Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Dictionary Evangelist

Ever used a dictionary?

Since most readers of this blog more than likely have some interest in reading, writing, or publishing, odds are you have looked into a dictionary :-)

So what are the people who make dictionaries called? Lexicographers << Whew! Quite a word

I’m going to share a video of a talk by lexicographer, Erin McKean. She’s a serious student of words and still manages to deliver a talk that’s humorous while being highly informative.

She feels that most dictionaries, paper or Web, act like traffic cops—deciding which words are acting “legal” enough to be in a dictionary.

She created an online dictionary, Wordnik, that you can actually add words to!!

This video is so much fun I think it might be illegal :-)

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11 responses to “Dictionary Evangelist

  1. Simone Benedict July 4, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Long ago one of my biggest pet peeves was being told, “Aint is not a word. It isn’t in the dictionary.” It was a happy day when I did find that word in the dictionary.

    I’ll have to look at the links you’ve provided. First I have to look into lexicographer. That’s a word I aint heard for a long time.


    • Alexander M Zoltai July 4, 2011 at 1:58 pm

      Ain’t it true, Simone? The language cops be losin’ their power!

      Ya know, apart from my trusty copy of WordWeb, which is free and sits in my taskbar and looks up highlighted words in word processors or on Web pages, shows me the definition and synonyms and, upon selection of one, lets me replace the highlighted word with one click, that link to Wordnik. is super valuable–it has features unrivalled in the world of lexical exploration and they even have a thingie that you can drag up to your BookmarkBar in your browser and do the highlight-go-check-it-out way-cool action :-)

      I loved writing that train-wreck of a sentence ( Whoot :-)


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  4. dgkaye December 7, 2015 at 9:38 pm

    Love the video. Thanks for sharing Alex, as I will be. :)


  5. Pingback: “A word to the wise ain’t necessary…” | Notes from An Alien

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