Off topic: Rare type of English words
Thread poster: craigs
Local time: 12:52
English to Portuguese
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May 5, 2007

How can I resist another game?!

Several words in the English language have three sets of double letters (such as committee).

However very few have three sets that are consecutive (no letters in between them).

In fact I can think of only one.

How many do you know in either category?

If you are wondering which one I know, read the following hint.

If you don't want the hint, skim past the next line; and for your sake, it is spelled backwards.

nairarbil a ot nika

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:52
English to Arabic
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bookkeeper May 5, 2007

Wouldn't have found it without the hint though!

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Stephen Rifkind  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:52
Member (2004)
French to English
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sweettooth May 5, 2007

is the second one.

Also, skiing is the only word I know that has double i.

Stephen Rifkind

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Taxiing May 6, 2007

And don't forget the double "u" in vacuum.

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lexical  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:52
Portuguese to English
Knightsbridge May 6, 2007

Knightsbridge - the name of a district in London - is said to be the English word with the largest number of uninterrupted consonants - 6.

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Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:52
English to Dutch
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Angstschreeuw May 6, 2007

Talking about consecutive consonants - this is the Dutch winner, 8 consonants in a row. The word means 'cry of fear'.
We used to have a pretty neat one with vowels (7!) too:
koeieuier (cow's udder),
but since the spelling reform of a couple of years back, we now are supposed to write 'koeienuier', which is really bad.

Any better ones in other languages?

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:52
Member (2000)
Russian to English
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bodrstvovat May 6, 2007

The Russian word "бодрствовать" (bodrstvovat), meaning to keep awake, or keep vigil, has more consecutive consonants than any other word I know in that language; only five, but unlike Knightsbridge, they are all pronounced. There is a Russian tongue-twister: "Он бодрствовал в Пскове" (on bodrstvoval v Pskove), meaning: he kept vigil in Pskov.

[Edited at 2007-05-06 09:17]

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Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:52
German to Italian
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German and Italian May 6, 2007

As for German, Geschichtsschreibung (historiography) is the first that comes to my mind - 8 consonants in a row. I don't think any Italian word has more than 3, but the word "cuoiaio" (tanner) has no less than 6 vowels in a row

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eesegura  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:52
Spanish to English
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bookkeeping May 6, 2007

Bookkeeping (or other variations of bookkeep) is the only English word I know of that has three consecutive double letters.


Oops! - just saw the previous entry! But I didn't need the hint, as I learned this in high school. Thanks for the reminder!

[Edited at 2007-05-06 16:12]

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Jim Tucker  Identity Verified
United States
Hungarian to English
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Similar but different May 6, 2007

If memory serves, the Dutch word "tweeerlei" (of two sorts") is pretty neat, in that it has the same letter three times in a row. (Though I think it should have a diaeresis on the last e - still, it's the same letter).

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Prokop Vantuch  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 18:52
Member (2005)
English to Czech
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Strč prst skrz krk. May 7, 2007

In Czech we have this whole sentence containing only consontants. It is widely known and used as a tonguetwister.


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Language Aide Pvt. Ltd. - Translation & Interpreting Agency
Local time: 22:22
English to Hindi
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few more words with three sets of consecutive double letters May 7, 2007


Also, I have heard that TAXI is spelled the same way in at least 14 languages: English, Hindi, French, German, Swedish, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, Czech, Slovak, Portuguese, Urdu. any other language in this row?

Language Aide

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Zamira*****  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 19:52
English to Uzbek
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One more from 'committee' type May 7, 2007

craigs wrote:

How many do you know in either category?


Actually two so far. The second is 'aggressiveness'.

[Edited at 2007-05-07 11:12]

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Nadine Kahn  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:52
English to German
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I'm not sure... May 7, 2007

... but I think some of the words you've mentioned need a hyphen in between.

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