Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: lexicographer

“A word to the wise ain’t necessary…”


That title is only the beginning of a quote from the comedian Bill Cosby.

Here’s the full quote: “A word to the wise ain’t necessary—it’s the stupid ones that need the advice.”

Using dictionaries is undeniably important in Reading, Writing, and Publishing—the three main topics of this blog.

Last year, I wrote a post called Dictionary Evangelist. I do hope you’ll take that link and watch the video there—go ahead—I’ll wait right here

So, that was Erin McKean, a founder and the CEO of the online dictionary Wordnik and, previously, the Principal Editor of The New Oxford American Dictionary.

Wordnik is irrevocably Cool since it’s a dictionary that you can add words to—based on Erin’s philosophy that dictionaries shouldn’t be compiled by traffic cops but by folks who fish

This woman is definitely a phenomenon…

Plus, she has a great article in The New York Times called Using Undictionaried Words—here’s an excerpt:

“…serve as your own lexicographer and shine your own light on largely undiscovered words. For it’s a kind of lexical Catch-22: since editors at most traditional dictionaries won’t include a word until they see published evidence of its use, holding off on using a word just because it’s not in the dictionary can actually delay its inclusion.”

Not hard to see why I, a man whose favorite word is “word”, find this woman’s work fascinating
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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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