Quill and Quire

Book news

« Back to

The Simpsons: lexicographical gatekeepers

Further to the previous post, it appears that the Simpsons are hard at work defending the English language, not just by getting new words inserted into the dictionary, but by highlighting words that have been unceremoniously removed. Over at the Paper Cuts blog, David Kelly points to Sunday night’s episode, which tipped its hat to words that seem to be dropping out of the lexicon:

Will Shortz, the crossword puzzle editor of The New York Times, was on last night’s episode of The Simpsons, helping to heal a rift between Homer and Lisa. Earlier in the show, Lisa participated in a crossword competition during which there was a tribute to words that had been removed from the dictionary in the previous year: skedaddle, Nixonian, zounds, mimeograph and hootenanny.

Quillblog will grant that “mimeograph” has probably outlived its usefulness, but the other four are still in use, albeit not in common parlance (and the word “Nixonian” sounds so much more presidential than “Bushesque”). Perhaps a concerted effort is required to keep these and other such words — “cockamamie,” “yonder,” “betwixt,” “towsack,” etc. — in use. For Lisa’s sake.


November 17th, 2008

4:56 pm

Category: Book news

Tagged with: comedy