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English Words, Dictionaries, Lexicons

I recently purchased an Oxford English Dictionary (the 1970s compact edition with a magnifying glass) and have read a number of books related to it, including 'The Professor and the Madman,' 'The Story of English,' and some excerpts from Johnson's Dictionary. I memorized enough greek letters to be able to pronounce the greek etymology entries in the OED.

In the course of doing this, I made a point of using, in my computer interfaces, shorter words of germanic origin, in favor of longer 'technical' sounding words of latinate origin. For example, "Keep" was preferred over "Manual Delete Only". Whether this is a better way of communicating to the user, or a form of ethnic cleansing, I don't know.

During 1999, I played quite a bit of WordOx, an online scrabble-like game, eventually becoming reasonably good at it. My interest in the game piqued a more general interest in Lexicons - collections of words, and wordplay. I published the results of some of my experiments in the third issue of The Tiny Lobster. My WordOx handle is "Tiny Lobster", by the way.

My interest in Dictionaries and Lexicons overlaps with my interest in Classic Cryptography and Information Theory. I have written a number of computer programs which explore these interests.

If you enjoy playing scrabble or word-ox or looking for unusual words, you should look for a wonderful program called Scrabble TEA.