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Chambers 13th edition dictionary
Posted: 15 April 2014 10:27 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I’m thinking of purchasing the new Chambers 13th edition dictionary. It contains archaic words--an interest to me-- and many words not found in other dictionaries. It also details a word’s etymology.

Any opinions on this dictionary. I noticed it’s not in Dave’s glossary section.

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Posted: 16 April 2014 05:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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All large dictionaries contain archaic words and etymologies; what makes you interested in this one in particular?

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Posted: 16 April 2014 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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languagehat - 16 April 2014 05:21 AM

All large dictionaries contain archaic words and etymologies; what makes you interested in this one in particular?

Do all large dictionaries contain etymologies and archaic words? You’re probably more familiar than I, but my American Heritage does not, neither does my two-volume Funk and Wagnalls. (I understand that American Heritage is considered more of a collegiate dictionary)

From the reviews and comments I’ve read Chambers retains archaic words that other prominent dictionaries have extracted. In addition, it contains more words and definitions than any other single-volume British English dictionary. It is also established as a the dictionary of choice for wordlovers and crossword enthusiasts.

As an example:

Lethologica

, the inability to recall the precise word for something,

Ultracrepidarian

, “Let not the cobbler overstep his last”
are two words not listed in my unabridged Webster’s Third New International Dictionary. They are, however, entered in my 1950 Webster’s New International second edition.

If you have a better suggestion, I’m amenable. By the way, I have a preference for print editions, even though I have occasionally, and creeping on mostly, out of laziness, clicked online for an immediate definition.

[ Edited: 16 April 2014 08:15 PM by Logophile ]
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Posted: 16 April 2014 04:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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How can “ultracrepidarian” mean “let not the cobbler overstep his lass”?

Edit: typo

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Posted: 16 April 2014 05:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’m not personally familiar with Chambers, but it has a good reputation.

But the twelfth edition is only from 2011. The thirteenth can’t have changed all that much in only three years. You’ll be able to pick up a mint-condition 12th for almost no money in a few months. You might consider getting that and another dictionary.

It is also established as a the dictionary of choice for wordlovers and crossword enthusiasts.

This sounds as if you’ve been listening to marketing hype.

Any dictionary of this size will have etymologies. What I don’t know is how good Chambers’ etymologies are.

As for archaic words, a lot depends on the editorial policy of the particular dictionary. But remember, print dictionaries have limited space. For every archaic word it includes, something else must be left out.

You should also look at the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary as a point of comparison. The SOED focuses on words in use since 1700 (but does include all the words used by Shakespeare, Milton, and the KJV Bible). It’s more expensive than Chambers, though. And it comes in two volumes, which I consider to be a plus. Single-volume dictionaries of this size are really too unwieldy for convenient use. You can also consider looking at the SOED fifth edition (2002). The current edition is the sixth (2007), and you can pick up a mint condition fifth edition for very little money.

The other dictionary of comparable size is Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged. But that’s American, and it’s also over fifty years old. I honestly wouldn’t recommend M-W Unabridged as someone’s primary dictionary for that reason.

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Posted: 16 April 2014 07:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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OP Tipping - 16 April 2014 04:13 PM

How can “ultracrepidarian” mean “let not the cobbler overstep his lass”?

Meet my friend, Dic.

[ Edited: 16 April 2014 07:34 PM by happydog ]
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Posted: 16 April 2014 07:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Crepidarian is marked by OED as a nonce-word. (Pertaining to a shoemaker). Ultracrepidarian would be a frivolous extension of that reflecting the old adage a cobbler should stick to his last , not lass (last being the wooden model on which a cobbler shapes the shoe, from Old English lást , footstep. In other words ultracrepidarian would mean going beyond that which pertains to a bootmaker, ie not sticking to your last, ie that which you do best. (This is why crossword compilers favour Chambers, it has many such words apparently). Word-lovers is another matter, I fancy they’d be happier with the SOED.

Pipped by happydog!

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Posted: 16 April 2014 08:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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[

quote author="OP Tipping” date="1397711582"]How can “ultracrepidarian” mean “let not the cobbler overstep his lass”?

I guess he could also overstep his lass, but thanks for bringing up my typo.

As the story goes, apocryphal as it might be: it’s the story about a cobbler and the ancient Greek painter Apelles. The cobbler noticed a defect in a shoe Apelles had painted and remarked on it. Apelles was grateful for the advice, and the cobbler, encouraged by this, presumed to give his opinion about other elements in the painting. Annoyed by the cobbler’s arrogance, the painter scolded, “Cobbler, stick to your last.”

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Posted: 16 April 2014 08:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Any dictionary of this size will have etymologies. What I don’t know is how good Chambers’ etymologies are.

As for archaic words, a lot depends on the editorial policy of the particular dictionary. But remember, print dictionaries have limited space. For every archaic word it includes, something else must be left out.

You should also look at the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary as a point of comparison. The SOED focuses on words in use since 1700 (but does include all the words used by Shakespeare, Milton, and the KJV Bible). It’s more expensive than Chambers, though. And it comes in two volumes, which I consider to be a plus. Single-volume dictionaries of this size are really too unwieldy for convenient use. You can also consider looking at the SOED fifth edition (2002). The current edition is the sixth (2007), and you can pick up a mint condition fifth edition for very little money.

Thanks Dave for the suggestions. I do have the 20-volume OED, which I use for research, but I have to admit the online version is more accessible; I don’t have to get up from my chair and walk to my bookcase to look up a word. I just thought the Chambers had other features that many dictionaries don’t have.

An example below from Amazon:

Now in its 12th edition, The Chambers Dictionary is the most comprehensive single-volume British English dictionary available.  Known for the tradition of including the occasional lighthearted definition it it’s pages, this establish reference delves deep into all the glories of English, detailing weird and wonderful words like spoffish, jobernowl, mullligrubs and humdudgeon, all the while while ensuring it covers the latest developments in the language. This updated edition includes a Word Lover’s Miscellany that features list upon list of unique words to appeal language buffs and puzzle addicts alike.

Features include:

*Over 470,000 words, phrases, and meanings--more than any other comparable dictionary
*The latest new words from science, technology, and contemporary culture
*Thoroughly revised content with today’s user in mind
*Pronunciation guides

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Posted: 17 April 2014 03:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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includes a Word Lover’s Miscellany that features list upon list of unique words

Unique words aren’t very useful. If they appear nowhere else except this dictionary, what good are they? A dictionary with a high proportion of nonce words may be amusing, but not terribly useful.

Thanks Dave for the suggestions. I do have the 20-volume OED, which I use for research, but I have to admit the online version is more accessible;

The online version is far, far better for research. Not only are a significant number of entries newer, but the search functions make it far less likely you’ll miss some relevant point or entry.

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Posted: 17 April 2014 04:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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aldiboronti - 16 April 2014 07:41 PM

Crepidarian is marked by OED as a nonce-word. (Pertaining to a shoemaker). Ultracrepidarian would be a frivolous extension of that reflecting the old adage a cobbler should stick to his last , not lass (last being the wooden model on which a cobbler shapes the shoe, from Old English lást , footstep. In other words ultracrepidarian would mean going beyond that which pertains to a bootmaker, ie not sticking to your last, ie that which you do best. (This is why crossword compilers favour Chambers, it has many such words apparently). Word-lovers is another matter, I fancy they’d be happier with the SOED.

I am sure crossword compilers in their own fashion love words, much as garotters love wire.

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Posted: 17 April 2014 08:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Unique words aren’t very useful. If they appear nowhere else except this dictionary, what good are they? A dictionary with a high proportion of nonce words may be amusing, but not terribly useful.

Lethologica is not a nonce word. It comes from Lethe, the river of oblivion in Greek mythology, and the Greek logos, word, and it means “the inability to recall the precise word for something.” Aren’t many of these words becoming archaic because they’re not being used?

Which reminds me of an article I read in Newsweek on William F.Buckley, a renowned logophile; in a discussion he used the word irenic and the gentleman he was interviewing--and I must assume it was a contentious interview--berated him for using irenic and said, “Why can’t you just say peaceful”. Buckley responded, “ Because I prefer the three-syllable effect.”

Seriously, do you think that many of these archaic words are becoming archaic because they’re not being used? I’m using lethologica as an example, for there are many other words that have been placed on the shelf of oblivion.

The online version is far, far better for research, not only are a significant number of entries newer, but the search functions make it far less likely you’ll miss some relevant point or entry.

I absolutely agree (despondency sets in as I admit this, as it had when I first ordered a book on Amazon).

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Posted: 17 April 2014 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Lethologica is not a nonce word. It comes from Lethe, the river of oblivion in Greek mythology, and the Greek logos, word, and it means “the inability to recall the precise word for something.”

It doesn’t matter how it’s derived (it’s certainly clumsily cobbled together), the roots have nothing at all to do with whether it’s classified as a nonce-word.  The term was coined by James Murray specifically for use in the NED (now known as the OED) to describe “a word apparently used only ‘for the nonce’, i.e. on one specific occasion or in one specific text or writer’s works.” Nonce-words can sometimes shake off their frivolous origins and enter the mainstream of the language (cf. chortle). Others remain rarely used other than in the endless lists beloved of some word sites of novelty words. As lethologica.

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Posted: 17 April 2014 09:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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OP Tipping - 17 April 2014 04:12 AM

I am sure crossword compilers in their own fashion love words, much as garotters love wire.

I can’t tell whether you like crosswords or hate them.

I have a number of bones to pick with Chambers. It’s inconsistent in what rare words it allows: there are a disproportionate number of Scottish ones, being based in Edinburgh, although many of these rarities are unknown to Scots of my acquaintance, while a relatively common one like ‘keech’ is missing. Though I’d imagine everyone knows that Australians like to create abbreviations with the ending -o, such as ‘garbo’ or ‘journo’, it amazingly derives ‘milko’ for ‘milkman’ from the cry ‘Milk-Oh!’ (Maybe someone was having a laugh, and it slipped through into print.) I could probably find any number of things to object to if I leafed through the print version at random.

[ Edited: 17 April 2014 09:58 AM by kurwamac ]
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Posted: 17 April 2014 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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aldiboronti - 17 April 2014 09:47 AM
Lethologica is not a nonce word. It comes from Lethe, the river of oblivion in Greek mythology, and the Greek logos, word, and it means “the inability to recall the precise word for something.”

It doesn’t matter how it’s derived (it’s certainly clumsily cobbled together), the roots have nothing at all to do with whether it’s classified as a nonce-word.  The term was coined by James Murray specifically for use in the NED (now known as the OED) to describe “a word apparently used only ‘for the nonce’, i.e. on one specific occasion or in one specific text or writer’s works.” Nonce-words can sometimes shake off their frivolous origins and enter the mainstream of the language (cf. chortle). Others remain rarely used other than in the endless lists beloved of some word sites of novelty words. As lethologica.

I don’t quite understand why you would think it’s “clumsily cobbled together”. Lethologica was cited in two dictionaries that I’m aware of.  I would not categorize it as a nonce or novelty word.

From Wikipedia:


History[edit]
Lethologica was first identified as a serious, debilitating disorder by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung in 1913 in his Wandlungen und Symbole der Libido (The Psychology of the Unconscious). Detailed studies of the disorder were first carried out by American psychiatrists in the 1950s. Current research identifies the ailment as extremely prevalent but also highly variable in its severity of manifestation. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “9 out of 10 Westerners will suffer some form of Lethologica during their lifetimes.”
The word lethologica is derived from the Greek language terms for forgetfulness (λήθη, lēthē) and word (λόγος, logos). Lēthē originates from Greek mythology; the Lethe (or River of Oblivion) was one of the rivers that flowed through the realm of Hades, from which the shades of the dead were forced to drink in order to forget their past lives on Earth.

By the way, I submitted lethologica and ultracrepidarian, because they were two words that I happened to be reading about just recently; there are numerous others. Regardless, it was for this reason that I was interested in the Chamber’s dictionary, for it cites these unusual words.

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Posted: 17 April 2014 01:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Both of those words could well be described as ‘clumsily cobbled together’ because they show a flagrant disregard for how English words have been coined historically. They’ve been created by people who don’t realise that their nodding acquaintance with Greek and Latin is something to hide, not flaunt openly, as is their tin ear. Rather similar to the way I imagine at least a few of the Chambers editors.

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