Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Gimme Back My Murinoid!

I confess to loving the Oxford English Dictionary and consult it regularly because of the brilliance of the scholarship that has gone into this now 22,000-page tome. Just the other day I came across the word lapsarian in a book I was reading that the OED helpfully defined as "of or pertaining to the fall of man."

Thanks to my affiliation with a university, I can look stuff up on the OED's fantastic and growing database for free, but it is with some sadness that I learn that words are being excised as well as being added. Among those going bye-bye are murinoid, defined as "resembling the mouse or its allies."

Incidentally, if you're looking for some breezy late-summer reading, I recommend The Professor and the Mad Man by Simon Winchester, the story of the unlikely collaboration between the founding editor of the OED and a volunteer helped who provided thousands of entries from a long disclosed location that turned out to be a lunatic asylum.

No comments: