Fictional Materials for OED

Jeff Prucher jprucher at YAHOO.COM
Mon Jan 4 20:06:01 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----
> From: Jesse Sheidlower <jester at PANIX.COM>
> Sent: Sun, January 3, 2010 3:29:20 AM
> Subject: Re: Fictional Materials for OED
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society
> Poster:       Jesse Sheidlower
> Subject:      Re: Fictional Materials for OED
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> On Sat, Jan 02, 2010 at 10:21:13PM -0500, Shapiro, Fred wrote:
> >
> > It is interesting that, from Star Trek, the OED has entries
> > for beam (v.), Klingon (n. and adj.), mind-meld, phaser,
> > photon torpedo, prime directive, warp factor, and warp
> > speed. Their inclusion may be based on figurative uses
> > outside of Star Trek.
> >
> > From Star Wars, I see only carbonite and droid. I can
> > understand ewok and wookiee not being included, but surely
> > "force" in its Lucasian sense should be in OED.
> In general, our policy would be to include such terms only if
> they are found in figurative use outside of the context of the
> original, or if they are so widespread and understood in the
> original context that we couldn't reasonably leave them out.
> Of the terms mentioned in this thread, I think _kryptonite_ is
> the only one which absolutely deserves inclusion.
> (_unobtainium_ does as well, but it doesn't fit into the
> category because it's not actually an invented term associated
> with a single work.) _The Force_ probably does, even though
> many of the figurative uses are still allusive (e.g. appearing
> in phrases such as "The Force is strong in this one", etc.)
> The Star Trek examples (and there are others) are all indeed
> used outside of ST.
> Of the Tolkien examples mentioned upthread, I think it's very
> likely that many of these would not be included if we had to
> evaluate them at this point, but since they were in OED2, we
> can't remove them. An exception is _hobbit_, which should be
> in.

Adamantium is used outside of Marvel Comics, often in video and role-playing games, so it might merit consideration as well.

Jeff Prucher

Editor, Brave New Words: The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction. Now in paperback!

The American Dialect Society -

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