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Yesterday, October 16, was National Dictionary Day, celebrated annually on the birthday of the great American lexicographer Noah Webster. Today the "Webster" name is practically synonymous with dictionaries, but how did the first "Webster's Dictionary" come to be? In this excerpt from The Forgotten Founding Father
, Joshua Kendall recounts the publication of Webster's Compendious Dictionary
in 1806, the first dictionary to bear his name and the first to feature his "American" spelling.
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What's for dinner tonight? How about Cheez-It crackers topped with Cheez Whiz, followed by a salad of Imitation Krab and Vegetable Skallops sprinkled with Bac'n Bites? For your main course, we have a tempting selection of Chik'n Cutlets, Chick'n Scallopini, Turk'y, Stakelets, and Wyngz. And be sure to leave room for dessert: we're serving Kandy Kakes and Froots smoothies!
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Mike Pope, a technical editor at Microsoft, writes:
My name — Pope — is surprisingly easy to mishear. "Polk?" people ask. "Hope?" This is particularly true over the telephone. Even spelling it out doesn't help — P-O-P-E — and I find myself exaggerating the aspiration on those plosives.
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It took 20 grueling rounds, but Sukanya Roy of South Abington Township, Pennsylvania emerged victorious in the 2011 Scripps National Spelling Bee. The 41 semifinalists had been whittled down to 13 for the prime-time finals, and the last handful of contestants kept the competition going with round after round of flawless spelling. Sukanya outlasted them all, winning with the word cymotrichous
, meaning "having wavy hair."