Just a few lines today on words that describe games people can play with words. (More popular perhaps in the time before TV and social media, but could come in useful in a power cut if all you have is pen, paper – and a torch.)
An acronym is made up of the first letter of each word in a phrase. It is a comparatively new phenomenon (the first recorded use is in the early 1940s). Radar (radio detecting and ranging), and scuba (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus) are acronyms) are acronyms. An acronym needs to be pronounceable – hence RSVP at the bottom of a letter requesting a reply is an initialism, not an acronym.
Acrostics is where, in a poem for example, a number of letters form a word or phrase. This could be at the beginning of each line in a poem as in Lewis Carroll’s (of Alice in Wonderland fame) poem which starts:
A boat beneath a sunny sky
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July –
Children three that nestle near
Eager eye and willing ear
And goes on to spell out the real Alice’s full name through the first letter of every line.
An anagram is a rearrangement of letters of a word or phrase to form a different phrase or word: Evil / vile. Clint Eastwood / old west action. An antigram is similar, but the alteration means the dead opposite to the original word: funeral / real fun. (Sorry)
Lipograms are works where the author chooses to avoid using a particular letter. No problem if you decide, say, to omit the ‘z’ or ‘q.’ But Ernest Vincent Wright wrote a 50,000 word novel (Gatsby) without the letter ‘e’ in 1939. Univocalics, by contrast, are where just one vowel is used, as in ‘he went where she heeded her texts.’
Palindromes are words or phrases that read the same backwards as forwards: ‘Was it a car or a cat I saw?’ Or the more famous ‘Able was I ere I saw Elba.’
A pangram is a sentence that contains all the letters of the alphabet), as in ‘the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.’ The same letter can be used more than once – I’m not sure anyone has managed to come up with a phrase that makes sense using each letter just once.
So there you go – Boxing Day post-prandial games sorted!
If you have enjoyed this post, and would like to read more of my work, please go to my Amazon author page. I would particularly like to get young adults reading more and have written two novels specifically for this age group.
And Alex Still Has Acne: myBook.to/AndAlexStillHasAcne
Girl Friends: myBook.to/GirlFriends
Both are published by Solstice. http://www.solsticepublishing.com