Wednesday, October 16, 2013
We Geek Words: Dictionary Day
In Webster's honor, October 16th is known as Dictionary Day. A day to celebrate all things lexicographical, etymological, a dash of the linguistic for good measure. This is the day for every word nerd who's ever spent an hour trying to think of the perfect piece of vocabulary to describe something. Raise your hands if you spent hours memorizing word roots in hopes of making regionals, if not the National Spelling Bee. If you can back your opinion on the use of the word "literally" with research, today is your day.
If you're looking for a way to celebrate, you can check out our Dictionary Day blog post from 2011 for some reading suggestions, or come on down and browse the 400s. We also have DVDs of Akeelah and the Bee and Spellbound available for check out.
Oxford Dictionaries has a blog with info on word origins, changing slang, and more. It was Oxford Dictionaries Online who shocked a nation by announcing the inclusion of "twerk" shortly after Miley Cyrus's VMA performance.
In response to the scandal of twerking in the (online) dictionary, Mental Floss compiled a list of 16 words from the print edition of the Oxford Dictionary that were once as scandalous as twerk, but are now utterly obscure.
Kory Stamper is a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster, and her blog about life as a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster (Harmless Drudgery) is a source of constant delight. Start here with a post about the headaches of responding to dictionary fan mail and feedback. Stamper also helps to create Merriam-Webster's "Ask the Editor" web video series, an example of which is hopefully embedded below.