiting for you!” When St. Peter came by, the woman said to him, “This is such a wonderful place! How do I get in?” “You have to spell a word,” St. Peter told her. “Which word?” the woman asked. “Love,” he replied. The woman spelt it correctly and St. Peter welcomed her into Heaven. About a year later, St. Peter came to the woman and asked her to watch the Gates of Heaven for that day. While she was there, her husband arrived. “I’m surprised to see you!” she said. “How have you been?” “Oh, I’ve been doing well since you died,” he said adding, “ I married the beautiful nurse who looked after you during your illness. Then I won the lottery! I sold our house and bought a huge mansion. Then we went on a world tour, and while on vacation today I went water skiing. I fell and hit my head and here I am! What a bummer! So can I come in?” “You have to spell a word,” the woman told him. “Which word?” he asked. Aha, you guessed it folks!  “Pneu……..niosis!” she replied.
And the moral of the story is, “Never make a woman angry….there will be Hell to pay!”
More useless information literally speaking is the next longest word, floccinaucinihilipilification which means “the estimation of something worthless.” This word is derived from four short words of Latin. Some educated British gentlemen invented the word. Maybe they wanted to exercise their minds because they knew it all. Sir Walter Scott used this word when he made the observation, “I have arrived at the flocc……tion of money and I thank Shenstone for inventing the word.” He was referring to William Shenstone, a rather unsuccessful poet who later turned his talents to landscape gardening. I personally like my words short, sweet or tart as situations call for them. People might forget the pearls of wisdom scattered about because it’s difficult to remember lengthy words!
One particular long word most of us will never forget is supercalifragilisticexpialidicious, remember how we all loved Mary Poppins? This word sounds perfectly delicious, and at the time, it was used to widely describe something which was indescribably fabulous. We all felt quite clever singing this because of the lyrics. As Mary Poppins sang in the movie,
“Even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious, If you say it loud enough, you’ll always sound precocious!”
So, if you are simply bursting to describe something wonderful and are at a loss for words, here’s the perfect one for you.
Antidisestablishmentarianism, another mouthful which means opposition to the withdrawal of state approval to a church, this was with reference to the Anglican Church in the 19th century.
The word ‘strengths’ is the longest word using a single vowel. In contrast, ‘rhythms’ is the longest known word that does not have a single of the five vowels in it. You may also be interested to know that ‘squirrelled’ (hoard or store something away for future use) is the longest monosyllabic word recorded in the Oxford English dictionary, whilst ‘schmaltzed’ (in an atmosphere of mushy sentiment) and ‘strengthed’ (to make stronger) run a close second. Something that sounds utterly weird is the longest word made entirely of vowels, is ‘euouae.’ I hadn’t heard this myself, it is a cadence or rhythmic pattern which was used in medieval music intended to assist one’s memory. Don’t get your tongue in a twist trying to pronounce it, apparently it is ‘you-oo-aee’! And now I think you have had your fill of utterly useless information for the day, thank you for bothering to read this.

Honky Tonk Woman.