Kangaroo Words: Words That Contain Their Own Synonyms

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What is a kangaroo word?

What's more fun than a game you can play with words? If you're asking the dictionary, the answer is nothing ... which is why we are talking about kangaroo words today.

A kangaroo word is "a word that contains its own synonym, with the letters to spell that synonym already placed in the correct order."

Take, for example, a word like rambunctious. It contains its synonym raucous (RAmbUnCtiOUS). There's also splotch, which contains the word spot. Both contain their own synonyms like a kangaroo carries its young in a pouch.

And, to make this word play even more fun ... the shorter synonyms that are contained inside of a kangaroo word are called joey words, like a "baby kangaroo"!

Let's jump along to 10 more—see if you can spot them.

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chocolate

Chocolate isn't just a tasty thing to eat. It's also a delicious word. Because in chocolate, you can find the correctly ordered letters to spell cocoa, "the powder made from roasted, husked, and ground seeds of the cacao," which is used to make chocolate.

Chocolate actually comes from the Nahuatl (an Aztecan language) word cacahuātl, denoting a drink made with cacao.

So, chocolate contains cocoa both in real life and in word form. Mind = blown!

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masculine

Masculine means "pertaining to or characteristic of a man or men." What a coincidence, then, that the letters in masculine can be used to form the word male.

Or is it a coincidence? Via French, male ultimately derives from the Latin masculus, which means "male" and is the source of ... masculine! This is like a kangaroo word in a kangaroo word. Whoa.

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blossom

When a plant flowers, it blossoms. And, the individual flowers on a plant can also be called blossoms.

There's another B-word that functions in this exact way, and it actually appears, fully intact, inside of the word blossombloom!

A plant can bloom, and a plant has blooms.

Fun fact: Though these words are synonyms, blossom botanically refers to a flower that will bear fruit, while bloom refers to flowers in general. Either way, beautiful.

WATCH: Watch This Word Come To Life: Blossom

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chicken

Quick, what's the word for a female chicken? It's a hen, of course, which is a joey word that can be found inside chicken.

What's more, the ancient root of chicken (a word of Germanic stock) may also be the source of the name for a male chicken: cock.

Cock-a-doodle-doo to that!

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honorable

Honorable means "in accordance with or characterized by principles of honor; upright" or "of high rank, dignity, or distinction; noble, illustrious, distinguished."

But, if honorable doesn't seem like the word you're looking for, you could also just go with noble, a near synonym which conveniently appears right there inside of the word honorable.

Stand-up words, they are.

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capsule

Capsules are cases that enclose things. In pharmacology, a capsule is "a gelatinous case that encloses a dose of medicine." In biology, it may be "a membranous sac." And, you might even enclose special relics in a time capsule for future generations.

Capsule comes from the Latin capsula, a diminutive of capsa, meaning "box."

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deceased

To be deceased is to be "no longer living; dead." It's often used in a formal capacity, such as in court documents or other official writings.

In casual conversation, though, you're more likely to hear dead, which you can locate as a joey word right inside of deceased.

Dead has long been alive in the language, recorded in Old English and from a Germanic root before it. Deceased, meanwhile, is ultimately from the Latin decēdere, "to go away, depart." 

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isolate

When you isolate something, you "set or place (it) apart; detach or separate so as to be alone." In doing so, you make it a sole object.

Isolated goes back to the Latin insulātus, "made into an island," from insula, "island." Sole is from Latin solus, "alone."

The two words may be synonyms for alone, but they certainly found each other in this kangaroo pairing.

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perambulate

Wanna sound smart? The word perambulate can help with that.

It means "to walk through, about, or over; travel through, traverse." You might also describe this action using its joey word, amble, meaning "stroll, saunter."

The two words both have roots in the Latin ambulāre, "to travel, walk." In the case of perambulate, the prefix per- means "through," hence perambulate's sense of "traveling through" some space or place.

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respite

A respite is "a delay or cessation for a time, especially of anything distressing or trying; an interval of relief." You might even call it a resta word that appears, intact, within respite, fittingly enough.

Respite comes, via some French transmogrifications, from the Latin respectus, source of respect (literally, "looking back"). Rest is a word of Germanic root, recorded in Old English.

Though both are used of relaxation, rest often implies physical relief while respite can suggest emotional or mental reprieve. Ah, either sounds pretty good right about now.

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