Archive for the Category: Words and phrases

Phrase finder

There is a now a new way to view the phrases on Omniglot: a Phrase finder. This page enables you to see phrases in any combination of two languages. This is something I’ve been planning to set up for years, and now it’s finally ready. So if your native language isn’t English and you want […]

Also posted in General, Language Leave a comment

Suspending disbelief

One of the things we talked about in the French conversation group this week was suspending disbelief, which is accepter les invraisemblances in French. That is “accepting the improbabilities”. Another way to say this in French is suspension d’incrédulité. The word invraisemblance also means unlikeliness or inverisimilitude. Related words include invraisemblable (unlikely, incredible, implausible, improbable) […]

Also posted in English, French, Language Leave a comment

Are you a phenom?

I came across an interesting word in an article about hyperpolyglots I read today (it’s an old article, but I only just found it) – phenoms, which appears in the following sentence: TIME spoke to Erard about phenoms who can speak more languages than they have fingers, whether anyone can do it and where the […]

Also posted in English, Language, Language learning 2 Comments

Les chuchoteuses

On Rue Staint-Paul in Vieux Montréal there’s a statue of three women having a gossip. It’s known as ‘Les chuchoteuses‘ or ‘The whisperers’. It’s also known as the “fat ladies talking statue”. It’s by Rose-Aimée Bélanger, a sculptor from Ontario, and was installed as part of a 2006 initiative to highlight some of Old Montreal’s […]

Also posted in Dutch, English, Etymology, French, German, Italian, Language, Latin, Portuguese, Spanish, Travel, Welsh 2 Comments

Are you sturggled?

You may think I have misspelled the title of this post, and in a way I have, but I did so deliberately. The other day when typing struggle I accidentally typed sturggle. I thought that it looked like an interesting word, and wondered what it might mean. Apparently I’m not the first person to come […]

Also posted in English, Language 1 Comment


I came across an interesting Scots word yesterday – pauchle [ˈp(j)ɑxl] – which I needed to look up, although from the context you can get an idea of its meaning: They’re hoping that they can pauchle the party rule book in order to insist that Corbyn must gain the support of at least 51 of […]

Also posted in English, Language, Scots 3 Comments

Heavy Plant Crossing

If you saw this sign, what kind of plant(s) would you expect to be crossing? In this context, plant refers to “a large, heavy machine or vehicle used in industry, for building roads, etc.” It can also mean “machines used in industry” or “a factory in which a particular product is made or power is […]

Also posted in English, Language 3 Comments

Budge up!

In the café where I had lunch today I saw a sign saying “Blue Sky tables are for sharing. Budge up and say Hi!” (see photo). I thought budge up sounding like a very British kind of thing to say. Is it used in other English-speaking countries? If not, how would you ask someone to […]

Also posted in English, Language 7 Comments

It’s a gas!

In Hiberno-English people might describe something fun and enjoyable as a gas. For example, “That’s gas”, “A gas laugh”, “Come on, it’ll be gas”, “He’s a gas character”, “Your man is gas” [source]. Last week an Irish friend told me that this expression comes from laughing gas (nitrous oxide), which was used at parties to […]

Also posted in English, Language 2 Comments


Does anyone know if there is a word for words that have the same length and constituent letters, but are not anagrams, such as bee and ebb, and aloof and offal. I received an email from Peter Hewkin today who suggests the word magrang (a magrang of anagram) for such words. Do you have other […]

Also posted in English, Language 4 Comments
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