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Brimming with intelligence and personality, a vastly entertaining account of how dictionaries are made - a must read for word mavens.

While most of us might take dictionaries for granted, the process of writing them is in fact as lively and dynamic as language itself. With sharp wit and irreverence, Kory Stamper cracks open the complex, obsessive world of lexicography--from the agonizing decisions about what and how to define, to the knotty questions of usage in an ever-changing language. She explains why small words are the most difficult to define (have you ever tried to define "is"?) , how it can take nine months to define a single word, and how our biases about language and pronunciation can have tremendous social influence. Throughout, Stamper brings to life the hallowed halls (and highly idiosyncratic cubicles) of Merriam-Webster, a world inhabited by quirky, erudite individuals who quietly shape the way we communicate. A sure delight for all lovers of words, Word by Word might also quietly improve readers' grasp and use of the English language.



About the Author

Kory Stamper

Kory Stamper is a lexicographer (that is, a writer and editor of dictionaries) who worked for nearly two decades at Merriam-Webster (the dictionary) . She has written and appeared in the "Ask the Editor" video series at Merriam-Webster, and has traveled around the world giving talks and lectures on language and lexicography. Her writing has appeared in a number of publications, including The Washington Post, The Guardian and The New York Times. You can find her blog at harmlessdrudgery.com. A medievalist by training, she knows a number of languages, most of them dead. She drinks more coffee and owns more dictionaries than is good for anyone.



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