Monthly Archives: May 2010


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Language Comments Off on Lexiophiles


This pendant was sent in by a visitor to Omniglot who would like to know whether anybody can decipher the inscription on it. It depicts St. George and the dragon and might be from Turkey. Here’s my attempt to transcribe the inscriptions: Left image top: ديرالقديس المقيم الأمير تادرس الشطي الهاتحارة الروم Left image bottom: […]

Language, Puzzles 8 Comments

Word of the day – ἀρετή (arete)

Today we have a guest post from Stephen Dunne. ἀρετή (arete), noun = meaning virtue, goodness, excellence, purity. This Classical Greek word is difficult to encapsulate precisely in English but expresses a state of almost distinguished self enlightenment. It can however mean many other things besides virtues attached to the self; the Greeks did use […]

Greek, Language, Words and phrases 3 Comments

Word of the day – 聽筒

聽筒 [听筒] (tīngtǒng) is Chinese for telephone receiver; headphone; earphone; earpiece and stethoscope. Its literal meaning is “hearing tube” – 聽 = to hear; to obey, and 筒 = tube; cylinder. I found this word in an online Chinese dictionary I came across yesterday which looks very useful. You can search for Chinese words or characters […]

Chinese, Language 7 Comments

Turkish letter

A visitor to Omniglot sent in this scan of a letter in Ottoman Turkish. Can anyone make sense of it?

Language, Turkish 1 Comment

Name the language

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess the language and where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 13 Comments

Hung parliament

Here are few more election-related words: Hung parliament – a parliament in which no political party has an absolute majority of seats, as is the case with the UK parliament after yesterday’s election. This term was first used in Britain in 1974, but hang or hung has been used to indicate a situation that’s indecisive […]

English, Etymology, Language, Latin, Welsh, Words and phrases 8 Comments

Votes and elections

With the UK general election coming up tomorrow, I thought I’d look at the origins of a few election-related words. Vote comes from the Latin votum (a vow, wish, promise, dedication), which can be traced back to the PIE root *ewegwh- (to speak solemnly, vow). It first appeared in writing during the 15th century. Election, […]

English, Etymology, Greek, Language, Latin 7 Comments

Word of the day – dibble

Dibble, verb = to drink like a duck, lifting up the head after each sip. This is a definition of this word that I heard on the radio today. Officer Dibble in Top Cat was also mentioned. However in my English dictionary a dibble is defined as: a small hand tool used to make holes […]

English, Language 6 Comments

Language quiz

Here’s a recording in a mystery language. Do you know or can you guess the language and where it’s spoken?

Language, Quiz questions 12 Comments
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