Common Most Interesting Vocabulary Questions for Exams Part 1

Doorsteptutor material for competitive exams is prepared by world's top subject experts: get questions, notes, tests, video lectures and more- for all subjects of your exam.

Are There Any English Words with Two U՚s in a Row?

Answer

There are several English words containing two consecutive u՚s. Most of them came into English from Latin:

  • vacuum = a space
  • continuum = a continuous sequence
  • residuum = a chemical residue
  • menstruum = the matter discharged during menstruation
  • triduum = a three-day period of religious observance in the Catholic Church
  • duumvir = each of a pair of magistrates holding joint office in ancient Rome
  • duumvirate = a coalition of two people having joint authority
  • All but the first two words on this list are quite rare, though, or are only likely to be encountered in specialist contexts. There are also a couple of other words containing two u՚s in a row that have come into English from other languages:
    • muumuu = a loose dress of a kind traditionally worn in Hawaii (from Hawaiian)
    • Weltanschauung = the world view of a particular individual or group (from German)

Are There Any Words That Rhyme with “Orange” ?

Answer

Orange has almost no perfect rhymes. The only word in the 20-volume historical Oxford English Dictionary that rhymes with orange is sporange, a very rare alternative form of sporangium (a botanical term for a part of a fern or similar plant) . Silver is another word for which it is almost impossible to find a perfect rhyme: the only candidate is the rare word chilver, which the 20-volume Oxford English Dictionary defines as ‘a ewe-lamb’ (i.e.. a female lamb) . Both orange and silver do have half-rhymes, though: the Oxford Rhyming Dictionary gives lozenge as a half-rhyme for orange, for example, and salver as a half-rhyme for silver.

what՚s the difference between a full rhyme and a half-rhyme? A full and stressed rhyme (e. g. hand/stand) or even an unstressed rhyme (such as handing/standing) contain vowels that are common to both words, while a half-rhyme like orange/lozenge or silver/salver has obvious differences between the vowels in certain syllables. The technical term for a half-rhyme is ‘pararhyme’ .

Are There Any Words Which Use All Five Vowels Next to Each Other?

Answer

There aren՚t any such words in common use, though the 20-volume historical Oxford English Dictionary does contain the word Rousseauian meaning ‘relating to the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau or his views on religion, politics, education, etc.’

The more familiar words queuing/queueing contain clusters of vowels but there՚s no letter ‘a’ among them.

Some words which come from Greek also contain several vowels strung together, for example pharmacopoeia or onomatopoeic, but none contain all five vowels with no consonants in between.

Are There Any Words with the Same Letter Three Times in a Row?

Answer

The answer is not really, because the usual rules of English spelling outlaw triple letters. We put hyphens in words that contain three of the same letters in a row, so as to break the letters up, e. g. bee-eater, bell-like, cross-section, cross-subsidize, joss-stick, and shell-less. A person who flees is a fleer, not a fleeer, and someone who sees is a seeer, not a seer. Chaffinches used to be called chaff finches, but when the two words were merged, one of the letter ′ f ′ s was dropped. That said, written representations of noises often contain triple letters, such as brrr, shhh, and zzz.

Do Any Words Have All Five Vowels in Order?

Answer

The two most common ones are abstemious ‘indulging only moderately in food and drink’ , and facetious ‘treating serious issues with inappropriate humour’ . OxfordDictionaries. com also contains the chemical term arsenious ‘relating to arsenic with a valency of three’ , while the 20-volume historical Oxford English Dictionary includes abstentious ‘abstinent’ as well as the rare botanical and zoological terms acheilous ‘having one or both lips absent’ , anemious ‘growing in windy situations’ , caesious ‘bluish or greyish green’ , and annelidous ‘belonging to the phylum Annelida’ .

Does Bimonthly Mean “Twice a Month” or “Every Two Months” ?

Answer

Unfortunately it means both! In the publishing industry, though, it՚s used fairly consistently to mean ‘every two months’ , so that a bimonthly magazine is generally one that՚s issued every two months. The same ambiguity affects biweekly and biyearly. If you want to be absolutely clear, it՚s best to use a phrase such as ‘twice a week’ or ‘every two years’ .

How Many is a Billion?

Answer

In British English, a billion used to be equivalent to a million million (i.e.. 1, 000, 000,000, 000) , while in American English it has always equated to a thousand million (i.e.. 1, 000,000, 000) . British English has now adopted the American figure, though, so that a billion equals a thousand million in both varieties of English.

The same sort of change has taken place with the meaning of trillion. In British English, a trillion used to mean a million million million (i.e.. 1, 000, 000, 000, 000,000, 000) . Nowadays, it՚s generally held to be equivalent to a million million (1, 000, 000,000, 000) , as it is in American English.

The same evolution can be seen with quadrillion and quintillion. In British English, a quadrillion used to mean a thousand raised to the power of eight () , and is now understood to be a thousand raised to the power of five () . A quintillion, in British English, used to mean a million raised to the power of five () , and is now most commonly held to be a thousand raised to the power of six () .

Even higher are sextillion, septillion, octillion, nonillion, and decillion, some of which are not common enough to be included in OxfordDictionaries. com yet.

Other terms follow the same linguistic pattern (ending with -illion) but do not refer to precise numbers. These include jillion, zillion, squillion, gazillion, kazillion, bajillion, and bazillion. All of these words are used informally to refer to an extremely or indefinitely large number.

Is ‘Bookkeeper’ the Only English Word with Three Consecutive Repeated Letters?

Answer

It isn՚t the only word of this kind, but it՚s the only one in which removing the hyphen and merging the two words is a practical option. If you took the hyphens out of words like hoof-footed or sweet-toothed, for example, you՚d be left with the off-putting and fairly unrecognizable forms hoof footed and sweet toothed.