16 Oct 2012

DICTIONARY DAY FOR LEXICOGRAPHERS EVERYWHERE.

Husband dearest and his younger brother whom I shall refer to as 'Middle-Brother-in-Law' don't have that many things in common BUT one thing they do share is the ability to not only spell but pronounce ........

Floccinauccinihilipilification

which at 29 letters long is one of the longest words in the English Oxford Dictionary and simply means 'the action or habit of estimating something as worthless'.

What only 29 letters?

Why, this pales into insignificance when you learn that I can say (the fact that I can't spell it being neither here nor there) 

supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Look up supercalifragilisticexpialidocious at Dictionary.com

from song in 1964 Disney movie version of "Mary Poppins;" subject of a lawsuit based on earlier song title "Supercalafajalistickexpialadojus" (1949), but other versions of the word also were in circulation.


which, mentioned in the film Mary Poppins, is 34 letters long and means 'good'.

Anyway, I digress ......

October the 16th, a day for lexicographers everywhere, Dictionary Day was founded to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Noah Webster who, born on this day in 1758, is considered the father of the modern dictionary.

Started when he was aged 43 it took Webster some 27 years to write A Compendious Of The English Language which in addition to traditional English vocabulary contained uniquely American words.

But what of today's dictionaries?
  • Considered by many as one of the best online dictionaries ONELOOK.COM searches 1062 online dictionaries for you and as well as being able to look up meanings it also has a 'reverse' dictionary which allows you to to describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept.
  • LUCIFEROUS LOGLEPSY is a must have resource for those in search of obscure words.
  • And for keeping in touch with the 'yoof'? URBAN DICTIONARY.COM is the site to visit.
  • Not a dictionary in the strictest sense of the word, whilst the ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY does not offer a definition of words it does offer an explanation of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 OR, even, 2000 years ago.
  • Just a bit of fun really ..... THE ENGLISH TO GEORDIE TRANSLATOR may prove handy if I should go all native on you.
Care to share any more such sites with us OR how about sharing ......
  • The longest word you know
  • Any obscure words (How about Tautegorical? adj. - saying the same thing with different words, opposite of allegorical)
  • Your favourite word(s) (mind include Cacophony and Penultimate) 
  • Any words that, not to be found in the dictionary, are common to where you live.
PS. Does anyone else think it funny that whilst I'll happily look up a spelling in an online dictionary if I want to know the meaning of a word I have to go look it up in our tree-book dictionary?

19 comments:

Nina said...

Wow! I can't do it!

Jeannie said...

I love words. That etymology sites will make me very happy - Thanks.

In grade seven, 1970, we had to learn antidisestablishmentarianism which was the longest word at the time we were told.

I'm not sure we have any local only words.

NRIGirl said...

Didn't realize my mind could go so completely blank like right now! What have you done to me Tracey?!

Kelly said...

Thanks for the links! (the urban dictionary was the only one I was already familiar with) I especially want to check out that "reverse" feature - maybe a bit like a thesaurus?

Lindsay said...

Great post, really enjoyed it! I have never seen that particular long word before I don't think. I studied German so I learned quite a few long words then as they like their compound nouns!

GMR said...

Awesome! Had no idea Dictionary Day was today. Goes under my "learned something new" list. ^_^ Longest word I know? Umm...well besides supercalafragilisticexpealadocious (hehe), I once had a spelling bee that had sesquipedalian on the list of words...ironically it means "Characterized by long words; long-winded." Go figure.

anilkurup said...

I almost went crazy, mad or is it I could think nothing but void and blank in the mind.
Not my cup of tea this ha!

Arti said...

I tried pronouncing the second one, more than one time, but just cant do it either!!!
Why cant they just use God instead, talk of complicating simple things!!
Have a happy week Tracy :)
PS - I was a bit off blog hence could not visit your blog earlier. But now I will be regular like before :)

Suko said...

Happy Dictionary Day, Petty! Here's an obscure word (from my Word-a-Day calendar): grimalkin. It means: a domestic cat; especially:an old female cat.

Betty Manousos said...

well, i can't do it either!!!almost went crazy...
what are you doing to me, tracy!

i love etymology.
thanks for the links; off to check them out!

xx

Trac~ said...

Wow that's amazing! I'm a great speller but not THAT great! Ha! Happy Tuesday my friend! :)

themethatisme said...

Just a note of caution as to Urbandictionary.com - it is a user edited web-site where members can record their own usage and contextualised definitions of words. It should not really be used as a definitve source of meanings but is a useful way of looking at how language changes and meanings develop.

Now if you want really long words it's German you've got to play with -
Donaudampfschiffahrtselektrizitätenhauptbetriebswerkbauunterbeamtengesellschaft.

naida said...

Wonderful post and happy Dictionary Day :)

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Okay, I can say the Disney one, but not the other. My hat to you! :)

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I don't really have favorite words. I always find it funny when people HATE certain words. People I've known don't like it when others say "corn" or "moist" among others.

Alexia561 said...

Happy Dictionary Day! I like porch and venue for some reason. Don't know why, but those two make me smile.

Dizzy C said...

The first thing that came to mind was a question. I wonder if Noah woke up many times in those years thinking of another word he needed to add LOL

carol xx

fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

A couple of great words there and some really useful links to those sites, I have bookmarked a couple of them.

I really don't like using the Urban Dictionary very much, as it only serves to remind me just how old and out of touch with the youth of today I am getting. To my mind, some of the words are downright crude and disgusting, but hey! what do I know?

The one word which I remember trying to pronounce as a child, is a Welsh word, although I have no connection with Wales, so don't really know why I would have been so keen to know this ... perhaps I was just aiming to show off and failed dismally ....

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, a railway station on the island of Anglesey in Wales, is the longest place name in the Welsh language. 51 letters long in the Welsh alphabet, the name can be translated as "St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave". However, it was artificially contrived in the 1860s as a publicity stunt, to give the station the longest name of any railway station in the United Kingdom.

I really can't compete with the German word of one of your previous commenters LOL!

Yvonne

Jenners said...

My mom had a great book (The Abecedarian Book) and I learned the flocc… word from it. I've yet to use that knowledge though.