18 Word Games

Written by Jes Gonzalez

In the English language, there are countless words. There are words, there are words for words, and there are words for words that play with words. Did I lose you there? Logology, or the field of recreational linguistics, is a fun way to play with words. Logology encompasses a wide variety of word games and wordplay, simply for the fun of it! Want to play? Then here's a list of terms to help you play around and explore the English language in a fun way.

1. Ambigrams

Ambigrams read the same way when viewed from multiple directions, perspectives, or orientations, like this creative gif that features an ambigram of the word ambigram. Neato.

2. Anagrams

Anagrams are created by rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase. For example, "dormitory" can be rearranged into "dirty room." There are even some anagrams that have fun meanings: the letters in "eleven plus two" can also spell out "twelve plus one," and both equal thirteen.

3. Aptronyms

An aptronym is a personal name that is regarded as amusingly appropriate to the bearer's occupation. William Headline was a bureau chief for CNN, Amy Freeze is a meteorologist, and Stuart Fell is a BBC stunt coordinator, making comic book writers weep with joy. Even better, there's Thomas Crapper, a manufacturer of Victorian toilets, and Dr. Richard Chopp, a urologist known for performing vasectomies. Names have power.

4. Backronyms

Backronyms are phrases constructed to spell out a certain word or acronym—a reverse acronym, if you will. If you're a Calvin and Hobbes fan, you'll know the backronym "GROSS," which stands for "Get Rid of Slimy girlS." 

5. Blends

A blend, also called a portmanteau word, is formed by merging the sounds and meanings of two or more words. Some common blends include "smog" (smoke and fog) and "brunch" (breakfast and lunch), but contemporary blends have taken some liberties. Turducken (turkey, duck, and chicken), anyone? 

6. Contronyms

A contronym is a word with two opposite meanings. For example, you can rent an apartment, but "rent" is a contronym, so did you accept money to lease the apartment to a tenant or pay someone else to use the apartment? In the same way, you can overlook the lease, but did yo