Tom Pulliam


Many of the articles in Word Ways were inspired by Dmitri Borgmann's Language on Vacation (Scribner's, 1965); this comprehensive volume of wordplay has stimulated almost every conceivable type of word surgery and dissection by faithful logophiles. One might, in fact, presume that the challenges mothered by this book have been well-nigh exhausted. Not so! On page 159, Dmitri introduced the concept of word girders: two words that are converted to two entirely different words by interchanging every second letter between the words. The following three five-letter examples given in his book should make the transformation perfectly clear.