“A slight amount of insanity might be a good thing for the practice of lexicography.”

Katherine Connor Martin of the OED, in a New Yorker article on a lexicographical mystery and the OED‘s long tradition of “crowdsourcing since before there was a word for crowdsourcing.”

And, on the mystery in question, a mid-19th-century book cited multiple times as an early source for words in the OED, but which the OED has been “unable to trace … in library catalogues or text databases,” Martin says, “Here is a book that everyone has forgotten, but it is immortal. It is in the O.E.D.”


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