Weekend Word Wrap

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Today's Weekend Word Wrap is mostly inspired by a suggestion we received from a reader named Kelsie, who writes that we should do something on the word "Pip," which, it turns out, is one of those rare words that has 10 or more meanings, almost all unrelated to each other.

Besides that Alabama boy called Pip in Moby Dick, a Pip can be:

  • Any of the small segments that make up the surface of a pineapple.
  • The black spot on a die or domino
  • The small seed of a fruit, as that of an apple or orange
  • A disease of birds
  • A short, high-pitched radio signal.

And those are just the nouns! Most of us are familiar with homophones, but did you know that words that have the same spelling yet multiple meanings are called homographs?

Well-known homographs would be words like close, read, relay, and bow. For a complete list, check out Rick Sutcliffe's extraordinary Opundo site.

And thanks to Kelsie for the "pip tip" and the inspiration. We enjoyed hearing from you.

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July 21, 2006 - 1:36pm
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