ghoti

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Though frequently reported to be a coinage of George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), this term dates back to at least 1855.[1]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

ghoti (plural ghoti)

  1. (rare, humorous) Alternative spelling of fish

Usage notes[edit]

A jocular spelling of fish (IPA(key): /fɪʃ/) used to illustrate irregularities in English spelling:

  • gh, /f/ as in “laugh,” /læf, læːf, laːf/;
  • o, /ɪ/ as in “women,” /ˈwɪmɪn, ˈwɪmən/; and
  • ti, /ʃ/ as in “nation,” /ˈneɪʃən/.

The term is very rarely used, though it is mentioned with somewhat greater frequency than it is used.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ben Zimmer, "On Language", The New York Times Magazine, June 21, 2010. Available online.