from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Alternative spelling of fish.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Though frequently reported to be a coinage of George Bernard Shaw (1856–1950), this term dates back to at least 1855.



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  • I wrote about this 4 years ago, with some bonus discussion of minims and Churchillian Drift thrown in:

    January 4, 2016

  • The Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw, is said to have joked that the word ‘fish’ could legitimately be spelled ‘ghoti’ by using the ‘gh’ sound as it is pronounced in ‘enough’, the ‘o’ sound as it is pronounced in ‘women’ and the ‘ti’ sound as it is pronounced in ‘action’.

    However, linguists have pointed out that the location of the letters in the constructed word is inconsistent with how those letters would be pronounced in those placements, and that the expected pronunciation in English would be "goaty".1 For instance, the letters "gh" cannot be pronounced /f/ at the beginning of a syllable, and the letters "ti" cannot be pronounced /ʃ/ at the end of a syllable.

    January 3, 2016

  • Gone ghotion.

    November 15, 2010

  • A constructed word used to illustrate irregularities in English spelling. It is pronounced 'fish' - gh as in tough. o as in women. ti as in nation.

    August 15, 2009

  • In Jr. High my friends and I were avid fans of a band called Ghoti Hook. Because of that band I knew the meaning of this word as a 14 year old. HA!

    July 17, 2009

  • There is also Phtholognyrrh pronounced: Turner, According to a Mr. Turner who insisted on signing his name that way according to Robert M. Rennick in I Didn't Catch Your Name, Verbatim® Vol. XXix, No2. Mr Turner explains: " Look, the phth is like phthisic, which is pronounced t; olo is like colonel, which is pronounced ur; gn as in gnat is pronounced n; and yrrh as in myrrh, is pronounced er. So you have Turner. Nothing could be simpler." Reader's Digest, Jan . 1941, p. 42

    September 1, 2008

  • Should be required reading for any linguist. Or educator.

    October 4, 2007

  • On my list. The title alone is intriguing. :-)

    October 4, 2007

  • From Barry Rudd, not Batman and Robin. Let's give credit where credit is due.

    If you haven't read "The Child Buyer," go check it out immediately.

    October 4, 2007

  • Robin: "Ghoti" is "fish"?

    Batman: See here. English phonetics. GH becomes F, as in "tough" or "laugh". O becomes I as in "women". TI becomes SH as in "ration" or the word "nation".

    Robin: Holy semantics, Batman. You never cease to amaze me!

    May 24, 2007

  • Wikipedia has a terribly interesting article on this word.

    December 13, 2006