Secret Word Wednesday Explained

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 three or four clues (sometimes more, sometimes fewer), then tweet your guesses. How do you know if you’re right (aside from us saying so)? Check the pronunciation in the upper right hand corner of the word page for Pee-wee Herman‘s enthusiastic proclamation. If multiple players guess the correct word, the fastest tweet wins.  The prize is a bit of Wordnik swag and bragging rights.

Afterward, we like to explain the clues on Twitter, but sometimes 140 characters (or even 280) just aren’t enough. So we thought we’d offer instead a lengthier and more in-depth Secret Word Wednesday Explained, as well as provide some tips for guessing these elusive words.

Today’s secret word was wincey:

A strong and durable cloth, plain or twilled, composed of a cotton warp and a woolen weft. Heavy winceys have been much worn as skirtings, and a lighter kind is used for men’s shirts. They are sometimes made entirely of wool.

Wincey is also known as linsey-woolsey – think part linen, part wool – and may be an alteration of the word (the “w” of woolsey combined with the “insey” of linsey).

The first clue today was skirts the issue, referring to the “skirt” meaning of the wincey. Understandably players inferred the figurative meaning of skirt, “to evade,” and posed such guesses as dodge, equivocate, and burke. Someone also guessed purlieus, or “outskirts.” Good try but no cigar!

The second clue was sounds flinchy but is actually strong, referring to the “wince” sound of the word, and the meaning, “a strong and durable cloth.” Players had some strong skirt-like guesses (kilt, tartan), but it was repeat-winner @ecormany who guessed correctly!

In case you’re curious, the third clue would have been mixed materials, as wincey is “composed of a cotton warp and a woolen weft,” while the bonus clue was Abigail was glad she wore her “new” this against the “icy” wind. TIP: If you’ve played Secret Word Wednesday before, you’ll know that quotes indicate an anagram, “a transposition of the letters of a word or sentence, to form a new word or sentence.” The letters in “icy” and “wind” can be rearranged to spell wincey. In addition, the sentence itself demonstrates the meaning of the word.

Congrats again to @ecormany who, for the record, was generous enough to donate his prize to @linguajinks who apparently has been “dying” to get some Wordnik swag. 🙂

If you didn’t win this time, don’t fret – you have a chance to win every single week! Be sure to follow us on Twitter to play, and tell all your word-puzzle-loving friends.