Category Archives: Trivia

Types of Anagrams

alex atkins bookshelf wordsAn anagram is one of the most popular forms of word play that recombines all the letters of a word or phrase to create a new word or phrase. For example, “inch” is an anagram of “chin.” The anagram, of course, is at the heart of board games like Scrabble, Clabbers, Boggle, and Bananagrams and puzzles like Jumble and Cryptic Crosswords. But did you know that anagram mists have actually coined specific words for specific types of anagrams? So if you want to show off your word scrambling skills, here are the various types of anagrams.

ambigram: an anagram that is ambiguously the opposite of the original phrase
Example: the nuclear regulatory commission = your rules clone atomic nightmares

antigram: an anagram that is the antonym of the original word or phrase
Examples: violence = nice love; fluster = restful; Santa = Satan; united = untied

pairagram: an anagram where the words are linked in meaning or form a sentence
Examples: Elvis = lives; dormitory = dirty room; the Morse code = here come the dots

semordnilap: an anagram that is the reverse spelling of a word that spells a real word (the reverse spelling of palindromes)
Examples: desserts = stressed; diaper = repaid

synanagram: an anagram that is a synonym of the original word
Examples: angered = enraged; statement = testament; evil = vile

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Read related posts: Levidrome: The Word That Launched a Thousand Erroneous Stories
What is a Semordnilap?
What is a Phantonym?
What is the Longest Word in English Language?
Word Oddities: Fun with Vowels

What is an Abecedarian Insult?
Difficult Tongue Twisters
Rare Anatomy Words
What Rhymes with Orange?
Words with Letters in Alphabetical Order

For further reading: The Game of Words by Willard Espy
Oddities and Curiosities of Words and Literature by C. C. Tombaugh edited and annotated by Martin Gardner
A Word of Day by Anu Garg
Wordplay: A Curious Dictionary of Language Oddities by Chris Cole
The Dictionary of Wordplay by Dave Morice


What is the Most Rejected Book of All Time?

alex atkins bookshelf books“Tis a lesson you should heed, try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” When American educator Thomas Palmer wrote that in the Teacher’s Manual (1840), he was encouraging schoolchildren to finish their homework. But that same adage is perfectly true for aspiring writers who will receive their share of rejections slips from publishers and agents. Some of the greatest writers have received rejection slips: D. H. Lawrence, Herman Melville, Vladimir Nabokov, George Orwell, Marcel Proust, Kurt Vonnegut — to name just a few.

Of course, this discussion invites the question: what is the most rejected book of all time? Technically, that would be a book that has never been published — and there are thousands of those. But let’s limit the question to a book that was eventually published. According to the folks at LitHub, the author that holds the records for receiving the most rejections for a book is American science fiction writer Richard Samuel “Dick” Wimmer for Irish Wine (the first part of the Irish Wine Trilogy). He was 28 years old when he wrote it, but it took more than 25 years — and 162 rejections — until it was finally published in 1989 (by then, Wimmer was 53 years old).

In second place is Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen. Canfield’s manuscript received 144 rejections from publishers. Of course, the book became a phenomenal best-seller and launched a very lucrative brand and franchise. Dig this: the Chicken Soup books have sold more than 130 million copies. Responding to the sea of rejections he received, Canfield wrote: “If we had given up after 100 publishers, I likely would not be where I am now. I encourage you to reject rejection. If someone says no, just say ‘next!'”

Not far behind is Robert Pirsig’s classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. That philosophical work received 121 rejections. Fortunately for Pirsig, he persevered, and the book went on to become a bestseller and cult classic, selling millions of copies. Who says success isn’t the best revenge?

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Read related posts: Famous Authors Who Were Rejected by Publishers
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Daily Rituals of Writers: William Faulkner
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The Daily Word Quotas of Famous Authors
Random Fascinating Facts About Authors
Words Invented by Famous Authors

For further reading: http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/23/local/la-me-dick-wimmer-20110523
https://www.facebook.com/JackCanfieldFan/posts/10153285514315669
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_best-selling_books


How Many Synonyms Are There for Drunk?

alex atkins bookshelf wordsThe English language has thousands of synonyms for “drunk.” Lexicographer, Stuart Flexner, in his book I Hear America Talking, believes that since people get drunk for various reasons, affecting them in different way, the English language has simply developed synonyms to reflect the wide gamut of feelings and reactions. The first to record all the colorful terms for drunkenness was Benjamin Franklin, who included 228 terms in the Drinker’s Dictionary published in 1737. Apparently the colonists were so prone to inebriation, they required their own dictionary to know what they should be called by their spouses and friends. Several other editors and writers created their own expanded lists over the years; however, lexicographer Paul Dickson, bested them all, when he set the Guinness Book of World Records for most synonyms for a word in 1983, listing 2,660 terms for drunkenness. Later in 2009, he published Drunk: the Definitive Drinker’s Dictionary in 2006, listing a staggering (pun intended) 2,964 synonyms for drunk. Word lovers throughout the world — even the priggish editors of the OED — celebrated by getting bombed, loaded, trashed, hammered, soused, buzzed, blottered, marinated, liquefied, wasted, smashed … You get the point.

In 2002, the BBC One’s Booze program asked its audience to submit euphemisms for “drunk.” They headed to their local pubs, got sufficiently sloshed, and then contributed more than 141 euphemisms for drunk. For example, here are their synonyms for “drunk” beginning with the letter B: badgered, banjaxed, battered, befuggered, bernard langered, bladdered, blasted, blathered, bleezin, blitzed, blootered, blottoed, bluttered, boogaloo, brahms & liszt, buckled, and burlin.

To that list, perhaps they should add “blue-eyed.” Seems that in 2017, researchers at the University of Vermont discovered this sobering fact: people with light-colored eyes (specifically, blue, green or gray) are more likely than those with dark eyes to have high rates of alcohol dependence. However, their study indicated that this relationship was correlational, not causal. That is to say, the researchers found a statistically significant interaction between the genes that determine eye color and genes associated with alcohol dependence — certainly a great topic for conversation among a group of inebriated folks hanging out at a bar.

SHARE THE LOVE: If you enjoyed this post, please help expand the Bookshelf community by sharing with a friend or with your readers. Cheers.

Read related posts: The Colorful Language of Roadside Diners
Colorful Victorian Slang
Words That Sound Naughty But Are Not

For further reading: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1883481.stm
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/01/blue-eyes-alcoholic-light-colored-eyes_n_7705806.html
http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20170130-english-has-3000-words-for-being-drunk


Have You Geminated Recently?

alex atkins bookshelf wordsAlthough geminate, as a verb or adjective, is not often used, it happens quite frequently. Here’s a clue to its meaning: the word is derived from the Latin geminatus, which in turn is derived from geminus (meaning “twin”, as in Gemini). So when we say that somethings are geminate, we mean that these items come in pairs: eg, the following things are geminate: eyes, ears, shoes, headphones, earrings, chromosomes, gloves — you get the picture. The term is frequently used in phonetics to describe a person who pronounces a compound word as two distinct words, eg, “head phones” (rather than “headphones”) or “book shelf” (rather than “bookshelf”). Let us turn to the verb form. When we geminate, we are pairing something, that is to say, we are putting two items together to make a pair. So if you have recently done laundry, you have geminated — you have put socks together in pairs; you have geminated your socks. Or if you have put away your shoes, by pairing them in your closet, you have geminated your shoes.

SHARE THE LOVE: If you enjoyed this post, please help expand the Bookshelf community by sharing with a friend or with your readers. Cheers.

Read related posts: How Long Does it Take to Read a Million Words?
How Many Words in the English Language?
How Many Words Does the Average Person Speak in a Lifetime?

Rare Anatomy Words
Words Oddities: Fun with Vowels
What Rhymes with Orange

Obscure Scrabble Words


The Most Wicked Freudian Slip in the Bible

alex atkins bookshelf booksIn the Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Sigmund Freud (“Siggy” to his friends) introduced the concept of Freudian slips: a verbal or memory mistake that is caused by a subconscious thought. It is often referred to as a slip of the tongue. For example, during a televised speech on C-SPAN, Senator Ted Kennedy was discussing education and uttered this titillating line: “Our national interest ought to be to encourage the breast and the brightest.” What he meant to say, was “the best” not “the breast.” Freud would say that this gaffe reveals what Kennedy was actually thinking about subconsciously — and of course, being a Kennedy… boys will be boys. More recently, in June 2018, during an interview on CNN’s New Day, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, Queen of Alternative Facts, said this: “Just so we’re clear: and the problem with the president of the United States and the Commander of Cheese — chief — expressing that opinion, is exactly what?” Freud would say that this egregious, and rather delicious, verbal slip-up reveals her subconscious feelings toward the President, considering him to be cheesy, i.e., inauthentic. Or perhaps she was thinking of swiss cheese, full of holes.

But in the world of print, perhaps the most famous—and most wicked—Freudian slip occurs in the 1631 Bible, published by Robert Barker and Martin Lucas, who were the royal printers in London. It was meant to be a reprint of the 1611 King James Bible but the compositor (the tradesman who arranged each cast metal letter on a composing stick) must have had adultery on his mind when he was working on the ten commandments. In this edition of the Bible (known as the Wicked Bible, Adulterous Bible, or the Sinner’s Bible — although it should also be known as the Politician’s Bible) the 7th commandment reads: “Thou shalt commit adultery.” as opposed to “Thou shalt not commit adultery.” Oops. The compositor was caught with his pants down, so to speak. This egregious blunder, a classic Freudian slip, was also missed by the corrector, the person employed to review the typecast forms and initial printed proofs. As you can imagine, that mistake caused quite a scandal in England. The King, Charles I, and Archbishop of Canterbury, George Abbot, threw epic hissy fits. The printers were hauled into court, fined heavily, and had their printing license revoked.

So what happened to the Wicked Bibles? As soon as the error was discovered, all the evil Bibles  were collected and burned. However, dare we say miraculously, a few errant copies made their way to the open market. The Wicked Bible is extremely rare, and thus very valuable — worth about $100,000 (but of course, not as valuable as a first edition Gutenberg Bible, worth more than $30 million). Only a few museums or libraries have a copy of the Wicked Bible; those include the British Library, the New York Public Library, and the Dunham Bible Museum. Since most people do not want to see the Good Book commanding this sort of moral depravity, the Wicked Bible is rarely displayed.

SHARE THE LOVE: If you enjoyed this post, please help expand the Bookshelf community by sharing with a friend or with your readers. Cheers.

Read related posts: Does the Bible Contain a Pangram?
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The Most Expensive American Book
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Book Titles Based on Line from the Bible

For further reading: Just My Typo by Drummond Moir
http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/004057368003700311
https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-a-freudian-slip-2795851
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/06/06/kellyanne-conway-commander-in-cheese-628689
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201203/slips-the-tongue


What is the Worst Color to Wear to a Job Interview?

alex atkins bookshelf educationIf you are going to a job interview, most people are guided by two timeless maxims: “Dress for success” and “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” We can thank John Molloy, author of the best-selling book Dress for Success (1975), for popularizing the expression and the concept of “power dressing,” i.e., dressing like you are already successful and have the job. And we can thank film star and social commentator Will Rogers for the second adage. At bottom, both of these sayings reinforce the notion that in the real world, especially in the competitive business world, people are judged by the way they present themselves — more specifically, by the way they dress. Darlene Price, author of Well Said! Presentations and Conversations That Get Results, reviewing extensive research on first impressions states “Clothing plus communication skills determine whether or not others will comply with your request, trust you with information, give you access to decision makers, pay you a certain salary or fee for contracted business, hire you, or purchase your products and services.” Well said!

In the interest of finding the best and worst colors to wear to a job interview, CareerBuilder asked over 2,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals to discuss how they perceived different colors worn by job seekers. Let us begin at the bottom of the list; that is to say, the worst color to wear to a job interview. Can you make a guess? Overwhelmingly, survey respondents indicated that orange was the worst color to wear to a job interview. Sorry, orange is not the new black. Orange is well… the old orange. They considered orange to be loud, attention-seeking, and inappropriate in formal business settings. Other colors to avoid include: green, yellow, and purple.

Here are the colors that hiring managers and HR professionals recommended for a more favorably-viewed job interview, ranked in order of preference:

Blue: conveys trust, confidence, and suggests person is a team player

Black: conveys sophistication, seriousness, and exclusivity

Gray: conveys that person is independent and self-sufficient

White: conveys that person is well organized and careful

Brown: communicates warmth, safety, reliability, and dependability

Red: conveys power, passion, excitement, and courage

SHARE THE LOVE: If you enjoyed this post, please help expand the Bookshelf community by sharing with a friend or with your readers. Cheers.

Read related posts: What is the Origin of “Clothes Make the Man”?
What Rhymes with Orange?
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Day Job of Famous Writers
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For further reading: https://www.businessinsider.com/how-your-clothing-impacts-your-success-2014-8
https://www.businessinsider.com/best-and-worst-colors-to-wear-to-job-interview-2013-11


What is Most Covered Song of All Time?

alex atkins bookshelf musicSome songs are so admired by fellow musicians that they can help but honor it by recording it, adding their own spin to the famous song. Some of the covers are inspired, some are dubious, and some are outright disasters. Of course, purists always prefer the original song. Hey, why mess with a classic? So what is the most covered or recorded song of all time? Think Beatles. Have you guessed it? Here is the first verse: “Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they’re here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday.” That’s it — “Yesterday,” which was released in 1965 on the album Help!

In the song, the narrator/singer regrets something he said to his loved one that leads to their breakup. Musicians must really dig sad love songs, because “Yesterday” has been covered more than 2,200 times! The song’s melody popped into Paul McCartney head while he was sleeping. When he woke up, he rushed to the piano and played it to make sure he wouldn’t forget it. Later he and John Lennon developed the lyrics we all recognize today. So before the song had lyrics and a title it was simply referred to as “Scrambled Eggs.” In terms of royalties, the BBC reported that as of 2012, the Beatles’ “Yesterday” had earned more than $25 million! Who knew that a lover’s lament could be so lucrative?

SHARE THE LOVE: If you enjoyed this post, please help expand the Bookshelf community by sharing with a friend or with your readers. Cheers.

Read related posts: Who is Major Tom in the Bowie Songs?
The Meaning of I Dreamed a Dream
Origin of the Beatles Name
How Rock Bands Got Their Names
The Most Misinterpreted Songs
Best Books for Music Lovers

The Best Books About The Beatles

For further reading: The Beatles Lyrics: The Stories Behind the Music, Including the Handwritten Drafts of More Than 100 Classic Beatles Songs by Hunter Davies (2015)
All The Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release by Philippe Margotin (2013)
A Hard Day’s Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song by Steve Turner (2005)
From Me To You: Songs the Beatles Covered and Songs They Gave Away by Brian Southall (2014)
100 Best Beatles Songs by Stephen Spines and Michael Lewis (2004)


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