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Lexicographically Speaking

The NYT reports that Oxford has no plans to print a new OED. Which is a pity not just for linguists, but for people like us who will no longer have stories like the following:

While blogging about an online video for The Times in November, I wanted to use the expression “rotflmao” — an abbreviation that I thought meant “extremely funny.” To be sure I had the letters right, I consulted the Urban Dictionary, an online wordbook to which users post definitions of slang. There I found this definition for “rotflmao”: “A chat-room abbreviation used mainly by imbeciles, usually in response to something mildly, often very mildly, amusing. People who use this type of shorthand should be avoided like the Spanish flu.”

Incidentally, I do not think it accidental that the first edition of the OED was created in large part thanks to a guy in the loony bin. (Go read The Professor and the Madman. Quite instructive.)

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