Word Ways


Chris Cole


As computerized word lists become readily available to the loglogists, many of the previously difficult problems that have filled the pages of Word Ways become trivial. It is therefore interesting to begin researching problems that cannot be solved with word lists. A dictionary provides four pieces of information about a word: spelling, pronunciation, etymology and meaning. This suggests three types of problems for systematic logological research, in ascending order of difficulty: pronunciation (homophones, refractory rhymes, syllables, etc.), etymology (this article) and meaning (homographs, autantonyms, contronyms, etc.). Although these topics have appeared in Word Ways, they have not received the kind of systematic treatment accorded spelling.