three Ys?

Here’s a brain teaser for you …

What’s the only word in the English language containing three Ys?

Yeppers, I said three … count ’em, THREE.

Even if you’re an ace Scrabble player, you probably haven’t come across this word … because Scrabble only has 2 Ys to work with. And a good thing that is, because this word also contains a Z.

Well, the word with 3 Ys also describes a rare astronomical event involving three heavenly bodies …

Syzygy [siz-i-jee]: the alignment of three celestial bodies in a straight line, the Sun, the Earth, and either the Moon or a planet.

Three Planets Dance Over La Silla.
Photo by Beletsky via Wikimedia Commons.

Lunar and solar eclipses are both examples of syzygy, when the Earth, Sun, and Moon fall in a straight line. Check out this video from One Minute Astronomer showing a dramatic example of syzygy when the Moon passes between the Earth and Sun in a total solar eclipse.


  1. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Great Monday morning science lesson!

  2. Karlyne says:

    I just can’t wait to use this word in a sentence! As in “Well, isn’t that just a syzygy of events?” for instance…

  3. Stephanie Guevara says:

    I thought astronomers were good at math?

    I am going to challenge my husband to a game of Scrabble this weekend, and hope I get two y’s, a z, and a blank tile! (And an s and g too, of course.)

  4. CJ Armstrong says:

    I’ll have to remember that for when I do play Scrabble!

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