The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Bob Stepno § The structure of journalism today / 2014-03-10 18:42:32

A Treasure-House of Language

I don’t have a lot of criteria for friendship, but the one characteristic I think is invariant is a love of and care for language. If you don’t take pleasure or find intellectual satisfaction in how words are strung together – maybe even especially written words – then you and I are quickly going to run out of things to say to or do with each other.

So that said, I think a good index of both your wordnerdery and the likelihood of the two of us becoming and remaining fast friends is your excitement in reading about the new Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, which will be published – in two glorious volumes! – this fall:

The Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary, published by Oxford University Press, is the culmination of 44 years of painstaking work by scholars at the University of Glasgow.

It not only groups words with similar meanings but does so in chronological order according to their history – with the oldest first and most recent last. According to its publisher, the OED, it’s the largest thesaurus in the world and the first historical thesaurus in any language.

With 800,000 meanings, 600,000 words and more than 230,000 categories and sub categories, it’s twice as big as Roget’s version.

And if that doesn’t have him turning in his grave, it also contains almost every word in English from Old English to the present day, or 2003 to be precise – the cut-off date for the new dictionary.


I am not as much of a language nerd by half (but then again, 0.5 units of language nerd-ness on the Carmody scale is still pretty huge) — but yes, this looks amazing. And actually, way more interesting than the OED. As as kid I would flip through the thesaurus as often as I’d flip through the dictionary. (We all did both of those things, right? Right.)

Jake says…

I could get a netbook, or I could get this wonderful beast. This is a hard decision. I’m a bit disappointed that I can’t have both, but maybe a digital version just spoils the experience.

Thanks for finding this.

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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