I came across an interesting question asked to a reporter in the Charlotte Observer
. Actually, I initially thought it was a really stupid question, but part of the answer surprised me. The question was:
Q. Is the name of the carnival game Whac-a-Mole derived from the word "guacamole"?
Like I said, I thought it was a stupid question. Just because the two words end in "mole," that doesn't mean they have anything to do with each other. And sure enough, the reporter, Jeff Elder, confirmed that the name "Whac-a-mole" is not, in any way, derived from the word guacamole. He called up Michael Lane, chief financial officer of Bob's Space Racers of Daytona Beach, Fla., makers of Whac-a-Mole. Lane said, "The name origin in English is a short way to describe the action of play."
But the weird part of the answer is that Guaca-mole is a trademarked name for the game in Spain, Mexico, and other Spanish-speaking countries. "The reason for this name, Lane says, is that pronunciation in Spanish is very similar for Whac-a-Mole and Guaca-Mole." So the two words are linked, in a roundabout way.
I say Whac-a-mole with three syllables and Guacamole with four syllables (pronouncing the "e" on the end), but I'm guessing Spanish speakers must pronounce Whac-a-mole with four syllables. And if you say it in this way, it can sound a lot like Guacamole.