Friday, October 16, 2009

Dictionary Dissents

An occasional feature of my Twitter feed is Dictionary Dissent of the Day -- a beef with Webster's New World College Dictionary, the official dictionary of most American newspapers. Here's the list so far:
WNWReal life
Sweat shirt Sweatshirt
Sunbelt Sun Belt
Tranquillity Tranquility
Bootees Booties
Seviche Ceviche
Largess Largesse
Hardworking Hard-working
Workingman Working man
Workingwoman Working woman

8 comments:

Luise in Cambridge said...

With you all the way. Bless you.

Delivery said...

I agree. "Bootees"? WTF?

Also, I've been slowly reading your second book (my Slot has it on her desk beside the Stylebook, with notes in the margins of both) on slow days.

sylvia said...

Have you ever contacted them? I've emailed them twice regarding issues and both times, I've received lovely detailed responses. One disagreed with me (octopuses? PAH!) and the other whole-heartedly agreed (frijoles refritos are not fried twice) and stated that the entry would be fixed.

I've kept both emails, they really made a difference to how I viewed M-W.

(OED on the other hand.... :P)

jlundell said...

Hardworking vs hard-working, eh…

Yes on the others.

Susan Weiner, CFA said...

I agree with you, Bill.

Linda said...

I would like to contribute "bloodred" and "redbrick." WTF? Where do they get these things? I thought they were supposed to be "descriptive."

BW said...

My WNW, thank goodness, is showing "blood-red," and "redbrick" only as a reference to certain British colleges. I sure wouldn't want to have to write about a hardworking cabdriver wearing a bloodred sweat shirt in his redbrick town house.

Linda said...

My bad. I guess I need to start a separate list of dissents from MW11, which is what I was looking at.