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17 Vowel-Free Words Acceptable in 'Words With Friends'

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Don’t be down about your next panel of consonants. Instead, take the challenge as an opportunity to show off your newly acquired vowel-free vocabulary.

Three-Letter Words

BRR – The way you tell people that it’s super chilly and the way you tell your WWF opponents that you don’t care what they think of you.

CWM – Oh, boy - pronounced “koom,” it’s another name for a “cirque,” which is a bowl-shaped mountain basin often containing a lake.

HMM – Accepted (in addition to “hm”) as a sound of contemplation. When you’re thinking just a wee bit harder, it’s “hmm” instead of “hm.”

NTH – Having the quality of being the last in a series of infinitely increasing or decreasing values. (As in, “the nth degree.”)

PHT – An interjection used to signify mild annoyance or disagreement.

SHH – Also accepted (in addition to “sh”) as a means of urging someone to be quiet.

TSK – An interjection often used in quick repetition (see “tsks,” “tsktsk” and “tsktsks” below) to express contempt or disdain.

Four-Letter Words

BRRR – I really don’t know. I guess it’s just THAT cold.

PFFT – An interjection used to express that something is dying or fizzling out.

PSST – An interjection used to attract someone’s attention.

CWMS – The plural form of the bogus word I showed you earlier.

TSKS – Plural of “tsk.”

Five-Letter Words

CRWTH – Pronounced “krooth,” it’s an ancient Celtic musical instrument. Also called a "crowd."

PHPHT – This one presents a troubling case. Its playability appears to be legitimate, but its definition remains elusive. As far as I can tell, it's either, like “pht,” an interjection expressing mild anger or annoyance, or a shortened version of phenolphthalein (pronounced fee-nawl-thal-een), which, as we all know, is a colorless crystalline compound used in medicine as a laxative and chemistry as an indicator.

Six-Letter Words

CRWTHS – More than one crwth.

TSKTSK – See “tsk” above. Oh, for shame.

Seven-Letter Words

TSKTSKS – See “tsk” and its many variations above. Tsktsks is the longest word in the English language with no vowels but its play in WWF is only possible should you elect to use a blank tile as the second ‘K,’ since there is only one ‘K’ tile per game.

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'Froyo,' 'Troll,' and 'Sriracha' Added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
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Looking for the right word to describe the time you spend drinking before heading out to a party, or a faster way to say “frozen yogurt?" Merriam-Webster is here to help. The 189-year-old English vocabulary giant has just added 250 new words and definitions to their online dictionary, including pregame and froyo.

New words come and go quickly, and it’s Merriam-Webster’s job to keep tabs on the terms that have staying power. “As always, the expansion of the dictionary mirrors the expansion of the language, and reaches into all the various cubbies and corners of the lexicon,” they wrote in their announcement.

Froyo is just one of the recent additions to come from the culinary world. Bibimbap, a Korean rice dish; choux pastry, a type of dough; and sriracha, a Thai chili sauce that’s been around for decades but has just recently exploded in the U.S., are now all listed on Merriam-Webster's website.

Of course, the internet was once again a major contributor to this most recent batch of words. Some new terms, like ransomware (“malware that requires the victim to pay a ransom to access encrypted files”) come from the tech world, while words like troll ("to harass, criticize, or antagonize [someone] especially by provocatively disparaging or mocking public statements, postings, or acts”) were born on social media. Then there’s the Internet of Things, a concept that shifts the web off our phones and computers and into our appliances.

Hive mind, dog whistle, and working memory are just a few of the new entries to receive the Merriam-Webster stamp of approval. To learn more about how some words make it into the dictionary while others get left out, check these behind-the-scenes secrets of dictionary editors.

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How New Words Become Mainstream
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If you used the words jeggings, muggle, or binge-watch in a sentence 30 years ago, you would have likely been met with stares of confusion. But today these words are common enough to hold spots in the Oxford English Dictionary. Such lingo is a sign that English, as well as any other modern language, is constantly evolving. But the path a word takes to enter the general lexicon isn’t always a straightforward one.

In the video below, TED-Ed lays out how some new words become part of our everyday speech while others fade into obscurity. Some words used by English speakers are borrowed from other languages, like mosquito (Spanish), avatar (Sanskrit), and prairie (French). Other “new” words are actually old ones that have developed different meanings over time. Nice, for example, used to only mean silly, foolish, or ignorant, and meat was used as blanket term to describe any solid food given to livestock.

The internet alone is responsible for a whole new section of our vocabulary, but even the words most exclusive to the web aren’t always original. For instance, the word meme was first used by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene.

To learn more about the true origins of the words we use on a regular basis, check out the full story from TED-Ed below.

[h/t TED-Ed]


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