Tag: dictionary

According to google

It occurs to me that introducing any piece of communication with “if you google…” or “according to google…” – it’s as big a no-no as introducing anything by saying “the Oxford English Dictionary defines… as…”.

If you don’t know why this is a problematic way to enter dialogue (or indeed a monologue) – then please, begin your comment with either a dictionary definition or a reference to google search results on the matter.

Reverse Dictionary

Have you ever had that thing. That mental blank where you can’t remember what word you’re after but can remember how to describe it. Of course you have. Well, the Reverse Dictionary is here to save the day. Just type your description and away it goes. Pretty useful. I was looking for something like this a while ago – it’s like a thesaurus, only with multiple input fields.

A wordy post

Meriam Webster dictionary has released the 10 most frequently looked up words in 2008. In order they are:
Bailout, vet, socialism, maverick, bipartisan, trepidation, precipice, rogue, misogyny, turmoil…

Obviously some were influenced by the global economic crisis – like misogyny… others by the US election… like bailout. Obviously other people wanted to know where to send their dogs… Or, it could be that the American populace was wondering why Obama was so keen to vet his cabinet. English is a funny language. Why do you need a trained animal doctor to check out a piece of furniture?

Here’s how the list stacks up to previous years – where w00t, Facebook and others all appear. It’s an interesting way to track people’s thinking and concerns. And what they don’t know but are choosing to be educated about.

walldrop number 4

Thank you for your message.  People often write to us about words they have devised, and I am afraid our response is very dull.  Before we can even think about drafting a dicttionary entry for a new word, we need a large body of published evidence showing that it has been in widespread and sustained use over a period of at least five years.  We are slow to add words to the full Oxford English Dictionary Online, because once added they are never deleted.

You can read more about what is involved at http://www.askoxford.com/asktheexperts/faq (see ‘Will you put in my new word?’ in the Dictionaries section).  I shall certainly record your contribution in our files, but cannot promise that it will result in an entry.

Margot Charlton

Oxford English Dictionary


Three posts in one day – if I post four I could make a Crowded House reference. Although posts and seasons aren’t really interchangeable.

Anyway – the purpose of this post is to point out a problem I have with the word so. Dictionary.com lists an obscene number of meanings and contexts in which such a small, simple word can be used. It’s just confusing. So confusing in fact that’s I’ve had enough so I’m going to do something about it.

I imagine our predecessors were faced with a similar problem with the word to. It has a lot of meanings too. One of those is demonstrated in the previous sentence. My theory is someone clever realised you could get around the confusion by just adding an extra o on the end of to to create a whole new word. I aim to be clever too. One day people will look back and say putting that extra o on so made everything soo much clearer. So here goes.

From now on when so is used to indicated an increase (ie so much) I think it should be spelt soo. So to sum up. When so is being used as a conjunctive (I can’t believe I’m talking about grammar – this is the guy who sidestepped his father’s war on commas by an obsessive overuse of the -. I use so many -‘s now that the last time he edited some of my work he put commas back in) it remains the standard so. When it is used in its adjectival form soo much or soo cool it will now be soo.

Hopefully this will prove to be more popular than the word col (a more refined type of cool – which lasted for a couple of months before fading into the word graveyard – only to be resurrected on my blog many long years later).