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121 posts tagged with Dictionary.
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Before and after Cab Calloway's Minnie the Moocher, there's more to hear

Cab Calloway's song "Minnie the Moocher" is familiar to many people, due to its status a one of Cab's swinging classics, which was used for the title and inspiration for a spookly little Bettie Boop short cartoon, complete with a spectral walrus whose dance moves were rotoscoped from Cab himself. Flash forward to 1980 with Calloway in his 70s, Cab returned to belt out the tune in The Blues Brothers in classic Cab Calloway swinging style, returning the song to broad prominence. But do you know how the song came to be? You've probably heard the somber "Saint James Infirmary," but have you heard of "Willie the Weeper" or "Willie the Chimney Sweeper"? Mix the two, and you have a few pieces of the story behind Cab Calloway's big hit (Google books preview). [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 14, 2014 - 26 comments

Cheese your patter

A Dictionary of Slang, Cant, and Vulgar Words, by A London Antiquary. If Lord Palmerston is known by name to the tribes of the Caucasus and Asia Minor as a great foreign diplomatist, when the name of our Queen Victoria is an unknown title to the inhabitants of those parts—as was stated in the Times a short time ago,—I have only to remark that amongst the costers and the wild inhabitants of the streets he is better known as PAM.
posted by orrnyereg on Oct 2, 2014 - 10 comments

Oxford University Press Celebrates National Library Week

In honor of National Library Week, Oxford University Press is making all of its non-journal products available online for free for the week of April 13th-19th, 2014. This includes the Oxford English Dictionary and the Oxford Handbook series. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Apr 14, 2014 - 20 comments

Future of the OED

The new chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary discusses its future. "My idea about dictionaries is that, in a way, their time has come. People need filters much more than they did in the past."
posted by anothermug on Jan 26, 2014 - 50 comments

Words of the Day

Please enjoy this smattering of Word of the Day sites and pages: OED (RSS), Wordsmith (RSS), Wordnik, The Free Dictionary (RSS), Merriam-Webster (RSS), WordThink (RSS), Urban Dictionary (RSS), Macmillan (RSS), NY Times Learning Network Blog (RSS), Scrabble, Wordsmyth (RSS), Easy Speak (Toastmasters), Wiktionary, Wiktionary "Foreign", OLDO (RSS: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish, all in OLDO), Arabic (RSS), Japanese (RSS), Nahuatl, ASL, History, Geology, Theology (RSS), and Sesame Street (not daily, unfortunately).
posted by cog_nate on Dec 13, 2013 - 11 comments

Girl, you must be a somebody because you are an unspecified person

You Must Be: A tautological pickup line generator by Darius Kazemi (tinysubversions).
posted by oulipian on Nov 20, 2013 - 161 comments

It's what the words mean.

The dictionary of the Global War on You
A first attempt to “rectify” American names in the era of the ascendant national -- morphing into global -- security state.
Secret: Anything of yours the government takes possession of and classifies.
posted by adamvasco on Jul 7, 2013 - 22 comments

"I love the idea of witnessing the birth of that word."

"In 1872 two men began work on a lexicon of words of Asian origin used by the British in India. Since its publication the 1,000-page dictionary has never been out of print and a new edition is due out next year. What accounts for its enduring appeal? Hobson-Jobson is the dictionary's short and mysterious title." [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 27, 2013 - 10 comments

Shall e’er revirginize that brow’s abuse

51 words in the Oxford English Dictionary, including couchward, extemporize, fringy, revirginize and chappelled have quotes from the same source, a mysterious book published in 1852 called Meanderings of Memory, written and published by Nightlark, a "well-known connoisseur". There are only two evidences of the book's existence. If you happen to have a copy of Meanderings of Memory sitting on your shelf, please contact the OED [previous OED mystery].
posted by elgilito on May 10, 2013 - 43 comments

Compare and contrast, bits vs dead trees

As lexicographers revel in the capabilities of online dictionaries, one person notes the death of print encyclopedias.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Mar 19, 2013 - 18 comments

ENGLISHWOMEN: Express surprise that they can have pretty children.

You too can sound like tedious Second Empire bourgeois making small talk if you follow Flaubert's Dictionary of Received Ideas! A satrical collection of cant, cliche, and "expected" opinions of the French middle-classes around 1870 - List Of Entrees alphabetical - List by subject.
posted by The Whelk on Feb 28, 2013 - 14 comments

I help students learn how to study all types of rocks.

Complex scientific concepts explained using only the thousand most used words in the English language. In the spirit of xkcd's Up-Goer Five comic. (Previously.) Use the Up-Goer Five Text Editor to make your own contributions.
posted by Cash4Lead on Jan 18, 2013 - 108 comments

Literally?

"10 Words You Literally Didn’t Know You Were Getting Wrong" [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Dec 19, 2012 - 154 comments

"Your app's anti-piracy module, it's not working"

An iOS application developer has come up with an extreme way of fighting software piracy—by auto-posting "confessions" to its users' Twitter accounts. "...Enfour, the maker of a variety of dictionary apps, is auto-posting tweets to users' accounts to shame them for being pirates. But the auto-tweeting seems to be affecting a huge portion of its paid user base, not just those who actually stole the apps." Follow-up. A personal account: Can’t spell “pirate” without “-irate”: on DRM and punishing the customer [more inside]
posted by flex on Nov 29, 2012 - 74 comments

YOLO with it

Oxford Dictionaries' 2012 words of the year have been chosen: for the US, it's "gif" (as a verb); for the UK, "omnishambles." It contended for this crown with the likes of "YOLO," "superstorm," and "nomophobia." Previous Oxford words of the year can be found here (other notable year-end word lists such as those from Merriam-Webster, the American Dialect Society, and the Global Language Monitor, have yet to appear).
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Nov 12, 2012 - 92 comments

Meta: word-forming element meaning 1. "after, behind," 2. "changed, altered," 3. "higher, beyond;" from Gk.

Are you enthusiastic ("pertaining to possession by a deity," from Gk. enthousiastikos "inspired," from enthousiazein ) about Etymology? ( ethimolegia "facts of the origin and development of a word," from O.Fr. et(h)imologie (14c., Mod.Fr. étymologie), from L. etymologia, from Gk. etymologia, properly "study of the true sense (of a word)," Then why not explore ( 1580s, "to investigate, examine," a back formation from exploration, or else from M.Fr. explorer (16c.), from L. explorare ) the vast resources (1610s, "means of supplying a want or deficiency," from Fr. resourse) of the ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Nov 12, 2012 - 30 comments

OED appeals to professors and madmen

Has anyone seen a blue-arsed fly? Someone must have cooties. This is no FAQ, can you make a make a defining contribution to the OED?
posted by stbalbach on Oct 8, 2012 - 5 comments

Claws sharp

The alphaDictionary Historical Dictionary of American Slang presents a unique way for studying slang. It contains over 2200 slang words with the centuries in which they were first printed. The dates were taken from the Oxford English Dictionary, the Online Etymological Dictionary, or the earliest occurrences the editors can remember. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Sep 14, 2012 - 8 comments

Electric! Copen! International orange!

Evocative definitions of colors in Webster's Third New International Dictionary and how they got there. [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead on Aug 17, 2012 - 13 comments

Dictionary, n. A malevolent literary device for cramping the growth of a language and making it hard and inelastic. This dictionary, however, is a most useful work.

Collins Dictionary is seeking suggestions for popular new words that deserve official definitions. Most recent suggestions: blurge, wammocky, dingbat, sloading, and many more.
posted by Fizz on Jul 19, 2012 - 29 comments

Need a word for it?

The Lonely Planet has come up with a list of thirty travel terms that aren't in the dictionary.
posted by gman on Feb 5, 2012 - 70 comments

LIFF (n.) A book, the contents of which are totally belied by its cover.

"In Life, there are many hundreds of common experiences, feelings, situations and even objects which we all know and recognize, but for which no words exist. On the other hand, the world is littered with thousands of spare words which spend their time doing nothing but loafing about on signposts pointing at places. Our job, as we see it, is to get these words down off the signposts and into the mouths of babes and sucklings and so on, where they can start earning their keep in everyday conversation and make a more positive contribution to society. " -- Douglas Adams, on The Meaning of Liff. And because it's Adams, there are some internet pages for your enjoyment. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 1, 2011 - 18 comments

Dictionary of oldest written language finally completed after 90 years.

90 years in the making, the 21-volume Chicago Assyrian Dictionary is finally complete. The full set is $1995, or free PDF downloads. If you can wait a little longer, the Chicago Hittite Dictionary will be complete in 2045 (begun in 1975), while the Pennsylvania Sumerian Dictionary has no completion date. [more inside]
posted by stbalbach on Jun 12, 2011 - 26 comments

The Wikipedia of symbology.

There are symbols from Asia. Wiccan symbols. Symbols from Freemasonry, Christianity, and Native Americans. Explore the Symbol Dictionary.
posted by zardoz on May 31, 2011 - 27 comments

Not for old fogies.

“The flapper movement is not a craze, but something that will stay,” the author maintained. “Many of the phrases now employed by members of this order will eventually find a way into common usage and be accepted as good English.” [more inside]
posted by timory on Apr 10, 2011 - 83 comments

Critical Dictionary

If you brave the flash interface, there is so much to find. Critical Dictionary has photography, ideas, and very strange music. [more inside]
posted by idiopath on Jan 16, 2011 - 7 comments

"It is of such stiff stuff that the upper lip of the British phonetician should be fashioned, giving short shrift to chauvinism."

Howjsay.com is a unique online speaking dictionary that offers clear pronunciations of English words, phrases, slang terms, technical terms, brand names, proper names, profanity, and many foreign words, including common variations and alternatives. Astoundingly, the sound files are not computer-generated -- every single one of the site's 138,152 entries are enunciated in the dignified tones of British academic and polyglot Tim Bowyer, who has steadily expanded its glossary over the years using logs of unsuccessful searches and direct user suggestions. The site is part of Bowyer's Fonetiks.org family of language sites, and is also available as a browser extension and as a mobile app for iPhone/iPod and Blackberry.
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 23, 2010 - 27 comments

This Modern Life

A Dictionary of the Near Future: "The thing about the future is that it never feels the way we thought it would. New sensations require new terms; [here] are a few such terms to encapsulate our present moment." [more inside]
posted by bayani on Sep 16, 2010 - 26 comments

"Impossible is a word only to be found in the dictionary of fools."

Climate change and the vuvuzela leave mark on Oxford Dictionary of English. Other words and phrases introduced for the latest edition include 'toxic debt', 'staycation', 'cheesebal' and 'national treasure'. To balance them out among the 2,000 or so new items there are a few more left-field choices. Among them are 'cheeseball', which refers to someone or something lacking taste, style or originality, and the more disturbing phenomenon of 'hikikomori', the Japanese word for the acute social withdrawal that occurs in some teenage boys.
posted by Fizz on Aug 19, 2010 - 18 comments

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

rialtoscuro n. disorientation when you step outside a movie theater into unexpected darkness, a twinge of jet lag from two hours of escapist fun which only diverts you from making the sequel to your youth—an old cult classic with wild shifts in tone, dropped subplots, major characters that appear out of nowhere only to vanish without explanation, and an ambiguous ending—but this time, it’s personal. The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows
posted by xod on Jun 22, 2010 - 25 comments

A new Canadian dictionary

Now that the Canadian Oxford Dictionary hasn't published an edition since the 2nd in 2004, there's a challenger to the much-desired title of standard dictionary of Canadian English: ladies and gentlemen, the 1st edition of the Collins Canadian Dictionary. There's even a short-story contest to promote it: in your 1,000 words you have to include at least 10 from the dictionary.
posted by anothermug on May 29, 2010 - 44 comments

B-Rhymes

B-Rhymes is a rhyming dictionary that compares words based on their sounds, making it ideal for finding near-rhymes.
posted by archagon on Feb 15, 2010 - 28 comments

:—

The Secret History of Typography in the Oxford English Dictionary. Although sadly not about font design or kerning, Nick Martens' exploration in the OED is still pretty interesting. [more inside]
posted by shakespeherian on Jan 21, 2010 - 28 comments

Regex Dictionary

Regex Dictionary - for those times when you want a web-based dictionary you can search with regular expressions.
posted by Wolfdog on Dec 21, 2009 - 31 comments

Someone who once had a lot of free time # 12 & 34: Brian's huge chordlist collection

I had this concept--after a strange dream, while scoping out the I Dreamed I Saw st. Augustine tab in my just-in-case-it-disappears downloaded dylanchords, of ...St. Augustine as a slow moody slide in Open D ala Blind Texas Marlin. But then I got to wondering whether someone might have a chord dictionary online where a few variations on a first position B Minor in Open D might be found. Voila! Achtung, Baby! Behold Brian's huge chordlist collection. Oh, man, he's got your standard and open tunings on guitar plus mandolin, uke, banjos, bouzouki, pipa and lute. A living room guitarist's must have, no doubt, although a few more open tunings for pipa would have been nice... [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Dec 9, 2009 - 6 comments

Ask the Editors @ Merriam-Webster's

Merriam-Webster's Ask the Editors blog is the centerpiece of the Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary site. It is an excellent source of sensible advice about English language and usage. Editor-at-large Peter Sokolowski also has a Twitter feed where he highlights various interesting things about words. Finally, Merriam-Webster has started producing Ask the Editor videos, four so far, where they've tackled the subjects of i before e, classical roots, affect vs. effect and how news stories affect what words people look up online, in this case focusing on the effect of the coverage of Michael Jackson's death. Incidentally, Merriam-Webster have released their top ten words of 2009 list, which is based on what words people looked up.
posted by Kattullus on Nov 20, 2009 - 15 comments

Can a woman ball a man?

It's never easy to talk about sex. It all depends on your definition.
posted by monospace on Oct 1, 2009 - 18 comments

A Flapper's dictionary

A Flapper's dictionary
posted by yegga on Aug 24, 2009 - 70 comments

Find the word you can't think of

Tip of My Tongue: Find that word you've been thinking about all day but just can't seem to remember.
posted by Miko on Jun 27, 2009 - 26 comments

Not just another dictionary

Wordnik - An ongoing project devoted to discovering all the words and everything about them. [via]
posted by tellurian on Jun 22, 2009 - 15 comments

All the news that's fit to cromulate

The 50 words that generate the most click-throughs to the dictionary from the New York Times. The Nieman Journalism Lab reveals the words that sent NYT readers running to the Merriam-Webster. Key fact: Maureen Dowd is overly fond of the word "louche." If the post is TL;DR for you, here's the list in Wordle.
posted by escabeche on Jun 15, 2009 - 132 comments

Jim has burned the evidence.

My First Dictionary 50s schoolbook style drawings and definitions, with a twist.
posted by Outlawyr on Apr 18, 2009 - 45 comments

I'm a walnut, or a female AV star

Nihongodict is an AJAXy online Japanese-English dictionary. The list of matches auto-updates as you type. You can enter (or paste in) romaji, Kanji or kana, and use character maps for hiragana and katakana. Results can be bookmarked. [more inside]
posted by kurumi on Mar 26, 2009 - 36 comments

On language and locations.

The Dictionary of American Regional English is nearing completion.
posted by sarabeth on Mar 22, 2009 - 43 comments

Cuss all you want, but only around men, horses, and cows

Old Western Slang and Lingo also Insults and the Code of the West
posted by Del Far on Mar 3, 2009 - 32 comments

Yes yes! Pick me!

Save the Words. Do lost words still have meaning? Just because society has neglected them doesn't make them any less of a word. How do you get lost words back in the dictionary? With lexicographers scanning publications and other communication for words not currently housed in the dictionary, all you need do is use your adopted words as often as possible. Go, Adopt a Word. Like graocracy.* * - government by an old woman or women. [more inside]
posted by Tufa on Jan 29, 2009 - 37 comments

80 Million Tiny Images

A visualization of all the nouns in the English language arranged by semantic meaning. [NSFW words included!] [more inside]
posted by carsonb on Jan 15, 2009 - 40 comments

Defining Imagery

The Photographic Dictionary defines words through the personal meaning found in each picture. M is for mask, E is for ephemeral, T is for twin, A if for alone.
posted by netbros on Nov 27, 2008 - 5 comments

Lord Love a Duck!

Ever wonder what a quocker-wodger was? Just what did they mean when they said that you were all kippers and curtains? Worldwidewords.org has the answer. "More than 1600 pages on the origins, history, evolution and idiosyncrasies of the English language worldwide." Word geeks, say goodbye to the rest of your afternoon.
posted by freshwater_pr0n on Oct 20, 2008 - 17 comments

Your Favorite Obscure Word Sucks

The Times Online: Dictionary compilers at Collins have decided that the word list for the forthcoming edition of its largest volume is embrangled with words so obscure that they are linguistic recrement. Such words, they say, must be exuviated abstergently to make room for modern additions that will act as a roborant for the book. [more inside]
posted by Sailormom on Sep 22, 2008 - 47 comments

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