Monthly Archives: July 2014

“Chickadee” an “Authorism”?

This morning while watching a small horde of black-capped chickadees [a banditry or dissimulation of chickadees, you might say, or just a flock] taking turns at the feeder, a I had a quick look through Paul Dickson’s Authorisms: Words Wrought by Authors. The book is a list of literary neologisms and their attributions. There are […]

Contending and Pretending with Etymology

This morning brought a FB cry for help: As I happen to have my American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots (third edition) handy, I quickly came to the answer that English attend and content are indeed from the same root, although not exactly the same Latin root. That is, the historical semantic tree branches off […]

Ironic OED quotations

Knee-deep in OED quotation evidence today, I’ve been noting down some ironic entries. Here’s a selected list. Headwords are indicated by bold type. 1905 Daily Chron. 22 Nov. 6/7 There are ‘Australianisms’ enough to make a dictionary an essential for the proper understanding of an Antipodean journal. …not to mention ‘Australianism’ (no doubt an Anglicism)… […]

ICHLL 7 – Conference in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

In the Canary Islands tonight, getting ready for the 7th International Conference on Historical Lexicography and Lexicology (ICHLL2014). A fascinating line-up of talks, most on subjects way astray of my field of knowledge. A list of papers and abstracts is here. My talk will be on some of my recent digital work with the OED […]

Hello, baby!

What did people say to babies before the 1820s? Some weeks ago my two-month old daughter began to smile. The internet has this to say about how to encourage babies to do more of that: Smile widely at her and offer a warm “hello” in that sing-song pitch parents do so well. [] My wife […]