Fun with Words from Brian P. Cleary

By Carol Hinz
Editorial Director, Millbrook Press

As you may already know, Brian P. Cleary is the author of the entertaining and educational Words Are CATegorical books. But did you know that he also posts fun word trivia on his Facebook page?9428 Here are a few recent tidbits:

WITHOUT LOOKING IT UP what does GLEDGE mean? A. The uppermost crust of a glacier. B. The ripple-like wake left behind when a duck or swan glides through the water. C. To look askance or to squint. D. The formal act of challenging a combatant to a duel.

The word PENULTIMATE means “the next to last.” If someone refers to the penultimate scene in the play, it’s the one before the final. The word “vacation,” for instance, has its accent on the penultimate syllable.

Semordnilap is a word or phrase that spells a different word or phrase backwards, as in this pair: Dennis –> sinned. “Semordnilap” is a 20th Century coined word which is “palindromes” spelled backward. Among the longest single-word English examples: stressed –> desserts.

And there’s good news for anyone not on Facebook—you don’t have to have an account to see this page. Of course, if you are on Facebook, you can “like” the page for an easy way to get your daily dose of word fun. So, check it out!