You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato

wordsDid you read the title of that correctly?  I know you did!  Today’s post is all about words. All about language and some quirks that you may or may not know.

I love words.  I love how I can learn new words every single day.  I never will run out of learning new words and apparently there are even more new words that are acceptable. According to this CNN article there is now a new Official Scrabble dictionary that has added 5,000 new words including “selfie” and “hashtag”.   Now if my Words With Friends games can include those I am in luck!

I love to find little facts and gems that I didn’t know before and that is what today’s post is all about.  Maybe you already know some or all of these but maybe, just maybe, you will learn something new today and turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary day!!! Here are some random wordy facts.

  • On a QWERTY keyboard, 32 % of keystrokes take place on the middle (home) row, 52% on the upper row and a mere 16% on the bottom row.  (Jared Diamond, Discover Magazine, April 1997)
  • Counting up from zero, and excluding the word “and”, the first number to contain the letter A is one thousand. (Prospect Research)
  • The words “tomato,” “coyote,” “avocado,” and “chocolate” all come from the Aztec language Nahuatl. (Marginal Revolution, February 27, 2006)
  • In the Eskimo language Inuktitut, there isa single word that means “I should try not to become an alcoholic”—Iminngernaveersaartunngortussaavunga   (The New York Sun, December 28, 2006)
  • “Stewardesses” is the longest word typed with only the left hand and “lollipop” with the right.
  • There are no words in the English language that rhyme with “orange”, “silver”, “purple” or “month”. (New Scientist, December 18, 2004)
  • The word “boredom” did not exist in the English language until after 1750.  (Boredom, the Literary History of A State of Mind by Patricia M. Spacks)
  • The word “paradise” comes from a Persian word meaning “walled around”.  (Fencing Paradise by Richard Mabey)
  • The “zip” in “zip code” stands for “zone improvement plan”.  (Chicago Tribune, December 2, 2002)
  • The collective noun for owls is “parliament”.  (Wikipedia)
  • “Queueing” is the only word in the English language with 5 consecutive vowels. (Prospect Research)
  • The Finnish language has no future tense.  (Wikipedia)
  • There are no plurals in Chinese.  (Wired, December 206)
  • The five most used nouns in the English language are “time,” “person,” “year,” “way,” and “day.” (CNN, June 22, 2006)
  • The fourteenth most popular search term entered into Google is “Google.”  (Time, June 6, 2007)
  • By the age of five, children have acquired 85% of the language they will have as adults.  (John Bastiani, RSA Lecture)
  • Jack Keroauc typed at one hundred words a minute. (The New Yorker, April 9, 2007)
  • The condition of being unable to release a dart from one’s hand when throwing is known as dartitis.  (Prospect Research)
  • There are 823 languages spoken inPapua New Guinea, more than any other country in the world.  (Limits of Language by Mikael Parkvall

Do you have any wordy facts to share?  Feel free to enlighten me with your wisdom!!!


  1. I, too, love words!! My favorite puzzle in the paper is the one where you find as many words within a given word as possible.
    I love your mention of the longest words typed with a single hand. My son (when he was probably 10 or 11 and taking keyboarding in school) and I played a little game where we found the longest word typed with one hand. His dad and I owned a variety store at the time, and as I passed the housewares section one day, I noticed “beverageware” on a box of drinking glasses. I think I won our little contest! (Oddly enough, same number of letters as stewardesses!)
    I’m going to forward this post to him; he’ll immediately know why!

    • That is awesome and such a fun game. Is beverage ware one of those words in the dictionary. Spell check made it two words for me so I suspect my spell check needs to catch up and get with the program! Fun game!!!

  2. Without knowing Spanish there are numerous words of Spanish origin that we recognize and have penetrated English: Florida, adiós, amigo, bonito, canyon, aficionado, Zorro (zorro), tortilla, taco, tamale, suave, siesta, piñata, patio, paella, loco, matador, fiesta, hacienda, guerilla, Colorado, sí…so many.

  3. So interesting! I am constantly surprised by how many new words I learn all the time. Or when I am able to use a word in the right manner – I still get mixed up sometimes! 😉

  4. Wonderful! I love this post – and yes, I did read the title right … without even knowing it was a bit of a “test!” You may be on to another theme day; Thursday Wordsday?

  5. Love it. I knew one – parliament. A group of cats is a Clowder or a glaring. Thank you, Sheldon Cooper! There was a time I could match Jack’s typing speed. 🙂

    • I knew parliament, too, but that was about it. But yes—Sheldon is a great source of little known facts, right? Gotta love it when your tv watching can enhance your language skills.

  6. Helen Brown says:

    This blog was a surprise but very interesting. I am way behind on your new words.

  7. If my brain was functioning this morning, I would have some gem to present to you. But, alas, I don’t. But I will say that I also love words. A lot.

    • Haha! I totally get it. I actually slept in till 7 today—I have been sleep deprived due to the Pyrotechnics Guild being in town all week. I should have gone to Texas this week.

  8. You say tomato, I say.. If I get my hands on that woodchuck, I’ll kill him..

  9. My brain isn’t firing on all it cylinders right now but I love this post and I love words! And Georgette’s observation of how Spanish has penetrated English.. such lovely words they are. I wish I had learned to speak Spanish.. it isn’t too late! Those words Georgette typed.. they liven up our language!

    • Yes, indeed, they do!!! And that is what I love about all of you guys! You add to the conversation! This is what I talked about on the radio on Tuesday and Cynthia had some great ones to add!

  10. What fascinating facts! I’m sure I’d heard some of them before, but definitely not ALL of them. Thanks for adding to my education (now that I’ve learned something, I can go back to bed — right?!!)

  11. Wow very fascinating facts I did not know!

  12. I got a kick out of these facts!

  13. Useless but interesting odd facts–enjoyed reading this list! I’m surprised though at the 85% of language will have as an adult by age 5. That one shocked me.

  14. Love words. Every Monday a short vocabulary quiz arrives in my in-box that I take. It’s fun and I usually find or remember a new word or two for the week.

  15. I’ll have to study before the next Scrabble game! 85% of language by age 5? That is astounding.

  16. Tumbledown is all one word. I stumped my English teacher in Grade 12 English – he marked it wrong, I brought in the dictionary to show him. I got a perfect mark on the paper!

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