Kory Stamper, author of the new book Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries describes three criteria Merriam-Webster uses for inclusion of words like truther, binge-watch, photobomb and the 1,000 other words that make the cut in a typical year.
The first is widespread use, which means a word needs to be used all over the place and in all sorts of different kinds of places. So if a word is used in VIBE magazine and The Wall Street Journal, that's widespread use. Or if a word is used in California and then it's used in South Africa, that's widespread use.
[The] second is sustained use. So a word needs to actually have kind of a long shelf life, because most words come into the language and either don't have much written use for a long time, or they have a lot of written use and then they drop out [of] use for 10 or 20 years. So we like to see some sustained usage, to make sure that it's sort of settled into the language.
Then the third criterion is meaningful use, which means the word has to have a meaning, which sounds patently ridiculous, but there are a handful of words that show up in print that just don't have a lexical meaning.
And if you're not following Merriam-Webster's Trump trolling on Twitter, you should get on it!
• Kory Stamper (YouTube / 20th & Vine) via Free Library of Philadelphia
The following are pioneering animator and Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki’s (My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, etc.) top ten favorite books for young people: 1. The Borrowers — Mary Norton 2. The Little Prince — Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 3. Children of Noisy Village — Astrid Lindgren 4. When Marnie Was There — Joan G. Robinson […]
Fandom Jesus is no match for canon Jesus, and a Tyrannosaurus Rex is no match for fandom Noah in this meticulously faithful retelling of the Bible’s greatest ark-builder.
Most of us vastly overestimate our understanding of how things work. We think we know more than we do. Why? Because we get by with a little help from our friends. (Sorry.) Cognitive scientists Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach explore why we think we’re so smart in a new book titled The Knowledge Illusion: Why […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]
Even though credit cards now feature an EMV chip for securing transactions, they still have to include the magnetic strip for compatibility with older point of sale systems. Because of this, there’s no way for the chip’s new security capabilities to protect against card skimmers in the wild.How do you protect yourself from legacy-technology-induced fraud? […]