It’s not totally obvious that AH and AY can be pluralized, but the act of making the sound is a noun, so the plural plays.
More mouth sounds!
AAH and AHA are pretty standard, ACH is somewhere between ARGH and UGH and OCH, I suppose, ARF is a somewhat standard dog, AUE is from Māori, and I predict it will be the word from this list that I have the hardest time remembering.
Animals and Plants
A bird of the genus Crotophaga. Isn’t that helpful? See below for a picture of an ani I met in Belize.
A large tuna; esp. the bigeye tuna, Thunnus obesus, and the yellowfin tuna, T. albacares. From Hawaiian. I don’t have a picture of any of the fishes.
The yellow-eyed mullet, Aldrichetta forsteri, from Māori
A small fish, Plecoglossus altivelis, native to Japan and the surrounding areas. Also known as “sweetfish”, because it is ayummy thing to eat.
A small rubiaceous tree, Morinda citrifolia… wait a minute, it’s the Indian Mulberry again! As found in AL and ALS.
A South American chili pepper. From Taino via Spanish
A vine, Metrosideros scandens, found in New Zealand. Probably going to pretend to myself that this is the abbreviation for “also known as”, which is basically lexicalised at this point, right?
The potato. Also ALOO. From Hindi
Same as KAVA, i.e. An intoxicating beverage prepared from the macerated roots of the Polynesian shrub Piper methysticum. Also, this plant, or its root. But not the same as CAVA, which is a different intoxicating beverage.
Niche and antique words. How many did you know?
Originally the woof or weft in a web. Later also the warp in a web. What a yarn.
to pay the penalty [v ABOUGHT, ABYING, ABYS or ABIES]. Is that… Faerie Queene again? Yes, yes, everyone else in history spelled it ABYE. Thanks Eddy. File with NY and FY.
A small island, often a river island. Also EYOT. Relates to the I of ISLAND (into which, we recall, Francophiles inserted the S unnecessarily), but not directly to anything about ISLET. Probably. Don’t AIT me.
In biology, any flat winglike projection. The ala of the nose (ala nasi, “wing of the nose“; plural alae) is the lower lateral surface of the external nose, shaped by the alar cartilage and covered in dense connective tissue. Yes, ALAR and ALAE and ALAS, alas.
A white vestment reaching the feet and enveloping the entire body, worn by clergy, servers, and others taking part in church services. So-called because it was white.
Collins claims this is derogatory Australian slang for a uncultivated person, or yob. If so, it has fallen out of use – I can’t find an internet-era slang dictionary with this word. Possibly current during one or both of the world wars, and fossilised in some reference source I can’t access.
The octave directly above the treble staff. c.f. ALTO
A unit of mass. Specifically, the atomic mass unit. Hm. See also ECU.
A collection of reminiscences, sketches, information, etc, of or about a person or place (as in Americana?! ). I had no idea this was ever a standalone word. OED confirms: “Boswell’s Life of Johnson, which..for its intrinsic worth, is the Ana of all Anas.” – R. Southey, Doctor (1847) vol. VII. 347 🦆
A half-year’s salary, legally due to the executors of the will of a deceased minister of the Church of Scotland, paid in addition to any stipend owing at the time of the minister’s death; Contraction of ANNAT or ANNATES, but not ANNATE*. This is hilariously niche, well played both lexicons.
As in “ifs and ans”, things that might have happened, but which did not. Short for AND, obviously.
(allegedly) a type of protein (apolipoprotein). No entry in OED or Collins online, only as an adjective on Wiktionary. The road of allowing arbitrary chemistry prefixes leads to madness.
Contraction of ARBITRAGEUR (one who engages in arbitrage).
A primitive plough (possibly it was ‘arder to pull). Used in discussions of Norse archaeology.
Variant spelling of the already-obscure OUPHE, a changeling child supposedly left by fairies in exchange for one stolen.
A programming language and flat-out proper noun that slipped through because it’s usually written in lowercase.
The delicate spinous process, or ‘beard,’ that terminates the grain-sheath of barley, oats, and other grasses; extended in Botany to any similar bristly growth. Also seems to be an adjective (having awn) and a verb (to hand an awning), and hence AWN takes all the suffixes: -S -ED, -ING, -LESS, -ER, -Y, -IER, -IEST
More chemistry: of, consisting of, or containing the divalent group -N:N-
Loan words that have legit been adopted into English, in no particular order
The 16th Hebrew letter, which of course has another transliteration, AYIN.
A monetary unit in Laos, 1/100th of a kip. Now inflated away, no coins minted since 1980
Many atts, except using the single-T transliteration.
A monetary unit in Macao, 1/100th of a pataca. Not yet inflated away. From Portuguese fractions, cognate with the suffix in octavo.
a Syrian cloth, also as ABAYA
a Turkish military officer, also AGHA, as in the Agha Khan. Not the oven.
Same as AYAH, but not AYA*. A female domestic servant or nursemaid in south Asia