Word Ways


Dmitri Borgmann's Language on Vacation includes the following tibit concerning wordplay and the telephone dial: "It appears that the longest word which can be dialed using only letters that appear with odd numerals is WELL-EXPRESSED, and that... with even numerals NONCOMMUNICATING." It seems to us that the first example is an adjectival phrase; the longest single words appear to be PERPLEXEDLY or SLEEPLESSLY. (If you want a longer adjectival phrase, consider the sentence "SELFLESSLY-DEFERRED pleasures are often the best kind.") We can't quibble with the second example except to point out that NONCONTAMINATING ties it for length.