Seen today in a dictionary (1941) ....

David Barnhart dbarnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM
Mon Feb 18 02:30:07 UTC 2013

used-book store in Peekskill, N.Y.:


This book has been compiled for those who need a simple, accurate, modern
dictionary as an aid in acquiring a better working knowledge of the English
language. ...

This dictionary is completely modern, and in keeping with its modernity,
everything superfluous has been discarded, and only that which is essential
to its primary purpose has been retained.  The exigencies of the present
demand the admission of the useful and the necessary, and the elimination of
the useless and unnecessary.  Obsolete and archaic words have been kept to a
minimum; obscure meanings of common words, the significance of which has
been lost in history, have been ignored; confusing technical and scientific
terms have not been included. ..

Dead words, useless words, obsolete words, have given way to live, dynamic,
modern words, indispensable to an understanding of today's fast-changing
world.  Because new words were added until the text went to press, many
terms will be found that appear in no other dictionary.  The rapid changes
in world affairs, political and international relations, the progress of
scientific investigations, the inventions which have revolutionized our
daily mode of life-all of these have contributed their quota of new words to
the language, and have made their inclusion imperative in a work which aims
to interpret our times to the man in the street.  A war and changing map of
Europe bring us Anschluss, Blitzkrieg and blackout."

Up to three of the last four words, this might have been written in a
present-day dictionary rather than one published in 1941.  Joseph Devlin
(Editor-in-Chief) goes on to discuss slang, too.


Barnhart at

The American Dialect Society -

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