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Words and Numbers Trivia

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The winning term "checkmate" comes from the Arabic phrase shah mat, meaning the king is dead.

While on the ground, a group of geese is called a gaggle, but in the air, a group of geese is called a skein.

The word "bookkeeper" is the only word in the English language with three, back-to-back double letter combinations.

While Spanish is the official language in Ecuador, there are numerous indigenous tongues. Quichua, the language of the Incas, is the most widely spoken indigenous language. English is widely spoken among professionals, the elite, and tourism providers in Ecuador.

The word "buxom" at one time meant "obedient."

Words that contain the same root, such as the words "wise" and "wisdom," are said to be paronymous.

The word "callow" in the term "callow youth" means "not yet having enough feathers to fly."

Worldwide, more capital cities begin with "B" than any other letter: Berlin, Berne, Bucharest, Budapest, Buenos Aires, Baghdad, Bratislava, Brussels, Belgrade, Bogotá, and Belfast, to mention but a few.

The word "cockamamie," meaning of poor quality or inferior, is believed to be related to the word "cock-a-nee-nee," a nineteenth-century name in New York for a cheap molasses candy.

Xylography is the art of wood engraving. In Greek, xylon means "wood," and graphe means "writing" or "drawing."

The word "curfew" is derived from an old French word that means "cover fire." In Europe during the Middle Ages, a curfew was a metal cone or shield that was used to put out the hearth fire in the evening. The word "curfew" came to mean the end of the day's activities.

The word "diamond" comes from the Greek word adamas which means "unconquerable."

The word "dreamt" is the only word in the English language that ends in the letters "mt."

The word "dude" was coined by Oscar Wilde and his friends. It is a combination of the words duds and attitude.

The word "epicene" means effeminate or unmanly. Some writers and speakers prefer to use this word instead of "effete."

The word "fiscal" is derived from a Latin word meaning "moneybag."

The word "four" has four letters. In the English language there is no other number whose number of letters is equal to its value.

The word "gas," coined by the chemist J.B. van Helmont, is taken from the word "chaos," which means "unformed" in Greek.

The word "gazelle" comes from the Arabian term for "affectionate," and it is believed to be inspired by the creature's large, gentle eyes.

The word "geriatrics" was not coined until 1951.

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