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Greetings, everyone! I've just come back from San Francisco, where I attended the American Dialect Society's annual meeting (held in conjunction with the Linguistic Society of America). As is the custom, the linguists and lexicographers in attendance took a break from their scholarly presentations to have some fun selecting the Word of the Year for 2008. This time around, bailout emerged as a powerful frontrunner, and sure enough it ultimately proved to be the winner.  Continue reading...
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Dog Eared

Books we love

Illuminated Manuscripts

Feast your eyes on these books showcasing the beautiful tradition of manuscript illumination.

Masterpieces of Illumination

Marvellous to Behold

A History of Illuminated Manuscript

Bibles and Bestiaries

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This year marks the three hundredth anniversary of the birth of Samuel Johnson, the great pioneer of English-language lexicography. To celebrate, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University has launched Dr. Johnson's Dictionary, which presents a word a day from Johnson's landmark Dictionary of the English Language (1755). Words are taken from the annotated proof copy of the first edition held at Beinecke, adorned with handwritten corrections by Johnson and his helpers. Some early selections follow below.  Continue reading...
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The countdown is on for the American Dialect Society's selection for 2008 Word of the Year, the oldest and most prestigious WOTY event in the land. The ADS selection will happen Friday, January 9, at the group's annual meeting, held this year in San Francisco. The voting is open to the public, so Visual Thesaurus readers in the Bay area are welcome to drop in for the WOTY fun. I'll be attending (I'm on the ADS Executive Council), and I have a few favorites I'll be lobbying for. One of them is a word that offers a ray of light in our current moment of economic doom and gloom: shovel-ready.  Continue reading...
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"Without euphemisms, there could be no good, so it must be good to be euphemistic sometimes."

So said George Washington at his Mount Vernon farm, setting the United States on its course as a euphemism-friendly nation, a path that is our patriotic duty to embrace.  Continue reading...
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