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One of Melvyn's many talents is his ability to state important ideas in a way that is both succinct and memorable, often in the process solidifying something that I half knew or vaguely surmised without really thinking about it, such as when he said:

Dictionaries are descriptive, not presecriptive.

The students in my FWI classes were literally thrilled when I passed that little nugget along to them at the beginning of the school year, having been hammered all their lives with the dictionary-as-arbiter of real language routine.

They also instantly made the connection to a book that most of them had read some years earlier, and which I consider to be one of the great works of children's literature: Frindle, by Andrew Clements. You can read the revews of it that I did for various journals on one of my other sites, and also read what some of my students have had to say about it over the years. Any real speller, adult or child, should read this book!

As a side note, if you would like to buy it from Amazon and you do so by clicking here, I will get a few pennies as commission, which would be very nice.

Anyway, Melvyn's (and Frindle's) point was made once again just recently, as the OED, to quite an unusual fanfare in the media, announced its new additions. The fanfare was due to the inclusion of several internet abbreviations, such as LOL, BFF, and OMG, as well as the ♥ symbol, used in so many I♥ expressions, all of which, predictably, caused the Defenders of Proper English to have their usual palpitations

Here is the complete list, which comes direct from the OED website. If you are a subscriber, you can read their notes on the new entries. Guess what we'll be talking about in next week's classes?

In addition to these new entries, a number of new subordinate entries were added to existing entries. These included:

  • (Under B, n.)
    • BFF
  • (Under behavioural | behavioral, adj.)
    • behavioural economics
    • behavioural economist
    • behavioural science
    • behavioural scientist
  • (Under bereavement, n.)
    • bereavement counselling
    • bereavement counsellor
  • (Under bogus, n.1 and adj.)
    • bogus caller
  • (Under bottle, n.2)
    • bottle rocket
  • (Under breaking, n.)
    • breaking capacity
  • (Under C, n.)
    • CEO
    • CFO
  • (Under cage, n.)
    • cage fighting
  • (Under call, n.)
    • call and response
  • (Under car, n.)
    • car accident
  • (Under care, n.1)
    • care home
  • (Under cat, n.1)
    • cat shark
  • (Under client, n.)
    • client-centred
  • (Under con, n.4)
    • con artist
  • (Under D, n.)
    • DOB
    • DRM
  • (Under dark, adj.)
    • dark rum
  • (Under dental, adj. and n.)
    • dental dam
  • (Under domestic, adj. and n.)
    • domestic goddess
  • (Under doughnut, n.)
    • doughnut hole
  • (Under driving, n.)
    • driving test
  • (Under drop-, comb._form)
    • drop-down
  • (Under Eton, n.)
    • Eton mess
  • (Under fixed, adj.)
    • fixed gear
    • fixed wheel
  • (Under flat, adj., adv., and n.3)
    • flat white
  • (Under god, n.)
    • God-botherer
    • God-bothering
  • (Under happy, adj.)
    • happy camper
  • (Under ick, n. and int.)
    • ick factor
  • (Under Jerusalem, n.)
    • Jerusalem Syndrome
  • (Under leisure, n.)
    • leisure suit
  • (Under light, adj.2)
    • light rum
  • (Under long, adj.1 and n.)
    • long bone
  • (Under rotograph, v.)
    • rotographing
  • (Under rotor, n.)
    • rotor wash
  • (Under rotten, adj., n., and adv.)
    • rotten-toothed
  • (Under rough, adj. (and int.))
    • long rough dab
    • rough dab
    • rough edge
    • rough Epsom salts
    • rough flapper
    • rough food
    • rough lemon
    • rough oak
    • rough ray
    • rough seal
    • rough service
    • rough terrapin
    • rough-billed pelican
    • rough-gaited
    • rough-keeled snake
    • rough-scaled lizard
    • rough-tail
    • rough-tailed snake
    • rough-tailed stickleback
    • rough-wing
    • rough-wing tortrix
    • rough-winged swallow
  • (Under rough, n.1)
    • rough of the mouth
  • (Under rough-backed, adj.)
    • rough-backed caiman
  • (Under rough-dress, v.)
    • rough-dressed
    • rough-dressing
  • (Under roughening, n.)
    • roughening transition
  • (Under rough-legged, adj.)
    • rough-legged buzzard
    • rough-legged hawk
  • (Under roughness, n.)
    • roughness length
    • surface roughness length
  • (Under rounce, v.1)
    • rouncing
  • (Under round robin, n.)
    • round-robining
  • (Under round, adj.)
    • round baler
    • round baling
    • round bracket
    • round game
    • round potato
    • round shave
    • round whitefish
    • round window
    • round-baled
    • round-crowned
    • round-leaf
    • round-neck
  • (Under round, adv. and prep.)
    • —— way round
    • round and about
  • (Under round, n.1)
    • round book
    • the rounds of the kitchen
  • (Under round, v.2)
    • to round aft
    • to round down
    • to round up
  • (Under roundball, n.)
    • roundballer
  • (Under rounding, n.3)
    • rounding down
    • rounding error
  • (Under round-leaved, adj.)
    • round-leaved sundew
  • (Under round-nose, adj. and n.)
    • roundnose grenadier
  • (Under Rous, n.)
    • Rous sarcoma virus
  • (Under route, n.1)
    • route army
    • route master
    • route planner
    • route sheet
    • route step
    • route taxi
    • route-finding
    • routeway
  • (Under router, n.5)
    • router table
  • (Under routing, n.1)
    • routing-house
  • (Under routing, n.8)
    • routing table
  • (Under roving, adj.)
    • roving bridge
    • roving wiretap
  • (Under row, v.1)
    • to row back
  • (Under rowel, n.)
    • rowel scissors
    • rowel-bone
  • (Under royal, adj. and n.)
    • royal absolutism
    • Royal Academician
    • royal albatross
    • royal household
    • Royal Institution
    • royal kite
    • Royal Mail
    • royal moth
    • royal pardon
    • royal patronage
    • royal refugee
    • royal spoonbill
    • royal walnut
    • royal walnut moth
  • (Under royalty, n.)
    • royalty cheque
    • royalty fee
    • royalty income
    • royalty rate
    • royalty revenue
    • royalty-free
  • (under rub, v.1)
    • to rub down
    • to rub in
    • to rub it in
  • (under rubber band, n.)
    • rubber-band gun
  • (under rubber, n.1)
    • rubber duck
    • rubber ducky
    • rubber reclaiming
    • rubber room
    • rubber slipper
    • rubber stopper
    • rubber tapper
    • rubber tapping
    • rubberwood
  • (under rubbing, n.)
    • rubbing strip
  • (under rubbish, n., adj., and int.)
    • rubbish bag
    • rubbish collection
    • rubbish disposal
  • (under rubble, n.)
    • rubble drain
    • rubble ice
  • (under rubella, n.)
    • rubella virus
  • (under ruby, n.1 and adj.)
    • ruby and topaz hummingbird
    • ruby arsenic
    • ruby tiger
    • ruby tiger moth
    • ruby-topaz hummingbird
  • (under ruby-crowned, adj.)
    • ruby-crowned kinglet
    • ruby-crowned wren
  • (under ruby-headed, adj.)
    • ruby-headed hummingbird
  • (under ruby-throated, adj.)
    • ruby-throated hummer
  • (under ruckus, n.)
    • ruckus juice
  • (under rudder, n.)
    • rudder wheel
  • (under rude, adj. and adv.)
    • rude boy
    • rude girl
  • (under ruffled, adj.1)
    • ruffled feathers
  • (under rufo-, comb._form)
    • rufoferruginous
    • rufofuscous
  • (under rufous, adj. and n.)
    • rufous hummingbird
    • rufous-sided towhee
  • (under rug, n.3)
    • rug beater
    • rug burn
    • rug cleaner
    • rug loom
    • rug maker
    • rug weaver
    • rug weaving
  • (under rugby, n.)
    • rugby shirt
    • rugbyist
    • rugby-tackle
  • (under rugger, n.2)
    • rugger tackle
  • (under rugose, adj.)
    • rugoseness
  • (under rule, n.1)
    • rule change
    • rule of reason
    • rule of recognition
    • rule of thirds
    • rule set
    • rule setter
    • rule violation
    • rule waiver
    • rule-based
    • rule-breaker
    • rule-enforcer
    • rule-free
    • rule-keeper
    • rule-loving
    • rule-mongering
    • rule-ridden
    • rules of engagement
    • rules of origin
    • rule-writer
    • ruler joint
  • (under ruling, adj.)
    • ruling gradient
  • (under rum, n.2)
    • rum and raisin
    • rum ball
    • rum bar
    • rum barrel
    • rum cake
    • rum decanter
    • rum factory
    • rum flask
    • rum glass
    • rum house
    • rum jar
    • rum jug
    • rum plantation
    • rum raisin
    • Rum Rebellion
    • Rum Row
    • rum sour
    • rum store
    • rum-chaser
  • (under rumba, n.)
    • rumba beat
    • rumba club
    • rumba dance
    • rumba lesson
    • rumba music
  • (under run, adj.)
    • run iron
    • run knot
  • (under run, n.2)
    • run blocker
    • run blocking
    • run chase
    • run defence
    • run defender
    • run length
    • run rate
    • run-producer
    • run-stopper
    • run-stuffer
  • (under run, v.)
    • it won't run away
    • to run around
    • to run away
    • to run away with
    • to run away with it
    • to run down
    • to run down
    • to run down the clock
    • to run in
    • to run in and out
    • to run it down
    • to run off
    • to run off at the mouth
    • to run off from (one's) bias
    • to run off from bias
    • to run off from one's bias
    • to run off with
    • to run one's easting (also westing) down
    • to run out
    • to run out a winner
    • to run out on
    • to run out the clock
    • to run over
    • to run over
    • to run round
    • to run round
    • to run through
    • to run to
    • to run to fat
    • to run to seed
    • to run up
    • to run up against
    • to run up colour
    • to run up the score
    • to run with
  • (under runaway, n. and adj.)
    • runaway reaction
    • runaway selection
    • runaway sexual selection
    • runaway star
    • runaway switch
  • (under rune, n.2)
    • rune stone
  • (under runner, n.1)
    • runner's knee
  • (under running, adj.)
    • running average
    • running martingale
    • running mean
    • running pine
    • running text
  • (under running, n.)
    • running madness
    • running rail
  • (under runt, n.)
    • runt disease
  • (under runting, n.)
    • runting and stunting syndrome
    • runting stunting syndrome
    • runting syndrome
  • (under rural, adj. and n.)
    • rural carrier
    • rural delivery
    • rural district
    • rural guard
    • rural school
    • rural tribe
    • rural-born
    • rural-bred
    • rural-looking
  • (under ruralize, v.)
    • ruralized
  • (under rush, n.1)
    • rush chair
    • rush-hile
  • (under rush, v.2)
    • to rush about
    • to rush round
  • (under rusk, v.1)
    • rusked
  • (under russet, n. and adj.)
    • Russet Burbank
    • russet leather
  • (under Russia, n.)
    • Russia calf
    • Russia linen
    • Russia mat
  • (under Russian, n. and adj.)
    • Russian America
    • Russian comfrey
    • Russian Empire
    • Russian Federation
    • Russian Formalism
    • Russian Formalist
    • Russian hat
    • Russian kale
    • Russian knapweed
    • Russian wheat aphid
    • Russian-looking
    • Russian-speaker
  • (under Russify, v.)
    • Russified
  • (under rust, n.1 and adj.)
    • rust belt
    • rust bowl
    • rust finish
  • (under rustic, adj. and n.)
    • rustic bunting
    • rustic drama
    • rustic tribe
  • (under rustless, adj.)
    • rustless steel
  • (under rusty, adj.1 (and n.1))
    • rusty blackbird
    • rusty dab
    • rusty flounder
    • rusty grackle
    • Rusty Nail
    • rusty woodsia
    • rusty-spotted cat
  • (under Rutherford, n.)
    • Rutherford atom
  • (under rutinic, adj.)
    • rutinic acid
  • (under ryanodine, n.)
    • ryanodine receptor
  • (under Rydberg, n.)
    • Rydberg atom
    • Rydberg state
  • (under S, n.1)
    • SPF
  • (under short, adj., n., and adv.)
    • short bone
  • (under shroud, n.1)
    • shroud-waving
  • (under skill, n.1)
    • skill position
  • (under smokeless, adj.)
    • smokeless tobacco
  • (under special, adj., adv., and n.)
    • Special Economic Zone
  • (under steer, n.2)
    • steer-rudder
  • (under stunt, n.2)
    • stunt casting
  • (under sun, n.1)
    • sun protection factor
    • sunblock
  • (under Tommy, n.1)
    • tommy rough
    • tommy ruff
    • tommy ruffe
  • (under tooth, n.)
    • teeth-gnasher
  • (under tooth, n.)
    • tooth-gnasher
  • (under Vietnamese, adj. and n.)
    • Vietnamese sandwich
  • (under yuck, int., n.2, and adj.)
    • yuck factor