Wednesday, 8 February 2012

A mini glossary of word and letter formations

Here is a mini glossary of word and letter formations that are interesting for various reasons. How many have you heard of before?
Acronyms
An acronym is an abbreviation formed using the first letters, or first parts, of a series of words. Acronyms are often used to shorten the names of companies, charities and organisations.
Sometimes the acronym reads as simply saying the letters. For example:
RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)
DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency)
BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation)
Sometimes the acronym makes a new word. For example:
SCUBA (Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus)
RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents)
Sometimes the acronym is used to help us remember something. For example:
ROY G. BIV is an acronym pronounced as a name to help us remember the colour spectrum (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet). 
This should not be confused with other methods of remembering things, like Richard Of York Gave Battle in Vain (also used to remember the colour spectrum) or Never Eat Shredded Wheat (used to remember the points of a compass in a clockwise direction - North, South, East and West). Though these phrases perform a similar function, they are not acronyms.
Anagrams
An anagram is a word formed by rearranging the letters of another word. For example:
DRAWER is an anagram of REWARD
FOREST is an anagram of FOSTER
Anagrams are often used in crosswords, especially the cryptic kind.
Blanagrams
A blanagram is the same as an anagram, but with one letter different. For example:
TURKISH is a blanagram of KURDISH (T replaces D)
REAPED is a blanagram of PARADE (E replaces A)
This term originates from the word game Scrabble, where a blank tile gives a player a range of options for making words using the other tiles in his or her rack.
Heterogram
A heterogram is a word or phrase in which no letter of the alphabet appears more than once. The longest word example I found was UNCOPYRIGHTABLE.
Isogram
An isogram is a word or phrase in which every letter of the alphabet used appears the same number of times. Where each letter appears only once then an isogram and a heterogram are exactly the same.
Lipogram
A lipogram is a restricted style of writing where a letter, or group of letters, is deliberately avoided to challenge the writer.
One of the most famous examples is Ernest Vincent Wright’s 50,000-word novel Gadsby, in which the author purposely omitted the letter E. Considering that E is the most commonly used letter in the English language this was quite a feat. Wright allegedly removed the E key from his typewriter to prevent him from making any mistakes.
Palindrome
A palindrome is word or phrase that reads the same backwards as it does forwards. Common  one-word examples include the girls' name HANNAH and the word RACECAR. Some examples of palindrome phrases include:

MADAM I'M ADAM
MURDER FOR A JAR OF RED RUM
NEVER ODD OR EVEN

Pangram
A pangram is a phrase that uses every letter of the alphabet at least once. The best-known example of a pangram is THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG, which is used when teaching people to touch type.
I have tried to cover the main examples here. If there are any I have missed, please feel free to tell me about them in the comments.

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