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quod·li·bet \Quod"li*bet\ (kw[o^]d"l[i^]*b[e^]t), n. [L., what you please.] 1. A nice point; a subtilty; a debatable point. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913) Also quodlibertarian and quodlibetic - purely academic!

English Spelling? Does English really work this way?

* Pronounce "ghoti".
* Pronounce "Phtholognyrrh".
* Spell "coffee" completely wrong.
Go to the bottom of the page for answers!

Monday, July 7, 2008


A new word in the updated Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Mondegreen is a fun word to know about. 

Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy. A kid'll eat ivy, too. Wouldn't you?
...[From] part of a popular nonsense song of 1943 called "Mairzy Doats"--per ASCAP Hit Tunes booklet, written by Milton Drake, Al Hoffman,and Jerry Livingston. The beginning is more or less rendered:
Mairzy doats and doazy doats, and little lamzi tivy. A kiddely tivy too, Wood'n you?
Is a prime example, though nonsense. The term Mondegreen comes from Percy's Reliques:
Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl Amurray, [sic]
And Lady Mondegreen.
Where the final line is actually "And laid him on the green."

I always thought a line from an old tune was "Just for your coveted sequence." when it is actually "Just for you, covered in sequins."


1 comment:

Laura Payne said...

Hi Don,
I just discovered your blog and I love it. By the way, I have written about mondegreens on my blog too.

  • ghoti is pronounced: fish, 'gh' as in tough, 'o' as in women and 'ti' as in motion! Attributed to George Bernard Shaw by some. Visit GHOTI for a rant against this "joke" about english pronuciation.
  • Phtholognyrrh pronounced: Turner, According to a Mr. Turner who insisted on signing his name that way according to Robert M. Rennick in I Didn't Catch Your Name, Verbatim® Vol. XXix, No2. Mr Turner explains: " Look, the phth is like phthisic, which is pronounced t; olo is like colonel, which is pronounced ur; gn as in gnat is pronounced n; and yrrh as in myrrh, is pronounced er. So you have Turner. Nothing could be simpler." Reader's Digest, Jan . 1941, p. 42
  • coffee spelled completely incorrectly is kauphy! or kaughy!