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
Ponden Hall, a nine bedroom house in Stanbury, West Yorkshire, England, is considered to be the inspiration for Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights and sister Anne’s Wildfell Hall. The Brontës spent a great deal of time on the property in the early 1800s. Now it could be yours. Current owner and Brontë superfan Julie Akhurst and […]
Firstsecond Books (previously, publisher of In Real Life, which I created with Jen Wang) has announced a new line of YA-oriented graphic novels called "World Citizen Comics," on contemporary activist themes like "how to fight corruption in elections, blast fake news with truth-telling, and even battle would-be dictators both near and far through a better […]
Recently, I noticed Becky Chambers’ runaway hit The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was available via Kindle Unlimited. I regret having waited so long to read this widely acclaimed novel. A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is every ‘meet the crew of a special spaceship’ space opera you’ve read. The phenomenal […]
Big companies want automation on a big scale. Doing that means diving into the tricky world of machine learning and data science. And no matter what platform you’ll be implementing it on, you can learn how with the Machine Learning & Data Science Certification Training Bundle. In 48 hours and through eight courses, this bundle […]
Big systems need tight security – and the experts who can implement it. Cisco Networking Systems are the go-to providers for network infrastructure, but maintaining it takes a lot of up-to-date knowledge. If you want that knowledge right from the source, there’s an online course that can get you certified painlessly: The Foundational Cisco CCNA […]
Computer slowing down? There are a ton of reasons why that might be, especially if your unit has a few years on it. Junk files and programs can accumulate over time, some even left over from otherwise uninstalled software. This virtual debris can slow your PC down dramatically, but there’s a surprisingly quick fix. Lauded […]