Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Dec 21 17:44:48 UTC 2006

On 12/21/06, Stephen Goranson <goranson at> wrote:
> > I once saw a similar gag to "ghoti", which I cannot recall except
> > that it had three phonemes, one of which was /t/ spelled "phth" as in
> > "phthisic".  Does anyone know it?
> Perhaps:
> gheauphtheightough pronounced potato
> gh as in hiccough
> eau as in beau
> phth as in phthisis
> eight as in eight
> ough as in though
> (along with ghoti/fish and one other) in The English Journal Mar. 1945 p.152

That one more commonly shows up as "ghoughphtheightteeau" (with "ough"
and "eau" switched around).

Another anti-phonetic example I've seen is "psoloquoise", as in this
Washington Post column by Bill Gold from Oct 11, 1948 (following up on
an earlier item about "ghoti", attributed by Gold to "an indolent
newspaper friend of mind"):

        Our recent demonstration that phonetically, "ghoti" spells
        "fish," results now in another example of absurd English
        "Psoloquoise" should be pronounced with the "ps" as in
        "psychology," the "olo" as in "colonel," the "qu" as in
        "bouquet," and the "oise" as in "tortoise."
        The result is "circus."

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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