English is the third most spoken language in the whole world. Here are 51 interesting trivia and facts about the English Language which you probably didn’t know already.
51 Mind Blowing English Facts:
1. Can you believe that there is a word in the English language for “Day after tomorrow”?
It was “Overmorrow” and was never used.
The word Overmorrow has been listed in 1913 Webster but not in 1828 Webster. Many other dictionaries do not even list this word at all.
Interestingly, in other languages like German and Dutch, there is a single word available for “Day After Tomorrow,” and it directly translates to “Overmorrow.”
In German, übermorgen is used for “Day After Tomorrow”.
In Dutch, overmorgen is used for “Day After Tomorrow”.
2. Don’t say Goodbye if you are an atheist.
If you’re an atheist, you better stop saying Goodbyes considering you firmly believe that there is no God.
The term goodbye originated sometime between 1565 – 1575, and it was used as a contraction of “God be with you”.
3. Gift and Present
“Gift” and “Present” are basically used for the same purpose. But there is a slight difference between the two words which most people don’t know.
A present is like a gift itself, but it should be presented. Both these words are used for transfer of possession without the exchange of money.
Also both the words have different origins.
Present comes from the Old French Word present and Medieval Latin presentia.
Whereas Gift has its root in different languages like:
- Scandinavian source gipt,
- Proto-Germanic *geftiz and
- Proto-Indo-European (PIE) *ghabh
4. Nice is not nice
The word nice was originally used for describing something foolish, stupid or senseless.
Nice has its root in mainly two languages:
- Old French word nice which means “foolish, stupid or senseless”.
- Latin word nescius which means “careless, poor, weak, silly”.
Orange was not the name of the color in the English language before the English speaking world was exposed to the fruit Orange.
Until then the color Orange was referred to as Geoluhread, which was the old English word for red-yellow.
6. The last alphabet added in the English Language is not Z.
You would think Z would be the last letter to be added to the alphabets in English. But in fact, the last alphabet added in the English Language was the letter J.
J was not even a letter before and at those times Julius Caesar was called Iulius.[Source]
7. The race between Yes and No
No is the 84th most used word in English while yes stands at 486th.
8. Opposite of “Deja-Vu”
The opposite of déjà vu is known as “jamais-vu”. It clarifies the strange sense that one thing very recognizable is actually entirely new.
On the contrary, déjà vu is the overwhelming sense that something entirely new is actually very familiar.
9. “Spoonfeed” is the longest English with all its letters in reverse alphabetical order.
10. “Eunoia” is the shortest English word which contains all the five vowels.
It means “beautiful thinking”. It is also a medical term but rarely used. In medical terminology, it denotes the state of normal mental health.
11. The dot on top of the letter i and j is called “tittle”.
12. “Newsjacking” is the term used for using the current events or news to promote one’s product or brand.
13. A “contranym” is a word that has two meanings opposite of each other.
14. “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” (45 characters long) is the longest English word used in the medical field.
It is the name of an occupational lung disease (more commonly known as silicosis) resulting from inhaling crystalline silica. Although it is a manufactured English word which is created in medical science to refer to a particular disease.
15. “Antidisestablishmentarianism” is the longest natural English word which has no scientific origin.
16. The word “tragedy” is originated from the Greek word “tragoedia” which means “goat song”.
Here tragos means “goat” and oide means “song”.
17. Capital letters in modern English language are derived from an Old Roman Script used in the 3rd century AD. Lowercase letters were not invented in those times. So capital letters are used for all purposes.
18. Just like Mr. is used to address a man, Ms. is used to address a woman, “Mx.” is used to address genderqueer or non-binary people.
19. “Subbookkeeper” is the only word found in the English language which has four pairs of double letters in a row.
20. Both “Judgement” and “Judgment” have the same meanings except the longer version (with an e) is used in British English and the shorter version (without e) is used in American English.
21. Both “Everyday” and “Every Day’ are different words and have different meanings.
Everyday is an adjective. It is used to describe things that are ordinary or commonplace. Whereas Every Day is an adverbial phrase. It is used to describe something that happens each day.
22. “Eponym” are words in the English Language based on or derived from a person’s name.
23. “Boycott” is an Eponym based on an English estate manager Charles Cunningham Boycott. He imposes unfair rent practices on his tenants due to which his tenants stop harvesting crops on his land.
24. Interestingly India is the second largest English speaking country in the world after the United States of America with over 125 million English Speakers.
25. During his lifetime, Shakespeare added around 1,700 words in the English language including words like addiction, assassination, fashionable, manager, uncomfortable, etc.
26. “Noah Webster”, also known as the “Father of American Scholarship and Education” learned 26 languages including Old English and Sanskrit to write “An American Dictionary of the English Language” which later came to be known as Merriam-Webster dictionary.[Source]
27. In 1879, the Philological Society of London along with Oxford University Press started to work towards making a comprehensive English language dictionary.
They completed their task in 1928 and created Oxford English Dictionary (OED), which is one of the most respected and widely used dictionaries in the world. Thus it took almost 50 years to make Oxford English Dictionary (OED).[Source]
28. “Love” is one of the oldest English words. It has been used in English language way before year 900.
29. Today “LOL” is an acronym used for “laugh out loud”. But in the 1960s, LOL is used to describe a “little old lady” in the USA.
30. “Mesmerize” is an Eponym based on a German physician “Franz Anton Mesmer” of the late 1700s. He gave the theory of “animal magnetism”.
31. Do you know that “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” is a pangram which contains every letter of the English Language.
32. An “ambigram” is a word or words which can be read in more than one direction, either the word reads the same or will have a completely different meaning.
33. English is not the official language of the United States of America, but it is the de facto national language of USA.
34. Do you know that in every 98 minutes (or around every 2 hour), a new English word is created. It means 14.7 words are created per day.
35. With only 4 letters, the longest English word you can create is “senseless”.
36. In the English language, “time” is the most commonly used noun.
37. The difference between “Math” and “Maths” is that Math is used in American and Canadian English and Maths is used in British and Australian English.
38. The suffix -dom in English is used to denote a state, condition or status.
- Freedom: a state of being free
- Wisdom: quality of being wise
39. The shortest complete sentence in the English language is “I am” where I is the subject and am is the verb.
40. There are many words in the English language that are accidentally added in the dictionary due to various reasons like printing errors. These words are known as “Ghost Words”.
E.g. dord, syllabus, morse, phantomnation, etc.
41. The English language is not originated in England. Actually, it is a West Germanic language originated in North-West Germany and the Netherlands.
42. The word “set” in the English language holds the Guinness Book of World Records for having the highest number of definitions.
In the 2nd Edition of Oxford English Dictionary, published in 1989, the word “set” has 430 meanings.[Source]
43. The sound ‘ee’ in English can be spelled in seven different ways.
This sentence contains all the seven ways: ‘He believed Caesar could see people seizing the seas’.
44. “Subdermatoglyphic” is the longest English word that can be spelled and written without repeating any letters.
It refers to the layer of skin beneath the fingertips.
The other two longest English words that can be spelled and written without repeating any letters are “uncopyrightable” and “dermatoglyphics”.
- Uncopyrightable is something that cannot be copyrighted.
- Dermatoglyphics is the study of markings on the skin.
45. There are few words in the English language which have all the five vowels in the (a, e, i, o, u) in the correct order:
46. According to MIT, “Pad kid poured curd pulled cod” is the toughest tongue twister in the English Language.[Source]
47. The word “Aegilops” in the English language holds the Guinness Book of World Records of being the longest word in the English language with all the letters arranged in alphabetical order.[Source]
48. The term “dude” was first used in the late 1800s as an insult towards young men who were too concerned with keeping up with the latest trends.[Source]
49. The English word “infant” comes from the Latin word “infans”, which means “unable to speak” or “speechless”.[Source]
50. The English word “Hurricane” is derived from the Mayan god of wind and storms called as Jun Raqan and pronounced as “Huracan”.[Source]
51. English is considered to be the language of the skies.
In 2008, the International Civil Aviation Organization introduced language proficiency requirements. It means that those working in aviation are required to take regular tests to prove their English language proficiency.[Source]
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