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 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 tramontane:

  1. Coming from the far side of the mountains, especially the Alps as viewed from Italy.
  2. Coming from the other side of the mountains: as, tramontane wind.
  3. One who lives beyond the mountains; hence, a stranger; a barbarian.
  4. The north wind.

Today’s first clue was Conan, maybe.  Did we mean Coco, or the former governator?  Everyone knew we meant Ah-nuld and his iconic character, Conan the Barbarian, and guessed barbarian and cimmeria, which may refer to Conan’s fictional homeland (cimmerian, by the way, means “perpetually dark and gloomy”). Both were close, but no cigar.

The second clue was Gary Larson might like to hike it here.  Gary Larson is the creator of The Far Side cartoons, and “hike” is meant to imply “mountain.” Therefore, we were referring to the definition, “Coming from the far side of the mountains.”

The third clue, may be found beneath Bette’s wings, referred to “the north wind,” and with that, last week’s winner @bananagrammer got tramontane!  Other “windy” guesses included boreas and zephyr, but only tramontane also means “barbarian” and “coming from the far side of the mountains.”

In case you’re curious, the bonus clue would have been a “Roman” may hide in a “tent” to avoid this, with quotes indicating an anagram.  The letters in “Roman” and “tent” can be rearranged to form the secret word, tramontane, and the sentence refers to the “north wind” meaning of the word.

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