Last Writes

Richard Lederer wants to help you start the new year with a brand-new word game

It’s All New

Happy New Year. It’s nice to have you near.

To celebrate a brand new year, here are 35 brief definitions of words that have the sound noo or n(y)oo, in them. Sometimes the word will contain the actual letters new, as in newspaper. In other instances, the word will have a different spelling, as in nuisance.

We’ll begin with words that themselves start with the sound of the adjective new. I’ll lay some brief definitions on you, and you give me each word. Answers repose at the end of this column.

1. naked
2. masculine, feminine, and _____
3. middle of the day
4. food in ribbon form; also a
metaphor for the head
5. the necktie at a necktie party
6. nourishing
7. wildebeest
8. a small salamander
9. a disease of the lungs
10. a mental disorder (less serious
than psychosis)
11. shade of distinction
12. sexually attractive, especially as in young women
13. an elementary particle that is present in an atomic nucleus
14. relating to matters atomic (one of the most mispronounced of all words)
15. acute pain radiating from the nerves
16. last name of a handsome,
perennially popular actor who is still in his salad days
17. last name of a British scientist who reputedly got bopped on the head by an apple

As an additional challenge, here are more words containing the sound noo or n(y)oo, but not at the beginning of the word:
18. to restore to freshness
19. yearly
20. hint
21. the Eskimo people
22. a famous choo-choo
23. Charlie Brown’s favorite dog
24. looking down one’s nose, disdainful
25. to sleep
26. a tendon
27. countless
28. having little substance or strength
29. a naïve young woman
30. a broad street or road
31. to keep on, persist
32. locale
33. income stream
34. entourage
35. last name of the vice president who preceded Gerald Ford

Answers to Quiz
1. nude 2. neuter 3. noon 4. noodle 5. noose
6. nutritious 7. gnu 8. newt 9. pneumonia 10. neurosis
11. nuance 12. nubile 13. neutron 14. nuclear 15. neuralgia
16. (Paul) Newman 17. (Isaac) Newton 18. renew 19. annual 20. insinuation, innuendo 21. Inuit 22.Chattanooga 23. Snoopy 24. snooty 25. snooze 26. sinew 27. innumerable 28. tenuous 29. ingénue 30. avenue 31. continue 32. venue 33. revenue 34. retinue 35. (Spiro) Agnew
Richard Lederer, MAT English and education, PhD linguistics, is the author of more than 50 books on language, history, and humor — available at his website —