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Words and Numbers Trivia

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There are only four words in the English language which end in "dous": tremendous, horrendous, stupendous, hazardous.

There is a town in Sweden called "A" and a town in France called "Y."

The term "ace" was first used during World War I for a pilot who had brought down at least five enemy aircraft. The German equivalent was Oberkanone, which meant "top gun."

There is great variation in the number of sounds used in the world's languages. In any given language, the number of consonants range from 6 to 95, and the number of vowels range between 3 and 46. On the average, a language uses 23 consonants and 9 vowels.

The term "allopathy" is used by homeopaths, chiropractors, and other advocates of alternative health practices to refer to traditional medicine.

The letter "W" is the only letter in the English alphabet that doesn't have just one syllable – it has three.

There is no synonym for thesaurus. The word is from Greek and means “a treasure.”

The term "atlas" came into use in the late sixteenth century after the son of Flemish cartographer Gerardus Mercator published a book of his father's maps with a picture on the title page showing the Titan Atlas supporting the world on his shoulder.

The letter “X” is used to represent unknown quantity, thanks to the Greeks. They translated the Arabic word for unknown, shei, into Xei which was shortened to “X.”

To "dandle" is to dance a child up and down on the knee or in the arms.

The term "feather in your cap" came from the American Indian tradition of obtaining feathers for headdresses. Birds were captured, some feathers plucked, and the birds were released. Each feather represented an act of bravery. The fashion of decorating hats with feathers declined in the twentieth century because too many birds were being slaughtered for their feathers.

The letter Y was invented by Palamedes, one of the heroes of the Trojan War. He made its shape from the flight formation of cranes which he observed.

To be "knackered" is to be tired, in Australian slang.

The term "happy-go-lucky" has been in existence since 1665.

The letters in the abbreviation e.g. stand for exempli gratia – a Latin term meaning "for example."

To be “cashiered” means to be dismissed in disgrace.

The term "hush money," meaning a bribe to keep someone form revealing scandalous or damaging information, was first used in the early 1700s.

The letters in the acronym LED stand for light-emitting diode.

To divide something into squares is to "graticulate."

The term "Ivy League" wasn't coined by the colleges involved, but by the sports pages of the New York Herald Tribune in the 1930s.

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