The “S” ence of English Words and How We Play With Them – You Don’t Say, Vol 82 by Ray Hudson

0
248
Ray Hudson
Ray Hudson
Ray Hudson

Searching through the old Oxford Dictionary the other day I noticed that the number of S words far outnumbered the F words, so I set about to find out if my perception was true.

It is.
It turns out that the letter that starts the largest number of words, thanks to the New Oxford Dictionary of English is S which starts some 29,664 words, and then followed at some distance in descending order by P at 22,002, then C, D, M, and A.
And as they say in the halls of dusty old churches in England, thus endeth the lesson! The old English loved to put ‘th’ on the ends of words.  Made them soundeth more fancy I guess. Now I can offer you the main course, starting with Contronyms (not croutons): rather, words with humorous double (or more) meanings such as:

No bones about it, that arm was humerus (it’s where you find the funny bone or elbow after all).

First degree is the most serious murder charge, and the least serious burn

Bound as in being restrained (tied up physically, legally or morally), or going somewhere such as ‘this train is bound for glory’ etc.

Bolt: a metal pin or bar also means: to flee, or is a roll of cloth or a stroke of lightning (a bolt out of the blue).

Out can be visible and invisible: turn out the light because the stars are out. The light is now off, but, thank cupid, the stars are not!

Off means to deactivate or activate: Seems you can have it both ways – turn off (off) the current before the alarm goes off (on).

Left is something that remains, or could be someone or something that has departed

Refrain can mean to stop doing something, or to repeat a chorus in a song – so please refrain from singing that refrain anymore

Flog: to persistently promote something, to beat something

Trimadd or remove:  we can trim (add decorations to) the Christmas tree or trim (cut off) the fat.

Wind up: we can either complete or end, or become more intense

Hold up: to support or to interrupt or impede (also to rob a bank, from the robber’s demand that everyone put their hands up because this is a ‘hold up’ or ‘stick up’).

Handicap – an advantage provided to ensure equality or a disadvantage that results in inequality. Many golfers have a handicap. When asked what my handicap was one morning, my reply was simple Golf!

Sanction: to approve of something, or a demonstration of displeasure, to boycott or place restrictions on something.

If you are going to work you are going to your job. If you are leaving work, you are going home, but if you are out of work, you don’t work there at all.

So, How Come when they strike the baseball with the bat, it’s called a hit, but when the batter misses the ball, it’s called a strike?  And why do we warm up, but cool down

Finished: (which is what this section is) is something completed or no longer useful or used up.

Now for dessert we have a wonderful selection of fine hot-cross puns:

Are compound puns fractured English?

Is a medicine ball a gala dance for doctors

The Christmas employment contract contained Santa clauses

Two Silk worms had a race. They ended in a tie.

Beavers don’t give a dam, they build it with sweat equity!

Sign at a vacuum store: everything sucks but the service.

Have to paint the deck again? Just grin and Behr it.

I spied her on the web

At night, most back-packers are intense.

Sleeping in an elevator has its ups and downs.

My math teacher said I needed to practice – go figure!

Is a swarm of praying mantis called a congregation?

Atheists are part of a non-prophet organization.

Doctors who are uncertain believers diagnostic

Too much food just goes to waist.

How do prisoners communicate? Cell phones.

So, like, I have to hang up now eh? Sssee ya next week!