Q: What words have an exceptional number of letters per syllable?

A:

longest for each number of syllables

one SCRAUNCHED (10) [SQUIRRELLED (11)? two SCRATCHBRUSHED (14) one, for each letter ARCHED, BROUGHAMS, CRAUNCHED, DRAUGHTS,

EARTHED, FLINCHED, GROUCHED, HAUNCHED, ITCHED, JOUNCED, KNIGHTS, LAUNCHED, MOOCHED, NAUGHTS, OINKED, PREACHED, QUETCHED, REACHED, SCRAUNCHED, THOUGHTS, UMPHS, VOUCHED, WREATHED, XYSTS, YEARNED, ZOUAVES

two, for each letter ARCHFIENDS, BREAKTHROUGHS, CLOTHESHORSE,

DRAUGHTBOARDS, EARTHTONGUES, FLAMEPROOFED, GREATHEART, HAIRSBREADTHS, INTHRALLED, JUNETEENTHS, KNICKKNACKS, LIGHTWEIGHTS, MOOSETONGUES, NIGHTCLOTHES, OUTSTRETCHED, PLOUGHWRIGHTS, QUICKTHORNS, ROUGHSTRINGS, SCRATCHBRUSHED, THROATSTRAPS, UNSTRETCHED, VERSESMITHS, WHERETHROUGH, XANTHINES, YOURSELVES, ZEITGEISTS

shortest for each number of syllables

two AA (2) three AREA (4) [O'IO (3)? four IEIE (4) five OXYOPIA (7) six ONIOMANIA (9) [AMIOIDEI (8)? seven EPIDEMIOLOGY (12) [OMOHYOIDEI (10)? eight EPIZOOTIOLOGY (13) nine EPIZOOTIOLOGICAL (16) ten EPIZOOTIOLOGICALLY (18) twelve HUMUHUMUNUKUNUKUAPUAA (21)

-- I think I remember that in the 1940's, a linguist (may have actually been Whorf?) concluded that the longest English syllable in terms of sounds (phonemes) -- not letters -- was "thou triumphedst" (presumably based on a pronunciation of it as [traimpftst?). Of course, this involves some cheating (relying on fast speech coalescence of two syllables into one, using archaic 1600's ending, etc.), but it's cute in its way...

Henry Churchyard churchh@usa.net http://www.crossmyt.com/hc/ --

**** All unbracketed words occur in Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Springfield, MA, 1961.

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