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This week there has been a raging language debate about the inclusion of the non-literal meaning of "literally" in various dictionaries. But is the whole controversy overblown? Here is a roundup of online reactions.  Continue reading...
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Should "Tweeps" Be in the Dictionary?

Library Journal and Oxford University Press recently organized a webcast entitled "Should 'Tweeps' Be in the Dictionary?" about the role of dictionaries in the age of social media. Participating were Katherine Connor Martin, head of U.S. dictionaries at OUP, Henrietta Thornton-Verma, reviews editor at Library Journal, and Ben Zimmer, executive producer of Vocabulary.com and the Visual Thesaurus. Read Thornton-Verma's recap here, and listen to the full webcast here.
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Judges, like the rest of us, turn to dictionaries when they're not sure about the meaning of a word. Or they turn to dictionaries when they're sure about a word's meaning, but they need some confirmation. Or they turn to a dictionary that defines a word the way they want it defined, rejecting as irrelevant, inadmissible, and immaterial any definitions they don't like.  Continue reading...
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In the latest quarterly update to the Oxford English Dictionary, one entry in particular has attracted attention: tweet, previously defined only as the chirping of birds, has been expanded to refer to 140-character Twitter updates as well. The OED loosened its usual "ten year rule" to let this newcomer in.  Continue reading...
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Some brands capture your attention with made-up words: Qajack and Squidoo, hungerectomy and splurjobbing. Other brands deliberately misspell familiar words: Klout, Flickr, Cheez-It. But some companies prefer a more traditional way to make an impression — one that might have pleased your third-grade teacher. They consult a dictionary.  Continue reading...
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A Taxing Day for Dictionaries

"Yes, April 15th is still the dreaded tax day," writes Mim Harrison. "But thanks to Samuel Johnson, it's also a great day for the English language and its wealth of wonderful words." That's because it is the date on which Johnson published his monumental dictionary of the English language in 1755. Read Harrison's look back at Johnson's Dictionary here.
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Late last year, there was some controversy in the media over a new book by Sarah Ogilvie about the Oxford English Dictionary's historical coverage of foreign words. The controversy turned out to be a tempest in a teapot, overshadowing the worthy book behind it. Here, Mark Peters has an appreciation of Ogilvie's Words of the World.  Continue reading...
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1 2 3 4 5 Displaying 8-14 of 109 Articles