a weblog of wordplay by Eric Harshbarger
Front Hook: BMy favorite front hook for the letter B is another that connects two fairly common words:
B is for BroadsideThis example is one letter longer than the ASTEROID example shown yesterday. Generally speaking, the longer the words involved, the better. This probably is just a result of longer examples being less common.
It's quite easy to find short words (3-5 letters) that can be front-hooked. Still focusing on B, for example, BAT, BALL, BRAT, BLOOM, and BIN immediately come to mind.
The longer instances (e.g., BOOZINESS, BRAINSTORM, and BELATEDNESS) are more rare, and thus exciting to find. Much of this excitement may simply be because long words are used less often. Most of the words we use in everyday speaking and writing are between two and seven letters (study this article, for example). Longer words are the exception, so when we stumble upon two such longer words that we are familiar with and share some interesting trait (i.e., front hooking), it's a delight.
Beyond that, however, mathematically speaking, the chance that a random combination of, say, nine letters makes a valid word is much lower than a random combination of four letters.
Thus, the mere existence of longer words amongst all the possible random strings, is a rarer event, and so the chance that one of them would be formed by front hooking a letter to another is also smaller.
Why does BROADSIDE win out over the other (lengthy) examples I give above? I'm really sure; but I had to pick just a single favorite, and it seemed like the right choice. I suspect that the change in pronunciation bolstered BROADSIDE's case a bit (BROAD- sounds different than ROAD-). I'll examine this more in later entires.
[21 August 2014]
Comments about this article:BOWLLIKE is also a nice pronunciation change (not to mention two words neither of which one would otherwise be sure were good).
Posted by: J. Goard
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