Fun with Words!

March 20, 2007

It’s true that Dash Hammerskjold’s pillow talk sometimes involves homophones. While we’ve already covered the greatest homophone group ever (the mysterious miner, minor, mynah), today’s 1st group contains four words, and is thus worthy of some sort of web recognition: peak, peek, peke, pique. The only one of these that may cause confusion, I reckon, is “peke” which is a shortened form of the dog variety Pekinese. Unlike Pekinese, which can be used as a noun or an adj, “peke” can only be used as a noun. Such are the beauties of syncope.

I stumbled upon our second homophone group whilst attempting to discover if the OED did indeed render “good” for bad, thus making Bad an auto-antonym. While the OED thankfully does not give this definition, it did lead me to two wonderful pieces of information.

1) a homophone group: bad, bad/badde (obs.) Apparently a “badde” was a type of cat, although the OED isn’t sure about that: “? A cat.”

2) the OED has a bunch of March 2007 draft revisions to the entry, “bad, a. (and n.)” including this one, “bad hair day: colloq. (orig. U.S.), a day on which one’s hair is particularly unmanageable; (freq. in extended use) a day on which everything seems to go wrong; a period (not necessarily a day) in which one feels unusually agitated, dissatisfied, or self-conscious, esp. about one’s appearance or performance.” The first quote comes from 1987. I’m anti the inclusion of this definition as I think the meaning is pretty self-evident, and unless they include Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as its own entry, we should not further sully our language with this included phrase.