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19 Cromulent Words You Can Still Adopt for a Good Cause

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Wordnik is an online interactive dictionary with a mission to include every English word. There are so many! And new ones are being created constantly. If you regard the job of a dictionary to be “gatekeeper of what should and should not be an acceptable word to use,” this idea may not appeal to you. There are plenty of words that people find too slangy, too new, or just too plain unlikeable to seem worthy of a place in a dictionary. But what if the job of a dictionary is to simply describe the natural world, to collect words as they exist out there in the wild and pin them like butterflies in a case for posterity?

That’s what Wordnik wants to do, because “every word deserves a recorded place in our language's history. We want to collect, preserve, and share every word of English, and provide a place where people can find, learn, annotate, comment on, and argue about every word.” After all, “if you're curious about a word, why should you have to wait until someone else decides that a word is worth knowing?”

Wordnik wants to add a million words to its dictionary—which doesn’t seem like such a hard thing to do if you just scrape them off the internet—but they also want to provide definitions for the words, which is a much harder prospect. Lexicographers can spend years coming up with just the right definitions. Wordnik already gets around this problem by looking for ready-made definitions, found in places where the word is defined in a text as it is introduced, such as in this example for bibliobesity, from Terry Teachout in the New York Times:

"The problem of bloated books—bibliobesity, as it were—has always been with us."

Wordnik has just launched a Kickstarter to help automate the hunt for these definitions by training a new machine learning tool to find them on its own. For $25, you can adopt a word. While many words, such as petrichor, wombat, and butt have already found good homes, there are plenty of words left to adopt. Help build a record of English as it is by looking up your own favorite and seeing if it’s still available. As of this writing, here are 19—some old, some new, but all fabulous—you can still choose from.

1. ‘sup

2. absquatulate 

3. squiffy

4. clownsourcing 

5. computermabob 

6. boomshakalaka 

7. anyhoo 

8. procrastitweeting 

9. broetry

10. abecedarian 

11. tintinnabulation 

12. trilemma 

13. amazeballs 

14. dorkus malorkus 

15. pulchritude 

16. cellar door 

17. schadenfreude 

18. irregardless 

19. splendiferous 

For more, visit the main Wordnik Kickstarter page here.  

 

 

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


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Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Here's the Right Way to Pronounce Kitchenware Brand Le Creuset

If you were never quite sure how to pronounce the name of beloved French kitchenware brand Le Creuset, don't fret: For the longest time, southern chef, author, and PBS personality Vivian Howard wasn't sure either.

In this video from Le Creuset, shared by Food & Wine, Howard prepares to sear some meat in her bright orange Le Creuset pot and explains, "For the longest time I had such a crush on them but I could never verbalize it because I didn’t know how to say it and I was so afraid of sounding like a big old redneck." Listen closely as she demonstrates the official, Le Creuset-endorsed pronunciation at 0:51.

Le Creuset is known for its colorful, cast-iron cookware, which is revered by pro chefs and home cooks everywhere. The company first introduced their durable pots to the world in 1925. Especially popular are their Dutch ovens, which are thick cast-iron pots that have been around since the 18th century and are used for slow-cooking dishes like roasts, stews, and casseroles.

[h/t Food & Wine]

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