Fwd: Atlantic Monthly: "Word Fugitives"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Wed Feb 8 18:58:19 UTC 2006

Anybody have a subscription to Atlantic Monthly? I'm intrigued by
these opening paragraphs...

The Atlantic Monthly | March 2006

Pursuits & Retreats
Word Fugitives
by Barbara Wallraff

In October a reader in Kingston, Washington, requested a word for "the
reflection of moonlight on water and the way it follows you as you are
walking down the beach or a dock." Her congressman, Jay Inslee,
promptly sent in four original coinages, including the
more-than-serviceable term emoontional attachment. How's that for
responsive representation?

Other readers, including JESSE SHEIDLOWER, an editor of the Oxford
English Dictionary, reported that the word requested already exists:
moonglade. Sheidlower wrote, "It's very rare, and it tends to appear
mostly in lists of words for things you didn't know there were words
for. But it is used for real." Dan Schechter, of Los Alamitos,
California, argued for a different word that he already knew. He
wrote, "Mariners sometimes call the moving path of light leading to
the moon the moonwake, because it looks like the white wash of a
ship's wake."

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

More information about the Ads-l mailing list