Tribune: Anyone up for some corn on the spider?

Speaking of weird cryptocurrency names, here are a few interesting tidbits regarding the English language.

The Old English word for “spider” was “coppe,” which is how we got the modern “cobweb.”1 But the word cobweb is most commonly used to refer to dusty old spider webs, rather than the newly spun fresh ones that I manage to walk face-first through on evening strolls.

What’s the dot over a lowercase i or j called? (Hint: It’s not “the dot.”) It’s called a tittle, which means “a tiny amount or part of something.”2 The small stroke on the upper-right side of a typed lowercase g (although not in this font) is referred to as the “ear;” this is also the name of the curved part of the lowercase r. And the horizontal bar on a lowercase t is a crossbar. So don’t forget to title your i’s and crossbar your t’s.

The abbreviation OMG was first used by Admiral John Arbuthnot Fisher in a letter to Winston Churchill dated September 9, 1917:3 “I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis – O.M.G. (Oh! My God!) – Shower it on the Admiralty!” LOL (I think?).

There is some dispute over the longest English word. Irreputable online sources claim it’s the full chemical name for a protein known as “titin,” which clocks in at 189,819 letters and takes three hours to pronounce. This could not be verified by Spidell researchers. However, methionylglutaminylarginyltyrosylglutamyl…serine is the chemical name of E. coli TrpA and is the longest published word at 1,909 letters.4 It’s followed by pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis, which means “the disease silicosis” (why not just say “the disease silicosis”?) and at 45 letters is the longest word in a major dictionary.