Kangaroo Words

I learned recently about the existence of kangaroo words: words that contain the letters of a synonymous word (in the correct sequence) within themselves.

Take masculine, for example, which contains the word male. Or encourage and urge. Indolent and idle. And then there are cases of words with very similar meanings, like regulate and rule.

And some words could even be classified as twin kangaroo words, like container, which contains both tin and can.

The etymology of the word is pretty clear: kangaroos carry their young (joeys) in pouches, like mini versions of themselves, and kangaroo words similarly carry smaller versions of themselves inside themselves.

So what does all this mean? Well, nothing really. I mean, all these cases are just coincidences. It’s an interesting phenomenon, but it doesn’t really telly us anything interesting about the English language.

But not everything needs to offer us amazing insights into the English language, so let’s enjoy the existence of kangaroo words!

4 thoughts on “Kangaroo Words

  1. I assume that happens in any language written in an alphabetic script, but it would be intriguing to find examples in other languages (a brief search of the internet doesn’t show any).

    Liked by 1 person

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