Saturday, February 21, 2004

More Words

Check out Michael Quinion's website, World Wide Words. Quinion, who says he "writes about international English from a British viewpoint," is a wordsmith extraordinaire. He has provided citations and advice for the Oxford English Dictionary, wrote a third of the entries for the Oxford Dictionary of New Words, Second Edition, and is the author of books, Ologies and Isms being the most recent. On top of that he maintains his website, adding new words and information weekly. On his pages you can learn about the origins of such useful words as skedaddle and cockamamie. And the argument over whether you can use they as a singular gender-neutral pronoun comes closer to being settled once and for all. Those in favor of they are winning (take that grammar-nazis!). Turns out it's mostly us uptight Americans who object to it (must be something in our Puritanical cultural heritage, or maybe it's the water). It's a fun site, especially if you love words and long for a complete, unabridged OED but can't afford the pricetag. This guy is the next best thing. While you're there, sign up to become one of the 17,000+ subscribers of his newsletter (it's free!). Time to stop your cyberloafing and get to work!