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A Cause Worth Fighting For…Maybe

October 26, 2009

Apparently the annual revision of the Collins Dictionary has gotten a number of people up-in-arms about which words are getting cut due to their assumed anachronistic quality. The decision even raised a number of protests to prove that some of the words were still crucial in everyday language. They caused such a kerfuffle that six words were saved from the chopping block including:

Agrestic: rural, rustic, unpolished, uncouth
Compossible: possible in coexistence with something else
Periapt: a charm or amulet (this one, in particular, was saved by the protests of Dungeons and Dragons players)
Apodeictic: true by virtue of demonstration
Fubsy: short and stout
Skirr: a whirring sound, as of the wings of birds in flight

(Funny story: all six of these words got the red squiggle as I typed them.)

To see the eighteen words that are now cut from the dictionary, go here . I’m a little sad to see “embrangle” (to confuse or entangle) go.

While I commend these people for fighting for language rights, I do find it a little silly. I’m pretty sure the only time I care if a word is in the dictionary or not before I use it is while playing Scrabble. In fact, I make up words all the time (I believe that, as a writer, I have the right to do so). And I’m certain that the average teenager doesn’t care that half of the words that come out of their mouths don’t actually exist.

However, now that I know that “fubsy” is a word, I’ll be using it all the time.

Originally written March 27, 2009

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