The un-alphabet game

Everyone has at least a passing knowledge of military-style spelling: alpha, bravo, charlie, delta, etc. There’s an old comedy routine by Mike Nichols and Elaine May called “Telephone” where a guy calls the Operator to be connected to George Kaplan, and he happens to get ahold of one that has a rather unique way of verifying the name is spelled correctly:

“That’s K as in Knife, A as in Aardvark, P as in Pneumonia, L as in Luscious, A as in Aardvark again, N as in Newel post. Kaplan?”

The routine’s up on YouTube here if you want to hear it. As I was driving tonight, I decided to see if I could come up with similar fun alternatives for the whole alphabet.

Here’s mine and let’s see what everyone else can come up with. Bonus points if you can pick words that have as little in common as possible. For example, incandescent and luminous both relate to light, and porcine and hogwash relate to pigs. We’ll have to cheat with X and allow x-like sounds, such as “excellent”, or use one of those “words that begin with the letter” websites because we’ll run out of words quick. Short phrases are okay, too, such as heaven-sent.

ambidexterous, bicentennial, cerulean, debatable, egalitarian, flat-out, gregarious, heavenly, incendiary, judicious, kneepads, llama, mandibles, neoprene, orthogonal, plucked, quiescent, reveal, sensational, tertiary, unilateral, vivisect, wishy-washy, xerography, yummy, zaftig

I thought the point was to come up with words where the letter represented is ambiguous. Knife and Pneumonia are examples, because if someone isn’t paying attention, they’ll get it wrong.

aerate, berate, circumnavigate, denigrate, eviscerate, fellate, gyrate, hydrate, irate, judicate, krait, lactate, misappropriate, nauseate, opiate, propitiate, quotate, reintegrate, satiate, titillate, underestimate, violate, welterweight, excoriate, zettaweight


1 Like

They might be Giants have a song like this too.

Maybe go for more fun and unusual than ambiguous. And those all have an “ate” sound at the end in common.

Um, yeah. That wasn’t an accident.

But I’m guessing that leaving out the “Y” was? :grinning:

Now I have Rolf Harris’ song, Living it Up going through my head. :notes:I may be a nit’ular, but this may be a hit’ular.:notes:

Because we like you!


Man, I’m old!

I’ll have a go, since this seems fun. Obfuscate away!

A as in One, B as in Bumble, C as in Waves, D as in Aberdeen, E as in Goode, F as in Effluent, G as in String, H as in Ache, I as in Me, J as in Pot, K as in Yes, L as in Ullswater, M as in Emma, N as in Enna, O as in No, P as in Wee, Q as in Wait, R as in Why, S as in Estuary, T as in Dinner, U as in Wes, V as in Sign, W as in Clones, X as in Ray, Y as in Cry, Z as in Zebedee.