# STRAIGHT LINES AND CURVES.

Some capital letters are made up entirely of straight lines; others are made up entirely of curves or a combination of straight lines and curves. Of course, it does depend on the font being used. In the font being used in this article (Calibri), the all-straight-lines letters are AEFHIKLMNTVWXYZ; the curvy letters are BCDGJOPQRSU--summarised in this table:Straight-line letters A E F H I K L M N T V W X Y Z Curvy letters B C D G J O P Q R S U

Another advantage of the Calibri font is that all the letters are sans-serif; none of them has the little flourishes (serifs) at the ends of lines (as demonstrated by the Cambria font here--AEFHIKLMNTVWXYZ), where it could be argued that the serifs should be counted as straight lines. Of course, if you print the letters in some really curvy variant, such as the Harlow Solid Italic font, all the letters become curvy, with not a straight line anywhere--thus, ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ. Anyway, for the remainder of this article, let's stick with the Calibri font.

I decided to search for the longest words composed entirely of straight-line letters. Here are 20 of the longest:

Word Length Dictionary HEXAMETHYLENAMINE 17 OED AFFINITATIVELY 14 OED ALIMENTATIVELY 14 UWD ANTEMILLENNIAL 14 W2 ANTENATALITIAL 14 OED ANTIANTIENZYME 14 W2 HEMIMELLITENE 13 UWD HEXAMETHYLENE 13 UWD INATTENTIVELY 13 UWD INFINITIVALLY 13 UWD METAH EWETTITE 13 UWD METHYLANILINE 13 UWD METHYLENIMINE 13 UWD NEMATHELMINTH 13 UWD AFFINITATIVE 12 OED ALIMENTATIVE 12 UWD ANATHEMATIZE 12 UWD ANNIHILATIVE 12 UWD EFFEMINATELY 12 UWD ETHYLENIMINE 12 UWD

Given that some letters are composed of anywhere from 1 to 4 straight lines, I wondered which words possess the greatest number of straight lines. Here's a table showing the number of straight lines in each of the straight-line letters:

A E F H I K L M N T V W X Y Z 3 4 3 3 1 3 2 4 3 2 2 4 2 3 3

Here are 20 words with the greatest number of straight lines:

Word Straight lines Dictionary HEXAMETHYLENAMINE 52 OED HEXAMETHYLENE 41 UWD ANTIANTIENZYME 39 W2 METAHEWETTITE 39 UWD HEMIMELLITENE 38 UWD METHYLENIMINE 38 UWD NEMATHELMINTH 38 UWD ANTEMILLENNIAL 37 W2 ALIMENTATIVELY 36 UWD AZIMETHYLENE 36 W2 EFFEMINATELY 36 UWD ELEMENTALIZE 36 W2 HAHNEMANNIAN 36 W2 KEWEENAWITE 36 W2 ANATHEMATIZE 35 UWD EFFEMINATIZE 35 W2 METHYLANILINE 35 UWD NEMATELMINTH 35 W2 ANTENATALITIAL 34 OED ELEMENTALITY 34 OED

And what about the longest words where all the letters have a curvy component? Because of the multiplicity of spellings of one particular word (COUSCOUS) and its plurals, I've expanded this selection to 30 of the longest words.

Word Length Dictionary COUSCOUSSOUS 12 OED COOSCOOSOOS 11 OED COUSCOOSOOS 11 OED COUSCOUSOUS 11 OED COUSCOUSSOU 11 OED COUSCOOSOO 10 OED COUSCOUSOU 10 OED CUSCOUSOUS 10 UWD COROCOROS 9 OED CURUCUCUS 9 UWD CUSCOUSOU 9 UWD OOSPOROUS 9 UWD OUROBOROS 9 OED SUBGROUPS 9 UWD SUCCUBOUS 9 UWD SURUCUCUS 9 UWD UROPODOUS 9 UWD CROUPOUS 8 UWD CURUCUCU 8 UWD ORDUROUS 8 OED PRODRUGS 8 UWD PROSODUS 8 UWD PROSORUS 8 UWD SOURPUSS 8 UWD SUBGROUP 8 UWD SUCCOURS 8 UWD SUCCUBUS 8 UWD SUDOROUS 8 OED SURUCUCU 8 UWD SUSURRUS 8 UWD

Can readers improve on any of the selections here? Or extend the concept in some way?

Reference sources:

UMW--Unabridged Merriam-Webster Dictionary (online)

OED--Oxford English Dictionary (online)

W2--Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Edition

Darryl Francis

Brampton, Cumbria, England

darryl.francis@yahoo.co.uk

Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback | |

Author: | Francis, Darryl |
---|---|

Publication: | Word Ways |

Geographic Code: | 4EUUK |

Date: | May 1, 2019 |

Words: | 825 |

Previous Article: | TERMINAL LETTERS MAKE WORDS. |

Next Article: | FISCALISED TEN-SQUARE REVISITED. |

Topics: |