Thursday, October 27, 2005

The real estate bubble -- and America's lexicographical sweetheart

Hidden in this New York Times piece on whether bubble has any meaning anymore is a quote from America's lexicographical sweetheart:
For the average homeowner, though, a definition of bubble that avoids all these subtleties might be the best one of all. "Anyone who bought after you bought," suggests Erin McKean, editor in chief of the Oxford American Dictionary in Chicago, "bought in a bubble."
I also like this quote from Grant Barrett, lexicographer with Oxford University Press in New York:
"It's that weird behavior of trying to make a word mean what you want it to mean," Mr. Barrett said. "We call it the thesaurus defense: it's basically redefining a word in order to suit their own point of view and in order to make themselves feel right or sound right."
But back to McKean: She will be part of a Smithsonian seminar in D.C. next month on "Rich Resources for Successful Writing," along with Bill Walsh(!) and Michael Dirda. It's from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19. Tickets are $80. They'll be signing books afterward.


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