Thursday, May 12, 2011

Word Fun: Subalphabetic Words

Subalphabetic Words
FICKLEHEADED and FIDDLEDEEDEE are the longest English words consisting only of letters in the first half of the alphabet, each being 12 letters long. The 13-letter CABBAGEHEADED and ILLEFFACEABLE are not in dictionaries. Unfortunately, neither is HIGGLEHAGGLED nor GIBBLEGABBLED, also 13 letters each. 
It is harder to make long words from the second half of the alphabet, as there are only two vowels, and these vowels are less common than those found in the first half of the alphabet. The longest is NONSUPPORTS (11 letters), although if place names are allowed then the 13-letter words TUTTOQQORTOOQ (in Greenland) and ROSSOUWSPOORT (in South Africa) are valid. 
ACCEDED, CABBAGE, BAGGAGE, DEFACED, EFFACED, and FEEDBAG are seven-letter words which can be played on a musical instrument, that is to say they contain only letters in the range A-G. CABBAGED, at eight letters, is the longest such word. 

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