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Chambers 13th edition dictionary
Posted: 18 April 2014 01:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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lionello - 18 April 2014 08:01 AM
This delightfully contentious thread (bordering, as it does at times, on acrimony) gives me the opportunity to describe it with a word I’ve been aware of for many years, but have never had a chance to use: logomachy.

Logomachy must be a nonce word. “I’M JOKING!!”

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Posted: 18 April 2014 03:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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You must have some sort of pocket version; the “real” AHD (publisher’s page) has perhaps the best etymologies of any American dictionary, not to mention being a gorgeous book—I highly recommend it.

No, I have the hard cover third edition, and I agree, it’s a fine dictionary, and the one I use most of the time. However, there are certain words it does not contain, for this reason I thought the Chambers would accommodate me for the more unusual words.

I’m going to pass on the Chambers.  I do have the 20-volume OED and it certainly has a plethora of unusual words, but a little less convenient than a one-volume or even two-volume dictionary, which I can keep on my desk or carry from one room to the next.

Thanks for the suggestion

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Posted: 18 April 2014 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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So your hard-cover, 3rd edition AHD does not contain etymologies, as you stated in your second post in this thread?

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Posted: 18 April 2014 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Sad that none of the sniglets, or entries in The Meaning of Liff, took off the way cromulant and diegogarcity did.

WRT this talk of pocket this and twenty volume that… I seriously think I’m never going to buy another paper dictionary.

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Posted: 18 April 2014 09:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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Dr. Techie - 18 April 2014 04:40 PM

So your hard-cover, 3rd edition AHD does not contain etymologies, as you stated in your second post in this thread?

I’m impressed with the punctiliousness of all the members on this forum. I will choose my words more carefully and dot all my i’s and t’s.

My AHD does contain etymologies, but contains a limited amount of archaic and unusual words.

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Posted: 18 April 2014 10:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Thank you for kilfud-yoking, kurwamac.  How do the Scots produce words like this in such abundance? Reading Burns silently is like listening to music inside one’s head (though I guess that’s true of any really great poetry)

I was going to ask you how kiagh is pronounced, but found the pronunciation on-line at Merriam-Webster. It reminds me of our cat, trying to get rid of a fishbone stuck it its throat.

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Posted: 19 April 2014 06:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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Milton had no fondness for the Scots and their accent. When the Stuarts ascended the English throne they were followed into England by a swarm of Scots lords and their retainers looking to make their fortune south of the border, raising much resentment in many Englishmen and incidentally introducing them to many alien names for the first time which would later grow familiar.

Milton’s Sonnet 11, On The Detraction Which Followed Upon The Writing of Certain Treatises, was published in 1645. The poet was disgruntled that his latest book, Tetrachordon, or Expositions upon the four chief places in Scripture, which treat of marriage, or nullities in marriage, had sold poorly, with some ‘stall-readers’ apparently balking at the term Tetrachordon ("Bless us”! what a word on a title-page is this!").

The sonnet continues,

................  Why is it harder, Sirs, than Gordon,,
Colkitto, or Macdonnel, or Galasp?†
Those rugged names to our like mouths grow sleek,
That would have made Quintillian stare and gasp;

The rugged names would indeed grow sleek to English mouths as Gordon, Colquhoun or Calhoun, MacDonald and Gillespie.

Quintilian of course was the 1st century Roman whose Institutio Oratoria was the gold standard in matters of style, oratory and rhetoric.

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Posted: 15 March 2015 01:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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This is a continuation of my previous post. I apologize for my prolixity.

Below, I’ve submitted just six books where the word is introduced, but there are numerous entries in other books

The American Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Ophthalmology Chicago Cleveland Press 1917

John P. McGovern, MD: A lifetime of Stories by Bryant Boutwell

…he would grope for the words, and he often apologized for his “lethologica.” The first time he used the term I had never heard of it and suspected him of having invented it on the spot. But when I checked I found that Lethologica is in fact a documented psychological condition that impedes the ability to recall words.

e-Study Guide for: Psychology by Saundra Ciccarelli

Referring to Dave’s post #16:
Comprehensive Psychiatry Review by William Weiqi Wang Cambridge Medicine

William Wang informs:

Lethologica is a term coined by Carl Jung. It describes the inability of articulating the individual’s thoughts by forgetting key words, phrases, or names in conversation.

The girl who chased the moon by Sarah Addison Allen

Merry and Bright by Jill Shelves

“Lethologica" Maggie said. The state of not being able to find the word you want. She patted Scott’s arm."Don’t worry, it happens to me all the time, it’ll pass.

Note* For some reason this comment, which is a continuation of the below comment, appeared first on the thread.

[ Edited: 15 March 2015 01:46 PM by Logophile ]
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Posted: 15 March 2015 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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I was skimming through a dictionary of medical words and came upon lethologica in the dictionary.  I remember we had discussed the word on this thread, so I did a little research. It seems that the word is well established in medical journals, books and also introduced in a few contemporary fictional novels. It is also entered in medical dictionaries, thesauri and various books on words in general. Therefore, I can only conclude that “lethologica” is not a nonce word, nor a word “clumsily cobbled together”.

On post#16 I had said: 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.

Dave’s response:

It’s not in the OED.
A search of the PubMed database turns up no medical journals that use the term.
A search of JSTOR turns up one use of the term, in a 2002 poem in the American Poetry Review.
This pretty much encapsulates what being a nonce or novelty word is.
If indeed Jung coined the term (the Wikipedia article contains no citations of sources, which is a warning flag), the word might have some currency in German medical/psychological circles, but apparently not in English.
There are plenty of “malformed” words from Greek and Latin roots. The problem with this one is that no one has ever really used it. It’s a novelty word.

Aldiboronti:

“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…. 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.”
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…

I haven’t researched ultracrepidarian, but it is not marked as a nonce word in the OED nor in the MW Second.
If it’s considered frivolous, and I disagree with that evaluation, then I would have to think that words such as “selfie” and “twerk” are even more frivolous.

Kurwamac:

To say nothing of the intrusive O binding the two parts together, a sign that the coiner has no knowledge of Greek, and a tin ear. I think Dave may be exaggerating slightly when he says that many words blessed by common use are badly formed; offhand, ‘psychoanalysis’ springs to mind (that same intrusive O problem), and ‘homophobia’, and I’m sure a few more, but they are relatively few, and mostly coined in the modern era, when actual knowledge of the classical languages was increasingly uncommon. We may have to reconcile ourselves to their existence, but there’s no reason to encourage more of them by accepting them as normal.

Actually the coiner would have had a tin ear had he entered lethelogica, rather than lethologica (leeth-uh-LAH-ji-kuh). Furthermore, if I’m not mistaken, there are countless words with the O binding that were coined between the 16th and 19th century, and many earlier than the coined lethologica.

Bloom’s Modern Critical Views: Homer-updated edition.
Louise H. Pratt

The etymology of aletheia creates confusion if we dwell too much on a simple meaning of the noun lethe, “forgetfulness.” If we look at the verb letho (= lanthano), used much more frequently in Homer than the related noun lethe (used only once in Homer), it becomes clear that the lethe excluded from aletheia can not be associated exclusively, or even primarily, with the semantic field of memory and forgetting. The verb letho occurs in a wide range of contexts, all of which share a common feature; all entail an absence of awareness.

OP Tipping:

It’s not the logos part that’s the problem: the -ica is. One reason why it seems clumsily cobbled together is that it would be more usual to end the name of a condition to end in -gia rather than -gica.

I actually think the word is quite logically,( pardon the pun) put together.
Lethologica from lethe the river of oblivion “forgetfulness” in Greek mythology, and the Greek logos, word. As in logic

Etymonline.com

mid-14c., branch of philosophy that treats of forms of thinking,” from Old French logique (13c.), from Latin (ars) logica, from Greek logike (techne) “reasoning (art),” from fem. of logikos “pertaining to speaking or reasoning,” from logos “reason, idea, word” (see logos). Meaning “logical argumentation” is from c.1600.

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Posted: 16 March 2015 11:05 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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It seems that the word is well established in medical journals, books and also introduced in a few contemporary fictional novels.

You have an unusual definition of “well established”; those few citations are much closer to the “nonce word” end of the spectrum than to the “well established” end.  I agree that it is not a nonce word, since by definition such a word is only used once, on the occasion of its creation, but it is vanishingly rare, so much so it is unreasonable to expect a dictionary to contain it.  I draw your attention to the fact that your citations all seem to define it after they use it (which is another indication of its rarity, and suggests a dictionary is not needed by the reader).

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Posted: 16 March 2015 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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Yes, the fact that not a single article in PubMed uses the term is telling. Compare it to over 14,000 articles that use the term aphasia. (PubMed is the chief database for the biomedical sciences. It contains pretty much all the peer-reviewed literature in the field that is worth looking at.)

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Posted: 16 March 2015 11:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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I recall seeing the word many times, but from essentially one source: advertisements for Mrs. Byrne’s Dictionary of Unusual, Obscure, and Preposterous Words, which used to appear with great regularity on the back cover of some magazine I subscribed to (Science News, IIRC).  The ads’ headline was something like “Do you suffer from lethologica?” or “I used to suffer from lethologica...” (”...until I got Mrs. Byrne’s dictionary"). I never purchased a copy, but I gather from discussions I’ve seen that many of the words in that book are of questionable validity.

I think Dave’s characterization of it as a “novelty word” is about right. 

May you all be free from pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. Also the pip.

[ Edited: 16 March 2015 11:57 AM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 16 March 2015 10:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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You have an unusual definition of “well established”; those few citations are much closer to the “nonce word” end of the spectrum than to the “well established” end.  I agree that it is not a nonce word, since by definition such a word is only used once, on the occasion of its creation, but it is vanishingly rare, so much so it is unreasonable to expect a dictionary to contain it.  I draw your attention to the fact that your citations all seem to define it after they use it (which is another indication of its rarity, and suggests a dictionary is not needed by the reader).[/quote

Well, that was the premise and incentive for my post, that lethologica is not a “nonce” word, and someone (you) finally concur.  The word is somewhat well established in medical books and naturally after it is cited it is usually defined, as would be quite a few medical words used infrequently in every-day discourse.  Lethocerus, (giant water bug) is not a common word, but I would assume that if it were cited in a novel or an entomological dictionary it would be followed with a definition.
I agree that lethologica is “vanishingly” rare, but it is in good company with thousands of other rare unused words atrophying in our English dictionaries, but this does not categorize them as “nonce” words.

More importantly, if one is not able to recall the precise word for something, (lethologica) I don’t think there is another word to describe that specific ailment or condition.

I think Dave’s characterization of it as a “novelty word” is about right.

I don’t agree, and it can’t be defined, or considered, a “novelty word” because Jung coined it about a century ago. It was also cited in The American [/i]Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Ophthalmology, which was published in 1917.

Yes, the fact that not a single article in PubMed uses the term is telling. Compare it to over 14,000 articles that use the term aphasia.

Aphasia is a far more comprehensive condition pertaining to the loss of oral communication, but also written words. A condition caused by brain injury, such as a stroke, tumor, traumatic accident etc. Therefore, it is a more familiar and frequently used word in medical discourse and articles.

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Posted: 17 March 2015 04:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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The word is somewhat well established in medical books and naturally after it is cited it is usually defined, as would be quite a few medical words used infrequently in every-day discourse.

It’s not well established, or even established at all, in medical books. The handful of citations you give are from popular books about medicine. The utter lack of citations in PubMed shows that lethologica has absolutely zero currency in medical literature. (It may have had some minor currency in medical literature in the early years of the twentieth century.)

I don’t agree, and it can’t be defined, or considered, a “novelty word” because Jung coined it about a century ago. 

Why can’t Jung have coined a novelty word? But that’s beside the point. Jung was writing in German (I’m assuming), and that has nothing to do with how or how frequently the word is used in English.

Aphasia is a far more comprehensive condition pertaining to the loss of oral communication, but also written words. A condition caused by brain injury, such as a stroke, tumor, traumatic accident etc. Therefore, it is a more familiar and frequently used word in medical discourse and articles.

Aphasia describes a wide variety of conditions. It certainly covers any ground that lethologica would cover. The causes are not always traumatic. There are a number of viral and bacterial diseases, as well as conditions like Alzheimer’s, that can cause aphasia.

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Posted: 17 March 2015 05:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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OP Tipping:


It’s not the logos part that’s the problem: the -ica is. One reason why it seems clumsily cobbled together is that it would be more usual to end the name of a condition to end in -gia rather than -gica.

I actually think the word is quite logically,( pardon the pun) put together.
Lethologica from lethe the river of oblivion “forgetfulness” in Greek mythology, and the Greek logos, word. As in logic

I rather think you miss my point. There are no English words ending in -logica. There are at least half a dozen ending with -logia.

Dave Wilton - 17 March 2015 04:23 AM



Why can’t Jung have coined a novelty word? But that’s beside the point.

There is something especially zeerusty about an old novelty word.

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