Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

etymology

 

How solid is your knowledge of nations and their legacies to the world?

Where do Labrador Retrievers and Great Danes come from? Where else but Newfoundland and Germany?

Where are the West Indies located? In the Caribbean, not off the west coast of India.

In what country did the Pennsylvania Dutch originate? Germany. Dutch was originally Deutsch, the German word for “German.”

French fries were invented in Belgium. Frenching simply describes a method of cutting vegetables into long strips. Arabic numerals were invented in India. The English horn is an alto oboe from France. Russian dressing did not originate in Russia but in the U.S. of A.

Danish pastry originated in Vienna, Austria, the Turkish bath in Rome, Swiss steak in England, India ink in China and Egypt, Panama hats in Ecuador, Dresden china in Meissen, Chinese gooseberries in New Zealand, Jordan almonds in Spain, and Jerusalem artichokes in North and South America — and they’re tubers, not artichokes.

How are refried beans made? Despite the name, refried beans are not fried twice. Frijoles refritos actually means “well fried,” not “refried.”

Long ago, you discovered that there is no ham in a hamburger. In fact, if someone ever invents a bulky roll with a ham patty inside, we’ll have a hard time coming up with a name for it.

Not only is there no ham in a hamburger. There’s no butter in buttermilk, no egg in eggplant, no chocolate in white chocolate and no straw in a strawberry. The strawberry is not a berry; but tomatoes, bananas, peppers, eggplant, kiwis and watermelons are. A lychee nut is not a nut but a fruit of the soapberry family.

A pineapple consists neither of pine nor apple. Welsh rabbit, often called Welsh rarebit, is a meatless dish whose primary ingredient is melted cheese. An egg cream contains neither eggs nor cream. Its ingredients are milk, chocolate syrup, and a jet of seltzer water. Shortbread is a thick cookie, and a sweetbread is not sweet and not bread. It’s from a calf’s or lamb’s pancreas or thymus.

Bombay duck is a fish. A sweetmeat isn’t meat; it’s a candied fruit. Lemon sole is a flounder, not a sole, and it is not necessarily prepared with lemon. Although breadfruit resembles bread in texture and color when baked, it contains no bread. Cold duck is the poor man’s champagne. Apple butter contains apples, sugar and spices — but no butter. Grape-Nuts contains wheat and malted barley, not grapes or nuts. Plum pudding usually contains raisins, currants, or other fruits, but almost never plums.

Now that you’re disillusioned with the accuracy of the names we bestow upon food, ask yourself how spot-on are the names we assign to plants:

A peanut is neither a pea nor a nut; it’s a legume. A prickly pear is not a pear; it’s a cactus. A sugarplum is a candy, not a plum. A Douglas fir is a pine tree, a witch hazel is an elm, and a banana tree is an herb, not a tree. A Mexican jumping bean is not a bean; it’s a seed with a larva inside. And a caraway seed is a dried fruit, not a seed.

Okay, how do you stack up in your knowledge of other objects and concepts in the universe?

A ten-gallon hat is big, but not big enough to hold ten gallons of liquid. The name derives from the Mexican Spanish sombrero galon, “hat with braids or ribbons.” A pea jacket isn’t green, nor does it resemble a pea. The name derives from the Dutch word pijjekker, meaning “jacket made of coarse woolen material.” Lead pencils contain graphite, not lead. Briar pipes are made of the roots of white heather. A shooting star is actually a meteor. And during dry cleaning, all items are immersed in a liquid solution.

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A person from Iceland is Icelandic, so a person from Thailand is Thailandic? No, a person from Thailand is Thai.

So a person from England is Eng? No, a person from England is English.

So a person from Switzerland is Switzerish? No, a person from Switzerland is Swiss.

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A palindrome is a word or statement that reads the same forward and backward, such as level and MADAM, I’M ADAM. Here’s a recent crossword puzzle clue: “Palindromic hit from a palindromic band.”

 

Answer: “S.O.S.,” by ABBA.