The NYT on the OED‘s new Chief Editor
For all the tech talk, certain analog ways linger at the dictionary, notably in the Quotes Room, a repository of word citations on little slips of paper, many mailed in decades ago by volunteers around the world, the most prolific of whom are identified by their distinctive handwriting and referred to fondly by editors: “That’s a Laski,” or “This one’s from Collier in Australia.”
“We can hear everything that’s going on in the world of English for the last 500 years, and it’s deafening,” said the associate editor Peter Gilliver, who once spent nine months revising definitions for the word “run,” currently the longest single entry in the O.E.D.
The objective is to find the earliest and most illustrative uses of a word, not to grant benediction to anything as “proper English.” Each time commentators rebuke the O.E.D. for admitting teenage slang or marketing jargon, they misunderstand the dictionary, which aims not to define how language should be used, only how it is.
The American Dialect Society is meeting to choose its word of the year: feel the excitement!
porraceous, adj. [‘ Resembling a leek, esp. leek-green in colour.’]
From OED WOTD
@GuardianBooks wants your “shelfies”:
Oooh the American Dialect Society’s annual meeting comes to DC in 2016. (While we are on the topic of annual meetings.) 2016 is a long way away to be getting excited about, you say? And I say that I am a person who can spend 364 days thinking about National Grammar Day. I am good at anticipation.
Mondays are long and I am beat, but this brightened my evening:
quill-driver, n.[‘ A person whose job involves writing, esp. of a repetitious or tedious nature; a (hack) writer;]
from the OED WOTD
I plan to use it annoyingly often.
jolly hockey sticks, int., adj., and n. [‘ Used in representations or imitations of upper or upper-middle-class speech associated with a type of English public schoolgirl, esp. to express (mock) boisterous enthusiasm, excitement, exuberance, etc.’]
From the OED WOTD
omnitude, n.[‘ The fact of being all, universality; comprehensiveness. Also: the whole, the sum total.’]
A previous OED WOTD