January 24th, 2013

words are sexy

Thursday word: autological

autological (aw-toh-LAW-ji-kuhl) - adj., (of a word) self-describing.


Polysyllablic is autological. So is English, and word. Pronounceable. Common. Noun. Pentasyllabic. Fifteen-lettered. Numberless. Adjectival. Visible. And many others I'm sure you all will be willing to contribute in comments. Contrast with heterological words such as monosyllabic, long, and German. Though nominally a linguistics term, it's rarely used there, but instead comes up in philosophy because of the Grelling–Nelson paradox, which turns the question of whether "heterological" is heterological -- because if it is, then it's self-describing, in which case it's actually autological instead, in which case it isn't, and the look begins again and eventually the ship's computer explodes trying to evaluate a logic bomb. As for the word itself, it's coined from Greek roots meaning self + word.

Not only is pronounceable autological, but autological is pronounceable.

---L.