Plenty of people write to dictionary editors asking for words to be added. It almost never works. But what if politicians make a special request? To urge adoption of the term upstander, as in “the opposite of bystander,” to honor those who stand up to bullies, the New Jersey State Senate passed a resolution urging two dictionary publishers to add it. Unfortunately, dictionaries don’t work that way. Even so, whether a word is or isn’t in the dictionary doesn’t determine whether a word is real. This is part of a complete episode.
- Hell for Leather 05/13/2017: Victorian slang and a modern controversy over language and gender. In the early 1900's, a door-knocker wasn't just what visitors used to announce their arrival,... [more]
- Skedaddle 05/08/2017: The months of September, October, November, and December take their names from Latin words meaning "seven," "eight," "nine," and "ten." So why don't their names... [more]
- Pop Stand 04/29/2017: When it comes to learning new things, what's on your bucket list? A retired book editor decided to try to learn Latin, and ended up... [more]
- Coast is Clear 04/24/2017: In the military, if you've lost the bubble, then you can't find your bearings. The term first referred to calibrating the position of aircraft and... [more]
- Sweet Dreams 04/08/2017: In deafening workplaces, like sawmills and factories, workers develop their own elaborate sign language to discuss everything from how their weekend went to when the... [more]