You searched for: “are
are; are, ar; or, our
are (AR) (verb)
Second person singular and plural, and first and third person plural of the present indicative of "be": You are going and we are also going and Alton understands that they are going, too.
are, ar (AR) (noun)
A metric unit of area equal to 100 square meters (119.6 square yards): By careful measurement, Grant determined the size of his property to be 100 square meters (119.6 square yards) or one are.
or (OR) (conjunction)
A grammatical form suggesting an alternative: Blake was told to pay the price or simply leave.
our (OUR) (pronoun)
The possessive form of "we"; used as a modifier before a noun; relating to or belonging to us: We were reminded of our accomplishments in our hometown newspaper.

We kept our promise even though we were criticized for our actions.

Our parents had to decide whether they would purchase an ar and build their house or if they would purchase a pre-fabricated house. They are going to meet with a lawyer tomorrow with their decision.

verb "to be": am, is, are; was, were; will be; has been, have been; had been; being (verb forms)
To exist: "He will be here later."
This entry is located in the following unit: verbo-, verb-, verbi- (page 3)
(there are over 64,000 word-entry sections, or word topics, which advertisers may choose to "buy" at a reasonable price with links to their sites of choice)
(here's what pets are really eating)
(a suffix which forms nouns that refer to people who regularly engage in some activity, or who are characterized in a certain way, as indicated by the stem or root of the word; originally, which appeared in Middle English in words from Old French where it expressed an intensive degree or with a pejorative or disparaging application)
(Greek: of, or pertaining to "god of war", Ares or Mars, used primarily in astronomy)
(anxieties and depressions are brain-based)
(aspects of the moon are known as phases from a Greek word meaning "appearance")
(Part 3 of 4: fear and hatred of tobacco smoke and the efforts being made to restrict smoking where those who don't smoke are not adversely affected by those who are smokers)
(cytology is the study of cells and the cell theory states that all living things are composed of cells and that all cells arise only from other cells)
(Modern Latin: chemical element; from Greek, baros, heavy; because its compounds are dense; metal)
(Modern Latin: chemical element; from Greek, chroma, color; because many of its compounds are colored; metal)
(Chemical Elements are Listed with Links to Information about Each Chemical Element)
(Greek: disease in which the bodily humors [biles] are subject to violent discharge; characterized by severe vomiting and diarrhea)
(Latin > French: the ability to see things that are out of normal sight but which can be perceived by extrasensory powers)
(Dictionaries are often more confusing than they are at clearly defining the meanings of words.)
(lists of "A" sections that are organized into what for some people are confusing groups of words)
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(enjoying words with special points of view, sometimes humorous, and which are not found in a "regular" dictionary)
(Animal health and dung beetle health: they are both vital)
(without dung beetles, the earth would be one big sphere of dung)
(various topics having to do with technological education and research changes that are going on)
(learn more about where words came from and who their family members are)
(If the origins of words are not known, then much of our language will not be as easily understood nor appreciated!)
(a connection of this and fourteen other Focusing on Words Newsletters are available for your learning opportunities by clicking on the link under the banner)
(having feelings of pleasure or happiness are among the highest achievements of life)
(there are various kinds and conditions of hibernations)
(electronic chips are being placed under the skins of people and animals)
(contronyms or words which have definitions that are self-antonyms; that is, which have two meanings that are the opposites of each other)
(Latin-Roman Numerals that are used in English and other modern languages)
(Latin words directly incorporated into English which are essentially without changes from their original spelling)
(the way they were in ancient times and are in the present and potentials for the future)
(A suffix that forms adjectives and examples that are used to show them.)
(Greek: breast; the front of the human chest and either of two soft rounded organs on each side of the chest in women and men; however, with women the organs are more prominent and produce milk after childbirth; also, a milk-producing gland in mammals that corresponds to the human breast)
(Greek > Latin: secret, occult [probable literal meaning is "one whose eyes are closed"])
(nano science and engineering prospects are providing incentives to invest time and money)
(a group of viruses which are a common cause of gastroenteritis, or "stomach flu")
(Greek > Latin: wood sorrel; the leaves of the wood sorrel are acidic to the taste)
(Greek > Latin: pharisaios; from Aramaic prisayya; "those who are separate")
(some things are not as obvious as we may think they are even with people who seem to be so well off, according to Edwin Arlington Robinson and Franklin P. Adams)
(sections which are available in this series about reasons for publishing)
(a stomach surrounded by curiosity; little creatures that are happier than their parents because they don’t have children of their own)
(aspects of the imagination that are usually seen when the eyes are closed or images of mental thoughts)
(mistakes are what lawyers get paid for and what doctors bury)
(what youths rarely think about and what elders are constantly reminded of . . . most of the time)
(information and viewpoints that are constantly shifting courses in the midst of ever-changing news; knowing which perspectives to put into and what to keep out of a newspaper)
(if patients are fortunate, this is the art of keeping them involved while nature cures their diseases)
(the most important trait to cultivate if you are always punctual)
(a field in which scientists try to prolong the lives of people so they will have time to pay for the gadgets that are invented for them)
(a four-letter and a five-letter word that are avoided by many people)
(a field of endeavor where many contribute but few are chosen)
(Greek: that which may be turned or spun around; magician's circle; equilateral parallelogram in which only the opposite angles are equal)
(advances in seismic-imaging computers are finding more energy sources)
(There are septic tanks and then there are septic tanks)
(Latin: scrinium, a case, chest, box, or receptacle; especially, one in which are deposited sacred relics, bones of a saint, or sacred books and documents)
(All sporozoa are parasitic)
(Greek: covering, covered, to cover; roof; by extension, secret, secret writing, applied to a secret code, codes, or ciphers that are hidden)
(Greek > Latin: fig [sweet, hollow, pear-shaped, multiple fruit that has numerous tiny seedlike fruits that are eaten fresh or preserved or dried])
(once considered in poor taste; the joke was not nearly as vulgar as those that are currently expressed on many U.S. TV shows)
(Latin: to beat, to strike; to drive, to force back; from verber, whip, lash, rod; by extension, to make sounds or noises or those sounds and echoes that are thrown back again or repeatedly)
Word Entries containing the term: “are
Chickens, which are raised for eggs and meat, are the most popular animals that are eaten by people before they become little babies (as eggs) and after they are older and butchered for food.
This entry is located in the following unit: paraprosdokian, paraprosdokia (page 2)
Contratemps are the resentments permanent workers feel toward "temp" workers.
This entry is located in the following unit: paraprosdokian, paraprosdokia (page 3)
Counterfeiters are workers who put kitchen cabinets together.
This entry is located in the following unit: paraprosdokian, paraprosdokia (page 3)
Eggs are the only food that comes naturally in no deposit, no-return, and in bio-degradable packaging.
This entry is located in the following unit: paraprosdokian, paraprosdokia (page 3)
Every calendar's days are numbered.
This entry is located in the following unit: paraprosdokian, paraprosdokia (page 3)
Mosquitoes are insects that make people prefer flies.
This entry is located in the following unit: paraprosdokian, paraprosdokia (page 5)
Remember that you are unique; just like everyone else.
This entry is located in the following unit: paraprosdokian, paraprosdokia (page 5)
Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.
This entry is located in the following unit: paraprosdokian, paraprosdokia (page 5)
There are many women who spend a lot of scents on perfumes.
Playing with a different meaning for a word.
© ALL rights are reserved.

Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
so you can see more Mickey Bach illustrations.

This entry is located in the following unit: paraprosdokian, paraprosdokia (page 6)
Those who jump off a bridge in Paris are in Seine.
This entry is located in the following unit: paraprosdokian, paraprosdokia (page 6)
Warehouse: What some people ask when they are lost.
When people die, arrangements are made to barium.
This entry is located in the following unit: paraprosdokian, paraprosdokia (page 6)
Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are attractive.
This entry is located in the following unit: paraprosdokian, paraprosdokia (page 7)
Word Entries at Get Words: “are
are, ares
A metric unit of area, equal to 100 square meters (119.6 square yards); and 100 ares make one hectare.
This entry is located in the following unit: Measurements and Mathematics Terms (page 2)
are, era
This entry is located in the following unit: Reversible Words (page 1)
(a reverse acronym or a regular word that also doubles as an acronym using the same procedures as with acronyms, except that the letters of a word are presented to form a phrase which defines the word or for humorous reasons)
(phrases or Bible quotations that are derived directly from the King Jame's version of the Bible many of which are direct quotations)
(many blended words have entered English since the 1800's; a significant number of which are corporate brand names)
(brackets that are used as punctuation marks)
(words that end with cate and are pronounced KAYT)
(architects are using stylish high-tech concrete to create beautiful and greener buildings)
(English phrases which are often badly phrased on signs in public places and other media)
(lexicomedy, linguicomedy, or a chuckleglossary consisting of definitions which are markedly different from the accepted dictionary norm)
(New diseases are always coming into existence, most change with time, and some even vanish from known existence!)
(dogs are considered to be the companions and best friends of humans and this list of terms will help all of us understand the topics that exist about our canine friends)
(a suffix that forms abstract and collective nouns added to adjectives to show state or condition; added to nouns to show a position, rank, or realm of; all of those who are part of a group or organization)
(electricity and magnetic forces are combined for efficiency)
(concern over the environmental impact of burning fossil fuels has resulted in looking for alternative fuels that are less polluting)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)
(words that are involved with the father who imprisoned his daughter)
(here are 14 important words with elements from Latin and Greek sources)
(the four gemstones which are most valuable are diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds; and anyone would be impressed with a gift of a diamond, a sapphire, an emerald, or a ruby piece of jewelry)
(when visiting old graveyards and examining the epitaphs on gravestones, there are certain words and phrases which could be difficult or impossible to understand without knowing what the words in this unit mean)
(understanding how English words are formed and where they come from helps everyone who finds unfamiliar words)
(fields are protected by barriers of hedges by keeping the wind from eroding (blowing away) valuable top soil)
(Latin punctus "a point" or "a mark"; the standardized non-alphabetical symbols or marks that are used to organize writing into clauses, phrases, and sentences, and in this way to clarify meanings)
(There are estimated to be 10,000 million insects living in each square kilometer of habitable land on earth or 26,000 million per square mile)
(Are people too busy for leisure?)
(there are certain anatomic terms which present various situations; for example, a body part may be horizontal, as opposed to vertical; in front as opposed to being behind or at the back; above as opposed to being under, etc.)
(leeches are bleeding their way back into the good graces of modern medical treatment as healers just as they did in ancient societies)
(grammatical forms including: nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs, etc. that are used to identify word entries)
(this page includes a presentation of the punctuation marks or symbols that are in general use in English writing)
(insects that live in colonies which, in some ways, resemble human cities are ants, bees, wasps, hornets, and termites)
(engineering is the technical science in which properties of matter and the sources of power in nature are made useful to people; such as, in structures, devices, machines, and products)
(Various living organisms are organized from the smallest unit of cells to form tissues which form organs and organs work together to form organ systems)
(theater as we know it was originated by the Greeks and many of their theatrical terms are still in use)
(Sesquipedalia Verba or Sesquipedalians are references to the use of excessively long words)
(words exist in all sizes and degrees of difficulty from numerous languages and English continues to churn out new words from the past and the present)
(many of the words used today in English are derived from Greek myths)
(there are many words which may be rarely seen by a vast number of people; however, they have been existing and they are still available for one's use or enlightenment)
(phyla rhymes or major taxonomic groups, classifying of living organisms, into which animals are divided and made up of several classes in poetic format)
Word Entries at Get Words containing the term: “are
Additional words that were found which are derived from the Greek element tribo- are explained in the following contents:

Additional words that exist that are derived from the Greek element tribo-: nanotribology, [no dictionary seems to be available that has a definition for this term.] The following definitions came from various sources on the internet.

First, on Thursday, January 21, 1999, there was the following information from Dr. Jacqueline Krim, Professor of Physics at North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina:

“Thank you for your inquiry. Yes, I coined the term nanotribology in a paper I wrote in 1991, entitled, ‘Nanotribology of a Kr [krypton] monolayer: A Quartz Crystal Microbalance Study of Atomic-Scale Friction’, J. Krim, D. Solina and R. Chiarello, PRL, 66, (1991) p. 181-184.”

“I would define nanotribology as the sub-field of tribology involving contact geometries which are well-characterized at atomic length or time scales. These tend to be on the order of nanometers and nanoseconds.”

“JK”


Secondly, on Friday, January 22, 1999, I received another clarifying definition that I had requested from a contact I found on the internet.

I asked for a simple, easy to understand definition of “nanotribology” and this is what he sent to me:

“Tribology is the science and technology of two surfaces in relative motion which encompasses friction, wear, and lubrication. Nanotribology allows the study of friction and wear processes on nanoscale.”

—Prof. Bharat Bhushan, Ohio Eminent Scholar and The Howard D. Winbigler Professor
and Director, Computer Microtribology and Contamination Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University Columbus, Ohio

Now you know what nanotribology means, don’t you? If you want to know more about nanotribology, here are excerpts of other definitions; but be WARNED that if they are too confusing or of no interest to you, you may scroll down to the area where other tribo- words are presented. Don’t give up before you see the rest of the list, please.

Micro/nanotribology as a field is concerned with experimental and theoretical investigations of processes ranging from atomic and molecular scales to the microscale, occurring during adhesion, friction, wear, and thin-film lubrication at sliding surfaces.

This involves determination of the chemical, physical and mechanical properties of the surfaces undergoing relative motion at length scales of the order of nanometers. Interaction between rubbing surfaces occurs at asperities [roughness of surfaces] at which the local pressure and temperatures can be very high.

These conditions can lead to formation of tribochemical films with the unusual properties necessary for efficient wear protection. The nanomechanical properties of these films are being investigated by interfacial force microscopy (IFM) which is capable of determining the elastic constants and anelastic behavior of the films in boundary layer lubrication.

Proposed nanotribology experiments for the Triboscope include studying the effect of different contact areas, scan directions and crystallographic orientations on both lubricated and unlubricated surfaces.

Tribology is the study of friction, lubrication and wear. Nanotribology is roughly defined as the study of these same phenomena down to the nN and nanometer force and length scales.

I hope I haven’t lost you in the sea of obfuscation (confusion, obscurity, or bewilderment) because there are other interesting words to learn. Here are additional examples that are derived from tribo-:

  • triboelectric, an electrical charge produced by friction between two objects; such as, rubbing silk on a glass surface.
  • triboelectricity, in physics, electrical charges produced by friction between two surfaces; static electricity.
  • Frictional electricity … was supposedly known to the ancient Greeks, particularly Thales of Miletus, who observed about 600 B.C. that when amber was rubbed, it would attract small bits of matter. The term “frictional electricity” gave way to “triboelectricity,” although since “tribo” means “to rub,” the newer term does little to change the concept.

    —A.D. Moore (as seen in The American Heritage Dictionary of Science
    by Robert K. Barnhart; Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston; 1986).

  • tribofluorescence, triboflurescent; to give off light as a result of friction.
  • tribologist, a specialist in the science of tribology.
  • tribology, tribological, the science of the mechanisms of friction, lubrication, and wear of interacting surfaces that are in relative motion.
  • triboluminescence, the quality of emitting light under friction or violent mechanical pressure.
  • triboluminescent, exhibiting triboluminescence.
  • tribophosphorescence, tribophosphorescent; to produce light by friction.
  • tribothermoluminescence, thermoluminescence [luminescence resulting from exposure to high temperature] produced in a material as a result of friction.
  • tribometer, an instrument for estimating sliding friction.
  • tribophysics, the physical properties or phenomena associated with friction.
  • tribophosphoroscope, an instrument for examining triboluminescence.
  • tribulation, originally from Greek; then through Latin, “to press; affliction”; distress, great trial, or affliction.

“The Roman tribulum was a sledge consisting of a wooden block studded with sharp pieces of flint or iron teeth. It was used to bring force and pressure against wheat in grinding out grain.

The machine suggested the way trouble grinds people down and oppresses them, tribulations becoming another word for troubles and afflictions. The word is first recorded in English in 1330.”.

—From the Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins
by Robert Hendrickson; Facts On File, Inc., New York; 1997.

The Romans ground out their corn [make that grain-J.R.] with a heavy roller, mentioned in Vergil’s Georgics among agricultural instruments: the tribulum, diminutive noun, from tritere, trit —, to rub, from Greek tribein, to rub. Being ground under and pressed out made an excellent metaphor to express the trials and tribulations of the early Christians.

Dictionary of Word Origins by Joseph T. Shipley.

“To know the origin of words is to know how men think, how they have fashioned their civilization. Word history traces the path of human fellowship, the bridges from mind to mind, from nation to nation.

“Some of the words in our language can be traced to a remote past; some have histories that begin but yesterday. Many are members of large families, with intertwining legend and history. Slow change, swift new coinage of science or slang, ancient or recent borrowing from many tongues: together they give flexibility, power, and beauty to English, the richest and most widespread language of all time.”

— Joseph T. Shipley, from the Preface of his Dictionary of Word Origins.
This entry is located in the following unit: Focusing on Words Newsletter #05 (page 1)
apothecary weights that are no longer used
Out dated or obsolete units of mass, formerly used in pharmacies:
  • Twenty grains equal one scruple.
  • Three scruples equal one dram.
  • Eight drams equal an apothecary's ounce; oz apoth.
  • Twelve such ounces equal an apothecary's pound; lb apoth.
  • There are 7,000 grains in one pound avoirdupois or 0.454 kilograms.

This entry is located in the following unit: Measurements and Mathematics Terms (page 2)
Early flaws of euro are resurfacing in debt crisis
flaws:
resurfacing:
debt crisis :

When the rules for the euro were first drafted 15 years ago, the leaders of France and Germany had to compromise even to agree on its name: Berlin wanted a 'a stability pact,' emphasizing Germanic fiscal discipline, while the French leaders insisted on adding 'growth' to the title to make it more palatable to their voters."

International Herald Tribune, August 18, 2011; page 1.
Grammatical Forms That Are Used to Identify the Parts of Speech for Word Entries
A list of Parts of Speech that are presented with word entries.
This entry is located in the following unit: Index of Punctuation Marks (page 1)
How the mighty are fallen (Samuel 1:19)
This entry is located in the following unit: Bible Quotations used in modern English (page 3)
Many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14)
This entry is located in the following unit: Bible Quotations used in modern English (page 3)
There are dictionaries and then there are dictionaries

My focus these days is to collect English words that are derived from Latin and Greek sources (and their definitions). This self-imposed task is being done to provide the cross-reference area with as many Latin-Greek-English words as possible in the time that I am granted for the project.

Recently, a new book about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary, titled The Professor and the Madman — A Tale of Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary by Simon Winchester caught my attention. I bought the book and the audio because of my interest in lexicography.

Also, not long ago, I received an e-mail from an American, who had recently returned to California from England, in which he asked if I could explain why the British spell their words with “our”; such as, colour and why Americans spell it (and others) with “or”; such as with color, favor, etc.

As a result of my focus and because of the “our” and “or” question, I will be spending time in this newsletter presenting some information about dictionaries; also known as lexicons.


The earliest dictionaries were very limited in scope

  • The earliest dictionary makers apparently were monks, men who lived in religious brotherhoods.
  • During the seventh century, before the printing press was invented, these monks worked in church libraries making notes in the margins of their hand-lettered books.
  • In those days, all books were written in Latin which was the language used in the Roman Catholic Church and in universities.
  • The common people — farmers, shopkeepers, tradesmen, children — had no books of their own. In fact, it is very unlikely that they could even read because education was limited to very few people.
  • Why did monks mark up the pages of their hand-made books? It seems the better educated monks who wrote the books wanted to make sure other monks who read the books would know what certain words meant.
  • The notes came to be called glosses, from which we get our word glossasry — a list of words with definitions.
  • For a thousand years, these glosses stayed in the books in church libraries. No one did anything with them.
  • The term “dictionary” in one of its Latin forms (dictionarius, a collection of words) was used c. 1225 by an English scholar, John Garland, as the title for a manuscript of Latin words to be learned by memory.
  • The words were not arranged in alphabetical order but in groups according to subject.
  • This Dictionarius, was used only for the teacher’s classroom work in teaching Latin, and it contained no English except for a few interlined glosses (translations of single words).
  • In the seventeenth century, some monks got the idea of making lists of those Latin glosses and translating them into English. The first dictionary, or glossary, was actually a list of Latin-English glosses. Monks in other countries also compiled Latin-French, Latin-Italian, and Latin-Spanish glossaries.
  • Later in 1604, Robert Cawdrey, an English schoolmaster, published a dictionary, titled A Table Alphabeticall conteyning and teaching the true writing and understanding of hard usual English Wordes …with the interpretation thereof by plaine English words, gathered for the benefit & helpe of Ladies, Gentlewomen, or any other unskilfull persons.
  • Although his dictionary included only difficult words, there is one principle of dictionary making that Cawdrey is remembered for today: he listed words in alphabetical order.
  • Cawdrey, perhaps recalling the complicated groupings of words in some earlier dictionaries, stressed the importance of the word “alphabeticall” in his title.
  • Apparently some “unskilfull persons” in his day (as in ours) had not taken the trouble to learn their ABC’s; so, he said, “Thou must learne the Alphabet, to wit, the order of the Letters as they stand.”

    Samuel Johnson and A Dictionary of the English Language

  • In 1747, after Lord Philip Chesterfield had negotiated with Samuel Johnson to write a new dictionary that could be used by all of the people, Johnson started the project.
  • So confident was Johnson of his literary powers that he offered to write the dictionary in three years. Friends warned him that such a short time wouldn’t be enough. It had taken forty French scholars forty years to write a French dictionary. Shouldn’t he reconsider? “Nonsense,” Johson replied in effect. “Any Englishman is the equal of forty Frenchmen. Three years! That’s all it will take.”
  • In 1755, Johnson finished A Dictionary of the English Language— eight years of “sluggishly treading the track of the alphabet,” he told friends, not three — and he wasn’t at all satisfied with the work he produced; but during those years, he had learned a great deal about words and how they make up language.
  • In his Preface, Johnson started by writing: “It is the fate of those who toil at the lower employments of life, to be rather driven by the fear of evil, than attracted by the prospect of good; to be exposed to censure, without hope of praise; to be disgraced by miscarriage, or punished for neglect, where success would have been without applause, and diligence without reward.”
  • “Among these unhappy mortals is the writer of dictionaries; whom mankind have considered, not as the pupil, but the slave of science, the pioneer of literature, doomed only to remove rubbish and clear obstructions from the paths of Learning and Genius, who presses forward to conquest and glory, without bestowing a smile on the humble drudge that facilitates their progress.”
  • “Every other authour may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach, and even this negative recompense has been yet granted to very few.”
  • “Later in his Preface, he wrote: “Of the event of this work, for which, having laboured it with so much application, I cannot but have some degree of parental fondness, it is natural to form conjectures.”
  • “Those who have been persuaded to think well of my design, require that it should fix our language, and put a stop to those alterations which time and chance have hitherto been suffered to make in it without opposition. With this consequence I will confess that I flattered myself for a while; but now begin to fear that I have indulged expectation which neither reason or experience can justify.”
  • “When we see men grow old and die at a certain time one after another, from century to century, we laugh at the elixir that promises to prolong life to a thousand years; and with equal justice may the lexicographer be derided, who being able to produce no example of a nation that has preserved their words and phrases from mutability, shall imagine that his dictionary can embalm his language, and secure it from corruption and decay, that it is in his power to change sublunary* nature, or clear the world at once from folly, vanity, and affectation.” [*sublunary: of this world, earthly].
  • After a lengthy explanation of how it is impossible to prevent changes in a language, especially when “As by the cultivation of various sciences, a language is amplified, it will be more furnished with words deflected from their original sense ….”; he goes on to say, “If the changes that we fear be thus irresistible, what remains but to acquiesce with silence, as in the other insurmountable distresses of humanity?”
  • “It remains that we retard what we cannot repel, that we palliate* what we cannot cure. Life may be lengthened by care, though death cannot be ultimately defeated: tongues, like governments, have a natural tendency to degeneration; we have long preserved our constitution, let us make some struggles for our language.” [*palliate, to make less intense or severe; to mitigate].
  • Johnson’s work was a landmark in the history of dictionary making. It was the first time anyone had put down on paper the words that actually made up the English language, and it set basic guides for the craft of dictionary making. Lexicographers for the next two centuries would follow many of the principles Johnson had established.

    Early American dictionary makers

  • Near the end of the 18th century, more than 20% of the world’s English-speaking people were living in the United States.
  • Their policy of universal education indicated a need for an English dictionary designed for use in primary schools.
  • In 1798, a Connecticut schoolmaster, Samuel Johnson, Jr., produced in New Haven, Conneticut, a little book titled A School Dictionary.
  • Also in 1800, The Columbian Dictionary, by Caleb Alexander of Massachusetts, had about 32,000 entries in which American usage was recognized by a few words (cent, dime, dollar, elector, congress, Congressional, lengthy, minute-man, Presidential, Yanky), and honor, favor, color, and troop were spelled as such.
  • The Columbian Dictionary also included some alternatives such as: calendar-kalendar, chequer-checker, screen-skreen, sponge-spunge.
  • Alexander included simple words, providing a vocabulary that could reasonably be called “complete.”
  • Was this where Noah Webster got his ideas for respelling the “our” words (colour, favour) to “or” (color, favor)?

    Noah Webster, the “father” of American dictionaries

  • One American who objected to the “personal style” of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary was a “sober, pious” New England schoolmaster named Noah Webster. “Johnson was always depressed by poverty,” he said tartly. “He was naturally indolent and seldom wrote until he was urged by want. Hence … he was compelled to prepare his manuscripts in haste.”
  • In his view, dictionary making allowed no compromise, permitted no weakness. Webster set a standard for dictionary making that continues to this day.
  • He attended Yale College and, five years after graduation, in 1783, he published his Blue-Back Speller, America’s first speller, grammar, and reader.
  • This book sold an amazing million copies a year at a time when the entire populatiion of the United States was only 23 million. It stayed in print over a century (under the titles The American Spelling Book and later The Elementary Spelling Book) and sold a total of 70 million copies.
  • Apparently, the money the book earned made it possible for Webster to spend his tlme doing what he really wanted; that is, writing dictionaries. To prepare himself for the task, he set about studying languages and in time learned twenty-six, including Anglo-Saxon and Sanskrit.
  • The basic reason Americans needed a dictionary of their own, Webster believed, was that American English was different from the English of Johnson’s day. Settlers in America had spoken English for two centuries and had invented their own words to describe conditions in this new land.
  • In 1806, Webster published A Compendious Dictionary of the English Language. By compendious, he meant “concise, brief, a summary.” His dictionary is important in the story of dictionaries because in the long history of lexicography, it showed for the first time how Americans spoke English.
  • Of the 37,000 words in Webster’s dictionary, about 5,000 were native to America and never before had appeared in any British-English dictionary. Squash, skunk, raccoon, hickory, caucus, presidency, congressional, bullfrog, and applesauce are a few examples.
  • Like Johnson, Webster searched for words in books, but he also tried something new — and established a principle of dictioinary making that has been followed ever since. He began recording words as he heard people use them. In doing so, he followed Johnson’s theory that spoken words make up a language.
  • Webster had a few ideas about fixing the spelling of some words. The way many words were spelled, he noted, had no relation to the way they were pronounced.
  • This offended Webster’s neat and orderly way of doing things. As he went about writing the Compendious, he changed the spelling of many words to match their sounds. He dropped the silent “u” in the English spelling of honour and favour and wrote honor and favor, and the final “k” in musick, logick, and publick and used instead music, logic, and public. He also dropped the second “l” in traveller, labelled, and farewell and transposed the last two letters in English words like centre and theatre.
  • Webster also tried to simplify the spelling of other words by dropping silent letters: “e” from imagine, “e” from definite, “b” from thumb, “a” from feather, and “a” from head. For these spellings, he substituted imagin, definit, thum, fether, and hed. Most people were not ready for these new versions and so such spellings never became acceptable.
  • For some unexplainable reasons, Americans went along, over two hundred years ago, with favor, honor, public, logic, music, traveler, and labeled. They also agreed to switch the “re” to “er” in center and theater; but they strongly objected to most of the other changes Webster suggested.
  • We still write thumb with a “b”, head and feather with an “a”, farewell with a double “l”, and imagine and definite with a final “e” even though these letters serve no purpose; except perhaps to show the unpredictable way language develops and that people, not grammarians or dictionary makers, primarily determine how we spell the words we read and write.
  • Samuel Johnson’s suggestion that dictionary makers, “retard what we cannot repel” ; that is, slow the process of drastic changes in English since they cannot be stopped or rejected; may actually be working. Dictionaries are often the “authority” that we consult when people have doubts about the “correct” meanings and applications of words and so may indeed provide stability in the language.
This entry is located in the following unit: Focusing on Words Newsletter #07 (page 1)
Words that are synonyms for war

Phrases of words that describe the term war:

  • armed conflict
  • warfare
  • hostilities
  • military operations
  • clash of arms
  • combat
  • military attacks
  • battle with opponents
  • take up arms
This entry is located in the following unit: bellicose, belligerent, et alii = War Words (page 1)