Secret Word Wednesday Explained

by Angela Tung on May 25, 2011

In you’ve been following us on Twitter, you know that every Wednesday we play a secret word guessing game. The rules are simple. Read the clues, tweet your guesses, then check the pronunciation in the upper right hand corner of the word page for Pee-wee Herman‘s enthusiastic proclamation to see if you’re right. If multiple players guess the correct word, the fastest tweet wins. The prize is a bit of Wordnik swag and bragging rights.

Today’s secret word was coquille:

  1. A part of the guard of a sword-hilt.
  2. A shell, or a dish in the form of a shell, in which preparations of fish, etc., are served.
  3. A mistake in printing, in which one letter is substituted for another.
  4. The left side of the heart, which contains arterial blood.
  5. The right half of the heart, which contains venous blood.
  6. A form of ruching used as a dress trimming or for neckwear, and named from the manner in which it is gathered or fulled.

The first clue today was to the hilt, referring to the meaning, “A part of the guard of a sword-hilt.” Players guessed tang, “a long and slender projecting strip, tongue, or prong. . .made solid with the blade of a sword, knife, chisel, or other implement, its use being to secure the handle firmly to the blade,” a very appropriate guess.

The second clue was Jacques loves this dish, referring to “coquille St. Jacques,” a scallop dish and itself a reference to the shell of St. James (“Jacques” is the French form of “James).  And we were no match for repeat winner @melanie_seibert, with close second @bananagrammer!  Congrats!

We didn’t need a third or bonus clues but here they are!  The third clue was ring around the collar, referring to a “form of ruching used as a dress trimming or for neckwear.” The first bonus clue was if the Tin Man had this, he’d be halfway there, referring to “the right half of the heart.” The second bonus clue was copyeditor’s worst fear? referring to “a mistake in printing, in which one letter is substituted for another.”

And with a word so chock full of meanings, we were chock full of clues too! The third bonus clue was spoiled insides of this will make you “ill” in the middle, referring to the “ill” in the middle of coquille, and the idea that a spoiled fish dish will surely give you a stomachache.

Congrats again to @melanie_seibert and @bananagrammer!  Remember, you have a chance to win Secret Word Wednesday every week!  Just follow us on Twitter.

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