Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Entry:    portcullis (n.)

Definition:  A strong barrier in the form of a grating of wooden or iron bars, usually suspended by chains above the gateway of a fortress, a fortified town, etc., and able to secure the entrance quickly by being released to slide down vertical grooves in the sides of the gateway.

Other:    This is an example of a word I’d read dozens of times in my life and had, a best, a foggy understanding of – my guess was something like a drawbridge.  So it turns out I wasn’t too far off.

For Scrabble nerds like me, the sheer number of variations is impressive – even if most aren’t (currently) acceptable in tournament play.  Check it out:

(And, by the way, if I haven’t explicitly stated my endearing love for the OED, now would be the place.)
poortcolyce,  poortcolys,  portcoles,  portcolisse,  portcolyȝs,  portcolys,  portculeres (plural, in sense 2, prob. transmission error),  portculis,  portecoles,  portecoleys,  portecolis,  portecolisse,  portecollys,  portecolyes,  portecolys,  portecolyse,  portecules,  portekoleys,  portcolice,  portcolyse,  portcolece,  portcolis,  portcollice,  portcoullys,  portculiouse,  portcullesse,  portcullize,  portcullys,  portculous,  portecolice,  portecoullys,  porteculles,  portecullies,  portecullis,  portequilliȝes,  portquillice,  portquillize, portcullies,  portcullise, portcullice, portcullis, portculleis, portculles, portcullix; also Sc. pre portculace, pre portculais, pre portculeis, pre portcules, pre portculȝeis, pre portculice, pre portculis, pre portcullies, pre portcullious, pre portculyce, pre portculys, pre portcwlyws, pre portecouleys; portekoles.

SNOOT score:   1

Page:   42

Source:   Oxford English Dictionary


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