200 years ago in 1806, Noah Webster published his very first dictionary. A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language contained 37,000 entries, thousands of which were not listed in any other dictionary. In 1843, upon Webster’s death, the Merriam brothers acquired the rights to Webster’s dictionary.
Keeping with the spirit of Noah Webster and the Merriams, Merriam-Webster adds new words as it releases new editions. The company just released nearly 100 new words that will appear in the fall in the best-selling Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate® Dictionary, Eleventh Edition.They have a quiz that you can take to find out if you know the definition of eight randomly selected new words.
How did you do on this quiz? What words were you quizzed over? (My quiz words and score are below the fold).
I am also curious to know what you think; is the English language evolving gradually at a fairly consistent rate or is it evolving as a series of sudden, rapid shifts?
My score: 8 out of 8.
My favorite new words; coqui, himbo, mouse potato and bling-bling.
I was dismayed to see the quiz meisters use the word “polyamory” incorrectly. In the sentence provided, they used the spelling for the noun, but it should have instead written it as the adjective (“polyamorous”).
To answer my own question, is the English language evolving gradually at a fairly consistent rate or is it evolving as a series of sudden, rapid shifts?
My opinion is that the English language has a gradual background evolutionary rate but the language also undergoes large shifts due to jumps in technological developments.