Monthly Archives: June 2014

On the origins of bears, and words for bears

A poem by Simon Armitage called “The Great Bear” (from CloudCukooLand, 1997) has a few things to say about, and to, a bear – or bears in general. The poem is modelled as a set of ratifications (“it’s right… And right…” etc.) of ursine legends and myths, actual and invented:  [embedded from Google Books] The […]

“Disobstetricate not their enixibility”: OED’s Double Hapaxes

Or, Urquhart’s folly. Here’s a challenge: write a sentence with two never-before-used words in it, and see if the Oxford English Dictionary ever adds both of them to its long list of English words. In “Acrasial Philogamy – Ghost Hapaxes in OED”, I documented some words that are included as headwords in the OED on […]

We’re moving! Go to “The Life of Words”!

For the last two and more years, I’ve been posting here on topics related to poetry, dictionaries, computers, and so on. Over 100 posts later, it’s time for a new home. As of June 15, 2014, I’ll be posting at my new project site: The Life of Words I hope you’ll visit us there […]

Acrasial Philogamy – Ghost Hapaxes in OED

Poking around the OED today, I came across this entry, which I’ll reproduce here in full: aˈcrasial, a. rare-1. [f. acrasy + -al1.] Ill-regulated, untempered, intemperate. 1851 S. JUDD Margaret II. xi. 321 (1871) ‘Acrasial Philogamy? Brother Edward, what is that?’ ‘That,’ replied Edward, ‘is an incurable malady to which young persons are subject.’ I […]

Going Live: “The Life of Words”

For over two years, I’ve been posting short posts and articles on topics related to poetry, criticism, lexicography – especially the Oxford English Dictionary – and Digital Humanities, on my research blog, “Poetry & Contingency”. That blog was initially set up to collect thoughts, results, and new research questions generated in the course of a […]