Wordwatching: How to Break into the Dictionary

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9781905264612: Wordwatching: How to Break into the Dictionary
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Alex Horne loves words. He loves them so much, in fact, that he decided to invent his own—to create a brand new verbal concept and successfully implant it into the English language, and the Oxford English Dictionary. But breaking into the dictionary was going to take more than just a gentle word in the ear of the OED's editor, as Alex soon discovered. Evidence was required—Alex needed proof that his word was in print and used by more people than just him and his mom. He needed, to use the dictionary's word, a "corpus" of examples, so a corpus he resolved to create. And he gave himself 1,000 days in which to do it. This is the story of what happened next. Did Alex get a word in the OED? What is a pratdigger? Are you already using one of Alex's words without realizing it? You won't regret spending your hard-earned honk on this hugely entertaining book full of wordy trivia and funny tales of verbal invention.

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About the Author:

Alex Horne is a stand-up comedian, nominated in 2003 for the Perrier Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He is the author of Birdwatchingwatching, based on his show Birdwatching, which appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe. His follow-up show, Wordwatching, also appeared at the festival.

From Booklist:

The author, a comedian by trade, has loved words and wordplay pretty much as long as he can remember. Approaching his tkday, the word he made up to denote one's 10,000th day on Earth, he realized he really wanted to do something important. What better way to do that than to invent a new word or two? For the rest of human history, people would be saying things that he created. Of course, getting a new word into the lexicon isn't as easy as making one up and sending it to a dictionary editor—for example, you have to demonstrate that your made-up word is actually being used, that it has an accepted meaning. The book follows Horne's efforts to get his new words into general circulation, a challenge that involves slipping his lexographic creations into public forums (for instance, using one on a popular TV show) and generally making a cheerful nuisance of himself. A very enjoyable book that should spark the interest of word lovers and do-it-yourselfers, not to mention fans of offbeat memoirs by A. J. Jacobs, Danny Wallace, and Dave Gorman. --David Pitt

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