Book Review: Word By Word makes the surprisingly convincing case for “irregardless”

“The dictionary” is one of those background items that’s always just there, little thought about and quickly forgotten after looking up a word. Those of us who deal with the English language for a living might appreciate a particularly illuminating definition, but the focus is always on the word itself, not on the person who took the time to define it. But behind every dictionary definition is a lexicographer, and it’s their curious, somewhat strange world that’s lovingly uncovered in Kory Stamper’s Word By Word. Stamper is a lexicographer at Merriam-Webster, America’s oldest dictionary. The book’s subtitle—“the secret life of dictionaries”—aptly sums up what you’re getting yourself into when you crack open the book, and while that may sound dry, this world is a compelling, peculiar one, well worth getting lost in for a while.

And thanks to Stamper’s assured …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *