we talked to seventh-grader Tony Incorvati of Canton Country Day School, who has competed in the Scripps National Spelling Bee for the last two years and is going for a three-peat. We asked Tony to share some of his favorite words. And try Tony's Community Spelling Bee
for some more tough words!
A few months ago we interviewed sixth-grader Nicholas Rushlow
of Pickerington, Ohio, who participated in the Scripps National Spelling Bee the last two years, placing 17th last spring. We were pleased to hear that another Ohio student, seventh-grader Tony Incorvati of Canton Country Day School, has also made it to the Nationals twice and, like Nicholas, has been using the Visual Thesaurus Spelling Bee
to study for this year's bee season. We talked to Tony and his mother Nancy Incorvati about how they've been preparing.
Franklin P. Adams, a regular at the Algonquin Round Table in the 1920s and '30s, was a master of comic verse. His best-known work is no doubt "Baseball's Sad Lexicon," an ode to the Chicago Cubs double-play combination of "Tinker to Evers to Chance." The blog Futility Closet
brings to our attention another playful ode by Adams that's right up our alley: "To a Thesaurus."
Combine sweet tooth
with tooth fairy
and you get sweet tooth fairy
. That's the premise for The Illustrated Sweet Tooth Fairy,
a website that seeks to collect such whimsical fusions as magnetic personality disorder
, periodic table manners
, and emotional baggage carousel
. Erin McKean describes the project in the Boston Globe here
, a verb meaning "to search the Internet," was chosen by the American Dialect Society as Word of the Decade (2000-09), my ADS colleague Grant Barrett wondered whether Google's trademark lawyers might have preferred it if the runner-up, blog
, had won instead. It is of course a tribute to the vast popularity of Google that it has become accepted as a generic verb for online searching, but the protectors of the trademark wouldn't necessarily see it that way. Meanwhile, Microsoft, creators of the rival search engine Bing, would very much like people to use their brand name as a verb.
When the New Oxford American Dictionary
as its 2009 Word of the Year, Oxford University Press senior lexicographer Christine Lindberg was quick to point out that the verb long predates the Facebook era. As she explained in an NPR interview, the Oxford English Dictionary
has a citation for unfriend
from 1659. "I think it's a remarkable resurrection," Lindberg told NPR. "In a way, I look at unfriend
as the Sleeping Beauty of 2009 words." Now it appears that the Dutch language has its own Sleeping Beauty... or should that be Rip Van Winkle?
Wendalyn Nichols, editor of the Copyediting
newsletter, offers useful tips to copy editors and anyone else who prizes clear and orderly writing. Here she takes a look at the predilection of headline-writers for the word likely