Scrabble Bingo of the Day: BURKITE


BURKITE  n pl. -S  a burker

63 points (13 points without the bingo)

There's no better time than Halloween to have the BEJABERS scared out of you, and no better way than with a slasher flick or horror movie about HEXEREI. To some, Halloween is a time for candy, costumes and celebration. To film lovers, it's a time for shock, terror and of course—death. But while many Halloween-worthy horror films gross you out with disfigurement, dismemberment and disembowelment, some take it easy, perhaps with a murderous BURKITE.

A burkite (aka BURKER) is someone who murders a person or animal by SUFFOCATION, usually in a manner which leaves no or very few marks of violence. The term BURKING originates from the West Port murders in 1827 and 1828 by William Burke and William Hare. The two Irish serial killers murdered their 17 victims in Scotland by SUFFOCATING them to death. They would sit on the chests of their victims, placing one hand over the nose and mouth, while using the other hand to push the victim's jaw up.

Scrabble Bingo of the Day: BURKITE

Hare received immunity for ratting on Burke, who was hanged in 1829 and publicly dissected at the Edinburgh Medical College, which is where he sold his bodies to. His skeleton, death mask, and objects made from his tanned skin are displayed at the college's museum.

Scrabble Bingo of the Day: BURKITE

This method of killing left virtually no visible injuries on the corpses. Why did they do this? For money. They sold the corpses to a private anatomy lecturer who used them for his dissection classes. This was the basis of the film The Body Snatcher from 1945, starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. In the movie, a surgeon hires a cabman to dig up graves for fresh dissection-worthy corpses, but the body provider soon resorts to an easier method—murder.

A scene from The Body Snatcher (go to 7:55 to see some burking).

There's also a horror film from '72 called Burke & Hare that focuses on the West Port murders, as well as one from '48 called Horror Maniacs and another from '60 called The Flesh and the Fiends with Peter Cushing and Donald Pleasence of Halloween fame. A comedy was made last year called Burke and Hare, which stars Simon Pegg of Shaun of the Dead fame.

Scrabble Bingo of the Day: BURKITE


BURKER  n pl.-S  one that burkes

Scrabble Bingo of the Day: BURKITE

Above, a political cartoon from the 19th century referring to the "burking" of the Constitution.

Related Words

ASPHYXIATE  v -XIATED, -XIATING, -XIATES  to murder by suffocation
ASPHYXIATION  n pl. -S  the act of asphyxiating
BURKE  v BURKED, BURKING, BURKES  to murder by suffocation
CHOKE  v CHOKED, CHOKING, CHOKES  to impede the breathing of
MURDER  v -ED, -ING, -S  to kill unlawfully with premeditated malice
MURDEREE  n pl. -S  one that is murdered
MURDERER  n pl. -S  one that murders
MURDERESS  n pl. -ES  one that murders
MURTHER  v -ED, -ING, -S  to murder
SMOTHER  v -ED, -ING, -S  to prevent from breathing
STRANGLE  v -GLED, -GLING, -GLES  to choke to death
SUFFOCATE  v -CATED, -CATING, -CATES  to murder by depriving access to oxygen
SUFFOCATION  n pl. -S  the act of suffocating

Scrabble Bingo of the Day: BURKITEThe above photo shows medical students with a fresh cadaver.

Photos by Serial Killer Central, Socyberty, Edinburgh, docmo

What's a Scrabble Bingo?

A bingo is when a player empties his or her rack in one turn, placing all seven of their letters on the board to create a word that's at least seven letters long. The term "bingo" is used primarily in the U.S., but elsewhere it's simply known as a "bonus" because you get a bonus of 50 points added to your turn's score. "Scrabble Bingo of the Day" will focus on these high scoring plays, teaching you some interesting and possibly unusual seven-letter or longer words accepted in a game of Scrabble.

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