Thursday, May 26, 2016

LAGNIAPPE: The folks at 538 want you to know, as we long have, that words derived from Hebrew are the hardest in the Bee, though it looks like they didn't sample enough Welsh to compare. Also:
Occasionally, though rarely, the bee’s words are sourced from some of the more obscure of the 7,000-ish languages spoken on Earth: “kathakali” (a form of dance drama, from Malayalam), “uayeb” (part of the Mayan calendar), “takin” (a large bovid, from Mishmi) and “compas” (a type of music, from Haitian Creole) have all made appearances. In 85 cases — including the words bagwyn, larrigan, pandowdy and tatterdemalion — the origin was unknown.
Back in 2011, Nupur Lala and Amy Goldstein both answered "what's the hardest word you've seen in terms of both orthographic trickiness and usage/popularity?", and it covers everything from engysseismology to preux and beyond.

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