A word that doesn't exist and yet it does.

I’ll make it easy on you, this is the word: smalm

I was playing Wordle with my brother and dad the other day and my dad sent me a word he tried, but he was confused because autocomplete kept correcting it. He had never heard of it. Neither had I.

I looked in the dictionary for the word and I couldn’t find it. I did a web search and couldn’t find it. Then I checked in the unix word list to see if I could find it there.

I found it!

But then I still couldn’t find a definition.

I did eventually find a couple links to it on the web for scrabble word lists.

My guess is that like map makers, dictionary makes must create fake words as a sort of copyright mechanism to check if people are copying their work. And because word game makers can’t check every word to see if they’re real, they include a word from a common list of words.

Don’t believe me that it doesn’t exist?

terminal window showing me searching from smalm

References

Video talking about locations that don’t exist

DuckDuckGo search for smalm

Google search for smalm

P.S. both searches think I’ve mistyped smalm and meant small but in any case you still won’t find anything.

HTMLInputElement type number fun fact

I am a web developer by day and was working on a feature that was supposed to create an input field that could only accept numbers. Super easy right?!

<input type="number" />

I’m demoing said feature to the client (after having tested this) and I’m bashing on the home row and nothing is printing. I type some numbers and they print. Then I grab some text and paste it in an bam, a single letter e. That’s weird. I try another word. Another letter e. Hmm. I tell the client we’ll look into it.

I shared this with a coworker and they were able to produce the same behavior. I then decided to look up the issue on the internet and of course this is a well known thing. I dig a little deeper and realize that the HTML spec allows for this behavior because of floating point numbers. For instance 2e5.

Anyways, that was a fun little journey.

Link to the HTML spec for input type=number

I was listening to the FunFact (@funfactfm) podcast recently and they mentioned this website. I finally got around to looking at it and it’s so cool! Here is the site by Neal Agarwal (@nealagarwal) about the deep sea. He also has a bunch of other cool sites at his website. Enjoy!