Here’s How Words Get Removed from the Dictionary

The dictionary isn’t forever. Here’s the lowdown on what happens to a word when its popularity starts to wane. You can’t call someone a frutescent snollygoster anymore—at least not officially. Those words have been deleted from the dictionary, so you’ll have to come up with alternate terms to describe a shrubby, unscrupulous politician. And those [...]

By |2019-10-17T17:13:28+00:00October 17th, 2019|Dictionaries and Lexicography, Language, Words|0 Comments

Here’s How Words Get Added to the Dictionary

Just look it up—or look here to check out the dish on dictionaries that logophiles will love! (Logophile means word lover!) What’s the deal with new words? Where do they come from and how do they go from obscure to official? First, new words have to circulate in culture to make it into the dictionary. [...]

By |2019-10-13T16:57:14+00:00October 13th, 2019|Dictionaries and Lexicography, Language|0 Comments

Is that a word? 4 reasons why the English language is bigger than you think

Is YOLO a word? How about Oompa Loompa, 'Merica, or freemium? In 2016, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) welcomed an additional 1,200 words (including the useful terms above) to the ever-expanding and highly confusing English language. But how do you really decide what should be considered a word? "Deciding what is a word is an [...]

Documents that Changed the World: Noah Webster’s dictionary, 1828

It’s twilight time for printed dictionaries, whose word-filled bulk weighed down desks, held open doors and by turns inspired and intimidated writers searching for the perfect word. Lexicography — the making of dictionaries — has gone digital. Though a few are still published, the dictionary’s time as printed, bound documents is almost up. In this [...]

Anyone can contribute to this dictionary of the world’s dying languages

Scientists estimate that at least 3,000 of the 6,900 languages currently spoken around the world will be lost by the end of this century. There are many academic efforts to reverse this linguistic erosion, from National Geographic’s Enduring Voices Project to the National Science Foundation-backed Rosetta Project, but the scale of the task also demands [...]

The case of the missing “u”s in American English

When my American editor asked me to research why Brits spell their words with so many extra ‘u’s, I immediately knew he had it all wrong. As a British journalist, it’s perfectly obvious to me that we have the correct amount of ‘u’s, and that American spelling has lost its vowels along the way. “Color,” [...]

An Online Dictionary Plans to Catalog a Million Emerging English Words

With viral memes and hashtags sweeping the internet on the daily, language is evolving faster than conventional dictionaries can keep up. You may have been “procrastatweeting” about the “popepocalypse” last week, but the stalwart publishers of the Oxford English won’t give your neologisms official recognition for years to come, if ever. Heck, they didn’t even [...]

By |2015-10-05T13:08:48+00:00October 5th, 2015|Dictionaries and Lexicography, Language, Words|0 Comments

Cutting nature words from the dictionary is wrong. Children cannot live on tech alone

Like many “outdoor types” and children of the Fifties, my heart sank when I read that the Oxford Junior Dictionary had cut “acorn”, “buttercup” and “conker” from its pages and inserted “blog”, “broadband” and “voicemail”. Those who applaud the decision explained that it was a dictionary’s job to reflect modern use rather than to preserve [...]

By |2018-02-22T00:23:20+00:00October 5th, 2015|Dictionaries and Lexicography, Language, Words|0 Comments

All words from all languages in one dictionary

The universal online dictionary Kamusi has just added 1.2 million terms from several databases in its quest to translate all the meanings of every word in all the world's languages. Three African languages and 200,000 words of Vietnamese will soon follow. Kamusi, which means dictionary in Swahili, aims to translate all the meanings of words [...]

By |2018-02-22T00:23:23+00:00September 21st, 2015|Dictionaries and Lexicography|0 Comments

Interesting Facts about Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary

A short interesting history of Doctor Johnson’s celebrated Dictionary of the English Language Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary is his crowning achievement: it is more famous than his one novel (Rasselas) and, although he was also a gifted poet, it is for his lexicography above all else that Johnson is remembered. First published in two large volumes [...]