Give Up on Reclaiming ‘Liberal’

The Death of Socrates (1787)
David — The Death of Socrates

“To the extent that those who term themselves liberal consider themselves more open to change than the conservative, it would be within the spirit of their philosophy to open up to the true nature of human language and let liberal drift away as “the L-word.” “Reclaiming” has a good feisty ring to it, but don’t we have more important things to do–and even reclaim–than engage in a conceit so futile as to stop a word’s meaning from changing? Move On, indeed.” — John McWhorter via The New Republic.

Adopt Lost Words to Bring Them Back From Extinction

Illustration of a scribe writing

“Every year, hundreds of words are dropped from the dictionary to make room for new words. Lexicographers spend hours researching word usage and may drop words that have been completely neglected by the society.

To reverse this trend, Oxford University Press has launched an initiative called Save the Words that aims to prevent these lesser-known English words from becoming extinct.

Here’s how. You adopt one such word through “Save the Words” and take a pledge to use that word more often in your daily conversations or written communication.

This will directly increase the chance of that word’s survival because the moment lexicographers see discarded words being used in conversations, they may re-include them in the dictionary. Wheatgrass is one such word that was reinstated after missing from the dictionary for several years.

There are hundreds of “lost” words already – vacivity, plegnic, mingent or primifluous for example – all of them, not surprisingly, failed by the Firefox spell checker as well. So go ahead, adopt bring back a nearly-extinct word. In return, you get this nifty certificate.” via Digital Inspiration.