Guide words are those words in boldface at the tops of dictionary pages telling you what the first and last words on the page are. Sometimes they’re striking and/or hilarious. Here are two that have struck me:
1) From p. 89 of the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, right-hand guide word (i.e., last word on the page):
avadavat /’avədəvat/ (also amadavat) n. a red or green South Asian waxbill sometimes kept as a cage bird. [Genus Amandava: two species.]
— ORIGIN C17: named after the city of Ahmadabad in India.
The word itself is amazing, with the same sort of oomph as abracadabra, but the etymology lifts it into the stratosphere. (Best OED citation: 1871 C. Darwin Descent of Man II. xiii. 49 The Bengali baboos make the pretty little males of the amadavat..fight together.)
2) From p. 553 of Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition, same location:
grutten past part of GREET
“Grutten”? Seriously? Further investigation reveals this is not the usual greet but the Scottish verb meaning ‘weep, lament,’ for which the past tense is grat and the participle grutten. (Best DSL citation: 1728 Ramsay Poems (S.T.S.) II. 123: Dar’st thou of a’ thy Betters slighting speak, That have na grutten sae meikle learning Greek.)