Keepers of words...

George S. Cole gscole at ARK.SHIP.EDU
Wed Feb 9 15:35:39 UTC 2000

In the Discover magazine of March 2000, there is an article titled:
Keepers of Words: how megabyte and ozone hole make it into the annals of
language.  The article is by Karen Wright, and is on pages 37-38.  The
topic of the article carries a small relationship with a recent
discussion on this list, concerning the first use of a word, and printed
vs. non-printed usages.

The first two sentences note that "Gazillion is in.  So is wuss."  In
the last paragraph of the article, it notes that the word 'lotology' is
being considered for addition to the M-W Collegiate.

The article provides some information on the process by which a word
makes it into the Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.  It is noted
that "A lexicographer is a kind of naturalist who records and catalogs
the behavior of words in their native environment."  Further, "Despite
the ascendance of other forms of media, dictionary makers still rely
largely on reputable printed sources to reify the state of spoken
language.  'If a word is only used orally, it'll probably never get in
[the dictionary],' says senior editor Jim Lowe.  'If it has any staying
power, eventually it'll get into print.'"

Other M-W folk mentioned are:  Deb Burns; Tom Pitoniak; Arthur Bicknell;
and Fred Mish.

Merely F.Y.I.

George S. Cole   gscole at
Shippensburg University

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