The Worldwide Weblog of Donald Pincher

by Joshua Gaskell

Tag: Oxford Dictionaries Online

Tuesday, 21st February 2017

On fleeker, adj.

Pronunciation: /ɒn fliːkə/
Etymology: < fleek adj., apparently an arbitrary formation

1. More ‘on fleek’: better, more attractive, or more stylish (than someone else).
2. Usu. in form On Flickr, contronymous to sense 1: worse, less attractive, or less stylish (than anyone else).

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Wednesday, 9th September 2015

Do-it-yourselfie stick, n.

Pronunciation: /ˌduːᵻtjəˈsɛlfi stɪk/
Etymology: < merging do-it-yourself adj. + selfie stick n.

A device in the form of a rod on which a smartphone may be mounted, serving the activity of taking a photograph of oneself from a wide angle, rather than holding the smartphone in one’s hand or employing a photographer.

Thursday, 6th August 2015

The OxfordWords blog has just published ‘23 words that everyone spells wrong’. And that’s everyone including the OED website, since cemetary crops up in sentry, n.2 (a typo carried over from the print edition); and accomodate in spaciously, adv., pontoon, n.1 (which may just need a sic), lanai, n. (which does), tunnel, n. (it’s accommodate in the 1979 Compact Edition of the OED), roadway, n., and public, adj. and n.

In the words of the blogger, ‘English sure doesn’t make spelling easy.’ But if my entry of Friday, 5th September 2014 is anything to go by, it won’t be long before the entries are corrected.

Monday, 6th July 2015

May, v.

Pronunciation: /meɪ/
Etymology: < a Germanic verb with the sense ‘to be strong or able, to have power’.

1. Expressing possibility.
2. In phrase we apologise for the inconvenience this may cause you, contronymous to sense 1, expressing certainty.

Tuesday, 16th December 2014

Delivering the Romanes Lecture of 1900 – on the history of lexicography at Oxford – editor James Murray set out the principles of the Oxford English Dictionary, to be published by the Oxford University Press. In the high-minded spirit of Murray’s great undertaking, the OUP yesterday launched a “Lolcat Generator”, so it seems highly appropriate to quote Murray’s inspiring words through that medium:

diz dictionary superaddz to all teh featurez dat haz been successiveleh evolved by teh long chain ov workerz, teh historicul informashun which Dr Trench desiderated. It seekz not mereleh to record every word dat haz been used in teh language for teh lazt 800 yearz, wif itz written form an signification, an teh pronunciashun ov current werdz, buut to furnish a biography ov each word, givin az nearleh az possibel teh daet ov itz birf or firzt known appearance.

The Dr Trench referred to is Richard Chenevix Trench, who initiated the whole OED project by presenting two papers to the Philological Society in 1857. They were jointly entitled “On Some Deficiencies in our English Dictionaries”.

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