Back to index of "words and such" pages by Donald Sauter.
This all came about when the 3rd-grade class I was working in at Glenridge Elementary School (Prince George's County, Maryland) was asked to calculate the value of various words. Each letter is assigned the value of its position in the alphabet, as follows:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26
So, for example, CAB = 6, and ENCYCLOPEDIA = 112.
C 3 E 5 A 1 N 14 B 2 C 3 -- Y 25 6 C 3 L 12 O 15 P 16 E 5 D 4 I 9 A 1 --- 112
Pretending every point is a dollar, the teacher challenged the students to find "$100 words". Other teachers use pennies, and ask for "dollar words". It was back in October 2000, and I remember one of the first $100 words a student found was PUMPKIN - very appropriate for the season. Maybe it's not obvious until you discover one yourself how exciting it is.
It's a great exercise for kids. Besides getting them involved with generally longer words, it gives them good practice in the useful skill of adding long lists of numbers - maybe the only practice, based on what I've seen of elementary school math text books.
Then I got the bug to dig all of the $100 words out of my own web site, just to see a list of words that have nothing at all to do with each other except that they would all cost the same in a word boutique. I came up with 157 of them and I listed all of them - from ACCUMULATE to ZOOGLEAS - with great pomp on this web page in November 2000. (Actually, I never used the word ZOOGLEAS before now.)
Then, in September 2003 it was brought to my attention that students assigned to finding $100 words had discovered this web page, which, of course, ruined everything. I hadn't thought about that, and I apologize to all the teachers who had the same experience but didn't take the trouble to scold me.
It's pretty obvious the value of my list of $100 words, which derives exclusively from its breathtaking worthlessness, if you follow, is far outweighed by the value of having students finding $100 words on their own, so I've removed the list (sob). Maybe when my broken heart heals, I will generate a list of $99 words or something. But it just won't be the same, waaah.
For the time being, here are a few of my favorite $100 words. No cheating, kids.
Words related to my guitar and Beatle hobbies: GLISSANDO, HARMONICS, TABLATURE, and BEATLESONG.
A nice, positive word: EXCELLENT.
Dreariest word: WATERGATE.
Longest $100 word I found: INAPPLICABLE.
My father's occupation: CARPENTER.
College buddy: TAKEMOTO (Ronald).
Wacky words: GRUMPY, WHATSIT (slightly borderline, I admit) and NUTTY.
That was my single favorite discovery - NUTTY. What a great little word! You'd be hard-pressed to find any shorter $100 words since all you'd have to work with is W, X, Y and Z, and I doubt ZYXY or WYZZ will fly. Presuming the scrabble zealots haven't made TUXY a word ("having the characteristics of a tuxedo; covered with tuxedos"), I'm guessing the highest valued 4-letter word is TUTU, coming in at $82.
Note to the cheatin' cheaters in Ms. Colwell's 5th-grade class: What a fine mess you've gotten us into this time! Just kidding, you guys. By the way, if you come across a $100 word longer than INAPPLICABLE, I will publish it here and make you famous. Deal?
Final heads-up to teachers everywhere: When one of your third-grade cherubs tries to cash in on ZOOGLEAS, don't fall for it, ok?
So if I can't publish $100 words, then what?
How about $134 words, which, by the way, is the dollar value of "donaldsauter".
Obviously, a list of all the words having the same mathematical value as a person's name will provide great insight into that person's character. This takes the crude, old science of Astrology to the next level, and I call it Astroliteromatics.
Donating myself to science as the first astroliteromatical guinea pig, here are all the $134 words I've ever used, as of March 2007.
I accept the compliment:
responsible . . . intellectual . . . unwavering . . . unprecedented . . . distinctive . . . systematic . . . exhaustive . . . utilitarian . . . tremendous . . . nontrivial . . . wunnerful eccentricity . . . a sprightly forerunner . . . a seaworthy factmonster from Jollyville.
Hey, I resemble that!
contemptible . . . incompetent . . . obnoxious . . . unpopular . . . excruciating . . . anachronistic . . . incommunicado . . . irreverent . . . unorganized . . . murderous . . . unctuous . . . dispiriting . . . insignificant . . . groundless . . . an uncivilized Flintstone from Fruitville.
What I am doing, did do, or do do:
demonstrate . . . supervise . . . terrorize . . . exterminate . . . rationalized . . . interpreted . . . interviewed . . . supported . . . corroborated . . . consorting . . . consulting . . . categorizing . . . familiarizing . . . harmonizing . . . interjecting . . . introducing . . . jeopardizing . . . modernizing . . . murmuring . . . scurrying . . . squirting . . . submitting . . . restraining . . . subtracting . . . transcribing . . . strumming . . . struggling.
And how I doed it:
brilliantly . . . selflessly . . . beautifully . . . fabulously . . . supremely . . . theatrically . . . deliciously . . . instantly . . . presently . . . justifiably . . . politically . . . imprecisely . . . violently.
(Well, I suppose we're all rather complex individuals.)
I'll take it:
friendliness . . . politeness . . . jocularity . . . equanimity.
You can have it:
mutilation . . . clumsiness . . . wrongness . . . pollution.
Good, common words that now belong to me:
stimulus . . . information . . . breakthrough . . . romanticism . . . everywhere . . . manuscript . . . librettist . . . cartoonist . . . silhouette . . . shoestring . . . violoncello . . . measurement . . . Pillsbury . . . il Trovatore . . . Rattenfaenger (rat catcher) . . . underworld . . . intestines . . . parenthesis.
And, finally, the dregs, which don't even get boldface:
apposition . . . assessment . . . competitor . . . conversion . . . crossover . . . crossword . . . dentistry . . . huswifery . . . identicalness . . . imminently . . . incorporate . . . infringement . . . inoperative . . . insulation . . . Liebesverbot . . . miscegenation . . . motherless . . . nongrasping . . . nourishing . . . plurality . . . preponderance . . . procreation . . . programmatic . . . pulverize . . . reformation . . . reformulate . . . rumination . . . seniority . . . smoothest . . . swiftness . . . thereabouts . . . transaction . . . transgendered . . . unexplored . . . unlistenable . . . unmentioned . . . valedictory . . . zitherist.
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