A Thing About Words

Posts From the Editors

December 18, 2014

The Word: Truthiness

From the start, it was about language. He called it the “Colbert Report,” pronouncing Report with a faux-French flair, while declaring in his very first program that “I will speak to you in plain, simple English.” His daily feature called “The Word” began with a gauntlet thrown down to the [...] more »

Peter Sokolowski
December 15, 2014

How We Determine the Word of the Year

At Merriam-Webster, we determine the Word of the Year by reporting on the words that have been most frequently looked up at our free dictionary at Merriam-Webster.com. We get more than 100 million page views at the site each month—that’s a lot of words being looked up, and we’ve learned [...] more »

Peter Sokolowski
November 20, 2014

Guest Post: “Get the Best” – Bringing a Dictionary to Market in 1864

Madeline Kripke is an independent scholar and one of America’s leading antiquarian dictionary dealers. Her vast personal collection includes 19th-century archives and private papers of the Merriam publishing company. She is sometimes referred to as the Dame of Dictionaries. We’re happy that she has shared some of her historical knowledge with us [...] more »

The Editors
October 28, 2014

Webster’s After Webster: Part One

During the decade that followed Noah Webster’s death in 1843, his American Dictionary of the English Language became a far more popular book than it had been during the author’s own lifetime. This was largely thanks to the business savvy of its new publishers, George and Charles Merriam, who in 1847 vastly [...] more »

Joanne Despres
October 20, 2014

The Greatest Dictionary You Never Heard Of

This October we begin our celebration of the 150th anniversary of the greatest dictionary you have probably never heard of – the 1864 revision of An American Dictionary of the English Language, commonly known as Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary. This anniversary is a timely one, as we are once again actively [...] more »

John Morse

Previous Entries »