What Happened to R?
by Owen Fourie
You’ll hear it in speech. You’ll see it in writing. Or, more accurately, you will not hear it in speech, and you will not see it in writing. It is the missing letter R.
Here are twenty instances of words that are affected by this anomaly.
In the following pairs, the correct word appears first with a brief definition. The incorrect version of the word follows in italics with a proposed definition.
determined by chance or personal whim
arbitry [try Arby’s]
suggestion to experience the fare of a well-known restaurant chain
a substance derived from barbituric acid and used, medically, as a sedative or anticonvulsant
perpetuation of Barbie doll fad
a child who earns money for various tasks
to become worse; to degenerate
Despite being deterred by some, I ate (junk food) and this habit became worse.
a person who takes on the risks of a business venture
an entrepreneur who succeeds despite lack of attention to detail
second month of the year in the Gregorian calendar
a month in which nothing should be brewed—no coffee, no beer
a group of people whose common interest or purpose bands them together
being overweight for an eternity
has a longer wavelength than visible light but a shorter wavelength than radio waves on the electromagnetic spectrum
infared [red infant]
the color of a crying Caucasian infant
the basic structure of a system, an organization, a country
infastructure [infant structure]
the skeletal structure of an infant
explain the meaning of words or actions
internet service for your pets
someone who believes in and strives for civil liberty and the lessening of state control in every area of life
libertarian with a gambling problem
a building or a room housing a collection of books and related material for research or borrowing by the community
place for censored books like Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
written works, particularly writings of superior quality
product of enlightenment and maturity, but not a written work
especially; a word used to distinguish or emphasize a point
a person who is easily tricked at parties [cully = a person who is easily duped]
the process of sweating
the moment before you break into a sweat
a ghost that reveals itself by making noises and moving or throwing objects
a petty [paltry] ghost
relating to the action of breathing
a vessel containing spittle
a person who assists an employer or an official with correspondence, record-keeping, appointments, and other related tasks
an inferior secretary, one who has a problem with spelling
an event, a gift, a fact that is unexpected
a supper that has been levitated
an instrument used to measure temperature
a cannibal who eats a mother
There are many words with one or more r’s that cause difficulty in pronunciation and spelling. If you can think of one or more, go ahead and list the incorrect version in your comments with your proposed definition.
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