If you’re oohing and aahing over something remarkable, you’re using double letters — vowels as a matter of fact — which isn’t that unusual in our English language.
Double oohs are cool, or even kooky. Double ees are all over the place. Running like a deer and sleeping like a baby.
Double aas aren’t so easy to find. A couple mentioned in our ever-popular Merriam-Webster news are aardvark and aardwolf. Both are from early Afrikaans, in which aard translates as “earth.”
I was able to think of only one word with a double u. I’m sure you know it. A vacuum, which cleans the floor or is the state in which one might live. To live in a vacuum is to live in a state of isolation from outside influences.
The double u comes from medieval Latin. There are a few other words with a double u, like residuum and continuum, both from Latin.
But the best one of all, who knows how or why, is muumuu, that roomy, beautiful dress from Hawaii.
And, now we get to the magical islands named with a double i, as you can see.
But that word, a proper noun, isn’t the only ii word in our language. Another proper noun is Pompeii, but others, not proper are radii, the plural of radius.
A bunch of verbs with double iis are skiing, taxiing, alibiing and graffitiing. Love that last one.
Doubling vowels are more common, but now we get to consonants (you have to pay for the vowels. You have to land on the right part of the wheel to get the consonants).
We double consonants to make vowels short, hence the difference between later and latter, or slimming and sliming.
But whoever heard of doubling h or w or v. The dictionary, of course.
So, we have hitchhike, bathhouse and withhold. None of them have anything to do with the sound of a vowel.
All the w’s come along and it seems excessive to double a w. But we do, as you can see from powwow and glowworm. This isn’t in the same category as double u, as you can see. But if you say it, that’s another matter. Confusing, but amusing.
Would you double a v? Well, believe it or not people do.
We have savvy. Which can be a verb, a noun or an adjective. Think about it.
We also have divvy, which means to divide up stuff, and something we don’t talk about much, or even use the word very much.
It’s skivvies. Underwear, that is. And another double v word we almost never hear is flivver. An early automobile.
With k we finish the doubles, I think. And they’re hard to think of. We have words pressed together like bookkeeper and jackknife. But we also have knickknack, sometimes seen in the company of paddywhack.