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Diabolically Arcane

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4 March, 2011

To wrap up a manic week at DA Central, with gypsy spells and mangled movies for company, let’s turn to Alison. This keen solver issued a challenge a few weeks back, that still bugs me – in the best way. See what you make of it:

I’ve always had an interest in language…and have a word question to which I have been unable to find the answer. Like synonym and homophone, I believe there is a similar correct term for words which sound like their meaning. I don’t mean onomatopeia – some sort of “nym” or “phone”. Do you know?

When I asked Alison for examples, she offered the likes of ooze and sludge and greasy, though I prefer flint [which bizarrely almost looks and sounds flinty], or gumption, somehow. Or am I insane?

Alison also mused on hiphop – the word – and wondered if there’s not a linguistic term for this pseudo-semi-onomatopoeic thingummy. And if not, can we invent one?

So there’s your Friday challenge: what words belong on Alison’s list of not-quite-but-sorta sound-like words, and what do we call such varmints? All oozy ideas welcome.

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Text-speak is creeping into Scrabble. Where do you sit?
OBVS I'm fine with it
Entrenched stuff - like LOL and OMG - but no more.
Words With Friends, maybe. Scrabble, no
Let the 'real' dictionaries decide first
Just the handy stuff, like FAQ and EUW
I mean, WTF?! No way
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