- Paul Anthony Jones
(n.) a stock cadence in medieval plainsong
Chances are that if you like words, you’ll like Scrabble. It’s just so much fun, isn’t it? Waiting the entire game for the Q to come up so you can play jonquils for 500 points, only for your opponent to get it first and play qi to win the game. So much fun.
Scrabble-related facts crop up on the HH Twitter feed every so often (and there’s a darn sight more where that came from in the fact book, Word Drops):
One fiendishly useful Scrabble word that we’ve never really addressed on HH though is euouae. According to the Guinness Book of Records, that’s the longest vowel-only word in the English language, and is well worth remembering if you’re looking to ditch a superfluity of vowels midway through a game.
That being said, there’s some contention over whether or not euouae should actually be permissible in Scrabble play—not to mention whether or not it’s actually a word or not.
The word euouae (pronounced “you-oo-ee”) is an abbreviation used to memorize the pattern of syllables forming the cadence of a Gregorian chant known as the Gloria Patri, “Glory Be to the Father”. The Gloria Patri ends with the line, “In saecula saeculorum, Amen”, literally meaning “in a century of centuries”, or “forever and ever”. Euouae refers to the pattern of tones corresponding to the last six syllables of this line: saEcUlOrUm AmEn.
So strictly speaking, euouae is an abbreviation of a Latin phrase used as a mnemonic device. Does that make it a “word” in the strictest (Scrabble-playing) sense? It’s a tough call, and it’s certainly true that not every dictionary—and not every Scrabble word-list, for that matter—has admitted it to its pages thus far.
But when you’re sat in front of a rack of seven vowels, you’ve really got to take what you can get…