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Weird English Words 

2 min read
13 April 2021
30+ Toronto Gallery Classroom

There are many weird English words. The English Language is not a phonetic language, which means letters aren’t always pronounced consistently and – unless a word has been borrowed from another language – it does not contain accents to help with intonation.  

The English language is a combination of a West Germanic language, which was introduced into a Celtic speaking country, with influences from Latin and French. With the impact from all of these sources, there are some pretty strange words for you to learn, as a result.  



This means “third from last”. It is a word of Latin origins, which makes a little more sense when you break it down. “Ultima” means ultimate, which is a lot more commonly used. “Paene” is roughly translated as “almost” in latin and “ante” means “before”. So the direct translation is “before the almost last” option. Use this if you want to impress people.  



With all the vowels in this word, it can be quite a mouthful. Onomatopoeia is a word that describes other words in the English language which represent a sound. Think of comic books with “BAM”, “POW”, “CRASH”. When you are saying the sound, you are almost emulating the sound which you are describing.  



Hyperbole (pronounced “hi-per-bowl-ee") can catch people, as the way it is written lookes like it should end sounding “bowl”. It is actually of Ancient Greek origin and is used to describe when someone exaggerates to an extreme degree to make a point. For example “I’ve been waiting in line for a million years”. We know the person hasn’t been there that long, but it demonstrates to us that they’ve been there longer than they’d perhaps have liked.  


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If you can’t be bothered to read this, it might be referring to you. Lackadaisical refers to someone who lacks the determination or drive to do something. Someone who is lazy. It's quite unique in its spelling, despite being of English in origin.  



It seems the letters are lining up to be in this word ;) This word refers to when people line up behind one another waiting to be served or to move ahead. It is strange because you could just spell it “que” and, in English, say it how it sounds – the extra “ue” are redundant.  


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