This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

word lovers: a rant

John Simpson, editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, is retiring.
He's taken advantage the occasion to let off a bit of steam.

'There is so much waffle and woolly-mindedness,' he says in an interview in The Telegraph. 'Our job is to analyse data, not to love words.'

Well, if there's anyone who knows about the editor of the OED's job it's John Simpson, so I can't argue with that.

But the interview also says that 'In common with most lexicographers, he has an innate distrust of people who claim to "love words" '.

I don't know if that's a fair representation of John Simpson's opinion. I hope not, because I love words.

Is it really a sign of untrustworthiness to take pleasure in the sound of the word ruffian?

Is it wrong to be cheered by the bounce of boing, or to cherish the pernickety precision of penultimate?

May I not have an affection for lush, wombat, sizzle, schloss, acciaccatura, bouteille and tingo?

Ah well. Away with respectability! I am going to love them anyway.

So there.

Word To Use Today: one you love. Go on, be a bit of a rogue...


  1. But, but, but..... if you work with words every day, surely a love of them would make your work shine through?
    Imagine a poet or author who doesn't love words?
    Oh, I can't even go there! Shudder, shudder.

    I choose my word for today to be philomniverbarious - loving using all sorts of words.
    Yep, I made it up, but it works for me right now!

    1. That's a beautiful word, Jingles. Thank you.
      Philomniverbarious. I'm hugely proud that it's making its first appearance here.

  2. As a window cleaner, I clean windows. If I loved windows, I don't think I'd be much good at it.

    Today's word for me will be viscosity, in honour of a particularly pernicious post-Halloween egg I had to remove from a window this week, or Jobard (thank you Jingles) in honour of the little same who put it there.


    1. That's really interesting.

      Now I feel better about having had faintly grubby children.

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  4. Well, I love words too...they are beautiful interesting and free...anyone can say one, however highfaluting it is! And that is my word to love today: HIGHFALUTING!

    1. How tempting, Adele. I must use highfaluting myself very soon, even though I am naturally rather lowfaluting, on the whole.