A Word for the Dictionaries: "Unconference"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sat Feb 2 21:33:10 UTC 2013

On Sat, Feb 2, 2013 at 4:18 PM, Shapiro, Fred wrote:
> The word "unconference" is defined by Wikipedia as "a participant-driven
> meeting." It gets 3,200,000 hits in Google, but is not in OED nor Merriam-
> Webster.  According to Wikipedia, "The term 'unconference' first appeared in
> announcement for the annual XML developers<http://xml.coverpages.org
> /bosakXMLDayAnn9808.html> conference in 1998."  (There are two Nexis hits
> 1996, but these are in a different meaning relating to conferences in the U.S.
> Congress.)

See also the Fall 2011 installment of "Among the New Words" (Zimmer, Carson,
Horn, AmSp 86(3): 355-376), all about "un-" forms. For "unconference" we
include one of the 1996 congressional cites (in brackets) but unfortunately
missed the 1998 example, picking up the thread in 2003.


Ben Zimmer

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

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