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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
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Author:Francis, Darryl
Publication:Word Ways
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 1, 2019
Words:825
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