abcdarium of wordplay

  • A is for Austen
    "Jane Austen and other famous authors violate what everyone learned in their English class"

  • B is for Brain Food
    a "devious collection of puzzles ... ranging from word games to logic problems to riddles"

  • C is for clichés and more clichés

  • D is for dictionary
    Oxford English Dictionary (OED): "It is an unsurpassed guide to the meaning, history, and pronunciation of over half a million words, both present and past. It traces the usage of words through 2.5 million quotations from a wide range of international English language sources, from classic literature and specialist periodicals to film scripts and cookery books." The OED site includes the word of the day by e-mail and how to contribute to the OED.

  • E is for Ethnologue
    languages of the world

  • F is for Focal an Lae
    the word of the day in Irish

  • G is for A Gadzillion Things To Think About
    over 11,000 questions

  • H is for halomancy and hydromancy
    types of divination from a (aeromancy) to z (zoomancy)

  • I is for I, Rearrangement Servant
    Internet Anagram Server

  • J is for James Joyce
    this article about translating Ulysses into Chinese notes that "Joyce himself was a gifted linguist who spent his working life as an instructor of languages."

  • K is for keutru
    keutru is a word in verlan, a French language game of "permuting syllables of words to create slang words"

  • L is for Languagehat
    a blog on language/linguistics

  • M is for The Miracle of Language by Malia Knezek
    "One particularly interesting field within the nature-nurture debate that has drawn heated testimony from both sides is language acquisition."

  • N is for names
    the site Behind the Name explores the "the etymology and history of first names"

  • O is for Omniglot
    a guide to writing systems including alphabetic, syllabic, logographic, undeciphered, and alternative systems

  • P is for pseudodictionary
    "the place where words you've made up can become part of an actual online dictionary!"

  • Q is for Quotez
    over 13,500 quotations indexed by subject and author

  • R is for rhetorical terms
    from alliteration to zeugma

  • S is for "software that can translate languages..."
    doesn't always "program common sense"

  • T is for Turns of Phrase
    "words that are relatively new and which often have not yet reached the dictionaries"

  • U is for Universal Language of Color
    "Armed with the standardized language of color, the researchers at the National Bureau of Standards reviewed a number of color atlases and mapped their names onto the centroids. The result is a fascinating dictionary of color terms. Ever wondered exactly what color London Fog was? Celestial yellow? Rembrandt's Madder?"

  • V is for Visual Thesaurus
    "The Visual Thesaurus takes a unique, and remarkably beautiful, approach to presenting the results of a word lookup. Discover and learn from nearly 140,000 words, meanings and relationships." (site)
    "Inventive. Imaginative. Ingenious. Fanciful." (The New York Times)

  • W is for Word Spy
    "This Web site is devoted to lexpionage, the sleuthing of new words and phrases."

  • X is for
    1683 glossaries in several languages

  • Y is for
    dictionaries, glossaries, courses, gameroom, endangered languages and more

  • Z is for A Zillion Troubles
    naming numbers


    all quotes taken from the web sites cited unless otherwise stated


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    The abcdarium was completed on 25 July 2004.