[Ads-l] paracosm

Barretts Mail mail.barretts at GMAIL.COM
Mon Jun 4 12:30:41 EDT 2018

In the recent Guardian article "How Tolkien created Middle-earth” (31 May 2018, https://bit.ly/2xw3RyZ), Samantha Shannon writes:

Yet fierce passion for his work endures, and even his harshest critics will concede that few creators have succeeded in building a paracosm that touches the depth of Middle-earth.

The word “paracosm” is in Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracosm <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracosm>), Wiktionary (https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/paracosm <https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/paracosm>) and Vocabulary.com <http://vocabulary.com/> (https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/paracosm <https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/paracosm>) but is not in the English Oxford Living Dictionaries. 

According to a 1995 obituary of Stephen MacKeith (https://ind.pn/2Hk1H4Y <https://ind.pn/2Hk1H4Y>), he coined the word. According to the Wikipedia article, however, the concept was fist described by Robert Silvey, and then researched by MacKeith and David Cohen, and the word was coined by Ben Vincent. 

The earliest citation on the Wikipedia page is 1998 in "The Paracosm: a special form of fantasy”.

Benjamin Barrett
Formerly of Seattle, WA
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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