Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, February 6, 2015

Brainbuster – Make your brain tingle!

Our English language is constantly morphing. Some words are lost, some are born. How well have you kept up? See how well you do at the puzzle below!

1. There are only four countries in the world with one syllable in their name. Can you name them?

2. True or false: The word “checkmate” in chess comes from the Persian phrase “Shah Mat,” which means “the queen is dead.”

3. Of the following definitions, which one defines “spoonerism”: A word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another word or other words in a language; the transposition of sounds of two or more words, such as Let me sew you to your sheet for Let me show you to your seat; a word with an opposite meaning of another word; a combination of two contradictory terms such as bittersweet or the phrase living death.

4. If a person is described as “atrabilious,” what are they accused of having? The inability to feel by touching; having the ability to perform miracles; a person who deals with unimportant things; a person who is bad-tempered or irritable.

5. If you’re a person that “confusticates,” you: make up nonsensical words with no meaning; regularly lie or cheat; constantly hide your true intentions; are someone who predicts the future.

6. If you know what this word means, then you have either seen, or know of someone, like this. What is a “gongoozler?” A child raised and spoiled by their grandmother; someone who speaks foolishly or says silly things; a person who has a habit of dropping in at mealtimes; an idle spectator or rubbernecker.

7. What is a “lazaretto”: a person who stares at pool of water as a means of self-hypnosis; a hospital for lepers; the space on a ship between decks that’s used for storage; a smooth or sweet voice, tone, or writing style.

8. I’ve been accused of being a balatron. Why am I called that, or have I done? I’m a joker or a clown: I constantly talk nonsense, or babble on about nothing; I’m an aviator or pilot; I’m someone with a great capacity, or appetite, for food.

9. Irrefragably is a word sometimes used by attorneys, or in court cases. What does it mean? In itself: made pale or thin; indisputably; hungrily or greedy.

10. And last but not least, if I have a fear known as ergasiophobia, I’m in bad shape! Ergasiophobia can be a persistent and debilitating disorder in some people, causing significant psychological disability and dysfunction. What’s bothering me? I’m afraid of being buried alive; I’m afraid of everything; I’m afraid of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table while wearing socks on a newly-waxed floor; I’m afraid to go to work.


1. Chad, France, Greece, and Spain. 2. False. Checkmate means “the king is dead.” 3. The transposition of sounds of two or more words. 4. A person who’s bad-tempered or irritable. 5. You are someone who makes up nonsensical words, with no intention of have a meaning. 6. A gongoozler is an idle spectator or rubbernecker. 7. A hospital for lepers, although there isn’t much of a need for these now. 8. I’m a joker or a clown. 9. The old word of “irrefragably” can be used for “indisputably.” 10. I’m afraid to go to work. The fear of being pursued by timber wolves around a kitchen table while wearing socks on a newly-waxed floor is actually a fictional phobia created by Gary Larson, author of the “Far Side” comics.