August 12, 2005 |
Seeking more "street cred" (n. popularity with or acceptance by the common people), Webster's New World College Dictionary has added almost 80 new words and definitions, an update that reflects the nation's current obsessions, from Al Qaeda and WMD on one hand to Botox and LASIK on the other. The 1,700-page dictionary is updated every year as editors try to keep pace with a constantly evolving language and include what they deem the "breakout" (adj.
March 25, 1989 |
The uninitiated may understandably wonder what all the fuss is about. Here's novelist Anthony Burgess calling it "the greatest publishing event of the century." It is to be marked by a half-day seminar and lunch at that bluest of blue-blood London hostelries, Claridge's. The guest list of 250 dignitaries is a literary "Who's Who."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 27, 1998 |
Scholar and author of a trilingual dictionary--who would have imagined it? Certainly not Felipe Lopez, a native of Mexico who did not know how to speak Spanish, let alone English, when he illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexican border 20 years ago. On that warm September night, Lopez concentrated only on not getting caught by the Border Patrol.
January 20, 1993 |
Listen up. If you're not a narb (square) or an abb (abnormal), you'll want to speak the King's (oops, Monarch's) English in a politically correct, bias-free, po-mo (postmodern) way. You will not call your pooch a pet but an animal companion. You will not call Whoopi Goldberg an actress; she's an actor. You will not say master bedroom, master key, mastermind or master anything--these are sexist concepts.
June 5, 1994 |
Patients walk into Peter Breggin's office and lay their diagnoses on the couch: They're depressed. They're anxious. They're sure they have a measurable, palpable illness, with shape, substance, gravity, consistency. "A little boy came in with his parents and I asked him: 'Do you know why you're here?' " Breggin says. " 'Yes. I'm here because you're the doctor who doesn't believe I should take Ritalin for my ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder).'
October 20, 1992 |
Can a rap song with words like rumbustious, shambolic and ombudsperson find true happiness on MTV's Top 10? Can lyrics like, "So I tapped my well of diction . . . And discussed some metafiction" possibly describe what happens when a love-struck guy tries to show a girl how smart he is? Does anybody who is not doing some really weird drug think that Ice-T is going to start rapping to the strains of--yegads!--the dictionary?
December 23, 1991 |
In his own words, not the ones he speaks but the deliciously rich variety he hunts and hordes like precious boodle, Frederic Cassidy at 84 is far from being a washed up old foozle. Sure, he's been cataloguing uniquely American sayings since the hogs ate my brother up and, sure, after 26 years he's only made it through those that start with the letter H. But don't be a dinkeldorf.
December 9, 1992 |
On Page 4,272 of this immense manuscript--reams of lined notebook paper filled with a neat, handwritten script--is a single word --tailor-made --the final entry in an abandoned dictionary. For 21 years, Rashid Karadaghi devoted his life to this English-Kurdish dictionary. Living alone in a tiny cottage near UC Santa Barbara, he worked from dawn until late at night, hunched over his array of reference books, sometimes spending an entire day on a single definition.
September 3, 1992 |
On the third floor of an ordinary brick-and-glass building on the edge of the University of Michigan campus, directly above Cactus Jack's Restaurant and the Great Lakes Cycling shop, a group of scholars is quietly nearing the end of a monumental task. They and their predecessors, 20th-Century equivalents of medieval monks, have been at it for more than 60 years.
February 19, 1993 |
Latin, the ancient tongue of the Caesars and the Popes, of empire, piety and scholarship, is fighting a graceful last stand here along the Tiber where it was born. Sic transit gloria. Even at the Vatican, where it remains the official language of a giant global church, Latin is in free fall. A generation ago, Roman Catholics everywhere heard Mass in Latin.