Sunday, July 5, 2009

Webster's Third New International

"Permissive," "subversive," "a very great calamity": the 1961 publication of Webster's Third New International (Unabridged) caused a stir. Read all about it:

David Skinner, Ain't That the Truth: Webster's Third: The Most Controversial Dictionary in the English Language (Humanities)

I've had a Webster's Third since 1986 (thank you, Elaine). A fourth edition is now underway.

comments: 2

Ted_Major said...

Woohoo! A fourth edition.

Back in the early 90s, I worked as an editorial assistant for a medical journal. A colleague and I were disturbed to find that "caffeinated" was not in the dictionary (though "caffeinic" was).

We called up Webster's and asked about the entry and why "caffeinated" wasn't listed. We were told to publish the word and send them a copy of the article as a reference for including "caffeinated" in a future edition.

Nearly 20 years later, I'm still waiting for "caffeinated" to show up in the dictionary (seriously--have you ever come across "caffeinic" in use?). Look for it in the new edition, and if it's there, you'll know why.

Michael Leddy said...

Great story, Ted — thanks for sharing it here. I just did a New York Times search to December 1960 and found only one "caffeinated," from May 1958. The Third does have "decaffeinate" and "decaffeinize." I would guess that Sanka helped bring those words into the dictionary.