Word Fever


According to some website called Global Language Monitor, the English language will add its millionth word sometime on Wednesday. I’m predicting it will be a stupid one.

Other language experts think it’s impossible to count the number of words in any language. Sarah Thomason, president of the Linguistic Society of America and a linguistics professor at the University of Michigan, calls the million-word count a “sexy idea” that is “all hype and no substance.”

Ugh! I hate her choice of words! Why is this woman a linguistics professor? Sarah, please don’t use “sexy” in this manner! Just say “appealing.” Next thing you know, she’ll be smitten by something epic.

If you love (and hate) words, go and check out Wordnik.   It’s a dictionary but much more fun and useful. It gives examples of a word in several contexts, definitions, synonyms, even a pronunciation feature.

Wordnik also has a short list of “recently viewed” words, and “new pronunciations.” Among the latter is the word cunt, which its sophomoric users evidently think is fun to hear out loud.   Sure enough, it is!

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13 Responses to Word Fever

  1. JK says:

    Sister, you once called me (something like) brave.

    Whcih ordinarily I wouldn’t dispute – except for that last word in your post.

    Admittedly, I enjoyed muttering it- at times. And I actually enjoyed hearing myself uttering it out loud, verbally, with force. Once.

    But when I received that $77,104.00 bill from my (female) divorce attorney, though the word came to mind, it wasn’t uttered.

    Just that word mind, I’m learning linguistic prowess reading Sister Wolf (and commentors) http://www.godammit.com/

    I figure I’m getting my post doc here.

  2. Bex says:

    Oy, cunt and linguist in the same sentence…or am I just being sophomoric… 😛

  3. Stella Mayfair says:

    i recently found out about a book by adam jacot de beinot on “very little known words from around the globe”, listing treasures such as the old japanese “tsuji-giri”, allegedly translating to “trying out a new sword by slashing a passer-by”.

  4. honeypants says:

    That wordnik site is great, thank you! Though I was already groaning within 5 minutes of checking it out…

    I realize that it’s the way language grows — the redefinition, combination, and other such mutation of words. I’ve coined quite a few phrases of which I’m fond. However, I hate the raping and pillaging of some words so much, it’s unbearable. “Sexy,” in the above context is a perfect example.

    Another thing I can’t stand is when a buzzword works its way into everyday speech, losing its original meaning in the process. I wasn’t around for “gay,” but I was definitely begrudging “alternative,” every step of the way. When I was 14, it was a word with which I very much identified. And now, It’s been exploited, marketed, packaged and sold — available at a mall near you.

    Don’t even get me started on “extreme” or “artisan.”

    Off the soap box now, I’m sorry! It sure is good to know so many other people take these things as personally as I do!

  5. Ann says:

    I’m with Honeypants – I can’t deal with the word extreme. I may be alone in this, but I would endure a lifetime of epic and smitten if it meant I didn’t have to hear the word extreme ever again.

    Cunt is great fun to say aloud – always has been! I worry it’s becoming pedestrian though, as its shock value seems to be wearing off. Thank goodness you’ve trademarked your phrase.

  6. Deni says:

    I remember the first time I heard the word “sexy” used in conjunction with a marketing campaign; it was a horrible experience. To paraphrase: “We have a sexy new product for release!” No, it wasn’t clothing, or an apparatus of any sorts . . . it was insurance coverage, ugh! That was over 15 years ago and I haven’t gotten over it yet!
    SW, thank you for Wordnik. I also subscribe to Wordsmith (word-a-day), Dictionary.com (another word-a-day), and Delancey Place (excerpt-a-day), and I still fuck up the English language, but onward and upward . . .

  7. hammie says:

    I love new madey uppy words that enough people have used to get into O.E.D.

    I am voting for “embiggen” xx

  8. honeypants says:

    oh and let’s not forget the SW classic, lesbitious!

  9. “All hyphen and no substance” Where was this woman when I was looking for a blog name?

  10. Sister Wolf says:

    JK – Glad to be of service.

    Bex -Cunt goes with every sentence, like a nice French rosé.

    Stella Mayfair – Sounds like a book I need! Thanks!

    honeypants – Ugh, “artisan” and extreme both awful. How about “robust?” That one has been killing me.

    Ann – Cunt will always be good (one hopes.)

    Deni – All marketing words are horrible. “Pricepoint” is just a stupid word for price. Ugh!

    Hammie -I LOVE embiggen. I thought it was enbiggen, though.

    honeypants – I should submit that one to Wordnik, right?!

    La Belette Rouge – It’s hard to name a blog. The best name ever is I, Asshole. (It belongs to a friend of a friend.)

  11. honeypants says:

    Yes, submit lesbitious! I think it is embiggen. And two people said pricepoint to me the other day, and I didn’t know how to respond. Gak!

  12. hammie says:

    Oh Sis; m is the new n – if you don’t believe me ask Imelda!

  13. Jill says:

    Oh, how I’ve enjoyed this post. I can’t stand “colorway”…similar to pricepoint. Just say “color” for Cunt’s sake!

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