Thursday, July 12, 2007

BIG News

Ginormous made it into the new edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. I remember hearing my students (one in know who you are) use this word for the first time four years ago.

Here's my prediction for a word that will be added some time soon, based on 1. my inability to break my students of saying it, even after two years of intensive interventions, 2. the efficiency of this word compared with the "correct" version, and 3. I broke down and used it myself. The word? VERSE, vb., meaning to compete with someone in a game or sport. "I'm going to verse him in chess." The roots of this word are in the preposition VERSUS, as in Army vs. Navy. (The correct/clunky/inefficient way to say "verse?" "Go against." How does "go against" relate to versus? On the other hand, it is clear to see how "verse" relates to versus.) Other words in the dictionary around VERSUS include, as a reminder that language is a living, changing thing: versatile and version.

For other new words that made it into the dictionary, see USA Today's AP story.


  1. FOR SURE! My kids "VERSE" each other in everything! Tetherball and Four Square mostly. :)

  2. Anonymous10:18 AM

    I love that about "ginormous." You made my day.

    -- Jules, word lover

  3. elementary classrooms are miniature labs of language evolution, how cool is it to witness the cross-country emergence of words and usages like "verse"?


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