Syzygy doesn’t occur in isolation.

In Scrabble, “syzygy” isn’t possible unless you draw a blank.

“Syzygy” is a six-letter word with no vowels, depending how we understand the letter “y”. Upon further research, however, we find that vowels and consonants refer to sounds, not letters. In “syzygy”, “y” is certainly a vowel. Never mind.

Syzygy occurs more often than we’re aware of. In fact, it has an observable impact on the environment, causing spring and neap tides.

Contrary to popular belief, “syzygy” will not bag you 25 points in Scrabble, ignoring the possibility of any letter or word bonuses. It will earn you a modest 21.

I first learned the word “syzygy” when I was 15 years old, reading the dictionary.

“Syzygy” is not fit for an Elizabethan or Petrachan sonnet; it’s dactylic. An opposite word as far as feet are concerned would be “understand”, which somehow seems appropriate.

It might not occur in solitude, but it can certainly develop out of solitude.


The English Oxford Living Dictionaries online defines “syzygy” as “a conjunction or opposition, especially of the moon with the sun” or “a pair of connected or corresponding things”. It has many meanings beyond this, however, in different fields of study.




Sapid? Been there.

The ancient city of Sapidus? Done that.

The more exotic Sábio? Please.

Travel agencies and late spring magazines flaunt far away, faultless destinations saturated with Pantone 2132 C. Good taste reigns supreme. You, however, need to stand apart from the teeming crowd; you need something different.

Exchange 2132 C for 428 C. Switch out the SPF 50 for SPF 10. Ditch the flimsy two-piece for a handsome long-sleeve shirt and fetching flood trousers.

Many of Menorca’s top-rated attractions have only been given a 4.5/5 review. What about the remaining 10%? What about the exceptions, like you?

Not one for surfing or snorkelling? No taste for balut or basashi? We know just the place for you.

Get out the diary. Get out the credit card. Get ready to be in Sipid.


The English Oxford Living Dictionaries online defines “insipid” as “lacking flavour” or “lacking vigour or interest.


Hapax legomenon.

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The English language is comprised of nearly 1,000,000 words. American journalists, apparently, use merely 6,000 of these words regularly in newspaper articles. This is hardly 1% of what’s available!

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Are you a keen listener or a quick learner?

You need Hapax Legomenon.

Listen carefully, though! Hapax only says every word once. There is no rewind, no replay, no repeat.

“What happens when my Hapax has gone through the whole of the English language? Will it be useless?”

Once you’ve successfully been through every word (well done!), contact customer service to receive a free upgrade to the next model: Dis Legomenon.

With Dis Legomenon, you can go through every single word a second time.

Hapax Legomenon: your way to a more grandiloquent future today!


The English Oxford Living Dictionaries online defines “hapax legomenon” as “a term of which only one instance of use is recorded”. From Greek, meaning “a thing said once”.


Hapax legomenon.


A deer, cow, sheep, antelope and giraffe walk into a restaurant. They find a booth table and sit down. After about five minutes, a waiter comes to take their order. The sheep and antelope order some grass, the giraffe some leaves and the deer some fruit. It’s the cow’s turn to order.

“Oh, this is going to be good,” says the waiter to himself, smiling.

There is a sharp inhale from the party of five as the cow narrows her eyes, looking at the waiter, her lips slightly parted in disbelief. In tones reminiscent of a mother whose child has just used a very naughty word, she says, viscously, “Excuse me?” The rest of the party is avoiding making eye contact with the cow, the waiter and each other. The giraffe opens his menu again, despite having already ordered.

The waiter doesn’t look phased. Without missing a beat, he says, “Your order, ma’am?” The cow isn’t having any of this.

“No, don’t ma’am me, son. What exactly is going to be good about this?” Without even thinking, the waiter casts his eyes on the cow’s abdomen before quickly returning to make eye contact. “Not this again. Four stomachs – is that what you think?” She sticks out her bottom lip, raises her hardly distinguishable eyebrows and nods her head slowly. The waiter’s somewhat flared nostrils belie his calm demeanor.

“Your order, ma’am?” He can feel the gaze of customers at nearby tables as they take an interest in whatever is happening. The cow is in disbelief at his persistence. The rest of the party are now exchanging brief glances, silently urging one another to step in; they’ve been through this before. Finally, the sheep, rolling her eyes, clears her throat.

“Four compartments,” says the sheep. “One stomach, four compartments. And it’s not just cows; all of us at this table have four compartments. So if you mean to imply that my dear friend here is going to order a humourously large amount on the basis of her digestive system…” The cow puts her hoof on the sheep’s shoulder to silence her. She stands up. After looking at each other to confirm their action, the rest of the party follows suit.

As they’re about to leave, the waiter says to the maitre d’, who’s struggling to think of a way to rectify the disastrous situation, “The stomachs aren’t even the worst part. It’s the regurgitation and cud. Disgusting.” The antelope stops in his tracks, turns around, and holds up his hoof to point at the waiter.

“Your service is disgusting. We’re going to make sure that you don’t receive the patronage of any ruminants ever again!” he shouts, making sure the rest of the customers can hear him clearly. The party of five leaves.

In a far corner, a table of one has been watching thoughtfully. It’s Noam Chomsky. He stands up slowly and deliberately before walking past the waiters.

“Mr Chomsky, can I…” the maitre d’ starts.

“You heard them. Ever again!” Noam leaves the restaurant.


The English Oxford Living Dictionaries online defines “ruminant” as “an even-toed ungulate mammal that chews the cud regurgitated from its rumen”. It can also mean “a contemplative person; a person given to meditation”.




Indomitable is the best friend that every kid wants to have next to them when they are about to enter the social jungle that is the playground. It’s that kid, whether boy or girl, that wears dirt stuck to their knees or smudged on their face, complemented by the most scuffed up pair of once-white trainers and a smile (no matter how white or crooked), like it’s their new bespoke suit for their optimistic first day on the job.

Indomitable is a grandparent to their grandchild: impossibly old and similarly knowledgeable. “No spring chicken” because they’re the furthest thing from chicken – fearless. The grandparent who one wants to call a nonagenarian, not because they’re in their nineties, but because it makes it sound as if they’re done with aging.

Indomitable is the answer to the question: if you could have one word engraved on your headstone when you die, what would it be? The answer you give as you smirk to yourself, knowing you’ll never need a headstone because you are your answer.


The English Oxford Living Dictionaries online defines “indomitable” as “impossible to subdue or defeat”.