Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Vowels in a Row

 Bill from Merritt, Michigan, asked if there are any words that contain all five vowels in order. The answer is yes. Helping matters greatly is the existence of the common suffix –ious/-ous, meaning characterized by or full of. That leaves us the task of frontloading words with the letters a and e. I used a wildcard search in the online Oxford English Dictionary to find the following examples. The ones marked with an asterisk are now obsolete or rare.

·      abstemious (moderate)
·      abstentious (self-denying)
·      acedious (slothful)
·      acerbitous (bitter or harsh)
·      acheilous (lipless)
·      adventious (variant of adventitious, extraneous or by chance)
·      aerious (airy)
·      affectious* (loving)
·      alpestrious* (mountainous)
·      anemious (growing in windy conditions)
·      annelidous (pertaining to a worm)
·      arsenious (containing arsenic)
·      arterious (arterial)
·      arteriosus (prolongation of the right ventricle in mammals)
·      caesious (bluish-gray)
·      fracedinous (producing heat through putrefaction)
·      materious (composed of matter)
·      parecious (proximity of reproductive organs in mosses)
·      placentious* (complaisant
·      tragedious* (tragic)

Remember that –y is sometimes used as a vowel, so if you want to expand the list, add –y to the words that sustain an adverb form, such as facetiously, abstemiously, and tragediously.

Listen to Mike’s program in real time every Tuesday morning, 9:10 - 10:00 a.m. EST, by going to wtcmradio.com and clicking on Listen Now. You’ll also find about a month’s worth of podcasts there under The Ron Jolly Show.


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