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Vitamin Q: the book!

~ Thursday, September 05, 2002
 
THE GREAT AEGINRST MACHINE

In the world of lists about words, one stands as the top-whack caviar, the Arctic Red, the most unspeakably toothsome. This is 'the great AEGINRST machine' begun in the mid-60s by Dmitri Borgmann, updated by Jeff Grant a few years back and reproduced in Making the Alphabet Dance by Ross Eckler (Macmillan), the big cheese in the world where words and statistics meet. The list, too big to retype here, finds 157 transpositions (anagrams) of these 8 letters. Some examples:

'Simple' words:

angriest
astringe
gantries
gastrine
genistra
granites
negritas
rangiest
ring-seat
tearings

Place names:

Ginestar (Spanish town)
Registan (area of Afghanistan)
Restinga (Moroccan town)
Tiranges (French town)

Surnames:

Arnestig
Astering
Astinger
Atsinger
Estringa
Garstein
Gersaint
Graneist
Ingertsa
Sargenti
Serganti
Serignat
Stainger
Staniger
Steingar
Striegan
Tangires

(The list also includes several plurals of surnames eg Entigar, Reignat, Gantier, as in 'we're off to visit the Gantiers')

Oddities:

angrites (meteoric stones)
gaitners (those who set up single sheaves of corn)
ganister (a mineral)
genitras (old word for the testicles)
gratines ('is cooking au gratin')
Grisante (another name for St Chrysanthus)
ingestar (an Italian wine measure)
reasting (dialect, becoming rancid)
retangis ('is lamenting again', from a Maori word)
Targesin (tradename antiseptic)
Tigranes (name of several Armenian kings)

source: Making the Alphabet Dance (R Eckler, Macmillan 1997), the list originates in the journal Word Ways

Notes (by RcL): It seems to me that this list could be stretched further than 157 anagrams. The rules run thus: "... any English-language dictionary, gazetteer or telephone directory is allowed, including inferred forms (plurals, past tenses etc), multiword phrases and citation form plurals (eg Rigantes = people named Rigante)...." The list allows foreign personal and place names yet doesn't use foreign words per se, so if there is a word grenista, say, in Spanish it is not included.

Considering "inferred forms", we might shift the rules slightly to include words which may not have a citation, but could understandably have one. For a start, I can see another one: angerist, meaning (at least facetiously) someone promoting anger, say, in a Primal Scream therapy sense. Or, a follower or proponent of the director Kenneth Anger.

Further, we might envisage a set of words which are possible transpositions, future anagrams of the eight letters. Given that the set offers the -s plural and suffixes such as -ite, -ites, -ist, -er, -an, -ian, we can infer a word such as Reganist, a supporter of someone (eg philosopher, politician) called Regan, or Grestian, a supporter of Gresty, or perhaps even a player for or fan of Crewe Alexandra, who play at Gresty Road . Any found surname which is an anagram of RGAEN can, with -ist, also give a possible transition of AEGINRST. Similarly, the list includes the multiword names of real people (eg Stan Gire), but doesn't infer others (eg Erin Stag, Ian Grest).


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