Have you ever invented new words? In a presentation delivered at TEDYouth 2014 (embedded above), lexicographer Erin McKean promotes the idea of adding words to the language when the existing ones prove to be inadequate. In an interview...Show More Summary
Some people don't appreciate humor. For instance, my parents always pretended they neither smelled nor heard one of us pass gas. What's up with not laughing at farts? Are they not one of the simple delights of walking around in a body? For some people, apparently not. Show More Summary
Have you ever watched a TED talk and thought, "That should be a company!" Well, that's happened a few times, I'm sure, and one of them is right here in Silicon Valley. Years ago, wordsmith Erin McKean delivered a TED talk on her vision around the lexicography and meaning of words. Show More Summary
This test from the Ghent University Center for Reading Research has been making the rounds (I found it via Erin McKean’s Facebook feed), and it’s fun and educational, so I’m passing it on for the general delectation. My results: “You said yes to 93% of the existing words. You said yes to 0% of the […]
Fashion can come to us straight off the runways in Paris, Milan, and New York or percolate up from the street, but some of the...
Is the beloved paper dictionary doomed to extinction? In this infectiously exuberant talk, leading lexicographer Erin McKean looks at the many ways today's print dictionary is poised for transformation.
Erin McKean, on editing David Foster Wallace’s “word notes” for the aforelinked Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus: For some writers, reading the copy-edits is like going to the dentist. You know you have to, and you’ll be happy, long-term, hat you did, but the actual process involves a certain amount of drooling discomfort and incoherent mumbling. Show More Summary
One of Languagehat's favorite lexicographers, Erin McKean, has a post at the NY Times Opinionator blog expanding on her ideas about the dictionary not being the be-all and end-all of the lexicon (see this 2006 LH post), including a startling...Show More Summary
In the last post on this blog, Mr. Verb announced the Dictionary of American Regional English events associated with the publication of the final volume of the dictionary proper. (Indexes, maps, data, etc. are yet to come, as is an on-line version.)The Thursday conference and last night's shindy were both just great. Show More Summary
"Luck of the Irish" Is an Old Mining Expression In honor of St. Patrick's Day, Wordnik founder Erin McKean is here to explain the origins of some luck-related words and phrases.
Wordnik wants us to see words in an entirely different way. The company was founded by Erin McKean, the former editor-in-chief of the New Oxford American Dictionary, who thought that technology should allow people to not only look up...Show More Summary
Please direct your attention to this column by Erin McKean, in which she suggests we word nerds give our loved ones the greatest gift of all this holiday season: the gift of just laying off already. “If you routinely or absentmindedly murmur “between you and me” whenever someone says “between you and I,” or stop [...]
I was browsing on TED the other day and came across this outstanding talk by lexicographer Erin McKean. It is entrancingly entertaining and educational. Enjoy.
For no particular reason, I has reason to think of an observation that lexicographer (and old college pal) Erin McKean had about the word “classy,” the gist of which was that if someone used the word to describe themselves, it was often quite obvious that they were in fact the opposite. Someone else calls you [...]
A fascinating look at a slew of a new words and phrases across science, politics, technology, social life and other facets of our ever-changing cultural landscape. Brain Pickings takes 450+ hours a month to curate and edit across the different platforms. Show More Summary
Time for some pop-music phonology! Erin McKean directs our attention to a video for "
Erin McKean recently pointed out a wonderful entry in her Wordnik site: queez-madam, listed only in the Century Dictionary and defined as "The cuisse-madam, a French jargonelle pear." The locus classicus for the word, and indeed theShow More Summary
I've posted about Jesse Sheidlower, Ben Zimmer, and Erin McKean before (and have links to projects by all three in the sidebar), but I didn't realize they were all graduates of the University of Chicago, which has a nice online piece...Show More Summary
In one of her Boston Globe columns last year, which I can’t seem to locate, Erin McKean explained the concept of her online dictionary Wordnik. The starting premise was that a definition was intended to be a distillation of a word’s meaning, as induced from reading many examples of that word in context. The reason [...]
Lively lexicographess Erin McKean (a long-time LH favorite) writes in the Boston Globe about "the changing language of crosswords":Last year, during the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, host and puzzlemaster Will Shortz held aloft a tiny object. Show More Summary