Next! ... No, not you!

Mark Mandel thnidu at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 3 15:35:01 UTC 2008

Following up on an email from my sister the medical transcription
editor/supervisor, I was looking for "edentulation" in the OED. I didn't
find it, but the following sequence of three entries, with the quotation for
the first, seemed a bit off:

edental, a.
    = next.
1845 DARWIN Voy. Nat. v. (1873) 82 Another gigantic edental quadruped. 1883
in Syd. Soc. Lex.

|| Eden'tata, n. pl.
    An order of Mammalia characterized by the absence of front teeth;
represented by the Ant-eater, Armadillo, Sloth, etc.

edentate, a. and n.
    A. adj. Characterized by the absence of incisor and canine teeth;
belonging to the order Edentata; see B. Sometimes = 'toothless'.
    B. n.
    1. in pl. = EDENTATA.
    2. humorously. One who has lost his teeth.

It looks like someone inserted "Edentata" between "edental" and "edentate"
without correcting the cross-referential _next_. Having references to _next_
(and _previous_) in an evolving dictionary is asking for trouble. Yes?

m a m

The American Dialect Society -

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