March 30th, 2004 11:53 PM

I’ve missed hanging out at the Lyon’s Den. Despite feeling much changed from the last few years, when all is said and done it’s the people that matter. And tonight, I got some reading done, and then had a great time talking with Tyler after running into him around 12:30. We talked about campus life, social life, computer science (and why he left behind plans for a minor), his anthropology studying, and some Neal Stephenson books.

The most fun, however, came at the close of the night when he mentioned off-handedly that the word “polygyny” seemed to have more descenders than any other he could readily think of. We thought for a minute about other possible words that might claim more (or, rather, a higher percentage). And then proceeded to write a few lines of Perl to run through the dictionary file and find other words made up of mostly letters with descenders.

Of course, the dictionary file on linux proved unhelpful, not being able to best “polygyny,” with a rank of 0.625. In the end, we stumbled across “pyg” in the OED as an alternate spelling (archaic, perhaps?) of “pig,” and settled for the perfect rank on a word of only three letters.

After coming back to the room, the darwin dictionary file has proved itself more helpful with words slightly more common than “pyg”:

  • 1: gyp
  • 0.8: gappy, guppy, gypsy, jaggy, jiggy, pappy, peggy, peppy, piggy, pippy, poggy, poppy, puggy, puppy, pygmy, yappy
  • 0.75: eggy, Eppy, gapy, gegg, gype, gyps, pipy, pogy, typp, typy, yapp, yegg
  • 0.714: gypsyfy, gypsyry
  • 0.666: agy, cyp, egg, gag, gaj, gap, gay, gey, gig, giggly, gip, gog, goggly, goy, grippy, groggy, gup, guy, gym, gyn, gypper, hyp, jag, jap, jay, jig, jiggly, jog, joggly, joy, jug, pap, pay, peg, pep, pig, pip, pluggy, ply, pop, popjoy, popply, poy, pry, pug, pup, pya, pygarg, pyr, pyx, quaggy, quippy, spy, syzygy, tyg, yap, yep, yip, yoy
  • 0.625: hypogyny, polygyny, polytypy, progypsy

So there we have it. The words with the highest density of descenders. We mused about trying to write only with words containing above a certain percentage of descenders, constrained in a style similar to La Disparition — arbitrary, yet fascinating.


Your .8 section is missing one: Egypt. And you are cool. And brilliant. Will you have my children?

Posted by: Tyler on March 31st, 2004 11:23 AM

Shouldn’t that be 0.6?

Posted by: kasei on March 31st, 2004 11:33 AM