[Ads-l] annals of acronymic etymythology

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Thu Aug 2 12:56:39 EDT 2018


Definitions that appear on Google are for the most part licensed from
Oxford Dictionaries. When the search term isn't an Oxford headword, other
sources may appear in the "dictionary card" at the top of the results page.

On Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 12:47 PM, Barretts Mail <mail.barretts at gmail.com>
wrote:

> To be fair, it seems that Google is a dictionary. Ask “what is the
> definition of X” for some word and Google produces a definition that
> appears to be from Google. BB
>
> > On 2 Aug 2018, at 09:44, David Wilton <dave at WILTON.NET> wrote:
> >
> > Unscientific data point:
> >
> > When I discuss dictionaries with my students (mostly first or second-year
> > university students), I always ask what dictionary they use. The answer,
> > almost universal, is "Google." Most are unaware that online dictionaries
> > exist.
> >
> > At most, there are only one or two say "Merriam-Webster" or "the OED" (by
> > which they mean oxforddictionaries.com).
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On
> Behalf Of
> > Jesse Sheidlower
> > Sent: Thursday, August 02, 2018 10:16 AM
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > Subject: Re: [ADS-L] annals of acronymic etymythology
> >
> > As Larry and Ben say elsethread, the use of dictionaries has not declined
> > for this purpose. However, I don't think this matters anyway: people
> > generally dismiss what dictionaries say when they look up entries like
> this.
> > If the etymology is given as "unknown" or something less interesting than
> > the purported acronymic origin (which is pretty much a given), people
> will
> > assume that the dictionary is either wrong or ignorant. This is similar
> to
> > usage issues: whatever authority the person decides to accept, whether
> their
> > grade-school teacher or some guy on the Internet, is given more weight
> than
> > the dictionary.
> >
> > Jesse Sheidlower
> >
> > On Thu, Aug 02, 2018 at 02:42:31PM +0000, Shapiro, Fred wrote:
> >> Here's an interesting question:  Etymythology has been a very strong
> > phenomenon for centuries.  Even etymological scholars have long been
> > attracted to colorful, unfounded etymological theories.  But now, in a
> > society where right-wing media and even the President of the United
> States
> > are mounting an enormous assault on concepts of education, science,
> > accuracy, truth, etc., is etymythology growing in popularity?  I am not
> > asserting that it is growing in popularity, but it seems logical that it
> > would in the aforementioned environment.  Another factor that might
> > contribute to such growth is the decline in use of dictionaries.
> >>
> >> Fred Shapiro
> >>
> >>
>

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